2008 was a great year for Wayne, me, and Powell River Books. Here are a few exciting moments:
January - Two of Wayne's books (Up the Lake and Up the Strait) are released in Kindle format. After the holidays in the States, we returned to our beloved float cabin on Powell Lake.
February - After almost a two year wait, Wayne and I received our Canadian permanent residency. Back at the cabin, I learned to bake bread inside my woodstove.
March - Up the Airway is launched at Cole's bookstore. Low water levels on Powell Lake expose "treasures" from early 20th Century logging cabins and camps. Powell River Books joins YouTube with several videos.
April - Bumblebees make a home in daffodils in my newly planted garden and Wayne and I go to Comox to see the Canadian Forces Snowbirds Demonstration Flight Team put on their annual free show.
May - Our airplane 997 takes us on a flight to the San Juan Islands. Back at the cabin, spring birds include Crossbills, Swallows and Canada Geese and we join the ATV Club for the annual Nanton ride.
June - My floating garden produces lots of vegetables and Mr. Float Cabin heads "up the lake" on a book tour. Back in Bellingham, I meet Betty, my blog's most faithful reader, in real life.
July - Our cabin gets a boost from twenty blue barrels. Book signings take us to the Texada Airport Fly-in, Sea Fair and a book launch for Farther Up the Lake at Breakwater Books. For fun, we join the ATV club on a Poker Ride.
August - Slide show tours take us to Gibsons, Sechelt, Powell River Library, Bellingham Museum of Flight, Chilliwack Air Show and Blackberry Festival. Halcyon Days takes us on a cruise to meet Dave and Marg at the lodge.
September - I pick and store onions, potatoes and tomatoes. Our float cabin is highlighted in an article in Our Canada magazine and Wayne gets a flood of e-mail.
October - Fall colours make Powell Lake beautiful and I invent Margy's Mouse Mechanism to keep little critters off the float. Wayne and I set up a booth again at the Powell River Newcomer Social.
November - Our float cabin is showcased on Tiny House Blog. PRB is honoured at the Horizon Business Awards and Wayne is nominated as an entrepreneur of the year. Best of all, we get lots of time at the cabin.
December - Snow, snow and more snow - and lots of really cold weather. We get a new chimney cap and use our wood stove almost 24/7. The PRB blog had a great year with over 21,750 visitors.
It's been a great year and I've had fun sharing it with you. Wayne and I wish you and your family a happy new year. May it bring you peace, love and contentment. -- Margy
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
2008 was a great year for Wayne, me, and Powell River Books. Here are a few exciting moments:
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
for the Outdoor Enthusiast
Up the Winter Trail
Your winter plans won't be complete without a visit to Powell River and its uncrowded winter vacation opportunities. Hike, snowshoe, cross country ski - we have it all and more. Want a preview? Read Up the Winter Trail by Wayne Lutz and start your adventure.
Friday, December 26, 2008
10:37 AM PST Friday 26 December 2008
5 to 15 cm of snow can be expected today
This is a warning that significant snowfall is expected or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions.
A frontal system approaching the coast will bring strong winds and a mixed bag of precipitation today through Saturday. Strong winds up to 90 km/h ahead of the warm front will prevail over the coastal sections of the central coast through this evening.
But when it's done, Powell River will be a winter paradise that can be explored by hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, quads and snowmobiles. Come visit us soon. -- Margy
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Dashing through the waves
In a canvas covered boat
O'er the lake we go
Smiling all the way.
Horns on work boats blare
Making us aware
What fun it is to bounce and glide
Heading up the lake tonight.
Oh, up the lake, up the lake
In a wake of mist and spray
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a canvas covered boat.
Up the lake, up the lake
To our cabin in the Hole
Oh what fun it is to be
In our cabin on a float.
Wayne and Margy
Powell River Books
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
In Coastal BC we are currently experiencing some unusually long, cold, snowy winter weather.
Powell River is a wonderful place to be in the winter. It is easy to get to the snow in the back country for a variety of sports and activities. Of course, right now you only have to go out your front door to experience fun things like boot skating and butt sledding (just kidding).
