Really crazy happenings

Overall the fires are less hazardous to the city of Kelowna. However they continue to burn out of control. They are considered held due to backburns and various ignitions set to counter the direction of the fire. However whenever a firetruck comes down the highway at night I bolt straight up and get out of bed to check around us.

Our girls have a routine, part of which is hanging together on the front steps enjoying the sun after breakfast.

We are eating as much as we can from our garden. The rats have arrived, perhaps they have been displaced because of the fires. Our garden neighbours ended up pulling out their entire garden because they did not like that the rats were around.

Five vegetables from our garden with a piece of quiche. We do eat well. Sometimes we get in six veggies.

Last Friday we finally made it to our hair appointment, a week late due to evacuation. It appears that the silk Blissy pillow cover did not help. My hair is officially breaking all over. No haircut for me other than a few edges. No colour for me. My hair has no get up and go, no life, no lustre, it looks awful. I am increasing my biotin and trying a different shampoo, etc. However there is a good possibility that it will be cut short before we leave for Mexico. Then I will grow it out over the winter and hopefully I will be back to normal.

I enjoy watching them move ever so slightly.

Unlike the US there are few telecom companies here in Canda and now one less. Rogers has bought out Shaw which is with whom I have my cell plan. I had no choice but to switch. I had the choice to keep what I had for two years or to make a change. I used Shaw last winter to use as a three country ( Canada, US and Mexico) from my phone using the same SIM card. It really only worked half the time and was expensive. So I sort of made my own plan. I now have unlimited talk and texting within Canada and 1GB of data for only $10.00 CAD per month ( I can purchase another GB at any time for $10.00 ). Plus I now have unlimited calling to and from the US as well as roaming in the US at no extra charge. What a deal @ $10.00 per month. I finally made the switch earlier tonight. It took me, Colin and three different people at Rogers to make the transfer but I am good to go now. Thank goodness for Colin’s eagle eyes, he spotted the tiny lost new SIM card which had fallen onto the computer keys. This was all supposed to happen before we evacuated and then Fed Ex was holding back on deliveries because of the fires. Good to have that sorted out. I decided to get Colin’s cell service with Telus checked. Today I got his monthly price dropped from $40.00 to $35.00 and I increased his data from 1GB to 3GB. It was only supposed to be 2GB but the young lady said she would make it 3GB at no charge 😀 It was just last year at this time, that between us we were paying over $175.00 per month. Lot of time and energy on the phone but well worth the savings. It appears that we are good at our new rates for at least two years.

There are days when they each rest in a different bed on a different set of stairs from each other. But most of the time they stick together.

Then there was yesterday, Monday. I had had my teeth cleaned about 10 days ago but had to come back for the dentist part of the cleaning yesterday. As I was pulling into the parking lot I noticed that the fuel tank on my car showed a big red E as well as a lit up image of a gas tank 🙁  So I called Colin and asked if he could come and drop off his car and come and get mine filled. He had to go out and pick something up anyway. So I reached into my purse to pull out my wallet to leave the fuel credit card out for Colin. My wallet was not there 😥  Oh and my cell was on red with about 8% charge left 😳 So while I held on the cell, Colin ran all over the place looking for my wallet at home. It must have dropped out of my purse in his car last Friday, he found it under my seat. I also recall mentioning to him that day that I was about out of gas 🙄  What a crazy Monday morning. Long story short, Colin picked up my car, delivered my wallet and his car keys to me at the dentist. And my phone was being charged while I saw the dentist. All is well and my car is on full 😉

It was a bit smokey Sunday evening as you can see.

But today we were back to choking smoke. A few showers in the forecast so hopefully that will help.

We are back in our house

Yes we are home safe and sound. It took three hours to get back home yesterday afternoon. I had started this post yesterday but by the time the RV was emptied and things put away I was totally worn out. Today I did the RV laundry and made sure that everything that belonged here in the house was in the house. I always forget the hot mats 🙄 Tomorrow the RV bathroom and kitchen gets cleaned along with a vacuum. No sense dusting as somehow the dust gets in while it is in storage.

Neither of us had ever been up Hwy 33 to the Rock Creek area and had no idea its was 3444 ft elevation. That might explain why it was was only 53F in the morning. I was really cold and I wore two sweaters over my sundresses and a few blankets over my legs. This photo was taken yesterday as we descended down back to Kelowna. We were very aware of the hills and the extremely curvy roads. We were behind this guy for a while, he was long and had to slow down to barely moving to negotiate the curves. Kelowna is 1133 ft elevation. Not much but it seemed like a long way down for us

Our home as well as all of Holiday Park is wonderfully fine. Lots of ash and debris to be cleaned up but that is to be expected. Some who stayed wished that they had left. Others were alright with staying. I am still glad that we left, in our minds it was the right thing to do. Friday the day we left was the worst of all we have been told. The firefighters worked so hard in the most difficult situations, 16 hour shifts breathing that toxic smoke. Monday the toxicity numbers were off the chart. Yesterday they were down 50% and today even better. The air quality has been at an 11+ for several days.

