Pender Island to Prescott Arizona - a journey of thrills, some good, some not-so-good. The weather in southern Oregon and northern California presented a harrowing challenge. Driving rain erased the view and
pooled along the roads. Illuminated highway signs ominously read, "Severe storm. Expect flooding" and the
result was a torrential rain, high-wind-warning drive.
No vacancy at the RV park - not normally a January problem, but space is currently
reserved for California refugees from the Paradise and Camp Fires. Fortunately a truck
stop adjacent to the RV park was able to accommodate the overflow. The motorhome
was ‘rockin and rollin’ in the wind all night long. We joined the big leagues - flanked by
a cadre of tractor-trailer rigs that arrived after we went to bed.
The adventures became lighter and sunnier as we drove south, and we relaxed when we were
able to camp and ride our bikes under the orange trees near Bakersfield CA.
Gentle rolling hills east of Bakersfield lead upwards toward an engineering feat - the Tehachapi
Loop, where elevation change necessitated construction of a circular rail track built in 1876.
If the train is long enough, it is possible to simultaneously view engine and caboose, one above
the other as the train gradually descends before entering a tunnel to continue westbound.
Then - Las Vegas! Celine Dion - the theatre, capacity 4300, was full. The audience was young,
loud and REALLY into Celine - and what a show it was - an amazing performance with a
phenomenal cast of back-up musicians and extraordinary stage effects and lighting; a true
Vegas entertainment extravaganza.
Las Vegas glitz: Chihuly glass ceiling at the Bellagio Hotel
and life-size white and dark figures fashioned entirely of chocolate and poised on sugar 'glass'
advertising Cirque de Soleil's "O".
Today a trip to the snow-dusted Grand Canyon in sunshine - just downloading pictures now.
Will post again in a couple of weeks from somewhere east of Arizona - but in no rush to leave
good friends and the beauty of this state.
And, for us, it begins with adventure - just as the old year ended (and I'm not talking about THE storm of December 18th). We are once again venturing out in our motorhome and heading for warmth. Most of you have been on my Musings mailing list for some time. I have taken the liberty of adding a few names - names of people I think might enjoy "coming along for the ride", but please feel free to ask to have your name removed if you are flooded with emails and need no more. I get it. On the other hand, if you are interested and would like to read earlier iterations of Musings, including some of our previous travel adventures, go to my website, click on the Musings tab and scroll down - http://www.dianemacdonaldphotography.com
To get into the habit of posting (I've been remiss for awhile), and to whet the thirst for travel, I will begin with our December adventure at Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. We walked to Botanical Beach at sunset:
We were surprised:
We drove the pot-holed logging road to find Big Lonely Doug, a regal Douglas Fir saved by a
caring logger in 2011:
We are lucky - we don't have to travel anywhere to see the glorious sunrise!
More from the road! Wishing you a happy, hopeful new year.
Excited that, for the eighth consecutive year, my work has been juried into the Sidney Fine Art Show.
The show opens in less than two weeks on Friday, October 12th and runs for only three days through
Sunday, October 14th. For further information about show times and venue (the Mary Winspear
Centre in Sidney), go to http://www.SidneyFineArtShow.ca
As the SFAS website notes, "this is THE show to see." The show "has become one of the largest and most prestigious juried art shows in British Columbia". This 3-day event has grown, now attracting over 3,000 visitors. A diverse selection of painting, sculpture, fibre arts, photography and more is selected from approximately 1,000 entries.
A break from "the road" for a news update. The Red Tree Artists'
Collective is excited to be branching out to show at Goward House in Victoria.
The show opens next Sunday, one week from today, with an afternoon reception
from 1:30 to 3:30. Artists will be in attendance and we would love to welcome
our friends and yours to our first-ever show outside the marine confines of Pender Island.
Refreshments will be served.
I apologize to those who have received this message more than once and hope you
will forgive the overlap in messaging.
After venturing into Wells Gray Provincial Park, we headed from Clearwater to Mt. Robson,
the highest peak in Canada - only about a third of its stately beauty was visible. The changing
colours emphasized its angular grandeur and cloud formations made the changing views
The aim of this trip was to meet Mel's sister and her husband at Mt. Robson and from there
travel to Jasper, Banff, and Fairmont. The photo above was taken at the Mt. Robson Visitor's
Centre where we picked up directions and maps. We eagerly returned to the "rig" to begin
exploring only to find that it stubbornly refused to start. We have BCAA to thank for the
45 minute tow back to Valemount.
Followed the tow truck to the boonies outside Valemount - can't say we were reassured when
we arrived at Monashee Motors.
