Our Travel Blog

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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:)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Merry Christmas

I know I just posted, but we had such a great Christmas Day I just wanted to share with you. Lindsay, Jeremy and Connor arrived about 4 pm on Christmas Eve. This year it was the Smith turn to host on actual Christmas Day.  

Lindsay and I got up early with Connor. He heard the reindeer leaving and couldn't sleep any longer!  Around 10:30 am Jeremy and I realized how long the extremely large turkey was going to take to cook and got down to business. Tracy, Cal, Blake, Emerson and Reese arrived  around noon, and it did not take long to start he stockings and presents. Everyone was pleased with their gifts, but for Don and I the best gift was having them all at home and watching everything unfold. We have a small house, and seeing them all gathered was amazing!  I always think back to having family visits at my Baba's house and how 20-30 people would gather and space wasn't a concern, although she lived in a one bedroom house that was almost too small for her. I remember lining up our babies to sleep on her bed. Those times taught me small house regardless, being together makes it okay. 

This was one of those perfect Christmas days. We ate, went to the nearby outdoor rink to skate, and ate an amazing turkey dinner.  Don and I marveled at how our little family has grown, and one more baby will be added soon. Every child has their own amazing personalities, and brings us such pride and love in so many ways. 

We always buy Christmas Jammie's, and this year on a family camping holiday in Jasper, we picked up these moose ones.  Aren't they just so cute, all bathed and ready to call it a day?


So I just wanted to say again what a great day we had and how much we love these kids and their moms and dads. We are truly blessed!

Talk to you next year. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Greetings!

Wow, where can I start?  Sometimes I look at my calendar as I'm writing this blog just to see what I've been doing, and I get tired! Other times I think boy how did I fill those days? Probably because it's December this past few weeks leave me at tired.  This post is selfishly mostly about me!  Don was working hard and didn't have a moment to Drive Miss Donna:).  Well maybe except to the mall a few times.

I'm not sure if I've told you about my amazing home office?  I just call it my room now. It's filled with so many uses. First it is my office, with an enormous Ikea desk and all the requisite items like a filing cabinet.  We removed the bed and replaced it with a sofa bed, so I have a place to curl up and read, but still a spare room for company. And the best part is there is more than enough room for my yoga.  A unique curio cabinet works as my bookcase, and this cool wicker trunck for all the important manuals and binders I use, such as our Safety Manual. Of course it is a relaxing Benjamin Moore paint color, called Revered Pewter, for any paint lovers out there. Add a new laminate floor, cuddly shag rug, and of course decor, decor, and you have my little get a way. You can check it out if you follow me on Pinterest. I lost the point of this story but it was that December started with the sofa delivery!

Moving on, this was also the month that I decided I needed to switch up my exercise routine a bit. As always yoga is on the agenda, but I tried pilates and didn't seem to enjoy it the way I thought I should. My friend Anne has been singing the praises of her trainer, and I finally decided to try it out. It's most important that anything I pursue can be done in the trailer, as we spend so much time there. Michelle (my trainer) comes to the house one day a week and I guess you could say the program is a strength training one. Between exercise bands and hand weights, things  are going great. I find the yoga is even more necessary as I challenge my weak little body!  Just going from 5 lb to 10 lb weights has been a feat...

I was lucky this month and received two small work contracts to keep my mind going. I absolute love this type of piece work that fits into our lifestyle so well. The days add up and time goes by, which is really the intent if it all.

Maria, Anne and myself spent three days together doing our Christmas baking. As always it was productive and just wonderful to spend the gift of time together.  We also fit in an afternoon of pedicures and a visit, as well as dinner out with our pal Dana.

I hosted a Christmas dinner for the Co-op Board of Directors,and we had such a great time. The Board work has been heavy theses last few months, and it was refreshing to see each other socially and just vist. In addition to that, I also attended my last FCSS meeting, as my term was up and I did not reapply for a position. That meeting was a potluck Christmas dinner as well!

We had a great vist with Lindsay, Jeremy and Connor this month as well. They were down for the weekend and then an extended couple of days for Jeremy's work, so I got lots of Connor time!  Don and I have been trying our best to attend all of Blake's Sunday hockey games. He has a tournament coming up between Christmas and New Years as well. 

