Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Visiting

Now that our home is back it is time to start getting ready to roll later in the week, so Meg and I started early this morning with our daily walk. We managed to spook a couple of bull moose along the way and even saw a giant cat driving a car by the gate.



The moose (if a little fuzzy) and the sunrise were real but the cat was a neighbour lady heading into work and I guess it is a day to dress up for work.

Once we got back we brought the horses in and wormed them so they should be ready for winter. Also brought them into a centre pasture as hunting season starts Monday and lasts about a month. After the hunters are done patrolling the roads in early December I will get my son Matt to open the gates so they have the run of the place. Till then it is nice to keep them up close to the buildings.

Also had time to repack the storage bins we carry underneath so we are not carrying any of the stuff we have never used since we hit the road a couple of years ago.

About noon we took off to Calgary to catch a soccer game with our grandson Luc. His team seemed to have it together and won although the score is a bit of a mystery as they don’t post it. They all seemed to have fun and did they ever get a bunch of exercise running after that ball.

Once the game was over we followed Paul and Luc home and did a little pumpkin carving. The kids were better at it than Brenda and I but it appears that the jack-o-lantern will light the way to their step just fine tonight.


And here are the pictures of the kids in their costumes.


I am not sure that Luc won’t have a green face tomorrow but he will certainly have fun tonight lurching around the neighbourhood scaring the other kids.

Luc and I got to watch a little of the movie Avatar on their home movie set-up, now I think rather than heading out to the theatre Brenda and I are going to just slip in the back door at Paul and Terri’s, mooch a little popcorn, and settle into that big comfy couch to watch the latest releases.

And before the kids headed out to collect all the candy they can eat, we were served a great meal, rib-eye’s done to perfection with all the fixings and then apple pie and ice cream. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Thanks for the great day kids and we will see you in the spring.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Whoa Nellie, Katy bar the door!

Today started out with Meg and my morning stroll and then a little catching up with the world before we headed off to Rocky Mountain House to get in one last visit with Lacey and Miss Ella before we head south next week. Miss Ella was modeling her Halloween costume for us this morning.


Luckily for me I just happened to have one of those little (Alberta sized) Halloween chocolate bars in my pocket in case I happened to run into any random trick or treaters.


And after getting that chocolate bar she ran around the room chanting “Grandpa is number one” over and over again.


At least that is what I heard so that is the story I am sticking with, it is my blog after all!

After her celebratory chant she settled down and did a little reading with Grandma.


But the fun had to end and Ella went for a nap and Grandma and I said our goodbyes to Lacey and then headed off for Red Deer where the folks at Freightliner had our home ready to head south. There are a couple of good hills on the way home and I let it drag itself up in high gear to see if the heating issue would come back. I have my fingers crossed but at least for today it seems that the problem is in hiding. Hope it stays that way. Things were going great as I headed south and it felt pretty natural so it was with a lot of difficulty I pulled off the highway and headed for the farm. Good thing Meg and Brenda weren’t with me or I might have made a run for the border. Oh well soon enough! We still have a few things to prepare for our departure.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Do We Miss our Home?

Well I do, I even had to run up to Red Deer, an hours drive, today to check on it. It is parked behind the Freightliner shop in a locked yard and it is plugged in so there should be no problem with heat on these cold nights. They figured the parts would be in early this evening and they would pull it in the shop for the night and get after changing the fan hub tomorrow morning. If all goes according to Hoyle the hub should be changed tomorrow and our home will be back down the road from Dogpound tomorrow evening.

We are heading to Rocky Mountain House tomorrow morning to get a last visit with Clayton, Lacey and of course Miss Ella in before we head south sometime next week. After that visit we will hopefully swing by Red Deer and bring the rig home. We are getting down to the wire here so there are a lot of last minute things that need to be done to prepare for our departure.


