Friday, August 18, 2017

Where the Heck Did They Go?

April 25th, an auspicious day, our daughter Lacey and her Alle both call that their birthday and it is also the day I last posted a blog. I am reluctant to spend a lot of time on the mundane goings-on in our lives, let it suffice to say that we have been to dentists, doctors and shopping a bunch of times over the last 4 months. Didn't drink coffee on any mornings and very rarely read the newspaper, but we have kept up on everyone's goings on with the internet. We have been out camping a few times, once with Lacey et al and then by ourselves, both times to the Bighorn Dam where I can run around with side by side and the living is easy.

Abraham Lake on the North Saskatchewan River

Abraham Lake

Company comes to Brenda's Morning Tea Fire.
I did get an opportunity to run in and see Annika, our granddaughter at her Spring Concert, she attends the school her Dad started teaching at 21 years ago, and the Director of her Band was a student of her fathers I think. Time sure flys by.
Annika's Spring Concert

 Then in June there was a gathering at Dogpound North for my birthday, a complete surprise for me but these beauties spent the night, all worn out from the partying.
Sleeping beauties at Grandpa's Birthday Bash
 July in Calgary is Stampede time and if there is a cowboy on the planet who wouldn't like to ride at the ride Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth I haven't met or even heard of him/her but this one is special one this is Justin James, the son of Derek who gave Brenda away at our wedding.

Justin James Calgary Stampede debut
 And Stampede is Band Time also, here is my grandson, Lucas, playing at McMahon Stadium.

Lucas at McMahon Stadium with the Calgary Stetsons Show Band
 And just to keep things hopping July is also haying time in our country, it was good to see it all put up and covered with tarps with nary a rain drop on it, and I just heard today that it is all sold.
Dogpound North's haying is done, all sold too, I heard today.
 We have a couple of hummingbird feeders here at DPN, but this guy likes his organic grub. These little guys keep me entertained most evening watching the aerial dogfighting going on. I have taken hundreds of pictures but they have so far avoided me capturing any mid-air collisions.
Mid-Air Refueling
Now we are getting up to today, this was a log marshalling yard just upstream from Revelstoke. We found a great spot to boondock there as we meander our way towards the coast. Tonight we are in Merritt, BC, and tomorrow we plan on stopping on at Renè and Jeanette's before camping out at the Twassan Ferry Terminal so that we can catch the early Sunday morning ferry to the Island. I expect with a total length on our rig of right around 63' we will almost single-handedly put BC Ferries in the black this quarter.
Loading Log Trucks at Revelstoke Dam

Good morning view from our Boondocking site at the Dam Site
Well I won't make any promises but maybe, just maybe I will get another one of these journal entries done before Christmas time. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Time Fly's By

Last time I wrote we  had just returned from a trip to the desert with our new rig. It worked fine but the lack of solar capabilities meant we ran our generator much more than we liked. We'll work on that.

I spent a lot of March working around the yard at DPS, getting the irrigation system set up for the summer and hauling granite to fill holes and patch up the tree wells. That and spraying the weeds. The weather has been pretty hot so I like to get all that done early in the morning and then head off to the pool for my swim. I have been making it over there 5, sometimes 6 days a week. That takes me through to lunch and then I pretty much just hang out in the shade for the afternoon.

A few days I have taken Blue II for some spins in the desert, trying to connect a few trails I have seen out there and do a little photography along the way.

Always like the desert wildflowers

And some Arizona Wildies


Brenda and her CRPS don't get along very well in the heat so she has been pretty much housebound for the last while and then March 16th she headed back to Canada. She needed to get some dental work done and if you are going to be forced to stay in the house you might as well sit by a furnace as an air conditioner.

Once she had headed home I started slowly putting things away, clearing the deck off and storing all the outside stuff inside for the summer. There was no rush but I figured I would work my way north in time to be home for our daughter Rebecca's birthday with a stop for a day or two out on Yellow Bird Drive.

 Max, Maya, and I got loaded up and after one last swim we left DPS for Bouse on the 23rd. We spent two nights there enjoying the warm night temps and the peace and quiet before heading out early Saturday morning for the road north.