Winter hiking is possible on many of our local trails. Wayne's book Up the Winter Trail includes many of our favourite winter hikes. The Sunshine Coast Trail Guidebook and Along the Edge of the Salish Sea by Eagle Walz are excellent trail guides. They are available at Coles, Breakwater Books, the Powell River Visitor Centre.
One of our favorite winter activities in Powell River is quading to the snow in the backcountry. Quads can handle quite a bit of snow, but if you have a snowmobile there are even more logging and forest roads open for you to explore.
Other activities include snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Up in the Knuckleheads winter recreation area there are even two wilderness cabins. These cabins are free for public use through the dedicated support of many volunteers.
And then, what would winter be without hockey? The Powell River Kings give us plenty of action at home games. Include Powell River in your winter vacation plans so that you too can enjoy our beautiful land. Coming for the 2010 Winter Olympics? Powell River is just up the coast, but it's worlds away from the crowds and hectic pace.
You can read more about winter activities in the Powell River area in Up the Winter Trail by Wayne J. Lutz available at www.PowellRiverBooks.com -- Margy
Monday, December 22, 2008
Whether you arrive in Powell River, BC, by land, air or sea, one of the first things you will see is the paper mill. The City of Powell River was born and grew up as a company town, and its present and future are still strongly linked to this major industry.
In the early 1900’s, entrepreneurial individuals explored Coastal BC looking for ways to profit from the abundant natural resources. Powell River is strategically located at the mouth of the Powell River and surrounded by lush forests. In 1909 the Minnesota based Brooks and Scanlon company purchased pulp leases and water rights to Powell Lake then incorporated as the Powell River Paper Company.
Two paper machines soon grew to four, and in 1911 the company name was changed to the Powell River Company. Thus, by 1912, Powell River became the first newsprint-producing mill in Western Canada providing for the needs of growing Vancouver and Seattle newspapers.
Over the last fifty years, ownership of the mill has changed several times. In 1959 the Powell River Company merged with MacMillian Bloedel to become MacMillan Bloedel & Powell River Ltd. In 1966 the name was shortened to MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. In 1998 the mill was sold to Pacifica Papers and then again in 2001 to Norske Skog Canada Ltd., soon to be called NorskeCanada followed by Catalyst Paper Corporation.
Today, Catalyst’s paper mill in Powell River is no longer the largest in the world. Downsizing over the last 10 years has significantly decreased the workforce and production output. Powell River’s economy has diversified, but the mill is still a driving force in our community. I invite you to come visit and see how our small company town has grown to be the “Pearl of the Sunshine Coast.”
If you haven't seen it yet, check out my post on the mill's unique cement ship breakwater called the Hulks. For more information try these links about the history of Powell River.
Powell River Museum
Powell River My Home
If you want more information about Powell River, visit the Tourism Powell River website. -- Margy
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Our Kozi woodstove is the heart of our float cabin, especially now that the temperatures are below freezing. Without it, we couldn't live here year-round. Our stove works great except when storm winds blow, especially from the southeast. On those occasions, we've had problems with smoke blowing back down the chimney pipe and into the cabin. It sometimes gets so bad we have to stop using the wood stove and bring in our portable propane heater from the boat.
Our good friend John did some research and found a new stove pipe chimney cap that should do the trick. To me, it looks like a helmet. The fin sticking up vanes with the wind, moving the protective portion of the cap into the wind, thus protecting the pipe from its force. We haven't had a strong wind yet, but I'm sure it will work. I'll keep you posted.
If you need to more information about troubleshooting wood stove issues and problems, try some of these websites:
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Wayne and I returned to the cabin after the first snowy day of the season. On Thursday, we went up the lake just to check things out. We returned on Friday to settle back in after three weeks away. Yes, I know it's winter (at least as of today), but we aren't used to long cold spells below zero degrees here in Powell River. In addition to the snow sticking on the ground all week, my kitchen water pump was a casualty.
