Let’s see…where was I…oh, yeah:


I talked Bill into buying our first motel back in 2006 by telling him we would “sit behind a desk and collect money.”  HAHAhaha ha   ha!  We took possession in November and for 2 solid weeks we didn’t speak to one another but instead just looked at each other once in awhile like deer staring into headlights.  It didn’t matter that there wasn’t a chair in the office because we didn’t have time to sit down anyway.  Every piece of furniture was rusty and broken, the roof leaked, the faucets leaked, the service hallway was full with everything, except anything serviceable, and to top it off, the furnace quit in the middle of a very cold night.  When we finally did get the courage to talk to one another, we discovered we had both been thinking the same thing…let the bank have it and let’s run!

But we didn’t.  We persevered.  Living on our final pay-checks for the first three months because we had invested everything in the motel, we had to find a way to make the place pay for itself.  We had two guests when we purchased, both long-term.  By December 1, I gave notice to both of them to vacate.  That was when Bill started talking (yelling) to me:  “We have two guests and you’re throwing them out?!?”  It was frightening for both of us.  However, these two guests were deterring other guests from staying and once January rolled around, business started to improve.

We cleaned out every guest room (old furniture and all) , had plumbers repair the leaky faucets, repaired the leaky roof, and a few feet at a time, cleaned out the service hallway.  In the evenings, we cleaned and renovated the manager’s apartment.  Although the guest rooms were small, we managed to gain square feet by removing the 7 layers of wallpaper and raised the shower heads so that those of us over 3 feet tall could shower without kneeling down.  When we were empty, the NO Vacancy sign wouldn’t turn off and when we were full, it wouldn’t turn on.  Yes, this was our Motel Money Pit.

Every cent we made, we reinvested on new pillows, beds, bedding, curtains, and towels, and furniture.  We serviced the sign, heaters and air conditioners.  We scrubbed and renovated and painted inside and out.  Eventually, we could afford a new roof and new phone system and a second laundry room and new WIFI and on and on!

Through all of this, we met some very wonderful people who were very good to us and through referrals our business doubled every year for the three years we owned it.  After receiving several offers and because we were exhausted, we accepted an offer that would set us up for retirement…or would it?  Stay tuned!

Waterfall Stroll or Outlook Trail


Falls, New Hazelton, BC
Waterfall, New Hazelton, BC

With so many hiking trails in the area, from easy to extreme, there’s always something to do here in the Hazeltons’.  My personal favorite is the walk to the waterfall partly because it’s easy and doesn’t take much time.  But mostly, I like it because it is truly beautiful.  The trail starts 3 blocks south of the Roost.  The walk is short (about 10 minutes each way) and the trail is level with a slight incline in one or two places.  When my mom is visiting, alright, even when I’m on my own, I drive the 3 blocks uphill to where the trail begins to a small parking lot at the start of the trail.  The large rocks marking the trail entrance lead into another world with enormous cedar trees, ferns stretching toward the sky, and mossy undergrowth.  The stream that meanders from the mountain, down the waterfall, through the forest and toward the river lends a soft musical background during your walk.  The waterfall itself is small but spectacular with large boulders and trees surrounding it and a tranquil pond at the base.  I highly recommend this stroll for anyone who has been traveling and needs to stretch their legs.  Take your camera!

For those more adventurous hikers, the Outlook Trail offers a more difficult, steep climb which leads to a viewing area over New Hazelton.  Since having a breast reduction, I had no excuse for not trying this hike (I only trip over my feet now)…!  The Outlook Trail starts at the same point as the the Waterfall Trail but partway to the waterfall, there is a little bridge crossing the stream, off to the west.  Cross the bridge and shortly after, the climb begins.  As difficult for me as it was to climb up, my knees didn’t like the decline much, either!  For the hiker in good shape, it should only take about 20-30 minutes…for me, about 45 minutes!  However, it was certainly worth the view and I’m looking forward to doing it again.

In early spring, the Skunk Cabbage blossoms and is a brilliant bright yellow among the still-brown ground cover.  Once in awhile during the fall months, you may see salmon spawning in the stream (an amazing sight to see)…which brings me to my next topic.  Watch for old stumps turned over and pulled apart.  Bears will eat the ants and other bugs from these stumps and feed on the carcasses of salmon.  Although we’ve personally not seen bears along this trail, signs show that they are present sometimes.  When there is a reported sighting, a warning sign will be posted at the beginning of the trail.  When in bear country, always walk with someone who runs slower than you….NO, just kidding!  There are different ways of handling encounters, should you have one.  The easiest ways to prevent an encounter is to stay aware of your surroundings, watch for signs of bears, and make noise as you walk.  Bears generally will try to avoid you.  Carry bear spray and know how to use it.  We keep bear spray here at the Roost and our guests are free to borrow it anytime.  I highly recommend reading the information in the link below about bear awareness and wildlife conservation.  The 2nd link provides trail information and maps of the area.

http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/misc/bears/bearsaf.html

http://newhazelton.ca/visitors

? New Hazelton, BC
Skunk Cabbage
Pair
Salmon spawn near waterfall.
New Hazelton, BC
Pool below falls.
My mom, walking to the falls.

