Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Power Resolved :-)

Well, Ken examined and tested in the appropriate fashion, and the result was that we needed to top up the distilled water in the batteries.

The lights are shining just as bright as ever.  

And they lived happily ever after :-)

*the matter of locating a carbon monoxide in a low spot is still critically important though, if you have one, have it low or don't bother*

The day went well, I baked bread, did some house cleaning and had some visiting time with friends and family.  What more can you ask for on a sunny Saturday.

*contented sigh*

So now I will bid you,


Friday, May 29, 2009

Power Issues, and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It is midnight, and we were prepping to go to bed tonight when an unusual beeping occurred.  We tracked it to our carbon monoxide detector in the bedroom.  It caused a bit of worry, but as we studied the device, we noticed that it was flashing red/green, and noticed that this indicates low voltage.

We also noticed upon reflection that the lights were quite dim, and the fridge indicator light was off.

The TV worked, so we were powering just fine off of the breaker of our friends' house, but we nonetheless, traced back to ensure all the cords to the garage were solidly connected, and the breaker was not tripped.  

The lights that were dim run off the batteries when boondocking, but we never quite grasped the difference between running off "shore power" versus the battery.  We noticed that the ceiling of the basement has a large inverter in it, so we deducted that the lights run off the batteries, but that the inverter is keeping them charged off the power line.

Tomorrow we will read the trouble shooting manuals on the system and seek confirmation, but we figure that after all the chills and winter entertainment, our 2 12 volt batteries are probably due for a replace.

As an extremely critical aside, a lot of places sell carbon monoxide sniffers that combine with smoke detectors, and in our case (an many others that I have noticed) the rig came with a wired in separate carbon monoxide detector and battery operated smoke detector.  Smoke detectors are best at ceiling level, but:

It is critical for you to note that a carbon monoxide detector MUST be placed at ground level as carbon monoxide is a heavy gas, and if you have a high wall or ceiling mounted one, by the time it detects the problem, YOU ARE dead or lethally poisoned.  

That being said, guess where they mounted ours.... high on the wall. (Which is why its beeping was so concerning...)  We have a second one that we bought and plugged in to a low to the ground outlet near our propane stove (one of the most likely sources should we have a problem)  The trouble with carbon monoxide is that it is scentless, and colourless.  

Anyway, we will likely have to replace the batteries, but they sure earned their keep this past winter!  We don't fault them for weakening now.  Definitely a tomorrow issue... which actually means later today I suppose.....

So good night folks, be safe, and now I must bid you 


Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Test of the Blue Boy

I first want to show the lovely spot that we are parked at in a vacant lot owned by and in front of our hosts.

The property is well treed for wind breaking and shade.  Open prairie is the offering at the campground, and highway traffic noise aplenty. (shots pending).  Seems this time I started with digression, but ever forward....


Today I got my first opportunity to test out the blue boy.  For those unfamiliar with the term, it is a generic term for a device that is used for hauling sewer when you are at a site without individual connections for waste disposal.

Mine is a 15 gallon 2 wheeled towable model.  The idea is that you simply connect the sewer hose to the portable tank, then seal it and haul it to the nearest dumping station.


As we recently discovered that we could drain the grey water without it going through the black water, and since our hosts have us parked next to a parched garden, we simply let the grey run into the garden.  I have 2 20' new sewer hoses connected together to reach the garden.

To start the process, I shut the grey water valve off, switch the hose to the 10' sewer hose (to keep any "black water" contents from getting into the garden watering)  and connected to the blue boy (the large black cap near the wheels on the left in the picture). The blue boys was lying flat on the ground with the  openings facing up.  I then opened the valve of the black tank and the air vent on the blue boy (the small black cap on the right side in the picture). This allows the air in the blue boy to be vented out as the refuse pours in.

I then closed the black valve, and rinsed the RV's sewer connector by running water into the grey tank and opening the valve into the blue boy.  I reclosed the grey long enough to reconnect the longer hose into the garden. 

Next, I disconnected the short hose from the blue boy and recapped the main outlet and the vent, slung the sewer hose around the hitch of the blue boy and then moved it to the moped for the next phase - transportation!!

 It is rather interesting how quickly the flies detect a honey wagon!! :-) but I digress...

