Thursday, November 26, 2009


So I think that is pretty much my autobiography. As I remember stories that I want to tell I will probably add them to the account but with Alex heading off to college I’m pretty well current. We used to go on some sort of vacation pretty much every year but as soon as kids hit high school it became very difficult. The first problem was with the kids going to Mount Carmel High School. If you wanted to be in the band program (as Kira was) then marching band was mandatory. In addition, band took up so much time that you couldn’t graduate in four years (at least not with all the University requirements) unless you took summer school. With summer school you couldn’t miss more than two days or else you were dropped from the class. So summer school took up all of July and Marching band took up all of August so out of necessity we were tied close to home. Westview has a better system but if you want to do sports then it is mandatory that you attend summer training. So with summer training, scout camp, girls camp then summer vacation was out. Over the years however there have been a few vacations that we have done as a family that do stick out in my mind. I think I would like to talk briefly about some of those. The problem is that they are all sort of jumbled up in my mind and I'm not sure which memory belongs to which vacation. The other problem is that these early vacations were before digital camera's and all of our print photo's are in boxes and only partially organized. I'm not up to going through all of them looking for photo's so you'll have to do with the pictures that I can easily lay my hands on. On one of our trips we camped at Zion’s Canyon. We hiked up the narrows a little bit and had a blast. The narrows are a portion of the river where it passes between two very steep cliffs. About half of the time you actually have to walk in the river. It was a hot day and walking in the water was a lot of fun. It was also extremely peaceful waking up in the morning and looking out onto the sun shining on the high cliff walls all around us. From Zions canyon we drove through Bryce Canyon but we didn’t really stop for more than to take a good look at the beautiful vistas. On another trip we stopped at Yellowstone Park and camped there. What a beautiful park. They had built a boardwalk out over a large area that had recently been burned in a forest fire so you could see how the vegetation was all growing back. It was fascinating for me to see the geysers and hot pools. I think my favorite was a place where you could sit on the bank of the lake and catch a fish and then turn around and lower your fish (still on the hook) into a hot pool and cook it. On one of our trips to Canada we stopped in at Rosemary and celebrated Canada day with our friends. It was wonderful for the kids to meet up again with old friends. I remember that Alex even won the greased pig contest. I think the locals were a bit upset to see a California boy catch that pig so quickly. I guess Alex still has a lot of the country blood still running through his veins. Of course there was the trip we all made to say goodbye to dad. What a great time it was getting together with all of my brothers and sisters for the first time in a very long while. When we still lived in Rosemary we always stopped in the interior of BC and camped. One of my favorite memories is stopping in those beautiful forests and taking a deep breath of the pine scented air. We always camped in a little tent trailer that I bought from the Gibbs. One time we coordinated with Lisa's Dad and Carol and met up at Shuswap Lake and camped there. That is when they decided to take Kira home with them for a week and then flew her back home to us. So began a tradition. After that when each of our kids turned six they flew them to Vancouver and kept them for a week. That is a tradition I hope I'm able to do with our grandchildren. Another time we drove down the Pacific coast and camped in the Redwoods. Those are some pretty massive trees. We stopped often and found all the cool things like the tree where you can drive your car through it. We also saw the oldest living tree and the world’s tallest tree. The oldest tree probably would have been the world’s tallest tree if it hadn’t been hit by lighting at some point in its life. We camped in the redwoods and in the morning we got to meet the infamous "Banana Slugs". Talk about gross. Those things seriously are the size of a banana. I remember waking up and seeing a huge shadow of something on the outside of our tent. I was quite curious about what it could be. Imagine a slug literally the size of a banana. Gross. We then drove on down the coast stopping various places. We stopped in this one town that Lisa found in her "book. They had several fancy old style houses and stores. The one place where we didn’t stop was the Hearst Castle. We really do want to get to that place some time. We have many wonderful memories and just talking about it makes me want to load up the tent and hit the road. What a shame that we need to earn a living.

The meteor that recently turned night to day over Utah was the size of a washing machine and was traveling about 300,000 miles per hour. If you could drive that fast then a trip from LA to St George would take about 5 seconds.

I wonder why they call these things "banana" slugs?

I have no idea why Ben is carrying the Brooks bands flag. This is the Rosemary parade.

Kira and her good friend Amy in races.

I miss the fire department.

Lets see if I can get everyone's names straight. Left to right: Boyd Shaw, Lori (holding Zoe), Kelly, Carol, Jim, Alex, Sarah, Brandon, Alycia, Zach, Kira (holding Jordan), Ben, Mike, Lynn, Doug, Andrea, Fred (that's me) and Lisa.


Lisa L said...

Awwww, we have some great memories from trips taken. Wasn't it the same trip to Yellowstone where we went River Rafting down the Teton? I can think of other trips also. Will you blog about those? We did a few skiing/snowboarding trips after Kira left for college so that we had an excuse to go and see her.

Grandpa said...

Loved those Saltspring surfboards the boys had !!!

Grandpa said...

Loved those saltspring surfboards the boys had !!!

Justin, Kira and Evan said...

what a TRIP down memory lane. There is so much to comment on I can't even begin to start.

All I will say is ... I know I was in style back then, but why did I have to grow up in the 80's and 90's. Seriously, styles have gotten so much better now. Oh well!

Lisa L said...

You were in style and those styles will come back again :)

Lynn said...

LOL! I was there! I remember Alex winning the greased pig contest.