RV Comfort Tour – Final Days

These last few days have been closer to what I hope to do for our future trips, both pre- and post-retirement.

My 52nd birthday on Wednesday started with doing laundry and cleaning at a leisurely pace, followed by a visit at TNT Gun Works. We did not find the rifles we were looking for. The one Dan had seen on their website had already been sold and they didn’t have the one I was interested in. An old guy tried to sell me on one he had, but then Management gave him shit for doing that in the store and kicked him out. I guess he’s a repeat offender in that regard.

It turned out The Nut Man was located right next door, and who were we not to take advantage of that opportunity? Spontaneous purchases of nuts and candies we did not need ensued. So far we’ve been relatively successful at holding out on eating them until our drive home tomorrow.

The afternoon was spent at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. It’s not huge, but it’s really well done. It focuses on the history of the land now known as Saskatchewan from the time of the dinosaurs to present. If you’re anything like my son, you can do this tour in less than 20 minutes, but if you’re anything like me and you like to actually read then it can take up to 2 hours. We didn’t even get to the exhibit side of the museum. I highly recommend the visit.

The evening was spent with Martin and Charlene at Agave Authentic Mexican Grill, which was an amazing experience all around. The food was fantastic and the company was delightful. Dan completed my birthday with the gift of Nathan W. Pyle’s comic strip cartoon books Strange Planet and Stranger Planet. I spent the rest of the evening giggling.

We left Kings Acres Thursday morning and made our way to Central Butte via Moose Jaw. It was really windy and later rainy, so Dan drove. We again passed by Rouleau on the way and while we didn’t stop I did manage to get a couple photos of the place where nothing except a sign proves Corner Gas was ever filmed there. It’s really a shame, because I think by not establishing an actual Ruby’s Café (if not also a Corner Gas station) Rouleau missed an opportunity to benefit the community.

We stopped in Moose Jaw to take the Chicago Connection tour of the Tunnels of Moose Jaw. That was a lot of fun and I wish we had time to take the other two tours as well. Given the strong Asian connection in Moose Jaw we thought it appropriate to have lunch at Nit’s Thai Food, which we really enjoyed. Based on the photographs on the wall, some impressive celebrities agreed with our experience: Adrienne Clarkson and Margaret Atwood. We had parked the vehicles on the other side of Crescent Park, so we had a lovely walk.

We arrived at my Aunt Janice and Uncle Dan’s place near Central Butte in a light rain and cool temperatures. We couldn’t remember if we had purchased a 30-amp to 110-volt converter to plug the trailer into a household receptacle and couldn’t find one, so we actually boondocked in the yard. This time we turned the fridge off over night and only used AAA battery powered lights when we weren’t sleeping, only turning the water pump on when we actually needed to use water. Turns out that was all we needed to do to ensure there was enough power available for the furnace to work without draining the battery faster than the solar panels could keep it charged. Now that we know that, we are much more comfortable with the idea of the occasional overnight stay without any services. Of course, in the morning Dan found the 30-110 converter in a corner of the pass-through storage. Turns out we did think to get it when we bought the trailer, but it’s a small attachment that clearly fell out of the swag bag we had put it in. That’ll teach us to keep the storage bags zipped shut when they’re put away (nasty habit that Dan can’t or doesn’t care to kick).

Uncle Paul was also there helping Uncle Dan build the foundation for a new double-car garage, and my cousin Jeff came over for supper as well. We had a really great visit with everyone, chatting and playing cards, and we’ve promised to come back again more often.