This lone firefighter saved this home and two others. He fought back the fire coming over the berm. The owners security cameras caught the action.

I have to say that when we opened up the house yesterday we never expected to smell so much toxic smoke. I coughed and coughed. However with all of our windows open it did not take long to clear out. There was quite a bit of ash all over which Colin cleaned up with his “leaf sucker upper “, no idea what it is called. First we fed the girls a late lunch and then we unloaded. Of course I had packed more than we need as we did not know if we would ever be back. Better to have more than less. And for those who want to know, I did not do my kinesiology exercises while away, nor last night. I should resume today but I made the decision to do this post instead. Not your fault but mine!!

We pulled over about 5 minutes before the turn onto Commonwealth Road in order to unhook the Jeep from the RV. That way I was able to go ahead and get home to move and park the car at Dianne’s and move the golf cart. However someone was blocking the road in a truck camper. So Colin had to back all the way down the east side of Lake Lane to our house.

For certain mañana. Thank you all for reaching out to us, it really did help ground us. The girls loved their walks and Colin enjoyed his guitar and me my vino and a book. We really went back and forth about returning yesterday ( Tuesday ) but finally made the decision to return. Once the RV was unloaded, the winds picked up and rain began to fall. Then it stopped, then it rained heavy, then another pause. It was off and of and then we had rain like we have never had rain. Straight down and heavy. That rain cleared the smoke This morning we woke up to blue in the sky and very little smoke and only a “1 low risk air quality” ( thank you Sue K for the air quality link).

A lone RCMP ( police ) saving a home with only a garden hose.

However as today progressed the clouds came in as did the winds. No rain but we did start smelling smoke again. We are down to a “3 low risk” this evening. There are three separate major fires burning and they are still out of control but thanks to many boots on the ground (500 firefighters from all over ) they are mostly keeping the fires away from homes and structures.

So wonderful to wake up to sunshine this morning, first time in over a week. It was never planned but we love how our RV actually fits on our driveway, all 40 feet.

I read yesterday that a singe firetruck from Ellison saved an entire condo complex here in Lake Country, a day or two ago, just the few firefighters and their truck. These men and woman are so very brave and never give up. There have been photos thru homeowners cameras of a single fire-fighter saving a home and another three others stopping a fire from going up a berm and saved at least 3 homes – true heroes. So many more stories like this. And then there are the restaurants and individuals and community groups coming together to feed all the firefighters plus those evacuated from their home. Many of the fire-fighters are also evacuated from their homes. One of the fire chiefs today ‘joked’ that he was running out of underwear and his family was also evacuated. These fellows have not been home since this all started 😥

Firefighters from over 30 municipalities have come to help Kelowna the help fight these horrific fires.

Our provincial government had put a travel ban in effect for two days in all of BC. Hotels, airbnb’s and campgrounds were full. There was nowhere to house the evacuees and of course that was important. As of today the ban only remains for West Kelowna, allowing for some tourism as well as accommodation for the evacuees. Many are offering rental properties at a discount, some places are offering free accommodation for a few days. Our BC community is first rate, so many have come to together to feed those sleeping on cots in an arena, some just sitting in a community centre, the food bank is making 1000’s of boxes everyday, many are opening up an extra bedroom in their home. It is going to take us a very long time to get back to some sort of normal. Did you even think about the grapes on the vine, might be a very smokey harvest?

This air quality chart is right on. Happy to be home at 1 low risk vs 11+ VERY high risk.

Sadly today is that day that those who lost their homes will find out their fate. 180 homes destroyed 😥  😥

I know this is almost impossible to read but someone posted this on our Kelowna Dachshund FB page. So many places to be able to walk our dogs inside during all this thick/toxic/smoke.

It is believed that the owners lost their home, farm and many animals. However this pig managed to survive. This morning  a helicopter dropped a bunch of granola bars to feed the pig which the boots on the ground did as well as give the pig some water.

I honestly don’t have time to reply to your various comments but I will, especially if you had a question. I need a few days to get back to normal re the business and preparing for Mexico. But thank you very much for your comments, it has bolstered us.

Somehow I got this in my inbox this afternoon. Denmark. I don’t where this is or if it is a special area or if this is the norm for the country. This looks ever so peaceful. I will be looking into Denmark very soon.

Que Pasa?

Wish I knew 😯  So much has been happened the past two days. In our downtime both the inside and basement of the RV have been prepped for our next trip to Mexico. I still can’t believe that we leave seven weeks today 😎

The girls love the huge fields here that they can run in.

I hope that you are okay with these bits and pieces, not necessarily in order.

Several of these around here getting the girls excited.

