Last Week in Canada Begins…

Tomorrow Tuesday, 23 October, I pick up Mary Nell, pictured below, at the float plane terminal at the Inner Harbour of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  We will pack up the fragile items (china, crystal, wedgewood, glasses, dishes, and look-pretty items) very carefully.  Then for my last week in Canada, we will be tourists.  High tea at the Empress Hotel on the Inner Harbour, fish and chips, and the like are on our agenda.  Then there will be the visits to Dollar Tree and Walmart for items Mary Nell could not bring here due to the float plane weight limitation on baggage of 25 pounds.  I will see to getting my car, “Sandy”, serviced for the 3,000 mile plus vacation road trip back to Texas.  Wire my money back to Texas.  Close my Canadian credit union accounts.  Last minute packing up of the televisions, this computer, kitchen, and bath items.

Then comes Monday, 29 October.  The moving company loads up the ground suite furniture and some 36 packed boxes.  We pack the car and leave Canada.  Our goal that day is to drive some 260 miles to stay overnight in Moses Lake, Washington State.  The return trip to Texas includes sightseeing at Yellowstone National Park, Grand Tetons National Park, Salt Lake City attractions, North & South Rims of the Grand Canyon, shows in Las Vegas, Nevada, some time in St. George, Utah, staying with my sister Lee Ann, her husband Skip, and friends, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and the Petrified Forrest.  We plan to arrive back in Midland, Texas on 15 November.  The moving company arrives the day thereafter.

My four months in Canada have been real.  Perhaps in ten years or so, Mary Nell and I will move back up here to stay after her granddaughters are grown to adulthood.  More likely we will just visit on occasion as we travel the world while our health and energy levels hold up.  All I truly know is that in the days, months, and years to come you will find me at Mary Nell’s side so long as we both live in this world of God’s creation.



mnGary AlaskaMyself and Mary Nell Baird pose for a formal photograph aboard one of our two Alaskan cruises earlier this new century.  The cruise stopped for a day excursion in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada which put this fair city in my sights for a retirement location.  Once moved here and settled in my landlady told my landlord in a private conversation that she gave me six months.  Six months before I would return to Texas.  Well, I have been here now three full calendar months as October dawns today.  Four months.  I will have lived here in Canada four months before my return to Texas.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I am now a short-timer here in Victoria, BC.  Simply put, I miss Mary Nell too much to stay in Canada.  Oh to be sure, we have talked on the phone every day since my arrival on 30 June.  Every day.   I made sure that my Telus phone service included calling the United States without additional charges being tacked onto my monthly invoice.  Talking daily just is not enough as I had hoped that it would be before making the move.  I need to see the sparkle in her eyes, not just hear it in her voice.

Soon the same company that moved me up here will bring me the paperwork and packing boxes for the move to Midland.  David Keys will soon give me a call and we will arrange to re-start on the first of November my Medicare-advantage medical insurance policy and the related prescription drug insurance policy.  My tourist travel medical insurance ninety-day policy expired today, so I will actually be uncovered for medical insurance this month of October.  I am driving very carefully to avoid car-crashes.  Everything will be packed before the movers arrive early on either Monday or Tuesday morning, October 29 or 30.  Whichever day they come, they must be done by three in the afternoon to allow Mary Nell and me to catch the car ferry from the Victoria Inner Harbour to Port Angeles, Washington, at 4:00pm.

Yes, Mary Nell will be with me for the return car journey back to Texas.  She is flying up a week before loading day on Tuesday, 23 October.  We will pack together my antique wall clock, all of my various wall hangings whether oil paintings, certificates, or photos, and all of the fragile items such as bone china, crystal glasses, souvenir mugs, and the like.  I had a small box of broken such items after the move up here, so I look forward to Mary Nell’s help with all the fragile stuff this time around.  We will do some touristy things such as fish and chips on the Inner Harbour and high tea at the Empress Hotel that week as well.

After leaving Vancouver Island our first targeted destination will be Yellowstone National Park in the upper-right hand corner of Wyoming on the Montana border.   They close all the roads into the national park Sunday morning the fourth of November.  So we should have at least two days to tour the park and possibly four days if the movers come on the Monday.  After Yellowstone we will move slightly southward of the park to the Grand Tetons National Park.  From there we plan to head over to Salt Lake City.  Being LDS Mary Nell would like to walk the grounds of the Temple.  And we will see anything else of interest in Salt Lake City before heading southward again.

We plan to stop and stay overnight a few days in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Our real goal is to see both the north rim and the south rim of the Grand Canyon.  I am leaning to our touring the Grand Canyon by air as well.  A show or two in Las Vegas would be icing on that cake.  Then we hit the road eastward back to Midland, Texas.  There are places to stop and sightsee on that leg of the journey as well.  The Petrified Forrest comes to mind.

We should arrive back in Midland no earlier than 9 November and possibly as late as 14 November depending on what we stop to see along this journey of some three thousand miles from Victoria to home.

Upon return an early priority will be to re-register the Chrysler 300 sedan car in Midland, saving its British Columbia plates a place of honor on my apartment walls somewhere.  A second priority will be Mary Nell and me dining out at Carambas Spanish Inn Kitchen on Front Street.  I found no authentic Tex-Mex food here in Canada.

When I moved into the ground suite here in Victoria I purchased some items in addition to what was unloaded from the moving van.  A queen sized motorized adjustable bed, chest of drawers, bedroom media chest, living area sofa and love seat, media chest for the living area, and two small bookcases.  Way too much furniture and personal effects to move back into Mary Nell’s house, so I have arranged to take occupancy of an apartment at The Clusters in Midland just north of Loop 250.  I figure my waking hours at the apartment and at Mary Nell’s house will run 20% to 80%, respectively, in Mary Nell’s favor.

Quality Move Management Inc. are targeting, at my request, delivery of all my furniture and personal effects to my apartment at The Clusters for Friday, 16 November.  I take occupancy on 15 November, Thursday.  Then I need to have Grande Communications set up my internet and cable television services at the apartment.  Unpacking the books, etc. and setting the apartment in order should take a week, I think, as it did here in Victoria.  Much to do before Thanksgiving Thursday rolls around.

So there you have it.  All the details of my Announcement, the title of this post.  Victoria, BC, Canada has been all I thought it would be as a place to live.  Only, without Mary Nell living here as well, it is not the place for me to be going forward.  And I promise, I will never, ever, ever again complain about living in “Midland, Texas” as I have been wont to do since 1982.

On another note entirely, I went to the movie cinema a few times recently.  I highly recommend you take the time to go out and actually see at the cinema the new Mission Impossible—Fallen film, and also Peppermint, and A Simple Favor.  I enjoyed them all.  Also, the new television dramas worth your time include Manifest, New Amsterdam, and God Friended Me.


Gary Randall Willis

In Texas again by mid-November