Monday, May 3, 2010

May 2, 2010

I think we were both pretty anxious to get home. We were on the road by 7:30. There was a slight drizzle to start off but it remained pretty clear otherwise. We found a Tim Hortons for our morning coffee stop and this time no problems - I found a good place to park; it helps when it is a Sunday and a lot of roadside businesses are closed.

We sure weren't impressed with the quality of Hwy. 17 - it's supposed to be the Trans-Canada Hwy but it was probably the worst road we travelled on in the last six months!

We arrived in Rockland by noon and proceeded to fill up with fuel and we were fortunate to find a propane dealer open to top that off as well. It's easy to find propane tanks for your bbq at fuel stops but not so easy to have a big tank that has to be filled using different fittings. So now we are all set for our summer at Recreationland tent and trailer park.

We get the same feeling arriving here as when we arrive in our Apache Junction RV park; all our friends come by to say hello and we all get up to date on how our respective winters were spent. It's great.

We went over to our daughter Renee's last night for supper and I had my first chance to see my newest grandson - Kaelan. At 5 months he's growing big already and he looks to have the same outgoing personality as his brother Liam.

It's raining quite hard this morning and I decided to go out and wash the rig in the rain - it makes a perfect rinser. Put a good rainsuit on and wear sandals and you're all set. I must have motivated Lise 'cause she's out there right now, with my rainsuit on, washing our car. How about that :-)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1, 2010

I was a little tardy in downloading my pictures onto the computer. Here's a few to look at.

Adam, Leah, Lise and the grandchildren as we're getting ready to leave Chilliwack
local artist at the campground in St. Regis, Montana carved these at various sites through the campground. Nice touch!
little bear doesn't seem too anxious being close to a human!
Today was our day to cross back into Canada so we were anxious to get an early start. We were packed and driving out of our camping spot by 7:30 am. We stopped to fill up with diesel before we crossed the border. The crossing was pretty uneventful - which is always a blessing. No lineup and two minutes after speaking to the customs official we were on our way - first stop Tim Horton's (of course).
Last night we had decided on a destination and possible campground for our end of day stopover. Morning Mist Campground near Deep River was scheduled to open on May 1st so that was our goal. The traffic on Hwy 17 was pretty light and everybody was keeping reasonably within the speed limits.
At lunch time we decided to look for a Tim Horton's in Sudbury. The GPS provided directions but the one it found for us was just a car drive-through and we wanted to sit down and have soup and sandwich. We found another one but there was no place to park the rig nearby. We turned down a side road thinking we could go around the block and find a place to park. Wrong!! It was a dead end. We had to unhook the toad, find a place to turn the rig around, rehook and head back up the road. After all that we decided it wasn't worth trying to get to Timmy's anymore and had a home made sandwich in the rig instead - which we probably should have done in the first place. As well, Sudbury has always been a nuisance place to drive through regardless of what vehicle we're driving. I should know better by now. Next time I'm staying on the bypass!
Anyway the campground we wanted was open and we had no trouble getting in and hooking up and getting our satellite dish up and running. One more day of travel and we will be home. Yaay.. I think it is about 300 kilometres (about 175 miles). We'll sure be glad to stay in one place for a while - at least until we start getting the itch to travel again :-)

Friday, April 30, 2010

April 29 to 30, 2010

Thursday turned out to be a better day than the last few of wind-driven days - it rained most of the day :-). The good news in that is there was no wind to speak of. We trucked along at a fairly steady pace up to Fargo, ND and then took Hwy. 10 and 210 up to Duluth and ended up at Ashland, Wisconsin where we hoped to spend the night. Unfortunately there were no campgrounds open and the local Wal-Mart had a no overnight parking sign posted. Rather than take a chance with that we continued on Hwy. 2 to Salem where we found a campground that was open. It wasn't much but it got us off the road and I needed a break. We had too much tree coverage and couldn't deploy our satellite so couldn't get on the internet or watch tv. But we did get to spend a quiet evening reading, which we had gotten out of the habit of lately.

Today we made it all the way to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, arriving around 3:30 and found a nice campground on the river connecting Lake Huron with Lake Superior. We have a spot right on the edge of the river and have been able to sit and watch the big ships go by as they travel through the locks between the lakes.

