Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Solstice move in

Happy Solstice Everyone!

We are back from a lovely visit east. We stayed with Dick Joyce in LaHave and had quick visits with everyone we could. Then back to PEI to do a little more work on Rustico Home - which has quite a few booking this year happily. We helped put the hay into the barn for Ian's fathers horses on a hot afternoon but many hands made for fast work. Then we packed the car with the rest of our belongings and the sea kayaks said our good byes :-( and headed west. We had a nice overnight visit with Smitty and Judy then a hot drive the rest of the way to Pembroke. It was so nice and refreshing to arrive at Jeff and Trish's our home away from home in Pembroke. We have settled the paper work and had a final viewing of the house on Irving street so we will be moving in later today. It has been an amazing year!! I think this will be the last entry for the dandiadventure blog. Our email address will be changing to dandi@nrtco.net we think at least. Our telephone will be 613-629-9162 and the address is 504 Irving Street Pembroke Ontario Canada k8a 2t5.

I Diana will likely start another blog for my time in Antarctica till that happen good bye!!

Diana and Ian

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Back in Pembroke

spring apple blossoms 

Hi Everyone,
We are in Pembroke again. Ian is off with Jeff Jackson recertifying their white water instructors certificat at MKC http://www.owl-mkc.ca/ and I am hanging out with Patricia and the boys. Next week I will go to some of the SPNHC conference and the following week the CAC conference.

We had an overnight visit with Judy and Smitty on our way down in Fredericton (actually Cork NB).
Always great to hang out with them!

Zoe sniffin

she is growing

Smitty and PinMan

We were on the road between Montreal and Ottawa when Diana got a call from New Zealand http://www.nzaht.org/ she was offered and accepted a Summer Conservator position with the Trust in Antarctica. Starts August. Yippee!!

Mean time 504 Irving Street our new house will be available June 22. We will head back to the East coast for a week or so to check on the Nova Scotia property and to have a little visit. Then back to Pembroke to move in and organize before Diana has to leave.

WE will see you all soon.

Diana and Ian

Monday, May 17, 2010

More travels

Hi all

Ian and I are back from our travels in Ontario. It was lovely and warm at first but then the weather cooled and dumped snow on the poor tulips and blossoms. Hopefully this is not going to effect the fruit season in Ontario to badly. It was amazingly green and the tulips were up the leaves were sprouting ah spring!

We had a wonderful yoga experience with Naime at http://www.mykulaburlington.ca/ We worked on therapeutics and learned a lot. The mykula Burlington space is so beautiful as well it is a wonderful place to hang out.

Naime with Christiane

We had planned to stay with Diana’s parent Terry and Dave but just before we left Dad called to say Mom had fallen and cracked her skull. Thank goodness we were on our way down and she was safely in IC at the Welland Hospital. It has all turned out ok she is feeling fine now with no lasting effect but we stayed with Rob and Gai Lawson rather than put any stress on Mom for the weekend. Rob and Gai are such gracious hosts their place is starting to feel like home away from home. Thanks so much again Rob and Gai.

We were able to share a lovely dinner with Mom, Dad, Ellen, Rick, Dorothy (Rick mother) and his nephew Chis and partner in Port Colbourne. Diana got the call she is short listed to go to Antarctica during dinner!! Ya hoo fingers crossed.

Then off to Pembroke to do some house hunting.

Jeff and Patricia Oliver and Quincey were our gracious hosts in Pembroke. James Gen was busily showing us properties – we were able to narrow it down relatively quickly and made one offer which as we suspected did not go through. So we made plans to stay an extra week but only after we drove back down to Toronto for a weekend immersed in Tantric Philosophy with Christopher Wallis (Hareesh) at mykula Toronto. Amazing!

We had a visit with Mom and Dad and Michael as well. Mom is doing much better! Michael is still recovering from his broken leg. The accident happened in November and after battling infections with antibiotic a couple reopening of the wound and cleaning and using a pump to flush it looks like maybe the infection is under control and we can hope the bone starts to mend. It is tough on him as well can be expected help us all send positive energy his way.

House hunting again in Pembroke we stayed at Jeff and Trish’s again our other home away from home. We saw some more houses and made another offer on a house – it is a lovely ‘50’s brick bungalow. We both really like it fingers crossed.

The drives to and from Ontario went fine we managed to get some stuff to Ontario so the next load may fit in the car and there will be less mailing of boxes.

