Monday, June 27, 2016

Green Point Sunsets

Last week my husband and I spent some time camping at Green Point in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. He'd told me the scenery was going to be spectacular, and it was! Especially the sunsets - here are a couple of representative photos, linked over from my DeviantArt account.

Tofino Sunset 2 by Endaewen on DeviantArt

Tofino Sunset by Endaewen on DeviantArt

Camping at Green Point was a new experience for me. I'm more used to the Provincial campgrounds and the standards set there: don't leave your coolers out, any other forms of food, toiletries, soaps and the like, but your water jug, stove etc. are all fine to stay out for the duration of your trip.

At Green Point on the other hand, they run a bare campsite policy, and when they say bare, they mean bare. Your camp furniture is allowed (chairs, lanterns and tent), but nothing else. Everything else such as your water jug has to be stored in a hard-sided vehicle or trailer.

On the plus side of things, the vehicle-accessible campsites at Green Point are all powered - makes charging your phone etc a breeze - not to mention your laptop or camera batteries. I took mine so I could clear off my camera card at need, and I filled it on the first three days of the trip, and went through four camera batteries in about the same time.

On the other hand, both the Green Point Campground and Tofino have terrible data reception, although it seems as though it's actually better at Green Point. If you really need to check your e-mail though, in Tofino is a wonderful little coffee-shop called Tuff Beans. I highly recommend stopping in there for a hot chocolate to go with your WiFi. For Fish and Chips, try Big Daddy's Fish Fry, just down the road.

Also a plus: two individual camp cots with "nightstands" (detachable pockets on one side for glasses etc). With the addition of an inflatable mattress-pad and a foam pad, they made for the most comfortable camping nights I've had yet. And the "nightstands" turned out to be even more of a blessing than I thought.

Our tent leaked. Tofino gets an average of 202 rainy days a year, so we had plenty of chances to discover this fact. Tarping the tent fixed some of the problems, but I still found myself with a pool of water under the foam pad in my cot. Which is why I said the "nightstands" were a blessing. I was able to keep all electronics, as well as my books off the ground and away from the damp.

Even with all of that, I recommend camping at Green Point highly. We weren't lucky enough to see or hear any, but the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is home to wolves, bears and cougar.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Medieval Total War - Take Two

Medieval Total War Gold EditionA couple of months ago I wrote up a post on the Total War game series. In it, I commented on my desire to see if the original Medieval Total War game from ca. 2002 would play on my current Windows 7 machine. I've since gone through with that desire and had several hours of fun.

The process of getting the game and the computer to work together was less straightforward than I'd hoped though. First of all, the Medieval Total War game and the Viking Invasion expansion were separate. In fact, at some point over a couple of moves, the Viking Invasion game cd disappeared on me.

So, I decided to simply insert the Medieval Total War game cd and cross my fingers - figuring the game was playable on its own - even though if my memory isn't playing tricks, the Viking Invasion expansion fixed a few major and not so major bugs.

No joy. I'd click "install Medieval Total War" and nothing. So, I went hunting to see if anyone else had an answer, and found several. First of all, most of the people installing the game successfully were installing the Medieval Total War Gold edition, and not the original one, and one solution described was to copy the disc onto the computer first. Didn't work for me - mine is on two cd-roms. So, lets hunt further. If the price is right I'm not going to object to rebuying the game if that's what it takes. Besides, that way I can get the Viking Invasion campaigns again.

Bingo! Turns out that the gold version of the game is available through Steam - and for only $11.00. That install worked - on both computers, and from what I can see, it will also work on Windows 10.

However, that wasn't the end of my initial troubles - some of which were that I'd forgotten some of the game-play tricks and methods (solved by digging out the manual for the game). Others though were not. After the first couple of hours of play - when I'd begin to try and attack other factions, the game began to crash - always on that first turn when I'd triggered an attack.

There is a solution to that problem though - at least so far. First of all, go into the game options and adjust the game resolution up to match that of your screen. That may be enough to fix it. Also, I read that turning off the tool-tips and computer movement visibility from the options on the upper left corner of the game screen will fix some crashes. That one didn't work for me on it's own. However, adjusting the screen resolution did for me. Almost 10 hours later on both computers and no problems.

I have to say, for the age of the game, the graphics and game play are still really good. I'm definitely enjoying the trip down memory lane - amazing how well the music and sound-effects have stuck in my head.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ammonite Falls Adventure

Yesterday was a real adventure! More that I was expecting for sure. The plan was a nice family hike - under 10k long, with a couple of steep sections with ropes (or so we were warned) - and a picnic lunch at the falls. It all sounds great, then you realize that the day was one of the hottest so far this year - the truck thermometer was saying 33 degrees Celsius when we were on our way back from the park. Thankfully, most of the trail was well shaded - and we all brought plenty to drink as well as sunscreen.

Everything started out smoothly enough, except that all the hills were down on the outbound leg. Everyone knows what that means when you're returning along the same trail. Moderately easy, though I wasn't looking forward to coming back. I slow down a lot on uphill legs of a walk or hike.

Then we came to the first of the steep sections. Silly me. I'd envisioned something like big stairs with a rope acting as a railing. Nothing close at all. And the first of them was something that you could in theory pass through without needing the rope. I didn't try. I used the rope all the way down - wasn't going to be taking a chance. It was the next segment, to the bottom of the falls that was the real adventure though!

Ammonite Falls Trail.
I've never done something like this before, and I wasn't too sure how to go about it this time, but got plenty of coaching from the Ammonite Falls veterans in the group. It's pretty intimidating to go down a hill backwards so you can't really see where you're going, but that's really the only way to do it - and hang onto the rope good and tight!

The scenery at the bottom and the picnic lunch were worth it though. The falls were beautiful, and the pool looked like a wonderful swimming hole - I didn't do any swimming, but I'll admit to paddling my feet and sitting on the edge. The rocks though were pretty slippery, so I didn't keep that up for very long - and the water was pretty cold.
Ammonite Falls - the top section

Ammonite Falls - the bottom portion

If getting down the slope was fun, going back up the ropes was even more of a challenge! I'm just going to call it a full body workout and leave it at that - with the note that I'm paying for the hike today in stiff muscles.


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