Archive for August, 2012

Here For a Good Time

Posted: August 30, 2012 in events, life, writing

Night settles in on Sidney Island, BC.

Seems that it’s been awhile since I posted anything on the ol’ blog, so I may as well rant, rave and ramble about this past summer. What I did, where I went, you know the routine.

For the most part, I think this past summer was an improvement on last year, at least from my perspective. I mean, there were things last year that were cool and all, but in the bigger picture, I’d say the summer of 2012 provided a better highlight reel of long-lasting memories.

And when I say better than last year, I’m mainly talking about what I did on my two-week summer break from the office.

What I ran into last year was a lack of things to do and/or places to go, so my holiday time from work was largely spent kicking it around home and just enjoying being away from my professional life for two weeks. The one really cool thing I did was spent a night up at Candle Lake (recap located elsewhere on this blog), but everything else wasn’t quite memorable.

This year, I really wanted to make my mark with my summer vacation. I wanted to be constantly doing something, going somewhere, experiencing this and that, you know what I mean. I didn’t want to waste any days away just sitting around the house. Luckily, my schedule prevented me from doing so.

The following is a day-to-day log of my comings and goings on my summer holiday….

Tuesday, July 31: Uploading the last issue of the paper for three weeks, I’m elated as the clock strikes 4:30 and I cruise home, blasting CCR’s “Looking Out My Backdoor” (for some reason, a tradition I’ve had since 2010) and looking forward to that evening’s dinner. I have a head-start on my holiday due to the travel schedule over the next two days.

My “I’m on summer break and it’s time to spoil myself” meal consists of two (TWO) lobster tails, a juicy rib eye steak, fries and baby carrots. I am pleased.

Wednesday, August 1: I wake up at 7:30 and pack up my car, and by 8:00 my mother and I are on the road. The destination? Calgary, at least for today. The REAL destination? Victoria, BC, where we’ll meet up with my cousin Murray and cruise by boat to his home on Sidney Island.

The road trip is relaxed with sunny weather the entire way. Not many people are fans of driving for 6-7 hours, but I enjoy it. We get to my brother Jim’s in the late afternoon, and enjoy a BBQ supper after my other brother John arrives. We sit out on the patio for hours. It’s kinda nice.

Thursday, August 2: Getting up even earlier than the day before, we’re on the road before 6:30 to get to the Calgary airport in order to make our 8:10 am flight to Victoria. After going through the usual airport stuff, we’re eventually sitting on the plane, although Ma and I are split up; she’s in row 7 and I’m in row 12. Coincidentally, my uncle Vic and aunt Shirley are on the same flight as us. To pass the time, I watch some Olympics coverage on the small screen on the seat in front of me.

Landing in Victoria at 8:30 local time (like as if the flight was only 20 minutes), I grab our luggage and we meet up with Murray and Linda, who’ll return to the airport the next day to pick us up as Ma and I are spending the day and night in Victoria. I get the key to our car rental and this thing is a beauty – a 2013 Ford Escape with all the options. Like something Bruce Wayne would drive if he wanted to appear normal.

Cruising around, we get to The Butchart Gardens, a worldly known attraction that sees over a million visitors per year. Unique flowers, lots of pretty colors, tons to see, you get the deal. I knew Ma had always wanted to see it, so I made it a part of our itinerary.

After a stop at Walmart for a pair of sandals, we get to our room at the Travelodge and are quite impressed; cool view of the harbour and the room is large and spacious. After dinner (Chinese buffet), I drop her off back at the room and I venture out to a multiplex theater to finally see ‘The Dark Knight Rises’. What’s extra groovy? It’s in IMAX format. The film is incredible, and I mentally make another appointment to see it again after my return from the West Coast.

Friday, August 3 – Monday, August 6: These four days are the obvious ‘meat’ of the vacation, as Murray boats us out to Sidney Island on Friday, which is a cool trip by itself. Over the next few days, the island is a fantastic getaway from anything even related to back home. No internet, no cell service, and very limited TV options. Murray and Linda’s home is immense; something like 7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and it’s built sorta like two living spaces in one home. My bedroom at the top of the stairs has an incredible panoramic view of the backyard.

And that backyard. Amazing. It ends with a cliff-like drop leading to the ocean, with chairs located just before the drop. Incredible view, and I find myself in this spot more than a few times over the next few days.