The hand pump draws water up from the lake. It's a simple luxury of our float cabin life. I'm not sure what happened, but my guess is that water froze in the pipe below the pump. We left it alone for a day while the Kozi wood stove warmed the cabin. A bucket of lake water took care of our immediate needs. In early evening, we heard a sound like ice sliding down the pipe. On the second day, we poured some warm water into the pump and let it sit. After about 15 minutes we gave it a prime and up came lake water. It takes a while for the water to run clear after a long break. The pipe is PVC, but the water still discolours over time.
The pump is back working, but it won't hold its prime. The seal is either stiff from the cold, or it needs replacing. We keep a cup of water handy for now. When the tempuratures rise we'll know what needs to be done. Have you had any problems due to the unseasonably cold weather? Let us hear your stories. -- Margy
Friday, December 19, 2008
On Tuesday night and Wednesday we got our first snow of the season in Powell River, BC. Cold arctic air has temperatures plunging and there looks to be another cold week ahead.
On Thursday, Wayne and I went up to our float cabin for the first time in three weeks. It was a winter wonderland with sparkling white snow and brilliant blue skies.
The snow was powder fine and crunched under our boots as we made our way to the cabin door. We built a roaring fire in our Kozi wood stove and settled back to enjoy the view of Goat Island and a cloudless sky.
Today we are heading back up the lake to settle back into our cabin. It's always such a good feeling to be back home. -- Margy
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
If you read my post yesterday, you know that we had good traveling weather to drive back to our home to Powell River, BC. However, not long after we arrived the snow started to fall.
When we got up this morning, the ground, trees and roofs were very white. It snowed about 5 cm (2 in) overnight and it's still snowing big wet flakes. We decided to walk to our favourite breakfast spot, Starvin Marvin's. A hot cup of coffee was just the ticket to warm our fingers and noses.
On the way back home, we stopped by the marina to see the boats in their very white overcoats. Here in Coastal BC we don't get much snow, so it's fun. On the other hand, I'm not sure my car will make it up the hill to the shopping centre for some needed groceries.
I guess it's a good thing we don't live in Edmonton. Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy are we when everything gets very white! -- Margy
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Our trip to Powell River today was by car and the BC Ferries system. Powell River retains much of its remote charm because it takes two ferry rides to get there.
We take The Guide (Guide-Meridian) north from I-5 in Bellingham and enter Canada at the Aldergrove Border Crossing. Continuing north on 264th Street (Highway 13) to Canada Highway 1, we bypass downtown Vancouver, and follow the signs to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal.
View Larger Map
Horseshoe Bay in north of Vancouver at the entrance to Howe Sound. On this ferry you can see the lofty peaks of the Coast Mountain Range that were the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
After landing at the Langdale Ferry Terminal near Gibsons, BC, we take Highway 101 north along the Sunshine Coast. This is a beautiful drive through lush forests with glimpses of the Strait of Georgia along the way. The 84 km (52 mi) drive takes about an hour and a half. The two lane road is good but has lots of winding curves as you near the Earl's Cover Ferry Terminal.
The second ferry takes us around Nelson Island to the Saltery Bay Ferry Terminal. As the name implies, there used to be a fish salting plant here in the early Twentieth Century. A short 34 km (22 mi) drive brings us home to Powell River, BC.
Here are some sites for additional information.
Discover Powell River
City of Powell River
Powell River PEAK Newspaper
Powell River Books
Powell River Living Magazine
I invite you to come see my home town, Powell River, the Pearl of the Sunshine Coast. -- Margy
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Powell River, British Columbia, is a small coastal community on the Strait of Georgia.
Each summer our region is the destination for many boaters who are seeking upcoast adventures. They come from Seattle, throughout the Puget Sound, Vancouver and Victoria. Those of us who are locals also seek the pleasures of beautiful scenery and safe anchorages. Here are some of my favourite upcoast destinations.
Take several days to circumnavigate Quadra Island. You'll get a taste of tides and currents. In fact, make sure you go through Seymour Narrows at slack tide. Even the cruise ships traveling the inside passage don't mess with it.
For a piece of history, head on over to Refuge Cove. It has been a thriving outpost since the early logging, homesteading and fishing days.
Cortes Island has both marinas and anchorages to choose from. When we are looking for some dockside fun we head on over to Gorge Harbour.