~I had purchased a large fillet of fresh wild sockeye salmon two days before we left.  Once we landed in this lovely spot and more or less set up this past Friday Colin left to pick up a few supplies for us to BBQ the salmon. No way did we want to waste that lovely salmon. The fish was perfect as was as the potatoes Colin picked up. Accompanied with  zucchini from our garden and a ceaser salad we ate very well. Last night we had a salmon burger.  Tonight we have a choice of Costco quiche, veggie burger, two types of hot pasta or tuna pies. Look like the chef has chosen tuna pies. The unsettling thing about the Friday meal was that Colin discovered that the local gas station was out of fuel. Oh wel, yet another thing to deal with on another day.

Yesterday update. New rules. The Rv park here is upset as that lost many clients. The thing is this area is not within the areas the  government stated.

~tonight is our fourth night here. A very lovely RV park.  The girls are so very good. They seem to be alright sitting outside on a leash tied to a tree. Today Colin took them for a long walk around the park off leash. Then down to the rocky beach of the Kettle River. They listened to all his voice commands. I could see that they have changed over the past months but they certainly proved it to us.

Almost our entire province is on fire. For certain it all has smokey skies.

~Colin had brought several bowls of tomatoes/zucchini and patty pan squash from our garden which he shared with everyone here. Back home someone graciously watered our veggie garden the other day ( I can’t remember ) and another friend watered the tomato  plants in our yard. Folks are being very helpful to us as well as all the evacuees. Hot food is being delivered free of charge all over the city and of course the fire stations. There have been over 50 homes destroyed but they are still counting. Several  fire-fighters have lost their homes yet keep fighting these three fires that remain out of control. I feel for them and of course their wives and children left with little emotional support. Most are working 16 hours shifts in the very very thick choking  smoke.

The air quality if off the charts and very toxic, about 1PM today.

~I am spending hours online trying to figure it all out.

What can I say, more destruction! What is happening to our world?

~as of this morning the fires had calmed however they all remain out of control. The University and area were taken off their evacuation order but remain on alert. However the smoke is being held down by its very thickness and not dissipating. Added to that are the associated smells of toxic fumes and burnt homes ( tires also plus ?? ) and vegetation. Air quality on a scale of 1 – 10 is literally off the charts at an 11+. Reports from those who have returned to Holiday Park are about the smell and thick toxic smoke.

Nothing changed today. I just can’t figure out why just one highway width to the west makes Holiday Park safe. Between our park and the one across the road we are 800 homes with only one in and out????

~we have been debating on returning tomorrow or waiting until Wednesday. Winds are to pick up tonight, there is a 30% chance of showers  🙂 as well as thunder showers. Tomorrow ( Tuesday ) is a 70% chance of showers. We don’t mind getting wet as we unload.  Much better that breathing toxic air.  Many are worried about their A/C units being full of ash. What to do?

Yesterday, those three fires are still out of control  as of Monday, Aug 21st.

~today Holiday Park sent out a totally revised form on evacuation procedures as approved by the Kelowna Fire Department!  It varies quite a bit from what was in effect when we left. All to the good but why so late in the game 😯 Also the parks webcams are down, two were working up to yesterday but now we have no visual of the amount of smoke in the air 😡

Yesterday morning and the same most of today.

~homes have been destroyed but we don’t’ have the total number nor any details. Those whose homes have been destroyed need to be contacted first.

They are loving the freedom. Most importantly they are listening our commands to come back.

~a day or two before we left the  temperature was 102F. The past two mornings we awoke up to 53F and 51F. Those temps have helped cool the fires but they are all still burning out of control as I type this.

~ of course we are very aware of Hurricane Hilary. For once there was no damage to the Isla. However Hilary hit the USA very hard 😥  The hope is that  she will drop some water on our fires tomorrow as she passes through

You could see the smoke but we could not smell it. This was like a mini vacation – despite having to leave under unfortunate circumstances. One we knew that our home was safe we started to relax.

~thank you all so much for your comments on this blog via comments, via text, message or email and phone calls. They have all helped calm us and we are so very very thankful for you being there for us. It means so very much to realize how many of you care – and especially my long lost friends and our special blog reader from Australia. Tears did flow as your comments were read, we did not feel quite so alone

So many places to explore here including the Kettle River.

~we are ever so thankful that our RV park has been saved. However those who have returned to our park are still ready to leave at a moments notice. There are still winds and thunder storms in the forecast. We will make our decision to return or not in the morning.

~sadly the the fire fighting air support has been unable to fly the past few days. Worry some.

~however friends from the Isla who live in our park reported rain about 45 minutes ago 😎 Please let it rain. Fabulous news at 7:54PM Monday.

We could easily spend a week or so here, but our home is ever so special and our garden is calling us. Hopefully based on what we see and hear in the morning we will return home or not.

If you are ever down this way ( just  a mile or two from the US border ) The Kettle River RV Park is a wonderful place to relax in. Just a few miles east of Rock Creek.






We are no longer in Kelowna, we self evacuated!

My last post was full of Thursday photos. I just found this one, scary scary sky. Who knew what that night would bring?

Tok close for comfort

Thursday night was wild and homes were destroyed – we don’t know how many yet. However homes were destroyed yesterday the 18th and also today the 19th.

