Bruce Walker Travel Adventures

Urban Camping Tales

Bruce's Great Canadian Road Trip 2012

Hello Everyone:  Today I reluctantly left Whitehorse.  I just kept telling myself that it was better to leave a place wanting to come back than to be wishing I was somewhere else.  There is just something about the place that makes it a delight for the senses.  I had a very pleasant drive today. However, when I came to the place in the road where I could either continue on to Watson Lake or turn south into British Columbia, I decided to turn south.  It was a good decision because the road was very good.  The scenery was new to me as well. This road took me through the main area where British Columbia jade is mined. I stopped at a store there to look over their merchandise. It was very interesting to see the things that were done with jade.  What a lovely part of the world this is.  I am now in Smithers, British Columbia, where the town, in its wisdom, have banned overnight parking in the Walmart parking lot here. This is quite short-sighted, but good luck to them. I will just find a pleasant residential street to park on overnight.  It has been a long day, but worth the drive.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Well, what a glorious day today was!  Just when I didn't think it could get better, it did.  Today dawned as another bright, sunny, cloudless day.  It was like that when I woke up this morning after a good night’s sleep on a quiet residential street in Smithers. The sky has remained sunny all day.  So, since seeing Prince Rupert was on my bucket list, and since I didn't think I would get another opportunity as good as this one, I went to Prince Rupert today.  As far as the scenery is concerned, that word "spectacular" keeps coming up again and again.  The scenery today was equal to anywhere.  It was phenomenal to see the forestation of the Coastal Mountains.  Gardeners would just love to have a cedar hedge like the cedars here along the highway.
The temperature reached 30 or thereabouts today.  That created a lot of melt of the snow-pack on the mountains resulting in some quite lovely waterfalls along the mountain sides.  The rivers and waterways here are quite full.  There is very little humidity and so the atmosphere is very pleasant.
As I was starting out this morning, I played with the radio in the Rav4 and discovered I could receive Sirius satellite radio. It turns out they are allowing listeners a free promotion.  So, I found one of their stations that plays music from the 1950's.  I thought that would be nice because I could sing along and enjoy some of that era’s music.  They played a lot of Fats Domino today.  (I really don’t think they can play too much Fats Domino.)  So, there I was going along a road in British Columbia listening to music of the 1950's.  Then I realized that today I am wearing a white t-shirt and bluejeans.  I found it quite funny to think that I've come full circle. In fact, it is simply hilarious.  Anyway, I was able to sing along to the radio and had a really great time.
Yesterday I saw quite a few black bears on my trip down from Whitehorse.  I saw no bears today, but I was thrilled at one point to look to my left and see a Bald Eagle flying beside me along a river quite near to my vehicle.  I was still basking in the glow of seeing the Bald Eagle when I rounded a corner and there on the road a short distance ahead of me was a Golden Eagle.  I slowed to a stop and was able to get quite close to it before it could fly away.  I cannot describe the absolute splendor of this totally magnificent creation.  I am totally in awe and have been so all day.  This is the first one I have seen live and up close.  It was an incredible experience and I am so grateful to have this completely unexpected surprise.  Wow, wow, wow wow wow, what a treat for the senses.
I am back in Smithers this evening.  I intend to spend the night here and then motor on to Prince George or further tomorrow.  It gets dark here earlier than it does in Whitehorse, so that makes sleeping easier.  There is no Walmart overnight parking here, so I must look for a quiet residential street to park on overnight.  This trip is still a lot of fun.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Well, today was another glorious day in British Columbia.  It was not as intense as yesterday, which is probably a good thing.  I spent a very pleasant night on a residential street in Smithers.  It is very pleasant there.  The weather was cloudy when I woke up in Smithers, but it cleared as I drove east.  Today I had a great drive to Prince George, again listening to 50's music.  The music has been digitally remastered and I like it.  The digital version is slightly different at times, but I like it better.  The last time I heard many of these tunes was on an am radio.  Digital is better.  It can be like hearing them for the first time even though I can sing along to many of the tunes.  I like the separation of sounds that digital offers.  
Prince George is also larger than I remember.  The Walmart here is in a new Smart Mall and so everything is nearby and very convenient.  I arrived after 1pm and so had a rest and something to eat.  Then I went to their aquacentre for some time this afternoon. I had a great swim and a wonderful whirl in their whirlpool. This evening I just took it easy.  Tomorrow I am heading south.  I would like to revisit Barkerville, British Columbia, which is east of Quesnel, British Columbia.  As I recall, the town of Wells has two restaurants.  One of them has great meals and the other has great deserts.  So, when I was there last visiting my uncle and two cousins many years ago that is just what we did.  It was great fun.  I will see if the restaurants are still there.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce
They have these here, too.

Yesterday I had a very pleasant drive through the Cariboo ranching area of British Columbia after spending the night in Williams Lake.  The roads are much improved over what I remember them to be from the last time I was in this area over twenty years ago.  This usually makes the driving time much less that I have been estimating.  However, that is not a problem as I enjoy the improved roads.  
My visit to Barkerville went well. I found it interesting to compare Barkerville, British Columbia with Dawson, Yukon. I would say that while Dawson, Yukon was more preserved, Barkerville was more restored. Both were a product of the 1890’s gold rush. Barkerville has been made into a park where one can tour the town as it once was. No-one lives in Barkerville now. Dawson remains a town where one can tour the town as it exists today. Very little has been changed and people still live there. Many of the people who work at Barkerville live in Wells, British Columbia. Wells has been changed completely and both restaurants that I remembered from before no longer exist.
I also stopped for a little while in Cache Creek, BC where my aunt had a gift store.  The store is still there being operated as a gift store, but the town has been built up around the store location.  It was an interesting visit.  I have fond memories of many great visits to Cache Creek.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia
Barkerville, British Columbia-only photo I got of a moose.
Barkerville, British Columbia-Tour Guide
Barkerville, British Columbia
Cache Creek, British Coumbia

Hello Everyone:  I am safely visiting with my sister and her husband near Merritt, BC.  However, I finally have found a place where neither my telephone nor my internet turbo stick work.  I will write more later.
Cheers!!!! Bruce
Merritt, British Columbia. My sister, brother-in-law and nephew.

Hello Everyone:  It is great to be on line again.  Who knew that this part of the world could not be reached by the usual Bell system.  It is very pretty here near Merritt, British Columbia.  After getting here and looking around, I now know why sister and her husband chose this spot.  It is quite beautiful and very peaceful.  Today my sister took me on a tour of Merritt.  It is a pleasant, small town in the British Columbia interior and yet is only a few hour's drive from Vancouver.  My sister has also retired and so both of us could relax and enjoy each other's company.  An added bonus was that her son, and my nephew, decided to come up from the Lower Mainland for the weekend. My brother-in-law and I have also had the opportunity to share our thoughts.  It has all been a lot of fun getting reacquainted and I am enjoying myself immensely. Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce
DSC00286Merritt, British Columbia-near my sister and brother-in-law’s farm.
Merritt, British Columbia-my sister and brother-in-law’s farm.
Merritt, British Columbia-my sister and brother-in-law’s farm.
Merritt, British Columbia-my sister and brother-in-law’s farm.