Tomorrow we'll be back in Canada. And, it is only 500 miles remaining to our campground near Ottawa. I thought it would be farther than that. In any event, we'll travel to Deep River to a campground we found there and then take a leisurely drive into Ottawa on Sunday. We're really looking forward to getting back and seeing all the rest of the family. This trip has been a great opportunity to drop in on our spread out family. Well, that's one reason why we adopted this lifestyle. I'm sure we'll be getting another early start tomorrow, now that we're on the last leg.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 14 to 28, 2010

We golfed with our grandson David on the 14th. The weather was pretty wet and David's shoes and socks got soaked. We almost took him home to change his footwear but the weather improved a bit so we all toughed it out.

We babysat the kids from Friday to Sunday while Adam and Leah went to Vegas and everything went fine (for Adam and Leah, and for us :-) ). I don't know what we were expecting but it's always nice when there are no problems.

On Tuesday we decided to go golfing with David again and this time he slept over in the motorhome. Unfortunately the weather was crappy again so we put the golf off 'til the next day. He got the chance to sleep over two nights in a row. He was happy about that. This time we managed to keep his feet dry!

We left Chilliwack on Sunday the 25th and travelled to Kelowna to visit with our daughter Kathy and her boyfriend, Mark. There was still water on the Coquihalla Hwy. through the pass and there was a residue of salt which found its way onto the rig and the car. I think there is a cleanup in my future! We had a great visit with Kath and met her boyfriend. They seem to be a good match and Kath seems happy. They made dinner and we spent a few hours afterwards socializing and getting up to date.

We crossed over into Washington state on Monday the 26th and we've been travelling east ever since. Yesterday we stayed at a Wal-Mart (in Miles City, Montana). It was so windy that the grocery carts were being blown around the parking lot and at least one hit our rig (no damage that I could see). We are currently at a campground on Highway I-94 at Jamestown, North Dakota. We would have gone farther today but it was so windy we had to find a place early and get off the road before we were blown off!! Here's hoping tomorrow brings more normal weather.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

March 19 to April 13, 2010

We spent our last two weeks in Arizona as usual, playing golf, hiking and bike riding. Since we were leaving on Friday April 2nd, we also had to get the rig and car ready for travel. That always makes the last couple three days very hectic.

The week before, on our last group hike, we finally saw our first Diamondback rattlesnake. We knew there was a chance of seeing one because the weather had warmed up. It was 4 to 5 feet long and we got pretty close to it as it crossed the ATV trail we were following. He's actually very pretty with its sand coloured diamond shapes and notice the black and white rings of his 'rattle'. We were as close as about 10 feet from him (or it could be a her). I don't know how you can tell the difference... I can't image you just lift up the tail like you would for a cat or dog. LOL Seriously though, I wouldn't want to make a habit of crossing snakes. We have some friends who have come across them on a hike and almost stepped on them. With their colour, they blend into the landscape.

We left the resort on Friday after saying our goodbyes to friends the night before. Leaving is always bittersweet though. We look forward to being on the road again and seeing our family but we always leave behind the great weather. Anyway, I don't think we could handle the hot weather experienced during the summers around Phoenix.

But we were not heading home yet. We were coming to British Columbia to spend time with our children who live in the western part of the country. So we travelled west until we got to Bakersfield California and then headed north along I-5, driving through northern California, Oregon then Washington. From Bellingham, Washington we followed a secondary highway to Sumas where we crossed the border into Abbotsford, only 20 miles from Chilliwack. The whole trip took only 4 days (3 nights). We spent 2 nights in Flying J Travel Plaza parking lots and the last night at an RV Park as the Flying J close by was too small to accommodate overnight parking for motorhomes. It helps the budget when we can stay in Flying J.

It was very interesting travelling through Grants Pass on the I-5 between California and Oregon. As we reached higher elevations it was snowing and it was white everywhere. The ground and trees were covered but luckily the accummulation of snow on the road was not bad... maybe a couple of inches of slush. This was our first time driving in snow with the motorhome. It's not bad by itself but while driving through the mountains where the downhill grades are 6 or 7 percent for 5 to 7 miles. Yikes! Traffic slowed down to about 35 mph; everyone was being careful - and traffic was light. After about three hours we were out of the mountain passes and back on reasonably level ground.

All of our trip planning was done with the help of our Microsoft Streets mapping, our Garmin GPS, our Rand-McNally travel map, and we downloaded Flying J locations onto our Microsoft Street maps. We didn't really need to use Woodall's website for camping ideas this time as we didn't really use any - the one campground we did find was recommended by the staff at the Flying J.