I am fairly certain that most of you have read about the fires in British Columbia and now particularly in Kelowna, BC. You only have to read or listen to the news. Thursday night was hell on earth for firefighters.  At least four ( have heard up to six but can’t confirm that ) started from the Friday night fires via hot embers flying across Lake Okanagan – yes huge big lake. One of our neighbours  knocked on our door early yesterday ( Friday ) morning to tell us that they and their families were leaving Holiday Park. One of the fathers friends had just had a hot ember land on their roof and their home was on fire. The house is only 4KM away from our place. That got us thinking.

Friday morning ash in the outdoor dog dish.

First three fires spotted early Friday by the 3 read dots in the middle of the photo. Our park is to the right of that grey HWY 97 line.


So we began to slowly pack and make piles of things to go to the RV. I was constantly checking the computer for updates. We could see the highway from our home and it was bumper to bumper heading east ( had been all of Thursday night as the evacuation orders were put in force ) and ever so slow. Where could we go? Spoke with another neighbour who suggested heading west out of the park to Highway 33 heading south and then turn east on Highway 3 ( Crowsnest Hwy) where the communities of Rock Creek, Kettle River and Midway were. Turns out that this area had become a haven for fire evacuees. Was a 75 mile drive for us but due to the extremely curvy roads it took about 2.5 hours.

Before I continue I want to let you know how difficult this is to write. How difficult to leave our home and all our beautiful possessions, etc. I had to work very hard at not breaking down. Such difficult decisions to make as to what to take and what not to take. Everything I left behind, I knew that I may never see it again ( and still might not ). As it was we forgot a few things like dog ramps and dog fencing and certain food items. Lots of pasta but no sauce. The fresh wild sockeye salmon that I just had purchased but no marinade ingredients, nor rice nor potatoes. We do have tons of tomatoes and way too many zucchini. We won’t starve. I packed all the chocolate and as much white wine as I could. What I am trying to tell you is that this post is likely going to be all over the place. Much to difficult to keep things in chronological order but I will do my best. Many of you have been asking the Que Pasa of what is happening do I finally force myself sit down to write this post. Thank you to all of you who called, emailed, texted, etc. Special thanks to a few of you who helped by looking up locations, maps and finding us a palace to stay in an RV Park. Special thanks to Al of the Bayfield Bunch back in Ontario who reached out to someone, Barb M. in the Vernon area ( I am so sorry that I have not got back to you yet – but I will ) to help us find a place to stay. Friends all over BC, Alberta ( and other parts of Canada ) and the USA and many from Mexico. Your messages truly helped get us through the difficult hours.

I feel for a friend who has been evacuated two days in a row. Even worse, it was twenty years ago yesterday to the day that she lost her home to the 2003 fire and was now in the same shopping mall (as 20 years ago) camping out. Sorry I have not reached out but please know that we care. Special thanks to a dear friend who is sending me any mention of our home area in the news. She urged us to leave ( her fiancé is a firefighter captain ). She is alone with her son and worried not just for herself, but for him. So many of you reaching out.

I already getting ahead of myself. Hope you can figure it all out..

As we left this was the fire that was so very very close to us.

Finally as we were about to drive away, helicopters arrived and were using our lake to get water to drop on the ever so close fire. The RV was full almost to the roof, everything had simply been tossed inside. Barely any place to walk but finally we were ready to roll. Lots of time to put things away later. Safety first, get out of the area.

Good thing we were heading west as this was the bumper to bumper slow moving traffic moving east hat we had seen all day.

We left Holiday Park at 2:45 PM Friday the18th afternoon. We loaded the golf cart which Colin took and unload into the RV and then came back to the house. We loaded the Jeep  which I thought I was going to drive behind the RV but Colin wanted us to be together so we hooked it up. However Colin could not find the tow bars and had to go back to the house. By the way we left the power on but shut off the water and the propane. I also tied a red ribbon to the door and taped a note to the door window saying that we had left and about the propane and water. I didn’t want to ruin two freezers full of things that I had already begun to purchase for trip to Mexico. Hard to believe that we are leaving in seven weeks. We had also loaded my car and we put all of that into the RV and unloaded stuff from the RV that we did not need into the Lexus which now sits in the RV storage site. It was cold here this morning so I wish we had kept our Mr. Buddy,  We went from sweltering temps (to us), to a cool 69F.

See I how I get distracted. Finally on the road. Good thing we were going west. Traffic not so bad. Lots of vehicles lined up around the block trying to get fuel. Drove south on HWY 33, and then east on Hwy 3. My good friend Joanne found us the last RV site here at the Kettle River RV Park on Hwy 3. We only got this RV site because someone had to cancel. They cancelled because they lost their home to fire Thursday night, so very very sad. It truly is a lovely place but I really wish that the original folks had been able to come. Much smokier today that when we arrived 24 hours ago. Colin spent well and I tossed and turned. However it was black dark and as quiet as possible and so cool that it was lovely.