Hello Everyone:  Today was another warm, sunny day, but a quiet day for me.  My sister's youngest son, came up to Merritt from the Lower Mainland yesterday evening.  It has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know him.  We all had a great visit today and that has been really, really nice.  Thank you all for a really great time.  Tomorrow I am off to Whistler through Pemberton.  I am expecting more great scenery and more great adventure.  The road through Pemberton was not paved when I left British Columbia.  In fact, I am finding the roads here have improved greatly.  I like the improved roads, but they are throwing off my estimates of how much time it takes to reach destinations. This is because it takes less time than I think it will because of the improved roads.  I will let you know how I make out.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  I am now at the Nanaimo Walmart.  After a wonderful visit with my sister and her family, I headed out on the road again.  I had a wonderful drive through Lytton, Lillooet, Pemberton, and Whistler to Horseshoe Bay.  Since I got there around 5 pm I decided to go directly to Vancouver Island.  I thought I could tour Vancouver when I leave Vancouver Island since my goal on this trip really is to get back to Vancouver Island.  There have been some wonderful side trips, though.  
What a great drive I had today.  The scenery through the Coast Mountains is outstanding.  The road is indeed paved all the way, but there are some interesting hills, corners, and one-lane bridges along the route.  Between Lytton, through Lillooet, to Pemberton was slow.  I found that the best way to drive along this part of the route is not expect to exceed 60kph most of the time.  That made the trip much better because I could look around and take in the scenery.  I did see more mountain sheep and two deer today.   This is a route I have put back into my bucket list so that I will take it again.  It is a drive well worth taking. The mountains were still snow-capped and very beautiful.  I was surprised at how many condominiums were built around Whistler.  There are now many, many more people there than there was the last time I was there.
 I am looking forward to touring Nanaimo tomorrow.  It should be fun.  Already I have noticed great changes here since I was here last.  I expect to find more changes tomorrow.  Take care. Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today I spent exploring Nanaimo.  I really don't recognize very much at all.  That is a good thing.  It appears to have grown into a pleasant city while I was gone. Yesterday, when I arrived, I was hungry and so stopped into a Whitespot Restaurant that was new to me.  Whitespot Restaurants are a west coast tradition.  I was shocked to see that there actually were gay people there.  In fact, I lucked into one Whitespot that is quite gay.  Also, I discovered that the Walmart here in Nanaimo is part of a new mall called Woodgrove Centre and is surrounded by the most convenient stores and services.  I don't have to go and hunt for anything.  Woodgrove Centre Mall is north of Nanaimo past Long Lake.  In my exploration travels, I did manage to find the cemetery in Cedar where my Grandfather and Grandmother (on my mother's side) are buried.  They were right where I expected them to be and I found that very reassuring.  I also drove past the farm where I grew up.  It, too, was unrecognizable.  I liked that too.  It is now a sod farm and so maybe one day while I am here I'll drop in if I get in the mood.  I like what was done in downtown Nanaimo.  It is now a very pleasant area with shops and restaurants in a very pedestrian area that includes a shop called Serious Coffee.  I found that they are very serious indeed and I had a very good cup of coffee there.  I also went to the Nanaimo cemetery looking for the graves of my Grandfather (on my father's side) and my aunt and uncle.  I could not find the markers and so I will find the office to go to and make inquiries.  I found it a bit strange, but that is what I found.  Anyway, the news is that Nanaimo is a changed town.  Somehow it has become very pleasant over the years.  I am not in the least bit tempted to move back here, so relax, but so far I am enjoying my visit.  I think that tomorrow I will try to look up some of the people I used to know here.  Also, I am reminded that it can rain here for weeks on end.  It rained last night and was cool and cloudy today.  No fears of a 30+ heatwave here.  The nice part about sleeping in the Rav4 is that it does not leak.  Also, I see a Volkswagen Van from Quebec here tonight that I have seen from time to time in other Walmarts.  Take care. Cheers!!!!! Bruce.
Nanaimo Harbour

Hello Everyone:  Today was another great day on Vancouver Island.  I explored more of Nanaimo today and then I decided to drive up to Campbell River to see how that area and the area along the way has changed.  I am able to recognize very little, although I am finding the odd spot that I remember.  Today while on my drive I recognized the store in Qualicum Beach that my uncle's brother and wife used to operate.  It is now a gas station and store and is nothing like it was when they were there.  That was interesting to me.
Then I was able to cross another item off my bucket list. Since I had never been to Forbidden Plateau near Courtenay, B. C., when I got to the highway up to Forbidden Plateau, I turned and off I went. I also visited the Mount Washington Alpine Ski Resort. The area is truly spectacular. For those interested in wilderness camping and hiking, Forbidden Plateau is a paradise. Also for those interested in Alpine Skiing, Mount Washington is also a paradise. I was very impressed with such a lovely area and so glad I took the time to look around there.
Then when i got back I went for a swim in Nanaimo's Aquatic Centre.  It is very nice and was not crowded.  I am quite pleasantly surprised at how nice things have become here.  It is certainly more pleasant than when I left.  The change is very welcome. 
This evening I had a very pleasant visit with my former next door neighbour and her husband, both of whom I went to school with.  I was able to catch up on the activities of some of the people I used to know.  It was a very nice reunion and we had a really nice chat.  I also found out that the folks here celebrate South Wellington days every May 1.  I am also surprised that some of the kids I went to school with are passing away.  I guess that is just the way life works.  Anyway, I was able to get contact information for several people I used to know.  I will try to get in touch with some of them in the next few days.  
Last night we had rain again, but this afternoon the skies cleared and I finally was able to see the top of Mount Benson.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.
DSC00296Campbell River, British Columbia
Campbell River, British Columbia
Forbidden Plateau, near Courtenay, B. C.
Forbidden Plateau, near Courtenay, B. C.
Forbidden Plateau, near Courtenay, B. C.
Forbidden Plateau, near Courtenay, B. C., Mount Washington Alpine Ski Resort.
Forbidden Plateau, near Courtenay, B. C., Mount Washington Alpine Ski Resort.
Forbidden Plateau, near Courtnay, B. C., Mount Washington Alpine Ski Resort.
Forbidden Plateau, near Courtnay, B. C., Mount Washington Alpine Ski Resort.

Hello Everyone:  Well today was another very interesting day.  It was sunny all day, which is something of a record here.  This morning I went to City Hall to enquire about the graves of my aunt and uncle and grandfather.  I was sent to a very helpful clerk who showed me a map of the cemetery and located the graves for me.  She was kind enough to give me a photocopy of the area where these graves are.  So, off I went and was able to locate the graves.  When I was leaving a noticed another marker with the name "Walker" on it and so I went over to investigate.  It turns out that this is the grave of another of my aunts whom I had forgotten was buried in the Nanaimo Cemetery.  That was a surprise to me, but I am pleased to have found her grave.  So that is about it for the cemeteries here.  I want to go to the cemetery where my aunt and uncle and parents are buried in Cloverdale.  
After the cemetery visit, I decided to go for a drive and went south this time.  I wound up in Chemainus.  When I left here in 1977, Chemainus was suffering from the closure of their lumber mill.  Well, the folks there have made Chemainus into one of the most idyllic towns imaginable.  It was quite, quite lovely there.  I was really taken with what they have accomplished there.  They were also having a craft fair there today and so I stopped in and walked around.  Among others, I found a booth selling giant oatmeal and chocolate cookies and since this covers at least two of the major food groups, I bought one.  I also found a booth nearby selling coffee and so I took both to an attractive small wooded park where I sat on a bench and ate the cookie and drank the coffee.  All of that was very pleasant, but in addition this, there was a small stage where a musician was playing some very soothing and ethereal music.  It doesn't get much better than that.  I enjoyed that a lot.
On the way back to Nanaimo from Chemainus I thought I would investigate the park that was created beyond our old farm on Thatcher Road.  When I was driving along Thatcher Road to go to the park I noticed one of our former neighbours cutting his grass and so I stopped in.  We had a great chat and got caught up on a lot that happened in each of out lives.  Both of us enjoyed it very much.  
The walk through the park to the Nanaimo River was also very interesting.  I learned that the Nanaimo River has changed its course and the flooding over Thatcher Road that we had to deal with when we lived there no longer occurs.  That, too, is a good thing, although it meant a few days away from school when I was growing up there.
Then I went back to Nanaimo and attempted to look up another old school buddy.  I had no home address for him, but was able to find his place of business.  I had just missed him, but talked to his new wife and so, since they will be out of town until next week, we made arrangements to get together when they get back.
This evening I called another old buddy and we made arrangements to have dinner tomorrow night.  He is in the midst of divorcing his second wife.  It is hard for me to keep up. 
Today has been very busy, but productive.  I am having more fun than I could have imagined.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce
Nanaimo Cemetery
Chemainus, British Columbia

Hello Everyone:  Today was another very interesting day.  This morning I decided to go north to see what has been done with Coombes.  The short answer is: not much.  There are a few touristy spots there and that is about it.  However, I carried on and came to one of the most pleasant coffee houses that could be imagined  So, I stopped there for coffee.  Then I went on the Englishman River Falls.  My father wanted to stop there often because it was a favourite of his.  I always thought it was the name that attracted him, but in retrospect it is definitely the scenery.  So I went along the trails from the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls.  It is a very pretty part of the world and is highly recommended by me.  Then I carried on to Cathedral Grove, which is closer to Port Alberni.  The trees are a bit fewer than they were because of the windstorm they had a few years ago.  Nevertheless, the trees were still very impressive.  So I walked around there as well.  It is so lovely and interesting.  I had my lunch in Little Qualicum Falls on the way back.  When I did get back to Nanaimo I went to the acquatic centre for another swim.  I am really enjoying getting back to doing some swimming again.  Then I met my friend for dinner.  Since we had 35 years to catch up on it took quite a while.  Now with all the physical exertion today, I can’t keep my eyes open so I think I will turn in early tonight. Tomorrow, since everyone is busy on the weekend, I think I will go to Victoria and see what it looks like now.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.
Englishman River Falls
Englishman River Falls
Englishman River Falls
Englishman River Falls
Englishman River Falls
Englishman River Falls
Englishman River Falls
Cathedral Grove
Cathedral Grove
Cathedral Grove
Cathedral Grove
Cathedral Grove
Cathedral Grove

Hello Everyone:  This bucket list of mine is turning out to be the adventure of a life time.  It is also a lot of fun.  Today I went down to Langford, which is near Victoria, and turned onto the road going through Sooke and River Jordan to Port Renfrew.  What an interesting trip that was.  The West Coast rain forest was beautiful as usual.  The large trees made a canopy over the road in many places.  There was lots of wildlife along the way.  I saw a hawk and a deer, in particular.  The road was also very interesting.  Some of it was traditional B.C. with one lane bridges and one lane roads, including switch-backs, complete with bump-outs so that opposing traffic could pass.  The best part was that when I got to Port Renfrew, I found a great little cafe that offered organic Cowichan bison burgers.  So, I had one with sweet potato fries.  It was delicious, but it is easier to get to The Jersey Giant in Toronto than it is to get anywhere in Port Renfrew.  The road made a loop back to Duncan so I retraced my tire tracks to Victoria and tried to get my bearings there.  I also did some more exploring along the way.  Things here on Vancouver Island are so different that I find I must relearn where everything is and forget about what was there before.  I was able to find the old Hudson's Bay store in Victoria.  Mom loved to shop there and so we went down often under the excuse of visiting grandmother.  One of its features was that it was once the only building on Vancouver Island with an escalator.  I am back in Nanaimo for the night, but I intend to return to Victoria again.  What a good time I am having. Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce 