 We drove back on Friday had a great visit with Ian and Judy in Harvey on route! Also got to see Darrel and Sue and Kaeli. Smitty and Judy have a very cute new puppy!! Spring in Canada is Wonderful!! seeing it with new eyes after our time away I have a new appreciation for the luxury of water we have in Canada! Lets all do are part to conserve and preserve what we have


Lucky dogs

Two lips

What is the matter with Dandelions?

Beautiful Blush

Till next

Diana and Ian

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back in North American

TT3 hoola hooping in Hayes Park, see the older gentleman who joined in :-)

Our trip to Australia was wonderful!! It was so nice to hang out with Sarah and Paul and their clan. We were lucky enough to catch Sarah on her days off the water and she was able to come out and play with us. We also had a nice visit with Travis and Lelia in Tasmania. We got to go crabbing with Rob Mengler! And made lots of new friends to go back and visit with the Australian Bike Friday Club. Margret Day has planted the seed and written the menu for starting the Canadian Bike Friday club stay tuned on that one!!

Our flights to San Francisco were pleasant and uneventful. We arrived in the morning and managed to stay up all day so the time/day change was a relatively easy transition. The week in San Francisco was spent in the warm glow of the Anusara Kula. Diana had classes with Sianna Sherman http://www.opentograce.com/ who I have been taking my Anusara Teacher Training with, this was TT 3 an amazing week with many of the same people who have been traveling along this journey with me.

Ian and I practice yoga every day at the Yoga Tree Hayes Studio with Darcy or Stacey or KK. On the weekend at Yoga Kula – studio’s to aspire to. Darren was in town for the weekend at Yoga Kula and MC Yogi was practicing with us too!!


Our friends Read and Arden were coincidentally in SF for a family holiday. We were able to have some visits with them. We are soooooo!!!! happy to be able to visit with Read since a few weeks ago he was caught in an avalanche in Colorado. He is getting around very well on crutches and his leg is mending well!!

Breakfast at the Squat and
Gobble with Read and Arden

While we were in San Francisco we also decided to fly back to the east coast instead of cycle to Vancouver and fly from there. There were lots of things we wanted to get done on the east coast still so why not give ourselves the time to do them without being rushed. So we managed to find relatively cheap flights with the usually nasty routeings of last minute flights Pittsburgh red eye, then to Ottawa and Ottawa to Charlottetown. Diana seems to have finally managed to learn how to sleep on a plane – not soundly or for really long but I did sleep some so I recovered quickly from the jet lag. It was pretty quiet in around the Pineau neighbourhood since John and Inez were holding the fort while everyone else was in the Dominican Republic at Kristen and Marshal’s wedding. Everyone came back with lovely happy stories and nice tans. From the photos it looks like it was a great event!

Last weekend we drove into Halifax for JR and Jenny’s wedding celebration. They ran off and eloped in January and we were honoured with their presence at our wedding so we were only too happy to be at their party! It was in the N Magazine at Citadel Hill. Ian had never been up there before so after the event we went for a wonder around the ramparts. It has always been a favourite place of mine and it was nice to be there again. After being a tourist in Australia for almost three months being a tourist in Halifax was kind of normal.

JR and Jenny's party

We went to the Dingle with Verity and Buddha – a place neither Ian nor I had been. I had been to the frog pond but not the walk from the tower to the Halifax Yachted Squadron which is very nice. We had been impressed with the stone work in Australia but Halifax has it share of impressive stone work too! It is fun to be a tourist at home.

We have been hanging out reorganizing our belongings here in PEI and planning what next. We are going to head to Ontario on the 29th or 30th and catch a workshop with Naime Jazzeny in Burlington then head up to Pembroke and look for a house then back to Toronto for a workshop with Christopher Wallis.

We will be back in PEI in May with a trip to NS in the mix. Then back to Ontario for the end of May and a White Water recert for Ian at MKC and the SPNHC and CAC conferences for Diana in Ottawa.
Then back east to try and paddle around PEI and visit folks until we head back for Ian's work in August.
Now this is all subject to change if Diana happens to get work with the New Zealand Antarctic Trust and need to go to Antarctica....

Till next thats all

Diana and Ian

Monday, April 5, 2010

ABFC Clare Valley March 22 - 28

Greetings All: A quick update on the past few days. As you may or may not recall a random inquiry about finding a bike shop put us in touch with ABFC; the Australian Bike Friday Club and we were invited to attend their annual gathering. This year it was in the Clare Valley and we managed to arrange to be there. We jumped on the train to Adelaide and were picked up by our friend Rob Mengler for a few days of sightseeing in his old stomping grounds before we went out to the Clare to meet up w the BF People.

