Saturday, August 31, 2013


Our second day driving through Montana showed us more of that beautiful state.  It was punctuated with episodes of severe thunderstorms, and at one point we had to pull off the road and wait for the rain to pass, since we couldn't see more than a few feet ahead.

That fence was about all we could see in the rain.

Ennis, Montana - a Western themed town along the way to Yellowstone
We got to Yellowstone late in the afternoon, but we still had a fair drive through the park to get to our cabin at Yellowstone Lake Hotel.  We were amazed the whole fee for us to enter the park was only $25.00 for 7 days.  It has been a while since I was in a Canadian National Park, but it seems to me it cost a lot more than that.

It wasn't long after we entered the park that we started to see the telltale lines of cars stopped at the side of the road, which signified wildlife to be seen.  We saw lots of elk, deer, and buffalo.  It was cool to see the animals, but compared to what wanders across our lawn at home, it wasn't all that dramatic.

We stopped for a quick dinner at the Canyon Area cafeteria.  We were pretty impressed by the National Parks infrastructure.  It is quite a different approach from Banff and Jasper.  There are gift shops, cafeterias, diners and gas stations at several spots throughout the park, but all are managed by the company that runs the park.  There is none of the private enterprise that you see in the Canadian parks, with their independent towns.  There are also great interpretive centers at all the areas, that are well staffed, and have really informative displays.

After dinner, we headed on through the park towards Yellowstone Lake.  On the way, we saw lots more buffalo.  The thing that excited us most, though, was seeing the geothermal activity.  Bubbling pools of mud, and steaming, rotten-egg smelling ponds stopped us several times along the way.  This was like nothing we had ever seen before, and we were all impressed more than we had expected.  It was pretty clear that we were right on top of a volcano.  Exciting stuff!
Christopher didn't like the rotten egg smell, but this pond was called the Dragon's Mouth - there was a great puffing, growling sound coming from a small cave, with steam.

We finally made it to our cabin, which was really just one of many little huts next to the old fashioned, majestic Yellowstone Lake hotel.  Exhausted, we all collapsed into bed.

The next day I got up early to see if I could spy some wildlife before to many park visitors were awake.  I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise as the mist on the lake dissipated with the warming day.

I didn't have to go too far to see some wildlife.  A buffalo herd had surrounded the post office just across the parking lot from us.  Several people waiting to mail letters decided to come back another time.

The rest of the day was spent geyser hunting.  We stopped at lots of various features along the lower ring road (there is a big "figure eight, made up of two ring roads, that tour you through the park).

Of course, no visit to Yellowstone would be complete without a trip to Old Faithful.  It was the most developed area we saw in the park.  This was where we encountered the tour buses, and tons of other tourists.  Although from what we could tell, things were far below capacity.  It looked like all the parking lots, cafeterias, and other facilities were set up for crowds at least 2-3 times what we saw.

Old Faithful, putting on a show, right on schedule.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  Not to be confused with the actual Grand Canyon, but still, pretty impressive.
 The  next morning, we had a relaxed breakfast at the Yellowstone Lake Lodge, which was a short walk along the lake from our cabin.

Walking to breakfast

Enjoying the ambience in the Yellowstone Lake Lodge

The architecture of the lodges and the hotels was beautiful.  It really spoke of the history of the park.  You could see that the buildings were conceived and built in an earlier time, when grand structures in a natural setting were the order of the day.  In fact, the whole history of the park was really fascinating.  It was the first national park in the world, given protected status by Ulysses S. Grant in 1872.  I am sure you can read all about it online, if you are interested.  The development of the park from then until now has lots of great stories.

Anyway, after breakfast we headed on out, dodging buffalo all the way.  We are now in Sheridan, Wyoming, hoping to make it to Mount Rushmore tomorrow.  We are definitely playing the part of the dutiful tourists, but it has been fun so far!

Yelleystone (and headache) ((inc.)) (((I’m not sure if (( )) is a real thing)))

Posted by Christopher

Today if you were to blame me for not doing school when I’m supposed to, you would be wrong!

Yellowstone National Park is the best school field trip ever.  All the information about geysers and volcanic history is highly informative.  At the same time they are just fun to watch.

Also with places like the Grand Canyon of  the Yelllowstone you can get some exercise (which can be hard to come by while on a road trip) and one of the best views in Yellowstone.

Now this doesn’t mean that everything is perfect here. The accommodations that we stayed in (a little cabin outside the hotel) were a little smelly, and while being cozy, also not the most luxurious. But all in all if your not staying in the grand hotel (which you should if you have a little extra money) they were not a bad place to sleep.