So we've been here now for a week and it has rained most of the days. And it's still cold enough to have to keep the heat on in the RV. We expected warmer weather here but no such luck.

We've been enjoying ourselves mostly by visiting with our son Adam and his wife Leah, and our adorable grandchildren David and Dylan. David definitely remembers us, but then he is old enough being 4 yrs old. Dylan is 18 months old so he didn't remember us but he warmed up to us pretty quick and we've settled right in here. Both boys have been coughing and now I have a pretty bad cold that I'm trying to shake. Adam and I managed to play 18 holes on Sunday at The Falls. It's a very nice but challenging golf course just outside of Chilliwack on the Trans-Canada Hwy.

We have baby sitting duties this weekend as Adam and Leah head to Las Vegas for a little R & R. We look forward to spending some quality time with the grandkids.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 6 to 18, 2010

Lise and I have been taking golf lessons here in the park and we're starting to see some improvements in our game. The lessons are done now but we'll have to incorporate the new stances and dynamics into our regular game so that we can be consistent with it. Seems like a worthwhile expense anyway.
Our friend Earle, from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada arrived in Phoenix last week for a one week visit. He stayed with our friends Art and Linda, also from Whitehorse. Lise and I hadn't seen him since we left the Yukon in 2001. He looked just the same to us. We played a couple of games of golf with him. Most of the time Art and I found ourselves playing out of the left side or right side of the fairways (usually among the trees) while Earle was straight down the middle pretty well every time! At 83 he still does very well. It was great to spend time with him and we look forward to getting together again soon - maybe he'll spend some time here in the winters ?
Lise was in a softball tournament last weekend. They played 7 games over 2 days. Each game was about an hour long. Her team won 6 of the 7 games, losing only the last one, and came away with the silver medal. I saw the last two games and thought they played some pretty good baseball.
We finally got out on our bicycles yesterday and managed a 28 mile round trip. I now have so many sore muscles I can't keep track of them all. The temperature reached a high of 84 F so it was a beautiful day for riding. Earlier in the week we hiked the Peralta Trail again. Everyone likes to hike this trail and the view at the top is super. Here are some pictures.
Rest area before pushing onward and upward
View from the saddle - Weaver's Needle in the background
A beautiful oasis in the sky

Friday, March 5, 2010

February 21 to March 5, 2010

We've had a great two weeks. Busy as usual - I won't bore you with the details but I did want to mention that I volunteered at the Waste Management Phoenix Open again this year and enjoyed that very much. This is the third year in a row for me; it's lots of fun and I get to see some great golf! I'm not sure that I'll do it next year though - maybe get an entry pass and watch the golf as a spectator instead.
We've finally reached that stage of the year when we have to think about returning home - which way we're going to go, when, what reservations we have to make, what RV maintenance issues we have to see to - the list goes on. In a way it's a bit depressing, that we have to temporarily give up this life style as we head back north and into the colder weather. Last year it was abysmal in Ottawa (pretty well anywhere in the northeast) and we were wearing long pants and coats right into July. But, the flip side is we get to see family again and that is always a real positive. This year we'll be heading to Chilliwack, B.C. to visit family there and, hopefully, visit with our daughter in Kelowna and son in Grande Prairie. We will have to work out the logistics of how we're going to get that all in.
When we're ready to leave B.C. we'll probably drop back down into the States and travel east and cross back into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie.
We don't have to leave here until near the end of the first week in April so lots more time to enjoy our various activities yet. Yesterday we hiked Flat Iron in the Superstition Mountains. We thought we had lost out on that opportunity this year as our hiking group did that hike on a day that Lise and I were both busy with other things that had been pre-booked. Fortunately a friend in the Resort was looking for someone to accompany them to the same destination so we jumped at the chance. Lise hadn't done this one before so she was pretty pumped about it. It went really well. We left at 8:00 in the morning and arrived back home at 4:00 pm. A very exhilerating climb (and tiring - we dragged our limp bodies to bed at 9:00, which is a bit early for us). This hike is considered moderately difficult and, in the upper elevations, the trail is steep and difficult to follow. Total elevation change is about 2,800 feet as we went to the top of the mountain which is above Flat Iron. Hope you enjoy the pictures.
stopped for a rest along the trail - what trail!