A shot from a previous visit. Great shop but not my favourite place to spend time Smile.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Always One More Thing

It has been a little cooler around here the last couple of nights. Down into the mid-teens for our friends to the south. That means we are keeping the heat on at all times and even making sure the tankage is warmed at the coldest times. Not a big problem as our rig was built to handle the cold weather and everything is supposedly kept warm enough to stop it from freezing up. In my last blog I was getting the outfit ready to head to town to have the windshield replaced and that went as well as could be expected. Sure am glad I had that piece of glass insured though, or that $3200.00 bill would have surely given my heart a good test. But the trip in and out was not so trouble free. No I haven’t broke the glass yet, but long time readers will remember that while we were coming home from Texas in the spring of 2009 we had an overheating issue as we crossed the Dakota’s. It only shows up once in a while and that just makes it more frustrating. Early this summer I had the rig into Freightliner to have that issue looked into but all they could suggest was that it might be the thermostat. They changed that out and everything seemed to be OK. Well on the both the trip into town and the return from the glass shop the rig overheated. Probably nothing that I couldn’t deal with just by taking it easy on the hills but this thing has enough power to make short work of hills and it ain’t right.

So I gave the folks at the Freightliner in Red Deer a holler and they said bring it in Thursday morning and we’ll have another look at it and see if we can’t figure it out. Now if you have ever taken a vehicle into the mechanic you will for certain know what happened next. After a 5:00AM departure from Dogpound, I headed for Red Deer ready to nurse it all the way in. But as probably could have been predicted, nada, cool, no overheating, I cruised all the way over hill and dale to Red Deer at 70 MPH and never saw the gauge go over 195F.

Nevertheless I gave the service manager a good song and dance and he brought it into the shop and hooked it up to the computer. Now one saving grace to those computerized engines, at least the computer backed up my story that there is a history of heating issues with the rig. They scratched their heads for a while and suggested changing the thermostat again, but after some more coaching from me and a little more testing decided that maybe it might be the thermostatic fan hub. Now that little gem ain’t cheap either, $1000.00 and the closest one is sitting there in a warehouse just down the road from Graceland. Now old Elvis picked a pretty handy place to call home and I recalled from our trip through there on our way to Florida in 2007 that there was a horde of Fed-Ex planes landing and taking off from their airport the whole time we stayed at the Graceland Campground, just behind the Heartbreak Hotel, down at the end of Lonely Street. With a little coaxing I was able to convince the boys at Freightliner that if they could just get someone to run that fan hub down to the airport that Fed-Ex outfit could probably get it up here onto the northern ranges before supper time tomorrow. And that is what is going to happen. We hope anyway, the part should be in Red Deer sometime tomorrow afternoon and they will get right at putting it in.

I gave the mechanic a lesson on how to dig his way through the floor of the bedroom so that he can get at the top of the engine and hopefully tomorrow afternoon and evening he will be busy installing that hub. Till then our home is parked out behind their shop, plugged in with the heater running so it should be OK for the night.

Brenda and I, we will spend the night in the farmhouse, hoping that all these storms in the  mid-west haven’t messed up the Fed-Ex planes and that our home will be back down the road from Dogpound soon, so that we can get the final loading details done so we are ready to roll on schedule next week.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Now that is Winter.


Well as I figured that rain last night turned sneaky and left us with a fairly good clue that winter is coming. We are taking it serious but we are not ready to roll south just yet. There are still a few things left to do and today one of them will be out of the way once the blinds in the house are installed. They look pretty good, once again Brenda has hit the spot between my wide open look and her window treatments.

Here are a few shots of the winter wonderland we have around here today.


But we can at least pretend that we are ready to roll so everything is hooked up and ready.


Too bad I am just taking it into town to get a new windshield and dump the tanks and OH YAH, fill the propane, we just might need some over the next 8 or 10 days. But visions of warmer places will keep us on track.

Palo Duro Canyon 2007

Palo Duro Canyo in November 2007

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gone but not Forgotten

Well the good times are over, early this morning Lace called and said they were on their way to pick up their baby. Guess they were missing her. We thought about breaking camp and rolling on out here, what with the fog we have been having it wouldn’t be hard to hide this gray and black rig, but we couldn’t ever quite get Lacey to drop off Ella’s passport so that would have only been a short term solution.