On December 15 I went to watch the kids pageant at church. It was fantastic!  Emerson was such a great shepherd, Blake said his line with a clear voice and smile, and although Reese wasn't up to participating, she watched it and enjoyed. I might attend the Christmas Eve service with them as it is at 5 pm. 

I've also had several shopping and coffee dates with Sharon, and fit in a few vists with Erica, including of course a pedicure. LOVE those pedicures, being a Pisces and all. And can't forget our almost weekly dinners with the Scotts. 

That almost brings us up to date. This past Saturday we hosted the annual DWS Aggregates Consulting Inc Christmas Party. My sister asked why we had a party with 2 staff, but we invite all of Don's business associates and our close friends and family, and it is quite a house full. And I must say quite a party. The type people our age can only do on an annual basis!

So today is Christmas Eve Eve, and our home is ready for the big day. I just love having our whole family home for a day, and this year it is actually Christmas Day, which is kind of perfect!  Between the people, the food and I think this year the weather, it should be pretty good. 

Here's hoping that December and Christmas in your homes is as close to your dreams as possible!  From our home to yours a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!  

All the best
Don and Donna


Monday, November 25, 2013

November??

Today we are on the road, for a small trip only!  We are finally bringing the trailer home form Olds.  Between the highway conditions and a very slow part delivery, it has taken some time to get here.

As predicted October passed in a flurry, and it seems November has as well.  The good part is that vacation is closer, the sad part is sometimes life just speeds on!

Life has been filled with lots of activities these past weeks.  Don has been from Peace River to Grande Prairie to Fort McMurray to Whitecourt.  He’s hard to keep track of sometimes!  I’ve had the pleasure of a couple of jobs myself, and  yet another company Safety Audit to work on.  My Co-op Board work is a bit intense lately, as well as the FCSS Board.  I really need to quit writing policies for free!  Add to that visits with friends, Thanksgiving in Fort McMurray, Don’s niece Dallas’s wedding in Tisdale, and everyday life, and here it is almost the end of November.  One of my contracts was in Fort McMurray as well, so I enjoyed an extra day with Lindsay and family.  Actually Connor was sick while I was there, so he stayed home form daycare with me for a whole day. 

The special family times included Don’s birthday, Tracy’s birthday, Reese’s 3rd Birthday, Tracy and Cal’s anniversary, and Lindsay and Jeremy’s anniversary at the end of November. 

Lindsay and Jeremy went for a 3D Ultrasound and I was so thrilled to see our next grandson.  He looks just like Connor did in utero, and I bet he will when born.  Those 3D ultrasounds are amazing!

We started what we hope is a tradition of buying our grandchildren their first bikes for their 3rd birthdays, and Reese was so much fun to do this for.  Reports have it that she is enjoying sitting on it, etc. so that is good to hear.  When she saw the Dora bike it was love at first sight.  So cute.

Blake is deeply involved with hockey now, both playing and watching on TV.  He can quote more stats than I knew existed!  He is a scoring sensation this year, and we will need to re-think the $1 per goal promise next year.

Emerson is now attending preschool 3 days a week, and loves it.  She also loves her dance, and it’s too bad we can’t watch that, but no adults allowed.

Reese is such a character!  Her expressions and chatter are priceless.  She spent a morning with us recently and we had great Tim Hortons visit.

Connor?  Well he is jus the cutest ever!  I cherish his hugs and kisses, as I know when he gets older they will be harder to procure.  He is at that age where you see new development every time.  Right now the difference to me is his talking.  Not that you know what he is saying, but there is a steady stream.

Well it is getting close to the time to get the Christmas Season going in the house.  Next week my friends and I start out baking days together, and we all know December passes so quickly.  We will need to slow down and enjoy the season.

Watch those waistlines.  LOL

blake and em

connorreeseriders

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!


Although I haven't even taken the time to complete our vacation blog posts from September, and October is half over, I wanted to take a moment today to wish everyone that reads our blog a Happy Thanksgiving!