Site 29 here at the Kettle River RV Park.  As you can see smokey but not as bad as back home.

By end of day Friday ( the day we left ) this was the evacuation map. Red was evacuation where the fired had begun and yellow was the be ready to leave at a moments notice line. We live where it says Duck Lake 7 and below to the Ellison Lake which our site is on. The yellow/orange line is along Hwy 97. We turn right off of that highway to get to our RV Park.

Taken from Holiday Park just before 9PM Friday.

Photo taken Friday night from Holiday Park.

Taken by our neighbour Karen last night about 9:30pm ( Friday the day we left ). You might recognize that this is where I stand for my sunset photos. I am so glad we left, not sure that I could have watched this last night.

Yesterday, Friday evening. We live on the cusp of Kelowna/Lake Country. So glad we decided to leave. Still a very difficult decision.

The province of BC is literally on fire. We are in the middle of the “WILDFIRE OF NOTE SYMBOLS “.

To help with the above photo.

Too close for comfort. That orange line along Hwy 97 has changed from orange to RED this afternoon. Interpretation means to the left of the red line is evacuate and to the right of the line you are safe. We live on the right which is much too close for comfort for us.

Apparently seven water bombers worked for hours today on “our” fire ( the one closet to us ). That was wonderful news. But care homes are being evacuated. So many people/organizitons and restaurants are offering to help and are donating. The community is striving to work together. But what is happening in this world of ours? Hawaiian fires, next flooding in California and Arizona and BC on fire and the entire city of Whitehorse, NWT being evacuate, the entire city 😮

So many heart warming posts on the media.

35,000 homes evacuated. Meanwhile new fires continue in Oliver, Penticton and the Shuswap and I don’t where else. many RCMP ( police ) have been flown from other parts of BC to assist. Various communities have sent not only firefighters but also fire trucks to assist.

Thanks for reading thus far, if you have. It took over four hours to get this post written. I really hope in my heart of hearts that I wake up to a better day.






Fire update

Because of the heat we are enduring and a cold front coming in tomorrow,  we are in a perfect storm for fires, so say the officials.

Easy yesterday Dianne and her husband were driving east in their RV. This was taken in the Winfield area, a glimpse of what was to come.

Taken yesterday afternoon from our patio. The smoke was so thick that we could barely see the lake.

“The BC Wildfire Service’s top official did not mince words during Thursday’s press conference: “This weather event has the potential to be most challenging 24 to 48 hours of the summer from a fire perspective. We are expecting significant growth and we are expecting our resources to be challenged from north to south.”

The forecast in B.C. is calling for a potential “perfect storm” for wildfires over the next couple of days, with expected dry lightning and strong, erratic winds, on top of the already bone-dry conditions across much of the province.

BC Wildfire Service director Cliff Chapman said this weather event is unique in that it will have a provincewide impact. But he noted the southern half of the province, including the Cariboo, Kamloops and Southeast fire centres, will be most susceptible.

“The conditions out in the forests are very primed to see significant fire growth and to see new fires challenge our suppression efforts,” Chapman said.

After a high pressure system has sat over much of the province for the past several days, driving temperatures up to the high 30s, a cold front will make its way down through B.C. from the northwest throughout the day Thursday. While the cold front will cool down temperatures to the high 20s, the transition is expected to bring strong, erratic winds, gusting to speeds of 70 km/h, along with dry lightning.”

Taken about 4PM this afternoon after Colin ran a few errands. One of the things he picked up was the purchase of a new anode rod for the RV – just in case we have to head out of town sooner than we expected.

I can’t even keep track where all the fires are right now. Enough to say that three of them began issuing evacuation orders a few hours ago, over 2500 people have been evacuated and another 4,500 homes are on evacuation alert. There is one very active fire south of us, two to the east and a huge one directly behind us.  Some of the other fires have evacuation orders and alerts. We are in no danger whatsoever but that can change in an instant. The fire behind us is sending out much ash including blackened leaves, pinecone needles and small pieces of wood. Over the past few hours the winds have increased as promised. Going outside feels like walking into a hot oven. Hopefully no hot embers will find their way here.

Some of the ash falling today.

It was a complete leaf blacked by the fire until I picked it up and it broke in half.

Today we are seeing things we never have before, different colours on the lake as well as different shaped clouds and formations. The sun has reflected into the lake the past few hours over and over with some sparkly but various colours. They sky has changed over and over. We have seen many fires in our 20 years here, but this is a big one and perhaps because of the ‘perfect storm’ we are seeing new things. Already we have seen the winds shift. I just went out to take a photo of a strange cloud formation and I could actually smell trees burning 😥

The winds have started to pick up. The fire is very slowly moving to the north.

The wind blew over my laundry. It was fine once I shook out all of the ash.