Hello Everyone:  Another simply splendid day here on Vancouver Island.  It was gloriously sunny all day and the temperature stayed at a modest 20 degrees.  Today was so nice that I went to my secret favourite place.  It is secret because I have not told anyone.  The place is Sidney on the Saanich Peninsula.  It is just nice there and so I relaxed at a picnic table in a park in downtown Sidney by the harbour. What a lovely way it was to spend a day. If any of you get the chance I would suggest that you check out Sidney as well.  Perhaps you will like it as much as I do.   I also drove through some beautiful winding roads on the Saanich Peninsula.  I found some very fancy gated houses and some very fancy non-gated houses, along with some very nice scenery.  It was simply a splendid day.
Tonight I am in Duncan.  Tomorrow there is a weekly market at the Cedar Community Hall.  I would like to go and see if anyone I know is there.  I am in serious jeopardy of becoming seriously addicted to this way of life.  Oh, wait.  I think it may already be too late!  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.

Hello Everybody:  Today was another great day on Vancouver Island.  We are having a delicious run of sunny weather that is forecast to continue through this coming week.  I am certainly enjoying it.  When it is sunny here everyone goes outdoors.  Consequently the parks and roads are very busy.   I changed my mind and decided to return to Victoria today.  I still have a lot I want to see here.  I can't seem to get past the shoreline looking across the Strait of Juan De Fuca to the Olympic Mountains of Washington State.  I watched a freighter make its way along the Strait from along the shore in Beacon Hill Park.  There are other ships out there.  The view is tremendous.  I also visited downtown Victoria.  What a nice place it is.  There are a lot of funky shops and shops trying to be funky.  Anyway the atmosphere is great.  I really enjoyed it.  It deserves some more time. 
Tomorrow I intend to visit a friend in Nanaimo that I went to school with.  We haven't seen each other since before I left for the East in 1977.  Most of my friends here have told me they have seen me on television when I did interviews for same-sex marriage.  It is interesting to hear their reactions.  All of them have been positive so far, but I was not expecting anything else.  I also want to take one of the whale-watching tours out of Tofino or Uculet on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  I hope to do that this week.  It is something I am really looking forward to.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.

Hello Everyone:  I don't know what happened last night, but my connection to the internet faded and disappeared.  It got cloudy and I suspect the satellite connection was lost.  I am now in McDonald's in Campbell River and so this connection will work.  Anyway, yesterday was another great day on the Western Edge of Canada.  I finally found the Walmart in Langford, near Victoria.  Some of them appear to be very well hidden.  So I stayed there and left for Nanaimo yesterday morning.  Then, when I got to Nanaimo, I called my friend who insisted I come right over.  So I did.  We had a great chat and then went for lunch.  It was really, really good to see him again.  What a treat!  Among a great many other things, he told me how nice it was on the Northern end of Vancouver Island, so I decided to check it out.  It is 250K to Port Hardy, so we will see.  This area was so remote when I lived here that I have never been beyond Campbell River.  It is so pretty here and so now, with McDonald's and Walmart, it is quite livable.  So, now I am off for Port Hardy.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.
Near Port Hardy, Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Port Hardy, British Columbia

Hello Everyone:  Well Port Hardy and Port Alice did not disappoint me.  In fact, I found Port Alice to be particularly lovely and not just because Alice is my mother's name.  Port Alice is on a long tranquil inlet from the Pacific Ocean.  In fact, I thought Port Alice tended to invite tranquility, if only for today.  There is a lot of sports fishing activity there and the scenery is, well, extremely spectacular.  There are certainly a lot of trees on Northern Vancouver Island.  The roads were thickly tree-lined.  I found it fun to wind along them.  Sometimes the road would be a bridge crossing a picturesque river and sometimes the road would go through thickly wooded areas.  The morning was cloudy, but the clouds cleared in the early afternoon and so the rest of the day has been bright sunshine again.  I certainly have been lucky with the weather so far. 
One thing I have noticed is the number of deer along the roads especially on Southern Vancouver Island.  There are many more than there used to be.  I imagine the increase in the number of deer is due to the forests being cut down to provide space for houses and businesses.  The deer are certainly a night hazard and they can be a daytime hazard also.  One really has to keep watching for them.
I am now in Port Alberni.  The Walmart here was easy to find.  It is just off the highway on the way into town.  So, I am getting ready to jump in the back and nod off to sleep.  The nights are getting darker sooner now.  My road trip is coming to an end and I will have to start back to Nova Scotia via Vancouver, Chilliwack, Merritt, Didsbury, Toronto, and St Jacobs.  However, I am intending to go to Tofino and Uculet tomorrow and check those places out.  Also, I still have some people I want to look up.  And, the internet appears to be back on again.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce
Port Alice, British Columbia

Hello Everyone:  What a glorious day today was.  I am thrilled to bits again.  This morning when I awoke in Port Alberni the skies were overcast, but it was calm. So, I thought to myself this could be a good day to take a whale-watching cruise from Tofino.  The weather stayed overcast and calm all day.  With that in mind, off I went to Tofino.  The road to Tofino was again interesting. However, when the sign said slow, it meant
slow.  When I got there, I thought the whale-watching tour I would like best would be the one offered by Westcoast Aquatic Safaris.  This is because I did some research beforehand.  Well, was I ever right.  I can't say enough in praise about these people.  They were wonderful.  I arrived at Tofino and found their ticket office around 11:30 this morning.  I inquired about the tour and was told there were three places left in their 1:30 tour.  So I purchased a ticket and then went to look for lunch.  Tofino, it turns out, is in a '60's time warp.  They even have rebuilt Volkswagen vans from the 1960’s era about the town.  I found a funky little place which offered, among other things, Liz's Famous Chili.  I had it for lunch along with some very good coffee, both of which were delicious.  That really put me in a good mood for whale watching although it didn't take much encouragement.  Then it was back to the ticket office to wait for the tour to start.  The thing I found most appealing about the tour was inside seating with heating in the boat because it can get cold out there.  We were also supplied with thick waterproof jackets.  So the time to go arrived and off we went.  Well, we had to go about 10 miles out to find the Humpback Whales.  I found that the trip out on the open ocean, even though it was close to shore, to be such a tremendous thrill.  It is a good thing the water was calm because I could feel the power of the ocean beneath our little boat and that just blew me away as the saying goes.  This is the first time I had been out on the open Pacific Ocean where the next stop was Japan.  Oh my was it ever thrilling.  Add to this the whales for good measure.  Once we got out to where the whales were, they were all around us.  And they were doing the things I had seen on television such as feeding.  They circle deep underwater and chase the fish up towards the surface where the whales then catch the fish, probably sardines, with their huge gaping mouths.  To see several whales break the surface of the ocean with their mouths open to scoop up the fish is indescribably thrilling.  After doing this, the whales involved appear to stay on the surface to catch their breaths before diving again.  Then one whale leapt nearly out of the water near our boat.  Also there were many whales swimming along breaking the surface to breathe and sending plumes of water into the air.  Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, what a thrill.  It was just awesome.  Then on the way back we stopped by an islet to see some Steller Sea Lions and a Grey Whale.  Also, there were many kelp beds.  One of the kelp beds even had a Sea Otter swimming in it and so now I can say I have actually seen one.  This afternoon was such a good day for seeing all these animals that the crew was just as excited as we were.  The result was that they stayed out longer than the usual promised three hours.  In fact, when the whale breached near the boat the captain was so elated that he shouted over the public address system.  The crew kept saying that usually they do not see so many animals doing so many things on the tours.  Apparently, usually all that is seen of the whales are their backs when they break the surface to breathe.   I am just thrilled to bits.  I am also tuckered out.  I am back in Port Alberni and am ready to hit the hay.  Oh boy, what a wonderful day this has been.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! BruceDSC00323
Tofino, British Columbia
Westcoast Aquatic Safaris tour boat, Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia from the tour boat
Near Tofino, British Columbia, from the tour boat
Kelp near Tofino, British Columbia
Black Whale near Tofino, British Columbia
Black Whale feeding near Tofino, British Columbia
Steller Sea Lions near Tofino, British Columbia
Sea Otter, yes it is there, near Tofino, British Columbia
Gray Whale near Tofino, British Columbia

Hello Everyone:  Today I awoke to more lovely sunshine in Port Alberni.  I decided that there had been enough excitement in my life yesterday to last me for the rest of the week, so I made my way to Nanaimo and spent the day at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.  What a great facility that turned out to be.  So, now I am relaxed.  I continued on to Victoria where I intend to do some more exploring.  I don't think I will have any trouble going to sleep tonight.  It has been just a restful, peaceful day.  I think the sunshine will last which will make exploring Victoria quite pleasant.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.

