Our Travel Blog
- Don and Donna
- Driving Miss Donna - what does this mean? Whenever I want to go somewhere, if Don is home he will usually drive. He always says he is driving miss Donna! This blog is for our travels, usually with our truck and fifth wheel trailer, but sometimes in our Journey. Don retired October 2011 so hopefully the travelling part will increase! When we are not vacationing check in for updates about our life at home and our wonderful family:)
Friday, December 24, 2010
So after we settled in last December back from Las Vegas the year in fact did fly by.
We travelled to the south for three weeks in late March/early April and thoroughly enjoyed the warm weather. We had the luxury of parking under palm trees in Laughlin. A wonderful site out your fifth wheel window. While travelling the area we visited with old friends Pat & Walter, as well as Ivan, Don’s old school buddy.
The summer was chock full of camping with the kids around Alberta, including a great week at Ole McDonald’s Farm by Stettler with Tracy Cal and the kids.
We even managed a quad and fishing trip in McMurray with Lindsay and Jeremy (although the repair bills are another story).
In September we headed to the coast for a month, returning through our favourite city, Coeur delaine, Idaho.
I no longer am working with the Town of Stony Plain as of August. I received a package so you could say I was laid off/fired/packaged out. Whatever they call it in the corporate world. I am doing some contract work right now, but mostly enjoying getting our home in order and getting ready for Christmas.
Our kids have all had busy years as well. Lindsay and Jeremy are wearing out their passports, going here and there, but their most exciting trip was their honeymoon to Greece in late August. They are loving life in McMurray and are looking to trade up from their condo to a house.
Tracy and Cal are busy with their kids and life in general. On November 19 they welcomed home their 3rd child, Reese Peyton Anne! Yet another beautiful grandchild for us!! Blake is 3 and has started hockey and preschool, Emerson (21 months) loves swimming lessons and play gym, and Reese just quietly rides along. They have one busy happy home.
We hope everyone has had a year as great as us. Hopefully next year’s letter will announce Don’s retirement plans so we can move to a new stage in life, which will find us home less and south more.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND BEST WISHES!!
Don & Donna
Friday, December 17, 2010
A highlight of December so far is Lindsay coming for a week`s visit. She was able to spend a lot of time with Tracy and the kids, as well as fitting in some shopping/visiting with me. In mid November Jeremy was travelling for work so I went back to Fort McMurray with Lindsay for a few days. I really wanted to see their house since they had repainted it to new fresh gray tones. It is stunning! I liked the gray color so much I painted our home office the same.
It has been so long since I wrote anything. .Although we have been busy it is mostly day to day activities of a household and family. I have done nothing this first half of winter except home repairs and cleaning. It is embarrassing how much there was to do when on a normal day I would say my house was clean. I have also spent an enormous amount of time cleaning storage rooms and closets. I cannot believe the garbage men continue to stop at our place, I would groan if I were them. As well I have painted the office (a beautiful gray shade), painted and repaired walls, and re-caulked the stairs. Don put new lights in the basement too. I wanted to get the ceiling tiles and wall panels painted down there but another month maybe.
On the employment side I have not had success to date. That isn’t as sad as it sounds as I applied for and interviewed for one position I didn’t get. I am now in the process of a second interview for a different job and will write about it if I am offered and accept it. I am trying to be cautious about accepting any position before weighing its pros and cons and being sure of what I am doing. This particular one is a term contract, ending spring of 2012. Which of course coincides quite nicely with Don’s hopeful departure.
So we are ready for Christmas and plans are all made. I will touch base soon again with Christmas photos. Meanwhile here is the new star of the family, Reese.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Officially if things work out the way we hope, Don is now one year from retirement from Alberta Transportation. He started his employment with them January 1980 as a surveyor, and has been a prospector now since 1995. Many bosses, many cubic yards of gravel, and many memories. He is not sure exactly when he will retire, and hopes to continue as a consultant, but it is approaching fast.
We had a nice but busy weekend. On Saturday we went to Edmonton to watch Emerson swim and keep Blake company, as Cal was with Em swimming. Tracy is the Vice President of the Therapist Assistant Association of Alberta and Saturday was their education day and AGM. We went back to their house and then babysat Em while Cal and Blake were at hockey. Blake managed almost the whole practice this time without the helping walker, and just his hockey stick.
After Cal and Blake got home we went to an 80th Birthday party for Lloyd Deslisle in Edmonton. Lloyd was Don’s first boss with the government in 1980. He and his wife were also great friends for us, Gloria helping me learn the ropes of parenthood (they had 5 children) as well as adjusting to being a wife of a never home transportation guy. Gloria is great at getting folks together and hosted a wonderful party.
Then we were running back home as we had a surprise visit from my Uncle Michael and Aunt Doreen. These are my closest and most special relatives I have. They are a great positive couple and I love to hear of their travels. Cannot believe they are 65 and 70 years old. We went to Boston Pizza and had a great meal and visit. It was nice to go out as we have cut back on that since I no longer work.
Then today we went to Warren and Cherie’s for a quick coffee and good bye to Michael and Doreen and back home to prepare for Don’s birthday supper. Blake and Em said it was his party! They were so very cute singing happy birthday to grandpa!!! Blake could barely contain himself before the cake. And Em was excited as soon as she saw the ice cream container. After a bit more playing it was bath time and goodbyes! I think Don’s highlight was Blake riding the quad with him, as they put them away in storage for the winter.