On Friday we made our way to Provost, intending to go by Gardiner Dam. But neither Zoe nor Google Maps recognized Gardiner Dam, so we just left Zoe to get us to Provost by whatever route she determined was safest and shortest, while avoiding highways and unpaved roads. I drove the entire day that day, and Zoe decided to challenge me by taking us on the back roads (which on most of the Saskatchewan side were wide enough but bumpy and in need of work – as usual) and across Diefenbaker Lake on the Riverhurst Ferry. That was fun. We haven’t been on a ferry since the Deh Cho Bridge was built. The ferry itself is smaller than the Merv Hardy in bulk, but crossed a stretch of the lake that appeared to be much wider than the Mackenzie River crossing site. It used a winch to pull itself across the lake on a set of three cables strung under the water, which is something I had never seen before.

We stayed the night at Home On The Range RV Campground just south of Provost, which is open year round with full-service sites and two laundry/bathroom/shower buildings. It was actually a very comfortable place, although some of the sites are fairly close together. The cows in the field behind the campground wandered quite close to the fence, the geese were typically noisy, and the sunset was spectacular. We had supper at a Chinese restaurant in town called Mr. Lin’s Family Restaurant. Honestly, I don’t know how we keep choosing these places, but it was another wonderful meal.

The intent on Saturday was to leave early enough to get to Trailblazer RV early enough that we could drop off the trailer and retrieve the retractable shower door from my Mom’s place before they closed at 5:00 p.m. I managed to sabotage that plan when I forgot to actually push the start button on the laundry machine. Everything else was ready to go and we had to just sit there waiting on the laundry. It was almost Noon before we left, and then just to add insult to injury the wind had been picking up all morning and was gusting up to 57 km/hour the whole way, mostly coming at us head on from the northwest. So that slowed us down AND cost us in gas milage, to boot. We did manage to get to Trailblazer half an hour before they closed, but that meant we had to drop the shower door off early Monday morning. Actually, to be more precise, Dan had to drop the shower door off early Monday morning.

We were supposed to stay at my Mom’s place until Tuesday morning, when the work on the trailer is to be complete, but my step-dad caught Covid so we’re staying at a hotel instead. He’s doing okay, but getting grumpy being isolated at home, lol! Since we haven’t been able to really visit with them as planned, we’ve had to otherwise entertain ourselves.

We’ve seen a couple of movies: See How They Run is a good whodunit, kind of like Knives Out but lower key; and Don’t Worry Darling was also a good flick kind of like Stepford Wives with a twist.

We visited the Muttart Conservatory, which we hadn’t been to in a couple of decades at least. That was interesting. I played Poison Plant Bingo, but didn’t find five or six of the 25 plants listed.

We stopped by Cabela’s, where Dan found the shoes he was looking for but otherwise we did not find the rifles we were looking for. However, we did find the rifle I was looking for at P & D Enterprises, so bonus! Getting there through all the downtown roadwork was an adventure in itself, but it turned out to be worth it.

Then we discovered Record Collector’s Paradise and spent more money than intended, but got some great albums out of it. And we took a leisurely walk around the Alberta Legislature building.

Tomorrow morning we’ll probably stop at JimBows Archery before picking up the trailer to put it in storage, and then head out to High Level and arrive home on Wednesday. We’ve had a really lovely trip and can’t wait to figure out when and where we’ll go next spring. I’m going to close my blog for this trip here as it seems like the most practical time to do so. I hope you enjoyed reading. See you on the flip side!

Adelle and Dan

RV Comfort Tour – Settling In

Argh. I already wrote this blog earlier today, but this is not the blog I wrote. The effing thing did not save when I told it to save, after I’d done all the writing and uploading of photographs. Sooo frustrating! I threw my hands in the air and we went shopping all afternoon instead. Now it’s 8:40 p.m. and I’m starting over. This time I’m writing the text in WordPerfect (yes, WordPerfect, not Word… don’t even get me started on the inadequacy of Word compared to WordPerfect) and then cutting and pasting it into WordPress. Why? Because I can save my WordPerfect document without being on line to do it, and WordPerfect does automatic backups to my laptop not the Cloud (or whatever), thereby reducing the likelihood of losing everything I’ve written. Onwards:

Our first night in the trailer and we looked at each other in peace acknowledging how comfortable we are in Northern Spirit. Honestly, she is perfect for us. We’re starting to put some personal touches to her, like a fruit hammock in the kitchen (go ahead, call it a banana hammock and have a good laugh; Dan and Jarod both did when I told them I was buying it…), a mesh magazine pouch for the bathroom, a motion sensing light near the door, a laundry rack attached to the rear bumper. Dan’s installed a remote tire sensor for the trailer tires, and he’s going to try connecting the Wheresafe GPS tracker trickle charger to the solar panels to see if it will keep it charged enough to last over the winter until we come back in the spring.

We left Tillabrook in the morning with the intention of visiting the Saamis Tepee in Medicine Hat, but it was raining so we nixed that idea and kept going. Dan and I are in disagreement about whether or not we’ve already visited the tepee. He seems to think we have, but I have no recollection whatsoever of doing so. Not the Saamis Tepee, anyway. We’ll just have to keep stewing on that and see if we can find any evidence one way or another when we get home.

We stopped in Maple Creek at The Rockin’ Horse Cookhouse and Bar for lunch. Cool little place with great service and good food. We continued on, and about half an hour out the weather was clear and the roads were dry, so we figured it was a good time for me to try my hand at driving with the trailer. Dan was right, it’s not a big deal, I had nothing to worry about. Of course, it helped that there wasn’t much (if any) wind and we were driving on the Trans-Canada, which is a divided four-lane highway. I was comfortable enough that I drove us all the way into our campsite at Trail Campground in Swift Current. Admittedly, the campsite was a pull-through, so it’s really hard to mess that up, but I did have to get off the divided highway and proceed a little ways on a normal two-way road and through the gravel campground. I’ll take whatever wins I can get.

The campground was well laid out and full-service, although we were only staying the one night so we just used the power and water. The campground attendant was really friendly and accommodating. We ventured into downtown Swift Current for supper at Mei Mei Chinese Restaurant, which turned out to be a great choice. Clearly the community agreed because the place was crazy busy. We had noticed some buildings that were architecturally interesting, so we decided to go for a walk after supper. I really like seeing old stone/brick buildings continuing to be used. I’m hopeful we can come by some time during daytime hours to get a look inside, especially at the courthouse.

We left Trail Saturday morning with me driving the first shift to Moose Jaw. We stopped for lunch at Buds and Suds Carwash and Grill. Why? Why not? I was searching for a place to stop, they have good reviews, and I liked their name. It was another good choice. The food was good, the servers were friendly, and we’re pretty sure we recognized the guy who was working the outside bar from Yellowknife. Of course, we didn’t place him until after we left, so didn’t actually ask him, but he seemed familiar. Certainly someone from Yellowknife had an impact on the place because we noted the Ragged Ass Road sign over the back door. It also appeared to be a biker place, given half a dozen of them showed up for some kind of party while we were there. It was a good place to stop and I would recommend it.

Dan drove the rest of the way to Kings Acres Campground east of Regina. Zoe (remember our Garmin?) Took us off the Trans-Canada and directed us south around Regina. It was a nice little drive and probably much faster than going through Regina. The roads were pretty good, too, for Saskatchewan. We passed through Rouleau, but didn’t stop. We didn’t recognize the Corner Gas site until we had passed it, and decided we’d come back when we weren’t hauling the trailer with us.

We are really enjoying our time at Kings Acres Campground so far. It has full-service sites, large lots, plenty of trees, and laundry on site. It’s right on Victoria Street across from Costco, but honestly we haven’t been bothered by traffic noises. They provide portable firepits made out of washing machine barrels. They’re really cool and work really well.

