Ted / Dad

2016 seems like it has been the busiest year of my life - so much for retirement....

We started off with Christmas at the farm as usual, but without Laura; although we were able to use a "hotspot" and skype with her, so she could say hello to everyone.

In January, Louise and I took a three-week vacation to Las Brisas, Huatulco, Mexico. It was our sixth trip there. We really enjoy the atmosphere at the resort and have gotten to know, and become good friends with some of the staff over the years. We travelled with our friend Wilf, and enjoyed many hours of volleyball, Frisbee, stand-up paddeling,snorkeling during the day, and cards and dancing in the evenings. You can see my photos on my Flickr site here.


Las Brisas Volleyball

Ted and Wilf after a world championship game of Frisbee in the ocean

Back at home we enjoyed a bit of skidooing. There had been a warming spell, so we stayed mostly on the lake and river, but did have some beautiful days out on the snow.

I was also able to go skiing (yes skiing - for the first time skiing and not boarding in about 15 years), with my windsurfing friends Harold, Al and Ray, and another friend of theirs, Brian. We went up to Sunshine and had a great day with lots of snow! I was the young guy on the trip, and had a bit of trouble keeping up. I will have to work on that, although I don't know if I will every be able to keep up to Harold....

Louise and I Skidooing by the Aberhart Bridge

Ted at Sunshine Village

Ted, Ray, Harold, Al and Brian

Ted jibing on Lake Arenal - Costa Rica

In mid February, I travelled to Costa Rica with my windsurfing buddy Gerry Sparks, his wife Julie, and their daughter and her friend. We stayed for two weeks in a house close to Lake Arenal, where Gerry and I windsurfed at Tico Wind almost every day. Julie and the girls only stayed with us a couple of days, preferring the coast with it's better weather, beaches and dive trips.

The rental equipment at TicoWind was excellent and the wind was strong. Most days I was out on a 4.6m sail, which is quite small for me, which means that it was very windy. You can tell when it gets really windy, because all the wind turbines at the end of the lake stop turning. They have to shut them off so they don't damage themselves.

The water is quite rough, making the sailing quite challenging. It took me the first week before I started to feel comfortable on the water. The staff were wonderful, as were the other guests. They served us a hot lunch every day, which really added to the social aspect of the beach. I met quite a few sailors and kiters from all around the world. It is a very interesting place.

Tico Wind Beach

Gerry - after a good sail!

Ted and Gerry - after sailing...

Ted - fully powered....

Cindy and Ty

After my two weeks of windsurfing, I drove south to Puriscal near San Jose where my friends, Cindy and Ty run a bed and breakfast. I spent a couple of nights with them in their beautiful home up in the mountains.

They have a spectacular view, and other than the road in, which requires a four-wheel drive vehicle, they are within easy access to a town and all the associated amenities. It was really nice seeing them again and visiting with them. You can check out their Bed and Breakfast on VRBO. I would highly recommend staying with them if you enjoy quite remote areas.

The View from Cindy and Ty's front deck

From Cindy and Ty's, I drove back North to visit with my neighbours, Rob and Carol, who own a home in Playa Brasilito on the coast. I stayed with them for a few days in their condo. They drove me around to show me the area, many new developments, and several beaches. It is a wonderful area and a great surfing location. It was a great way to end my trip. All my Costa Rica photos are on my Flickr site here.

Rob - showing me the sites.

A pier on Playa Brasilito

Another beautiful uncrowded beach

Surf's up!

When I got back to Canada, I got very busy. I spent a few days in Rocky Mountain house doing some consulting work for Strategic Steps, Louise and I went to two wine tasting dinners at the Camrose Resort Casino as well as an evening at Jubilations Dinner Theater in Edmonton, I started playing squash once a week with my friend Wilf, I started riding my road bike again (trying for one good ride a week), and we went to the Farm for Easter Weekend.

We had an early spring, so I had the boat in by the End of April. That may have been the earliest ever, although as it turned out, between poor weather, our trip to visit Laura - and Spencer being more interested in motorcycles, we didn't use it much this summer.

Enjoying the boat in April. Still a little cold for watersports... .

Rose and Peter Gray, from Australia

At the end of April, I went on a motorbike trip with a bunch of friends to the Last Chance Saloon south of Drumheller. It was a nice ride, but a bit cool. All in all it was about a 500km ride, which made it a full day.

In May we hosted an Austrailian couple who were here with a group, as a part of a Rotary Friendship Exchange. I volunteered with our club to help drive them around for the four days that they were with us. We took them Canoeing, visited the Ukrainian Village, toured the Reynolds Museum and the P Skstw Centre Correctional institute near Maskwacis. We had a traditional aboriginal dinner with Chief Roy Lewis and his family, and had a traditional Norwegian dinner at the Lefse House in Camrose, and toured them through the Bashaw museum and the Mirror Railway museum. I think they had fun. It was an exhausting four days. You can see my photos on my Flickr site here.

In June I headed down to Oregon for our semi-annual Gorge windsurfing trip.