Have a great week everyone and I’ll drop a line again soon.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
We had a great Thanksgiving weekend! On Friday afternoon we went to the airport and picked up Lindsay, who was in Calgary in meetings for the day. Jeremy travelled down after work that day. We haven’t seen them since prior to our vacation in September. Sometimes scheduling just doesn’t work out well in the summer with everyone coming and going:(
On Saturday we went to watch Emerson at swimming lessons. What a cutie! She loves the swimming, and is SO cute walking to the slide and splashing down. She really needs lessons because she is quite fearless. Then we headed out to pick up a birthday cake for Tracy. Cal and Lindsay had been working for almost 2 months planning a surprise party for Tracy’s 30th! You can read about it on Tracy’s blog. The white lies were getting numerous so I am glad the day arrived. After a quick lunch we went to watch Blake at hockey! Can you believe it? It is pre-initiation and he goes every Saturday at 1:15 p.m. He had a great practice and stayed skating almost the whole time.
Don and I went home after that, we had to get ready to go and babysit that evening. Tracy’s party turned out to be a success.
Sunday was a pretty laid back. Don and Lindsay and I went for a late morning breakfast and a quick trip to Costco. Lindsay and I found some time to sort through all my card making supplies and organize them (to some extent). Then Lindsay was off to the Stecyck’s for their Thanksgiving, and I was ready to start our cooking prep for Monday.
We were joined by our family – Tracy, Cal, Blake and Emerson (and almost baby#3) and Lindsay and Jeremy. Also my brother Warren and wife Cherie, and Kelly & Calvin. Kelly has been a friend of Lindsay’s since junior high!
As always the house was busy and fun. There was too much to eat for which we are truly grateful.
I may not write too much before Christmas, but have a great fall. Here’s a smile for you:
Thursday, October 7, 2010
We have been home for almost a week now and so much has happened!
First – I cannot believe how much time I can use doing what is almost nothing:) I know I haven’t worked our whole life, but I haven’t ever been home with no one to care for but Don and I – and he is very low maintenance. I have used my days catching up with Tracy & Cal, friends and of course Blake and Em, as well as tying up loose ends with some volunteer work, etc. I can’t wait to see Lindsay and Jeremy this weekend, it has been forever:)
I got some shopping in as well:) My great friends at the Town had a farewell party for me last night, and it was like the longest best coffee break you will ever have. Boy I miss those people on a daily basis.
And the best news is I have received a contract to work with the 2012 Alberta Winter Games under the Promotions Portfolio. It is not an intense time commitment and I really look forward to putting some old skills to work. The part time will allow me to still keep up somewhat with all the other “stuff” I do in my life.
I really need to acknowledge the incredible support I have received form my friend, mentor, supported, etc. Maria. Maria herself just completed her Master’s Degree. So proud of her.
And of course, Don, who drives miss donna anywhere… love ya:)
Friday, October 1, 2010
Today we are settled in Farragut State Park. How many times can I say that one area or another is our favourite place? But this place truly is a favourite and a spot we often stop at before we head home. There are many reasons why. First it allows access to the most tranquil city we have visited, Coeur delaine, Idaho. Second the park is comfortable, feels like home. Third it is just a few miles away form a wonderful little town called Bayview, which happens to be home to the coolest coffee shop, Ralph’s Coffee House. I have sent many U of A assignments away using Ralph’s wifi, for which I am grateful. Here is a link to a Bayview Blog, which I enjoy reading.
Have you had a chance to walk the boardwalk at Coeur delaine? It should be on your list:)
Sorry I have resorted to so many links rather than posting our own photos, but I haven’t downloaded and organized our photos for a little while.
We are heading home tomorrow and I am happy. I have missed the grandchildren and am ready to be home and try to find my place in the world again!
We’ll keep in touch though – till the next adventure.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wow – what an amazing scenery greeted us when we pulled into this park. It has been such a great part of this September adventure! This park is located just south of Portland Oregon, which is not an area we have spent much time in.
In two days we saw so many new things I don’t even know where to begin. On Tuesday before we reached the park we stopped for the day at the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Howard Hughes Spruce Goose is at this museum. I think Wikipedia best describes it:
The Hughes H-4 Hercules (registration NX37602) ("Spruce Goose") was a prototype heavy transport aircraft designed and built by the Hughes Aircraft company. The aircraft made its only flight on November 2, 1947. Built from wood because of wartime raw material restrictions on the use of aluminum, it was nicknamed the "Spruce Goose" by its critics. The Hercules is the largest flying boat ever built, and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history. It survives in good condition at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, USA.
Don has researched and watched documentaries on the Spruce Goose and it was a great stop. It took over 6 hours and I think a return visit some day would still be in order.
The area around the state park was such a scenic farmland. Fall was out in it’s most splendid colors. And the city of Portland is majestic to say the least. We followed our usual pattern of shopping, eating and sharing a few beverages.
What a great holiday:) Stay tuned
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
As I said we did not move too far south. The weather which I didn’t mention last (for a reason) has greatly improved. The word dry could even be used somewhat. Bev has taken some beautiful beach scene photos which I will download soon.
Between eating, drinking beer and walking on the beach our 2 nights here were exhausting:)
We explored the beautiful city of Newport. The historical waterfront district is one of my beautiful places. The sea lions were active as always, and the view for a beer on the waterfront was great.
We were finally able to have a fire last night, although the wood was still quite damp. The fog sets in pretty heavy here in the morning and late evening.
Today we are on our way to Portland. We will be stopping at the Evergreen Air Museum, where Howard Hughe’s Spruce Goose is located. Everyone ois excited to see that! It will be in the next blog.
