Ode to the Small Gasoline Engine

Image: Cutting firewood.

Having spent much of my life driving some form of gas guzzling vehicle around, I have become very aware at how inefficient these large gasoline engines can be, especially when used by single individuals for commuting in the city. However, only recently have I come to appreciate the value of the small, single cylinder gasoline engine that seems to run forever on a cup full of gas.

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Building Sheds

Image: Sheds for storage.

Originally, we had planned on getting some sheds erected on our property shortly after our arrival. Our hope was to be able to unpack the hold in the Moody Blue, thus lightening her load and giving us access to much of our stuff. With this in mind, we purchased a couple of “cheap” shed units from Canadian Tire on our first trip to Campbell River.

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The Float

Image: The Awen and the Moody Blue tied up to our float.

What a week of chaos! It started with an “emergency” run to Campbell River to get new starting batteries for the Moody Blue. Then, immediately afterwards, the northwest gale picked up again, this time with real intent. We started getting gusts of up to 40 knots blowing in towards shore. That’s when our anchor, which had been holding fine for the past two months, decided to drag.

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I Never Thought I’d Own an ATV

Image: ATV and trailer at the house site.

“You’re going to need a tractor”, one friend advises sagely. Another friend, who owns a remote piece of property up in the Hazelton area, tells us how useful his ATV has been for working around the property. Fifty acres is a lot of land – our friends tell us that we will need something with an engine. However, neither of us really wants to have yet another gasoline engine to feed, with the ever-increasing costs of fuel. And it seems to go against our principles to have a “motor vehicle” on the property. However, the last straw comes from the contractor who is designing the cabin for our site. “You’re not going to hand bomb all the materials up from the beach, are you?” he asks in disbelief. “The last time I had to do that …” and he goes off into stories of pain and injury. OK, I’m convinced to look at options. Maybe we’ll get a winch and a trailer. “I’ll check into things”, I tell the contractor. “Look at used ATVs”, he advises. “You might be able to get something cheap …”

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Smoke on the Horizon

Image: Bloody sunrise in Johnstone Strait.

We are heading across Johnstone Strait to Kelsey Bay, and the day is just breaking. This is not your usual sunrise, however. The sun peers over the horizon like the bloodshot eye of some strange beast. Dark clouds form a horizontal band across the sun that resembles the slit pupil of a reptile. The smoke on the horizon is an eery reminder of one of the outcomes of a too hot summer – forest fires.

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The Grizzly

Image: The Grizzly.

Dusk is fast approaching, and we are winding down our day, now aboard the Awen, anchored just offshore from our home site. Ken sees something moving along the shore. This “something” resolves into a rather large, gangly-looking bear. We are not sure if it is a very large black bear or a small grizzly. As we debate, it disappears into the bush.

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