The rest of our time there is spent checking out the rest of the island, including a fellow homeowner’s stupidly extravagant home – all 11,600 feet of it (the guy wasn’t home, and we just checked out the exterior), as well as visiting and just enjoying the peace and quiet. Yes, I would’ve loved to go fishing, but Murray didn’t have his gear on the boat.

The most kick-ass consolation prize comes on Monday morning, when we all board Murray’s yacht for a daylong cruise. The thing is a work of pure art; with a decent haul of groceries, I’d gladly live on it for a month.

We cruise to Maple Bay and dock for lunch before coming back in the late afternoon. By that point, Ma and I are headed back into Victoria with Murray and Vic, who are meeting up with someone the next morning to go on a fishing expedition of their own. I would’ve killed to go, but Tuesday is the day we fly back and we couldn’t risk the chance of not getting back before our flight. Monday night is spent at a Days Inn right by the harbour. I catch up on emails and everything Web-related and reflect on the last few days. I’m happy.

Tuesday, August 7: After Murray picks us up, Vic treats us to lunch in the town of Sidney. Murray and I have some kind of seafood soup that can only be described as vegetable soup, but just a shitload of things from the ocean (prawns, mussels, clams, halibut, salmon). Good eating.

Dropping us off at the airport, hugs and handshakes are exchanged and now it’s back to just Ma and I. She kills time reading a book, I kill time online as we count down the time to our flight. When the dinner hour approaches, we enjoy ribs at the White Spot restaurant right in the airport and look at incoming/departing flights. We then see that our flight is delayed. This is apparently because of some stormy weather in Alberta, and almost right on cue, it starts raining where we are, too.

More time is killed browsing around the duty free shop, which really is a damn scam when it comes to BC, since the PST and HST is outrageous, lending credence to the acronym BC – Bring Cash.

We finally get on our plane, and Ma and I get a nice buffer zone between us when the young lady seated beside her offers to move to a different seat after noticing the sling on Ma’s right arm. It really isn’t any trouble, but I admit that it’s nice having as much room as I want to kick back and relax on the flight. I also have a window seat, which always provides some neat visuals at 35,000 feet. But for the duration of this hour-long ride, I’m reading ‘The Book of Awesome’. Cool read, and I find myself nodding and grinning in agreement with many of this author’s choices. The flight back to Calgary is relaxed, which is nice.

Wednesday, August 8: Leaving Calgary and making the trek back home, we stop at a Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs chain in Airdrie. I remembered reading a while ago about that particular location, and when we passed it on our way to Calgary a week earlier, I made a mental note to stop in on our way home to try it out. I like it.

We get home at around 7:00, having picked up some KFC in Kindersley. We greet everyone back home, we unpack, and the trip is over.

The End.

Well, not quite. See, that was just the first week of my summer break. And I’m glad that’s how the BC trip worked out because I liked the idea of going away for a week, coming home and STILL having a week left to do whatever else I wanted. So the rest of my holiday was spent….

Thursday, August 9: Seeing ‘Dark Knight Rises’ a second time, but making it my brother Brendon’s first. Told you I’d see it again.
Saturday, August 11: Going to the Ex in Saskatoon, which I hadn’t done in five years. It was oddly relaxed, if you can call a massively crowded outdoor fair event like that relaxed. Brendon and I weren’t operating on any schedule, except for the wildlife show and the Collective Soul concert. Outside of that, we just took in the sights, probably ate way too much carnival food (gotta love them spud nuts), and the shows were awesome.
Sunday, August 12: Returning to Candle Lake for the day and night. I fished, I swam, and I took in the surroundings. Still gorgeous up there, and the only difference is now the old cabin is on the market, with a nice big ReMAX sign out front.
Tuesday, August 14: Cruising up to the city to pick up some Blu-ray releases, including ‘JAWS’ and season six of ‘Dexter’. That night, I slowly got myself back into reporter mode as I checked out the circus in Outlook held outside the Rec Plex. That night, I begin blazing my way through ‘Dexter’, episode by episode.
Wednesday, August 15: I finish ‘Dexter’ and begin the wait until season seven. Seeing how it’s my last night before returning back to the office the next morning, I just relax and reflect on an amazing two weeks.

THERE’S your ending.

So in short, a very groovy summer. I also turned 27 a week ago, so that’s cool, I guess. Plus the Labor Day long weekend is upon us, which I’ve always considered the last big hurrah for summer. Certainly not a shabby past month.

OK, I’ll shut up now.