Oh by the way the weather is now HOT! Ha ha never happy.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Today we say goodbye to one of our favourite spots in Oregon. As I mentioned before the Tillamook area is home to Tillamook cheese. But it is also a beautiful area, lush farmland and dairy, still right by the sea.
We stayed at Cape Disappointment State Park. I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful Oregon’s state parks are. You can count on their consistency every time. We were along the ocean, just a sand brim between us, and the waves again to put us to sleep.
I am saying this a lot but we didn’t do too much while here:) Don and Ron visited the Tillamook Air Museum while Bev and I did laundry. Imagine having to do such hard work on vacation!
As always we drove around, exploring and enjoying the ocean beached and coastline, and in general snooping around. We seem quite good at that!
Off south, but not too far…
Thursday, September 23, 2010
We pulled into Cape Disappointment State Park on Friday September 17. This state park is located at the farthest south point of the Long Beach Peninsula, on the farthest south point of Washington. There are 2 lighthouses on the peninsula, North Head and Cape Disappointment. Cape Disappointment received its’ name in an odd/sad way. Explorers were searching for an entrance to the Columbia River and finally stopped here, disappointed they were not going to find it. Turned out they were there, and never knew it!
It is hard to pick our favourite state park in Washington or Oregon, as they are all unique on their own, but this one ranks high. All the sites are no more than 3 minute walk to the ocean beach. If you aren’t backed on to the ocean you are across from it. And the beach is a perfect walking spot, rain or shine.
We can’t claim we did anything the first few days we were here. Usually at the beginning of a holiday of this length, we are rushing to see and do everything, then the pace slows down and we relax. We are definitely in full relax mode. We started Friday and Saturday in a non serviced site, and spent a lot of time driving around and renewing ourselves with the area. Although we enjoyed some ocean beach walking time, it rained continuously, so no fires and long walks. On Sunday our reservation expired and we had to decide where to go and for how long. Ron and Bev were on their way to meet us, arriving Monday, so we decided to stay here and took a full service site for two more nights. That was a great choice as having the electric heat on really took the damp out of the trailer.
Ron and Bev arrived Monday and we started the explore/tourist thing again. We have shown them our favourite haunts, including the outlet mall in Seaside, and the oyster store in Oysterville! I must admit the photo of the Oysterville store is from old stock. This building is no longer used and a new replica is built beside it.
Another landmark here is the Astoria Bridge. Completed in 1966, the bridge joined Washington and Oregon on Highway 101 for the first time. It is built to span ships, and is more than 5 miles miles long. I don’t have a photo – it is one of those things I bought a postcard for.
The rain stopped on Monday and we had two glorious days for sitting at the fire at night, walking the beach every morning and in general just enjoying ourselves. Today we are headed 150 km down Hwy 101, into Oregon and Cape Lookout State Park. We have reservations for 3 nights there. That will conclude our “planned” part of the route, so the rest is as we feel.
The next stop includes Tillamook, home of the famous Tillamook cheese. Not so famous to you, but we try to buy enough stock for a couple of months when we are anywhere close. And Don may have Ron hooked now too!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
We arrived in Seaquest State Park Wednesday. We decided to drive around and explore the towns around, as the weather was not exactly great for mountain viewing. No surprise by this point that it was raining! But we had a nice campsite, and power again, so I took advantage and watched Dirty Dancing. This is only about the tenth time I have watched it so there were still some new moves to learn:)
Today we made the drive up the mountain. There were places you could see the volcanic action form 1980 but unfortunately you could not see the top of the mountain. We took one of my chosen scenic routes home, which don;t always work out:) But oh well.
Below are some beautiful photos of Mt St Helens that we took in 2005, the last trip with our old reliable 1985 24’ pull type trailer.
Tomorrow we are headed to Cape Disappointment State Park. This is one of our favorite locations. It is hard to find a campground that is not within a minute’s walk to the ocean.
Talk to you from there!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
We arrived in Seattle on Monday morning. By 11:30 we were in our campground, Vasa Lake Resort. It is a simple little private campground on Sammamish Lake. I have to say I really like camping with power. Don prefers being out with nothing, but I am spoiled. We also have internet and laundry:)
After we set up the trailer we drove out to explore the area. We needed groceries, and were hoping to find a Verizon dealer to sell us an American wifi card so we could have internet anywhere there was phone service. Driving around cities looking for addresses is a great way to explore.
Today we went to Pike Place Market. This is one of the coolest Farmers Market you will ever visit! Of course we came away with fresh seafood, salmon for Don, and scallops for me. Also we bought our fresh fruits and veggies for the next few days. After completing the trip with a bowl of yummy clam chowder, we drove north of Seattle to check out Premium Outlets mall. I wanted to shop at J Crew and Carters. J Crew was an awesome store, but I didn’t end up buying anything. I keep thinking I have lots of clothes and until I find a job where will I wear something new? Poor me:) As for Carters I was hoping to find Christmas jammies for the kids, but there were none out yet.
We took a very scenic long route back to the trailer, and had time for a drink and a nice supper before dark.
So our stay in Seattle ends tomorrow. We have decided to visit Mt St Helens, as it has been a few years since we were there. I will let you know how that is when we have internet again.
Monday, September 13, 2010
We arrived back in Jasper on Tuesday afternoon and went in to town for a light supper and a walk. Wednesday morning we were up bright and early hoping to camp at North Thompson campground in Clearwater. The trip there is so majestic, I inserted a photo of Mount Robson.
We found a beautiful site right on the river and set up. #26 for $21 (just for me as I forget by the time I get home where we stay).
