Tagged with " Greater Vancouver Area"
Apr 28, 2009 -

A Chance For One Last Hike

Well, I will have no excuse for not staying in touch on the road! I just brought home ‘Kevin’, a 1.5Ghz, 12″, aluminum casing Powerbook G4. I did a lot of research and spoke with a lot of people, enough to feel confident that I got a good machine at a fair price. It’ll be nice to be able to watch DVDs on it; the battery has plenty of juice to watch at least one movie.

The seller lives in North Vancouver and I decided to just go meet up with him there instead of trying to find a mutually convenient time to meet ‘halfway.’ The meet up point, a Starbucks, was just a few kilometres from Lynn Canyon (which explains why I didn’t mind driving the 100 or so klicks round trip *g*), so I packed up my hiking boots this morning! We met at six, spent about a half hour going over the machine (which helped inspire confidence in the seller), and I was on the trail by six forty! The gates to the park close at 7PM, so I parked a few blocks away on a city street in order to not be rushed.

I couldn’t believe I was there, under those magnificent towering redwoods on a glorious Tuesday evening! If I could with me only one visual memory of Vancouver, it would be of the view from the Twin Falls bridge, of all that turquoise water smashing down on the rocks below. My boots were very comfortable, albeit stiff, and I savoured every second of my hike. I even stopped mid-span on the suspension bridge and looked down. How far I’ve come since Eagle Canyon!

Four months in the Greater Vancouver Region has been perfect–just long enough to fall in love with the area and savour its treasures, but not so long as to grow jaded. How marvelous it was yesterday and today to use the GPS as I did in Ottawa to only to fine tune my drive to a specific address while knowing exactly what route to take to get to the general area. I’m ready to go, but sad at the same time, feeling much the way I did last September. In fact, after so many months of hardly driving at all, I feel like I’m starting fresh, like a complete novice again!

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British Columbia, Canada, Communications & Electronics, Computer, Driving, Musings, Personal, Technical, Travel    3 Comments
Apr 27, 2009 -

Of Hiking Gear and Roof Racks

First stop today was Mountain Equipment Co-Op. I have mixed feelings about my shopping experience there, my first at MEC. On the one hand, they had everything I needed but on the other, service was abominable. I’d suggest to novice gear hunters that they call ahead and ask if it’s possible to request a personal shopper.

I started off with boots. I’d done a bit of research before hand and knew that I needed their backpacking boots. I only buy Italian ‘full grain’ leather hiking boots, so that narrowed the choice down even further. Perhaps I sounded too sure of what I wanted, but the clerk just dumped three pairs of boots in front of me and never spoke to me again. Thankfully, this wasn’t my first time buying hiking boots and I knew what sort of fit I needed, so I’m fairly confident I made the right choice. Hiking boots are probably the only thing for which I never consider price. You can be soaking wet and cold out on the trail, but if your feet are comfy, life is good. Also, good boots will last you a long time. My last pair lasted through eleven years of real use, including a month of backpacking around Scotland in 1998.

Next up were socks. I couldn’t believe that the exact same socks and liners I’d bought for Scotland expedition were still available!!! I loved that combo and have, in fact, only just recently worn through my last pair! I had no qualms dropping sixty dollars total for two sets!

Then, I moved on to clothes. I walked around the ladies department for at least a half hour looking through everything and waiting for a clerk to show up in this section. Just as I was about to just walk out without anything, a clerk walked right by me and I must have given enough of a sigh or a LOOK for her to spin around and notice me. She guided me through my clothing options and was helpful enough, but soon as I was ready to examine my options on my own, she left and didn’t come back to see if I had any further questions.

It’s really hot out today, so much so that I left home in capris, sandals, and a short-sleeved top for the first time this season. So, let me just say that it was very uncomfortable in the changing room wearing the following:

-cotton underpants and bra;

-polyester longjohns and undershirt;

-hiking pants and lightweight top;

-fleece jacket;

-wind/rainproof Gortex-style pants and shell

*laughs* I didn’t need to buy all these layers, of course, but I wanted to try them all on to make sure that the shell layer, which I was buying, would fit.

I left MEC much, much poorer than I’d entered, but I was long overdue to renew my hiking gear, so much so that I’ve actually passed up on some hiking trips due to lack of appropriate equipment. Now, I’m all set to do the West Coast trail whenever I get to Vancouver Island, or to try any number of other trails I’ll pass on my way north. In fact, I have to try a few trails so I can break in those boots!

I’ll pause here to mention that MEC has a (pay) parking lot accessible from an alley behind the store. This lot is the equivalent of two stories above street level. The view from up there was stunning; I was surrounded by snow-capped mountains. Vancouver’s beauty never ceases to astound me.