What we are seeing is upsetting but they say that tomorrow will be worse as the winds will shift and move towards West Kelowna. This is week is the 20th anniversary of the huge 2003 fire, many homes were lost. The day we took possession of our second site  here in the park ( we were in the RV ) we were aware of fires to the west and south of us. By dusk they were not too far from us, in the south. Many were gettting their RV’s ready to evacuate. A fireman friend had his 5th wheel permanently skirted. He took it all off and hooked up. That was our signal to prepare to leave. We were never officially evacuated but many of us left the park. I drove the car behind our RV, we did not want take the time to hook up but we had walkie talkies. We ended up at the Walmart in Vernon. We know for certain that a miracle took place. There was little to no rain in the forecast but just where the fire had begun to get close to our area there was a cloud burst and the fire slowed right down 😮

As the winds picked, up the fire got wider – larger.

Today the fire was in the hills above Bear Creek Provincial Park. The park was on evacuation alert. Our friends S & B are park managers there. This was not their first brush with fires in the area. The RVers all left and they brought up the rear and closed the gate so to speak. They are rather unsettled tonight, as this week is the 20th anniversary almost to the day that they lost their home to the 2003 fire. And now today they had to evacuate with their only home which happens to be on wheels. S also writes a blog and you can follow her thoughts by clicking here.

Dark cloud of ash passing over our house.

In other news Hurricane Hilary will be passing by Mazatlan on its way south to Cabo San Lucas and sending some weather towards the Isla. I am not going to worry about that until later tomorrow. Just learned that the rains have already begun.

We called some friends in Guadalajara this evening who were also living in smoke. Apparently some developers in the city were setting fire to trees and vegetation so that they had clear ground to build on. Against the law, but it is Mexico 😯

I had another update but I will deal with that in the next post. I had no idea that this post would grow as it has.

Photo taken by a friend up in the Mission looking towards downtown Kelowna, about 5PM. I feel for the people in the path of the fire. The daughter of one of our neighbours packed up and left about 9:30PM tonight, She lives halfway between the fire and the lake. She was not under an evacuation order but she is a very smart lady.

I have more photos but it is almost 10PM and we need to have dinner. Hopefully the rest of the story tomorrow.

The fire is definitely approaching Kelowna. You can see how wide is has grown.

I have not proofed this, just wrote it, so please excuse spelling and gramma errors.




So hot and a major decision made

Breaking heat records today. Yesterday it was scorching but today it is searing hot, we got up to 102F. Finally down to 86F at 9PM tonight as I type this. The A/C is still on. I had to drive into town for my kinesiology appointment early this afternoon and then I made seven stops on the way home 😯  About six too many. Some short and some much longer. It was wonderful to walk into the cool air at home. The A/C is working just fine in my car but with all the stops it barely cools down. Sadly the heat is generating many new fires 😥

The first morning that Colin was gone I looked outside. Where were the girls? They usually spend the morning hours in this dog bed.

We leave in seven weeks and six days for Mexico. I have to start doing all the to do’s. I don’t even have a list, I am doing things as they pop into my mind.  Colin spent the last two ( very very long and hot ) days doing photography ( interiors and exteriors of a multi million dollar home ) for one of our clients. He will be home now for at least a week sitting at his desk doing editing and photoshop. The girls missed him so much, it was sad to see. Each time a car drove past they jumped up to see if it was him. Last night when he finally got home after 10PM ( he left at 8:30AM and never had a break all day ) the girls very firmly expressed to us that they would be sleeping in our bed. In fact they were asleep on top of the bed covers with 15 minutes of Colin getting home. They could finally relax and rest. The last few days had been difficult for them.

How could they lay on that hot concrete? Can you see who is the dark chocolate and the milk chocolate girl?

This might be why they call them hot dogs!

The lovely couple who are extremely interested in purchasing our home came by this past Saturday. They were measuring a variety of areas inside and outside of our home. Once done we sat down to have ‘the’ discussion. The numbers seemed to work, however there was no way that I could sell, pack up my home and find a place to store everything in just eight weeks. I kindly explained that we were interested but the time was not right for us. I refuse to be homeless. So we agreed to speak again May/June. Such a relief, decision made. We will look at the Isla and other areas in Mexico through different eyes this coming winter. Depending on what we find and where, then we will rethink the house sale or just keep it 😎

This just might make the perfect new home for us! Doxiemobile.

Lovely sunset this evening, likely in part due to the smoke we have had for a few days.

The triplets, February of 2021. They were so very tiny. Wish I could go back and hold them at that size again.

Here at home in March of 2021. Those tiny noses grew so fast. I love them all over again.



Que pasa

We have been living in a whirlwind this past week. Just under nine weeks from today we will heading south once again. We can hardly wait. If I say the word beach the girls get excited. So many things happening and to be decided.

A lovely couple has approached us and asked to see our home as they want to buy it 😥  The price is right. However there is no way that I could get my house emptied for someone else in just nine weeks. Colin and I have been thinking long and hard, twisting things over and over, asking so many what ifs that my head is spinning. Bottom line we are not selling right now. The buyers are okay with waiting until May ( June I hope ) to make the final decision. Obviously we will be looking at Mexico with a different perspective the next 5 – 6 months. We can move anywhere we want in Mexico but where? I see a few road trips within Mexico coming up. Apparently many new condos are being built on the Isla right now.