On the way down, I stopped at Nobleford to visit with my friends Kirk and Barb, and to start to re-learn how to Kitesurf. I spent a few days on the water at Keho, first dragging back and fourth, and then getting up on the board. It was great to have a bunch of guy's watching over me and giving me advice.

From there I drove to Oregon for 10 days of windsurfing and a bit of kiting. Lots of fun as usual, with about 12 guy's sharing three condo's. You can read my blog here.

My friend Phil Soltysiak sailing at the Gorge
He currently ranks 5th in the world in Windsurfing Freestyle.

Sailing in Manzanita
Ted, Karen, Jim, Gerry, Andreas, Cynthia, Ross and Cam

Spencer bought his new motorcycle in July, so I started doing a few short rides with him. It is a Victory Vegas 8-Ball, and is a much bigger bike than mine, and more of a cruiser, so very different to ride. Mine is more of an upright touring bike. Needless to say, he loves it. You can see photos of it on his page.

My near life-long friend Chris, had his 60th Birthday celebration in July. Something that I coudn't miss. It was wonderful to catch up with Chris, Arlene, Liam, Kathy and all of Chris's family, including his mom Carrie. Chris is the first of our "Air Cadet" group to turn 60, but the rest of us will be following very shortly.

Ted, Chris and Liam at Chris's 60 Birthday Party.

F18 Demonstration Team in Commonwealth Training Colours
The City of Wetaskiwin hosted an evening Airshow in July. I had missed the Cold Lake Airshow this year, but Wetaskiwin was too close to miss. It was a smaller airshow than Cold Lake, but was still a good show. You can see my photos here on my Flickr Site.

Louise and I flew to England during the last week of July to visit Laura in London. We spent three weeks first touring Ireland, then London and finally went South to Bourmouth to visit with Louise's brother and his partner Clair. It was a fabulous holiday. You can read more about it here.

In September, I went back to the Gorge, but via Surrey, B.C where I had a meeting with the BC Office of the Auditor General of Legilative Services (AGLG). They were doing an Audit of the Kelowna water systems, and hired me as a "Subject Matter Expert" in water and wastewater systems. A little more contract work helps to pay for my trips.

Once again we had a great time in the Gorge. We were about 14 guys... including a couple of Kiters from Southern Alberta, Marten and Brandon. I did a little more Kiting, as well as some Windsurfing. You can read my blog here.

On my last day, I was sitting at the Event Site when to my surprise Wayne and Lori walk by. Wayne is another Air Cadet friend, that I haven't seen in years. It was great to visit and catch up, if even for only a few hours. I hope next year we can coordinate at least one of our trips together.

When you go kiting, crash your kite, get it tangled, then lose it, swim in, and then find the kite on the sand bar.... sometimes your lines get a little tangled.... Read about my kitemare here...

Lori, Wayne and Ted at the Event Site

In October and November I was busy with more contract work related to municipal inspections, this time in the summer Village of Crystal Springs at Pigeon Lake, which gave me an excuse to see my cousin Bob Campbell who has retired there.

Louise and I also visited the farm again for Thanksgiving in October and were able to visit with Charles and Claire who were on a two week visit from England. It was great to see them again on this side of the pond.

In November, Louise and I spent a weekend in Rosebud and attended their production of Miracle on 34 Street. The production was excellent, but it is not the same when Laura is not involved in the production.
December found me in Cuba for two weeks in Cayo Guillermo, kitesurfing with a group of friends, mainly from southern Alberta. It is one of the best places in the world to learn to kite, so I figured I would come home either loving kiting or ready to forget it and go back to just windsurfing.

We had about 40 people from Alberta on the trip, although not everyone was there at once.

I was very surprised one evening, when my friend Bernd from Grand Prairie walked passed. I had no idea he was coming. It was great to see him and catch up on family news. Bern and I go back about 30 years or so.

The Kiting Beach at our Resort in Cuba

My friend Bernd, kiting

I had a great time, and my kiting skills advanced quite a bit, although I am not ready to sell my windsurf gear just yet. You can see all my photos here.

So here we are getting ready for Christmas again. It will be our second Christmas with Laura away, and Spencer will be working Christmas day - so our schedule will be improvised. I am sure we will still make the trip to St. Albert and the Farm to see all our folks.

What a whirlwind year. So far next year is looking just as busy. Louise and I are looking forward to Mexico again in January; and this time, my sisters Micky and Patty are coming along with their husbands Darcy and Ross. It should be fun!

Ted, kiting in Cuba.

Ted made it back to the Beach without having to do the walk of shame!

Our house - a little frosty

Our house in the Fall

Bike ride to the last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alberta

Our Australian visitors - touring Camrose

The Grand Opening of the modern Roundabout
in Wetaskiwin - The fire truck went first, to prove that It could get around...
(A project that I started and was very involved in before I left).

Louise and her mom - Thanksgiving at the farm.

Our Hood River Gang - Marten, Blaine, Brad, Cam, Handre, Gerry, Kirk, Rene, Harold, Eddy, Brandon and Al.
The finger is to say hi to "Big Air Jim" who couldn't join us that trip because he had broken his finger just before the trip.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy Happy New Year!

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