Good morning Everyone:  Last night was a late night for me.  I was invited for dinner by a school chum and his wife.  We had a great time chatting and catching up on each other's lives.  But, it was very late when we stopped chatting and I left for Walmart Nanaimo.  What a nice time it was.  
Yesterday I had a very pleasant drive to Nanaimo from Victoria.  When I got to Nanaimo I thought it would be a good day to explore Nanaimo's waterfront.  It is a wonderful facility and a great place to spend some time just wandering along.  It is very people-friendly, which is a surprise for Nanaimo.  They have really changed their ways here.  It is a great improvement.  So, I spent most of the afternoon there just enjoying the atmosphere.  The harbour is very busy with pleasure boats coming and going.  Seaplanes also take off and land there. There is also a great little place there that sells ice cream.  It was very pleasant.  Then it was time to meet my school chum for dinner.  It was another very pleasant day on Vancouver Island.  This is a long weekend in British Columbia.  Today I am just going to wander around Nanaimo and see what I can find.  Take care.  Cheers!!!! Bruce
Commercial Street, Nanaimo, B. C.
DSC00353Nanaimo, British Columbia harbour. Historic plaque
Nanaimo, British Columbia harbour, statue of Frank Ney. He started the Bathtub Races when he was mayor which is why he is wearing his pirate costume

Hello Everyone:  Today was another bright, warm sunny day on Vancouver Island.  I had a leisurely morning and took in some of the sights in downtown Nanaimo.  Then I thought it was too nice a day to stay in the city and so I left for the country.  I drove through Cedar and then thought I would like to explore the area north of Duncan.  So that I what I did.  I went up to Youbou.  On the way I discovered a lovely park along the Cowichan River.  There was a great canyon and examples of West Coast Rain Forest.  There were also a lot of people preparing to go swimming in the Cowichan River today.  I did not, but it did put the idea into my head.  So, when I got back to Duncan this afternoon, I went to their aquatic centre and spent a very relaxing two hours there.  Then, because it is so near and I like walking around downtown Victoria so much, I was off to Victoria for the evening.  I have discovered that after 6 pm there are no parking fees on the streets.  I like that and the evenings are so pleasant there.  Tonight there were vendors and buskers.  It was like a very pleasant street fair.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.

Hello Everyone:  Today has been another great day here on Vancouver Island.  This morning I awoke in Langford and made my way north to Nanaimo.  There were some Farmer's Markets open today along the way and I stopped in to several.  Then I saw an old convertible that put me in mind of another friend whom I grew up with.  His parents had a dairy farm and so did mine.   We used to have some great times back then.  We both liked to party and so that is what we did. Each of us had a lot of good luck back then and both of us survived those times without permanent injury.  Anyway, he stayed in the farming sector.  He got a good job with a dairy farmer in Cobble Hill and stayed there until he retired.  I learned today that he got tired of being retired so returned to that particular farm and now works there part time.  He also showed me the dairy farm operation.  It is quite the place and very modern which I found fascinating.  Caring for the dairy cattle has been made quite automated by using sophisticated computer technology.  The cows are kept track of by computers and are assigned a separate number.  The cows have collars that display their number and also contain a computer chip so the data is entered automatically.  These computer chips are read by the computer system at various points and are used, in one part of their function, to open particular gates in a large barn that they live in depending on where each cow is in terms of both her daily milking schedule and her life cycle.  The milking process itself is fully automated using this computer technology combined with laser technology.  The milking process goes on continuously around the clock.  The computer system keeps track of the cows that have been milked, including the volume of milk produced,  as well as those cows that are ready to be milked.  The computer system also keeps track of the feeding of each cow.  To me it was quite amazing.  Farming certainly wasn't like that when I farmed.  I don't think I would have stayed dairy farming even if it was, but this was certainly something amazing to see.  I had no idea dairy farming had changed so much.  I also learned that there are very few dairy farms left on Vancouver Island.  I guess this is because the computerized system is so efficient and costs are so high.  The 4H Dairy Club that was so strong when I was growing up was discontinued many years ago because of the disappearance of dairy farms.  So we spent a very pleasant afternoon and evening together chatting about a great many things.  It was a very nice day.  I didn't think about what I would like to do tomorrow and so we will have to see how tomorrow turns out.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce  

Hello Everyone:  Yesterday was such an eventful day for me that I thought I needed a restful day today.  I am getting ready to start making my way back east.  I think I will leave Vancouver Island for Vancouver on Thursday. I still have a number of things I want to do in British Columbia before I go.  There are a few more people I would like to see before I leave.  I spent this afternoon in the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre.  It is a wonderful facility and I enjoy it there.  I even got a few laps in in the pool. I am still intrigued over the dairy cow milking setup I saw yesterday.  I am not intrigued enough to want to start farming again, but it was really interesting to see the advances made in that industry.  Other than that there was not a lot going on here today.  It was a holiday here in British Columbia and so the roads would have been busy this afternoon.   I thought going to the aquatic centre would be a great way to avoid it all.  The weather has been good all weekend and so there were many people out enjoying the parks and campgrounds.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today was another quite interesting day.  I stopped at the B.C. Forest Discovery Centre in Duncan.  It used to be called the B.C. Forest Museum, but the name has changed.  The museum was very entertaining for me.  They have 100 acres of land and a lot of old equipment.  Much of the land is treed.  A narrow-gauge railway meanders through the museum land among the trees and various exhibits of logging equipment.  An old steam engine pulling three open cars with seating provides an opportunity for a rail tour.  People are encouraged to walk through the grounds and explore the exhibits on their own.  It was a very pleasant experience, it was one relic viewing other relics.  I thank my lucky stars that I farmed and did not go to work in the woods.  Many of my friends did work in the forestry industry and so I have seen many of the types of the equipment on display actually working.  Just like farming, work in the forestry industry was just hard physical labour.  Both were extremely dangerous.  Because I know just how hard the work is, I came away feeling very tired even though I enjoyed the exhibits.  So, I continued to Nanaimo and spent the rest of the day at the Aquatic Centre.  That brought relief and so I cheered up and had a very nice time.  I am actually starting to swim again.  I will never qualify for the Olympics, but I manage to get from one end of the pool to the other, albeit without much grace.  Then I walked around the mall this evening and am now ready for bed.  The sky has clouded over and so we might get some rain.  That would be a welcome change here because the ground is quite dry.  The grass is dying and the fire index is rising.  Hopefully some rain will ease that situation.  On that cheerful note, I am packing it in.  Good night all.   Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.
Duncan, B. C., B.C. Forest Discovery CentreDSC00358
Duncan, B. C., B.C. Forest Discovery Centre-Chain saw exhibit
Duncan, B. C., B.C. Forest Discovery Centre
Duncan, B. C., B.C. Forest Discovery Centre
Duncan, B. C., B.C. Forest Discovery Centre
Duncan, B. C., B.C. Forest Discovery Centre

Hello Everyone:  There was no rain after all last night despite the dark, foreboding clouds.  The clouds disappeared overnight and the skies cleared.  Today is bright, sunny and pleasantly warm.  I am enjoying myself so much on Vancouver Island that I have decided to stay until next week.  I am in Victoria again after stopping in Sidney again to think over what my schedule might be.  So, I think I will be able to get in a tour of Buchart Gardens tomorrow.  I had a very pleasant lunch with a very good friend.  We promised each other not to let a further forty years go by without contacting each other.  It is these kinds of things that is making it so very pleasant here for me.  I left Nanaimo for Sidney shortly after lunch and spent a very pleasant afternoon in here.  It is still a favourite place for me.  The clouds have all gone away and so the weekend weather should be good.  I am looking forward to the rest of my time here.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today was another nice day on Vancouver Island.  Again I had a great time today.  A friend of mine who once lived in Sidney told me about a place he used to like there called Lunn's Pastries and Deli.  So I went there for lunch.  The food was very good, and yes, Mr. Lunn, Jr. is still running the place.  I had a very nice chicken salad sandwich and some very nice clam chowder along with two very nice oatmeal raisin cookies.  It was delicious and so the memory was accurate.  However, as hazy as his memory sounded, I believe he knew where he was sending me.  The decor was pink and the restaurant was full of little old ladies who lunch, and so, of course, I fit right in.  It was a real treat.  Thank you for the suggestion.  It was a good one.
Then, after lunch, I started for Butchart Gardens, but I did not get there.  Just after leaving Sidney I saw a sign saying British Columbia Aviation Museum and thought it might be interesting to stop in there for an hour or so.  Well, I did stop in.  It was exceptionally interesting and I found that I had spent most of the afternoon there.  So Butchart Gardens will have to wait until next time.  There is not much I can say about a collection of old aeroplanes except that it was interesting.  Volunteers offer guided tours and so I joined one of the tours and had a great time.  The guide took us through examples of early aircraft up to modern ones.  The aeroplanes are restored by volunteers.  The quality of the museum speaks to the dedication of the volunteers.  It was just another great experience.
So, I am back in Nanaimo this evening and intend to wander around tomorrow and see what I can find.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce 
Sidney, B.C., British Columbia Aviation Museum
Sidney, B.C., British Columbia Aviation Museum