So reluctantly we let her go back to Rocky Mountain House with her parents. Besides Meg doesn’t like sharing her bed all the time anyway.

Things are starting to feel a little like winter around here, we only get a few degrees above freezing during the day, but thankfully it is not going a long way below just yet.

The rest of the day I started trying to make sense of Picasa and the 50 odd thousand photographs I have stored on my various and sundry hard drives. Thanks to Rick from Rick and Paulette’s RV Travels I am beginning to figure out Picasa and will try to get things in a little different order than they are right now.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Weiner Roast

This mornings walk for Meg and I was again in the fog. There are some who believe I live my life in that meteorological state but this was caused by the weather not me. Just more confirmation that our old friend winter is just around the corner.

My little brother Brent and his wife Trish and their kids were out today, along with my Dad, to bring his motorhome and store it in my quonset hut. That about fills it up, maybe room for one more small car, and then the door can close until these northern ranges start to show a little life next spring.


While they were here we had ourselves a wiener roast and some hot chocolate but for some reason we got no photo’s of that event. This is not a scene out of “Vacation” and no one is rolled up in that rug that Brent took out of my Dad’s old house for his daughter, Caron, to put in her new place. But we will be watching the news tonight to see if they got it home safe and sound.


While they were here visiting their dog Sydney, and Caron’s dog Rex, were having a good run and enjoying the freedom that comes with living in the country. BUT Rex found something quite fragrant to roll in and we had to bring out the Dove to give him a little bath before he could get back in the van to travel home.


Here is a picture of the whole family, Brent, Trish and the kids, Christopher and Remi washing Rex while Meg looks on.

And of course this weekend no blog will be complete without a photo of Ella.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall is Here

Yesterday we were blessed with great weather, today not so much. We woke up to a thick fog and Meg and I were walking in pea soup this morning, well really, I was walking, Meg was running, she probably covers 2 to 3 times the distance I go. The temperature had dropped significantly and it was barely about freezing as we took off for our 2.5 mile daily stroll.


Judy from Travels with Emma asked why a cowboy would be out fixing fence with running shoes on rather than a pair of boots, and the Lord knows I have enough boots around. There is an old story about a city girl asking a cowboy “why are you wearing running shoes if you are a cowboy” to which the old cowboy replied “I wear the sneakers just so folks don’t confuse me with a truck drivers”. Makes a good story but mine is less exciting, I had just got home from my morning walk and got right to work so I guess I got lazy in my hurry to get that fence fixed.

Brenda was off early this morning for her last dental appointment before we leave and next week we both have a last minute check-in with our physicians.

This afternoon we are off to meet Clayton and Ella halfway to Rocky for a baby transfer. Ella is coming to stay with us and keep Grandma busy for the next couple of days.

Just looking for something to get into!!!   lol

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fixing Fence


Today was one of those beautiful Indian summer days that lull us into forgetting that Old Man Winter is lurking just behind the hill. Perfect weather, in the high 60’s, not a cloud in the sky, or a breath of wind. If the weather stayed like this there would be a whole lot less snowbirds crossing that Medicine Line heading down into our good neighbours southern states for the winter.

Rod from Retired Rod picked up on that term that I use for the border and did some digging to figure out why that crazy Canuck called the border between the USA and Canada the Medicine Line. In short it was a term the American Indians used to explain why when the American military was chasing them north, for no reason they just stopped at a certain point. No discernable landmarks in the Great Plains yet they just gave up the chase. The Sioux knew that as long as they kept the peace and followed the laws they would get no hassle from the North West Mounted Police.

Now that is a pretty short history lesson and those that are inclined should have a look at this history net link, a lot more detail and maybe more fact than my abridged version.

