Category: British Columbia

Little Buddy Heater – One Year In

Little Buddy Heater
VanLife- Little Buddy Heater

Today is gear review day, and we are going to review the “Little Buddy Heater“.  When we first moved in to Freddy, it was early April in Ontario and the weather was improving.   We made the decision to move into the van on Easter Long weekend.  We learned early on that we needed a source of heat with the early spring rains starting.

Little Buddy Heater

After watching a couple of reviews on YouTube, I wanted to buy the “Portable Buddy” or the “Big Buddy” Heaters,  but there were none, since it was spring and all of the stores had already stored away for the summer season.  The only one I was able to find was the Little Buddy.  When we first got the heater, though it was a little small to warm a 19ft Class B, it was enough to take the chill out of the air.  It was easy lighting, which is important, since who has the time to stand there and wait ten or 15 minutes attempting to get it to light.

One thing I noticed right away, was the amount of condensation that is caused but the Propane Heater.  This contributed substantially to some of the on going issues we would have in the van during the months  Oct – Dec.  As the year went along, we noticed that the heater became more and more temperamental.   Some days it would light rite away and other days I would need to stand and hold the feed button for 10 – 15 minutes in order for it to warm up enough to light.  I would often change out a partially used cylinder for a new one, and the Little Buddy would light right away and on other occasions it would not.   Now when I say light, I mean I could get the pilot light lite, however it would not ignite the Ceramic dish that would produce the heat.

We had planned to use the Little Buddy heater as a stop gap measure until our wood stove came in.  We however, were unable to continue using the Little Buddy because we could not get it to lite.  Thankfully we were in the Lower Mainland with warmer temperatures.

Minus Temperatures for Little Buddy Heater

As the year went along it was really quite obvious the the Little Buddy Heater was not overly useful so we decided it was time to jump in with both feet to buy a Wood stove for the Freddy.  If we wanted to make it a go in the van through the winter it would be a must

Overall, I would have to rate the Little Buddy Heater as a 4 out of 10.  Fresh out of the box, the heater did a great job, but after a years worth of work for us it became more and more temperamental, to the point we had to stop using it.  In the end we gave it to a homeless gentleman we met, with some of the remaining propane cylinders.  The Little Buddy Heater retails for around $89.00, and if I had to do it over again, I would have saved my money and put the $89.00 into a Cubic Mini, which we will review in a later post.

If you have any comments we would love to hear them, just post them below.

VanLife - Lower Mainland

Boondocking – The Lower Mainland

Michelle and I have not had the opportunity to enjoy a weekend exploring the Lower Mainland since we arrived. We spent this past weekend exploring and taking pictures.  The area around the Science Centre in False Creek offers the photographer excellent opportunities for sunset images.

The Lower Mainland

Lower Mainland – Sunset @ False Creek

We spent Saturday afternoon searching for my ever elusive “Honey Bee” beer from Fullers.  This was one time my favourite beer which I could only find in the Lower Mainland.  Finally, after searching for 6 weeks, I found someone at the BC Liquor store that was able to find 48 bottles of this fantastic brew.  As is my luck, there was not a bottle at the branch I was at, but a short 15-minute drive to Cambie street, and there before my eyes was my quest!

Michelle, having a craving for pizza, was telling me how I needed to find her some good pizza.  Since we were near my old stomping grounds, I knew where to take her!  Bella Pizza, arguably the best pizza in the Lower Mainland!  We settled on the Bella Gourmet Vegetarian as the one of choice.  This had been my favourite pizza and after three years it certainly did not disappoint!  Living in Ontario like their beer is the land of assembly line pizza.  The same taste from every pizza joint.  Here in the Lower Mainland, however, there are fabulous unique flavours and tastes for those open-minded enough to give a try!

Our Boondock on the First Night – On the Lower Mainland

We decided to use one of our previous boondocking locations for the first night.  We went to St Mary’s church down off Joyce road where would go to church in the morning.  I get such a kick sleeping in the van while parked on the road.  Especially off Joyce there, the sounds of the city, the conversations that take place around the van no one the wiser of Michelle and I sleeping but a few feet away.  There is something so cool and interesting about that.

After church, Michelle and I headed to Granville Island.  I did my first Photowalk there back in 2014.   It was so much fun shooting around Granville Island that time, this time around since it was during the afternoon, I was there more to show Michelle around then to shoot images.  I love hearing the words Michelle says when she experiencing something new.  I love that she is getting to explore, something we both love to do.

False Creek Sunset Images – The Lower Mainland

VanLife - Lower Mainland
Lower Mainland – False Creek Panorama

Sunday evening was spent down near the Vancouver Science World where I set up some of the Sunset shots I was hoping for.  The area provides an excellent opportunity for the beautiful city scape images you see hanging on walls.  Truth be told, some of these shots are for sale in the Granville Island stories and since we are down here, I figure we need to give it a try.

We only have one tripod and Michelle knows how much joy I get from shooting landscape images she always refuses to use it, so she sacrifices her night shots for me, so try to do my best for her.  I’ve shot at False Creek a couple of times, though I think this time I got my best images.  I was sure we were there plenty early enough to be set for the Golden and Blue hour, and then I did some bulb exposures after it was totally dark. There is something so peaceful abuot Sunset photography!  If you get a chance be sure to give False Creek a chance for your images!

VanLife - Drag Race

Drag Race at Mission Raceway

VanLife - Drag Race
Drag Race – Out of the Starting Blocks

This August long weekend has been busy for Michelle and me.  I worked the graveyard shift Friday night and then Saturday afternoon. Sunday, however, we spent with my friend Alexis and her boyfriend at the Mission Raceway watching our first ever Drag Race.