Hello Everyone:  This morning was so lovely that I thought today would be the day for Butchart Gardens.  So, off to Brentwood I went.  I had another great drive and arrived at Butchart Gardens around 1:00 pm.   What a wonderful day I spent among such wonderful flowers.  I spent the afternoon there taking pictures.  The connection for downloading from my camera to the computer is still in Wolfville.  I will forward pictures when I get back.  I have little idea of the names of the flowers, just that they were very colourful.  I enjoyed looking at them and that was enough for me.  I was given a catalogue with pictures of the various flowers and a map of the grounds and off I went.  I studied the map and did not look at the catalogue.  The Gardens is much more spectacular than I remember from the last time I was there.  They also offer a small boat ride, which I took.  We had a nice tour around Brentwood Bay and Butchart Inlet.  Butchart Inlet is very sheltered and so is a favourite with boaters.  There were some pretty nice boats there.  It was very interesting and I had a great time.  This evening was back to Victoria to wander their sea-wall again.  This whole thing is becoming extremely habit-forming and I just love it.  Tomorrow I intend to be back in Nanaimo. Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce 

Hello Everyone:  Yesterday I overdid it at Butchart Gardens.  Today I just had little energy.  So I made my way from Victoria to Nanaimo where I rested most of the afternoon.  On my way to Nanaimo, I stopped at the Cedar Farmer's Market.  It is held on the grounds of the Crow and Gate Pub on Yellow Point Road.  I had a great time there at the market and bought some food for lunch.  I found a nice shady spot under a tree to eat the lunch.  It was quite delightful.  Then on to Woodgrove Centre where I found another shade-tree and rested the remainder of the afternoon.  There was a pleasant little breeze this afternoon.  I  put the windows of the car down and enjoyed the atmosphere.  I feel good now.  I think I can make it until bed-time.  Because this is a very nice Sunday, the roads here are quite busy and so that is another reason I am happy to have taken it easy today. Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce 

Hello Everyone:  Today turned out to be an amazing day.  I spent most of it visiting an old friend and his wife in Cedar.  Wow, it was so good just hanging out with them.  Our respective families share a lot of history and so this visit was very special for me.  I am now back in Nanaimo at the Woodgrove Mall Walmart.  All I can say it that this trip has been very good for me.  I am so glad that I decided to do this.  What a special treat today was.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today was hot on Vancouver Island.  The temperature was over 30 degrees.  Summer has really arrived.  So, I did not do much today.  I drove to Duncan where I spent much of the afternoon in the pool there.  Then I journeyed on to Victoria.  Tomorrow morning I intend to leave Vancouver Island to spend some time on mainland British Columbia.  I am going from Swartz Bay because I want to go through Active Pass again.  It is always interesting and I will be able to see some of the Gulf Islands.  When I get to Vancouver tomorrow, I intend to check out rooftop cargo boxes because I think they are more secure than the system I now use. I now just hide my personal items under blankets in the Rav4 during the day and move my things to the front passenger seat at night so I can sleep in the back.
Downtown Victoria is always entertaining in the evening.  The best part about hot days here is that the temperature cools in the evening making them very pleasant. 
I find that now my time on Vancouver Island has come to an end, I have mixed feelings.  I looking forward to starting my return trip, although I am still having a really good time here.  So good a time that I am more than likely to do this again next year.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!!  Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Well, today was another interesting day.  I finally did get off Vancouver Island.  I drove to the ferry terminal and arrived at about 9:40.  When I purchased my ticket, the clerk told me that I was the last car to get on the 10:00 am sailing.  Needless to say, I was very pleased as I was prepared just to wait until I could get on a ferry to Vancouver.  The ferry trip was excellent.  I found that they serve Starbuck's coffee at their coffee stand.   So I got a nice cup of coffee and then found a comfortable seat and watched the scenery as it passed by the boat.  I also watched some scenery sunning himself on the deck by my window.  All-in-all, not a bad trip.
Then, when I got to Tsawwassen, I took the Vancouver-Blaine Highway into Vancouver.  Along the way I noticed a Tourist Information facility, so I stopped in.  A very pleasant young man asked if he could help me and I told him he could.  I said that I was trying to get to a business called “Rack Attack” in Vancouver.  He found their website on their computer and printed off a map complete with directions for me.  He also went over the directions with me on a large map he had there.  With all that information, Rack Attack was easy to find.  When I got to Rack Attack another very pleasant young man asked me if he could help me.  So, of course, I said that he could.  So after a bit of discussion, he recommended a cargo box that would work well on the roof of my Rav4.  So, I now have a cargo box on the roof that has 16 cubic feet of cargo space.  I did not notice any change in the performance of the car, so I am very pleased.  I have been able to put all of my suitcases and bags into the cargo box and so they are no longer a problem that I have to move to the front of the car when I want to sleep in the back.  I also feel more secure about leaving the car parked while I explore.  There has not been a problem so far, but I do not want to experience one.  Tomorrow I want to organize my stuff.  I also want to visit my parent's graves.  Then I am off to Merritt to visit my sister and her family again.  That I am looking forward to.  
So that is my news for today.  I am in the Walmart parking lot in Langley.  It was easier for me to find rather than having to deal with Vancouver traffic.  They have a lot more traffic than I remember, but that is to be expected.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce 
New Port Mann Bridge, Coquitlam, British Columbia
New Port Mann Bridge, Coquitlam, British Columbia

Hello Everyone:  Today I went and visited my parent's graves in Surrey, BC.  I had a bit of a hunt to find the cemetery.  I also had a bit of a hunt to find my parent's grave.  My uncle Frederick Walker and Elsie are buried in the same cemetery, so I visited them as well.  I am finding that the roads have changed in the lower mainland too.  It is not just on Vancouver Island.  Consequently it takes me longer to get around.  There is also a lot of traffic.  Every time somebody suggested improving traffic flow, the anti-chorus kicked in to prevent the improvement.  I imagine this is still the same. The result is very heavy traffic and it takes a long time to get around. This afternoon I went to Merritt to visit with my sister and her husband again.  I am looking forward to the weekend and spending time here.  Now I am falling asleep writing this message because we talked most of the evening.  So, I am going to bed before I wind up sleeping in this chair.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce
Valley View Memorial Gardens, Surrey, British Columbia
Valley View Memorial Gardens, Surrey, British Columbia

Hello Everyone:  Today I had a wonderful time with my sister while her husband was away at work.  She took me on a mini road trip in this area.  We went up north past Mamit Lake to a very pretty provincial park called Tunkwa Lake.  It is really very beautiful there and the park has a lovely, picturesque campground along the shore of the lake. People were swimming, boating and fishing on the lake.  From there we went back to Logan Lake.  The town has a huge diesel-electric shovel and an enormous ore-carrier truck that were used in open-pit mining here on display in a park.  The equipment is obsolete now and the mines use modern and even larger equipment, but this equipment made an interesting exhibit.  This equipment was very large and towered far above us.  The road from Logan Lake went through more very pretty country to Kamloops.  Kamloops was important to us because, among other things, they have several Starbucks Coffee locations there and we were in dire need of coffee following our explorations.  After we had our coffee we returned to Merritt via Route 5A.  This is the old road and it goes through some more very pretty country.  Actually this country is just a spectacular as any other.  The new road is the Coquihalla Highway, which is a four-lane freeway where the speed limit is 110 kph.  It is great for travelling through, but too fast for comfortable sight-seeing.  
There are a surprising number of lakes in this area.  The number is surprising because this is a very dry area.  Usually bunch grass and sage brush are the norm.  Farms in the valleys are usually very productive because they are irrigated.  It is ranching country and so hay is commonly grown in the valleys to feed livestock.  We really had a good time today, so thank you Mary, it was a blast.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.