This is a beautiful part of BC to stay in. One of the attractions for us is being able to go and watch the salmon trying to swim upstream at Baileys Chute. I’ve shown a few sample photos of this, simply amazing! On Thursday morning we were on our way to Stewart’s in Surrey.
What a great time we had. On Friday we took the sky train and ferry to Lonsdale Quay and shopped and ate a little. We ordered in Chinese for supper and visited. Saturday we went to Army & Navy – what a place to shop. Then we headed to White Rock for a walk along the ocean and of course, eating. We seem to have our favourite bar there, and as always was fabulous. That evening we met Rick and Deb at a Greek restaurant and enjoyed a lovely supper.
Sunday we lounged around and in the early afternoon went to Uncle Ed and Auntie Ethel’s for supper. I was hoping for turkey and she didn’t let us down! It was really good to see them and know they are still healthy and happy.
We had a great visit with Stew, all his kids and precious grandchildren, and were so happy to meet Susan, his girlfriend. Susan is soooo nice – good choice Stew! Stew is such a great host.
We left Stew’s bright an dearly today and are headed to Seattle for a few days, hoping to visit Pike Place Market.
Till the next time…
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Our September holiday starts officially today! We are off for what has become the traditional September family weekend in Jasper. Sadly for us, not them, Lindsay and Jeremy are in Greece. Also we typically have Erica and Dion along and they are in Regina.
We arrived in Jasper with enough time to have supper and hang out with Emerson before she headed to bed. I bought the most awesome Cars sticker book at Costco and Blake and I had fun with that. The weather was great and we took advantage and had a campfire as well. It must have been nice out as I even stayed around the fire which doesn’t happen often.
On Saturday we headed out on a road trip to see some sights and walk around Jasper. We shopped for a bit and stopped at the Bears Paw Bakery for lunch. This place is amazing! Then off we went to see Athabasca Falls and Maligne Lake. They were beautiful as always and Blake and Em had so much fun wandering around and seeing water everywhere.
It was a full day for everyone and home we went. The weather cooperated and we had another nice campfire.
Sunday the forecast was for rain, and as Em doesn’t care for really hot water and Tracy can’t go in hot tubs right now (she’s having a baby), we opted to take the kids to the Jasper pool. Although it is quite an old facility – Don and I took Tracy and Lindsay when they were young) – it was a great place to go. Blake demonstrated his floating skills, Emerson demonstrated her absolute fearlessness of water, and the both went down the slide with Dad. We also had ice cream for our treat.
Don stayed back at the trailer to nap and make supper, and it was ready when we arrived, which is nice with 2 hungry and tired kids!
Monday it was time for everyone to head home. Except for us kind of:) We left our trailer in Jasper as we are headed west to Washington and Oregon. We went back to Stony Plain as I had a Tuesday morning appointment. Since I was dismissed form my job I wanted to meet with a lawyer and hopefully receive some reassurance that all was as good as it could be on my severance package. He gave us some worthwhile advice:)
Blake and Em rode back with us, which is not as quiet as usual:) God we love those kids!
So it is Tuesday and the appointment is over and we are headed back to Jasper.
I will try to catch up again after our weekend at Stewart’s in Surrey.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
On August 6 we travelled to Saskatoon to attend a family wedding. Kerie Colburn was getting married. She is the daughter of Ron and Margie Colburn. Margie is Don’s cousin. The wedding was held in Delisle. What a typical hot Saskatchewan summer day! As in all weddings the bride and all attendants were beautiful and the groom and groomsmen were handsome. The girls were in a gorgeous shade of pink. So deep and rich. We were pleased to be able to visit with Don’s Mom, as well as Ken and Brenda (and a brief appearance by Brynn) and Karen and Darrell. Of course there were tons of other family as well, but far too numerous to mention. Thanks to the Colburns, they were generous hosts and the wedding was splendid.
We were planning on going to a wedding in North Battleford on August 14, but decided almost last minute that we would not go. Although I wanted to see my mom, she was not too interested in attending the wedding and frankly neither were we. Although the groom’s mom is my cousin, we had not seen each other for probably 20 years, and I had not met the groom.
Soooo - at the last minute we planned a camping trip with Paul and Mary. We went to William Switzer Park north of Hinton, and of course had a blast. The guys spent Saturday fishing and Mary and I shopped in Hinton and visited with her sister Lorna. I’ll tell you that family is a hoot! So lucky to have each other:) Paul and Mary went home on Sunday but Don did not work Monday so we stayed another night and travelled to Grand Cache. It was just a short one and half hour trip, and what a beautiful town, nestled in the mountains. I can totally understand living there may be challenging from a travel perspective though.
That takes us to August 21 weekend! Lindsay came home on a quick trip, and we attended Nicole Ryckman’s bridal shower and supper. Almost sad to see Lindsay and her friends grown up and married – it was hard enough to see Tracy and hers:) That was a fun but brief visit with Linds. Lindsay and Jeremy are in Greece on a belated honeymoon as I write this. It has been fun getting her updated emails and catching some iPhone whatsapp? from her. Whatsapp? is an iPhone app that allows 2 iPhones to talk to each other at no cost.
August 28 weekend now! A very exciting time for grandparents!! We got to participate in purchasing Blake’s first hockey equipment and skates. We all travelled to United Cycle. I have always appreciated this store, and they have outfitting the little ones down to a science. They make it seamless and easy. He looks like he is ready for anything now, and hockey registration is September 9.