Morning nap on the window bench. This might be the first time that they have shared the space. They do so daily now.

One thing we have decided is that we will only rent and not buy in Mexico. We are free to start closing down the company next year and to stay as long as we want anywhere in Mexico. We will need to explore different locations. I think that I need the ocean and the beach otherwise I would be unsettled. Nothing stopping us from renting eight months on the Isla and then moving inland to enjoy cooler weather during the summer, or traveling in the RV to visit places in the US or even back here for two months or so. However if we find something just perfect for us then we will sell this house in the spring. On the other hand what if my body gives out in 2 -3 years and I become housebound, I can’t imagine myself anywhere else but here on the lake. Money is not everything. If we are careful then we can keep this house and rent somewhere. As you can see there are so very very many decisions to make. We did build this home as our final forever home which is why we put so many extras into it. We have also considered renting out our home for a few years but certainly don’t want it to get trashed.

Late afternoon visitor to the lake this past Tuesday.

I refuse to be stressed. Yesterday I turned my loaner hearing aides back in. I had to either return the loaners or order my personal set. I just don’t have the time nor the patience to figure out why such and such is squealing or snapping and creating noise in my ears. I will try again in May or June when I have time to go get things checked out weekly to create the optimum use of hearing aids. $8,000.00 is a good deal of money to spend for something you won’t use.

He taxied for a long time.

In my heart of hearts, I want to take this coming winter off to just sit, relax and regroup ( and read and read ) in our new location and of course walk the beach. With our temporal visa we have four full years to decide what we want to do. I am always so organized and structured but at this point we have an idea but no firm date of when we will come back to Canada. I have even let our accountant know. I have to have the company year completed by the end of April but who knows when that will happen in 2024. Our accountant said that he can handle it and make it work for us 😎 New location information still coming in a post.

He must have had a heavy load as it took a long time before he achieved lift off. These photos were taken from inside our house.

Two nights ago I made a tasty stir fry with our garden veggies plus baked our main in the oven. The oven would not shut off. It just kept running. In the end we had to shut down all the electricity in the house. We called Coast Appliances where we purchased all of our kitchen appliances back in 2012. Basically all they could advise was to call a repair company. Just before the power went out, I saw error code F11. That gave us something to research yesterday. We also called Frigidaire Professional directly but they were of little help. In the end we went from what we learned on Google and reset the oven. We made pizza last night and heated the oven to 500F and it shut down perfectly as it was supposed to. Domtech told us they we needed a new code board and that you couldn’t get then anymore but they happened to just have the one. No thank you, for the cost of the board and their hourly rate we will wait and see if this happens again. Besides we are still able to get parts of our ancient 2001 RV.  A 2012 oven should not be so difficult.

Slices of zucchini, tomatoes and Swiss chard from our garden were added. It is always so good that we seldom have leftovers.

Getting into our dentist for a cleaning has been difficult this year. We go once a year and I usually just book a few months in advance. However this year we have been on a waiting list for two months. Yesterday we both received a call to come in, me in the morning and Colin in the afternoon, two separate hygienists. When I paid they asked if I wanted to book for next year 😯 I have no idea where I will be next year so no. Glad to cross that off the to do list. Yes I know we can easily get our teeth cleaned in Mazatlan and in time we will.

Just now I got a phone call from Rogers, they are taking over cell phone coverage from Shaw. I have no choice in that decision but they are giving me a pretty good deal to transport my phone keeping the plan I have, but are also willing to change it to a three country plan ( Canada, USA and Mexico ) for $55.00 per month which is the Shaw rate and guarantee me that price till April 2028. The Rogers price for that three country plan service is $105.00 per month. Off I go to research which is best and of course checkout the current Telcel pricing. If anyone has some great suggestions re cell phone plans this is the time to share.

Thanks for the photo of this cute guy, Sue K. His pockets are full of beans.

Yesterday at dusk. Chairs are in a planned disarray as an eagle distraction tactic.

Changes are coming

It is not much better to shake up your life sometimes? Who wants to get stuck in a rut doing the same thing over and over, year after year?  Not us 😎 Life is short and we want to make our final years the best that we possibly can.

Our very recent road trip took us to the Mexican Consulate in Vancouver.

We have been Rving to Mexico in our RV since 2002. After having traveled around most of Mexico ( no further south than Veracruz ) including to parts of the interior, as well as both coasts, we stopped at Tres Amigos RV Park in 2009, on Isla de la Piedra for a few days and stayed for 14 years. We will still be returning to the Isla but to a different location. That is a post for another day.