Hello Everyone:  Today I left Merritt for Vancouver after a wonderful stay with my sister and her husband.  Thank you, again.  I really enjoyed my experience there.  My visit gave me a new perspective on many things and I am grateful for that.
I am now in the Walmart parking lot in Langley following a very pleasant drive back through the Coast Mountain range.  Walmart has a comfortable parking lot here in Langley.  I am parked by a nice line of trees.  I am not sure the Walmart in Vancouver has such a parking lot.  Some of them don't.  The Walmart right in Victoria, for example, is in a shopping mall complex that has a parking garage.  I do not think a parking garage would be as comfortable as the open air parking lots and so I did not try to stay there.  So, when I stayed in Victoria I was actually in the parking lot in Langford.  That was a great spot with trees.  It was also very quiet.  I suspect the store in Vancouver is similar.  I looked for it when I was here a few days ago and did not find it.  I like being in Langley, so that works out fine for me.
On my way down to Langley I met a friend in Chilliwack for lunch.  We had a great visit and caught up on some of the fifteen years since we had seen each other.  It was a great visit, and so thank you.  I really enjoyed our chat.  We have agreed to meet in Vancouver on Thursday to go to the Pacific National Exhibition together.  That should be a hoot since we always seem to find things to amuse each other.  It has been many, many years since I have been to the PNE.  Our 4H dairy club used to show cattle there, but there are no dairy farms left in the area I grew up in, so the 4H dairy club is no more.  It was a great experience as I was growing up.  Oh well, times change and that is a good thing usually.  Tomorrow I intend to get in touch with a cousin and see if we can meet for coffee and a chat.  Otherwise, I think I will take advantage of the park and ride service offered by the lrt system here.  Downtown Vancouver is likely as changed as Toronto.  We will see.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today was another really great day.  I had a wonderful meeting with another of my cousins.  She lives in North Vancouver, so I had an opportunity to see that lovely part of the world before I met with my cousin.  I also met with my cousin's daughter and granddaughter.  It was just a wonderful, wonderful visit.  We had not seen each other for a very long time.  It was great to catch up and we have promised to do it again when I am here next summer.   After that, I went to the West End in Vancouver.  I saw the building where we used to live in Vancouver.  So far that building has not changed, but everything around it sure has.  It is a different place that we left in 1990.  I also saw the building where a friend used to live on Nelson Street when Lloyd and I lived here.  That part of Nelson Street has not changed much, but Denman Street certainly has.  So, I spent most of the afternoon just walking around in Vancouver seeing the sights.  There are many changes and a lot of traffic.  I am back at the Walmart in Langley because it is so easy to park here.  Also, all of the things I need are to be found nearby.  Langley has actually turned out to be a very convenient place.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today was another wonderful day in Vancouver.  The weather was warm and sunny, so I decided to take a day off my tour and go to the beach.  I am not much of a beach person and so have not exposed my body to the elements recently.  That means I have to be very careful about how much sun I get.  Fortunately, I found a warm, shaded spot out of the wind with plenty of sand and watched the ships come and go from Vancouver Harbour.  It was very interesting.  As well as the freighters there were a lot of tugboats pulling barges and many, many pleasure boats and the B. C. Ferries.  There were also a number of aircraft.  It was a very interesting day.  Everyone was busy but me.  That is about all I accomplished today.  I am now back in Langley waiting for nightfall.  Speaking of which, nightfall is coming sooner each day.  Summer is coming to an end once more.  Tomorrow a friend and I are going to the PNE and then on Friday I am meeting two friends from Waterloo at noon, and possibly another friend who moved here from Toronto some time ago later in the afternoon.  I'll see how that all works out.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Well, I overdid it at the beach and so yesterday I just took it easy all day.  I tried to stay out of the sun as much as I could, but it appears I got too much sun anyway.   I did not go to the PNE with my friend because he was feeling a little under the weather.  We have agreed to try it again next week when he is back on his feet.  The PNE is not the place to be traipsing around when one is not feeling well.  I would be hot, noisy and crowded. 
Today I was in Vancouver to meet my friends from Waterloo.  We had a wonderful time together.  They told me about their trip to Alaska, which they enjoyed very much.  I told them about the fun I am having on this trip.  We had a terrific lunch in a Greek restaurant on Davie Street.  The food was outstanding.  So was the company.  Thank you both very, very much.  It was such a pleasure to see you both again.  After lunch we went shopping in the Pacific Centre Mall and had a great time.  After we parted in mid-afternoon, I thought over what I might do for the weekend and decided that since the forecast looks so good, I would have more fun in Victoria.  I like the atmosphere better over here than in Vancouver.  So, tonight I am in Victoria again looking forward to a great weekend's exploration.  We will see what happens.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce 

Hello Everyone:  Sidney, B.C., it turns out is a very inspiring place.  Today was just such a super, super day.  It was bright, sunny, and warm with a gentle, cool breeze coming in off the ocean.  I cannot imagine a nicer day in a nicer place.  The weather was not too hot and not too cold.  It was just right.  So, I decided to spend the day walking around Sidney again.  Actually, there is a fishing pier built out into the harbour where I spent quite a bit of time watching people fish and enjoying the activity around me.  Some people were enjoying their pleasure boats.  Others were just strolling along as I was just enjoying the atmosphere here.  Still others were enjoying the small restaurants and coffee shops.  From the pier I could see into the Straight of Juan de Fuca past the small islands that provide Sidney with shelter from storms and was able to watch freighters passing.  I thought they might be headed for Vancouver.  Then there is always Mount Baker in the background.  It is so extremely pleasant here today that one could very easily simply forget to leave.  That is what makes it so inspiring.  I am going to resist and leave, but I can see how easily it can be done.  Sidney is very seductive.  Today was as nice a day as one can imagine.  I am so happy that I am on this trip.  What an exhilarating experience.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Yesterday, while I was enjoying my time in Sidney, I wondered if we would get two such lovely sunny days in a row.  Well, today I found out and the answer is no.  Today was cloudy, although the temperature remained warm.  Tonight it is trying to rain.  I suspect it will be raining by tomorrow morning.  The cloudy weather did not stop me from having a great day, however.  In fact, I enjoyed the clouds.  I decided to return to Nanaimo and spend some time in the aquatic centre.  So, I had a great day at the pool.  Other than that and the drive up here to Nanaimo from Victoria, I have not done much today.  My coming back to Vancouver Island was a good choice for me, however.  I am in a much better frame of mind.  Vancouver was just too rushed after spending so much time out of that kind of environment even though I did have a good time there too.  Tomorrow I am returning to Vancouver.  I intend to spend tomorrow night in Langley.  Then on Tuesday I intend to go to the PNE.  After that it is off to Alberta.  I am still loving this vagabond style of life, but the time has come to start eastward.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  The rain here in Nanaimo did not last through the night.  We did have some light rain, but not enough.  It is awfully dry here.  I suppose the rain we did get at least reduced the forest fire risk somewhat.  Last night the clouds went away and today was another bright, sunny West Coast day.  I left Nanaimo this morning for Horseshoe Bay and Langley.  It was a very pleasant trip on one of the newer ferries.  I am in Langley tonight.  Today I enjoyed the Willowbrooke Shopping Centre.  I also started to prepare for my trip back east.  Tomorrow a friend and I are going to do the PNE.  I am really looking forward to it.  I know  the PNE will not be like I remember it.  My friend can check out the midway rides and the giant roller coaster.  I will probably be in the Food Building.   
Then, I am looking forward to starting for the East Coast on Wednesday.  I am not going to take the most direct route, but it should be fun.  For example, I still have not visited Edmonton and that is something I wanted to do.  I also want to see a bit of Calgary along the way.  Also, the Hope-Princeton Highway was very pretty.  So was driving through the Okanagan Valley.  There is a Walmart in Vernon where I can spend the night.   So, folks in Alberta, get ready.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  I had a great day at the PNE with my friend.  The PNE was not at all as I remembered it.  There no longer is a food building and the midway rides were just too scary, especially the newer ones.  There were a lot of interesting exhibits by various vendors.  On the other hand, there was very little livestock.  Most of the livestock barns were empty.  We did watch four very good shows.  First we watched six teams of ponies chuck-wagon racing in the Agridome.  They put on a great show which we enjoyed very much.  Then, in the Amphitheatre, we watch a great motorcycle stunt show.  The participants made the leaps and tricks look easy, but they were far from easy.  It was a first rate show.  Next, in the Pacific Coliseum, we watched The Chinese Acrobats do some amazing acrobatic things.  Seeing these performers live event was quite a thrill.  It was an outstanding show and one of the highlights of the day.  Next, again the Pacific Coliseum, we watched the Super Dog Show.  What more can I say?  It was an outstanding show.  So, for the price of admission to the PNE we were entertained all day long and we saw four great shows.  It was a pretty good deal, but, of course, the best part was spending some time with a long-time friend whom I had not seen for many years.  
Tomorrow I am starting east.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  I have finally started my journey back to the Maritimes.  It will likely be the end of September before I get there though.  I do have a number of things I would like to do on the way back.  I had some rain this morning when I left Langley, but it stopped before I got to Hope.  Then the weather was again bright and sunny.  I had a wonderful drive along the Hope-Princeton Highway to the Okanagan Valley.  Then I went north to Vernon.  It was still early when I got to Vernon and when I got there I found that I did not like the location.  So, on I went to Salmon Arm.  That is where I am tonight.  I found a nice spot here and so I am looking forward to a good night.  Tomorrow I should be going through the Banff-Jasper National Parks.  I am really looking forward to seeing that part of the country again.  It is strikingly beautiful.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Salmon Arm turned out to be a terrific place to stay overnight.  I found a shopping centre there that had no signs about parking.  So, I, and several others, spent the night there.  I like Salmon Arm.  It's a great place.  The mountains and the park systems lived up to expectations.  The view I had at lunch today in Golden was remarkable.  There is nothing more I can say about this part of the world that has not been said.  It is simply magnificent.  
Tonight I am in Olds, Alberta.  I found a Walmart here and an aquatic centre.  It is too late for the aquatic centre, so I will try to get there tomorrow.  It appears their public swim times begin at 1:00 pm.  I will check in the morning.  I am in Olds because I decided I did not want to stay in Calgary tonight.  Calgary has changed and is so much bigger than my memory of Calgary.  I am going to take it in stages and see how that goes.  I have always liked Calgary.  I went to the Calgary Stampede in 1966 and enjoyed it very much.  I am sure today's Calgary Stampede is nothing like it was in 1966, but I can still enjoy my memories.  
It has been quite a drive today and so I am ready to turn in for the night.  Take care.  Cheers