Between all that we have had some other interesting times. On August 11 I was put on stress/sick leave for a week, with a reassessment in one week. At that point I was put on for another week, which made my return to work day August 26. I have been struggling at work since the new manager came on board. Between stress and dealing with my fibromyalgia this was a well needed break.
In the ten years I have worked at the Town, for the most part all employees at all levels have had above average work ethics. The leadership of the town manager supported teamwork, and although you were not always rewarded in hours or pay, you always knew what you were doing was appreciated by all who were involved. That made work a challenging and inviting place. Having said that there has been a swing in that attitude lately, and I have observed the new staff were not as engaged in the community and making things happen, as in the past. This could be for several reasons, one of them being I have too high of standards? As I was attempting to find/develop a working relationship with my new supervisor, I questioned what would work best. Now to make a long political statement story short – upon my return to work I was let go! The devastating part of this for me is that I loved working there, and thrived in my various positions over the years. BUT – all things happen for a reason:)
So starts a new chapter in life and brings us to September. We had previously booked 2 weeks vacation at the end of the month, and Don extended his to be all of September. We think this will give us time to discuss/replan/etc. where we are going in life. Don’s possible retirement looms in October 2012, and he has already formed a consulting company.
So the next few weeks of postings you can follow us around Washington and Oregon! And I will try to post more often. Live Writer is fantastic as I am writing this as we travel down the Coquihala, and will post it as soon as we get WiFi!
Monday, August 2, 2010
We had made arrangements with Don’s old high school friend Ivan to meet him at Abraham Lake on Hwy 11, so we let him know we would be a day earlier and left town.
It was a great choice! When we approached where we thought Ivan was parking, we spotted him on the highway just returning from a hike, so no worries about finding him. We selected a spot overlooking an amazing blue lake. After agreeing how to park the rigs it was time to unwind and visit. We had last saw Ivan on our April trip to Laughlin.
We did not do anything spellbinding over the weekend. On Friday we did not even start a vehicle. Both Saturday and Sunday we went for short drives. Saturday we toured around the Big Horn Dam (photos below) and on Sunday we went to Crescent Falls (photos below). FYI – Crescent Falls has a beautiful non serviced campground BUT it is $27 per night! That is high. On Saturday we also had the pleasure of meeting Ivan’s friends who dropped by for a visit, and brought lunch!
The guys got a lot of conversation in, I did some good reading and most of all we just relaxed. I feel way better this evening and almost want to go to work tomorrow!
There are a few pics posted, I think they will be self explanatory.
We have weddings in Saskatchewan the next 2 weekends. First in Delisle then in North Battleford. Looking forward to seeing both of our families – I will try to remember to write about them!
I had an opportunity to travel with the Shikaoi delegation to Calgary and Banff on July 15! For those of you who are not familiar with Stony Plain, we have a sister town in Japan called Shikaoi. It is in the province of Hokkaido. They have a similar climate to us and are a small farming community, but the province is an island. I travelled to Shikaoi July 2006. Anyhow, although I changed departments within the Town, I was honoured to be asked to help out while the visitors were here. Although my new supervisor is not as supportive of departments working together, I was allowed to travel for 3 days as a chaperone. We took in my first Calgary Stampede, then travelled to Lake Louise and Banff. I also had my first trip on the Banff Gondola! We arrived home Saturday in time to attend an evening social. Don came with me and my Shikaoi friends were honoured to at last meet him. On Sunday evening we took Natsue, whom I had stayed with in Shikaoi, to the Japanese Village for a birthday supper.
That week went by as normal - WORK! UCK except for the pay:)
Then the weekend again and it was a full one! Tracy and Cal went to Canmore for the weekend and we had the fun honour to babysit Blake and Em!!! I came home that Friday (23rd) at lunch and they left. Blake and I played for a while when Em slept, then once she woke up we went for groceries. They shared a smoothie at Starbucks and we came home to see Grandpa. Friday passed quickly as we had supper and long baths. Saturday was another full day starting with Blake talking me into setting up the paddling pool. There wasn't`t much convincing needed:) We headed off the the Farmers Market then came home to enjoy the day. The pool was ready and in we went. It was such a hot day but we found lots of shade in the back yard. We invited Erica and Daniel to come over and enjoy the afternoon. And our friend Sharon dropped by as well. Sharon just got home from an extended stay in Australia, visiting her first grandson!! I can`t forget to mention the time Blake spent playing on our quads in the garage. He needs one without a motor just to sit on and play.
The kids slept so good at our place, as they usually do. Sunday was filled with a visit to a few area parks and lunch at MacDonalds. Blake and I watched some movies in the cool basement, and once Em got up from her nap we were on our way to take them home.
The house is always so quiet when they go home!
Here is a cute picture of Blake showing how he makes pancakes and drinks Yop at the same time!
Watch the next post for the August long weekend update.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
We arrived on Sunday July 4, in the rain. That day was spent setting up the site and staying away form icky weather. The forecast for Monday wasn’t much better and we had already agreed we wanted to make a trip to see the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller, so we used a bad weather day to make the road trip. Now I must say I am not a museum fan in any way, so I thought what the heck I can watch the kids if nothing else. BUT this is a fantastic museum. They have done it up 100% and all Albertans should be proud to have such a facility in their province. Plan on spending the day. And it is quite affordable, and a great restaurant. That day also included a ride on a ferry, which Blake called a flat bed trailer on a boat. Blake loved seeing the dinosaur bones, and Em was more than content to walk at her heart’s delight.
