For summer vacation we had 2 weeks off, the last week of July and the first week of August -- straddling the August long weekend. For the first week, we were at the Shuswap at our cabin. The second week we spent near Harrison Hot Springs hosting the bi-annual Bird family reunion (and golf tournament).

We drove to the Shuswap on Saturday which was Glen's birthday. We stopped in Langley and ate lunch at Denny's, taking advantage of the fact it was Glen's birthday to get him a free meal. On the drive there Kayla was talking a lot about taking lots of pictures on our holidays, so we were thinking we should get her a better camera than the one she had been using (which was not very good, it had been free from Superstore due to buying some groceries if that gives you any indication of the likely quality). So we stopped in Merritt and looked for an appropriate camera but they didn't have one, so we pushed on to the Kamloops Toyr'R'Us and got a good camera just minutes before the store closed. Some of the pictures in this entry are taken by Kayla. We then grocery shopped at Superstore, and then not able to ignore a good deal, we had dinner at the Kamloops Denny's and again had a free meal for Glen. We had originally planned to get to the lake and have Glen's birthday dinner with Glen's parents but we only arrived at about 10:30 at night. Our truck was loaded, both full inside, cargo box on top, and both Glen's and Kayla's bikes on the back on a bike rack.

Over the coming days we shared many meals with Grandma and Grandpa (Glen's parents), including a belated birthday celebration. Glen biked between our place and his parents most days, at least until one day where he ran over some blackberry bushes and caused a flat in his front tire. On Tuesday we went to Kamloops and fixed Glen's bike tire, had dinner at the Jade Garden restaurant for dinner, and then took a ride on the Kamloops Heritage railway.

After arriving at the train station, we spent a little time with the Kamloops Tourism ambassadors. They liked Kayla and Melissa so much they took their pictures with the horses and posted the pic on their website, although they did get Melissa's name wrong. The Kamloops Heritage Railway is steam engine 2141, which sat for many years decomissioned in Riverside Park. We were far from first to get on, so we didn't get a seat outside, only one of the inside seats. 30 minutes later we realized this was for the best, as a storm arrived and it was raining by the time we got to the church on the reservation. We had heard that the train gets held up by masked gunmen on horses, and by the time we were getting close back to the station and were crossing the metal bridge over the South Thompson river it was pouring rain really hard. Almost everyone on the train was crowded into the inside covered cars -- standing room only, and as we crossed the bridge we heard some bangs, really loud bangs, and we sort of wondered if the train was being held up on the bridge, and were amazed at how loud the bangs were. The staff made everyone come inside, and we found out that actually the loud bangs were lightning hitting the metal bridge right over our heads. After staying under the metal bridge infrastructure for a few minutes, we pushed on and pulled into the station where we were held up. The gunshots were nothing compared to the lightning. When we left the train and started the drive back to the lake, we had to take an alternate road than we had planned as both the 10th street underpass and River Street were flooded.

Over the coming couple of days we spent some nice time boating and swimming in the small kiddy pool in our yard. Later in the week Eddy and Pauline, keeping up an old tradition, came for the August long weekend. We had fun boating and eating lots of food for the extended long weekend.

The following week we were still on holidays, and along with my brother Jim and his family and my parents, were hosting 2011 Bird Family Reunion in beautiful Harrison Hot Springs. We spent the week camped at the Pathfinder Motel and RV Park which was reunion home base for the week for the reunion. Great because it had tent sites, RV sites, and motel rooms. On Tuesday, August 2 a few keen golfers went out with my dad to The Falls. On Wednesday the reunion and golf tournament proper got into full swing. Golfing and dinner this day was at Sandpiper Golf Course. Sandpiper is a very classy 6500 yard par 72 set alongside Harrison River. While Kayla and Melissa spent the day with Grandma (I believe they went to the beach -- where else would you go when staying in Harrison??? ), Glen golfed with Laurie, Karen, and Bernice; and Susan golfed with Reg, Van, and Zachary. Dinner on this day was catered at Sandpiper. Once back at the Pathfinder, we had a great time catching up around the campfire. Even Kayla had a wonderful time with cousins staying up late and looking at the stars. On Thursday we golfed at the 9 hole Harrison Resort Golf Course. Actually Glen golfed there with Kayla Bird, Kevin, and Reg while Susan and the girls with Grandma prepared for that evening's self hosted dinner that we enjoyed around the Gazebo back at the Pathfinder. I (Glen) got a special prize that night for being the worst left handed golfer at the tournament. Very happy to have received a hybrid club which catapaults the generations of technology of what I'm carrying in my golf bag :-) Susan did much better winning the women's longest drive award which had taken place on the day we were at Sandpiper. Again we had a great time later around the campfire. We were sorry to see most of the Bird crowd head home on Friday. We stuck around for an extra 2 nights to enjoy more of the area. We had some beach time with Jimmy and Ellen. We also went for some minigolf and touristy fun at Tugboat Junction.

The next Bird reunion is expected to be a big one in Saskatchewan in the year 2013. We are talking that maybe we'll get a travel trailer by the time we go to that to make camping life a little bit easier...

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