Thursday, October 25, 2012

Counting the Days

Well, it has been about three weeks since I last made a post, and it might be another 2-3 before we finally get on the road again, so I thought it would be about time to provide a bit of an update.

The repairs to the roof where the lightning hit have been completed.  It was pretty minor, luckily, but it did toast the lead-in from one of my antennas, my desktop computer died at the same time, as well as one circuit of lighting, and my alarm system is not working.  I managed to get the roof work done before the weather turned cold and the snow arrived.  I presume we will get some more warm weather before winter arrives to stay, but at the same time the temps have not surged to the freezing point even in the daytime, so that may or may not happen.

The day before the first snow came, I arrived home in the late afternoon and the lighting was so good that I could not resist having a short flight and taking some photos of mostly neighbours houses.


Helicopter’s view – from the ground.PA096740

Helicopter’s view – from the air!


Hailey has been busy ‘re-training’ the local mouse population, and is considering taking on some birds!


She discovered that she could make it from the deck railing to the roof of the truck camper, from there on to the roof of the garage, and from there on to the roof of the 5th wheel.  At least none of the local coyotes would have a chance at her there.


The fifth wheel has now been moved from it’s summer storage parking spot around in front of the house to it’s pre-departure loading zone.  The satellite internet system has been moved into it, so all my wi-fi now is coming from the rig not the house.

Almost needed another mortgage, but dug deep and treated the big GMC to a brand new set of top of the line Michelin tires.  That should keep it happy for a few more years.

Batteries have been removed from the truck camper, the riding mower; charged up and stored inside for the winter.

Not looking forward to updating Hailey’s shots at the vet prior to departure – she created quite a scene there a year ago, but so far they have not banned her – and her very short temper, sharp claws and teeth, very loud voice, and super-cat strength. Winking smile

Had a slight slip and knocked my 4-5 y.o. Bushnell binoculars out of alignment back in July, so they only worked if you were cross-eyed.  Before throwing them out, I researched a bit to see if there was anyone that could repair them.  I found a Bushnell repair facility in Ontario that said they would look at them and give an estimate if they were repairable.  I sent them in prior to my departure for the east coast.  After a couple months of hearing nothing (they did sent a postcard to my home address), I e-mailed to ask how much it would cost if they were not too badly damaged.  Much to my surprise and delight, Bushnell sent me a brand new pair that were awaiting me on my return.  Nice surprise.  Buy Bushnell!!

Even though I have not posted in a few weeks, I could see from my Live Traffic feed that I was still getting quite a few visits.  Along with all the ‘regular’ locations where most RV’ers hail from, I see that I have had visitors from Warsaw, Poland, Sarajevo, Belgium, and Mexico.  Also a regular visitor from Sointula, which I happen to know is on Malcolm Island, which is off the north coast of Vancouver Island.  I know that because we visited there a few Novembers ago.

Doing my civic duty and reporting to the county authorities on a busted cattleguard on my ‘commuting’ route!


I’m getting really anxious to hit the road soon, and most things are ready, but I still have one more likely flying job to do before we git gone. 

It makes it worse waiting when many of my fellow snowbirds are already on the move.  The Bayfield Bunch was last heard from in NY state, John & Brenda were hauling horses headed for Phoenix, Jean and Skip have made it to the Sedona area where I was last spring, and even Wandering Willy is about ready to hook up, even though he seems to have given up blogging, much to the chagrin of his readers!  He does keep up a presence on FB during the winter season at least.

So hang in there, we’ll be back on the road headed for some warm weather before you know it!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I’m Home! for a while …

Sorry to leave you all thinking I was still in Manitoba, but I actually rolled in to home two weeks ago now.  I don’t mind driving across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, but just didn’t take many photos, and if I don’t have photos, I often can think of nothing to post here …

So …  With the goal of often taking new and different routes to where I am headed, while avoiding main routes whenever possible, I left Riding Mountain National Park to the north, through Dauphin.  From there, I followed the boundary northward and went through Duck Mountain Provincial Parks in both Mb and Sk.  The Sask one is much smaller, but I have never been there before, and I had always wanted to see it as a number of my friends had worked there in the past.

We entered Sask for real on the road to Hudson Bay (the town), then visited with friends and relatives in my home town of Tisdale and area before continuing east. P9196637 I didn’t give much warning of my impending arrival to a friend and former classmate north of Saskatoon, so they didn’t have time to leave and bolt the doors!  Instead I was put to work for a day – staining a fence in the back yard.  Hailey was hard at work as well, hunting the bugs and grasshoppers in the yard, and perhaps terrorizing the resident dog – that was smaller than her!  It was almost like work, but the food and beverages made it worthwhile.  I had many other friends and relatives in the area, but was running a bit behind, so did not manage to meet up with any more as we headed on westward towards Alberta.

Somewhere east of Stettler we encountered a virtual forest of new windmills in various stages of construction.  Unlike many I have seen in southern Alberta and California, these ones did not seem to be arranged in neat rows close together.  They appeared to be distributed almost haphazardly over a number of square miles.  They were not turned on though, so it was not windy Winking smile.P9216639P9216641P9216643P9216645P9216646P9216648P9216651P9216660P9216663P9216665

Along the way there were some relatively recent innovations in farming technology on display.  I always wondered how they got the plastic covering on those long lines of round bales.  Now I know!



When farmers do not have enough storage capacity to store all the harvested grain in proper bins they used to sometimes just pile in on the ground.  Now they have these huge plastic bags that protect the grain from the weather!P9196636P9196635

It took a couple of days being at home before the clues became obvious that my house had been hit by lightning while I was gone. Fortunately, the only real damage was to a fake chimney on the roof, and possibly the cause of a now dead desktop computer, even though it had been unplugged and disconnected.


Hailey didn’t seem to mind getting home, to keep the mouse population on it’s toes, then to rest up in front of the fireplace.


And she was of course, equally happy to be back on the road again for a short weekend trip into BC.CIMG8277

So, this road trip has come to an end.  We departed on the 16th of July and returned on the 21st of September.

Total distance traveled by truck (excluding ferries and sailboats) was 17,508km or 10,881 miles.  Diesel fuel costs: too scary to add up – I don’t want to know!  I think the highest price was $1.42/l in Newfoundland, and the lowest was $1.08 in Swift Current, Sk. Just before I departed, I found diesel at a discount station in Calgary for $0.99/l, and now back in Sundre the price is $1.09.

Camping costs: $0. as far as I can recall, though I may have stayed in a real campground for a night or two?  I like that cost!  Boondocking is the way to go!And the truck camper makes that easy.

We visited 9 provinces during the trip, and the tenth one briefly last week.  Perhaps next summer we will drive to Inuvik, NT and get two of the three territories, and Alaska?  The distance would be much less than half of what this trip was, but the fuel prices would likely be even higher!

I don’t have a definite date set to head south yet, and it will likely depend largely on how soon it gets really cold here.  The trailer is winterized, so as soon as I get chilled and the road to the coast is bare, Hailey and I will be off for another winter’s adventures.

But sooner or later we’ll be on the road south to meet up with the Bayfield Bunch, John & Brenda, Wandering Willy, and a cast of many others lucky enough to spend the winters in the sunny south.  Don’t expect another post till we are on the move again – or if lightning strikes twice!