I then bungeed the trailer hitch (the metal part on the right of the picture) to the bike rack of the moped, and drove it at 10 km/h or less  the 6 blocks to the campground's central dumping station.  The moped moves faster, but the cheap plastic wheels of the blue boy can't take higher speeds.  The friction of higher speed could prematurely damage the mobility of the blue boy.

I then connected a short sewer hose onto the blue boy while it was lying flat, and also opened the vent.  Once connected to the sewer receptacle of the dump station, I stood the blue boy upright.  

It emptied quite quickly, after which  I rinsed the blue boy.  First, by pouring water in the vent hole, and shaking it a bit.  When it seemed to be empty, I drained the sewer hose and disconnected it.  I poured more water in the big opening to ensure it was well rinsed.  One more rinse of the sewer hose made it free of the last refuse.  Finally, I reconnected the bungee to the blue boy and the moped rack, and headed for home.  

This is a much easier process then moving the whole unit (including drawing in the slides and re-leveling after returning to the site) just for a 5 minute dump, especially when the site is a back in with a jack knife push into the site.  

I am well pleased with this handy device.  Ours was priced at $175 or so, but was thrown in as compensation for the loss of a long weekend camp option due to the dealership's mishandling of a repair back when we first got the rig.  There is also a 25 gallon version with 4 wheels, but I felt it would be too big for easy transport.

It has been living in our basement, but we have been advised that as its usage becomes more obvious, it may not be as welcome in the basement as when it is new.  A lot of people strap it to the roof ladders between the rig and the ladder.

Anyway, with this addition to my experiences, I bid you


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Slightly Longer Landing

After 4 days in Three Hills and a wonderful time with family, we headed down the road only a couple hours, and landed in the booming metropolis of Cereal Alberta (population of approximately 200).  This is the location where we spent the 2 years preceding our move into the rig, and the residence of several of Ken's family.

I have submitted my resume to the museum in Three Hills, and will do the same in some of the local shops and such.  Depending on the outcome of this pursuit, we shall determine where to hang out for the summer.  

For now the plan is to hang here for a couple weeks before we go to collect Smokey and the camper.  We can then park where ever  employment takes us, and on my off days, we can do a bit of exploring with the camper.

On a different note, we decided after a bit of time in Three Hills hunting around for hot spots and fighting sun glare across the truck dash that we are not content with that approach anymore. (Okay, we are spoiled, but we want to be able to use our own living room rather than driving hither and yon in the mad hunt.)  We do have the Wi-Fires, and they do improve reception of the signals, but the absence of signal can't be fixed by increased range.  

Instead, on Friday we ordered an air card from Telus.  They have 3 different levels of service, but it is defined by byte usage, and I haven't the slightest clue how it translates into online usage.  We are starting at the lowest level for now, and will upgrade as needed.  The price choices are $25, $30, and $60, but the megabyte levels elude me right now as they meant nothing to me.

We were told it would take 3 to 5 business days to arrive, but it actually got there (to our Cereal address) on Monday.  We were very impressed.  So far it is working out fine, we are sharing it between the 2 laptops.  You can set a password on it for safety.  That way, if your air card should be lost or otherwise acquired by the uninvited, they can't use your air time without a password.

As for the RV site in Cereal, we stayed for one night at $20 for 30 amp and water.  They have a central dump site, but especially with the size of rig we have, and when compared with Three Hills having the 30 amp, water, individual sewer, and wifi (by now it should be set up) for $25 (or pay 6, get the 7th free works out to $21 if you stay 7) it felt a bit insulting to pay.  

Instead, we have landed in a friend's yard.  Here we have water, 15 amp service, and although we still have to move the black water to the dump station, the grey we can just let run off into the parched raspberry patch.  We do have what my parents called a blue boy for hauling the undesirable effluent, and we will just hall it to the campground's dump station.  

Pictures pending of this area.  


But for now I will bid you,

In the meantime, 

Saturday, May 23, 2009


As promised in an earlier post, I am attaching a video file from 2006 when we visited the Guzoo in the Three Hills Area.  We aren't going this time as we are focusing on family visiting, but it was a fun outing when we went.