One last desert campfire and star shot before heading North


The first night we stopped at the Cabella's just south of Salt Lake City, in Lehi, Utah. A little bird on Facebook told me that my Sister-in-Law, Tricia, and her kids Chris and Remi were heading south so after a little negotiating we planned a breakfast meeting in Pocatello, Idaho. Always great to see those folks and especially in a different place. After a quick breakfast we both got back on the road, me for Canada, then for points south. I stopped at Costco in Helena to pick up some butter and then made a run for the Medicine Line. That night I stayed at a rest area between Lethbridge and Milk River, as I had a plan to have breakfast with an old friend the next morning in Nanton.

For a travel day, I slept in as I couldn't get Van out for breakfast much before 7AM and I was only an hour and a half away. We had a great visit, solved most of the worlds issues, reviewed all the problems that had surfaced in the energy business since we both retired and then it was back on the road for me. A couple of hours later I was back at Dogpound North.

It took a day or so to get the rig unpacked and everything hauled into the house, and then another couple of days for Brenda to put it all away.

But before that was all done we headed into the city to meet Bec, Ved, and the kids for lunch at our favourite Chinese spot. Great food and even better company.

For the last couple of years I have been bugged by a leg problem that I thought might be sciatica so I have tried exercises, chiropractors, and my own family doc with no relief. I had an appointment with a Neurologist set up so I went in and he poked prodded, electrified me and decided that it might not be sciatica but he didn't know what it might be. He told me take a little magnesium and hopefully that would resolve the issue. Who knows worth a try.

With the rig parked for spring, my doctors appointment behind me, it was time to tackle a couple of clean-up jobs that had been waiting awhile. First I need to muck out the barn and haul a bunch of junk to the garbage. Then the big job, the Quonset hut. It had been collecting stuff for ten or twelve years and I decided if I was the only one who had any idea what something was or where it came from if I didn't want it, it was gone. That made for three dumpsters full of stuff, and a full truck full of metal junk to the dump. And a lot of reorganising to boot.

Those jobs took the best part of a week, but luckily the week was pretty nice weather so it was an OK job.

I had a chance to run in to the University and see my grandson Lucas's team compete in the Western Regional Finals for Robotics. Kind of a cool sport/tech game where the teams build robots and have to complete pretty difficult tasks while competing against another team whose robots need to do the same thing and are at the same time trying to mess up your plan.

Luc's team on the far side almost out of site.


Remember back at the beginning of this journal entry I said we needed some solar capability, well, it was time and I took the rig to Red Deer and dropped it off to get that installed. I won't bore you with all the issues that started but we ended up with 464AH of Battery capacity,  and 400 Watts of Solar capacity on the roof all supplying power to a 2000 Watt Pure Sine Wave Inverter. That hopefully will allow us to do what we want to do without using the generator to much.

While the rig was getting it's solar equipment installed I took my F450 to the shop to get a manifold bolt replaced, all under warranty, and they even supplied me with a brand spanking new pickup to drive while it was in there. So I did a bunch of driving and took a bunch of photos while I was wearing out someone else's wheels.

Oil Train heading through Cochrane

A train full of oil heading to the West Coast

And yet another oil train heading out of Central Alberta likely for the West Coast

Oh, we do export some things other than oil, although the train was mostly oil tankers there were a few grain cars in the middle.


That meant a trip out to Morants Curve to catch an oil train or two heading for BC, a visit with Kim Johnson in Canmore, and then a trip out through the old Burnt Timber field and a drive up the Foresty Trunk Road to check on the wild horses.

Wildies

Wildie Foal

Mom and Babe


The last week has been a little snowy and cool but there have been some great opportunities for catching some northern lights action. Here are a couple of images and a video from two different nights of chasing the Aurora.

Night #1 at Twisty Slough

Night #2 at Dogpound North


video


I am not sure this video will work but here's hoping. Make sure you hit the box in the right bottom corner and make it full screen.

Today is also a big day, both Alle and her mother Lacey share today as their birthday. Alle had a birthday party over the weekend at a local swimming pool so I ran up to Rocky for that event.

Two little girls mother and daughter, same birthday.


Spring is over here and I must have slept through summer cause it appears we have headed right back into winter with no warning.

A little snow this morning.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

There and Back and Again

Since our last entry I have put some serious miles on and seen some country, some a repeat and some a little whiter than I like it this time of year. Our last trip out to Bouse was so much fun and seemed to reconnect us with the reason we started RV'ing in the first place. Our LQ was not as comfortable as we would like for a boondocking rig so that got us thinking about a change. Like usual, with me, change happens in a hurry. We found a rig we thought we would like and it just so happens that the dealer we bought the LQ from had one arriving in the next day or two. We made a deal and all that had to be done was the final walk throughs of both our trade and the new toy hauler. I figured we should fly up and have a look at it, but Brenda wasn't up for another flight at this point, so she put her faith in me. Not entirely wisely as it turns out.