By Monday evening we knew the weather was on the way to perfection, and the rest of the week didn’t disappoint us. We enjoyed the beach and ice cream for the next 2 days, with Cal and Don pulling “Em” duty and getting her back and forth for her naps, etc. I had fun walking with Blake all the way into the ocean! He could not accept it was simply a lake, as you could walk out forever, and it never went higher than his armpits! The sand was in perfect castle building condition as well! This is one of the best parts of this resort, the beach. You truly can walk out forever, and not get deep. The bottom of the water is soft smooth sand, and no weeds.
Between beach visits and meals, we made great use of the resort’s other features – a train ride ($2), a merry go round (25 cents!!), a petting zoo (no cost), a tractor and hay wagon ride ($3 but over 30 minutes long), and a full service restaurant and for Grandma – a coffee bar!!.
Thursday was too hot for the beach, but we had a great day anyway. I took the kids so mom and dad could sleep in once, and we had a breakfast picnic. I knew by lunch it would be too hot for that. We had to run our air finally on Thursday. Even Blake had a nap that day.
Friday was check out day and a good bye to the week. We really had so much fun with the kids, but can’t believe 2 kids can tire out 4 adults:)
On Friday Don and I decided we didn’t want to go home yet, so we hunted down Pat and Walter, who are spending the summer working in Calgary and living in Okotoks. Pat and Walter are the couple who we kept visiting with on our April holiday in the states. We tend to stalk them lately. LOL
So we are staying a River Bend Campground, and it is quite nice. We will visit today and head home tomorrow.
Stay tuned next week, as I have the honour of chaperoning a Japanese Delegation visiting the Town to the Stampede and through Banff and Jasper.
Have a great week!
Monday, June 28, 2010
We came home Saturday afternoon and met Tracy, Cal and the kids for supper. On Sunday after a brief visit with Lindsay and Jeremy we went for breakfast and some driving around the malls and a small amount of shopping.
This weekend we have a wedding in Stony Plain, then on Sunday afternoon will head to Ol' McDonald's farm for a week with Tracy, Cal and the kids. I am very excited to spend a week camping with Blake and Emerson!!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Camping was a blast! What a beautiful campground. I cannot believe we have never gone there. Alberta parks are plentiful, and I think you can see some money going into their infrastructure again.
The beach was a few minutes for our site and we made good use of it. The playground was fabulous, Em even went down the slide. The sun was overwhelming, I can't remember many recent years where we had this kind of weather.
I'll post pictures when the girls send them. We did not have our camera.
Lots of weekend events coming up - so check back weekly!
Monday, June 14, 2010
We had a great weekend. On Friday Don and I took the afternoon off and went to Tracy & Cal's to watch the kids. It was an afternoon of adventure, as we took them to McDonalds for supper, and had a flat tire. I decided we should have ice cream and watching them enjoy such a small thing is sooooo sweet.
When we got home we traded the car with the spare tire on it for the truck and headed to Leduc to visit with Ron and Bev, who were there for a wedding. We were quite late getting home and then I went to support my friends from work who were particiapting in the Relay for life. Home time for me was around 3:30 am:)
Saturday was full of errands etc, then a birthday party for Danielle Gillam, who was 2. Needless to say we just sacked out on the couch for the evening when we finally got home.
We had made plans to go back to Leduc for breakfast with Ron and Bev. A nice surprise was that Robert and Jeanine form Inisfail decided to join us. The funny part of that was that Ron and Bev were headed to Innisfail to see them. But they wanted to visit with us as while, so a road trip was in order.
As often happens when friends get together we didn't want to stop visiting so guess where we all went? To Innisfail for supper! So that ended a busy "quiet" weekend at home.
Talk to you next Sunday.
Oh - and congratulations to our niece Skyar who is now engaged to Dan :)
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Mcmurray, on highway 63. At the staging site is the entrance to the Fort Chipewyan winter road, closed to all traffic except OHV's in the summer. This has you in the most majestic northern scenery, an entire sand road like you have never seen before!
You have to cross the Athabasca river to get there. In 1980 when we first lived in Fort McMurray, Don surveyed the road that led to the bridge, which locals called at that time the bridge to nowhere. Now that road goes forever, leading to oil sands plants and developments.
Anyhow, we left the city in good time, 7:00a.m., and arrived at the staging site at 9:30. We unloaded everything, assessed where it would ride and packed up. We were all excited for the first trip to Richardson Recreational area and the first fishing trip for Jeremy with his new boat in this area. Ever since they moved up north we kept saying we have to go on a quad trip.
Sadly about 30 km in on the road, the supply trailer broke an axle. As you can see from the photos below, it snapped off. The adventure continued as the men had to go back to the staging site and get Jeremy's single quad trailer to haul everything back. This was risk in itself as that trailer really needed to stay intact or the weekend was about to go a lot worse. Lindsay and I waited for their trip there and back, and after reloading everything and driving carefully to avoid damage to the trailer, we made it back to the staging site. We were back in McMurray by 6:00 p.m., and after unpacking and cleaning up we headed to the Keg. If you can't eat fresh fish might as well eat a good steak. Thanks for supper guys:)
So we were not discouraged enough to waste the next day. We assessed what we would take for a day trip and loaded up again.
This time things went considerably better. We decided to stop and fish at Herb Lake. It is about 60 km north of the staging area. Don and Jeremy were in the water by noon, and Don traded spots with Lindsay half way. They all caught fish, about 80 overall, but the walleye have to be 50 cm and most of them were 49. You can only keep one, so that's what we came back with:)
The scenery and lake were utterly gorgeous, and I made good use of the lawn chair and my book. Unfortunately my quad ended up with a broken U joint, so we again had to assess the load and redistribute the weight. We thought we would have to end up towing it to the trailer, but it was a trooper and made it all the way out. It's home in the garage now but needs a U joint and a CV boot as well.