We are off to get a few things done, and connect again with Ken's daughter, so I will bid you, 


Entry into the Darker Side of RVing

We had some free time yesterday, so I went on the roof to confirm that the kayaks were secure, and in the process discovered that the removable ladder on the back of the rig lost one of its anchors.  We should be able to order a new one though, but the bigger discovery was that the bikes had an unwanted visitation.

We figure it must have happened in Revelstoke as it was the only place where we left the rig site until now.  Also, when we were setting up, the neighbour across the way seemed particularly interested in our goings on.  I just assumed it was because we were definitely pulling off the look of first timers, retracing our steps and redoing and adjusting settings with the inefficiency of rookies.  I ignored it.

We decided to unbag the bikes and take them down since we are here for 4 days.  We were disappointed to see that the rack that was rated for 500 pounds had bent down a bit, but the roads were in rather rough repair state.  Ken will weld a reinforcement for it in Cereal, but the biggest upset was noticing that his helmet which was in the basket wasn’t there.

I figured it must have bounced off, though it baffled me how. Nonetheless, the ladder clamp had shaken off, I suppose it is possible...

 Then we took mine down.  My helmet was actually chained into its basket, so it should be fine. .... And I’m sure it was safe in the basket...and likely in the same location as Ken’s was.  I had used heavy duty electrical tie wraps to secure the milk crate to the rack at the back as I had on Ken’s bike.  Ken’s basket was just as secure as it had been when I fastened it, but my basket was gone, and therefore the helmet as well.  As my bike was on the inside, it was less exposed, and even if the basket had shaken off, it would have likely snagged on the rack or ladder.

It seems our curious neighbour found a five finger discount on helmets, then left the next morning.  So we are out about $550 between the 2 of them.  There is no point in submitting an insurance claim as that would cover about $50 after the deductable.

The lesson seems to point to not putting the weather bags on them while travelling.  That way, with visibility, any impropriety would have been discovered sooner.  Bagged, we were a full 3 days past before we noticed their absence.

As we can’t afford to replace them properly, and since we see bikers riding around with helmets that look like starched Yamahas, and since we are only going to use them for short jaunts, we have decided to get good bicycle helmets.  We aren’t happy about it, but until we can set aside the money to buy proper ones, we can’t ride without something.

The sad thing is that we probably look like people made of money with the trucks and sundry, but what isn’t seen is that it is the total sum of our possessions, and we, like most other people live from cheque to cheque.  Our savings went into Spirit so that we could safely travel, and it was saved for exactly that purpose.

So many people in the community of RV travellers are awesome people who are co-operative and wonderful helpful instant friends.  But there are always the exceptions, and we just met one of them, it seems.  :-(

We refuse to let it kick us down though.  Today is another day.  So with that, I bid you,


Friday, May 22, 2009

Landed in Three Hills

21 May 2009

We didn’t check the timing, but we casually pulled out of Bow Valley Park Campground around 11, and pulled in to Three Hills around 3.  We were originally going to stay 2 nights in the Kananaskis area, but due to the coolness and the lack of water and sewer, we decided to push on.  At least in Three Hills, even if the water wasn’t on yet (which it was) we would still have sewer, and 30 amp power.  Also, where we left, it was $20 for the night plus $6 for power at 15 amps, and $6 for water, had there been any.  Here it is $25 for power, water, sewer, and we are teetering on the brink of WiFi (again, Murphy hangs around, so it should be up and running in 4 days – in time for our departure).

The sun is shining, the wind is blowing, the rain is holding off, and the temperature seems to be holding around 12oC.  We are going to leave at the same time we were planning, so now we are here for 4 days.

One thing that is a worthwhile stop in this area if you like zoos, is called the Guzoo.  It is a unique place that has exotic wild cats, lions, descented skunks, camels, buffalo.  When we went there a couple years ago, there were lion cubs that one could actually go in and interact with under supervision of the curator / keeper.  We will likely skip it on this run, but I will attach some of the shots from that trip. On a post shortly. (I have to pull them from my external hard drive which is not where my wifi connection is.)

Mostly we are here to visit family.

