Sunday, July 28, 2019

Favourite Ports of Call

Heriot Bay Marina, Quadra Island
Do you find yourself returning to favourite destinations? We do, especially in our boat on the Strait of Georgia. Within two hours we can reach half a dozen marinas. If we anchor, there are dozens of bays to choose from.

The weather has been perfect for cruising, sunny, not too hot and light wind. We took advantage of five days of good weather to return to two favourite ports of call, Campbell River on Vancouver Island and Heriot Bay on Quadra.

Campbell River is midway up Vancouver Island's east coast. There are three marinas: Fisherman's Wharf, Coast Marina and Discovery Harbour. Discovery Harbour is our favourite. It's next to the fuel dock and Discovery Harbour Centre with restaurants, stores and shops.

Campbell River is a great resupply spot for boaters. It's also a major centre for fishing, whale watching and large animal tours. Our moorage spot was next to a fish station. Harbour seals were benefiting from the Chinook salmon run.

A harbour seal waiting for a fisherman to finish cleaning his catch.

After two nights in Campbell River we went to the Heriot Bay Inn on nearby Quadra Island. They have a quiet marina that almost always has space. We usually call ahead to make sure. They have fuel, a restaurant and pub, and there's a grocery store within walking distance,.

The Inn has well maintained grounds with places to sit in the shade of mature maple trees. It's a perfect place to kick back, relax and read.

Dock time at Heriot Bay.

We almost overstayed our welcome. What was forecast as 5 to 15 winds from the southwest turned out to be more like steady 15 or more. The swells were tall with deep troughs by the time they ran all the way to the northern Strait of Georgia.

Rain follows us all the way home to Powell River.

Wayne slowed from our normal 20 to 5 knots. With my new armrest I felt secure, but it couldn't eliminate the pounding. Once we rounded Hernando Island we were in the lee of the wind driven waves. We used up another fair weather stretch.

You don't have to have a boat to enjoy Campbell River or Heriot Bay. BC Ferries can get you and your car there for the adventure of a lifetime. -- Margy

Friday, July 19, 2019

Coastal British Columbia Cruising

Puffy clouds on our way through the Thulin Passage.
On my Powell River Books Blog I shared about our recent summer cruise on the Strait of Georgia. I encourage you to follow the link for more details.

The weather was wonderful and I ended up with more pictures than I could include. Here are some of the outtakes.

We left Powell River under blue skies with puffy while clouds. The wind was mild so it was easy going.

Our first night was at Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island.  We came by boat, but you can visit Cortes via Quadra Island using BC Ferries from Campbell River on Vancouver Island.

Calm water at the Squirrel Cove public dock for our overnight stay.

There were a few towering cumulus clouds, especially over the mainland, but no rain either night we were out.

Dark clouds but no rain or wind.

Our second night was at nearby Refuge Cove on West Redonda Island. It's a popular resupply spot for boaters coming to enjoy the Desolation Sound Marine Park.

Sunset reflections at the Refuge Cove marina.

We made it home with good weather holding. There were lots of reflections on the calm seas while heading into the Westview South Harbour in our hometown of Powell River, BC.

Heading in for fuel to be ready for our next Coastal Cruise.

Thanks for coming along on our Coastal Cruise on the Strait of Georgia. You can read more about our boating adventures in Wayne's book Farther Up the Strait.

Each chapter takes you on voyages to remote inlets and anchorages. E-books are available online at Kindle, Kobo and Smashwords. Print formats through Amazon, many online booksellers and locally in Powell River at Coles. -- Margy

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Available Online: "Up the Strait"

A Great Book
for the Boating Enthusiast

Up the Strait
Coastal BC Stories

It's cruising time again. Jump in the boat and head up the Strait of Georgia with us to magnificent anchorages and exciting adventures. Drop your hook in world famous Desolation Sound, discover hidden coves and meet some of the locals. Read Up the Strait by Wayne J. Lutz and then join us for the cruise of a lifetime. You may never want to leave. 

Go to for more information.

 Print for $12.95
Kindle for $2.99
ebook for $2.99 at Smashwords
(prices may vary in Canada)

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

RV Camping in Silver Lake Park's Red Mountain Campground

The entrance to lush Silver Lake Park
The last time Wayne and I were in Bellingham, we took the RV out for a two night stay in Whatcom County's Red Mountain Campground at nearby Silver Lake Park. It's just 32 miles east of Bellingham past Maple Falls on the Mt. Baker Highway. It's close, but far from the hustle and bustle.

Once you leave town, a two lane road takes you through picturesque farmland then forest. On the way you pass the North Fork Brewery, Pizzeria and Beer Shrine in Deming. Gotta stop there some day!

Getting fixed up at Discount Tire.
Before we could head out, we had to make a stop. At the RV storage facility we discovered one of our dual rear tires was flat.

We went to the new Discount Tire store and in less than an hour the puncture made by a screw was fixed.

To our amazement, it was free. What amazing customer service! You know where we'll go the next time we need new tires.

There are three campgrounds to choose from and all three take reservations. Cedar, near the lake, is small and best suited to tents and camper vans. There are also cabins to rent. Maple Creek, also near the lake, is closed until renovations are complete sometime in Summer 2019. It will accommodate both tents and RVs with water and power hookups.

Site #5 with a level pad, water, power, picnic table and fire ring.

