James in his Jeep Getting Java – The Mission Edition

The one thing about the West Coast is that it tends to rain a lot in the winter months. For people like me, this is preferable than snow (and if it wasn’t, I could always just drive up a mountain and have all the snow I want). This winter has been a mild one, with temperatures often well above zero leaving the weather to feel like spring.

I’ve decided that as long as it isn’t a deluge outside, I’m going to go on a road trip. Today, I chose Historic Downtown Mission BC as my destination. I passed by Stave Lake, and considered stopping but didn’t. I thought I’d pass it on my way back, but my GPS took me in a completely different direction coming home. There was even a point where I was questioning whether or not the GPS was taking me home, or if it were trying to kill me by getting me so lost that I’d never find my way back. Not enough bread crumbs in the whole world. More on that later. The theme song for this dreary day: Where Is My Mind.

Downtown Mission is right beside the train tracks, and is filled with character. There’s a view of the cloud-topped mountains in the distance, and I found quite a few cool buildings to inspire me.

These were a few of the building that were around the museum.

I arrived early to discover that the museum wasn’t open for a couple of hours. (Which is why it’s all gated up.) I did however wander about to see if I’d find what I consider the staples to the small town/village/heritage small town sites. That is, the post office, the church, and the old (usually steam powered) clock. I did find the first two, but a steam clock was no where to be found.

These were the streets that I wandered along. The weather, while cool (plus 9 Celsius) stayed dry.

I came across the Sweet Spot Cafe and decided to give it a shot. It’s a quaint little space with a few tables, and a really nice garden patio that would be a nice thinking spot come summer. The staff was friendly and the atmosphere was relaxing. There was no WiFi, and I kind of liked that. I wound up taking out my notebook and writing for a couple hours while I enjoyed my lunch and waited for the museum to open. I had the savory bacon rosemary waffles, and they were delicious. I highly recommend this place.

Below you will find what I saw in the museum. (I took a photo of a shirt because I still wear ones just like it. If it’s in a museum, does that mean I should update my wardrobe?)

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And second lastly, a few random photos of the local used bookstore, antique shop, and places I thought were cool.

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And of course, the theme song:

James in his Jeep Getting Java – Deep Cove

In this episode of James in his Jeep getting Java, I took a road trip to Deep Cove. It’s unseasonably warm (+8C when I was there, +11C in some parts as I drove home) and very misty in the mountains. A song of note that played on the radio was “Magic” by the Cars, the only song that played that I listened to in its entirety. (See video at end of blog post.)

One of the things I keep in mind when going on a road trip, is that the destination is not what is important. Truth is, I had a much different trip planned for today, but due to circumstances I had to change those plans. Change is good. Change is okay. After all, what makes a good road trip are the places you see along the way. Where you go is just a place to point your vehicle, it is not the most important part of the trip.

First, Deep Cove. This is a great place if you like mountain trails and hiking, which I do not. It is quite scenic just walking along the shore, even on a day like today when the fog has rolled in over much of the view. I enjoy leisure, and walks that don’t require a lot of work where my focus becomes, “Oh my word, I have to do this intense trail AGAIN to get out of here.” Thankfully, I have friends who do enjoy that sort of thing so I get to enjoy the photos of the places they venture to see.

The way I like to travel is this:

I walked out onto the dock to get a good shot of the view, and was told by a family that there were jellyfish in the water. I attempted to get a picture of them, but they were so clear that they never showed up in any of the shots I took.

So, this is Deep Cove. Incidentally, this is where the TV series Cedar Cove is filmed. It’s an amazing place, so I can see why they chose it.

Here we have a view of the street, and the cafe that I sat in for part of my morning. It was very, very busy both inside and out. I assumed that doughnuts were their specialty, so I had a chocolate one with my cappuccino. The doughnut was okay, but it was the drink that was exceptional. There was no wi-fi so I wound up writing in my notebook – not such a bad thing. The conversations around me varied from languages I couldn’t understand, to tourists discussing everything they’d seen, to local moms comparing babytime programs. (I came close to suggesting they make the trip to Richmond Public Library for our babytime. I didn’t.)