As we were driving to our next hotel outside of Yellowstone I began to get a headache. I thought nothing of it because like most other car headaches I thought it would go away. Later though, as we got out of the car to our hotel I realized that it was a full bore migraine and if I couldn’t ditch it I basically needed to go to sleep and end the rest of the day for me. So I tried Tylenol and Advil and those didn’t help a bit so I decided before I gave in I’d see if a swim would help. I quickly ran down to the hotel’s swimming pool and leapt into the hot tub. Instantly the headache dropped down ten-fold. Next I hopped into the larger colder pool. This completely dominated the headache and soon by doing this I got rid of it. So for migraine getters, SWIM!

An Expected Journey

Posted by Alexander

Today is our second day on the road and I’m writing this entry in the car. We are on the way to Yellowstone park. I can’t wait to see what we find there. Last night we had a restful sleep at the Holiday Inn express.

I wasn't quite as into the car party as my brother and sister.
 Yesterday we had a sad farewell with our dear cousins but thanks to the technology we have today keeping in touch won’t be a problem.

A large fish in Ennis, Montana.  They seem to like fishing there.

We had an exciting race with a train just moments ago and among some of the sights are cattle and other livestock, small fields with little houses and large signs boasting a “testicle festival”. Thank goodness the signs only seem to be referring to a rodeo. We also just saw a helicopter fly by with water to fight a fire.

Ennis, Montana.  Cowboy country.

I’ll keep you all posted as we go.

Oh and a quick message to any cowboys heading to the festival: gtdy jdzgdsh, xi zdps wttstg qhh rkpbk xdatf xt fdg mtbdoft pu yxpzgtg xt qh iqo.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Posted by Christopher

To start off my blog I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Christopher and I am from canada and twelve years old. My dad for awhile has wanted to go on a sailing trip for a year around the tropics for quite some time now. As of this school year my dad has deemed it the proper time to go on that trip so the last few weeks of summer have mainly been spent packing and buying a catamaran.

So now I do not happen to be going to school for the next year like standard kids but sailing exotically and using our school textbooks to study what seems kind of important.

Whaaaat?!  Not as original as I thought we were.

currently we are driving down to Florida where we own our boat. we right now in the beautiful state of Montana soon to be in Yellowstone park where we will be staying a couple nights.

Big Horn Mountains, Wyoming

I apologize for lack of detail but I think any more blog and the reader may become an x blog reader. Now that you know of my trip you can follow me and get more things in more detail In later blogs.

Hangin' out at the Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

P.S. To all those having trouble with roller skating:

P jqu jydzzi fxpuk#

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cruising. No control.

Well, we made it out of Canada, and into the good ol' US of A.  Or as the kids insist on calling it " 'Murica!".

Our last couple of days in Canada were filled with all the pre-departure craziness you might expect.  On Monday, we spent the day heading in to Castlegar to get our cruise control fixed on the car.  I wasn't too keen on the idea of driving 5000 miles with no cruise control.  Unfortunately, after spending a few hours in Castlegar getting the car fixed, we were in such a rush to get back to Gray Creek and finish packing that it didn't occur to us to actually check the cruise control until we were back on the other side of the lake.  Wouldn't you know it, despite 2 hours in the shop, when we actually checked it, it still didn't work.

Got it all in, even the Lego.  As long as we don't buy a single thing between here and Florida, we'll be OK.
Nevertheless, we packed up and headed out yesterday, as scheduled.  Crossed the border at Creston, with no more fuss than if we were going across for the weekend.

Yesterday, we spent driving south through Montana, and ended up in Missoula.  Montana seems like an awesome state.  Almost all of what we drove through yesterday was National Forest.  Wild and empty pretty much all the way.  Plenty of deer crossing the highway, and even a few bighorn sheep at the side of the road.  Missoula itself seems like a nice town - lots like home.  Mountains all around, and Subarus everywhere you look.

Saying goodbye to the Kootenay Lake cousins took quite a while.  Lots of hugging.
The plan is to head on down to Yellowstone today, but right now I am sitting in Missoula Hyundai, seeing if they have any better luck fixing our cruise control than Castlegar Hyundai did.  If not, I guess we will be working out our gas pedal muscles all the way to Florida.  Not the end of the world, but sort of a nuisance.

It strikes me that whenever I read boat blogs, people are always complaining about all the time they need to spend fixing their boats.  Personally, I don't really see how that is any different than owning a car and a house.  Maybe when I get on the boat, it will seem different, but as far as I can tell, things break.  If you want to keep them running, you need to suck it up and fix 'em.

Not the most dramatic start to the adventure, but at least we are finally moving!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My First And Best Post Ever Of All Time So Far

Posted by Alexander
Alexander 2

My name is Alexander. This is my first blogpost ever of my life. Stories usually start at the beginning so sticking with that tradition, that’s where I’ll start.