Here she (DPA) is in her natural habitat outside Bouse, Arizona
 The new outfit is nice, but as always there are a lot of things that will need to be changed to make it perfect and acceptable as our new Dogpound Anywhere (DPA). From my point of view it needs more batteries, an inverter and some solar capabilities all things we knew going in, surprisingly there are no 12V power points at all, and the water pump sounds like it is being powered by a Harley Davidson engine, so those issues will have to be dealt with. As for things Brenda looks for, it has great storage for clothes, but not so great for dry goods. And not a towel rack or toilet paper hanger in sight so those will have to be added. The fridge seems adequate though. It has a fancy new Furrion Oven and it, at least on our trial run, had issues keeping a constant temperature and it has a fan that runs the whole time the oven is on, so that will take some getting used to.

There is a deck out back that makes getting outdoors pretty easy, but the garage floor, is well a garage floor and we will probably need to fit a carpet to that to make it more easily cleaned.

After a few days of commissioning at DPS we headed for our favourite spot out near Bouse for a shakedown cruise. As usual in the desert these little fellers were around looking to see if we had a handout for them. Sadly we didn't but that didn't seem to discourage them from hanging out with us.


In flight and hard to track

Sunrise over the desert
Unlike most times in the desert, this time we got company. Kim Johnson an old colleague from my working days and his wife Wendy were on a trial run with their motorhome, seeing what all this sunbelt stuff was about and we managed to convince them to stop overnight with us in the desert. Great folks and a lot of fun, so we are hopeful we will see them again before they head back into the Great White North.

Sometimes it the eastern skies that make the best display at Sunset
We are back at DPS now and working on killing weeds, washing the rigs and getting a few other things done here so that we are free to wander if the mood catches us. The last couple of days have been cool and windy so not much getting done on that front, but I have managed to get a couple of swims in anyway.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Boondocking

We headed out of Dogpound South last Wednesday towards a spot over near the La Paz Valley. We have been there before but it was a long while back, in fact almost 6 years ago was the last time we left there. It was great to get back to that wonderful spot. It is quiet and off the beaten track and although the madness that is Quartzite in January is only an hour away it doesn't spill over towards our spot. Although this a great spot for chillin' and riding the Can-Am it would not be so good for the ponies as it is pretty rocky. I spent some time riding some old trails that I had walked extensively 6 years ago, but although Blue II can cover a lot more ground in a lot less time than Shank's Pony he is restricted to existing trails where on foot you can roam wherever your mind tends to lead.

Some of this weeks trails


My riding partners changed on an almost daily basis, sometimes Brenda came along, but when she opted to enjoy the peace and quiet in camp Max was more than willing to climb aboard and see the country.

Max along for the ride
 He is probably wondering where to get some of those Doggles that Emmi from Montana has for riding the desert.

Our low profile toy hauler

Camp along the wash

Great for an ATV but not so great for horses

A Panorama from atop TV Hill
 Long time readers will recall some shots from atop this hill taken back in January 2011. I am here to tell you it was a lot quicker and certainly easier on the lungs getting back up here on Blue II rather than Shank's Mare. If you click on this shot and enlarge it the red arrow is pointing at our site this year.

 This quartz outcrop is just poking out of the desert.



Just a shot of a small hill along the trail

Sunset with what I call TV Hill in the centre.

Blue II waiting patiently for Brenda and I to investigate a mine flooded with water. 

Doing our part to repatriate some Carbon back into the atmosphere

Max and Maya chillin' in camp.

An old Mine Site

A beautiful vista




An interesting piece of wood, looks like a leg roast

 I stumbled on these store fronts along the trail, I have no idea how or why they came to be there. Out back are pens that look like stabling but not much sign of critters being held there.
Star Struck


An interesting piece of wood that I found along the wash.

We thoroughly enjoy our stay in the desert, I think between Brenda and I, we consumed about 7 or 8 books and still saw a lot of country. Although we didn't see to many other folks out there it is obvious that we are pretty pokey when it comes to ATV'ing, we rather enjoy moseying along at 6 or 8 miles an hours snooping in every nook and cranny and watching for the things that those hurtling along at breakneck speeds might miss.


Everybody is going somewhere. Those are all trails in the sky