Anyway, I shall check out for now, so I will bid you,


The Grey Area of Sewers

May 21

When we bought the rig we were given a tiny bit of coaching from the dealership on how to run the various systems.  Most of the advice was based on the assumption that we knew something about RVing – which we didn’t.

So the advice we were given about the sewers was that if you are without hook-ups, when you go to dump, you just drain the black water first, then you drain the grey water, and it will flush out the black water tank.  We mistakenly took this to mean that the grey water actually physically ran through the black tank and flushed it out.

I discovered over the last couple days of hook-up and disconnect, that it actually has a separate pipe that although it outlets in the same spot, it is more of a T junction.  Therefore, you can drain the grey without draining the black.  Also, the black tank can and due to Murphy input, will drain into the output pipe if you forget to reseal the black water valve even though the grey made the waters flow relatively clear.  (We had an apologetic cleanup to do, but lesson learned.)  To properly flush the black tank, you must physically pour water into the toilet or use the flush valve that some rigs have on the outside where your standard hoop-ups are found.

Growing up, most of us at one point or another have heard the famous “Momism” of, “Be sure to put on clean underwear in case you are in an accident!.....”  From that colourful imagery, you can move forward to a similar vein, one can draw a parallel wise suggestion, “Always dump your black water before you set out on any journey.”  You may ask why be so fussy? Well....

My parents’ misfortune was to take their motorhome down to the Baja in Mexico.  They were on a narrow winding road where their side was a sheer cliff up, and the other side was a slightly less sheer cliff down.  As they were rounding the bend, a vehicle in the oncoming lane crossed to their side (cutting the corner) and forced them into the wrong lane as well.  In so doing, they tipped, and rolled down the bank (fortunately they were unharmed).  As Dad put it, it turned a motorhome into a flatdeck in 5 seconds flat. .....When recovering their possessions to take back home, the state of said posessions accentuated the reasons for this given wisdom.  (and they crowd let out a resounding EEEWWWWWW!!!)

And so endeth the lesson, which will bring me to bidding you


Alberta Bound

May 20

We have arrived at Bow Valley Park Campground at around 3:30 local time, having left Revelstoke just past the stroke of 9. (As we crossed the time line, that makes it actually 2:30) so we made good time.

We did do a bit of jockeying about.  We changed sites as we are bigger, taller, and wider (in spite heads up notice) than expected, and finally wound up in a pull through – oh, and it is snowing, but the temperature is still decent, hovering around the upper side of 0oC. (I am attaching a video, but ignore the sounds, it is the TV in the background)

We were supposed to have water, but the snow is pre-empting that amenity.  They do have a hose on at what they call the comfort spot where we filled the fresh water holding tank.  It is stale, having never been used in our year and a half ownership of this ark, but we have plenty of potable water in the fridge.  We are also on 15 amp service, and being used to 50 amp, we are doing a bit of semi-boondocking.  (Be reasonable, now – technically we are still rookies)  We are using the holding tanks for the first time, and afterall, we are on less power than if we cranked over the genset, so I feel justified in the semi-boondock statement  :-)

Again, the windows present a really refreshing change, as you can see:



Fog has socked the mountains in now, but they were a sight to behold, and it still beats the paved plot, sardine stack of some sites. 

It changed from fog to mountains view and back a couple times through the night.

Reflecting back on the trip from Revelstoke to the Kananaskis region, I come to a new train of thought...

I have often heard Highway 1 crossers complain that the Roger’s Pass is treacherous.  It is steep in places, and winds a bit, but from my assessment, even with the improvement recently made just East of Golden, I would call the Kicking Horse Pass far and above the challenges of Roger’s.  Even so, Highway 3 – the Southern pass is the one to avoid even moreso.   It actually switches back on itself numerous times.  I think the Anichrist East of Osoyoos is the worst of it, but continuing south it does it a few times as well.

And with these thoughts, I bid you,


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Revelstoke at a glance

We spent the morning catching up on email and weather patterns and laundry.  Just past the stroke of noon, we set out to do a bit of exploration.

As foretold by the weather, we spent a lot of time dodging raindrops.  However, we did find the museum.  The rate wasn't bad $7 for both of us, so we wandered through.  

Having been assistant curator to a small town museum one year, I have a different vantage point from which to view such establishments.  