Hello Everyone:  I understand that we are having a Blue Moon tonight.  It is somewhat overcast here tonight, but I can see it.  I am not sure how blue it actually appears, but because it is the second full moon this month, it is apparently called a Blue Moon.  That is some information I did not have.  Now we all have it.
Today was a very pleasant day here in Alberta, but I did not get far.  I am still in Olds, Alberta.  It is a quiet, lovely place to be.  I had a lazy morning, a delightful swim in the Olds Aquatic Centre, and a great tour of the area.  I also watched some trains go by.  It takes a long time to watch a train go by in this part of the country.  These trains are long ones.  Other than that, there is not much to report.  The nights are getting noticeably cooler.  It is not a problem so far.  In fact, I find the cooler nights easier to deal with than the hot ones.  These nights I just get into my sleeping bag when I turn in and that is it.  When it is hotter, it is not comfortable to get into my sleeping bag when I turn in.  Then, if it does get cooler towards morning the coolness wakes me up and that is when I get into my sleeping bag.  I hope you wanted to know that because now you do.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Tonight I am in Edmonton.  I took my time getting here and explored a bit of Red Deer and Ponoka on the way up.  Both were interesting,but I just drove through both communities after I stopped for coffee.   I liked Edmonton when I lived here in 1965-66, and I like it now.  This afternoon I spent in the West Edmonton Mall. It is a large facility with several things for people to do.  As well as many restaurants, and a large food court, the Mall has a swimming pool.  Actually it is a wave pool.  There is also a skating rink and a pirate ship to explore, although I did not explore the pirate ship.  There are some other things for people to do as well, including shopping.  I didn't do much shopping, but it is a very interesting place to spend an afternoon.  The Mall was quite crowded, so other people think it is an interesting place as well.  The rest of the day I spent just looking around Edmonton.  Edmonton has certainly grown since I lived here.  I have been back only once or twice since I lived here.  Tomorrow I intend to explore the downtown area.  
The weather has been trying to rain for the past two or three days.  Tonight it is raining sporadically.  Perhaps it will get with it later tonight and actually rain.  The country is quite dry and so the rain will be helpful.  Meanwhile I stay dry and cozy in my little Rav4.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Tonight I am in Wetaskwin, Alberta.  I had another great day in Edmonton.  This morning I went back to the West Edmonton Mall because it was still a bit rainy.  The rain cleared around noon so I spent the rest of the day exploring the downtown.  I certainly did not recognize anything at all.  Edmonton is now another large city with tall glass towers.  Nevertheless, the day was interesting and I am glad I took the tour.  There is also an LRT system in downtown Edmonton now.  Progress has been made since the day my father drove a steel wheeled tractor, with wheel lugs, towing a grain separator down Jasper Avenue and out to the Walker's farm near Thorhild, Alberta.
After my day in Edmonton, I decided that I would spend the night outside Edmonton where it might be quieter.  There is a lot of fast-moving traffic in Edmonton.  So I stopped in Leduc, which is just south of Edmonton.  However, I discovered Leduc was one place where I could not receive my internet connection and so I moved on to Wetaskwin.  The connection works fine here.  I think that Leduc must be a dead zone.  I usually do not have a problem with my reception, but I did In Leduc.  Another reason for me to move outside Edmonton is that I have never been to Drumheller to view the dinosaur museum there.  It is something I have wanted to do for a long time.  A friend and I did tour the dinosaur exhibit at the ROM and I found that very interesting.  The museum in Drumheller should be spectacular.  At least I hope so.  So, good night from Walmart in Wetaskwin.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  I was expecting the Tyrrell Museum to be spectacular.  In fact, it was much, much more than that.  It was fabulous.  I did not expect such an extensive display and am so glad I went there and saw it.  Of course, my visit started off well because the parents of the delightful young man who sold me my ticket are from Pictou.  So we had a nice chat.  He was very kind to a crusty old senior and I really liked that.  It put me in a really good mood to enjoy the museum.  The exhibits in the museum appeared to me to be presented very well.  The dinosaurs, as well as other creatures, were grouped according to the time period in which they lived.  It was extremely educational to see how these animals might have lived and interacted.  Congratulations to the museum.  They have done a fine job in making such an interesting presentation.
I have discovered that I have been misspelling Wetaskiwin.  My apologies.  My night in Wetaskiwin was very pleasant.  It was very quiet.  Nothing and nobody disturbed me at all so I had a very good sleep.  I then drove to Camrose.  This appeared to be another very pleasant town, as did Stettler.  I hope to go back there and explore these happy towns in more detail at some point.  I am finding that these charming smaller towns have as much to offer as the big cities.  What they offer is certainly different from what the big cities have to offer, but they are very pleasant and without the big rush that inhabits the big cities.  That view must be because of the crusty senior citizen in me.  
After I spent my afternoon in the Tyrrell Museum, I took a look at Drumheller.  It appeared to me to be very touristy and I decided I did not like it.  So, tonight I am back in Olds, Alberta.  They have a great strip mall on the western end of the town that have a great many useful facilities.  Among them is a drive-up oil change service which I intend to try tomorrow morning.  It is time to change the engine oil in the Rav4 again.  It appears to happen when you do a lot of driving, but the way this car is working so well, it is a small price to pay for the great time I am having. 
Tonight it is trying to rain again.  The farmers here are starting to harvest their grain crops in earnest now.  There are grain trucks all over the place around here.  It is interesting to see.  The equipment is huge and so are the fields.  I wish them all well in their endeavours and I hope the rain does not slow them down.
I happened to park beside a tractor being displayed in a mall parking lot in one of the towns I visited.  It was huge.  It had four huge dual tires and was articulated.  I had a tractor by the same maker when I farmed.  It would have looked so puny beside this monster.  That is another experience that is fixed in my brain.  This is just such a great trip.  I am really enjoying it.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce    
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta
Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta

Hello Everyone:  Today was another wonderful bright, sunny day in Alberta.  This morning I had the motor oil changed in the Rav4 and so now am ready for another 8,000 kilometres.  There were a bevy of cheerful young men at the Jiffy Lube in Olds to service the car and so having the oil changed was a pleasant experience.  After the oil change I decided to drive west of Olds to a very scenic place in a beautiful valley created by the Red Deer River called Sundre.  I discovered that the view of the mountains west of Sundre is really something to see from this distance.  From Sundre I drove south and then east to Didsbury where my cousin and her husband live.  I will be here for a few days until they celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary on Saturday.  So today we had a great visit and went over many family photographs.  It was very interesting to see the folks that preceded us.  My cousin even has a photo from 1850.  I thought that was really amazing.  Now it is quite late because we have been chatting all afternoon.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce  

Good Morning Everyone:  Greetings from Didsbury, Alberta.  Last night I just could not keep my eyes open.  I fell asleep in front of the computer.  So, when I woke up, I just went to bed.  I don't know why I was so sleepy, but I was.  Yesterday was spend visiting with my cousin and her family.  I enjoyed it very much.  I had not seen their daughter for some twenty years and had never met her husband.  It was great fun, and I am still having a really good time.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.

Hello Everyone:  Tonight I am awake and so might just get this finished and sent off.  Today I did what I have wanted to do for a long time and that is to go for a drive to Rocky Mountain House.  The view of the mountains from that distance is quite remarkable and adds so much beauty to the landscape.   I did not see any wild animals this time, but I had a great time nonetheless. To get there I returned to Sundrie and continued north from there.  It was interesting to me to see the land get more wooded the closer I got to the mountains.  Some of the plants in the sloughs are beginning to lose their summer green and are turning multicoloured.  It made for a very pretty drive.  I am back in Didsbury continuing my visit with my cousin and her husband.  I find that I am really liking this part of the country, too.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today I was invited to visit with more cousins in their home near Didsbury.  I went to their home at about 1:00 and it was around 10:00 pm before I got back.  I had a delightful time.  They invited me to watch a movie and so we saw "August Rush" and I quite enjoyed it.  The movie was a great story and nobody got shot.  The music was interesting and I am glad I saw it.  The thought the story was very pleasant with a recognizable touch of "Oliver Twist."  Other than that there is little to report.  I did not intend to stay so long, but it was a long time since we saw each other and we had a lot of catching up to do.  Plus, we were having a very good time.  Tomorrow is the celebration of my first cousin's 60th wedding anniversary.  It will be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to it.  The situation is such that it is unlikely that I will get away from the celebration very early and so please do not be surprised if I do not get one of my messages sent off tomorrow evening.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone.  Tonight I am on the road again and am now in the Walmart in Medicine Hat, Alberta.  This past week has been a wonderful visit with my cousin and her husband and their family and friends.  I am so thankful I could spend this time with them to get caught up with the news of those I knew and to meet others I did not know.  The 60th wedding anniversary celebration lived up to expectations and was a wonderful, congenial, happy time.  Thank you, again, cousins for taking such good care of me.  This morning, after breakfast with some of the revellers, we each went off on our separate ways. 
Today was another great day on the road.   I had a wonderful drive east along secondary roads from Didsbury to Hanna.  Then I went south along more secondary roads to check out Dinosaur Provincial Park.  It, too, is amazing.  However, after getting there I thought that since by now it was late in the day I would come back again next year when I could plan it better and have more time.  Dinosaur Provincial Part is designated as a world heritage site and to do it justice I should spend as much time as I need to explore it fully rather than just rushing through in an hour or two.  So I stopped at the entrance so that I would not get started and left for Medicine Hat.  On today's drive it was interesting to watch as the country changed from rolling wooded landscape to flat prairie grassland.  There certainly is a lot of flat prairie grassland.  It is so all very beautiful and is now different from the early summer look I enjoyed when I came out here.  Now it is definitely late summer and appears to be getting ready for fall, which is quickly approaching.  Today has been warm, however.  It reached 30 in Southern Alberta so I have been quite toasty this afternoon.  Tomorrow I intend to be in Saskatchewan.  Perhaps I will get as far as Moose Jaw.  We will see. 
Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce
Didsbury, Alberta

