Monday, September 1, 2014

A Trip to Japan.....Not Quite

We have been in Penticton for a couple days visiting my Mother. This morning after breakfast, she asked if I would take her to the Optometrist’s to pick up her new glasses. Since her car has not been used for a couple months she suggested we take it, and loading her and her walker up we shortly found ourselves at the clinic.

This office is located about seven or eight miles from her house, and she has been using them for several years. Her glasses had been ready for a couple weeks, but she hadn’t gotten around to picking them up.

It’s a fairly large office and a number of Doctors practice there. When I delivered her to the clinic, she suggested I look at the Japanese Garden across the street. I wasn’t even aware there was a Japanese Garden.

The sign also lists Penticton’s sister city.  Ikeda is a city of about 100,000 located in Osaka prefecture. There is a link to some information here.

There are a few entrances to the garden. By far the most impressive of them is accessed across a bridge over Penticton Creek and through a sort of Torii Gate.  Once across the bridge one encounters a stand of Bamboo.

Along one wall there are several largish murals representing historical scenes of Penticton. This one shows a Canadian Pacific Railway engine stopped outside the Incola Hotel which was constructed and operated by CP starting in 1912. It was demolished in 1981.

This picture shows Penticton’s first Fire Hall which was built in 1926. It was a big step up for the City of Penticton when the first dedicated building for the Fire Department was opened.

There is a color mural of the mountain North and West of town in the direction of Summerland. It is a depiction of the mountain known as the Giant’s Head. It isn’t so much accurate as it is colorful.

There is a mural of the old Canadian Pacific lake steamer Sicamous. This relic is now permanently moored onshore at North end of town, adjacent to the river channel. The channel is a popular destination for floating during the summer. Tubes can be rented for a lazy float three miles down from Okanagan to Skaha lake.

There is a Japanese styled shed at one of the garden entrances together with a tree which has been artfully pruned. I always refer to these as “Cloud Trees”.  They always tickle my funny bone since we live in a heavily treed area, and none of them look like this.

There is also a statue of a fellow stretching. I imagine he is “saluting the sun” or some such nonsense. I’m sure this is inspiring to some. I found it interesting, but not captivating.

  Once you round the corner there is a large reflecting pool. It is deeper at one end and has a square platform reached by an angled walk.

There are the requisite koi in the deep end of the pond. These are some pretty decent specimens, probably almost a foot and a half long and brightly colored.

Placed around the garden are a number of memorial benches. These all have plaques which list the person memorialized and are place at point to allow for rest and quiet contemplation. There is another of those delightful “Cloud Trees” in front of the wall.

Here is another Torii Gate that leads to another area of the garden. There is a transition from paved to gravel path at this point, and narrows to provide a more intimate feeling for the pedestrian, after the expansive feeling of the open patio in front of the gate

There is a small Pagoda Styled Lantern tucked away in the trees. It provides a humorous counterpoint here sitting as it does adjacent to the large tree. It is tucked back from the path and is an appealing vista.  

There is a large slab of rock in a sea of Bark Mulch. It seems to speak of solidity and tranquility in the midst of a hostile and unpredictable world. It simply sits quietly waiting.

There is a cobbled style walk leading to the edge of the pond which is very much shallower at this point. This is a very placid view indeed, and one can easily imagine one’s self far away...perhaps in Japan.

There is another Torii Gate leading onto a parking lot. This is much more traditional and very pretty. Perhaps on my next visit I will park and come through this gate.

This is a view looking down the pond toward downtown Penticton. The building in the background is the Penticton Art Gallery, which I didn’t have time to visit this time.

As you continue along the path there is yet another Torii style gate and a log handrail over a bridge where the outlet of the pond flows out to Lake Okanagan. There is a variety of Cypress tree at this gate, which I have always called a “Heffalump Tree”. The name comes from a Winnie the Pooh story.

Just past the aforementioned bridge, one can turn about a hundred and sixty five degrees to the right and catch a glimpse of another Pagoda Style Lantern with the Lake in the background. It is a happy picture with which to end our stroll through the garden as I needed to get back to the Clinic and collect mother. Her new glasses were fitted and she was ready to head home.

We will be here for a few days, then heading back to the Wet Coast. Thanks for coming along to visit the Penticton Ikeda Japanese Garden.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Food, Fun and Fresh Wheels

Some of you faithful readers may know that I purchased a new bike "Thing 2" in June, and have been riding it since. I thought it best to upgrade my Driver's Licence" , since I have a licence for any displacement scooter, up to and including 
Ridley's 738cc, and Thing 2 had a clutch and gearbox and 175cc.

Accordingly I enquired about the licence upgrade and found out to my horror, that I could not test on Thing 2 because the displacement was less than 200cc. In any case, I would have to retest, and accept a learner's permit in the meantime, with it's restrictions ( no night driving, no driving over 40mph and only riding with another licensed motorcyclist over 25!). Yeah...right!  Keeping in mind I have been riding motorcycles for 45 years without serious accident, the ridiculousity of the regulations gave me cause for a little think. 

Sometimes it's best to sit by the water to think, and while thinking sometimes an idea will come to one. If and when the idea does come, sometimes acting upon it can take one's  mind off one's troubles. The result was a curiosity, which Scooterchick promptly proclaimed " a Viking, yep it's a Viking!"

Well all things having been considered, a phone call made, Thing 2 loaded and a drive to the dealership was undertaken. The dealer had a look at Thing 2 and the mechanics rushed out and drooled and oooohed and aaaaahed over the XL 175.