(The one in Cereal Alberta where I worked, doesn't even have power, has an outside tap for running water, and I managed to coax the rodeo committee to lend us a johnny-on-the-spot so that we had facilities if they were needed.  Even as such, it had a lot to offer in its small repertoire of exhibitibles)... but I digress.....

The Revelstoke Museum is a 2 level establishment and has a lot of period relevant artifacts that relate to daily living, forestry, mining, the flooding out of towns due to the building of the dam, as well as the progressions of the equipment used to explore the surrounding mountains.  The above link is my collection of shots from this stay, but I will also put a couple neat shots to instill some colour to this post :-)


See the link to the pictures for labels, but briefly, these upper 2 are a riverboat, and the old switchboards used in the area.


The colourful building is exemplary of the types of buildings found in the area.  We spent some time weaving the streets a bit, as the classic look of the small mountain town was pleasurable.

Sadly, the shot above is my attempt at seeing the dam.  In standard form for BC and Alberta, at least, perhaps other areas too, you have a 4 way intersection.  Highway 1 crosses a major road whose southern option takes you down Highway 23.  The road signs state that to get to tours of the dam, you take Highway 23 North, and said sign is at a reasonable distance from the intersection.  We therefore foolishly assumed to turn left - North and followed it up to the dam, and sure enough, about 2 or 3 kms in, we did indeed find the Dam, and even an entrance gate that says that all visitors must report to the gate ..... which we did ..... only to be turned away as this is a no entry, employees only kind of facility. (???!!?)

He did relatively politely inform us that although the south side of the intersection was indeed the route for Highway 23 South, the road for Highway 23 North was actually on the other side of the bridge.  Disgruntled, and highly moistened (rain, you will recall...), we took a few shots from the roadside (see link above to Museum shots) heading back to the intersection, and called it a bust.

The rain is continuing with only slight breaks.  Still, the view is beautiful, and I am thoroughly enjoying the change in the other side of the windows.

With that, I bid you,


Monday, May 18, 2009

Touch Down!!

The Roving Acres set off today.  We left late this morning, at approximately 11, and got here around 4, so we did well.  We popped out to Denny's for a quick bite, and are now hankering down to enjoy a 2 day stay.

As for the journey, it was rather uneventful.  The 2 trucks did their jobs well.  Spirit was incredibly stable, especially in the corners.  His only remaining drawback is that he only has a 3 speed automatic, and so the hills had more shifting than preferable.  At the worst of it, we were lugging at 60 km/h, but considering the weight he was being asked to pull, I think the job was done admirably!!  Mack had no problems whatever with the trailer, but we will be working on fine tuning the weight distribution.  Ken feels that it might be a bit tongue heavy.

Stationary people often decide they need a change, and so do things like renovate, paint, new wall paper....  The neat thing about this life, is that we simply change the view. :-)  We now have trees, lawn, snowy mountains, and a train just visible through the tree line.

This is our view from the kitchen (changing as we now have a travel trailer moving in, but there is plenty of space between.)  The weather is closing in, so hopefully the new neighbour sets up quickly.

Glory - blurry with excitement, to be sure :-)  taking in the new view.

Front right view 

Front left view

So we stay for two nights, and then we are on to Exshaw - Canmore area for another two.  I might get connection in Three Hills, but it is doubtful at the mid point as it is a campground as opposed to an RV site.

So tomorrow, we hope to do a little exploring, but the forecast isn't at its best.  Still, Canmore, which is only about 15 minutes down the road from our next stop just highlighted on the weather network with its flurries, so a bit of rain is not too bad a scenario.  

Perhaps we can take in the Revelstoke Dam tomorrow....

But for now, I bid you,


...And they're OFF!!!!

Two second tag, we depart this morning, so as I say hello, I bid you,


Friday, May 15, 2009

3,......2,.....1,.....lift off!!

Yesterday, between sprinkles, deluges, and sunshine teases, we managed to get the bikes loaded and tied down on the rack, the ladder secured, and the kayaks are lashed as well. ..........

So I feel safe in claiming credit for the absolutely gorgeous day today.  "Why?" you ask? Now that all forms of small pleasure transportation have been placed out of range of willingness to pull out, the best weather in a quite a while to enjoy any of them has been presented!!