Never in all of our years in Mexico did we even consider becoming a resident. Many friends did but it just didn’t appeal to us. We were happy just going down to visit for 4 -5 months each winter. However with all the changes in our world it seems to be the right time to make a change. Just to mention a few reasons, the economy, the huge climate changes, prices of food and lack of food choices not to mention politics and peoples behaviour in general made us realize that we could move. We only decided in May to make this huge change in our lives

To become a resident to Mexico you must apply for a Temporal Visa for four years and then are able to get a Permanente Visa. If you wish, after another year you can apply for citizenship. But the first step is to start the Visa process at the consulate. Much paperwork and requirements but we aced it. We have our Mexican Visa and have 30 days once we cross into Mexico to complete the process ( more forms and paperwork ) and then we get our Temporal Visa Card. Of course the transfer of money is also involved.

Colin and I are no longer restricted to a six month stay. We can now stay as long as we want in Mexico, for up to four years. We can come and go as we wish. Freedom to make a choice to live in a better place than Canada or the USA. Our departure date is October 16th.

We honestly have no focused plan other than getting set up in our new location starting October 31st. We then will look at the Isla with a different perspective. Would we want to live there or move elsewhere within Mexico? We have four years to figure it all out. To stay on the Isla, to rent or to buy somewhere else, to open a Mexican bank account and so on. Then we have to sort out closing down Colin Jewall Photos Studios Inc. And what will become of our very special home here on the lake? I never thought that we would sell it, but for the right price we just might do that.

The only negative thing we can see at the moment, is that after our four year temporal we are not allowed to keep using our vehicles in Mexico. There is an approximate 40% import tax. Much more economical to buy a vehicle in Mexico, prices are much cheaper than north of the border. The motorhome is a different situation. RV’s are imported once every ten years and our expires in 2026. So that gives us until 2036 of being able to come and go in the RV. I am 98% certain of that, but things are always changing.

We are just happy that our appointments at the consulate went well and we came home with our visas. The rest will fall into place poco a poco ( bit by bit ). The most difficult part is done.  Well not quite true, as we have to create a new RV site for the next few years. We are already ahead of the game by only paying 50% of what we have paid monthly at Tres Amigos.

Stay tuned for the next post in our exciting lives regarding the new RV location.  I might sneak in a few smaller posts before that post – it will be difficult to write 😥

Tres Amigos sunset.

New location sunset.

A very fast trip

First time crossing the new Port Mann Bridge coming into Vancouver. It even has an HOV lane.

We left Monday about 9:30AM and returned last evening ( Tuesday ) at 6:30PM. 840kms driven / 522miles. Vancouver is one of Canada’s prettiest cities but the roads have not kept up with the increased population and heightened traffic. Per Google maps from here to where we stayed could be driven in 4hrs and 23minutes. It took us 6 hours and 30 minutes and the traffic was constantly moving. In the past it has taken 8 hours or more.  Much construction due to the floods from a few years ago. Plus the new pipeline construction. However we lucked out leaving Vancouver as we just beat rush hour traffic. Very few slow downs coming home. It was only a 5 hour drive 😀

The pipeline is moving along quickly.

Needless to say we missed the girls but Jordan our sitter kept sending texts and photos which comforted me. I could not have asked for a better sitter. The girls were happy, greeted us with much enthusiasm and then moved on to look for snakes Today they were perfectly normal. For some reason we had many phone calls to return today and a few deadline matters to handle.

The girls waiting for us.

I had spent several hours a few weeks back to find a place to stay for our one night in Vancouver. We stayed at the Sandman Suites on Davie. For $360.00 It was okay but not perfect. Friends kept telling me to go with Airbnb. Yes the prices were lower but they had close to $200.00 in added costs including over $100.00 for cleaning 😥 The expensive hotels were cheaper.

The Downtown Westend of Vancouver is riddled with apartment buildings.

Stunning sunset over English Bay from our 15th floor balcony.

We did have the best Thai curry dinner in this tiny restaurant on Davie Street. Two huge meals, coconut rice and one liter of Hungarian Pino Gris was only $70.00 cad. I can still recall all the various fragrant tastes.

We did a few touristy things on our last morning. This was the Olympic Cauldron from the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Wish we could have seen it at night.

The waterfront is full of activity.

Lots of places to walk and many sitting areas. Wished we had had time to enjoy these lounge chairs.

Colin and I have lived in Vancouver separately and as a married couple for at least 20 -25 years. We have been to the Vancouver area over the years but not exactly downtown where I used to work. So very very many changes. New lovely buildings, bike lanes, efficient transit but as everywhere else there is a horrific homeless problem. We loved living in Vancouver, first in the False Creek area and then Tsawwassen before moving to Ladner. The city became larger and larger and more congested. We made the big move to Kelowna in 2003. What we saw the past few days confirmed that we had made the correct decision to move here to Kelowna.

I have read about the homeless situation but it is even worse in person. Block after block filled with people living on the sidewalk.

It was wonderful to get back home to our girls. We are rather tired, too much time in a vehicle in such a short time. Next post will be about the purpose of our trip to Vancouver.