My brother Martin and his GF Charlene came by that first evening for a visit, and then the next day they introduced us to Coney Island Poutine Café for lunch. Wow! So many choices… It’s worth the carb overload. We made up for that when they took us on a walking tour of Depot, and then Martin showed off his new-to-him Suzuki Marauder 800 before bringing us to his new place. He just moved to Regina in March and bought a perfect 2-storey condo in a local heritage building that used to be a warehouse. It’s a great place. We ended Sunday having a BBQ visit with Dan’s Kuppenbender cousins who live in Regina. It was a great visit with family we hadn’t seen in years. The whole day was great.

Monday was a chillaxin’ kind of day. We didn’t go see or do anything, we just stuck around the campsite, putzing around in the trailer installing various items we brought with us. We made the left over burgers for lunch and supper, and I made Sunny Boy Muffins. The pizza stone I bought to put in the propane oven did exactly what I read it would do: it evened out the heat beautifully resulting in perfect muffins. I’m still trying to master using the stove top burners, though. It’s such an intense heat, I’m finding it hard to regulate so that I don’t burn or overcook the food. I guess that’s just one more thing that practice makes perfect, so I’ll keep working at it.

I guess that’s really about it at this point, so I’ll bid you all a good night.


RV Comfort Tour – Getting on the Road

Lonely Bison at the Side of the Road

This is our third time out with our new toy. As usual, the first two days getting from Yellowknife to Edmonton were uneventful to the point of being boring, although that’s not really a bad thing. The weather was perfect, the roads were as good as could be expected, and although the wildlife was not plentiful we did see some. Specifically: about a dozen bison before Fort Providence, a hawk parked in a tree after High Level, and a fox crossing the highway somewhere between Valleyview and Whitecourt. I’m good about writing down how many of what I see, but I’m going to have to start writing down where I see them… getting old, memory not very good anymore.

The Shore of the Mackenzie River near Fort Providence
Dan on the Shore of the Mackenzie River
Starlight Diner Car in Bowden

We arrived in Edmonton yesterday and took my Mom and Step-Dad out for supper to Tony Roma’s. It was really good, but leftovers were brought home. We spent a quiet evening visiting before retiring. Today we managed to by-pass The Donut Mill (say what?!) and instead stopped at the Starlite Diner Car in Bowden for lunch. Very cool, retro, old-school sci-fi loving place. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area.

A stop at Calgary Cycle City so Dan could ogle an electric motorcycle preceding picking up Northern Spirit at OutPost RV Storage in Okotoks. They took very good care of her and we will definitely use their services again next time we need to leave her in the area. Although I still didn’t drive towing Northern Spirit, I did back up the truck correctly to hook her up, and Dan showed me how to connect the stabilizing arms to the hitch. It turns out that’s not remotely as difficult as I originally thought it would be.

We made our way to Brooks on the Trans Canada, which we were a little leery about. Turns out our concerns were for naught, at least on this section of the divided highway. Traffic wasn’t bad, nobody seemed to get pissed at having to pass us (we kept it at 90 kph at first and slowly built up to 95, then 100), and the roads were actually in good shape.

We arrived at Tillebrook Provincial Park Campground just after 6:00 p.m. Our campsite has power, but no water or sewer (which I knew when I booked it). Honestly, as long as we have power for these one-nighters that’s all we really need at this time of year so that the furnace will work if it gets too cool at night. Set up went really smoothly, so nothing interesting to report there. I’m not sure where all the flies are coming from though. We’ve killed about eight of them so far. They may very well have come in from outside while we were unloading and loading the trailer when we got here, but we might have to investigate further tomorrow to be sure that’s all it is.

We drove in to Brooks for supper at Nikko Sushi. There are lots of franchises in the community, but we wanted to try something that was local. I know what you’re thinking: since when is Japanese food local in Alberta? Fair enough, but at least it was locally owned and wasn’t a franchise. And the food and service were fantastic! So for us it was a win-win in all categories that counted.

I think that’s enough for today. It’s time to wind down. Unfortunately we can’t relax by the fire due to a fire ban, but that’s okay. Dan’s already sleeping…