But our reticence was groundless and after an overnight stay in the garage the rig was up
and running again. Unfortunately the weather then threw havoc into our plans and, with
snow in the forecast and dire Environment Canada warnings about conditions on the Columbia
River Parkway, we diverted to Edmonton. We passed some sheep just bumming around as we
drove through Jasper. A blast of winter and the promised snow materialized when we arrived at
Mel's sister's home.
The four of us decided to head further east trying to outrun the snow. Our revised route took
us to Drumheller, home of the internationally renowned Tyrell Museum. The dinosaur displays
are remarkable (an understatement), and the stop educational, fun and worthwhile.
Finally we dared to turn west toward the Rocky Mountains and, once there, were rewarded
with multiple glimpses of their wonder as we drove from Banff to Lake Louise.
Mighty, majestic, magnificent - abundant, beautiful views around each bend. Exhilarating
and humbling. I'm running out of superlatives! We're in Fairmont now, already eager to
return to Banff and Jasper.
Several weeks ago a friend alerted me to a call for images for "Splash", a juried photography exhibition at Gallery 1650 in Los Angeles. The theme: water. Four of my images (shown below) were among the sixty selected for the month-long show. If you happen to be in LA, the opening night reception will take place on Saturday, September 15th.
Umbrella Spokes Reflected in Raindrops
It's me again - hope you're happy to accompany us on our Fall 2018 RV trip in BC and (soon) Alberta.
We headed off early last Friday on a BC ferry, the Salish Eagle, heading from Pender to Tsawwassen
with Mt. Baker looking almost Fuji-like in the clouds.
First a ride on the tram over the drama of the Fraser Canyon at Hell's Gate.
Then through Cache Creek to Hat Creek Ranch, situated on a section of the original Cariboo Wagon Road;
a regular stop for early gold rush miners in BC. Meticulous restoration of original wallpaper, flooring
and furnishings make a stop at Hat Creek House especially interesting.
A view through lace curtains; this of the horse stables across the lane:
On to Clearwater, gateway to Wells Gray Provincial Park - pristine, untrammelled, peaceful, beautiful.
Finally after a summer of heat and fire, the weather has turned and it looks as though we're in for rain -
stay tuned! Update - whoops I mean snow. Just heard there's snow forecast for Jasper. Not sure
where we'll head now, but not Jasper. A course correction is required.
Summer - art exhibitions abound indoors and out. For the 22nd year Art off the Fence showcased amazing
art on South Pender Island at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Along with good food and great music,
beautiful artwork drew several hundred visitors to the two day show.
Below: the crowd at the show alongside one of my sold works:
In its 32nd year, The Sooke Fine Arts Show is taking place NOW - the SFAS opened Friday July 27th
and closes Monday August 6th. The show offers a breathtaking collection of marvellous artwork.
Below, the display greeting show visitors; beside it my Leaf Filigree.
(For the first time this year visitors were welcome to take pictures).
The art show in Sooke became an excuse for a short motorhome get-away. Eons ago we were resident
in Victoria for many years but had not visited the Sooke potholes. Luckily we arrived early Friday before
the hordes descended. It's easy to see why this natural attraction draws both camera buffs and thrill-seekers.
Saturday we drove north from Sooke to China Beach - from there we hiked to Mystic Beach enjoying
what the Japanese call "forest bathing". Much of the time our eyes were glued to the ground - no trees were chopped in the building of the Juan de Fuca Trail and there are thousands of trip-able roots - roots that keep
the trees standing and are determined to leave hikers prone! The middle photo depicts a
representative portion of the trail.
Two challenging kilometres later we arrived at Mystic Beach, fog bank in the background -
worth the hike. After a lovely lunch respite we traversed the roots back to our car. Friends had
recommended a stop at nearby Foggy Mountain Forge - a fascinating experience worth repeating.
Sunday we travelled across island to Crofton. That afternoon we watched a self-propelled motorized
hang glider, launching himself airborne from the beach. Yesterday we drove to nearby Cowichan Bay for
lunch - there is a wonderful historical boat museum situated on the wharf (free). Fun, too,
to see the colourful float homes at the marina.
We returned home with happy memories and a new idea for containing potted plants!
Setting up for Art off the Fence today - the show runs tomorrow and Sunday, 11 to 4.
And the Sooke Fine Arts Show opens Thursday - I'm pleased to have had two pieces accepted into the show. A feast for the eyes, the show runs for 11 days - more info at http://sookefinearts.com
Counting down! Two weeks to go until Art off the Fence on beautiful South Pender Island! Music, food, and an art extravaganza all under the trees at the Church of the Good Shepherd. Mark your calendars!