Saturday, January 31, 2009

Small World Indeed

When Wayne and I are in Powell River, we're constantly reminded that it's a small world (or at least town). Our first night back we went to Moose n' Eddies restaurant in the Town Centre Mall. We love their open-face steak sandwich. Things were a little slow, so we talked with the bartender/waitress about the new Quality Foods store and what's been happening while we were gone. When Wendy ran our credit card she said, "Now I know who you are. I have your book Up the Lake. My dad's Poki." We knew Poki from the Powell River ATV club. He was a wonderful man who was taken way too early in life. You can read more about him at his Facebook page.

The next morning we headed straight for our float cabin up the lake. We've been gone over three weeks and were anxious to get back home. We may have city condos, but for us, home is on the lake. In our front "yard" sits Mr. Blue. He's a Malibu Two made by Ocean Kayaks in Ferndale, WA. It turns out that Tim (the former owner of our airplane hangar in Bellingham) used to own the company before he sold out to Johnson Outdoors. Yes indeed, it's a small world.

After a quick trip to the new Quality Foods, Wayne and I are headed back up the lake. Maybe we'll take Mr. Blue out for a spin in Tim's honour. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ATVing in Powell River, BC

After Wayne and I came to Powell River, we wanted to explore the back country. Since our good friend John had a quad, we thought it would be a good way for us to learn about our new home.

Following John has taken us to some really beautiful places.

I started with a small Honda Recon 250 (229cc). It was bright red and really easy to ride. I loved the way it handled and it took me almost everywhere the other guys with 4X4 could go. I rode it for two years before I decided to get a new bike.

My new quad is a Yamaha Kodiak 450 4X4. The model is now called a Grizzly 450. With my little Honda I had to take a running start to make it up some of the steeper hills. With the extra power and 4X4, I can now crawl up slopes in a safer manner. And the automatic transmission is a nice feature. If you move up to the 550 you can also get power steering.

Here are a few of the wonderful quad trails in Powell River.

Kent's Beach Poker Ride
Theodosia Inlet to Powell Lake
Khartoum Lake
Mt. Mahony
Appleton Creek
Lakes Loop
Blue Ridge Viewpoint

And here's one of my YouTube videos for your viewing pleasure.



You can also read more about Powell River back country experiences in Up the Main available online at www.PowellRiverBooks.com. -- Margy

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mt. Baker Theatre

Today Wayne and I went to the Mt. Baker Theatre to hear the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra. It was a double first for us. We have been by the theatre many times, but have never been inside. And, we were among a sellout crowd for the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra's Classical Concert called Winter Romance.

The theatre is an historic building in downtown Bellingham (104 N. Commercial Street). It first opened in 1927 as one of the palatial Fox West Coast Theatres. It is still a wonderful venue for plays, concerts and much more. The exterior is very distinctive. The red capped bell tower can be seen from blocks away. Inside, it is a classic, ornate theatre with a large overhanging balcony, floor to ceiling drapes and scrollwork mouldings. Up above, there is a beautiful dome and chandelier.

The Whatcom Symphony Orchestra began in 1975. It's current Artistic Director and Conductor is Dr. Roger Briggs. Each year there are seven concerts from October through May. I especially enjoyed today's presentation because it included a portion of the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg. He was a Norwegian composer in the late 1800s. I can remember my grandmother (born in Norway) playing some of his works on the piano. In addition, we got to hear Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg play as the guest violinist. Her talent is amazing and the sounds from her violin are captivating. If you ever get a chance to hear her play, do attend. -- Margy

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Leaving California

If you've been following my posts, you know that we are driving a U-haul truck north from Pomona, California to Bellingham, Washington. The next leg and stage in my life is leaving California.

I was something of a rarity in Los Angeles, a second generation resident. While my grandparents and were immigrants from England and Ireland (via Canada) and Norway, both of my parents were born and raised in Southern California. But now it's time for me to leave it all behind.

Wayne and I have fallen in love with Powell River, BC. Home for us now is our floating cabin on Powell Lake. But meanwhile, we need to get all (at least most) of the stuff we've accumulated up north. The first day of travel was completely within California. It's 770 miles (1,239 km) long with 690 road miles (1110 km) from Pomona to the northern border. But our little truck had lots of fun running with the big guys.

Our first night brought us to Redding. The next day we finally crossed the California border and then on up to Portland, Oregon. From Redding to Medford, I-5 passes through some beautiful territory. Most impressive is Mt. Shasta and the Castle Crags. After the flat farmland of California's central valley, it's an awesome sight.

