Monday, March 30, 2009

Your vacation destination!

Why you should make Canada your next vacation destination!


Canada vacations can provide some of the most enjoyable breaks from work. Especially if you’re in a warm country, the colder climate can make a nice change for once and as a vacation destination Canada can really deliver. The way the world is with so many countries at war, the socially indifferent and politically free Canadians can be a very welcoming community. And Canada has so much to offer, what with all its history, places to visit, cultural activities and sport activities such as White water rafting. Then there’s its spectacular countryside offering all kinds of activities for all.

So where could you visit during your vacation in Canada?

There are so many great places in Canada to visit, that you’d have to make a number of trips just to see the most interesting parts. Canada is the second biggest country in the entire world after all, from Alberta to Quebec to Ontario to British Columbia, there is plenty to see. Then add to that Manitoba, Vancouver Island, and Newfoundland (not actually a part of Canada, but very close by). Probable the first places on your list to visit should be the best known internationally tourist attractions; the incredible Niagara Falls, the equally grand Jasper National Park and the spectacular Banff National Park.

Ok, so what activities will you be able to participate in while in Canada?

Obviously hiking in such a grand environment would be spectacular, but if you’re one of those people who need a little more action you definitely won’t be disappointed. Some of the best locations for white water rafting can be found here and then there are other water sports such as kayaking and boating to consider. One of the best places to participate in these activities would be the longest river in Canada, the Mackenzie, which begins in the Northwest Territories and eventually ends at the Hudson Bay.

If water sport isn’t for you, you could always visit some of the wilder regions where fishing and hunting activities bring in an abundance of pro and non pro sportsmen. And you could also go and see a hockey game at one of the most well known Canadian hockey Stadiums. Then there’s the French Canadian cuisine, you just have to try some of the specialties like the gallettes, the maple syrup and galumpkies.

If all this doesn’t interest you, why not consider actually getting away from all the tourist attractions and sporting activities and take a closer look at the Canadian culture. Meet the people, participate in their cultural activities, take a look into their history (interestingly free from international trouble). This is something few tourist actually do, but it is the only way to really get to know a country and its culture.

Whether it’s just the pure beauty of the Canadian wilderness that interests you or it’s the pure adrenalin you seek from speeding down a river in a raft or the challenge of climbing Canada’s highest mountain situated in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson, in British Columbia, Canada has something to offer all of us. The only question is will you let the opportunity pass you by?

Canada's 5 stunning parks!

Canada’s 5 most stunning national parks

Jasper National Park

Think ‘Canadian national park’ and it conjures images of untouched wilderness, breathtaking natural beauty and tranquillity. The National Geographic Sustainable Destinations Resource Centre recently conducted a survey of 55 national parks in the US and Canada. Six of the survey’s top 16 parks were in Canada, a fact that probably owes a lot to Canada’s conservationist approach to its parks. Canada’s national parks number 42 in total. Each park preserves a place of outstanding natural beauty, unique geographical features or historical significance – and sometimes all three. Here are five of the most stunning of Canada’s national parks.

Gwaii Haanas National Park, British Columbia
Gwaii Haanas National Park was voted Best National Park by National Geographic after looking at over 50 National Parks in Canada and the United States, despite being one of the lesser known parks in Canada. Located in the southern Queen Charlotte Islands off the central coast of BC, the park is isolated – and surrounded by communities concerned with preserving their cultural integrity.

The 640-kilometre stretch of rugged coastline is true wilderness at its best and the park is visited by only about 3,000 people per year, who all have to get there by boat or float plane. The huge park encompasses Moresby and 137 smaller islands at the southern end of the Charlottes. The park had been referred to as ‘the Galapagos of the north’ due to its abundant flora and fauna. Gwaii Haanas provides the chance to experience nature in its most barren and unspoilt form. If you take out a kayak, you can paddle for hours without seeing another human being.

Banff National Park, Alberta
Canada’s oldest national park started with three explorers poking around the Rockies. They didn’t find gold, just a steaming, sulphurous hot spring, but the protection of that discovery, in 1885, led to the creation of a park of jagged snow-capped mountains, broad U-shaped valleys, turquoise lakes, rich forests, and meandering rivers.

