Sunday, February 26, 2012

Feb 25, 2012 - Skiing at Grouse Mtn British Columbia

The marine forecast was terrible with gale force winds forecast for Friday and Saturday.  So, once again we decided to go skiing instead.  This has become our winter pattern; boating when the weather is good, skiing if it's not.  We have a "family" season-pass at Grouse Mtn. British Columbia, so this is where we ski.  The mountain is just outside of Vancouver B.C. (home of the 2010 Winter Olympics) and it looks down on the city of Vancouver.  It's a spectacular view, when the skies are clear.

It was a very cloudy and foggy day skiing Saturday.  The winds were calm until the late afternoon when it got gusty and cold.  The snow was a bit heavy and wet, but the skiing was decent.  The crowds weren't too bad.  After a few hours of skiing, and dealing with very poor visibility the kids asked if they could go ice skating.  We said "of course."  Kevin has done it once before but this was Cindy's first time.  

Kevin uses "the cage" to get some extra speed.

Cindy enjoying skating at the outdoor rink atop Grouse Mtn.

Wonderful view of Vancouver B.C.
Cindy heading down "Paper Trail".  This is our kids favorite run at Grouse.

View from the restaurant on top of Grouse.  The wind is blowing pretty hard.

We put the kids in a semi-private two-hour lesson.  It was just the two of them and their instructor Jordan.  We were worried that they might not like having a lesson, or that one of them might get hurt, or that one of them would have to go to the bathroom, or....  you know, the usual parent stuff.  Well, they loved their lesson and we could see that both them had improved as soon as we skied with them.  It was amazing!  Kevin was doing very good parallel turns and Cindy had completely lost her snowplow!  In two hours Jordan did more to improve the kids skiing that we have in 10+ days of skiing with them.  But, I know I'm a terrible ski teacher, so I guess it's no surprise.

Here's a little video I (Steve) shot of Kevin skiing down a narrow trail through the trees.  It's a little shaky, sorry.  This was before their lesson, but even so, it's hard to ski this trail without doing a snowplow almost the whole way.

Kevin skiing the woods trail.  It's so fun to see him do this!

It was a great day, despite the poor visibility and less than ideal snow.  The lessons were a huge success; the kids can't wait for another lesson, and we could see big gains in their ability in just two hours.  We'll likely put the kids in another lesson or two with Jordan, if we can get him again.  It was well worth it.

On Sunday I worked on our boat galley.   I'm working on permanently installing our microwave oven.  This is proving to be a very time consuming task.  But, I'm so picky when it comes to these things that I'll easily spend an extra few hours just to get something to fit "just right" when likely I'm the only person who would ever notice the difference.  I'll post some pictures of the galley in week or two when I get things put back together.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Feb 20, 2012 - Idaho skiing and snowmobiling

Well, this doesn't relate to boating except that it is the reason we weren't boating.

We took advantage of the President's Day holiday by heading over to Kathy's parents place in Sand Point Idaho.  Monday was the holiday but for some reason there was also no School the Friday before.  We pulled the kids out of school Wednesday just before lunch and made the 7 hour drive to Sand Point.  We skied Thursday, Friday and Sunday at Schweitzer Ski Resort.

Riding the high speed 6-pack.  Grandpa, Cindy, Kathy, Kevin

Riding the chair lift.

Top of Schweitzer.  We are headed for "Down The Hatch".

Cindy, Steve, Bob, and Kevin at Schweitzer

Steve playing in the Terrain Park.

On Saturday we went snowmobiling.  There wasn't enough snow on the ground to snowmobile right from Kathy's parents house, so all of the "sleds" had to be parked up at Gordon's place.  Even though it's only another mile up the road, there was enough snow there to get us going.  There are miles and miles of great trails weaving through the state forest land.  Gordon has made many of these trails himself during the summer while riding his dirt bike.  On Monday Steve went riding again for a few hours with Gordon before we had to leave to drive back home to rainy La Conner.    

Which sled to ride?  Oh, life is full of tough decisions :-)
Beautiful trails through the woods!

Kathy brings her sled over the berm onto the road.  Gordon watches on.