Instead, we went south to Oroville, WA to stock up on Tillomook medium cheddar (awesome taste) at $15.00 USD for a 5 pound block (2.27 kg) as compared to 0.7 - 0.75 kg (1.54 - 1.65 pounds) of cheese on sale here for $7.99 CAD, and butter at $1.99 USD per pound (as opposed to the $4.50 - $5.00 CAD we pay here).

We then headed to the local apple sales building and got 10 small pears and 8 very large red delicious apples for $2.62 (that was to total bill, not each) - a price not likely to be equalled back in Alberta.

We fixed the hinge on the sewer hose holding port in the rig's bumper, then took it easy for the day.  What is left to do can't really be done until the day before we leave.... which gives us one more casual day, and one that is a bit more harried before departure some time in the later morning of Monday.

It is coming soon, yet it isn't quite real right now.  After 7 months of being stationary, it will be quite a different thing to resume the foot loose and fancy free lifestyle that we have chosen, but not fully taken to exploring.

So I will step out for another deep breath of a lovely warm evening, and bid you,


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Fall In The Spring :-(

We braved the wind and the threatening skies for a walk today, and several things caught our eyes. First and foremost was our now beloved "beaver tree". (2 links, pre and post foliage shots and comments) It seems that a combination of factors finally took its toll on our friend.

I think the factors most influential on the defeat of our brave deciduous friend was that between his beautiful full foliage, the sap that fed it, and the nasty winds we have encountered over the last few days, the tiny remaining trunk had about all it could bear, and then some. I must admit that we were aggrieved at the sight....

Further down the way, though, we saw a sign of hope that the battle was lost, but perhaps not the war. Thanks to the Weather Network's pollen reports, I have identified our friend as an elm tree.

The shot below is of another fallen comrade, this one seems to have lost to the dreaded chainsaw, but look closely and you will see that the trunk, several areas of the base, and one branch that missed the chopper are determinedly throwing out new saplings feeding off the amputee's roots.

Please click to enlarge this shot and look closely at all the sproutings around the base and especially at the longer thin branch to the left.  I admit, the one on the branch doesn't hold out much hope for the long term, but hey, points for sheer determination!! :-)

The other attention getter was first, a solo bird, then on the return trip, several others like it. they looked rather like a sparrow or swallow type bird, but infinitely more vibrant as you can see...

Well, maybe not quite so well, but they are canary yellow, and the males have a reddish orange beak and surrounding feathers. They are quite stunning, but as you can see, amazingly well matched with their surroundings in spite of the brilliance of their yellow.

The wind nearly blocked our route home it was so stong in our faces.... but we made it. :-)

Then we hankered down against the weather, and had an indoor day. Not much else for the day, so I bid you,

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Progressions of Preparations

Okay, so the agenda for the day included the change over from the wooden supports for the seawings of the kayaks to the metal ones.  As mentioned in an earlier post, we took 2 sets of 3" suction cup with screw holes in their tops ($11.99 each set - Canadian Tire) and 2  -  10' long 1 inch diameter electrical conduit pipes cut to 7'. ($11 each and an electrical contractor's store) 4 bolts 1-1/2" long (any hardware store - too cheap to calculate).  The pipes are drilled through at each end, and bolted to the suction cups.  

The Seawings are then secured to the poles, and the kayaks to the Seawings.

The bows and sterns are then secured to the railing on the roof to anchor the whole assembly as the bars don't have anchoring of their own other than the suction cups (which are quite strong, trust me.  This is quite secure - I had a bit of convincing them to do when I was tweaking their placement)

Our Winegard satellite disk dome is very well anchored, and curved in such a way that it holds an anchoring line well.  Our roof rail ends about half way up the length of the kayaks and can't on its own hold the sterns.  (I have the bows at the back of the rig because the sterns' keels makes them less of a wind catcher than the water cutting designed bows)  By starting the line on the end of the rail, then going through the sternline holes, and then on to the anchoring rope around the Winegard dome, it secures the sterns against catching the wind.

And so they are remounted, and the profile is contentedly below the 13' mark.  The total cost below $50 for the supports for the seawings.  I feel that the wings are definitely a good device for securing the frame of the kayaks though, and although their price was high, we were given a significant discount.

