Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass

The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass is a series of 5 communities in Alberta, being the last stop before crossing into BC.  As a matter of fact, a good portion of the blue collar crowd in the area are employed 20 minutes away in the nearest BC town, Sparwood.

As for their origins, they were established at the turn of the previous century, basing industry on coal mining and forestry with a CP rail line conveniently passing by.  On April 29, 1903, Frank, the middle town of the 5, experienced rather a setback in its development when the top of Turtle Mountain decided to relocate to the bottom of Turtle Mountain – which a fair portion of the developing community of Frank had chosen to occupy.  Of the 100 residents living in the shadow of Turtle Mountain, only 23 survived the relocation of said mountain, most of which were children.  See this link for the local prospective of the historic tragedy.  (This is the first of a 4 link recount of the event as experiences by real residents.)

The rubble field left by the mountain’s collapse remains as an untouched monument to the tragedy, and amazingly enough, the graffiti artist have essentially respected the will of the communities (and the law) and left them unmarked.


Frank still functions today, though the majority of it is now on the opposite side of the highway.  It consists of old and new houses, a few small businesses, and an industrial side across the highway that has a lumber yard, storage facilities, and the recycling centre for the communities and the like.

To the East of Frank are Bellevue on the North side of the highway, and Hillcrest on the South side, and unfortunately, it too sits in the shadow of Turtle Mountain. (Which the First Nations people of the area had always called the Mountain that Walked – perhaps a foreshadowing that mining in its core was ill-advised... but I digress)

It has been known for a while that it is only a matter of time before the Eastern side will shake itself loose on Hillcrest.  Therefore, no further building is being done in the “condemned “ portion of the town, and those in the existing endangered portion are hesitant to renovate.

Bellevue is overlooking Turtle Mountain from a respectable distance, and is fairly well populated, and has a small commercial section with an awesome ice cream shop, post office, convenience store, and a couple other local businesses.


Meanwhile, going West of Frank, you get to Blairemore which is where the majority of the commerce is found in Crowsnest Pass.  It is an old fashioned, slow pace, friendly community that is very welcoming to locals, and visitors alike.

The Western-most community of the 5 is Coleman.  It is the one with the highest population, a bit of commerce,  and also the most widely spread of the 5.

Today, Ken and I decided to go for lunch, then explore Coleman, and then on to Crowsnest Lake.

Coleman looks very much like it did when it was established.  There are some newer buildings interspersed with the old, but it quite successfully respects its past and retains its links to the past.  We went to lunch at a place called Chris and Irvin’s Restaurant.  (Chris’ Restaurant to the locals)

It felt like walking into Molly’s Reach (if you ever ventured to watch Beach Combers in the 70’s).  It is a popular, bustling place that looks like it has been well maintained, but maintains the nostalgic air of 1975 when it opened (except for the debit machine).


Outside the restaurant in Coleman ... and inside ...


toward the kitchen ... and looking down a typical Coleman street.

(please feel free to check out my album for the rest of the shots)

After driving through Coleman, we drove a few kms west on the highway to the rest stop at Crowsnest Lake.  It was very windy, and we were witness to the “catcher’s net” at the bottom of the mountain at the roadside, prevent a small boulder (about the size of a 10 pin bowling ball) and then we watch the dust settle off it for the next couple minutes.  Again, it is a beautiful area, but pictures will tell better than I:


This is a set of communities that would feel quite homey if it weren’t for the constant winds through the mountains, and (where we are staying) the constant roar of traffic.  That, as well as the fact that it fairs about as well as the rest of Alberta when it comes to winter - keep us from settling in the area. 

The other day, we went out to Beaver Mines Lake and looked around.  It was a respectable enough area, but it paled compared to the welcoming feel of Allison Lake (also called Chinook Lake on many maps, but the locals have always known it as Allison.  What the province wants to call it is their business).

Unfortunately, thus far, due to winds and such, we have been unable to launch the kayaks.  It is my goal sometime this summer to get the outside at least as wet as the seat has gotten so far from the rains.

Well, I hope this has been excursion enough for now, it surely ensured solid sleeping for me :-)

So with that, I will bid you


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Alison Lake

We had an absolutely marvelous day today.  We got some laundry done, replaced a vent cap which we noticed to be missing while in Three Hills. Tried out a new baby generator for the camper, re-bungeed the plastic on my kayak, put a security block on the trailer hitch, and then stopped for a late lunch.

We then went over to my girlfriend's house to hang out.  We spontaneously decided to take a drive up to 

Alison Lake just a bit Northwest of Coleman (which is the Western-most town in the Community of Crowsnest Pass.)

We drove quite a way up and in toward the actual Crowsnest Mountain.  A fair chunk of the latter part of the trip was gravel road, and steep downgrade, but groomed well enough.

The trip was well worth it, and we saw a beautiful small lake and I wound up taking about 71 shots.  It is part of a Provincial campsite ($15 per night, nothing included except sporadic hand pump water, and outhouses).  They do have decent pull through sites though - unlike the place we went in Kananaskis.