And - there's more. When we returned to the trucks, the quad trailer had a flat tire. So we had to put one quad in the truck, the broken supply trailer on the quad trailer beside another quad, etc. And it was raining. Did I mention the rain on the trail home? Felt like hail on your face most of the time, but didn't rain the whole way.
So - I know you won't believe it but the trip was still fantastic. The most beautiful scenery, fresh air and fish. We will definitely be back and make this an annual trip!
Have a god week, our next adventure is a simple Father's Day camping trip (in the trailer) to Long Island Lake Provincial Park with the kids.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
It should be a great time as always. No one ever expects good weather this particular weekend, and that's a good thing as it is raining:)
Best to everyone...
Friday, April 16, 2010
Chronologically we stayed…
Great Falls, Montana Walmart
Walmarts are nice places to stay basically. I have an IPhone app that finds al Walmarts in the US and Canada as well. They always have a restaurant (yes usually MacDonald's) but that means hot coffee the next morning at least.
Lehi, Utah Cabelas Turns out that Cabelas welcomes RVers. This particular one also had a sewer dump and fresh water filling stations. And tons of room.
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada ”Valley of Fire State Park is located only six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15 and on exit 75. Valley of Fire is Nevada's oldest and largest state park, dedicated 1935. The valley derives its name from the red sandstone formations and the stark beauty of the Mojave Desert.” – website statement:)
This was an incredibly beautiful state park. We had a site with no services for $14, which included the State entry fee, and stayed for 2 nights. Deserves a photo…
Sam’s Town, Las Vegas Sam’s Town is adjacent to Sam’s Town Casino in Las Vegas. We picked this location because our friends Pat and Walter were staying there. It’s a pretty typical RV resort in a city. Downer was that it was traffic noisy, garbage collection was anytime after 5:30 a.m., and the internet stunk. BUT – 2 good evenings to visit friends was well worth it.
Davis Camp County Park, Laughlin, Nevada This was quite a nice campground. For $20 a night we had water and power, and a weak internet connection. We would come back here, and next time plan a bit better. We stayed 6 nights, if we had said that up front we would have the 7th night free. Also – this place has rental houses and RVs so if we were here and the kids came to visit…
Lake Havasu State Park, Arizona We drove around Lake Havasu area, scouted this campground as the one we would stay at. Although it wasn't a burning error, it wasn’t our best choice. The intense lake traffic was beyond noisy, and no services was not a great idea in 30++ weather. But the location was good, and at $18 a night not too pricey. No photo…
St George RV Park, St George, Utah One of the funnier things we seemed to do this vacation was follow Pat and Walter around. When we left Lake Havasu we were undecided, so tracked the Parkers down and stayed here with them for another 2 nights. Campground – road noise but okay. Full services at $30 per night, senior rate.
Boise, Idaho Cabelas
Yes one night:)
Farragut State Park, Athlo, Idaho
This is our second visit to this sate park and we love it. Beautiful sites, great dump station and $16 a night for water and power. We stayed 2 nights but could have stayed 4, except for the jobs we need to get home to:) Only downside was an unlevel site.
The Canyon RV Resort, Radium Hot Springs, BC We always stay at Redstreak Campground in Kootenay National Park. However this year it opens late due to construction. I found this place on the internet, and wow! Although pricey, it is quiet, full services and beautiful. Sites are large. It would be a great pace to come for a week with the kids! $39 a night
Thursday, April 15, 2010
So I am trying Live Writer – anyone use it? Some immediate advantages thus far are that you do not need to have an internet connection to write the blog. Two benefits to that are that I won’t forget what to write (hopefully) and I can write better posts, adding as I think of something. It apparently has an IPhone app as well so I will see about that. In addition it has a spell check which I really need.
So since our road trip to Mexico we have moved on. We spent 4 nights at Lake Havasu State Park. It was a beautiful campground, but did have some drawbacks. It was noisy being on the water as the boats seem to never stop. And there is a large boat that shuttles folks back and forth to the Havasu Landing Casino and Resort, across the river in California. I am not talking about a small amount of traffic, but LOTS of it. As well the sites did not have services. In moderate temps that would be okay, but it was tooooo hot for no A/C. So we ran the generator for a couple of hours daily, but would have been better to have a consistent cooling source.
Lake Havasu was also very windy while we were there, as was Laughlin. But that was not so bad in the 30+ weather.
As you know we travelled to Mexico on Thursday. Friday we took in the sights at London Bridge in Lake Havasu. If you are not familiar with that attraction, it is a bridge that was purchased from London England in the 60’s and moved to Lake Havasu and reconstructed. Purchase and moving costs were just over $7 million. Now it is a quaint area with restaurants, shops, etc. Pretty cool. And lots of waterfront boat docks as well.
Saturday we went on another road trip. We went north a ways to see the town of Chloride. This is an odd story. In 1966 an artist decided to go up the mountain and paint some murals on rocks. This sounds far more interesting than it was:)
Saturday night we rode the shuttle boat to the casino, had some supper, gambled enough to recoup our losses for supper and drinks, etc. and headed back home. It was enjoyable and cool outside on the boat.