Lindsay and Connor were at our place last weekend so we still managed an all kids fall photo.  Gorgeous kids hey?


We are spending this Thanksgiving with Lindsay, Jeremy and Connor.  It has been a beautiful and relaxing weekend.

Fort McMurray is in it's usual fall stunning colors, like the rest of the province.  They have a great d├ęcor for fall set up.


Don is back to work this month and although I apologize for not feeling like blogging, I guess everyone deserves some writers block now and then.

All is wonderful in our world and for some odd reason I look forward to the change of seasons.  I'll fill you in on the rest of September soon!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Last Days of September

This week has been about heading home, but still trying to relax and enjoy that.  We left West Yellowstone, and headed towards Bozeman, Montana for one night.

I have to tell you, get Bev and I in a city and we sure do enjoy shopping.  And what is it about Costco?  We just like to check out the more localized products I guess.

So a one-nighter leads us to Great Falls.  We decided to tour some of the area and found Ryan Dam and Black Eagle Falls.  It seems funny to find such picturesque places after travelling through miles of farmland.  After years of traveling and seeing what Lewis and Clark overcame, you really respect those old explorers.

Our last stop on the way home was Lethbridge.  We had such a nice campground!  I was just a bit surprised by this for no reason.

This stop gave us the opportunity to look up some friends, Robert and Jeanine Schulz.  Don and Ron were buddies of Robert’s “back in the day”.  We met them for dinner and then coffee back at their house.  It is always great to visit and catch up on life.

We also took some time on this stop to pack up the clothing and perishables in the trailer, as it is getting dropped off at the dealership in Olds for some warranty work.  Hopefully that will go well and we won’t need to be back there for some time!

So this on the road report of Driving Miss Donna is complete.  The next few months will see Don going back to work, me doing who knows what, lots of time with our family. etc.  I’m sure the next 5 months will fly by and before you know it I will be posting from the road again, or so I hope.

Enjoy the fall!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oh Give Me a Home…

Where the buffalo roam.  Well the last time we talked about vacation we were in Arco, Idaho.  That was a great place to visit, but now we are on our way to West Yellowstone, Montana. 

Of course you can’t get this close and not visit the geysers!  Although Don and I have been here before, this time we were intent on hiking as much as we could and seeing EVERY geyser.  Good way to get the required amount of exercise.

I won’t say the weather was lovely, because quite frankly, it just wasn’t.  Rather chilly, and sad to have to wear longer pants and sleeves.

We basically toured the entire Yellowstone National Park, from east to west and north to south.  As typical tourists we stopped at every guided trail, walking path, driving path and boardwalk.

We also spent a day travelling to Jackson, Wyoming.  As a shopper I could not let Bev get away without a visit to this little town.  Check out the photo of Don and I in the Elk Antler Arch.  We added to their economic viability, then headed back to camp.

These day road trips are our favorite, and heading back to the trailer for the evening, well what can be better?

As this holiday is heading to a close, I start to think about getting home.  That is a state of mind, as it happens no matter how long the  holiday has been.  Mmmmm – maybe time to plan the next one?  LOL

Good photo opportunities at this stop – talk to you soon.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Life is Crazy Good

In these days of Pinterest, Facebook, etc. it is easy to come across unique things that draw your attention, and admit it, even your dreams.  What has really got me lately is posts about renovated travel trailers, mostly teardrop, and also small one axle ‘70s era.(As a side, just as I discover this interest, a friend of mine, Erika, has a husband that builds a teardrop!)

So how does this story fit in our vacation?  We are parked at the Mountain View RV Park in Arco, Idaho and the lady at registration tells us a group of ladies are arriving for the weekend, for an annual celebration of friendship and womanhood.  And you guessed it – they are almost all in cute little, frilly, fancy travel trailers.  I have been trying hard to simplify life and belongings, which to me means decreasing the “stuff” in my life, and hence this trend for a cute female trailer doesn’t fit.  But a girl can dream and take pictures.

So here are a few of the 24 that were in the RV park.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did :)

The inspiration behind the blog title:

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This was by far the fanciest.  Note the bedding, upholstery in the dining area, etc.