More than four million visitors pay their respects every year, and with some of the world’s best hiking and skiing, Banff is by far the best known and most popular park in the Rockies. With 25 mountains 300 metres high or higher Banff is world famous for climbing, though most visitors come just to view the astonishing scenery.

The park is renowned for its elk, which were once so prolific that park staffers were issued slingshots in an effort to persuade them to move out of town. Grizzlies, meanwhile, hang out in the mountains, stuffing themselves in summer with up to 100,000 buffalo berries each day.

Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario
Located at the tip of the Bruce peninsula, on the Niagara Escarpment of Ontario, the park is popular with campers, hikers and bird watchers. On its west side, the park slips gently into bogs, beaches, and Lake Huron. On its east side, cliffs plunge into the clear waters of Georgian Bay.

More than 300 species of birds migrate through this peninsula. The massasauga rattlesnake is an elusive resident, and beware of the black bears that make unwelcome appearances when campers leave food lying around. Southern Ontario’s best-loved footpath is the Bruce Trail; it’s most rugged and spectacular stretch runs through the National Park between Dyer’s Bay and Tobermory.

Mauricie National Park, Quebec
Quebec’s most frequented park is located midway between the province’s two largest cities, Quebec City and Montreal, and is 50 kilometres north of the St Lawrence River. Mauricie National Park encompasses 544 square kilometres in the heart of the Quebec Laurentians. Its landscape is a vast rolling plateau broken by numerous lakes and rounded hills and etched by waterfalls, streams and narrow valleys.

If you want to visit a national park for the wildlife then this is probably your best bet as wildlife is abundant here. The park provides habitats for over 40 species of mammals: the moose, black bear, beaver, red fox, wolf, coyote, red squirrel and snowshoe hare are just some of the most widely spotted, while raccoon, porcupine, woodchuck and smaller rodents are more elusive. Over 180 species of birds have been spotted although only the osprey and the hawk are commonly seen.

The numerous lakes and streams are home to ducks, salamanders, frogs and turtles which are unexpected so far north. The southern sugar maple, yellow birch, beech trees, and red spruce add to the parks kaleidoscopic beauty.

Auyuittuq National Park, Nunavut
Auyuittuq National Park is one of Canada’s last wilderness paradises. Hikers, climbers and campers who visit this northern park do not find manicured campsites and hot showers. Instead, they encounter challenge, solitude, and the breathtaking grandeur of this remote arctic landscape. ‘Auyuittuq’ is Inuit for ‘the land that never melts’: A better name could not be found. Auyuittuq is home to the Penny Ice Cap, a 6,000- square-kilometre expanse of ice that is one of the few remaining remnants of the most recent ice age.

Protecting a pristine part of the eastern Arctic, Auyuittuq National Park Reserve, is located on Baffin Island’s Cumberland Peninsula, about 2,400 kilometres from Montreal. Its 19,707 square kilometres lies almost entirely within the Arctic Circle and the park’s landscape has been entirely glacier-formed. The harsh variable climate, only briefly moderated during the long days of summer, sustains a limited number of plant and animal species. The glaciers flow down into the surrounding treeless valleys, where they melt into swift rivers that rush over the rocks.

This powerful landscape reflects the Inuit belief that time is infinite and unending. Whether you climb Auyuittuq’s mountains, ski on its icefields or backpack through the Akshayuk Pass, it is a great spot to experience the magic of the Arctic.

The Irish Castaway

One day an Irishman, who had been stranded on a deserted island for over 10 years, saw a speck on the horizon. He thought to himself, 'It's certainly not a ship.' As the speck got closer and closer, he began to rule out even the possibilities of a small boat or a raft.

Suddenly there strode from the surf a figure clad in a black wet suit. Putting aside the scuba tanks and mask and zipping down the top of the wet suit stood a drop-dead gorgeous blonde! She walked up to the stunned Irishman and said to him, 'Tell me, how long has it been since you've had a good cigar?'