Today we made it to Seattle for a USC vs. Husky basketball game. You may be able take California out of the girl, but not USC out of the man. Tomorrow our trip is done. We'll keep our things in Bellingham for now. That'll make it quicker to get back to our cabin and the life we love. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Leaving Los Angeles

To paraphrase Cheryl Crowe:

I'm leaving Los Angeles
Leaving for good, for good

I'm leaving for good
I've lived most of my life in the suburbs of Los Angeles. I was born in "Rural Compton," or so states my birth certificate. There's nothing rural about it any more. But before the 1950s, my grandparents had a farm there. They raised corn, beans and other crops to sell at the downtown LA market. My grandfather was also a sharecropper and grew hay near where the La Brea tar pits were later excavated for dinosaur bones. Those must have been exciting days. I moved around some (Torrance, Lakewood, Cerritos, Pomona), but never strayed far.

Today it's official, I'm leaving Los Angeles. Wayne and I climbed in the U-Haul truck and started driving north at 8:45 a.m. It was an auspicious day for more reasons than that. We remarked that we would always remember where we were when Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. We were driving on the Foothill Freeway heading out of town.



When I was little, my parents and I would travel to Modesto, California, to visit my grandparents at least three times a year. In those days, there weren't freeways all the way and we had to leave very early to get out of the city. I always begged for them to wake me up at the "waterfall." That's what I called the spillway (Cascades) for the Los Angeles Aqueduct near Sylmar. Today, the waterfall was running at full force in my honour just to say good-bye.

We drove I-5 all the way to Redding. Wayne took the first leg to Harris Ranch where we got gas and lunch. It's a bit of a tourist trap, but the food is good. While we were there, we got to see our new President walk up Pennsylvania Avenue to cheering crowds. I took the second leg. There's not much scenery along I-5 until you reach Stockton. Then you pass right through downtown Sacramento. Unfortunately, Arnold was too busy with the budget crisis to come out and wave good-bye.

We pulled in to Redding at just about 7:00. We are staying at the Red Lion (easy freeway access and moving van parking). We had a great dinner at the Cattleman's Restaurant three blocks up the street. If you go there, I highly recommend the beef back ribs. YUM!! The walk did us good, both before and after dinner. Now for a good night's rest so we can get back on the road early in the morning. I'll keep you posted. - Margy

Monday, January 19, 2009

Leaving Mountain Meadows

Yesterday you read about the sale of our condo in Pomona, California. Yes, it's a terrible time to sell, but we did it in four months. That's almost a record these days. Nothing else seems to be selling here in Mountain Meadows. There are both townhouses and single-family homes available. The tract was started in 1984 and we were original owners. I just knew someone would want and love our place. It has a large lot with a grassy area on one side and a hill of eucalyptus trees in the back. At night you can hear the owls and in the morning the song birds.

Across the street from Mountain Meadows is Bonelli Regional Park with camping, picnic, golf, hiking, biking, swimming, boating and horseback riding right at your doorstep. There's also the Raging Waters theme park and the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds (FAIRPLEX) close by. It's a quiet haven in the midst of bustling city life, who wouldn't want to live here. Both the 10 and 57 Freeways are nearby, handy for those traveling to Los Angeles or San Bernadino County for work. So, if you are looking for a gated, private community, there are several home and townhome floorplans to choose from. Our Realtor Ty can show you his listing or any of the other models available for sale.

We've loved our home, but it's time to jump in our U-Haul truck and take I-5 all the way north to Bellingham. We finished packing with the help of our good friend David. We timed it just right. We aren't rushed, yet we don't have lots of time to kill, just enough for a celebratory dinner with David and our neighbors Bob and Marie. We are going to a great little Italian restaurant named Charlie's Cafe Bistro at 2445 Foothill Blvd in La Verne. I can hardly wait.

We are planning a four day trip so that we can see the sights along the way. I'm sure there will be stories to tell along the way, so stay tuned. -- Margy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Los Angeles Real Estate Distress and Elation

As reported recently in the Los Angeles Times, the Southern California real estate market has gone from boom to bust, almost overnight. The causes are many: the loan crisis, overbuilding, unemployment, foreclosures and the looming recession. Home prices have fallen over 35% in some areas, with projections to fall through 2009 to about 55% off peak prices.