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Of course the ladies had quite the outdoor eating and drinking set up as well.  And where there’s women there is a wine bar.

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I will just leave you with assorted photos, again enjoy and don’t miss the individual set up outside each and every door and entrance.

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Life is Crazy Good!

Once in a Blue Moon

Wow – trying to pick cute titles like I was taught in blog school is getting harder, and the titles are cornier.  But this post is about Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho, and it really is once in a blue moon that we find a new adventure in the western states.  This trip has shown us that we could ideally take 1-2 months and spend it in each state and province before finally feeling like we’ve seen everything we are interested in!
I have said this before but there is beauty and awe to be found in all sorts of geographical locations.  It just depends what a person finds awe inspiring in the way of scenery.  Sometimes you need to be very open minded, and look for subtle differences form another area that was visited.  I can say that being from Saskatchewan.  I cannot tell you how many people say driving through Saskatchewan is boring.  My only response is open your eyes, get to know the place.  The beauty of the fields, the vast openness of the plains, and if you dare to go south, the splendour of mountains such as in the Cypress Hills area.  The point of this being that there is beauty in all forms of nature and you should always pause to enjoy that.
Craters of the Moon is an ocean of lava flows, some now covered in sage brush, that covers over 600 square miles.  Thanks to the National Park service we were able to drive in and around the area, as well as hike many trails that combined numerous photo opps with some much needed exercise and new adventures!
This was going to be one of those 2 night/1 day stays, but quickly turned into a 3 night stay, to ensure we had visited all areas of the park available, and any other area attractions we found.
The “organized” walks you can take in the park include the  North Crater Flow, Devil’s Orchard Nature, Inferno, Snow and Spatter Cones, Tree Molds, Big Sink Overlook and the Caves.
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We saved the caves and the orchard for the second day.We might be enthusiasts but we aren’t athletes!  LOL  The caves were a new experience for us, and thankfully one of them was large, had natural light, and no bats. The other ones were crawl in and use headgear, flashlights, etc. Although we didn’t go in those, both Don and I attempted to get close and at least take a few pictures.
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It might sound simple to say that acres of black lava rock was interesting, but words cannot describe the uniqueness of this area.  The photos may help, but this is yet another place you need to see to appreciate (kind of like Saskatchewan - get it?).
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We stayed in nearby Arco at Mountainview RV Park.  It was a great hitching place, and we would not hesitate to stya there again.  HOWEVER – the National Park has a picturesque campground as well, so cheap almost free, that I think we would visit as well.
We made a short day trip to nearby Ketchum as well, in hopes of finding a public hot springs to visit.  We did but one was full of silt from a recent fire, and the other was closed for the same reason.  Ketchum and nearby Hailey may need to be re-visits in the future…
This morning sees us leaving to visit West Yellowstone and check up on Old Faithful.  I’ll let you know how that goes:)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Testing the American Medical System…

Boise proved to be a unique stop.  I had big dreams of shopping the big city, and spending the day touring and admiring the area.  Unfortunately something happened to my back or hip, or some dumb part of my anatomy, and I could hardly move.  It may sound unbelievable but the only thing that did not hurt was standing or walking, and those were challenging at times.   I had just finished a round of chiropractic and massage at home  before holidays, and was disgusted by this.  Thankfully I was able to receive a referral to Oakes Chiropractic Clinic in Boise, and booked a visit.  Dr. Oakes was fantastic, found the guilty area, and treated it.  It was a great experience, and allowed me to go on enjoying the trip!

During the one day we were in Boise, Don and Ron visited the Warhawk Air Museum for a few hours.  Although not the calibre of the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum they toured near McMinnville in 2010, it was still interesting and worth the price of admission.

Bev and I did manage some shopping, but I was glad for that chiropractic stop and Aleve.  Tomorrow can only be uphill, as we travel to a new area – the Craters of the Moon National Monument!

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This was a cool plane with a neat Canada/US story behind it.  The pilot was an US Boise resident that joined the RCAF in Vancouver at the start of the 2nd World War.  When the US joined the war, he resigned from the Canadian Air Force and joined the US.  This is a replica of his plane!

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