'Ten years,' replied the amazed Irishman. With that, she reached over and unzipped a waterproof pocket on the left sleeve of her wetsuit and pulled out a fresh package of cigars and a lighter. He took a cigar, slowly lit it, and took a long drag. 'Faith and begorrah,' said the castaway, 'that is so good! I'd almost forgotten how great a smoke can be !'

'And how long has it been since you've had a drop of good Powers Irish Whiskey?' asked the blonde.

Trembling, the castaway replied, 'Ten years.' Hearing that, the blonde reached over to her right sleeve, unzipped a pocket there and removed a flask and handed it to him. He opened the flask and took a long drink. 'Tis nectar of the gods!' shouted the Irishman. ' 'Tis truly fantastic!!!'

At this point the gorgeous blonde started to slowly unzip the long front of her wet suit, right down the middle. She looked at the trembling man and asked, 'And how long has it been since you played around?'

With tears in his eyes, the Irishman fell to his knees and sobbed, 'Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Don't tell me that you've got golf clubs in there too?'

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Busy weekend!

Looking down onto a stream from the Galloping Goose Trail.

A view down the trail.

A view from the trail across Sooke Basin. We live WAY around the bend to the left.

Holy crap! Did we ever get a lot accomplished this weekend. Must be the wonderful Spring weather.

Saturday was kinda cool ad drizzly so we grocery shopped, hit the hardware store and then a garden center. Gardenworks, on Island Highway, is a fantastic place to browse and fantasize about your yard and how wonderful it would look with so many of the great plants they have there. It is a bit pricey, especially their pots, but after visiting a couple of other places we decided you kinda get what you pay for. We picked up 3 gallon-size Ceanothus 'Victoria' to plant on our hillside down from the house. This plant is also known as California Lilac and they have loads of blue lilac-type flowers in early summer, which the bees/butterflies/hummingbirds just love. They eventually will get to about 8 feet high and almost as wide. We already have three large ones in the upper garden and we really like them so we thought we'd add more. The planting turned out so well that we decided to go back and get another set of three. Also on our plant list is Golden Bamboo, for special corner of the yard.

Sunday was planting day, gorgeous sunshine and just right temps for working outside. First though we took a 1 1/2 hour hike along the Galloping Goose Trail. VERY peaceful and beautiful scenery. We made ourselves a promise to do much more exploring this summer.

All in all a great weekend and we managed to get some exercise in too!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Carefully choose where in Canada to live.

This story, hot off the press! (Prince George is roughly in the center of mainland BC, a bit too remote for this city boy)
Do your research as Canada is very wild in most places. We live in a somewhat rural area of south Vancouver Island and wildlife is all around. We have not seen bear or cougar but we know they are in the neighborhood. One just has to be aware and take the proper precautions.

An adult Moose can weigh 1,000 pounds and stand 6 feet at the shoulders! That is 453.6 kg in weight and standing 1.83 metres high!

By The Canadian Press
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - Don't get a moose mad - that's what one family learned after trying to scare a moose away from their home near Prince George, B.C.

The family was using an air horn to scare the animal when the moose charged the home's front door.

The family took a video of the incident, which shows the moose tramping around in the snow outside the house before running at the door, which the owners slam shut at the last moment.

Conservation officers say the moose was probably upset by the family's barking dog and the air horn.

No one was hurt and conservation officers say anyone encountering a wandering moose should just leave the animal alone and give it plenty of space.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Will Canada ride out the storm better than others?

Recovering car sales boost Canada retail sales
Fri Mar 20, 8:40 AM

OTTAWA (Reuters) - An unusual rise in new car purchases helped spur Canadian retail sales to their first increase since September, a greater-than-expected 1.9 percent, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.

The seasonally adjusted increase, the largest since July 2006, was a rare bright statistic after disappointing data for wholesale sales, manufacturing, foreign trade, employment and gross domestic product.

It followed a 5.2 percent decline in retail sales in December, the largest drop in over 15 years. The value of sales at new car dealers rose 6.4 percent in January after December's 15.1 percent decline.