A reasonable replacement was tested, sans clutch or gears. it was as ugly as the backside of sin, and had 3200km. on it. All in all a worthy candidate. When we discussed terms, the dealer allowed as we could go straight across, no money changing hands and he would throw in 2 Honda baseball caps.....................done Cap'n sez I!

The new scooter was loaded and we were ready to roll. Where to I wonder. We arrived at the dealership at about 3:30 in the afternoon and rolled out with my plate and insurance on the new ride before 5:00

On the way to the Shore ScooterChick suggested we call the new scoot Rascal.
Well, I thought L'il Rascal it shall be, since I have been accused of being a big rascal on more than one occasion. She rejected my suggestion of Chitlin' out of hand. So our stable now includes Ruby, Rascal and Raspberry!

We stopped in West Vancouver at an Indian restaurant we like. Here we have some Paneer Pakora and Onion Bhajia.....yum. Patsy had Spinach and Potato Curry and rice and we had some Chicken Naan.

After a short intermission, and the obligatory ride on the new scoot, we returned to the beach the following day. We both love being by the water, and we watched a couple cruise ships leaving for Alaska.
They look like floating hotels from water level.

It seems that they take a while to arrive, they whoosh past and sail into the sunset in no time flat, heading for the high seas.

Another one came out from under the Lion's Gate Bridge. This one is a Holland American line boat. They are easily recognizable by their blue hulls and the
plethora of blue hairs on board. I'm not even sure you can board one of these if you can't prove that you're a Senior Citizen.

In no time this one was gliding by as well. They are so quiet and well behaved as they steam past at probably 1/4 ahead.

We had been on the lookout for a Hibachi Grill. We had to order one and we brought it along with a few delicacies. After lighting the briquettes, yours truly started to burn some beast. Let's see....what do we have here.

There is marinated Chicken Breast, together with some Fresh Picked Corn on the Cob from our garden. Things are going well. The sizzle means we're on the right track.

There were a few  HOT PEPPERS !!!! My tongue is recovering nicely thank you.

The corn was delicious. Lovely roasted and steaming. Hot, hot, hot. It had to cool for about 5 minutes before I could eat it.

A picture of yours truly enjoying the fruits of my labors. I wasn't the only one enjoying it either. ScooterChick was enjoying the the fresh burnt beast as well!

We almost finished the chicken when it was time to throw on the Prawns. Yes, roast Prawns as well. How good is that.

Did I forget the Green Beans. Also fresh picked from the garden. as a matter of fact we're getting a little tired of beans, and there are many many more in the refrigerator and more ready to pick.....aaaargh!

The number of people who walked by and grinned and nodded at us with our Hibachi was astounding. ScooterChick wondered  "what's up with that?" It turns out that everyone can remember the Hibachi from "back in the day". One girl named Carol, stopped by and chatted with us for about 1/2hr. I just sat back and let my swollen tummy rest.

We ended up adding some more coals to the Hibachi as the evening cooled. Enjoying the evening we sat until full dark around 9:15pm then made our way back to the ranch. All in all a very satisfying time spent by the sea....

Thank you for joining us, we'll let you know the next time we fire up the Hibachi.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Slo Mo Snohomish

We left out of Seattle yesterday at around 1 in the afternoon. For a change we decided to go up Hwy 9 from Woodinville, just past the top of  Lake Washington off 405. The last time we were on 9 was when we took our scooter trip to Portland. If you missed that little adventure you can find it here.
 Squampton to the Rose City  This is the bridge we rode over before turning off 9 to enter Snohomish.

We were in dire need of some sustenance and BBQ sounded good. Hey, truth be told....BBQ always sounds good! The place was small.

Here's a picture from the streetside. Did I mention the place was small?
The food was good, the employees quirky and the price reasonable.

Did I mention the place was small? Here's another streetside shot. Yeah that's the whole building. When we arrived there was one car in the parking lot. While we were there about another 12 people came in to eat. When you only have about 16 seats the place crowds out quickly.....

After we ate, we took a tour along 1st St. to see what was what. The first thing you see after a fish restaurant is this mural. It is BIG.

This is the view looking down the street. It is that small sleepy little district full of small antique stores, eateries and bars. "Eclectic" kind of sums it up.

This is the view along the other way on the street. The place was packed out. I eventually found a parking spot so I could get these pictures.

There was a mixture of old and new. The majority of the buildings were "fin de siecle" as they say, built around the turn of the century when the logging business was booming, and there are some infill buildings of modern construction.

This is the view looking east along the Snohomish River. Snohomish evidently means "wet snow" in the Luhootseed language of the local Snohomish tribe of the Tulalip Nation. This attribution was given by a Snohomish Chief, but the attribution is in dispute.

This is Kla Ha Ya park. In the Chinook language Klahowya commonly means "greetings". Some say it means "it will rain tomorrow".

Regardless of the proper definition, I will take it to mean nice view eh?

We drove around a little admiring the town and then carried on up 9. Our next stop was the little town of Arlington. If Snohomish was a sneeze, Arlington was no more than a hiccup.

ScooterChick was amazed when I just sopped in the middle of the street to take a picture of this Firehouse. I liked the look though and thought you might too.

We breezed up 9 and finally go to Sumas where we filled up with some more of that good cheap American gas before crossing the border.

At our current prices this fillup would be $57.32. Yeah....I prefer the $37.82 if it's all the same to you. $20 saved is like $20 you don't have to spend!

Due to our slow roll up the backroad, we got home right around midnight, and after lugging our stuff into the house we fell into a deep sleep.....

Thanks for riding along, see you next time.