gymnastics, photos, travel, travelogues

AFTER the gymnastics camp in Idaho

This was my 5th year at Adlard’s High Performance Training Camp. Another great event!

After the competition some of us headed out to the new lake cabin just purchased by Barbara Anne and Michael.

Here’s the view from the deck:

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BEFORE the tree was chopped down

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AFTER the tree was chopped down

Later we headed out to camp at a reservoir in Montana in celebration of the 4th of July.

more photos on flickr

food, McCharles family, product endorsements, travel, travelogues

Lake Quinault Lodge, Washington State

En route to Idaho, my parents and I were happy we scheduled dinner at the “Roosevelt Room”. The best meal we’ve had in a long, long time.

Recommended.

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Ancient towering trees…sun splashed lawn…a tranquil lakeside setting

Welcome to Washington State and the glorious Olympic Peninsula.

Find your true retreat at historic Lake Quinault Lodge, a landmark on the shores of beautiful Lake Quinault. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Lodge is the perfect place to leave the cares of the work-a-day world behind.

Lake Quinault Lodge, Olympic National Forest, WA

education, travel, travelogues

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre

I lucked into a tour of the fantastic Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre.

It’s a world-class, award winning educational facility owned by 5 universities.

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Bamfield is a great, remote location for researchers.

Many of their buildings were originally part of an undersea cable system connecting the British Empire.

In 1902, the Bamfield Cable station was constructed as the western terminus of a worldwide undersea cable called by some the All Red Line as it passed only through countries and territories controlled by the British Empire.

The cable initially went to Fanning Island, a tiny coral atoll in the mid-Pacific, and from there continued to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia. …

In 1953 the cables were extended up the Alberni Inlet to Port Alberni and station closed on June 20, 1959.

Bamfield – Wikipedia

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old cable used in monument

The highlight of the tour for me, however, was the processed wood used in construction of the newest building. Huge beams had been pressed in an eco-friendly process. Gorgeous material.

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kayaking, photos, travel, travelogues

kayaking the Deer Islands off Bamfield

Some years ago we kayaked the Broken Group Islands, the #1 destination in Canada for paddlers. (Some would say #1 in the world — but I’d head to Isla Espiritu Santo, Baja California, first if I were you.)

This time I rented a single kayak in Bamfield and paddled directly to the Deer Island group, the closest to town.

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Broken Islands are a protected National Park. Nearby Deer Islands are commercially developed, some even with holiday homes.

It was a great, relaxing trip. I saw bear, seals, sea lions and nearly stepped on a baby puffin.

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More photos from this trip – flickr

humour, travel, travelogues

move to Bamfield, British Columbia

If you’re shopping for investment retirement property you could check out 3 peninsula towns on the rugged west coast of Canada:

  • Tofino (expensive)
  • Ucluelet (getting expensive)
  • Bamfield
  • In remote Bamfield, I can put you into a little fixer-upper on the east side.

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    To sweeten the deal, I will throw in a skiff to get you across Bamfield harbour.

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    They say Bamfield is so depressing during the long, wet winter that the 250 permanent residents cannot muster enough passion to commit suicide. But a cheery person like you could handle it!

    My campsite on the beach near town.

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    more Bamfield photos on flickr.

    Bamfield – Wikipedia

    McCharles family, travel, travelogues

    the quirky murals of Chemainus, BC

    My parents and I made a road trip to see the painted walls of Chemainus, British Columbia, a seaside village not far from their home town of Parksville.

    At first glance you’d think this is just another municipal ploy to lure tourists into to buy junky trinkets produced in China.

    But there is something compelling about this collection. They are so crude and quaint, that I can’t help liking them.

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    29 mural photos of the murals on flickr.

    product complaints, travel, travelogues

    warning – Lazy Lizard Hostel, Moab, Utah

    I stayed 4 nights at the downtown Hilton in Salt Lake City

    You know the quotation I always attribute to Conrad: “The rich deserve to be fleeced for their arrogance and vanity.” It’s true. He built an empire on it.

    (Too bad my message from Conrad was not passed forward to his great-granddaughter.)

    Leaving the Hilton, I was looking forward to better accommodation.

    Having stayed in hostels in over 30 countries worldwide, the Lazy Lizard sounded great:

    At the Lazy Lizard we take pride in being not only one of the cheapest hostels anywhere, but one of the best as well.

    People ask us how we do it. (almost as often as they ask us where there is a good place to eat.) We tell them that we manage to keep costs low by eliminating profit. Most people buy this answer because, well, how else could we do it?

    Lazy Lizard

    I do wonder how they do it.

    Moab, Utah is an expensive town. Accommodation is often booked out everywhere on weekends including the Lazy Lizard.

    I stayed several nights in May 2007. I found it disorganized, dirty and facilities badly in need of repair.

    In fact, the only good points about this hostel are the hot showers and hot coffee.

    I would have moved on and forgotten this place except for one thing — I had things stolen from “left luggage”.

    When I departed to camp 2-nights in Arches National Park I asked to leave a plastic bag until my return. The desk clerk replied, “Leave it in the laundry room. It will be there when you get back.”

    On my return the bag had been ripped open, several things taken, and the rest soaked with water.

    Bad luck perhaps. But this is a bad hostel. One I recommend everyone avoid.

    I’ll forward my experience to the major guidebook companies, tourist information Moab and a number of other organizations.

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    Scott from the hostel replied:,

    I am very sorry that you had your things stolen from our laundry room. It is true that over the years we have had many people leave things there while they are away and to my knowledge you are the first one to have had things taken. Again I am sorry about this. It is not something that we can always control .

    We have also been a bit understaffed lately. We have had one cleaning person and a maintenance person quit. Since May is our busiest month of the year it has been difficult to keep up. I did manage to hire one new person just yesterday.

    I do know from my dealings with the guests at the hostel that the vast majority of them have a positive experience. If is very common for guests to extend their stays and stay longer than they had originally planned. Many come back year after year.

    It is too bad that you had an unpleasant experience with your belongings but unfortunately sometimes things do happen which are out of our control.

    I hope your loss didn’t ruin the rest of your trip.

    Thanks Scott. I appreciate it. I will be back, soon, to check on improvements. In the meantime, watch for my stolen t-shirt.

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    UPDATE: Scott wrote saying, “one of the staff people said that he found your T shirt mixed up in his laundry. ” How about that.

    He’s mailing it to me. Now, we’re looking for my missing electric razor.