The automotive sector as a whole, including gasoline, rose by 3.8 percent; excluding vehicles and parts, retail sales rose by 1.3 percent. A Reuters survey of analysts had predicted a 1.0 percent rise in retail sales and 0.3 percent excluding autos.

In a separate release, Statistics Canada said the number of new motor vehicle sold rose by 5.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted 119,231 units in January. In unadjusted terms, the number actually fell to 78,812 from December's 97,164.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nebraska auto theft update!

Police make 3 arrests in Neb. missing-car case

By JOSH FUNK, Associated Press Writer Josh Funk, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 18 mins ago

OMAHA, Neb. – Police have arrested three executives from a troubled western Nebraska car dealership where 81 vehicles worth roughly $2.5 million — as well as the executives themselves — vanished in recent days.

Legacy Auto Sales owner Allen Patch, 52, and controller Rachel Fait, 37, were arrested separately in Tooele County, Utah, and were being held Thursday at the county jail. The dealership's 53-year-old general manager, Rick Covello, was driving one of the missing vehicles when he turned himself in to Scottsbluff police Thursday morning, Capt. Kevin Spencer said.

An arrest warrant affidavit said Fait may have embezzled more than $46,000 from the dealership in Scottsbluff, a western Nebraska town. The three were wanted on suspicion of theft.


Sunshine +
Mountain views across the water +
Warmer temps +
Pine cones everywhere +
Daffodils +
Lambs in the field +
Employed +
Spring =


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What NEXT in the US???

Scottsbluff dealership missing three bosses, dozens of cars

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — One by one, somebody loaded new Toyotas onto trucks Monday evening from the Legacy Auto Sales dealership in Scottsbluff and drove off into the night.

Toyota automobiles from Legacy Ford Lincoln Mercury Toyota in Scottsbluff were loaded onto trucks Monday night.
Dozens of cars were taken. Now plenty of people, including Scottsbluff police, want to know what's going on.

That includes Legacy employee Miranda Cervantes. She discovered Tuesday morning that the dealership's owner and two other officers had disappeared without a word to the staff. Also gone were more than 80 Ford and Toyota vehicles.

Employees found the desks of owner Allen Patch, comptroller Rachel Feit and general manager Rick Covello empty. Their computers also were gone.

"When I saw that, I knew something just isn't right," Cervantes said.

Scottsbluff Police Capt. Kevin Spencer confirmed that police were investigating removal of the vehicles as a possible crime.

Police said at least 81 vehicles are missing.

Cervantes said the cars disappeared from three lots in Scottsbluff — about 25 to 30 Fords and about 50 Toyotas. Police have been unable to contact Patch, Feit or Covello.

Cervantes said Toyota representatives contacted her Tuesday. Someone had reported that a large number of cars were missing from the lot.

"They asked me, 'What is going on there?' I told them everything, that the cars are all gone. . . . We (employees) don't have a clue. Employees were not told of any reason that the vehicles were removed."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Art in Sand.

I just got this and it is Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Infiniti @ Geneva

The Infiniti Essence is a two-seat, rear-drive concept with a hybrid powertrain that is rated at nearly 600 hp. Infiniti says the Essence shows design cues for future vehicles.

Me thinks this would handle the curvy mountain roads where I live, and make my commute to and from work much more lively!

Good news.

Well, after a long search for a family Doctor we finally found one, with the help of some friends! Today was my day for a physical, not my favorite activity to be sure, and to get the results of my blood lab work. On a slow steady march to the half-century mark my mind has been full of worst-case health scenarios, mainly because of so many cancer deaths in my family. Even though I never smoked I was concerned about growing up in a house with one parent that smoked and being exposed to second hand smoke. My tests have turned out completely fine and the Dr assures me that the second hand smoke think is really nothing to worry about. PSA test, for prostate health, was fine, as was cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and fat content. My blood sugar was a bit high so I have to now start an exercise program and get checked again in 6 months. The high reading is not enough to sound any alarm bells and she thinks exercise will get that under control, if there indeed is anything to control. My number was 6.1 with the high end of the normal range being 6.0.

I guess I'll be around for a while longer. Hopefully this clean West Coast living will give me an extra boost to make it to 95 or so.