We are now down to 5 days from departure.  Ken is finished with the trailer except for the very last day's tasking when he won't need anything anymore, and then he will do the last of it.  

So with that, I bid you, 


Monday, May 11, 2009

Second Last Weekend

This weekend has been a combination of productivity, and downtime.

We went to Penticton on Saturday to pick up supplies as we got a new idea for the base of the kayak rack. Back when I was little, we had a 1973 Plymouth Valiant. The roofrack we had on it was simply a low metal frame with a plywood bottom, but the part I am focusing on is the basic large suction cup feet.

I figured that all we really needed was 2 bars on 2 suction cups each. The closest thing I found to it was over $300 after tax, and I just couldn't bear to pay it.

While wandering at Canadian Tire, I found a set of 2 suction cups with a screw in the top to attach to whatever suited the user's fancy. We then bought 2 - 10 foot long 1 inch diameter electrical conduit pipes, cut them down to 7 feet, and drilled a hole for the suction cup's screw. We can then attach the seawing to the pipes, and it all came to $22 for both pipes, and another $11.99 for each set of 2 suction cups, and now we just need 4 replacement screws as the pipe is deeper than the original that was provided. Then we take your basic tie-downs to anchor them to the roof of whichever carrier we choose, and it is done for well under the $300 (although the seawings still cost us about $115 each - discounted from $140).

Then my beloved took me out Saturday night for Mother's day dinner. The restaurant of choice closes on Sunday, and I had already arranged earlier this week to make dinner for ourselves and the neighbours on Sunday.  Here are some shots.  I forgot to shoot the New York style Blueberry Cheesecake and accompanying tea / coffee.

Tonight's dinner was stuffed turkey breast with veggies, salad, mashed potatoes, and baking powder biscuits.  We has a cherry pie for dessert, but we weren't able to eat it as we were utterly stuffed.  As an accompaniment, we had the Sage Grand Reserve from Silver Sage Winery, a local establishment that produces (in my opinion) the best wine, and that from a person not inclined to wine.  It was a marvelous evening, and I am still stuffed!! :-)

So now it is 1 am and I really must bid you,

Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Route Has Been Planned & Booked

I have spent the day with Google and the telephone booking our stops, and planning the route.

We will have free wi-fi in Revelstoke at the Lamplighter RV Park, and then Heaven knows when we next have access.

When we get to Cereal we are hoping to at least connect with family, but some of them are still on dial up.

Nonetheless, we are getting more and more ready for the pending departure.  The excitement is mounting, but also a bit of nervous energy as technically, we still are rookies at this game.  We have actually only done a couple hook-up and disconnect drills, and not since October.  We have connected Spirit to ensure all the clearances are good, and we also confirmed that the wiring is sound for the lights.

We are still going to confirm that the brakes are set well on the 5th wheel, and Ken is in the final throws of figuring out the configuration for lashing down the utility trailer.  We are thinning out some of the unused items, and lightening up as best we can.

We are also going to be putting some bleach water in the holding tank as we haven't actually used it, and although I have confirmed the water pump works, it would be wise to freshen it a bit.  We are going to fill it about 1/4, with a bleach mix, then just let the sloshing along the highway give it a good rinse.  Then we will just let it run out, and then it should be good to go.

It was a nice sunny day, but is clouding over, so we may have rain tonight.  The kayaks have been roof mounted on the rig, and fortunately, we are still under the 13' mark.  I have covered the cockpits with a heavy gauge plastic which is secured by bungee cords along the skirting lip.  They have stayed safe and sound and most importantly, dry.

As a final update on the washer, the repair required was to tighten the stabilizing block on the top of the machine.  The bearings are apparently fine....  If further problems arise, I do have a case history and the ear of 2 fellows at the Splendide main office.

The basement is mostly organized, with only the lawn chairs to be placed inside.

There is still some battening in the main living area, but other than adding to the chaos by having boxes to trip over for a week and change, there is no point in tending it yet.

This is the route we have planned.  It should be decent as we are traveling after the long weekend, and mostly during the week days.

