Milestone 1

Milestone 1…
We have made it to our first waypoint in our journey. We finally got out of Fort Smith on Friday July 5th at about 5pm. We had to clean the house and pack it up for our renter. To be totally honest, Nicola wanted to start on that months ago. I kept delaying saying that we should do it after we were done work. That is my strong philosophy of why do today what you can put off until tomorrow. It was basically a full week of hard labour. In the end however, we were all set to hit the road on Friday.
Perhaps the hardest thing for me though was dropping Trig off. She is 14 years old now and when we started the 4 for 5 plan four years ago we never thought she would still be with us. She was one of seven in her litter and she is the last dog standing. She seems pretty health and energetic still though. I put it at equal odds that she will be there waiting for us in August 2014 when we get home. That said, I had to accept that I may not see my good buddy again. She has been with me for the last 14 years. Hang in there Trig.
We are now in Penticton, BC visiting Nicola’s mom Moire. We took a few days to get here since we were in no rush. We stayed the first night in High Level and then drove to Grande Prairie the next day. A few hours of shopping and eating in Grande Prairie broke up the drive a bit before we continued to Grande Cache, AB for the night. Finally, we had a long day on Sunday as we drove the final 10 hours to Penticton. There were not a lot of highlights from the drive (unlike Kirsten Bradley and her boys ). No speeding tickets and no major car issues. We saw minimal wildlife… just the typical suspects. A few bears, several deer, the mandatory goat on the highway near Jasper, and that may be it. We got into Penticton at shortly after 8pm PST on Sunday.
Yesterday was my 45th birthday. It was a beautiful day in Penticton. Not too hot and minimal humidity. We wandered around the waterfront of Okanagan Lake. For dinner we went to the Barking Parrot at the Casino. We sat on the deck and met a nice couple who informed us that they are semi-retired… he is retired and she is not. That may be us some day… I like that. Turning 45 makes me think more about retirement I guess. I suppose that I could retire in about 10 or 12 years. That sounds like a lifetime to Nic but for me that seems like it is just around the corner. I guess we will get a taste of semi-retirement this year. We will learn what it will be like to not work every day. How exciting just to contemplate things like this.
We spent several hours yesterday voting for Fort Smith in the The arena in Fort Smith was majorly damaged by fire this past May. Fort Smith applied and was identified as one of the top 20 finalists for a $25K prize and hosting a broadcast of TSN SportsCentre with Jen and Dutch. How cool would that be? Even though I will not be playing hockey no matter what happens, hockey has been a huge part of my Fort Smith life. I do not want the kids to be without an arena for hockey, figure skating, and speed skating. Similarly, I do not want my buddies on the Bisons and in the Rec League and Old Timers and ladies hockey to be hockeyless this year. The money will be used to secure temporary changerooms ourside the arena because it seems that the ice surface itself can maybe still be used. I will post this before we know the results but I have my fingers crossed that Fort Smith will beat Whitehorse for one of the 10 prizes. I am totally impressed by the effort that people put into voting for hours and hours and how family and friends rallied from around the country and around the world to vote for Fort Smith. Kudos to Pam Walsh for nominating Fort Smith and rallying the voting effort.
Every summer, I figure it takes several days for my brain to turn work off. Since we were so busy last week and then driving, I don’t think that my brain has had that chance yet. I noticed it start to happen yesterday. it is usually accompanied by exhaustion and sleeping late. I know that once it happens I will be fully in travel mode. Today I have a number of things to take care such as deal with travel insurance, find a place to stay, and get the car serviced. I am sure I will be busy… no time to think about work… which is always good. I will be here in Penticton until the 11th and Nicola will stay until the 24th (actually she will be going to Vancouver to visit her aunt before the 24th). I will spend time in Ontario with family. We leave Canada on July 30th for Tanzania.
I was thinking as I type this posting that I should highlight a few things from the news that are happening while I write to help me recall what was happening right now. In the news right now… Toronto is recovering from a month of rain in an hour yesterday (my sister called me on her drive home yesterday to say she was driving through a foot of water); investigators are still trying to figure out why the Asiana Airlines plane landed short in San Francisco (air travel is always on our mind as we travel around the world); investigators are still working on the Quebec train derailment and explosion; the unrest in Egypt continues (we still have some hope that we can get to Egypt this year but civil unrest is always a concern); the three women who were held hostage in Cleveland are now speaking out on a youtube video.