Category Archives: travel

James in His Jeep Getting Java–Kokanee Creek

Crow’s Nest Highway was a spectacular drive, with these statues on the side of the road (there were many, I stopped to photograph two of them). While they made the drive interesting, it bothered me that they seemed to be for entrances to private high-end homes for the uber wealthy. They kind of said, “You can’t afford here. Move on.”

IMG_1367

 

IMG_1371

While researching where I was going to camp, my original plan was to drive to Drumheller. When I saw Kokanee Creek online, it looked so beautiful that I decided to spend a few days there instead. Glad I did.

IMG_1206

I was a short walk to the lake and in a spot where I couldn’t see my neighbours. I could hear them though, as the kids playing in the campsite were screaming at the top of their lungs (one repeated the same Queen’s lyrics “We are the champions” over and over). They even rode their bikes into the washrooms, spreading wet mud everywhere. Thankfully, they were only there for the weekend and I was there for a few days into the week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I did have one thunderstorm while I was there, and branches from above broke and fell on my tent. The poles snapped in two, but the tent held up enough to get me through the night and early morning. The day turned out sunny (plus 30), with intermittent sun showers. I bought another tent, and carried on the rest of my trip making a mental note to invest in a much, much better tent..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This was my view each morning when I woke up. I’d make a cup of coffee, walk to the lake, and sit and stare at the water.

IMG_1175

 

Instead of an inspirational song, I’ve added a video that I took while sitting on the beach. Enjoy!

James in His Jeep Getting Java – The Camping Edition

IMG_1130

Maybe it’s all the apocalypse writing and reading I’ve been doing over the last few years, but I got back into camping this summer. This trip I took west instead of south, and I stayed in Canada to visit a few places I’d never been.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My goal was to drive from Vancouver to Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. I booked campsites in Manning Park, Kokanee Creek, and Stemwinder Provincial Park. I drove the Crow’s Nest Highway (Hwy 3) from Hope to Nelson and stopped in a few really great towns.

What I didn’t know when I began was the necessity of booking your campsite ahead of time. Unlike when I was a kid, one cannot simply go into a campsite and expect a great spot. (Get the reference there?) I booked mine the week ahead, but because I was travelling on odd days (I began on a Friday and ended on a Friday) I was able to secure some sweet spots. If you haven’t used Discover Camping yet, it is a really simple service that lets you see photos of your spot. Unlike dating sites, these photos accurately represent what you’ll find when meeting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I originally wanted to spend Friday to Sunday in Manning Park, but by the time I went to book the only spots for that time frame were in overflow near the highway. Instead, I changed my dates to just Friday to Saturday, which opened up a spot in the Lightning Lake Large Loop section which was pretty sweet. A close walk to the lake, and a pretty private (and quiet) camping area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was also early enough in the season that there were no fire bans. You do have to remember to bring cash for firewood, as it is illegal to transport out of park wood into your site.

The night I spent in Manning was actually pretty terrible. (No fault to the site at all.) Being summer, I was prepared for summer heat and not for the quickly changing temperatures of the mountains. It got cold that night–no idea how cold, but my tent, sleeping bag, and the sweater/pants/pyjamas I wore were not enough to stave off the cold. To say it was rough is to understate just how cold I got. I’m from Winnipeg–I’ve dealt with -40 and colder.

After Manning, I drove Crow’s Nest to Princeton, BC, a little town of about 3,000 people. It had an old feel to it and very friendly people. I discovered a very tasty cafe, the Cowboy Coffee. Had french toast and coffee there–highly recommend.

IMG_1142

While in Princeton, I knew I’d need a better sleeping bag if I wanted to survive another night. I found the outdoor store, Princeton Outdoor Supply, who was very helpful and had a sleeping bag that should do the trick. He suggested that I take the one I have and put it inside the new one, and sleep with the two if I got cold. It was a great idea, actually, and gave me the leeway to have a cooler night if needed.

IMG_1141

Plus, I saw this deer. Didn’t seem to mind me or the traffic at all.

IMG_1152

While on my trip, I listened to a local singer/songwriter Land of Deborah. Give her a listen–she’s great road trip tunes!

SD 43’s Annual MACC Writers Conference

When Cheryl A. of SD 43 asks you to participate in the annual MACC Writer’s conference for grades 6/7, the only response is to say yes and then figure out how to free your schedule. This year’s all-day event had around 300 students, and 11 authors teaching them the craft.

IMG_0141
From left to right: (top) Lee Edward Fodi, Sean O’Reilly, Richard Dal Monte, CC Humphreys, kc dyer, and Rob Taylor. (bottom) Pia Guerra, Denise Jaden, Me, Tiffany Stone, and Tanya Lloyd Kai.

I talked about one of my favourite subjects–Dungeons and Dragons. As a collaborative storytelling game, it really is the perfect training ground for young writers.