Gordon checks the skegs on the skis to see how worn they are.

New snow.  Steve and Gordon's Monday morning ride.

It was a GREAT trip.  The skiing was absolutely fantastic on Sunday.  Snowmobiling was great fun too.  As usual the scenery and climate of Sandpoint were a delight.  Bob and Barb sure picked a great place to retire.   We love going over there to visit in the summer and winter.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Feb 5, 2012 - Kiket Island

On Thursday afternoon I went to change the transmission fluid on the transmissions (which I'd never done on this boat) and ended up breaking a pipe fitting spilling transmission fluid into the bilge.  If I couldn't fix this we couldn't go boating.  I did get it fixed in about 3 hours time.  I had to have a new hydraulic hose fabricated and I had to track down several somewhat obscure hydraulic fittings.  But I got it done and put back together the same day, so we could go boating for the weekend.  On Friday I went to the big boat show in Seattle for the entire day.  I sat through 5 hours of very informative seminars all related to long-distance cruising.  I spent another few hours looking at sailboats and long distance power boats taking pictures of cool things I might be able to build into our boat as I slowly set her up for our planned year-long trip to Mexico.  I spent another few hours talking to vendors and also business contacts for my work.

It's been quite a long time since our last trip on the boat due to bad weather, winter break, Christmas, New Years, a Florida/Bahamas vacation, and snow skiing.  The weather shaped up to be excellent for boating so we changed our weekend plans and headed out Saturday morning after Kevin's basketball game.

Kevin's basketball team; kindergarten and first grade.
Saturday morning we motored an hour or so to our favorite close-in destination; Kiket Island in Similk Bay.  We usually have the entire bay to ourselves, even in the peak of summer.  This weekend was no exception.  We anchored in 18 feet of water and immediately put the dinghy downr so we could head over to our kids favorite sand beach (Ala Spit on Whidbey Island).  It's a spectacular afternoon in the sun.  It's actually pretty warm, for February.

Kevin takes us over to Ala Spit.  He loves to drive.  Perfect weather.

The beautiful ladies!

A perfect day to be beachcombing.
As usual our kids find a place to jump from.  For some reason this is one of their favorite things to do when on a sandy beach.  They are certainly getting creative and expressive during their short flights.

Ninja Cindy catches some air.  Mt. Baker in the background.

Kevin doing the splits.  WOW, I don't think I could ever do that.
Our children will get in the water no matter how cold it is.  This water is only 45 degrees...   It wouldn't surprise me to see an iceburg float by :-)

Playing in the water.  This is early February.  Brrrr....

Beam me up Scotty.  Interesting lighting from the afternoon sun.

We motor back to the boat after spending several fun hours in the sun and sand.  Back at the boat we play some games, have dinner, and play more games.  After getting the kids to bed, Kathy and I settle down to watch "Castaway" with Tom Hanks on DVD but fall asleep half way through the movie.  We wake up at midnight and head off to bed.  About 4:00AM the wind kicks up and I (Steve) find myself up surveying the situation for a few hours.  Not a good night's sleep.  On Sunday we have a very relaxing day on the boat playing several different games, doing some reading, watching the kids play with Legos, talking about our upcoming Mexico boat trip, and simply hanging out together.

Playing the game "Sequence".  Our furnace is great; note the short sleeves.
We stay in Similk Bay as long as we can before pulling anchor so we can return just before sundown.  We tie up in our slip just as the sun sets.  Another PERFECT weekend out on the boat.

Kathy washes the mud off the anchor and chain.
Heading back home.  Perfect winter boating.
I'm happy to report that our furnace performed flawlessly this trip.  So did the new inverter.  Everything that uses AC power works better with this inverter.  The new digital tachometers also worked great.  The bad transmission leak is gone.  And the new mufflers were noticably quieter.  The boat is performing very well these days, and is slowly being transformed into the well equipped and capable vessel we will need to carry us safely to Mexico in a few short years.  We find ourselves talking about our Mexico trip all the time now and are both working very hard on several fronts to ensure that this trip becomes reality.

hasta próximo tiempo