It had been 10 years since we had seen Rob and he hasn’t changed a bit. He did however change jobs; from parks and into the Forest Service. Doing essentially the same thing (Habitat management) just for a different organization.

We went off and raked for blue mud crabs; managing to get enough for an ocean side feed prior to going to have a look at the mangrove swamps on the way back to town.

The next day was a visit to Murray Bridge so named because it was the location of the first bridge to span the Murray River.
The Murray, as it is called in Aus., is a major waterway and the main supplier of water for the desperately dry southern part of Aus.

After poking around MB a bit we were shown an area that has an endangered species of bird, the Malee Fowl, which build huge nests and uses compost to maintain the nest at a constant temperature so the eggs will hatch.

Eventually the time came for Rob to drop us in the Clare Valley. He came up and spent the evening with us as we met some of the BF folks. He was impressed by the amount of travel these folks undertake and was amused at the collection of small wheeled bikes that had been assembled.

We checked in with the BF Folks on Thursday evening and got the lowdown on the next day’s ride. The Clare Valley is littered with wineries and has some of the oldest vines in Aus. The Seven Hill winery run by the Jesuit Priests has been continuously producing sacramental wine in the area since the early 1800’s.

On Friday we joined the group (approx. 110 riders) for a ride that could be anywhere from 35 to 60K depending on the route you followed. There were folks from all over Aus. Plus three kanuks and two yanks. Bike Friday sent out one of their sales folks for the event so we had a chance to talk to him about our bikes and experiences. The apr├Ęs ride festivities included much food & drink coupled with info about the next day’s ride. The Sat. Ride was a bit shorter but mostly on hard packed dirt road.

We had a very enjoyable time riding with an American chap and his daughter. He was a pilot for United Airlines and his 15 year old was nicking some time off school to attend the ride. They have been attending ABFC events for the past 10 years. Saturday evening was a catered dinner with a charity auction that raised over $2000.00 for Seeing Eye dogs of Aus. There were at least 3 blind riders in the group so the choice of charities was very appropriate.

After three days of organized rides Sunday was a personal choice day followed by a catered lunch at the local golf course. After lunch people said their goodbyes and scattered to the four winds. We hitched a ride back to Adelaide with a great couple Greg and Rose. We had a stellar ride back and dinner with them. They generously offered us their spare room for the evening and dropped us in the city the next morning so we could pick up a rental car to begin the last leg of our journey which would see us arrive back at Sarah and Paul’s place in Karrajong just outside of Sydney.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Adelaide and Clare

Hi all we had a wonderful train ride on the Overlander from Melbourne to Adelaide.
Our friend Rob Mengler met us at the train and we all went to the Belair RV park. It was so great to see him again - Rob and Diana were on a Tat trip back in 2000 togethere and he was our first visitor when we moved to Nova Scotia that year from Whitehorse.
We hung out with him a couple days in the Adelaide area - he is a wonderful tour guide and then he took us up to Clare where we met up with the Australian Bike Friday club for some riding in the wine district of Clare. Beautiful area wonderful folks.

Adelaide is a cool city and the area is quite different from others so far - kind of dry prairie like.

We now have a rental car - the flight to Sydney would have been too much with excess baggage charges so we are seeing some more country between SA and Sydney hope to stop in Canberra. We fly out on Easter weekend to San Francisco.

no photos this time

till next lots of love

Diana and Ian

Monday, March 22, 2010

Leaving Tas

Leaving Tasmania

Travis and Ian feeding the alpaca

Well the time has flown by!! Tasmania has been beautiful and fun. We have climbed many a hill and seen some beautiful ocean front, slick rocks and white sand beaches. Lots of gum trees and rolling pastoral farm lands, some wildlife and some farm-life all in all pretty complete and definitely on the must return list as there are a few places we need to come back to.

It was really great to visit with Travis and Lelia in Fern Tree. They have a lovely property perched on the edge of one of the slopes around Hobart. It takes Lelia 18 minutes to get to work down the hill in Hobart and 45 to an hour to get back. Four wheel drive is recommended for the driveway too. It is a property Lelia’s family purchased years ago when they landed in the Hobart area to place some roots after sailing from France. The family has been off and on in the area for years, Lelia now owns the land and has built a house (actually two the first one was burned in a bush fire some years ago). Travis and Lelia have three Alpaca a half dozen chickens and a couple of ducks. There is a view of Mount Wellington from the property and a creek with reliable water which is a real bonus for a property in Australia.