I've saved my favourite for last. Theodosia Inlet is undiscovered by the summer crowds.
There is a protected spot at the entrance from which you can see beautiful vistas and watch loggers in action. You can read more about our upcoast boating adventures in Up the Strait available at www.PowellRiverBooks.com -- Margy
Monday, December 08, 2008
Our last trip to Powell River was an example how easy it is to get here. We left our condo in Bellingham, WA, using the Quick Shuttle bus that connects Seattle and Vancouver airports. It has several stops, one of which is Bellingham Airport.
The bus uses the Pacific Highway Crossing in Blaine. You get off at a special building and take your bags inside to clear Canadian immigration and customs. A passport is not yet required for land travel for US and Canadian citizens in either direction, but you will need a government issued picture ID and proof of citizenship. Rules may change, so check before you go with the Canadian Border Service Agency and US Customs and Border Protection.
The amount of time necessary depends on the number of passengers and buses in line. Plan on at least 30 minutes. By the way, the Quick Shuttle has free WiFi so you can surf the web the whole trip (or work if you must). The cost is very reasonable, about $52.50 one way from airport to airport, or $25.65 from Bellingham to YVR. They will also stop at the train station, downtown Vancouver and most major hotels. Along the way you will see forests, farmlands, small towns, glimpses of the ocean, and finally the big city.
Whether you arrive at Vancouver Airport by bus or plane, Pacific Coastal Airlines has a free shuttle every half hour outside the lower level to take you to the South Terminal. Pacific Coastal has connections to many Vancouver Island and BC destinations. From Vancouver, it is only a 25 minute flight to Powell River.
If you are lucky, you just might get a ride on the Shorts 360. It's a unique plane that looks like a flying boxcar to me. The one-way cost is about $176.40. The Quik Pass includes discount fares for frequent fliers.
Transportation is easy in Powell River. Your Pacific Coastal flight crew can call ahead for a Powell River Taxi to be waiting to whisk you away to your first adventure. If you are on the ground, you can call them at (604) 483-3666. You might be lucky enough to get one of our good friend John's brothers, Rick or Rob. They both have new Prius cars to be environmentally friendly and economical.
If you want a car, Budget car rental is in the terminal. There is also a stop for the Powell River Regional Transit District bus outside. This bus can take you all around town or, with a connection, to the community of Lund at the end (or beginning depending on your point of view) of Highway 101. No matter how you get here, Powell River is the place to visit and live. Join us here someday soon. -- Margy
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Powell River in Coastal BC started as a company town for the Powell River Company. Brooks, Scanlon & Obrien joined forces to form the Powell River Company, western Canada's first pulp and paper mill.
Powell River was selected for the location because of the close proximity of huge timber resources and a rushing river to be harnessed for power. The mill was started in 1908 and the first roll of paper was produced in 1912.
The Hulks have been a common sight in Powell River since they were installed to form a protective floating breakwater for the mill's log pond in the late 1940's. They are all concrete ships originally built as transports for supplies in World Wars I and II. All ten are the last remaining representatives of their class of ships. The Peralta, holds the honor as THE last concrete ship remaining from World War I.
In 2002 the mill, then owned by Pacifica Papers, eliminated it's pulping operations, but decided to keep the Hulks. They were reconfigured to make the pond smaller for barges of wood chips waiting for their turn in the mill.
The waters off the Powell River coast are deep. It would be expensive, if not impossible, to build a traditional breakwater around the area. The concrete ships sit low in the water, thus providing protection from heavy wave action, even during storms. Huge concrete anchors and massive chains hold the ships in place. Occasionally, however, they must be reset due to the corrosive action of rust and the power of the sea.
Here are some resources to find more history about the hulks:
The Powell River Museum
The Hulks: The Breakwater Ships of Powell River by John A Campbell
Shotcrete Repair of WWII Concrete Hulks
Pulp, Paper and People by Karen Southern and Peggy Bird
Powell River's First 50 Years by the Powell River News
And finally, a shot of the guardian of the pond and its historic Hulks.
I invite you to put Powell River on your list of places to visit. -- Margy