Now assuming that the cavalry is going to welcome us back across the Medicine Line we are still getting things in order so that we are ready when the time comes. Sometime last winter one of our residents critters, probably a moose, broke off a gate post at the far southern end of our pasture. Now that was a 6-7 inch gate post so I am thinking that Mr. Moose had one heck of a bruise after he hit that post. I had a good look at the old post and there was no sign of rot or damage from equipment. I replaced the post with an eight inch one so maybe it will survive a direct hit this winter. No easy job digging a 40 inch hole and tamping that post into place so I am hoping my big clumsy friend will go around it rather than through it this winter.


While I was fixing fence Brenda was off to Cochrane to get her hair fixed up for the trip south. Looking good there Sweetpea.

And that is all that is happening here down the road from Dogpound.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Counting Down

Well we are counting the days till we head south. Two weeks from now we should be parked within throwin’ distance of the border crossing in Sweetgrass, Montana ready to cross first thing in the morning. That is the date our health insurance kicks in for travel south of the Medicine Line.

Still packing up here and getting things ready for the winter, the weather is beautiful right now but winter is coming I am sure.


The shot above is the sunset west of us tonight and those little black bumps along the bottom are about a 100 miles of the Rocky Mountains.

Today I built a fence around the hay that is stored in our hayfield as this winter I will leave the horses out there to graze. For that I used a solar electric fence as the horses really respect that kind of fencing and it is not likely that they will get themselves tangled in it either. Always a concern with horses, they have a knack of finding things to cut themselves with. Quick to put up and quick to remove once we get that hay sold and hauled out of there.

Tonight we had a great meal put together from the spoils of our summer. Both Rod, Deb and Rollie and Gina brought butter. Deb supplied the shrimp that Brenda grilled and Gina gave us the corn that she had harvested straight from the cob. The spud and the great Alberta beef were our own contribution.


Looks good but let me assure you it tasted even better.

I sure will be glad once we get the big wheels rolling but probably not near as glad as our readers who may get a little interesting stuff for a change.

But for now that’s all that is new here down the road from Dogpound.

Monday, October 18, 2010


We are only a couple of weeks from getting on the road here down the road from Dogpound and there is a lot of stuff to get ready for winter. Although we live fulltime in our RV we still have the farm and the buildings here to get ready for the long winter. I like to leave all the equipment ready to go to work if Matt or someone else has to use it during the winter but it is likely it will not move so things like the fuel need fuel stabilizer added so that things don’t get gummed up sitting over the next few months. We also have quite a fleet of lawnmowing equipment here from the regular small gasoline push mower up to and including a diesel powered John Deere front deck mower and they all need their oil changed. So the last few days have been taken up changing oil and prepping for winter.

A couple of weeks ago I winterized the camper and just the other day changed the oil in the truck so today Brenda unloaded all the perishables and things that might freeze and we moved it into the quonset to be stored. Another thing that needs to be looked after in this equipment menagerie is the batteries so we have rigged up a system with timers that allows them all to get a little kick every day, each in its own turn.


Camper and the Motorhome swapping stuff.

Yesterday we had our farrier over to pull the shoes off the horses we take to the mountains and get the whole band trimmed up for the winter. We are fortunate here in that we have a lot more grass than we have livestock so what with the pasture and our hay land the horses pretty much fend for themselves, although we have some hay in reserve just in case, and of course a couple of heated waterers so they always have water available.

Brenda has been busy getting things ready to travel also as well as washing windows and getting things around here ship shape for the winter. So today we kind of took it easy, Meg and I went on our morning walk, and then we got ready and headed into town to do a few errands and then off to Balzac to take in the new Secretariat movie. It was great and well worth the price, oh yah, Brenda had some free tickets, but I would have paid to see it anyway.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching Up

A week or ten days ago we decided that we needed a Vancouver Island trip to suppress the hitch itch we are feeling while waiting to head south across the Medicine Line for the winter. We won’t be leaving here until around the 3rd of November and that seemed a long time away. Brenda had some furniture for John and Gina, our friends out at Nanaimo, so combine that with the fact that I have a truck, it seemed like a marriage made in heaven. We loaded the entire bedroom suite in the truck, well packed to prevent damage, and headed west on the Thursday before the Canadian Thankgiving weekend. It was a beautiful day to travel through the Rockies and the Selkirks out to the coast. Blue skies and crisp clean air for most of the way, well at least until we came upon the “fragrant” air of the Lower Mainland. The population density as well as some pretty intense agricultural operations have this area smelling a little like a feed lot. But we just held our breath for a couple of hours till we jumped on the ferry and left that all behind.