This was a great day, but being that it was so misty I didn’t feel much up to walking about any more than I had. of course, as I drove off, the fog began to lift. This gave me an opportunity to check out a park I had passed on the way there, Cates Park.


I loved this place more than I did Deep Cove. As I meandered about along the beach, I thought about how great it would be to take my nephew here for swimming the next time he visits, or meet my Scooby Gang here for a picnic (but we’re adults, with adult schedules, so that’s unlikely to happen), or in the spring when it warms up to bring Conan here for a walk.

I spent a good portion of my morning sitting on a bench, enjoying the water and sun and people and Nature RX.

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Best of all, come summer time, there’s even a burger place at this beach to check out! All in all, this was an amazing road trip – though it was not the one I had planned. But as people¬†sometimes say, though it was not the one I had planned it turned out to be the one I needed.


And in case you want to hear the theme song for this trip, here it is:


My Hobby

Last June, I had to update my resume. Under “hobbies,” I was stuck for what to write. What are my hobbies? Besides my Netflix addiction, what was I doing with my spare time (when I had spare time)?

In 2007 I wrote a blog post about what happens when your hobby becomes your job. Writing had been my hobby since I was in high school, and once it became employment it no longer felt relaxing to create stories and to let my imagination run wild. It felt like work.

2016 is going to be about figuring out what my hobbies are – one of them, I’ve accepted, is discovering cafes in small towns. I love small towns! Even more, I love finding small towns that are now within the borders of what have become bigger towns. So, today I am going to feature Ladner Village, British Columbia.

First stop was the Ladner Museum, a cool old-looking building that was closed today. Definitely means a trip back on a day that it’s open.

This is a good shot of why I like small towns. I love the character of them, and that most businesses tend to be owned by independent people. Locals shop here, as do visitors, and that’s what keeps these small towns alive.


Every small town has one of these. An old clock somewhere in their village. Funny that as I type this “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News is playing in the cafe where I’m seated.


And the small town Church. Again, a staple of the small town. They’re always amazing to look at.


And this was where I wound up. “Stir Coffee House” in Ladner Village, British Columbia. For most of the afternoon that I’ve been here, the cafe has been bustling. I’ve had two cappuccinos and a grilled-cheese sandwich, all of which I’d recommend to anyone who comes here. This here represents exactly what I love about writing. Finding an out of the way cafe, sitting at a table, listening to the music they play, hearing the conversations around me, and letting that become my muse.

Where else will 2016 take me? Not sure, but you can bet you’ll read more of this along the way. And whenever I fill out a form that asks for hobbies, I’ll be putting, “Finding out of the way cafes in small towns and city villages.”

Road Trips

I’m certainly no stranger to the road trip. In 1997 (still can’t believe it was 11 years ago), I took a road trip in a ’68 Beetle from Vancouver to Kelowna, then over to Banff, up to Jasper, across to Edmonton, then down to Calgary through Drumheller, and over to Winnipeg.

The entire way I slept in a tent, and ate food that I cooked over an open fire. (I had a Coleman stove, but couldn’t ever get it to work.) It was the best time I ever had, and probably the most adventurous thing I’d ever done.

Back then, my goal was to inspire myself as a budding writer. I wanted to find my creative spark, and to get in touch with my creativity so that I could one day be an author. Though my friends and family thought that was a little far-fetched, I did it anyway.

Here I am, 11 years later, with three books published – one that’s going into reprint and a fourth due out this Christmas. Life is pretty awesome. The best part – I’m planning another road trip! Granted, there will be some changes this time around. First, I won’t be going on it alone. kc dyer, friend and fellow scribe, will be sharing the experience with me! Second, I won’t be sleeping on the hard ground in a tent. Comfort all the way!

The best part of this trip is that we have destinations planned. Stops in Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Banff, Cochrane, Calgary and Red Deer. We may even have one more to completely fill our itinerary.

Another difference from that first trip is that Comic Life will be along for the ride! kc dyer and I will be blogging our trip through comic, using this easy and fantastic program. (It’s what I used to create my book video, and many of my past posts.) Comic Life has agreed to let us give away a copy of its program to each of our stops – not a bad value for those who come out to our events! Hear two popular authors, eat some chocolate, and be in a draw to leave with a free copy of Comic Life!¬†