Our plans were to leave on Sunday. We had thought to go back to Valley of Fire park, but as we were driving decided to change entirely. I texted Pat and her and Walter were in St George, Utah, so off we went. We stayed with them for 2 nights before heading out. On Tuesday am we took off for Boise Idaho, stopping at the Lehi Utah Cabelas to pick up a boat motor for Jeremy. We had an overnight at Cabela’s in Boise and off again.
Today we travelled to Farragut State Park, north of Coeur d’Alene Idaho. It is one of our favourite state parks. It is also close to a quaint town called Bayview, which boasts one of the best internet cafes I’ve seen. Great coffee, pie and internet!
Not sure where the next few days will find us. If Radium Hot Springs campground is open we will go there for one night. Our plan is to be home on Saturday. And Sunday we will see the grandkids – miss them lots!
Talk soon – goodnight.
Friday, April 9, 2010
But it was a cool experience, and we travelled back home through California, along the Colorado River, and across the Parker Dam.
It is unique to see all the boondockers in the dessert. Don and I excel at staying in the trailer for long periods of time without services, but the money these folks spend on solar power, etc. would sure pay for a lot of serviced camp sites.
But it may be us some day.
Today we are relaxing. I finally finished my last exam in the secong last class of my National Advanced Certificate in Local Authority Administration, which I call Local Government. I only have the Law class left then I will be done.
We are off to the beach for the day - so have a good one. One week left for us and then it's back to the normal life!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
So here we are it's Wednesday a whole week since I wrote! We had a great visit with Walter and Pat. They have a lovely new trailer that is very nice to live in. Great rear kitchen and a king size bed in the bedroom! We did get to Freemont Street and the seafood buffet, so that was nice. Wednesday we spent driving around shopping, picking up a few odds and ends. Pat and Walter had friends flying in from Saskatoon on Wednesday afternoon, and once they arrived Pat cooked a great supper and we visited.
We left Las Vegas on Thursday, but not bright and early by any means. We had the breakfast buffet at Sam's Town for the second day. The only time I like lying about my age, BUT how come they believed I was 50??
We pulled into Laughlin aroung 12:30 pm and decided to stay at Davis Camp on the river. You can see why from the photo:)
We set up camp quickly then headed to the Bullhead City Walmart to visit with my brotherWarren and his wife Cherie. They were headed home to Alberta from the winter in Needles CA. We had an early supper at a mexican restaurant and headed back to our site.
We knew Don's high school freind Ivan was in the area as we read his blog, and sure enough on Friday as we were returing to our site and Don and I are discussing what type of trailer Ivan pulls, there he was on the road. He joined us for a few drinks at happy hour, then we headed to the casinos for appetizers and more drinks.
On Saturday we did a bit of a road trip and toured the area, although we have been in Laughlin many times. Ivan joined us for supper on Saturday night, and Don and him spent Sunday driving around and touring. I HAD to do some homework on my final exam, and was glad Don had someone to visit. Supperagain at our site, then we said our good byes to Ivan, as we all planned on leaving the next day.
Not like Don and I, but we actually just left Laughin this morning, a week later. We were cozy in our site and in no hurry to go anywhere. We visited the Laughlin casinos a couple of times, drove to some new explore areas, and generally did a lot of nothing. The internet conncetions have been sad, so I haven't been skyping like I expected to:(
We are now camped at Lake Havasu State Park, another site on the water. I will post some photos later, as it appears we actually have strong internet connections.
Happy travels to all!
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Sunday we arrived at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. The park is about 30 miles north of Vegas. I haven't downloaded the photos yet, but wow that park is amazing for scenery. We spent 2 nights, and met the nicest couple from Missoula Montana. Gerry and Peggy spent the evening at our fire and we shared dessert. Yummy.
Monday we headed into Vegas, and are staying in Sam's Town. Our old friends Pat and Walter Parker are staying down south this winter. We met them when we lived in St Paul, over 17 years ago.
Last night we went to Freemont Street for a fabulous seafood buffet and the light show of American Pie.
Today we are just hanging out. We are having an RV wash service clean all the Alberta scrunge off the trailer, get some groceries, and maybe check out some sights.
My next post should be form Laughlin - so see you there!
PS - Has anyone skyped? We are hooked up and saw Blake and Em yesterday. How sweet!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
We are going to Red Deer today to an RV show. We are not in any way looking to purchase but we certainly enjoy looking. We will definitely have one more fifth before we say we are done buying. Our current trailer has a full rear bath, larger than ours at home. We love that luxury of space. It has a double clothes closet as well as a floor to ceiling linen closet. In fact we have so much storage that we have never used the bedroom closets for anything other than my purchases on vacation!
But - we also want recliners in the back living space, so we will have to sacrifice the bathroom some time down the road. What I have never wanted, and no offense to anyone who has it, is the bathroom in the bedroom, with no walls. I find this plain rude. Where else is it normal to sleep with a toilet adjacent to your head? The good news is that now most builders are making the bathroom a separate room from the bedroom. We will likely never have a bathroom the size of our current one, but at least it will be private.
One more awesome feature of our current home on wheels is that when you walk in our trailer we have a full size coat closet. Holds ALL our coats, my shoes and purses, the broom and vacuum, etc. We never realized how unique these features were until after we purchased our fifth and started looking at others and talking with them.
Ours is a 2006 Pilgrim, hard to believe we have had it that long already! We recently added up all our trips and the trailer has gone over 40,000 km! Already so many great memories...
We are going to Oregon at the end of March for 3 weeks. Time to see the ocean again. Neither of us love hot weather so we are looking forward to seeing our favorite coastline area in the spring. Ahhh - I can smell it already. This Pisces is ready to go!