My father has always wanted a boat of his very own (to share with the family of course). My mother always sort of laughed at the notion until they both started looking seriously at boats online. I seemed to be right in thinking something was up because as we can all see, we now own a boat.

Today I will be talking about one thing that really gets under my skin. Our boats name (he said contemptuously). There were three serious suggestions for the boats name. Lynx line, my favorite for several reasons. 1 it has a cat in it and we are sailing on a catamaran. 2. it is a ski run on the mountain we live next to. 3. it involves mountains. 4. it reminds me of home.

Another name was Elwing, along with being a cool name she is a character from Tolkien.

The last name and my least favorite was Monashee. It’s the mountain range we live in and means peaceful mountain but for some reason I just don’t like it. I will probably grow to like it but still it just doesn’t roll off my tongue. Guess which one got picked?

Alexander 1

As much as I hate to end this abruptly I don’t have much more time to write now but I’ll get back to you next entry.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Off Like a Rocket (i.e. in stages)

Stage 1 was to get out of our house, which we did a little over a week ago. I then stayed at Sara's parents place, finishing up my last week in the ICU, while Sara and the kids headed out to Kootenay Lake, and went hiking at Kokanee glacier.

About 1/4 of the pile from our house.
Sara then came back in to town, and we re-packed everything we had moved from our house, trying to make it all fit in the van. After another round of culling, we managed to get the van packed.

Trying on hats in Crawford Bay
However, we didn't have any kids with us (or any of their bags), so when we get them all added, we will probably have to play another round of "should it stay or should it go" in order to fit everyone in. (As Sara has joked, it would be a lot easier if we just left a kid or two behind. Any takers? ;-)).

Crawford Bay - no pharmacy, only basic groceries, but all your LARPing needs can be taken care of.
We thought about buying this, but decided it might rust on the boat.
So now we are back out at Kootenay Lake for the week.  This will be our final preparation stage, with me catching up on administrative work, and trying to make sure everything is set up for my locums before we go. Once the final packing and arranging is done, we will plan to head off early next week. In the meantime, I have to start the mental adjustment from being on-call and full throttle to trying to remember how to slow down and stop and smell the roses. I suspect it will take a while, but I am looking forward to that particular challenge.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kootenay Glacier Hike

Posted by Katie

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Sitting at the breakfast table at Gray Creek
This morning I made pancakes for my mother and I .  They were delish!  Soon I will drive over to Deanshaven to pick up my brothers who have slept there with some of my cousins.  For some reason this morning I felt like lighting a candle so right now there is a blue candle in the middle of the table.

I’m finally getting a little excited about the boat at least we get to bring Lego.

My expanded family and I  hiked  up Kootney Glacire!  At the start I gave all my cousins and a friend jellybeans!  then we threw on our back packs on and set off, soon we came to a break spot where we took a seat on a balancing log.   We sat there as everyone passed out snacks of all sorts.  After we started to move on to a beautiful spot up on the mountain side  where there are lots of beautiful little streams and waterfalls as well as some very pretty flowers with  a little gray tuff on the end.   Me and one my cousins call them truffula trees.  Soon we came to our lunch spot, my cousin and I went swimming.  Then we started to hike on for a long, long…       long time eventually  we got there.

The next day we went up to Saphire lakes.  Once we got there we sat down to have some lunch in front of the most beautiful lake that I’ve ever seen!  the next sadly but surely we left ):.  Down the hill we went goodbye for now!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Done and done

Our new boat!

Finally.  After a long and fairly exhausting search, involving several trips to Florida and one to the BVIs we have finally found and purchased our boat!  And we couldn't be happier.  The last few days have been a whirlwind of purchase agreements, registration documents and evaluating insurance quotes, but the deal is done, the money has been wired, and it looks like the final ink will be drying on the paperwork (metaphorically speaking) sometime late this week.

Here's the story:

Sara and I went back to Florida last week knowing that the clock was ticking on our boat purchase.  We are getting down to the wire, given that we are leaving B.C. in a couple of weeks, and we really wanted to know we had a boat to head towards prior to our departure.

So, as I mentioned in the last post, there were two boats we wanted to see that were pretty equivalent on paper. The first was a Leopard 47 - a bigger boat that is being used for a private captained charter that looked good, and was reasonably priced for a boat that size.  The second was a Leopard 40 - smaller than anything we had looked at so far - that was for sale privately.  I had found out about it on the Leopard Catamaran owner's group on Yahoo, and had several promising conversations with the owner prior to us leaving for Florida.  There were also a few "backup boats" that we had arranged to see.  We learned our lesson on our last trip to Florida, when the boat we were planning to buy didn't work out.  On our way home, we kicked ourselves that we hadn't left time to see some other boats, so we vowed not to make the same mistake this time.