IMG_0137

But not all was school and writing and conference. I also stopped into a cafe along the way called, Coffee+Vanilla. If you’re in the Coquitlam/Maillardville area, this is a pretty sweet spot with very good coffee!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Zombie Apocalypse: Clumsy and Claustrophobic

Ever wonder what authors would do in the case of a zombie apocalypse? For the next several weeks, I’ll be posting the answers to that question on my blog…

This week, author Lee Edward Fodi weighs in on his zombie apocalypse survival plan.

What is my best skill in the case of a zombie apocalypse?

I’ve thought long and hard about this, and have tried to imagine what I would do if I was dropped into a scenario of such apocalyptic proportions. It made me think of all the adventures I’ve had that might be comparable. Such an exercise made me realize that I’ve explored a lot of places to do with the dead.

See, when I was a kid I had visions of walking in the footsteps of such intrepid explorers as Indiana Jones, Tintin, or Stryder. I wanted to visit as many tombs, crypts, dungeons, and catacombs as possible.

The good news? I’ve made that happen!

The bad news? Turns out I’m clumsy and claustrophobic. Not exactly the best fit for a world explorer—or survivor of the zombie apocalypse.

There was the time I visited the ancient temple of Kom Ombo in Egypt. Located on the banks of the Nile, it includes a section dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god. There were many crocodile mummies here—so, if you think about it, I’ve actually encountered what is the closest thing to a real zombie. Unfortunately, it was at Kom Ombo where I fell into a giant hole up to my neck.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: If we actually set a trap to capture zombies, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the one who plunges into it.

Another time, I was visiting the ancient temple complex of Tikal in Guatemala. You’d recognize these temples from the very first Star Wars movie ever made—they filmed the exterior of the Rebel Base here. They are also the biggest Mayan ruins in Central America, where different rituals and sacrifices were performed. Surely spirits inhabit this place—but, undaunted, I traipsed up incredibly steep staircases, the kind with narrow ledges and no railings and made it to the top of one of the temples where I watched an incredibly gorgeous sunset over the junglescape. The problem was that on the short trek back to our cabin, I got separated from my companions and became lost in the jungle. Howler monkeys screeched at my shoulders and shadows clutched at the meager path before me. Then a giant jaguarundi bounded out of the foliage, right across my way.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: If we have to hide from zombies in the wilderness then I’m probably not going to make it. The zombies will find me wandering around, alone and disorientated.

The final episode I want to discuss happened during my honeymoon. My wife and I decided to go to the city of love and romance: Paris. There are many romantic sites in Paris, but one of the first things we did was descend into the underground tunnels known as the catacombs. It’s here where you can see countless bones and skulls, testament to the long and often inglorious history of the city.

I could have easily got lost down there, but we had a guide, so I managed to stay with the group. There we were, creeping through the catacombs, absorbing the eerie atmosphere, when suddenly an alarm began to blare from my coat pocket, right in the middle of one of our guide’s spooky stories. Everyone turned and looked at me and I suddenly became that guy who can’t even turn off his cell phone when he’s on an incredibly cool tour a league beneath the crust of the earth.

I should mention here that I don’t even OWN a cellphone. It was my iPod and no one can call or text me through it. It’s just that I had set my alarm for a different time zone, and now it was shrilling.

APOCALYPSE PREDICTION: It wouldn’t be hard to imagine myself and a group of apocalypse survivors hiding in the root cellar, trying to avoid detection when, at the most inopportune moment, I knock over something or set off some sort of bell to alert the zombies to our location.

. . . So, what is my best skill in case of the zombie apocalypse? I hate to admit it, but probably a decoy. When you think about it, that’s what I do for a living anyway. I tell stories and provide distraction. During the zombie apocalypse, I imagine it would be quite the same.

LE_Fodi_180124_0459_web

Lee Edward Födi is an author, illustrator, and educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a professional daydreamer. He is the author of several books for children, including The Chronicles of Kendra Kandlestar and The Secret of Zoone, which is coming out with HarperCollins in 2019. In his free time, he’s a traveller, adventurer, and maker of dragon eggs. He especially loves to visit exotic places where he can lose himself in tombs, mazes, castles, and crypts. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and unhelpful cat.

James in his Jeep Getting Java – The Penny, Mission

I have a favourite coffee place in Mission, BC. The Penny is an amazing cafe that gives back to its community by supporting an outreach program that offers comfort, relationships, support and food to those in need. (In their words from their site.)

20171202_104751

Walking inside, it seems like any other cafe. Friendly staff, neighbours who greet one another, and plenty of comfy places to sit.

20171202_105538

But there’s something very special about supporting a neighbourhood space that is using its profits to better the situations of those in need.

20171202_105412

This last Christmas while there, a neighbourhood Santa stopped in to greet everyone and offer candy canes. He’s been doing this for 33 years!

20171217_123143

Everyone in the cafe was thrilled.

IMG_0003

I definitely recommend this place if you are ever in Mission. The coffee is great, and they very often have gluten-free treats!

For a theme song, I thought this fit well.