The Rest of the Vacation 2019

After we posted daily on the way to Victoria, I had intended to slow down and enjoy the trip. There were fewer long evenings in hotels and long days in cars to take advantage of. But when we got the call on Tuesday morning (the first morning in Victoria) that Squeak was dying, that threw the rest of the week into a completely different spin. The morning was full of tears for everyone. As part of my therapy, I got out for a ride (of course!).

Along Ocean Boulevard. What a beautiful day.

In the evening, we had arranged to visit with Jeff and Sasha. That was a weird echo of December 2016, when Nochie passed away and we had arranged to visit with Steven and Krisztina the following evening. But everyone looked forward to the distraction. We picked up a Peach Decadence cake from the Lighthouse Cake Company and went to visit.

Jeff and Tammy pondering their slices of cake

Me, Sasha and Jeff

We had a really great visit. Dinner was… Thanksgiving. Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and veggies. Jeff’s rationale was that it was easy and delicious and we’re never around for Thanksgiving or Christmas with them. 😄 Their youngest daughter Sonya is now two and a half and speaks a mixture of Russian and English thanks to being looked after by Sveta and Gena downstairs. Katya is very tall, probably pushing six feet at only 14 years old. Ian and Alyosha got on very well. The kids all had a lot of fun together. It’s such a pity that we only see them once per year. I think I say that every year. Jeff said that he was going to set up a Minecraft server for Alyosha and his friends to play on, and Ian will get an invitation. We’ll watch for that!

Miranda, Ian, Alyosha, Jeff, Sonya and Katya

On Wednesday, we all headed out for a family bike ride. It had a couple of purposes: one was to stretch the legs after all that car riding but also as a chance for everyone to have a test ride of their bikes before the big ride on Saturday in case mechanical work was needed. Everything checked out. We rode through Langford and down to the Lagoon. The traffic in Langford was, in Tammy’s words, “terrifying”. There may be a lot of bike lanes painted on the roads here, but you feel a lot safer in Calgary. The morning was beautiful and worth the terror.

A seaside rendezvous

Tammy imposed on Stephanie and invited us over to her house for some “cat time” with Willow and Twinkie. She was still very sad about Squeak and enjoyed some furry friends for a while. It turned out that Stephanie had tweaked her knee and was off so we got an afternoon visit with her, Tristan and the kids.

In the evening, Dad took us out for fish and chips and we walked there and over to Everything Games near Floyd’s Diner. The weather was still smiling on us. It was nice that we could have an evening of sitting and relaxing. We watched Despicable Me 2 with Dad.

Thursday morning was a shopping trip downtown. Everybody except Ian was excited to go to Russell Books, Murchies and Munro’s Books. Miranda found three books in a series she’s been looking for, and I picked up a couple of Wheel of Time reference books for sharing with Ian (we’re always skipping back to the map in the e-book when reading). Later was back to Stephanie’s for a BBQ and a sleepover for the kids. The kids played War of the Monsters and the grown-ups got to play a game of Cards Against Humanity, which Tristan won.

“_____________, the Musical”

  • Gandhi
  • Auschwitz
  • The Great Depression

Altogether, it was a very successful day.

Friday was picking up the kids from Stephanie’s and having lunch with Dad before heading down to the Trek bicycle shop for sign in for the Tour de Victoria. Before our trip, Ian had asked if he and I could ride down to the sign in. In years past we’ve walked from our hotel or driven. But I think he remembered seeing people ride down and wanted to do that. So he and I rode down, and Tammy and Miranda drove down. We took the Galloping Goose from Dad’s and had a very nice ride. He recognized the place where the Cycle of Life Tour started in 2017, which was on the way.

On the pedestrian bridge at Uptown

From there, Ian rode with Tammy and Miranda to Pearkes Arena, where there was a Gem and Mineral show on. Stephanie and the kids went there too, while I rode back to Dad’s via Esquimalt and stopped in at North of Hadrian’s Kilt Shop to see Jackson.

In the evening, Stephanie, Tristan, Tammy and I met up with Michelle, CJ, Maria and Tony at Ma Miller’s Pub for dinner, drinks and music bingo. The food was very good and the bingo was fun. My only regret was that we couldn’t stay late because we had to get up for the ride the next morning. Tammy got second place in the game we played, and I won a prize for “being enthusiastic”.

Chowing down at Ma Miller’s

Deep fried Mars bars to share

My bingo card: lots of dots, no lines!

The Tour de Victoria on Saturday I covered in its own post. Afterwards, we were all tired (especially Tammy and I). We had an offer to visit with Jackson and Michelle, but we needed to rest and pack for our trip home the next day. We had dinner at Jasmine’s Restaurant and got everything ready for the next morning. This was one of the most controversial parts of our trip: we would drive back home the day after the long ride. We needed to do it, because Tammy had to work Monday night. Normally, we arrive in Victoria and sign in then do the ride, and then have a week or so of visiting. This time, with the work restriction and the ferry ride we saved the Tour de Victoria for last. I really liked it. It was something I was looking forward to all week. Tammy and Miranda thought it was more a matter of dreading the end of the week.

We had a reservation for the 8:00 ferry on Sunday. I might have made a reservation for the 7:00 but there were none remaining when I made it. We were up at 5:30 (for the second day in a row) and everything was in the car and everybody hugged Grandpa by 6:15. There was little traffic and we were at the terminal by 6:45, so we actually got on the 7:00. What luck!

The rest of the day seemed to play out in fast forward to me. Tammy and I traded off driving frequently, with Tammy driving from Hope to Merritt, Kamloops to Salmon Arm and Revelstoke to Golden.

Coming into Merritt

It was very warm in places: Salmon Arm was over 30 degrees. Lunch was at Tim Horton’s in Kamloops and dinner was at DQ in Golden.

Heading into the mountains

We made great time. The kids were as good as gold the whole day. From Golden to Calgary, we each took turns choosing songs to play, which helped the time pass. We stopped in Lake Louise for a bathroom break, when I caught this photo.

Last rays of sunlight

We got home after 10, safe and sound. No real worries on the road. Lots of idiot drivers, but nothing that endangered us. Time to start real life again. We called the Springbank Pet Resort this morning and Squeak’s ashes aren’t ready yet, but they will call us.

In other news, when we got home, I threw my watch on the charger in order to get it ready for seeing the Apple Genius, and guess what? It was working. It has continued to work. I took it in and they ran diagnostics on it and it was clear. There is still a limited warranty on the watch until November 25th, but I would have to send it off to a service centre for 7-11 days. After the torture from this week without it, I am not willing to do that at the moment.

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