Northern Spirit Shakedown – Travel Day 1

Good evening, Family, Friends, and Followers! I know, it’s been a while, at least a year and a half. All I can say is: COVID-19. What with the various restrictions, lockdowns, and inherent pandemic risks, the only travel this family has done in the last two years as been for medical reasons. Not exactly what one would call fun or relaxing. But that all changes this year! While we may not be travelling overseas for a couple more years (sniff, sniff… Scotland…) and we may not yet venture into the US just yet, we are finally able to take time off from work and travel domestically.

The last non-medical trip we took was in February 2020. We went to the Edmonton RV Expo and started looking at travel trailers. You see, our retirement plan is to do a North American Road Trip. Some parts of that trip will not be with the travel trailer, but most of it will. Since we’ve never actually used a travel trailer or RV of any kind before, we thought it would be a good idea to invest in one now to get used to and figure out what we actually like, what we don’t, and what we can get used to. The original plan was to go look at the options at the 2020 Expo — which we did — and then take the year to surf and consider what we’d seen, then go to the 2021 Expo with a more focused approach and purchase the travel trailer then. Clearly that didn’t happen as planned, but we can be flexible sorts on occasion so we pushed the purchase date to the 2022 Expo.

The Mackenzie River at Big River Station near Fort Providence

That only sorta-kinda worked as planned. It would have worked exactly as planned, except that the 2022 Expo got cancelled due to a pandemic outbreak after we had purchased our airline tickets. We rolled with it, though, and decided to go to Edmonton anyway. Instead of going to one location to see multiple dealers, I did a little research on line and chose four local dealerships to make appointments with to see what they had to offer. As I said, we had already narrowed down what we were looking for to a specific type of floorplan, so now we really just needed to shop around for which make/model and compare prices.

As it turned out, we didn’t end up purchasing our travel trailer from any of the four dealerships we had pre-booked appointments with. By dumb luck, or the universe working in our favour, we had some time on our hands between appointments and decided to stop in at a fifth dealership to see if we could look at a trailer that caught my attention that had just been posted as available earlier that week. Long story short, the Manager we spoke to was fantastic and super accommodating, as were the rest of his staff that we worked with that weekend. He set up and showed us this trailer and not only did it check off the boxes for every feature we were looking for but it had the bonus of being smartly engineered to use dead space for accessible storage. It was expensive, but everything is mid-pandemic, and we were expecting that. So we purchased the 2022 Coachmen Northern Spirit 2557RB — look it up on the Coachmen website and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I even love the name, it totally suits us and where we’re from.

So now we’re driving down to Edmonton to pick up our new treasure, get oriented to it, kit it out, and figure out how it works. We’re not going to drive it very far away from the dealership, just in case we need them to talk us through something. We’ll be staying at a campground just down the highway from the dealership and staying there the entire time. I am so ridiculously excited to be doing this.

Us at Enterprise standing in front of the ravine that the Hay River flows through.

Travel Day 1 consisted of Dan driving the entire way to High Level. I say this because it is not how we usually travel. I usually do the driving. But then, we’re usually driving in my car, not Dan’s truck. Which obviously we need to tow the travel trailer. I am admittedly a control freak and prefer to be driving, but I also tend to get car sick as a passenger. But Dan’s truck, Dan drives, and I have to accept that and learn how to be a good passenger. So I did. Today I learned that as long as I stay facing forward and don’t try to read or watch anything but the scenery that I won’t get car sick. Yay me! In other words, it was a pleasant, uneventful drive.

We passed clear evidence of the recent flooding near Enterprise where the highway had been washed out, and the ditches otherwise were noticably water-logged. There were two stretches where they had single lanes only, so traffic was controlled with lights while they worked to repair the washed-out sections. At the second stretch there was a string of at least half a dozen large pumps working to drain the water from one side of the highway to the other. We were so busy observing that we didn’t think to take a picture… gonna have to work on that remembering to take pictures thing…

We stayed at the Best Western Plus Mirage in High Level, and had supper in their restaurant. The servers were really great, despite accidentally ordering the wrong meal for me. I ordered the Wild Mushroom and Chicken Fettucine, which the server did write down correctly, but she punched into the computer as the Lobster Fettucine (the two fettucine’s were right next to each other in the system, so an honest mistake). I like lobster, too, so it really wasn’t a big deal to switch, and they comped me a dessert in apology. What was the dessert? A brownie, of course. What else would I choose? The bonus was they topped it with dark chocolate ice cream. It’s like they knew what I’d like or something! I only ate half the fettucine, and the ice cream, and a little bit of the brownie; the rest was boxed to have for lunch later.

After driving all day and eating that meal we were obliged to go for a walk before settling down for the evening. Somehow my Fitbit came up with 8,200 steps today, so we walked until I got the fireworks for hitting 10,000. And no, I don’t think those numbers are accurate, I think the bouncing around on several portions of the highway probably triggered a bunch of those recorded steps, but I’m just going to accept it anyway.

Black Bears – Momma and two Cubs

I forgot my notebook in the truck, but wildlife sightings today included maybe 9 bison, 8 ducks, 3 herons, and a whopping 7 black bears, including a Momma and her two cubs.

Adelle and Dan

2 thoughts on “Northern Spirit Shakedown – Travel Day 1

  • Awesome looking unit! Hope you guys have a lot of exciting new adventures. Planning on clearing a camp site on the lakeside property in Cape Breton this summer. Hope you’ll eventually make it out east.


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