We chose Red Mountain Campground. It has 28 sites, all with water and power for tents or RVs. Sites are close together, but trees and shrubs provide some privacy. The nightly cost is $24 for Whatcom County residents and $31 for others. There's also a $13 reservation fee. Unreserved spots are available first-come, first-serve.

One of the two stables at Red Mountain Campground.

Red Mountain is unique. It's also a horse camp. Two stables can each accommodate 32 horses in stalls. Trails through the park are easily accessed. Unfortunately, there weren't any horses while we were there. I love horses, always have.

We enjoyed our stay even though it rained off and on. There were  breaks for us to walk the area, then we just relaxed and read. What a great place for locals and tourists alike. Weekends are busy, but weekdays usually have spots available.

Indian Pipe emerging after the rain from the forest floor.

A trail behind our site led to the picnic shelter and outhouse (which was immaculate). On the way I found Indian Pipe plants pushing their way through the moist forest floor. They contain no chlorophyll and derive nourishment from fungus associated with tree roots. Rain following a dry spell causes the unique plants to send up white stems topped with a flower from their underground root balls. We were in the just right place at the just right time.

Have you been tent or RV camping lately? Where are some of your favourite places? -- Margy

Friday, July 12, 2019

RV Journal Illustrations

Tental RV at Lost Dutchman Camp and Superstition Mountain.
Last week I shared an ink and watercolour pencil illustration from my float cabin journal. I also keep journals for our RV adventures.

Last January, Wayne and I rented a 24' Class C from El Monte RV in Ferndale, Washington. If you are interested in reading about our three week trip from Washington to Arizona click here. We had so much fun, we purchased an RV of our own, a Forest River 24' Class C Sunseeker.

It was in my first RV journal that I started using recently purchased Pigma Micron archival ink pens (a set with 11 point sizes in a nice carry case), Arteza watercolour pencils (with 48 colours) and Ooku watercolour brush pens (so handy because they hold water in their hollow plastic handles).

My illustrations are a combination of hand drawn travel maps, sketches of points of interest and scrapbook additions about places we visited and stayed.

I learned a lot by drawing and painting almost daily. It was so much fun using the pens and watercolours I started using them in my float cabin journal. If you would like to see my float cabin Friday Paint Party journal entry for today, please click here. -- Margy

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Story of Patches

Sewing on Patches.
Today’s post is the life story of a pair of well-worn and patched sweatpants that I’ve had for about 45 years. In a way, it’s my story too. And "sew" the tale begins.

According to her faded “birth certificate” label, Patches was born in the States into the Tultex active wear clan. In the early years, Patches didn’t have a name. She was new and light green in colour. During the mid-70s, I was a teacher in Bellflower living in Lakewood, California. Mornings and evenings I would jog the tree lined streets or head to the Jack LaLanne gym around the corner. Patches joined me on many occasions.

Patches moved with me to a Cerritos condo in the late 70s. My teaching job morphed into a quasi-administrative position so running was put off to weekends. That meant we had nights to relax in front of the gas fireplace and eat pizza from the little shop around the corner.

Patches sports her first blue patch while gardening in 2008.

Patches moved to Pomona when Wayne and I got married. She spent many of those years in semi-retirement in the bottom drawer (my space) of Wayne’s dresser. While there, she had a harrowing experience. Pepper, the cat I adopted while teaching kindergarten, got stuck in the drawer when Wayne and I were packing for vacation. Uncle Bill agreed to cat sit, but couldn’t find Pepper until he heard a faint meow two days later. Fortunately for Patches, Pepper was able to wait until she got out to head to the litter box. What a relief for everyone!

More patches while painting new bathroom furniture in 2011.

Patches (still without a name) made it into a moving box to head for our Pomona townhouse. She got through the pre-move closet purge because of her utilitarian value. In the beginning, there was lots of gardening to be done and painting fifteen years later to prepare for yet another move. I can still see the smudges of honour on her cuff.

Patches helps out with firewood log splitting in 2013.

In 2001, Wayne and I discovered float cabins on Powell Lake in British Columbia and purchased one on the spot. Back at our California home I packed four large cardboard boxes and sent them via UPS to Powell River. In amongst sheets, blankets, and kitchen supplies was Patches. She made good packing material and would serve as my first cabin work clothes.

Patches gets gumboots to help with wood gathering in 2016.

Patches was glad to have a new purpose in life. If I was gardening, she was there. If I was gathering or chopping wood, she was there. If I was doing cabin maintenance, she was there. She even got to go on fun fishing trips in our tin boat.

Then later that year Patches helps paint a friend's roof.

In Spring 2008, she earned her first patch to cover a hole worn through her left knee. It was a proud blue badge for a job well done. And it earned her a well-deserved name.

Sporting her new maple leaf patches in 2018.

Since that first patch, many have been added. After blue came green. Then I found Canadian maple leaf pillow cases at the Economy Shop. The clerk knew they wouldn’t stay on the shelf long. Little did she know they weren’t destined for my bed, but a much grander purpose. In August 2018, Wayne and I (along with Patches) became Canadian citizens. Now she wears her maple leaves with even more pride.

Patches still going strong repotting blueberry bushes in 2019.

I don’t know how long Patches will have an active wear work life, but I continue to add to her collection. Hopefully our partnership will last for many years to come.

Patches today, becoming more patches than knit.

 Do you have any special clothes that have made the cut through successive closet purges? What story do they have to tell? -- Margy