One further add-on to a multi-though post, while on a walk the other day, we got a nice shot of a wanderer on our route.  She was shy, yet social enough for propriety in dealing with paparazzi, and I appreciated her graciousness.  :-)

With that, the clock tells me supper isn't cooking itself, so I must dash, and bid you


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pre-conclusion on Spirit

The warranty friendly mechanic went over both presumed repairs and found nothing lacking on either count.  He had Ken and I look it over with him, and we all agreed that everything looks fine.

To be sure,  he cleaned off the area near the torque converter and we will drive it for a week before we bring it for another look-see.   He is a knowledgeable fellow whose shop is well set up behind his home.  It is a very professional outfit called Shade Tree Automotive.  

I have laundry and baking to do today, and it is still overcast, but the rain is holding off for now.  

That brings a quick recommendation to mind.  Lately there has been a line of silicon bakeware that has come on the market.  I saw it and thought it might be a good solution to storage versus functionality in the RV world.  I was a bit hesitant though because of the flame based cooking.  It has been my experience though, that in my oven, it works wonderfully, it doesn't require the old "grease the pan, flour the pan" process, it cleans easily, and then stores as folded down as you need it to be.  There is a 5 piece set (sale ends today unfortunately) at Canadian Tire for 70% off.  If you bake, you might look at it.

With that, I bid you


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It Never Rains, ... But It Pours ...

Any plans for the day that include outside activities ...... have now been preempted due to very large and heavy rainfall.  I have to give the sun its due though, it is trying valiantly to brighten the cloud covered sky.

Today Spirit goes in for assessment of the ball joint and the torque converter front seal.  The company we are going to is certified by the warranty company, but they have to confirm the problem and get clearance to go ahead with the procedure.  God willing, everything will continue to fall into place so we can confidently take on the mountains that rather spooked us coming in. :-)

The washer is in and working at last.  Thanks to the service people in at Splendide, and the great team at Lumb's Appliance in Penticton. (Apparently they don't have their own web link, but this will do)

I'm off to basic housework, so I will bid you


Monday, May 4, 2009

Tentative Plans Taking Form

We are now getting more and more aware of the departure time coming close.  We have set a tentative date set for May 18, but the luxury of our lifestyle is that everything is fluid.  

Nonetheless, as we approach nicer and nicer days, it becomes more advantageous to plan arrivals at next locations around weekdays.  More and more people will be doing weekend getaways, and especially if you aren't booking in advance, even in what is starting to be called the "shoulder season", disappointment can occur with full sites.

It helps to know what primarily drives the RV park occupancy.  For instance, a lot of parks are based on vacationers, but a lot of sites in Alberta are driven by the oil and gas patch workers.  When the workers are coming in from other communities, during the snowless seasons, a lot of them live in RVs as it is a cheaper expense than to stay in hotels for the week, especially when it is an extended project that they are working on.

Today we await the arrival of the repaired washing dryer, and tomorrow we start the process of getting the repairs done on Spirit....

Busy times ahead, but for now I bid you,


Saturday, May 2, 2009

May In The Okanagan

The day could not possibly have started more beautifully.  The sun was shining and the temperature was toasty enough for the second day in a row in shorts.  :-)  Not only that, but on my walk, I saw the season's first swimmers.

I also am enjoying seeing foliage on the trees I have been walking past for months now.  

Over the last few days it has been a joy to be in the area.  Here are some more shots from my walks.  This evening has brought on some active rains, but it is quite welcome this time of day.

We have also succeeded in getting the 400 pound diesel genset into the back of Spirit between the fuel tank and the hitch.  That takes a load off the tasks yet to complete before departure!!

As an added piece of entertainment, I am including a shot of the new gauges for the  new turbo charger, the transmission temperate and the pyrometer for the manifold.

And this is the shot of the air breather.  Boy, can Spirit ever take deep breaths now!!

Now Ken is focusing on organizing the utility trailer, tying its contents down for journeying.  I am continuing my detrenching of the inside of the rig.  I have made good headway, and shouldn't need too much longer.

Oh, and Glory has now graduated from potty school.  I don't even need the pellets anymore, but I will bring a small bag for in the camper just to confirm the facility location for her. (I'm so proud of her :-)    )

Not much else to say today, so for now, I bid you