Three Valley Lake-2

The shots above and below are of Three Valley Lake, a widening of the Eagle River between Revelstoke and Sicamous, B.C.

Three Valley Lake-1-1

The ferry leaves the mainland from the Horseshoe Bay terminal and we had a little time so we popped into town and picked up a sandwich for our supper.

Horseshoe Bay-1

With all the pre-Thanksgiving traffic we had a little time on our hands as although we made it in time to catch the 3:10PM ferry, it was full and we were relegated to the 4:30 sailing. Oh well, after some 600 miles of racing through the mountains we were ready to stretch our legs a little and breath in some of that sea air.

Our destination for the weekend was friends of ours Bed and Breakfast, “A Riverside B&B”, and it is a beautiful peaceful spot. John and Gina have taken an old building on their place along the Nanaimo River and turned it into a luxurious peace of paradise in the woods. What with the beautiful decorating, the clawfoot tub, and the sound of the river rushing by it is a place to let the cares of the world wash off your shoulders. Not to mention the fresh baked apple pie and the fresh flowers that await all guests. Their goes my diet shot to h**l.

A Riverside B&B-1

We spent Friday relaxing and doing some touring up around Nanaimo Lakes while John and Gina did some of that working stuff. Guess someone has to pay taxes so the rest of us can enjoy life. Smile

Saturday we took off for Coombs to pick up a few things at the Market there. There are many small unique stores surrounding the market but we had pored through most of them back in June when we last visited so after a quick walk by we got the stuff we wanted from the market and headed off down the road.

Here is a photo of Brenda, Gina and John checking out their purchases. In this friendship I am the newcomer, just a measly 10 or 12 years, these others friendship goes back to their misspent youth. And oh the stories they have to tell.

Coombs Market-1

After stocking up on some staples like Saskatoon Jam we were off to my favourite Mexican place. Gina’s Mexican Cafe, no relation to our friend Gina, is what I think is the best Mexican restaurant north of the 49th parallel and is a regular stop on our trips to the Nanaimo area. Now every year they shut down at closing on Saturday night before Thanksgiving and stay shut for the week while they touch up the decorating and give the whole place a spit and polish cleaning. So it was important for us to get there today as it was the last chance for this trip.

Gina's Mexican Cafe-1

The food was a great as ever and only surpassed by the company at our table. Notice there is no food yet on the table, once that makes it there my camera is left to fend for itself.

Sunday we just loafed around most of the day, or should I say I just loafed around, John had to pull the pump out of his septic system and other than being the official photographer and substitute supervisor I stayed clear of that operation. I really would have liked to help but there just wasn’t room down in that culvert for two guys and Meg had the supervising pretty much figured out herself. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Every job needs a Supervisor-1

Brenda stayed busy as she was making fresh rolls for us to take to Gina’s families Thanksgiving Dinner later in the day. Wow, lots of folks and I am not sure that they even noticed a couple of Albertans in the mix, in fact there were so many folks we may not have been the only strangers to enjoy their hospitality.

Monday we ran down the coast to Chemainus to have a look around at some of the shops and much to my chagrin Sad smile many of them were closed for the day, I guess so they could enjoy Thankgiving dinners with their own families. Now I am not to worried as we have been here before and will probably be back again sometime in the future.


Chemainus has many murals on the building walls and here is a photo of one that caught my eye.