Next stop was Rack Attack, just a few blocks from MEC. Their site boasts that they carry every Thule product in stock, so it seemed like the place to go to get geared up to carry the bike and kayak. My experience there was great! Service was excellent, with the clerk being very knowledgeable. I just about passed out when I got the total bill for the roof bars (400XT Aero Foot), the kayak rack, and the bike rack, though! The bike rack cost was exorbitant and I decided to pass on it for the time being. I’ll just stuff the bike in the trunk for now. The kayak rack, though was reasonably priced.

Being a DIY kind of gal, I passed on installation.

I wish I hadn’t.

First, the Swedes have got to start hiring proper translators!!!

Second, this rack was supposed to take 15-30 minutes to install. 3 hours later, I’m not even close.

I am not impressed with Thule products. Some parts seem very shoddy and flimsy; I kept thinking I was going to break something! Moreover, I bought a fitting kit made specifically for my car that specifies the bar span between the two mounts. The dimension is incorrect. If they can’t get that right, what can I trust? Lesson learned: just because a brand is the most popular doesn’t mean it’s the best, just that nobody’s invented anything better yet. I feel like I got scammed. 🙁 Hopefully, I can figure the stupid thing out before Saturday morning. I’m almost afraid to think of what the kayak rack is going to be like…

The race to departure is on. Four days left!

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British Columbia, Canada, Finances, Preparations for Departure, Shopping, Technical, Towing and Toad, Travel    No Comments
Apr 26, 2009 -


Today was the first day of my last weekend here at Pacific Border and it was beautiful! Here are some of the projects I’ve accomplished:

  • Putting winter stuff away under the rig

I stored the aluminum coated bubble wrap I’d used to insulate the cab window as well as the foam blocks I’d stuffed into the skylights. I left the one in the bedroom, though, because it blocks out the light. I also put away the rest of the winter clothes and took out the summer clothes. I shifted some stuff around and got rid of a tote, freeing up room to store some items like the charger in the basement instead of the cab.

  • Resealing the entrance well

Even though I’ve had a rubber mat over the stair thread, water leaked under. There was also an unmistakable smell of eau de chat.  I washed the stairwell, sanded it, and applied three coats of sealant. I didn’t think that the results would be visually apparent, but you be the judge:

I used Verathane water-based ‘crystal’ sealant. I love this product–it is easy to use, inexpensive, durable, and readily available. I usually get it at the home store, but Walmart had some for 6$ for a small container.

  • Cleaning the cab carpet

After so many months on the road and a few Tabitha accidents, it was definitely time to degrime the cab floor! I was going to rent a carpet cleaner to do so, but a rental was about 40$ for a day, plus a deposit. Also, the machines were very bulky and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to get into all the nooks and crannies of the cab. I therefore spent quite some time in the vacuum cleaner aisle at Walmart and decided to instead buy a carpet cleaning machine of my own for 80$:

Even though it will mean something extra to store, I have tons of room for it and the machine will pay itself with three cleanings.

I am very impressed with it because it is so easy to use that I even cleaned the seats in the cab, the bucket chairs in the lounge, and the dinette cushions!!! The machine’s footprint is small enough that I can wedge it between one of the bucket seats and the back of the passenger seat so that it can remain handy, but out of the way. It also seems quite sturdy.

This was in no means an impulse buy; I’ve been looking for a compact carpet cleaner and this was the first model I found that seemed halfway decent. So far, so good!

I also, finally (*rolls eyes*) laid down some plastic mats in the cab.

  • Charging the truck battery and testing the starter

I have been remiss in keeping the battery at a good charge, so I trickled charged it this afternoon, then started the truck to make sure it would. It took a bit of coaxing, so first thing I will do Saturday morning is get the charger on it.

I spoke with some neighbours and was told that the Mr. Lube at 200th and the Fraser Highway in Langley will be able to accommodate Miranda, and this without an appointment. That’s right on my way north, so super convenient. If my shopping goes well tomorrow, I might head out of this area on Saturday after all!

Finally, my cats would like to start the rumour that I am the most horrible mother in the world. I would like the opportunity to respond to that. Since I was cleaning the carpets and sealing the stairs, and it was a beautiful day out, I decided to throw open all the doors to make drying easier. I therefore had to ‘lock’ the cats in the back part of the rig (LOVE having a real door!). They had fully half the rig to themselves–the dressing room and the study, with three big windows for entertainment and two skylights for air (plus the shower skylight!). They also had food, water, a litter box, and several soft places to curl up on. They therefore had no reason to be sit at the door howling to be let out!!!

For dinner, I decided to try out Chicken Bob’s Cantina in White Rock where I had their very yummy chicken enchiladas, cantina-style, and a couple of Coronas. Sure felt like a Saturday night even if it’s Sunday. 🙂

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British Columbia, Canada, Cats, Cleaning, Homemaking, Maintenance & Repair, Nice Folks, Organizing, Personal, Preparations for Departure, Recommendations, Restaurants, Technical, Travel    6 Comments