Archive for August, 2016

Day 5 – The Cascades

We have been looking forward to this day since we first planned this tour.

A drive on the North Cascades Scenic Highway (Hwy 20).

This starts just west of Winthrop Washington (if you are driving it westbound) and is 100 km of  the most spectacular mountain scenery you can imagine.  I think it is even better than the drive through Banff.

And think how great it is on a sunny morning driving topless where you can see all the mountains around you.  A very good highway where the speed limit is 60 mph but we did it at 45 to just absorb the experience.  Took every opportunity to pull over for the views.

The high point of our 5 day driving tour.  Then we come out of the park and had another 170 km drive through increasingly busy highways until we arrived at Blaine and Lisa’s.  This last part was a bit boring, but the price you pay to get back to reality.

Great ending for our tour when we had an evening when we were not only joined by Ryan, Corrie with little Oliver, but with Meagan and Jorg.

All together, a successful trip.








Day 4- turning back East

This morning we headed south from Nelson to join Hwy 3 back east.

Now I was not looking forward to a trip on Hwy 3.  We have driven it before with frustration.  A winding two lane road that was notorious for the evil RVers and trailer-dragers that prided themselves on ignoring the turn outs and counting the number of cars they could pile behind them.

Fortunately the province has been busy over the last few years adding passing lane so it turned out to be a nice drive.

We diverted a bit to visit Trail and Rossland before heading to Ossoyoos and turning south to Washington.  By the time we crossed into the US the temp was 100 F but as we turned west towards Winthrop and climbed into the mountains it cooled.  Very comfortable sitting around the pool this evening.





Day 3 – Ferry, ghost mines and Hot Springs

Who would think that someone living on the Island would look forward to a ferry?  40 minutes south of Revelstoke we took the vehicle ferry across Arrow lakes.  We had experienced this many years ago and remembered how beautiful the view was from the vessel.   Just as wonderful as we remembered and only half an hour and unlike BC Ferries…. Free

The great thing about taking this route is the lack of traffic. While there are many thousands of tourists in the Okanogan lake region, the Arrow and Kootenay lakes are just as nice but with a fraction of the traffic.  We had a drive from New Denver to Kalso on an empty road that was a Miata driver’s dream.  Only stopping to  view the abandoned silver mines and buildings.  Silver mining was apparently big in the late 1800s around here.

This whole stretch of mountains and towns have hot springs with many resorts and pools .  We finally pulled into Ainsworth hot springs to indulge. The main pool was the temp of a hot bath but as we waded through the caves, I swear if we had been shrimps we would have come out pink.

Ended the day in the prettiest town in the interior of BC,  Nelson.  By far the best town views and selection of restaurants we will see on this trip.  Sat out on a patio overlooking the lake and thinking, can life get any better?

Tomorrow we have a long run west to Osoyoos and down into the US.  I doubt if it will be as good as today.





Day 2… Sunshine and Lakes

Left early heading south from Kamloops on the rarely driven Hwy 5a past a series of little lakes on a great twisty road.  Brilliant blue skies.  The kind of run we dream of.

You could not pick a bigger contrast to day 1.  Instead of craggy mountains we are driving down the central dry area of BC with rolling hills covered in Scrub trees and grass.  Nevertheless lake after lake in the valleys.

Through Merrit and east on the Okanogan connector to Kelowna.  Despite the sunshine I had to put on the heater (remember we are topless) as we drove over the pass.

Unfortunately we could not take our intended run on the great drive up the west side of Okanogan lake.  There was a forest fire north of Bear Creek so they closed the road. We had to take Hwy 97 through Kelowna and Vernon.  Driving through cities is not the way to enjoy a Miata run.  Funny we never did see any smoke.

North of Vernon Pat found some neat paved country roads that took us to Armstrong.  Then up to Sicamous and east to Revelstoke by 4:30.  Busy roads as this is summer.

I know you are saying “hey wait a minute you can drive from Kamloops to Revelstoke in a couple of hours”.  True….but the objective is to experience the drive, not get there.

Round BC Trip Day 1

Pat and I are on a quest.  We are scouting out a future Miata run that we will lead one day.

Day 1. Waterfalls and Mountain Views

Started this morning in Squamish dropped back to Shannon falls and then north through Whistler and Lillooet and back south to Kamloops.  Stopping every hour to view a big waterfall or touquoise lake or just to gaze at the mountains.  All the time Pat is keeping studious notes on other possible stops for a tour.

Sunny in the morning with overcast in the afternoon but almost all done topless.  Great first day.




Rudder Success

The Ship wheels were mounted, the rudder lines turned on and tightened.  Great news.  When I drew the lines back through a hidden eyebolt and knotted, the combination worked.

I made the rudder a year ago and fastened the lines through a series of pulleys and up through the main deck.  Over the next year I framed the deck and planked it and started on framing the quarter deck where the ship’s wheel is mounted.   All the time trying not to block the lines.

Mount the wheel and wrap the lines and then tighten the lines back through the myriad of pulleys and brackets.  Now in a real ship this is done after construction when you can send men to pull the lines through the various pulleys, but as I do not have access to men 3/4 of an inch high to handle this, I have to pre plan.

I locked in the last connection and turn the wheel and the rudder swings.  Sweeet.  Repeat many times.

Now you may think this is easy but I have had failures.  On my own model the Juno, after a few attempts, the line somewhere in the guts came off a pulley and jammed so to this day the wheel does not move the rudder.  Did not even attempt on models from years ago.  I managed to make this work on the Victory but was happy it worked on Diana.

