Signs, Signs, everywhere the signs . . .

I have been going through the ridiculous amount of pictures we took on our trip, finding some to enlarge, some to order and some to delete (although not enough considering we still have 21 667 pictures on our computer.) While browsing the plethora of photographs, I noticed a lot of sign pictures we had snapped on our travels. Here they are blocking the scenery, breaking my mind . . .

In the Netherlands, I look a little too happy seeing as my hand is very close to dog doo.
Thankfully this sign confused the Germans too!
I wonder if there are free eggs and bacon down this street, especially considering breakfast in Norway is soooo expensive.
We bought some of this for Marc's sister Julie (who has just embarked on a year of living in New Zealand with her hubby Lowell!) The Julie jelly is fluorescent yellow and we are happy that the Ugandan marketers thought of Julie when they created their campaign. Ooohh Julie, so soft, so natural so JULIE!!!!
Not really sure what I can purchase here at the Fireman's Catalogy in Kampala, Uganda but I do know that Gloria know no fire!!! And that is what matters most.
I think this club will be on my list of places not to miss the next time I am in Cairo.
This sign was made all the more real by all the gunshots I was hearing in the background. FYI...Hunting days in Cyrpus: Wednesdays and Fridays.
Glad we don't have these laws in Canada because I dumb my dog here all the time. Niko loves it! Stay tuned next week for Signs Part II.



we have just arrived back from a whirlwind weekend in wictoria with wonderhosts shareen and craig. sorry gillian and linda and whoever else we missed in victoria, but it really felt like we just got there and then it was time to leave.

we had a frustrating time on the way out to the ferries, with crazy traffic secondary to friday afternoon trafficloads and summer construction projects. then at the tsawassen terminal (where we had a reservation that they threaten to sell off if you are not 30 min early) the entry lines where a tangled mess of grumpy drivers cutting eachother off and complaining to the clerks. at one point after our lane was forced to randomly merge with the one beside us and 3 cars passed without letting us in, i actually had to get out of the 4runner and stand in front of the next vehicle so kylie could get back in line while the driver gestured angrily at me.

luckily bc ferries honoured our reservation and we made it to shareen and craig's in time to relax and watch the olympics before grabbing some noodlebox on the beach.

the next day was anchored by a trip to the calmingly clear and cleansingly cool sooke potholes.

we had never been there before despite 2 previous trips to sooke; it was probably the most beautiful natural swimming hole i have ever been to. the pools are so long that despite walking past the masses of cars in the parking lot and along the road, we were able to score a spot with relative solitude (we had to swim to the spot and the only casualty was shareen's camera... whoops!), and niko was able to roam off leash with only a few mishaps involving him trying to rescue people in the water (sorry craig).

shareen and craig introduced us to a surprisingly diverse sampling of their favourite restaurants, beaches and downtown hotspots in our 2 days with them. victoria is pretty dogfriendly, with a surprising amount of people stopping to pet niko without even talking to us.

also, people in victoria display an alarming tendency to walk out in front of vehicles without even looking or acknowledging that we are required to slam on our brakes to avoid maiming or killing them. people also tend to stand on the road and then when they decide to move they will amble over to another spot on the road that is also in your way. we witnessed this multiple times. perhaps this is just a summer phenomenon?? anyways, with this and other characteristics victoria exudes a decidedly laid back, laissez faire vibe. overall it was a great time.

it was fantastic to see shareen and craig for an extended period, and ferry waiting times aside, we hope to head to the island again some time soon. thanks you guys!


waterton to westcastle and back again?

last week my good friend aaron and i took a sweet 2 day mountain bike trip into the backcountry west of waterton. the weather was perfect, our bikes were reliable, we were feeling strong and we felt confident that we could complete our planned loop starting from cameron lake in waterton, through the akamina pass into bc, down the flathead valley to the US border and back up middle kootenay pass into the castle river valley before heading back along the southcastle fsr to waterton and back to redrock canyon.

unfortunately the mountains had different plans for us... about 1 hour into our ride we hit a section of windfall in the akamina pass that was almost impassable. the trail was so matted with fallen trees that after checking to see that the windfall actually ended and returning we had to unload our gear, make our way precariously over a web of trees 1-2m above the trail with our bikes on our shoulders, then clamber back over the whole mess only to go over a fifth time carrying all our luggage. thus a 1 km stretch of trail that should have taken us 5 minutes to traverse took us 4 hours and took a big bite out of our energy reserves.

for the first 200-300m the trail was totally obliterated, and for about a km after it was continually interrupted with fallen trees at various heights like this.

once we reached the maintained portion of the akamina pass things got a lot faster and we finished the akamina pass and got into the flathead valley with minimal problems. most of the trail was a light downhill grade with occasional steep uphills so we made huge time and yelled a lot to alert the bears to our impending arrival on their trail.

we realized early that we were never going to complete our planned route in 2 days so instead set our sights on getting out of the backcountry in time to get picked up... with that end in mind we still had to bike until 9:40 at night and set up camp on the flathead river in the day's final burst of relected photons before the moonless darkness set in.

the next morning we enjoyed our beautiful campsite on the river before climbing up the middle kootenay pass to cross the continental divide and reenter alberta.

the final push up the pass was painful. the trail was loose shale which meant we had to push our bikes ahead of us with our feet sinking back with every step. after all the lifting of bikes and gear over fallen trees the day before, every muscle in my upper and lower body was screaming in lactic acidotic pain for the last 30 minutes.

you can see the trail we followed up the pass crossing from the right and disappearing into the left of this picture.
but resting in the shade at the top of the pass and eating our lunch made it all worthwhile.

actually the technical downhill from the pass down to the base of the skihill made it worthwhile, sorry i dont have any pictures, we were moving too fast.

after reaching the ski hill and finding a phone that worked we phoned around our family trying to find someone who could come and rescue us. in the end we got a hold of aaron's mom jane who gave up her entire evening to pick us up and drive us back to the vehicle waiting in waterton... thanks jane!

now we are safely back in chilliwack and aaron is safe in singapore. i am going to be looking for more opportunities to take my trusty trailstar into the backcountry... any takers?


A few wedding photos for you and you and you . . .

Marc and I are on our way back from a great two weeks away in Alberta. (We are currently in stop and go traffic on Highway One and have been delayed by about 3 hours because of an accident. We have 75km to Revelstoke and Marc thinks it will take us three hours.) Aaargh! Accidents aside, we have had an excellent time away filled with fun weddings and visits.

Marc's youngest sister (by a whole 11 minutes!) Carlynne got married to her beau Dan this past Saturday. (Unfortunately we neglected our camera the whole two weeks and had to get pictures from Marc's parents and Julie and Lowell. Julie did all the great editing on these shots!
The BEEAAAUUTIFUL Bridge and groom

Dan and Carlynne sure are forward thinkers when it comes to wedding attire.

Taking our bridesmaids duties very seriously

We had a wonderful time at the wedding, getting to know Dan's family as well as seeing Carlynne's creativity come out in all aspects of the wedding, including the second dance: