Happy 12th Birthday Wyatt

Happy Birthday Wy – 12 years old!

 

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Love from:  Auntie Laurie & Uncle J

 

 

 

and of course:

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Katy Perry

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Driving in BC

With lots of people making the trip out to visit – I thought it only prudent to offer a few observations about the rules of the road here in BC.

The community where we live is just off Highway 97, between Vernon and Kelowna. In the six month we have lived here, there have been over a dozen accidents and 5 people killed. I have named this particular stretch of highway “the speedway”. Not very reassuring given that I have to drive it everyday. I do feel there should be some kind of notification for drivers – to let them know what to expect.  An overhead highway sign such as this:

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But the message would need to be slightly more subtle.

More like:

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No one seems to adhere or even acknowledge speed limits. Speed signs are posted, but I suspect they are unreadable from vehicles that are going Mach 20.  The BC government recently increased the speed limit on the Connector and Coquihalla  Highways to 120 km per hour. The rationale was that the increase would match the limit to the speed that drivers were actually travelling.  Obviously transportation officials haven’t heard “speed kills”.  Now drivers on those highways feel they have been given license to exceed this posted limit by 10, 15 or 20 km.  It has become the Canadian Autobahn.

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The other noticeable oddity in BC is that only 1/2 of the vehicles on the road come equipped with turn signals – or so it seems because not many drivers use them.  I have seen cars thread through 3 lanes of traffic and back again without signalling.  Those individuals who do choose to signal when merging or changing lanes seem to be afflicted with some sort of driver dyslexia – their method is the complete opposite of the process of everyone else in the driving world.  Here,  when a driver decides to change lanes – they just pull over or merge into the new lane. Once in the desired lane – they shoulder check to make sure they haven’t cut off or clipped anyone in the shift, and then they might put on their signal light – just to say they did.  Very bizarre.

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Interesting, when you mention speeding or unsafe driving practices to the locals (my husband included) – it’s not BC drivers…. it’s those “damn Albertans!”  I don’t know if it is Provincial rivalry, or misplaced jealousy but BC people blame Alberta for everything:

Dangerous Drivers:  It’s those damn Albertans driving their big trucks and SUVs.

Crowded Lakes:  It’s those damn Albertans coming to the Okanagan to enjoy summer on the water.

High Gas Prices:  It’s those damn Albertans and their oil.

Beef Prices are on the rise:  It’s those damn Albertans and their massive cattle ranches, trying to meet consumer demands for organic meat.

Strong Housing Market:  It’s those damn Albertans coming in and buying up vacation properties at market price.

BC Teachers On Strike:  It’s those damn Albertans setting the example by paying their teachers a decent wage, and restricting class sizes.

I mean really – you  damn Albertans!  How dare you come into BC with your hard-earned tax dollars, and fully support the tourism industry while you are here!

Sustaining the region’s producers by purchasing fruit and wine to take home.

Buying groceries from local establishments during your vacation.

Staying in Okanagan hotels and eating meals in restaurants while you are here.

Filling up the enormous gas tanks in your trucks and boats while you are in BC , despite the fact that gas is cheaper in your own province.

And then to top it off, you have the nerve to speed and never signal on BC highways.

I can’t believe it ……… and I don’t.

I see the BC license plates blowing by me on HWY 97 in the morning on my way to work , and I see for sale signs being taken down from houses that have been on the market since last summer when we first visited, being purchased by someone from Alberta.  I say good on you.

And if you Albertans ever get tired of being the scape-goat, you could move to BC.  Drive around in your diesel Subaru that you only fill up once every three weeks, eat your 100 mile diet and when you get stressed – stop by a neighborhood walk in clinic to get your medicinal Marijuana prescription.

 

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KANGAROO PARK

Winfield BC is a small community located mid-way between Kelowna and Vernon.

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One block off highway 97 is Kangaroo Creek Farms – an actual kangaroo habitat.  This isn’t a zoo, it is more of a non-commercial reserve- the animals roam freely and are not kept in cages.  Kangaroos, wallabies, cabyberras (large rodents), sugar-gliders, peacocks, emus, goats, and pot bellied pigs.  Staff are found throughout the park to answer questions and to ensure the animals are not being harassed.

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There is no set entrance fee to the Kangaroo park – but a donation of $5 per person is suggested.

Highlight of the park is being able to hold the baby kangaroos.

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Aqua Park

So the past week has been jam-packed with fun and excitement as the McAuley family came for their first visit to the Okanagan. It was wonderful to have them here – and was a perfect opportunity for me to visit some kid-friendly tourist spots.
This summer was the grand opening of the Wibit Aquatic Water Park in Kelowna. This 30 by 40 metre inflatable park features climbing towers, trampolines and a water pillow. Partcipants are required to wear a life jacket – and there are two lifeguards on duty throughtout the day.
Wyatt and Rhett had a great time slipping, sliding, jumping and flying into Okanagan Lake.
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At $20 per kid for the day, it was a steal of a day. Add some Pepsi and Pringles, and it was an unbeatable day at the beach!
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Zombie Run

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As a family “bonding” exercise – my brother, my sister-in-law, John and I entered the Zombie run in Calgary. We were Team Batman (thanks Rhett and Wyatt – you were great cheerleaders.) It was a 5 km run with obstacles – all the while trying to avoid zombies looking to steal your “lives”. Each participant was given a belt with 3 flags(lives) attached to it – and the goal of the race for most was to get to the finish line with at least one life left. The goal for myself was just to finish the race – which was perfect as I lost 2 lives within the first minute of the race. They corralled each pool of runners in a holding area, and when the race started – gates were opened and it was a free for all to race through a hoard of zombies. We raced uphill, had to climb over walls, under obstacles and through water and a slime-pit – all while trying to dodge zombies. The final obstacle was a couple of mud holes to wade/struggle through to get to the finish line.

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Corri and I finished with no lives – so we received “I Got Infected” medals.

John and Scott both finished with one life each – so they received “Survivor” medals.

I really enjoyed the race – no too competitive – but lots of fun.

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Fire

I just wanted to say Thank You to everyone who has phoned and emailed us to make sure we are okay during the rash of forest fires in the Okanagan. We are fine – our house is safe, though we sincerely appreciate the concern. The major fire burning right now is in West Kelowna – about an hour from where we live. Though not far enough to escape the smoke, which doesn’t seem to blow through – it settles in. Fire officials are saying this blaze is now down to 250 hectares. Approximately 2500 people have been evacuated from their homes.

These are a couple of pictures of the Smith Creek fire.

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John and I were in Surrey for a couple of days, but driving home on the Coquihala Highway – we could see the Murray Lake fire. It is covering 400 hectares.

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There are approximately 155 fires burning across British Columbia right now. The dry, windy conditions are hampering the efforts of the ground crews but water bombers are making progress.

The forecast is calling for showers this weekend, so fingers crossed.

I can’t say I am not a bit anxious. Everything is incredibly dry – and August is said to bring hotter temperatures. I have decided to put together a Rubbermaid container in the trunk of my car – copies of documents, pictures, etc. If our area is ever put on evacuation order, it would take me too long to get back home from work to pack anything. I am fairly confident that John would remember to take his golf clubs but not much more. Will keep you updated.