Hello Everyone:  Tonight I am in the Walmart in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.  The weather today was a balmy 30C.  It has cooled off just a little and so I am sitting here in the shade and writing this message with the windows open while enjoying a warm prairie breeze.  I spent a couple of hours in the Moose Jaw Aquatic Centre and so am clean, relaxed and very, very happy.  I also had my hair cut today, so I can't get any spiffier than I am right now.  
The landscape today was just spectacular.  Rather than the light green background that I had on the way west, I now am enjoying a landscape that has a very mellow light brown background.  The horizon is far, far away and so I am able to see for miles in any direction.  It is just outstanding.  The problem with the prairies is not the landscape, it is viewing it from the superhighway while bombing along at the posted speed of 110kph or better.  That is just not my idea of fun. So tomorrow I think I will try an alternate route.  I have been known to do that with very enjoyable results.  We will see how that goes.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce 

Hello Everyone:  Tonight I am in the Walmart parking lot in Winkler, Manitoba.  It was another bright, sunny day today.  The temperature was cooler and reached only 21C, which is somewhat of a relief.  Tonight the sky has clouded over, so we will see what that means.  My decision to find an alternate route was a good one.  Just after leaving Moose Jaw this morning I turned southeast along Highway39 to Weyburn and Estevan, Saskatchewan.  What an interesting trip!  Not only was the prairie beautifully coloured in brown, just like yesterday, but the land was completely flat in many places.  I could see the horizon from any direction unhindered by hills or tall trees.  It was spectacular.  Also, today was big sky day.  I am sure that today I saw as much sky as it is possible for a human to see from planet Earth.  The landscape continued to be the same after I left Saskatchewan and entered Manitoba.  However, there are more trees in this part of the prairie.  
Today while I was driving along I noticed that I had a cracked fingernail, so I filed it down, but filing did not help.  So I thought I might coat it with clear nail polish and at least seal it while the nail grows out.  So, with this in mind I found a small drug store in a small town and went in to buy some nail polish.  I noticed a clerk stocking shelves and so excused myself and I asked her where the clear nail polish was.  Her reaction was hilarious.  Either she was having a bad hair day or she was unable to deal with a man asking for nail polish.  Either way, she reluctantly pointed out where the nail polish was after I cajoled her into helping me.  I actually found what i was looking for and so went to the till to make the purchase.  My erstwhile clerk just ignored me and went back to stacking shelves.  So, I asked her if there was someone to work the till or if I had to go to the pharmacy to make the purchase.  My clerk then let on to me that it was she who worked the till.  She reluctantly left her shelf-stocking and finally came over and completed the transaction.  I found her reaction amusing and have been giggling to myself all day.  I hesitate to think what she would have done if I was dressed in drag?  She would likely be still running.  What a hoot.   
I am now looking forward to see what tomorrow brings.  I expect to be in Winnipeg.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today I did not get far.  I had a wonderful time just looking around Morden, Winkler and Altona.  Then I drove to Winnipeg where I am tonight.  I had a great time exploring Winnipeg, also.  I have nothing of any great significance to report tonight.  I did not bother any clerks and everyone else was pleasant to me and I was pleasant to them.  So far, the clear nail polish is working.  Next step: Crazy Glue.  I also stopped and had a shower, etc.  Now I am ready for the road again.  Tomorrow I am going to try to look up a friend and see if we can get together for a chat.  Otherwise, it is off to Ontario.  Perhaps I can do both.  There are a few spots of rain tonight on the car windows, but today was nice and sunny.  The temperature got up to 21C this afternoon.  It was very pleasant, but quite windy.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Today I actually did get quite far.  I am in a Walmart in Thunder Bay tonight.  I tried to contact my friend in Winnipeg with no luck, so I pushed on.  I'll try it again next year with better planning.  For me, this is the first rainy day I can remember having all summer long.  Last night's spots on the windows in Winnipeg evaporated and the clouds blew away.  I had a wonderful drive in sunshine until Kenora.  This time I took the route through the town of Kenora and I am so glad I did.  Kenora is on Lake of the Woods as everyone knows, but it is really very pretty.  I am very thankful to have seen it again.  It is definitely worth spending some time there.  After I left Kenora the rain started.  The drive was great.  I really enjoyed it, but I noticed that the leaves have really changed colour along the way.  This is all such pretty country.  The colours provided by the changing seasons just make it that much more enjoyable.  
I should be in or around Toronto next week and the week thereafter.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce

Hello Everyone:  Greetings from the Walmart parking lot in Sault Ste. Marie.  I had a great drive today from Thunder Bay.  The police were out looking for speeders today.  So I chugged along as I usually do near the speed limit and enjoying my drive while letting others zoom past me.  I was able to pass some of those who zoomed past me while they were talking with police.  It does not hurt my feelings if someone passes me.  Usually they have to speed to do so, and when they speed they keep the police occupied while I drive along.
Today we had showers along the way.  Some of the showers were fairly heavy.  The frequent showers pointed out to me that I was having a problem with my windshield wipers.  The windshield wipers I had were kept busy wiping bugs all summer.  So the wipers were not very good in the rain.  My solution was to go into the Walmart store and (brace yourselves) buy new windshield wipers.  I installed them just before another heavy shower and so was able to test them and the new wipers work fine.  Actually, it has been raining for some time now, so maybe this is more than a shower.  In any event, I have new windshield wipers and am now ready for the road again.  
The countryside was very colourful today.  Some of the leaves had changed colour, especially at the higher elevations.  There were even some bright, cheery reds.  The sun shone occasionally and so this brought out the vibrant colours.  It was really very enjoyable to see.  Tomorrow I should be in the GTA.  I am not sure where or at what time I will get there.  I will figure it out and let you know.  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce.

Hello Everyone:  The new windshield wipers scared away the rain just like I hoped they would.  Nevertheless, the new wipers were badly needed.  I am glad that I have them.  Today's drive was very colourful.  Northern Ontario is quickly changing to fall and the colours there were quite vivid.  Southern Ontario from some point south of Sudbury has not changed so much.  In fact, south from Barrie the change is just beginning.  There is still a lot of green background in Southern Ontario.  
Tonight, because I understood that the Don Valley Parkway was to be closed all weekend, I decided to take one of my alternate routes and am in Cambridge, Ontario.  I am not quite ready for the crowds in Toronto.  Tomorrow I intend to take it easy and rest from my travels. Then it is my intention to visit friends in and around Toronto.  I am staying in the Toronto, Ontario area until September 29 so that I can attend the memorial for Del Newbigging.  Del Newbigging was the sculptor who created the statue of Alexander Wood.  The statue stands at the corner of Alexander and Church streets in Toronto and has become world famous as the first statue of a gay man erected as such in modern history.  The Alexander Wood statue was a project of the Church-Wellesley Village Business Improvement Area.  I was a part of the CWVBIA at the time, vice-president in fact.  So that is my connection.  The statue is outstanding and Del's passing is a great loss to our community.  Not only that, but he was a good man and a good friend.
So, dear friends, arriving back in Toronto is virtually the end of the Road Trip.  I feel that my experiment in Urban Camping was a great success.  In fact, from my point of view this trip turned out to be successful beyond my wildest dreams.  I simply did not expect to have so much fun, nor did I expect to learn so much.  I am going to reflect on the trip and will likely send some of my thoughts to you.  Right now I have to admit that I am feeling a little writer's fatigue and since there is little new for me to report on in Toronto I think I would like to bring these reports to and end at least for now.  Please feel free to email me at any time.  I look forward to receiving your messages.   And now, as the sun sinks slowly in the West the time has come for your faithful correspondent to say thank you and good night (apologies to Lowell Thomas).  Take care.  Cheers!!!!! Bruce