Friday, 29 June 2012

A day in the forest and atop a mountain

Dick and I left town for the day yesterday.
We rode to the Capilano Bridge and then up the road to Grouse mountain.

We had an excellent introduction to British Columbian temperate forest flora and fauna at the Capilano suspension Bridge where the owners have done a great job with tracks, treetop walks and a cliff walk. The interpretation panels were inspiring and informative.

We later went to Grouse mountain which is visible from the CBD and is a few km up the road from Capilano.
We went up to 4100' by cable car and then in a chairlift. We felt quite at home in Queenstown with snow in mid summer.

We met our first grizzly bears, Coola and Grinder who were reared as orphans

A viewing platform just underneath the propellers on this wind turbine on top of Grouse mountain. Great views and lots of information about wind generated electricity.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

June Anniversaries, India 2011, Larapinta Trail 2010 and Switzerland 2009.

One year ago today we began a bike trip in the Indian Himalayas.
Here we are getting acquainted with 1952 Royal Enfield Bullet.

Ken and Shirley were on the trip.

Both we and the bikes were still breathing at 18,380' on Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world. Here we are with Mike Ferris who organised the trip.

Descending to the Vale of Kashmir. Just before this I had prayed for our safety and a profound peace came upon me and the word Trust. I knew that I can trust this man driving the bike.

On June 28, 2011 I joined a walking group - the Desert Choir led by Raymond Hawthorne. We hiked in the Larapinta trail beyond Alice Springs in Australia, stopping in chasms and gorges to sing a Capella gospel songs and camping at night. I was a tenor for the week.
Such joy singing in the magnifence of the outback.

Early morning in the outback.

In June 2010 Dick and walked over alpine passes on the Alpine Pass route from Sars on the eastern border of Switzerland to Meiringen - about 180 km west. I took the ferry one day and the train another.

Gorgeous views were the reward for persistence!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Shopping for suspenders...

The truth test came this afternoon when I tried on my 'leathers'. The trousers fell down and the jacket was too big. The kevlar protective armour for my knees and hips was in the wrong place... on the floor!
But the helmet still fitted!
I have shrunk - a lot.
What shall I do? New gear or braces?

I adjusted all the adjustable parts of my gear and we rode off to Metropolis, the biggest mall in British Columbia, which is about 2km down the road.
The mission - to do a test ride, to find braces to hold my gear up, and to get some gas canisters for the gas cooker.

All the fitness work has paid off. I hopped on board with ease.
The Metropolis mall has 450 stores some, like Sears, are the size of a city block. We found an Atmosphere store which had a great range of camping gear and Zellers who had in stock 4 pairs of braces - a.k.a here as suspenders. There waiting for me was the perfect pair - black with small polka dots. The brand 'Dickies'.

Be patient folks...There is going to be an 'on the back of the bike' in this blog - here is Dick at work this morning reassembling Mella.

Art in the city

When I walked back from Granville yesterday I popped in to lots of little galleries on the street but the biggie was the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Matisse exhibition was marvellous. I especially liked the attention given to the Cone sisters, Claribel and Ettie, who collected impressionist art in the early 20th century. They amassed the biggest collection of Matisse pantings and sculpture in the world. They also collected textiles and these, with other personal memorabilia including correspondence with Matisse were on display. I loved the relational sense of art integrated in their lives.

Oh yes, the paintings and sculptures were impressive, too.

Take a peek at...

The exhibition reminded me of the documentary film Herb and Dorothy, the Vogels who began collecting art in the 1960's in New York.


I can see why Vancouver is rated as the most livable city in the world. It also has the highest cost of living in North America.
The weather for midsummer is cool and fine, so far. Glorious sunshine yesterday. Today I am wearing two Icebreaker layers. Speaking of which, I saw Icebreaker in a store yesterday and it was cheaper than NZ (including exchange).
The ease of getting around makes Vancouver a great place to visit. Within 24 hours we had roved the city, walked 8km around Stanley Gardens on a coastal walkway.
The walkways and cycleways are very impressive. There are dedicated cycle lanes on some main streets. The taxis are nearly all Hybrid cars, the Skytrains are electric, there are trolley buses and conventional buses.

The air is clear.
Traffic is considerate.
Cars stop well back from intersections and wait for pedestrians to cross. I feel very safe as a pedestrian.
Yesterday I walked back from Granville past lots of small galleries, lunched at the Omelettery, hopped on the little ferry and then walked into the CBD to Gastown.

Flowers are everywhere. The median strips in town are planted- good for discouraging jaywalking.
The luscious purple fuchsias, florid red, orange and yellow begonias,
multihued petunias in hanging baskets are all around the city. Big planter boxes welcome people to Banks and office buildings.
Small green areas with sculptures and plants bring life to the city.

Foxgloves and poppies waved to me as I walked up Burrard Street from the ferry

A Chinese warrior army stands at intersections and on the footpath at strategic places. They are to be auctioned for children's charities.

Vegetables and flowers mingle in a large inner city garden where people have small allotments (they pay $10 per year).

The greening includes trees on roof tops of high rise buildings.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A hat to cool the wonder...

that is under my hair - and has 'all perils' insurance for 2 years (even if it is eaten by a crocodile), and a lifetime guarantee.

Finding a good sun hat was my only shopping mission in Vancouver. I had heard of Tilley hats which are Canadian, and was keen to find one. I located the store after a sky train ride and a bus trip to the west side of the False Creek. Worth the effort. I received more attention than when buying a hat for the races.
The service included lessons on how to make the hat secure for windy conditions and how to wash the hat. The no perils insurance covers loss. If I lose it I can get a replacement for half price.
I always wondered why my head gets hot when we go tramping. Little 'taps' beside my brow turn on. Now I know why.
I love this explanation from owners manual for my hat which says...
"Compared to the rest of the body, our head expels a great deal of heat; sometimes it gets quite wet because of the massive evaporation needed to cool the wonder that rests within."

To market, to market

Local food markets are a great way to see what is on the local menu, what is in season and also to people watch.
An abundance of summer fruits at the Granville Island market in Vancouver competed with Salmon in every guise- whole, fish smoked, double smoked, jerky and more - along with cheeses and chocolates.
It is the height of the season for these luscious strawberries. They reminded me of the Third Space group in Auckland - Following the first fruits comes a time of abundance. There is a season for everything.

Fresh smiling sockeye salmon with a juicy chinook. The chinook has teeth on its tongue.

'It's a real stinker' and 'well aged' cheeses.

Capsicums galore

Hydrangeas with huge flowers

For my sister Yvonne and our mother - peonies

Just looking! And thinking of Violet.

Chocolate fish, plump and rounded- makes our NZ chocolate fish seem emaciated.

Multicolored potatoes - advance preparation for Peru.


Something for my teaching friends. Next week brings the end of the school year in Canada. I am puzzled by the dried legumes and rice in these gifts.