Northern Spirit Shakedown Cruise – Settling In

Adelle, Dan, Erich, Antje

I think I can safely say this week was pretty relaxing. Our sister-in-law Antje and nephew Erich came to visit for a couple hours, followed by our sister-in-law Marie, on Sunday. Our brother and sister-in-law John and Leah visited Tuesday. And we took our niece Cassie out shopping for a grad gift on Wednesday. We’ll see most of them and other family again on Saturday at a family gathering celebrating Cassie’s graduation, so we’re looking forward to that.

We’ve been otherwise just putzing around the trailer with settling-in items, like: re-organizing the tool kit into two bags instead of the ridiculously heavy one we had; picking up two more camping chairs to accommodate guests; purchasing outdoor rugs and another Kuma side table; finding small pump bottles that fit on the corner shelves of the shower; getting a label maker to label said pump bottles, as well as the Tupperware containers and other items; and transferring bagged foods into said Tupperware containers.

We’ve also been experimenting with meals cooked in the electric frying pan that otherwise we would be cooking on the stove top, with mixed results. We have a staple recipe of chicken in mushroom sauce that we usually cook rice separately as a side dish. We thought we’d try cooking the rice in the mushroom sauce as a sort of one-dish recipe, and it eventually worked but I think it would have taken less time if I had added more liquid when I added the rice. I’ll try that next time. The fajita chicken we made a couple days later worked out just fine. I’ve also downloaded a chart to give me a better idea of what temperature on the electric frying pan dial is equivalent to low, medium-low, medium, medium-high, and high, so that I think will also help going forward.

During my research I learned that keeping a pizza stone in the oven helps enormously with distributing the heat evenly and helps avoid burning the bottom of the dish you’re trying to bake. I measured the size of pizza stone I’d need at 14″ x 10.5″ and in my surfing found that Camp Chef makes exactly that size of pizza stone, which both the Canadian Tire and Best Buy websites list as something they normally carry. Neither of those sites, or anywhere else in Canada apparently, has the thing in stock, nor are they even able to provide it as an on-line order. Camp Chef doesn’t ship outside the US. And I haven’t been able to find any other pizza stone of the required measurements either; I’d have to make due with purchasing a set of four smaller ones from Lee Valley (and only use two of them) or cutting down a too-large stone. It’s been very frustrating. It does look like I could order the Camp Chef stone through, but it would be getting shipped from the US and cost more than if I could find it in Canada. Suggestions are welcome on this.

Successful Brownies!

Regardless of the pizza stone issue, I did decide to try baking the brownies again. This time I tried to watch the heat closer, and I raised the oven rack . It took about 10 minutes longer than it normally would have, but they ended up just about perfect, including the bottom not getting burned. Woo-hoo! We’ve been munching on those all week, but thankfully we’ve also been getting our steps in…

Team Canada!
Canada blocking Turkey

I had fun Tuesday night. I dragged Dan (he indulged me, but I think he had fun, too) to a women’s Volleyball Nations League game at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Tsuut’ina Nation. We watched Canada play Turkey, and it was fantastic! The teams seemed were pretty evenly matched, with Canada winning the match 3:1. Canada had to work for it, in front of the home crowd, no less. I haven’t been that excited to watch a sporting event in years. I admit it helps when you actually know and understand how the game is played. The events are streamed through the Volleyball World website and app, but there’s nothing like watching it live. I think I’ll be following the Canada team going forward, as well as specifically #9 Alexa Gray and Turkey’s #99 Ebrar Karakurt.

Lamb Shank at Anatolia
A deer visiting the campground.

We prefaced going to the game with supper at Anatolia Turkish Restaurant as a nod to the opposing team. Dan had the Beyti Kebab, which was seasoned ground lamb and beef wrapped in phyllo topped with hot tomato sauce and butter, and it came with grilled tomato and green pepper, and rice, yogurt, and a salad. He said it was very good. I had the lamb shank, which was slow cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, served with grilled tomato and green pepper, and rice and salad. It was so delicious! The meat just fell off the bone, and the sauce was flavourful. Tip of the hat to Turkish food; we would definitely come back here.

We took Cassie for lunch before shopping on Wednesday, and she brought us to Via Cibo. The describe themselves as an Italian Streetfood restaurant, which pretty much translates into quick service where you go through the line to choose from the menu and pay before sitting down to have the food brought out to you. Sort of like Fatburger or Quiznos, but way classier. Don’t get me wrong, I like both Fatburger and Quiznos, but Via Cibo is a much different vibe. And the food was really good. Dan had a sandwich, Cassie had a margherita pizza, and I had the gnocchi gorgonzola. Very good place to eat, I recommend it.

Wednesday was also laundry day, including bed sheets and towels. I DARE anyone to try and tell me that changing bedsheets in an RV is not exercise. I swear it’s like doing Pilates or something.

This morning we viewed and reserved our storage site at Outpost RV Storage. We managed to secure a pull-through site. The entire lot is secured with fencing topped with barbed wire and a coded entrance gate. The sites are all gravel and clearly marked out. Barring hail causing damage (which would not be the lot owner’s fault, obviously), I feel good about leaving our trailer there for the summer. We’ll move the trailer over tomorrow when we have to check out of Riverbend.

Adelle and Dan

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