Wildlife at the Roost


Mocking UsAnyone out there every been dive-bombed by a hummingbird?  Well, they’re back and they’re hungry!  I guess it’s true…the smaller you are, the more vicious…these tiny birds are so beautiful but get between them and their food source and LOOK OUT!  Bill feeds them every year and here at the motel, he has a feeder right outside our door.  He had 3 feeders last spring until “Spike” (yes, Bill names them), got very aggressive.  I’ve never seen a hummingbird sit still before meeting Spike.  Spike would sit still on the veranda railing and then attack the other hummers if they went anywhere near the 3 feeders.

Out in the garden, on Feather Crescent, he has several bird feeders and birdhouses.  A squirrel also took up residence there and so Bill has taken to hide peanuts for him which are quickly found, gathered up, and hidden again by “Stash.”

Having just moved here a couple of years ago, it has taken us some time to get bear-smart, although we have a LOT more to learn.  We’ve all heard the importance of keeping garbage contained but there are other bear-attractions.  There were a couple of well-established apple trees in the garden that we had to remove because they attracted 3 bears over a couple of months.  Even though they provided excellent shade and were quite beautiful, they also provide much-needed energy for bears.  We found that the closer it came to the winter months, the bears got more territorial over their food source and therefore, it became dangerous to be outside, let alone in the garden.  In addition to being dangerous for us and our guests, we ran the risk of having the bears destroyed.  Just when we thought we had done the right thing by getting rid of the apple trees, a bear started helping himself to the bird feeders last fall.  Unfortunately for the birds, they have to now fend for themselves because Bill will stop feeding them again in the fall until the bears are back in hibernation.  As dangerous as it is for us to have bears nearby, it’s more dangerous for them because they stand the risk of being destroyed.  Now, they just meander through the garden once in awhile on their way to and from other food sources.

We enjoy living close this close to wilderness and we have a lot to learn about our feathered and four-legged friends.  Meanwhile, it sure is fun to watch!

Springtime!Meanie!Eagle EyeHummingbird Songs

http://fraservalley.wbu.com/content/show/49121

http://www.bcadventure.com/adventure/bearwatching/

 

Black Thumb Planting


I’ve been told by many people that perhaps I should leave plants well enough alone.  Standing in a crowded check-out line, holding a Violet plant, my husband pointed out very loudly, “You just signed that poor plant`s death warrant.”  It didn’t die (right away).  Instead, it suffered a very long and agonizing death (long being several weeks and agonizing meaning looking as though it had died much earlier).  It’s not that I don’t try, just ask my friend, Debbie.  She gave me a plant that she said I couldn’t kill.  Bill reminded her that I could kill any plant.  In trying to care for the plant after having it for a few days, I decided it was time to water it.  I put it in the kitchen sink and gave it a good soaking and after a few hours, proudly put it on the kitchen counter where I forgot about it until morning.  I woke up to Bill`s laugh…I had left the poor plant in front of an open window in -15C weather.   He has a sick sense of humour!

Anyway, I discovered that the key to growing nice plants, is to marry someone with a green thumb!  No, I didn’t divorce and remarry but, other than with a few fussy plants, I found out that Bill is an extremely good gardener.  It started when he planted a vegetable garden and told me to stay out of it.  I was happy to since I like flowers anyway but still got to enjoy the fruits of his labour while watching my flowers wilt away.  After a few years, he started tending my freshly planted flowers, too.  He was tired of watching me throw our money away every year on bedding-out plants, not to mention, the dead flowers made his lawn look bad.

And so, here we are, it is finally SPRING!  I get to pick out the beautiful flowers, plant them, and then watch him tend to them.  I LOVE MY JOB!

Bill on Break (4)Summer 2014 (41)

Where in the world are we?


When we decided to go back to work 2 years ago, my husband, Bill wanted to look at purchasing a particular motel in Northwestern British Columbia.  It wasn’t the thought of purchasing a motel that I had a problem with, having previously owned and operated one.

IN 2006, after working in the insurance industry for many years (and Bill wanting to semi-retire after working in the oilfield and mining industries), I suggested we purchase a motel and sit behind the counter and collect money…easy, eh? He fell for it and we set out to find the oldest, worn out motel we could find (no, not on purpose, that’s just the way it worked it)!  After 3 years of hard, hard work, extremely long hours, and little sleep, we sold the motel and went into retirement.

Retirement was fantastic… for the first 6 months!  Finally after 4 years of doing nothing except getting older (and forgetful), we forgot how hard it was to run our own business and decided to purchase another motel…

Northwestern BC?  Forget it, I told Bill, let’s go to Eastern Canada for a change.  And so we sold our house, put everything in storage and got in the car for a cross-country trip.  17,000 kilometers later and no prospects of a motel, we landed in a village in Northwestern BC called New Hazelton.  I really hate it when Bill is right!

Come and see us here at the Robber’s Roost Motel and you’ll see why we came and why we stayed…but…take a shorter route!

Robber’s Roost Motel

Municipal Office of New Hazelton, BC

Village of Historic Hazelton, BC