Drag Race Day in Mission

We spent the night out side St Mary’s church off Joyce Street in Vancouver.  Michelle and I have not been able to find a church, so we decided since there is a large Filipino population in this area we would start off at this church first.  It was perfect, we found a parking spot right beside the church, so we Boondocked there.  I would drive by this church every Sunday when I worked in Vancouver before.  I found it ironic to be sleeping at this corner.  After church, we went to a nice little restaurant called Manila Grille, as one would expect the food was amazing and Michelle had the smile on her face saying…I don’t feel so far from home!

After lunch, we stopped at my favourite Starbucks on the corner of Boundry and Canada Way, and sure enough, there was someone I knew working that day.  Nice to see familiar faces for sure!  From there it was off to Mission to find the drag race and to meet up with Alexis.

Mission Raceway – Mission BC

VanLife - Drag Race
Drag Race – The Finals

Being that we are geographically challenged on occasion, I could imagine how difficult finding the Raceway was going to be.  Surprisingly, after checking in to Google Maps, I realized I knew where it was right away.  Afterall I seem to drive past it every day at my new job, so it was a cinch to find.   I have to admit I thought the entrance fee was a little on the steep side with a $40.00 for really what turned out to be a 3-hour viewing of the end of the Drag Races.

It was a great opportunity to get out and catch up with Alexis, someone I have not seen in a couple of years.  Michelle and I had a lot of fun shooting a different genre if you will.  If you get an opportunity to shoot at the Drag Races be sure to give it a try!

Bacolod City

Jeepney
Jeepney

Over the past two months or so I have been working on my first Time-lapse video and I decided I wanted to do one of Bacolod City, on Negros Occidental.  Bacolod City is a pretty busy place.  Not any where as busy as Manila or as large but it’s busy compared to what I know back in Vancouver BC, Canada.  Though I find it interesting how friendly everyone is here in Bacolod City.  I am one who will say good morning to strangers on the street as I walk it always amazes me how everyone here that I speak too will speak back, no matter what language barrier there is, young and old, woman or male, if you attempt to speak they will respond, or even vice versa.  In the morning when I walk to the Jeepney many will say Good Morning Joe to me, I love
it.

Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Philippines from Ken Dunlop on Vimeo.

Having lived in Vancouver BC the past three years, I slowly stopped speaking to people on the street, as most people look at you as if you are a leper, scowl on their face, they will clutch their bag that much tighter because obviously you are going to attack them.  I was always left with my mouth hanging open at peoples cold responses.  I have to laugh, so many post on Facebook about the warm temperatures so early in the winter though the city especially Vancouver is easily one of the coldest places on earth. The scenery is beautiful but the people have a lot left to be desired.  I was always told it was because it was a big city, but why is it only in Vancouver that I find this to be the case.  I have been to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh, Toronto, Halifax, and Montreal but it is nothing as crazy and cold as Vancouver.

So here is a Time-lapse Video shot in Bacolod City, see the hustle and bustle of this place, the number of people on the streets, in the stores and coffee shops.  Bacolod City the city of smiles!!

ICBC

ICBC
ICBC

As I was preparing to leave for The Philippines I stopped by to ICBC in Burnaby BC, in order to get my drivers licence renewed as it was going to expire in 8 months.  I asked if I could renewl the licence and the woman I was dealing with, and I so wish I got her name now, explained to me, due to the fact I was leaving the country, and they would not renew the licence.  I asked why, and her explanation to me was they were trying to crack down on people using multiple names from getting into the system, and that this was fraud.  That is nice, what does that have to do with me?  She further explained to me that is was ICBC policy and there was nothing she would do.  I tried explaining that this was crazy.  This is Canada, and we are innocent until proven guilty, how can you restrict or punish me without me being proved of wrong doing.  She shrugged and said this was the policy.  I further explained that me being out of the country, I need the picture ID for a back up in the unlikely event my passport was stolen, and I needed to prove myself at one of our Embasyees.  She was not concerned.

So naturally, I wrote to ICBC to ask for an explanation, and much to my disbelief, the response was simply to contact ICBC during normal working hours, and they will help me get a licence.  I was amazed since I said I was writing from The Philippines, and there was no way I would be able to get it renewed, and I was sparing myself someone telling me to come in to and ICBC office in order to get assitance.

When did Canada become a nation that punished their people before them being proven gulity of something.  Come on ICBC, I am looking forward to the response from my latest email.

Vancouver Photowalk

Granville Island
Granville Island

I spent last night doing my first ever Vancouver Photowalk at Granville Island in Vancouver.  We met for 9 pm, and introduced ourselves, and headed on what was going to be two hours of learning new things about photography, night photography, exposures and various other things I learned.  I  just recently purchased a Canon 7D camera, and having just learned I will not be allowed to scuba dive anymore, the one true passion I have.  I decided it was time to follow my other passion and that is Photography.

So, after a quick search on the Internet I found Vancouver Photowalks, where they offer various Photowalks around Vancouver for a mere $99.00.  I was skeptical at first, but after a couple of minutes on the Photowalk I new this was going to be a great evening.  They also offer Group Rates for groups of 1 – 3 and then 1 – 4 and from what I can tell the private rates are very reasonable as well.

If you find you have a couple of hours free, and want to learn something new, try these guys out and do your first Vancouver Photowalk, I don’t think you will disappointed!!