Anyhoo, the first boat we got on was the Leopard 47.  Our first impression was that the boat was huge, and our second, third and fourth impressions were that the boat needed a lot of work to get it cruise ready.  We felt a bit discouraged, since we had high hopes that it would be as good as advertised.  We felt 'oversold' on that boat.  It would really make things a lot easier if people could be honest about their boats up front, prior to us flying 5000 km to it.

So, the next day we were pretty nervous before seeing the Leopard 40.  It had sounded great in our discussions with the owner over the phone, but what if it too, had been misrepresented?  We really didn't have other great options, and time was running short.

Happily, within a minute of walking on Kalalau, we knew we had found our boat.  It was everything we had hoped it would be, and more.  Clean, a perfect layout for us, extremely well taken care of, and with every option we had been planning to add to any boat we bought.  In fact, it was remarkable how exactly the options on the boat matched the list of options we had been pricing out since we started this whole process.  We had laid out a spreadsheet of the ideal things we wanted on a boat, so that we could see the cost of adding them to any boat that didn't have them, and make accurate comparisons.  Kalalau not only checked every box on our list, it even had the same brands of some big name items that we wanted (eg. a CruiseROWater watermaker).  And the list of spares, upgrades, additions and maintenance made this boat as close to perfect as it could come.  Not to mention that the smaller size meant we would be saving money on everything - purchase price, loan interest, insurance, mooring, maintenance.  Long story short, we were thrilled.

Kat getting Kalalau cleaned up.
On that first day, the owners, Gene and Kat, showed us all around the boat, and we went out for a sail and sea trial.  Everything was so good, we cancelled the viewings we had booked for our 'backup' boats, and went back the next day to get walked through all the systems in detail.  Gene showed us the engines and the power system, the piles of spares for everything we could want, we ran the watermaker, and they answered all our million questions with great patience.

The next day, we flew home, and the boat went to survey.  The survey results showed only minor issues, all which will be easily sorted out.

Kalalau in the slings, getting hauled out for survey.

As soon as we had the survey results, we called Gene, agreed on a final price, and badabing - we are now boat owners.

The rest of our week and the weekend has been spent finalizing paperwork while moving out of our house to make it free for our renters.  Crazy busy, needless to say.  We are now at Sara's parents place, where I will stay for the next week while I work.  Sara and the kids will head back out to Gray Creek today.  We'll also need to get insurance and finalize registrations this week.  I'll post a bit about the boat name, and will try and work on the boat page as well for those that want more details.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Abandoning our house

Posted by Katie:

We abandoned our house today.  I am kind of freaking out that it will be the last time we see it.  But we are going to have a lot of fun because we are going to play a lot with our cousins this weekend.

I'm feeling excited and nervous and scared about our trip coming up.  But I think it will be fun.  We'll be able to have lots of adventures.

I will write a blog for me and for anyone else who wants to read it.  I saw my science teacher today and she said that she would try and read it and she would use it in the science and socials classes this year.  I don't believe she's gonna use it in socials because she's not the socials teacher.  But I will write it anyway.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Oh, so close

clip_image002We’re back in Florida, hopefully for the last time until we come down to get on a boat we actually own. Beat up by the time change yet again, we are heading home today.

It has been an eventful few days. We had a couple of boats at the top of the possibility list on the way down. In fact we were really split between two boats – a Leopard 47 that was in captained charter, and a Leopard 40 that was privately owned and had just returned from an Eastern Caribbean sabbatical cruise. On paper, the pros and cons seemed to balance each other out almost exactly. We were really hoping that by getting on the boats and seeing them, we would get a better feel for them and know which one was right for us.


The good news is, things worked out exactly that way. Within minutes of stepping on each boat, we knew. One was a clear no go, requiring a ton of work to get it up to the standard we wanted. The other was almost perfect – clean, equipped with nearly everything we wanted, extremely well taken care of, and a perfect size for a family of five.

In fact, the boat was so good that we cancelled trips to view a couple of other “also-rans” that we had planned to see as backups. Instead, we spent a second day going back to the boat of choice and getting walked through all the systems on board. We also booked a survey to be done tomorrow. Unfortunately, we won’t be here for the survey, but we trust the surveyor we used last time to do a thorough job, even in our absence.

So, now we wait for the survey. Assuming there are no huge concerns raised, we will go ahead and buy ourselves a boat.

Oh, you are probably wondering which one we have decided on? Well… in the interest of preserving some suspense, and also not jinxing the deal you’ll just have to wait until all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. We have gotten this far a couple of times before, and things haven’t gone through, so I don’t want to get too optimistic just yet. More to come, hopefully soon.

For now, we have a 15 hour trip back home to conquer today. Followed by switching our internal clocks back to Pacific Time (I cringe to think it is 4 a.m. at home as I write this – the reality of that will kick in tonight).