Mount Wellington from Fern Tree

Travis has taken up spinning the alpaca fur. Diana got him started on knitting – a cottage industry is born! Travis is also guiding for a company that does hut to hut hiking from Cradle Mountain to Lake Saint Clare. Lelia has just completed a nursing degree and has landed her first job in the Emergency Department of the Hobart Hospital. She finished top of her class an intense three year program completed in two years!

Lelia at Bolton Beach

Hanging out on the property there was amazing birdlife. We got to see some smaller birds we had been moving too quickly to see when on the bikes. We went to an Anusara Yoga class with Clare Raffety, who Diana had met at the Grand Gathering at Estes Park a couple of years ago. She has a lovely studio in Hobart and a growing Anusara Kula. We stayed about a week in Fern Tree and then Lelia piled us into a van and we headed out of town up the east coast for a nice overnight on a beach. After some looking we found the Bolton Beach Conservation Area, seems the locals must have removed the road sign to increase their privacy. It was a beautiful spot less than an hour out of Hobart. We walked on the beach and cooked dinner and had a couple brew and crashed under a clear sky full of the southern constellations. In the morning Lelia and Diana went for a refreshing dip in a calm beautiful ocean. Then Lelia dropped us off on the highway where we said our ado’s till next time and we headed up the road. The east coast is really beautiful. Complete with lovely white sand beaches and granite rock out crops.

Coast and road

Eucalyptus stump!
We loved Bicheno and need to come back to explore the Coles Bay area as this was one of the places that we missed. The terrain is mostly rolling hills; very nice riding to Saint Helens. From Saint Helens we cut back inland towards Devonport and the Ferry back to the mainland. There were some big rides in there. One of those days being over 100 km with a couple of big climbs. We met some lovely people. Linda at the Bleu Berry Barn Cafe let us stay at her nice property on the Franklin Rivulet. Thanks Linda the little brown calf was a good companion and we were well set up to tackle the remaining 30km, mostly in the rain, to Devonport.

Brown calf

We got a trailer in the caravan park in Devonport and were able to catch up on some internet action and plan the next stage. We are going to land in Melbourne Monday evening, overnight there and then take the train to Adelaide where our friend Rob Mengler is going to meet us. Rob and Diana did the Tat in 2000 and Rob them was our first visitor in LaHave after we move there in 2000. We are looking forward to catching up and seeing his part of the world. After a bit of a visit with Rob we are going to hang out with the Australia Bike Friday Club in the Clare Valley for a few days before we fly from Adelaide back to Sydney to get ready for our flight on the 3rd of April back to San Francisco.

Till next adios from the Spirit of Tasmania

Diana and Ian

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tassie's West Coast by Friday: Bike Friday that is!

And we're off! From Devonport, after getting a few directions we head off to the town of Sheffield. We stop at a sports store for Shellite (White Gas) as the ferry folks had dumped ours; a market for some lunch stuff and the post to mail. The ride to Sheffield is lovely; rolling and not too long. A great combo!! We had a sampling of wild Black Berries on the way into town there were ton along the roads. We will soon find that they grow wild along many of the roadways in Tas. Sheffield is promoting itself as the Mural Town so it makes for interesting building viewing. No official campground here but the visitor centre folks direct us to the free campground beside the cricket oval. Departure is delayed the next morning due to an overnight water infiltration into Ian's trailer, Ian neglected to shut the safety valve on the Camel Back and of course the spigot was squeezed with the result being a collection of wet gear which required some drying time. Luckily it was a fine day with a nice breeze and that part of the operation didn't take to long. Live Learn and eventually Laugh!

After the obligatory coffee shop stop we are riding through beautiful country side with Mt. Roland dominating the view. We make it to Gowrie Park in good time and keep on as it is still a long way to Cradle Mt. which is our intended destination. The general trend in the riding is uphill; although there is one screaming big down which takes us to the Fourth River. You've heard the expression what goes up must come down? Well in this case it dawns on us that what goes down must come up; and it does. We spend a couple of gruelling hours riding an 8 Km uphill with 5 of that being steep and another 3 being a moderate climb. After lots more climbing and then some lunch we continue on through beautiful high buttongrass plains and eventually make it to the RV Park at Cradle Mt. A quick email check gets in touch with our friends Travis and Lelia in Hobart so we start making arrangements for a visit. More about that later.