Long way to go but this is a major success.

Ship Wheels



Ship’s Wheel

After the previous blog I was successful in turning new rims and boring the proper amount of holes.  Turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

We had our good friends Wayne and Terry visit this week which included a cruise on the Uchuck out of Gold river.  As I felt I should be a good host I did not get to work on the model for a few days.  I thought they could easily sit in the basement and sip wine while watching me work but Pat thought that best be done on the back patio.  I finished the wheels just before they arrived. Now I just have to get it successfully mounted on the frames and hope that it works with the rudder.



Measure Once Cut … whatever

Back in the late eighties when we were living in Calgary I found this fabulous PBS TV program called This Old House.  Still watch it to this day (when our local PBS channel chooses to air it).

One evening in 1987 the PBS channel was doing one of those fund raising evenings all about This Old House.  I sent them $50 and got a mug that I always use for my coffee.  A mug with a motto that a workshop guy should have on his tombstone.  Measure twice and cut once.

Over the years I have tried to follow this but being naturally short on patience, I have often made a mistake.

But I always prided myself that when I was model building I was a different guy.  Measure 4 times and still hope that the detail would work out.

I am working on the model Diana and for the last week have been spending my time on one of the details that I love.  The double ship’s wheel.

When I make a model, when you turn the wheel, which is about the diameter of a nickel, the lines go down into the deck and through a series of pulleys and control the tiller bar and move the rudder.  I take pride in this.

I turned the wheel hub and the rims on my micro lathe.  Of course this must be turned from Balkan boxwood which is the only wood that will hold this detail.

After turning the hub and rims then I carefully drilled the holes around the circumference for the handle shafts.  Everything is going great as I started to insert the shafts to center the hub.

But it was not working out.  After a long period I realize that the 12 holes (the correct number) around the hub do not line up with holes in the thin fragile rim.  I count and realize there are 13 holes in the rim instead of 12.  Now this resulted from measuring the circumference and dividing by 12 … except there are 11 gaps (spaces) between the 12 shafts (ie, I should have divided by 11).  D-oh!

In any event, I had spent an hour carefully drilling holes (trying not to split the wood) in the rims and now have to throw them out.  So I have just finished turning new rims, and tomorrow I will have to measure 12 holes in the rim.  I came upstairs to help prepare supper and did not once issue a profanity.    The good news is that the second set of rims I made were better than the ones I discarded.




New Life

If you read my previous blog you would know about my great golf shirt.

I thought it’s day was done.  It was dirty and sweaty and had a lot of stains and holes that were becoming rips.

But Pat washed it and ironed it and laid it out to dry.  It is a beautiful white golf shirt.  It is almost like a precious baby blankie.

This shirt will not go to that rag pile in the sky.  Granted Pat tells me I can only wear it where no one she knows will be see me, but it will have a life.

Actually I think it is an environmental golf shirt. Lots of ventilation holes and absolutely no concern about the possibility of spilling pasta sauce on it (granted no chance it will be allowed at any dinner table where Pat is present).




Death of a Great Golf Shirt

In 2003 I attended a sponsored golf game in Indiana.  I cannot even remember the golf course but it was an event run by Kem Krest one of our distributor/partners in supplying lubricants to the auto industry.   An obscure special lubricant that I do not remember, but their major supplier was Texaco.  Because we had a good piece of the business the sales guy reporting to me on the Kem Krest account invited me to their annual event in some obscure course in Indiana.

In those days it was a regular boon doogle to attend these events.  Justified because there could be engineers from GM or Ford attending so you could possibly convince them to switch all their factory fill to Petro-Canada.  Unfortunately this was such a minor specialty that there was no one in a significant decision-making position at the OEMs that attended.

Granted I knew this going in, but when you are in sales you take the benefits when they come.

So we show up at the tournament/event and everyone is given a sleeve of balls and a golf shirt.

Over the years I have received dozens of golf shirts at these business events.  I have golf shirts from great golf courses in Ontario, Michigan and California.  But they are all that mixture of cotton and synthetic blend that shows the logo well but after a few washes the lower rim creeps up.  A beautiful golf shirt that fits through the chest but unless you pin it to your undershorts it reveals your belly button.

The Kem Krest gift was a ribbed white 100% cotton shirt that had the unique design of being very long.  Not an impressive shirt, but very, very comfortable.

In the last few years this was my go-to shirt for summer hikes and working in the garden.  Regularly washed by Pat every time.  The more it was washed the better it felt, but the more it aged, the more it looked aged.  A little fraying at the sleeves, mysterious holes on the chest and a slit on the right sleeve.

Pat and I went on a club hike today north of Campbell River.  Only 8 km but it involved 19 Geocaches (where our team found 16).  We celebrated by stopping in to a Pub in Campbell River for a beer.  (Pat of course had a small glass of Chardonnay).  Apparently some comments were made about my great shirt that, admittedly looks like something a homeless person would have thrown out.

Now the guys would accept that this is a comfortable shirt, but Pat could see the eyebrow lifts from the women saying “you let your husband go out in public in this shirt?”

Pat recovered by poking holes in the shirt on the arms and chest and saying “if this is what my beloved husband wants to wear, I support him”.

Actually that is not accurate.  All I know is that tonight my shirt goes into the laundry and then in the rag pile.

I only write this blog because as I turn over this shirt I was looking at the logos and remembering the event.  I will regret losing it.