You may have been wondering where I've been for the last week. Usually, when I am away from the Internet I'm up the lake at our cabin, but this week that's not the case. Wayne and I are in Southern California cleaning out the condo we just sold. We sure picked a "good" time to put our property on the market, didn't we. But I guess we were one of the fortunate ones. We found a buyer. A lot of thanks goes to our Realtor, Ty Wallace, with Coldwell Banker. He really worked to find us not only a buyer in these hard times, but a good buyer.

We've been cleaning and packing for three days and have one more to go before we hit the road in our U-Haul truck. By chance, we found the best U-Haul location in the world. If you ever need a truck, trailer or moving supplies go to the U-Haul Center Holt Avenue (1512 W Holt Ave @ Dudley Avenue in Pomona, CA -- 909-629-4103). Matthew gave us excellent customer service and a great deal!

We will be heading north soon with all of the things we want to keep for either Bellingham or Powell River. But firest, we took the opportunity to downsize. All usable items went to the Salvation Army. They still do home pickups. You can reach them at 800-728-7825 to make the arrangements for any location. For the leftovers, we called Fast Freddie's Hauling for a dump run - you call, he hauls. You can reach him at 909-331-7119.

So, our distress about not being able to sell our condo has changed to elation. Now all we have to do is wait for the closing (with our fingers crossed)! - Margy

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Coastal BC Stories Book Trailer

Powell River Books has several videos available on YouTube including:

Our newest video is a book trailer for Wayne's Coastal BC Stories series of books. I invite you to come take a look.

Coastal BC Stories

Book Trailer

All titles are
available online at
www.PowellRiverBooks.com

Friday, January 09, 2009

Moonrise Over Goat

Last week I shared what "second sunset" looks like as it climbs up the side of Goat Island. Goat Island is a big part of life at the float cabin. It is the first thing I see through by bedroom window in the morning and the last thing I see as I close the drapes on my front door at night.

Last night it was clear for a change, and I got a wonderful view of moonrise over the crest of Goat. There were just a few wisps of clouds hovering nearby.

Later in the evening, it clouded over again, but the bright moon still provided extra illumination through our windows. -- Margy

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Up the Lake

Over the last several weeks, I've introduced readers to Powell River, BC. This week I want to invite you to come up the lake with me to see my real world. In 2000, my husband and I discovered Powell River while on a flying vacation to Coastal BC.

We returned in 2001 to look for property, but found something even better. Powell Lake has a unique floating cabin community. There are just over 250 cabins spread along the 300 kilometres of shoreline, all built on cedar log floats. Fortunately, the best cabin on the lake was for sale (at least we think so).

In the beginning, we could only visit our cabin on holidays and during summer vacation. Now we live there almost full time. Summers are great! The weather is warm, there's lots of sunshine (with a little rain in between to keep everything green), and you can swim and fish right off your deck.

But the winter is a special time at our cabin. It's more private, the weather is exciting and we love curling up in front of our wood stove.

This blog is mostly about float cabin living. I invite you to explore around to learn more about my world. Here are a few suggestions:

If you ever have a question, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail through the link in my profile. -- Margy

Monday, January 05, 2009

Frozen Plastic Shatters

It's a known fact that plastic in freezing conditions will easily crack or shatter. My head knows this, but obviously my feet don't. We needed a replacement broom, but the only one at Canadian Tire had a metal handle with a plastic tip. Because the dock to our the boat was covered with snow and ice, I used the broom like a walking stick. When we got to the cabin, I again used the broom for balance. But when I stepped out, I landed right on it. SNAP!

Brand new broom with a broken plastic tip. I don't give up easily, but what should I do? I decided to whittle a round dowel rod that would fit inside the threaded plastic tip and up into the metal handle. After quite a few knife strokes I got the dowel finished. I filled the plastic tip with glue and hammered the rod inside. A nice tight fit.

Then I hammered the rod up into the metal handle and sealed it with some Super Glue (careful not to get any on my fingers). After an overnight dry it was ready. It may not survive heavy outdoor snow work, but it might last indoors for some carpet sweeping. At least I gave it my best try. I'll keep you posted. -- Margy

Friday, January 02, 2009

Second Sunset

This time of year we get about two hours of direct sunlight at our float cabin. The sun "rises" over the treetops at about 10:00 a.m. and "sets" behind more trees at noon. Of course, that is well before actual sunset.

Later in the afternoon we experience what we call second sunset. Sunlight skips over our cabin but illuminates Goat Island across the bay from our front porch. Starting at about 4:00, we watch the shadow of the Bunster Range walk up the face of Goat for the next half hour. We call that our "second sunset."

Of course, sunsets are only visible on sunny days. Those have been few and far between this month. -- Margy