Today is hiking day. Unfortunately it is also rain day. We can see the top of Cradle Mt. as we ride the shuttle to the start of the hiking trails but it slowly gets obscured by the incoming cloud/fog. We find out later that Travis is up in the clouds somewhere guiding a not too happy group of hikers on the start of a six day overland trek. They cheer up immensly over the next few days as the weather improves! We hike a few of the interconnected trails in the area; decide to give the peak of the mountain a miss as the weather was getting worst not better as we approached the turn off and opted for the return trail along the east side of Dove Lk. All in all about 4 or 5 hours of great hiking even if the weather was less than ideal.

OK now this is more what we are used to in the mountains! We wake up to a thick layer of frost on everything and clear blue skys. After taking some time to defrost and quasi dry out we head off. We decide to do a quick stop for coffee at the Wilderness Gallery which turns into a longer stop than anticipated.  One new jacket and a couple of bike conversations later we are on the road and have some lovely riding through high plains rolling hills and great scenery.

Lunch stop was in the cute little village of Tullah with Mt. Murchison in the distance. The ride up and out of town was steady but not obscene. In good time we managed to make our way into Rosebery where we spent the evening at the RV park talking to Olivier who was born in France but has been living in Canada for the past 5 years and is now cycle touring. He has a huge fasination with Yukon so we fill him in as much as we can.

There is a significant climb out of Rosebery to greet us first thing in the morning. That accomplished we spend a good deal of time riding through rolling hills with one more biggish climb. We then roll down (more or less) into the small mining town of Zeenhan and feel very much like we have dropped into Elsa or Keno in Yukon.

After a quick look around; some lunch at the Bistro we are on the road again; destination Strahan. We traverse the button grass plateau and look out over the Henty Dunes to the Ocean. We are back into the trees here and the ride is generally down into the very cute little tourist town of Strahan. We do a layover day in Strahan; more catch up and a great ride to Ocean Beach. The ride was interrupted by a huge feed of wild Black Berries. Gorging I think would be an apt description. A walk on the beach; an educational read about Mutton Birds aka Shortwinged Shearwaters and it is back to the campground for R&R.

After a morning of frustration using the telstra phone system we set off on a short day to Queenstown. The ride out of Strahan is generally up but not too steep. At first there is great Eucalyptus forest and then it subsides to scrubby sub alpine vegitation. The approach to Queenstown is reminicient of nearing any of the other mining towns you might know; Sudbury; Faro; Sydney N.S. all come to mind. We camp in a too full RV park and get set to continue on in the A.M.

We depart Queenstown with our destination being Lake St. Clair. The irony here is that this is the same day that Travis will end his Overland trek with his group. The overland trail ends at LSC. We will unfortunately not be there in time to bump into him. We will however connect soon. The ride will be one of our longest to date being just over a 90 Km. when all is said and done. It starts with a long steep uphill on a switchback filled road which gets us to a great lookout over Queenstown where the ravages of over 100 years of mining are apparent. The mines required lots of timber so there was also a lot of logging done. Combine that with acid mine drainage and the result is a fairly barren landscape that is visual testament to how not to do mining and/or logging. Hopefully we learn some lessons from places like this. The next section is great riding; with rolling hills and lovely scenery. Some thicker forests are in evidence and we ride past the headwaters of the Collingwood and Franklin Rivers. Shortly after that we begin a long stretch of uphill to King Williams Saddle.

It is 8+ Km. of sustained uphill which seems longer as we have been riding for a while now!! The good news is that this is the east west watershed divide so theoretically it is all downhill from here to Hobart!! That theory does hold for the most part for the rest of the ride to LSC. We arrive there late in the day and have a quick meal & shower then to bed exhausted.

Instead of laying over @ LSC we opt for a short day (50 Km.) to Tarraleah. It is a great ride with a screaming fun downhill and then a steep but not so long up hill to end the day. The great surprise was the resort at the top of the hill. It is a restructured hydro operation and was a really great place to stay. Arguably our best on the trip so far. Unfortunately we need to press on in order to meet up with Travis before he has to go back into the Park to guide another group.

From Tarraleah there was a series of big up and downs in the mist and fog of a cool mountain morning. The weather improved steadily as we rode east. Oust and then Hamilton were lovely. What turned out to be our last big climb of the day was just out of Hamilton and from then on it was lovely rolling hills along the Derwent River. By this point we had been in contact with Travis and Lelia several times and had made plans for Travis to pick us up in New Norfolk so we wouldn't have to deal with the Hobart City traffic. Everything went according to plan and we arrived at the designated pick up spot five minutes before Travis; loaded up bikes gear and people and were off to the city; in a real car. More later from a great base just over the hill from Hobart Tasmainia!!