After strolling up and down the street a couple of times we figured we should head on down to Cowichan Bay to see what there is to see there and maybe catch a bite to eat. We stopped at the Rock Cod Cafe for fish and chips and in keeping with my program to try to limit my intake as much as possible although I had the Captains Plate I opted for the grilled version instead of the usual breaded one. How’s that for restraint. Not the best fish and chips I have ever eaten but it filled the gap.

Cowichan Bay-1

The docks at Cowichan Bay

All good things have to come to an end and we bid John and Gina a fond farewell till next time and headed back east. Along the way we wanted to stop at the Adams River to check in on the Sockeye Salmon run that is going on there this time of year, every year, since time began. I got a few photo’s of the fish but seeing as how I left my polarizing lenses back in the truck they are not the best.

I was speaking with a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fellow along the river bank and he was telling me that although the Adams River is a major contributor to the Fraser River system and usually has a run where the returning fish number around a million and half, a big year can bring up to 3 million. However this years run is the biggest in over a hundred years and the estimates are that up to ten million fish will make the arduous journey up the Fraser and Thompson Rivers to the place of their birth here in the Adams River to spawn. Now Brenda and I didn’t get an accurate count but we have been here before and this year far surpassed what we had seen other times. You can see by the fins protruding out of the water that the river is thronged with fish making their way upstream to the spawning beds. It is truly a spectacle of nature that is not to be missed.

Sockeye Run

I stole the picture above from an article from the National Post that does a superb job of describing this awesome spectacle.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


That is the only word that describes Brenda and my reaction to the news that some fellow RV’ers were killed while out on their morning walk this morning in Pismo Beach. Margie and Bruce and their writings were a staple of our morning blog reading and we looked forward each day to catching up their activities, whether they were traveling or spending time with their “Grands” Mackenzie and Zoey. It was apparent from their writings that they loved their lifestyle only slightly less than they loved their family.

We certainly felt that they were part of our “cyber” family and our thoughts and prayers are going out to their family members in Washington state. These will be difficult times for them and we are hopeful that thinking about the pleasure they brought to life and others will soften the pain.


Vaya con Dios our friends!

JB & Brenda

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rough Spots along the Road South

RV's and Boats-1

We are still heading in the right direction there are just a few rising creeks and bumps along the road south. Like I mentioned before the medical profession has given their blessing now, so we have been dealing with the “travel insurance" professionals. As most folks know the United States has the most expensive medical system in the world and when we leave Canada we carry extra insurance to deal with this issue. Our Canadian system will pay up to and including the cost of any procedure in Alberta that you might require in the United States but anything over that amount is for your own account. Well my account is not large enough, so like most Canucks we buy the extra insurance.

While my docs have done a lot of investigating and fine tuning this last 6 months or so and it seems that some of those changes although they have me feeling better and my heart working better, from all reports, they have given the insurance vultures what they think is a good chance to pad their profits this year. My usual insurer wanted so much more money that it may have been cheaper for me to endow a wing on whatever hospital I might end up in. Thank the Lord for the capitalist system though, after a lot of calling around and checking the small print in various policies we managed to find one that wouldn’t take all of our fuel money to give us the right coverage.

Tomorrow we hope to get the rig all washed up so that we aren’t carrying any more dust and dirt than need be south with us. And seeing as how we are heading south first to Texas I know Mark from RVing with Poppa will have the state troopers out to make sure that no non-shiny outfits sneak in.

Thursday morning we are heading over to Vancouver Island to visit some good friends over there for a few days. They have a little B&B right along the Nanaimo River and it is a great place to visit anytime of the year. On the way home we are hoping to stop over at the Adams River and see the salmon run. This year is reported to be one of the biggest in recent history.

Our departure date has changed a little and we will probably leave the farm here down the road from Dogpound for a warm spot somewhere in our southern neighbours sunbelt on or about the 3rd of November.

And just in case that water keeps rising and our rig isn’t up to crossing that high water I have my eye on a different one for our journey south.

Rough Country-1