I will attach some pictures, but to grasp it better, I will also link to my album.

Some highlight shots - including one indicating exactly the previously mentioned camera malfunction - shutter guard partial opening: 


Malfunctioning ..... Then flicked to behave at a later point of the trip.


Also neat on the outing, toward the end of the walk about, we were graced by both a hawk, and an eagle circling around, looking for fish.  (they had good odds as it is a stocked lake)

The hawk eventually caught a fish, but then circled low as if to show off his catch before heading off to his nest to eat it.


And this is a shot from the parking lot of the day camp looking at Crowsnest Mountain.  The boulder line at the edge of the driveway marks where you go down to the lake.

After all that, we went out to a popular restaurant in Frank for wings night.  We only indulged in a small plate of wings, and ordered from the regular menu.  The servings were huge, and the food was awesome.  Rarely do I need a doggy-bag, but this time qualified!!

Anyway, it is getting late again, the evening is cool, but pleasant, and so I will bid you


Monday, June 22, 2009

And The Rain Came Down.

We did replace the batteries and it seems to have made a difference.

The weather turned to cold rain in the late afternoon yesterday, and it poured down all night and continues at varying rates all today.  We are settled in and cozy in our water only site, and are doing well.  

We also picked up an inverter so that we can use the dc sockets in the fifth wheel for little things like keeping the laptops charged for posting and email.  This was a vast improvement.

One other big improvement in our situation is the trimming of Midnight.  Glory is seen below giving the clipping a critical review.  :-) 


By the way, it was noted that between the 2 animals, we have the early shifts covered. (Although I call her Glory, my son had named her Morning and I supplemented with Glory.)  Between Midnight and Morning, we have the start of the day well represented, but I digress...

Also, I have been wanting to post some picture which between batteries, shared aircard, camera download time, and just plain procrastination, I haven't gotten to it, so here the shot are:


This is Mack, fully loaded and ready to head to Bellevue.


This is looking west from the campsite in Bellevue.  The right shot is looking across our site to Turtle Mountain. (That would be the one that fell on the town of Frank at the turn of the last century.)

It really is a great site when looking for a good boondock location.  Not all sites have water, but there are many taps scattered around the area, and there are about 20 sites to park.  They are level, and well groomed, there is a handy free sewer dump at the entrance in walking distance for any one with a blue boy, and the only real draw back is that it is right beside the highway.  As the Crowsnest Highway (#3) is not lacking in traffic, it is noticeable, but a good pair of ear plugs compensates effectively.  :-)  After all, the price is right.

You can't miss it as you approach it, it is marked by a crow in a tree tending a baby in a nest. (Gee, I wonder why they chose that imagery??)


As an added bonus, last Saturday, Hillcrest (the town across the highway) was hosting some sort of fireworks display.  My camera is starting to malfunction, but I did get one little shot from the back corner of the 5th wheel.

I think I will have to retire the old Sony Cybershot 5.0, but considering at last calculation, I estimate it to be about 7 or 8 years old, I can hardly fault it.  My Mother has gone through 3 Kodaks in that time.  It is leaving the shutter open too long more often, blurring shots that I know I was stationary for, and a fair lot of the time the shutter guard opens only half way.  It sure has done an amazing job up until now though!!  I think I will try to replace with another Sony, but I will have to do some shopping around before deciding.

Anyway, the night is settling into a cool greyness (rain free for now) and I am going to hanker in, so now, I bid you 


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Moving Right Along

We relocated to a semi-dry camp site.  It has no immensities except water at some sites including ours.  We have been here 2 nights, and it is going well.  

However, we are going to replace our batteries today as the lights fade in the evening when they have only been on 1/2 hour, and the carbon monoxide detector keeps indicating low voltage.  

We ran the genset for 2 hours yesterday, so there was no reason for the drop.  

More later, but for now, I bid you


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Need for Prayers and the Power Of Positive Input

I just got some very sad news from a friend who is as close as a sister to me.  She and her family became mine right around the time that I was proverbially growing my adult feathers and preparing to fly the nest for the first time.

Through her, I adopted a Mother in hers. (To clarify, I am also very close to my own Mother, but I am the type of person who collects Mother figures, and her Mom was and is the finest of quality person.)

So I got an email from my sister-friend telling me that Mom (hers) has been diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.  The prognosis is poor, and apparently a large woman is now half who she was 3 months ago.

I don't reach much into my faith and belief system on this blog, but I am a believer in Christ, and the salvation offered through accepting his sacrifice.  Mom's beliefs are close enough that I am comfortable in her salvation, but right now, I am more focused on the worldly realm.  I don't want to loose her so soon, and I ask any readers of faith to please include her in their prayers.  I will simply identify her as Elsie, for that sake.

My heart is heavy right now.  I am too far away to be of any help, and even if I was closer, I would still be helpless.  

... but hey, other than that, the sun is shining, the weather is warm, and provision is not lacking.  I will pray, and know that above all else, God's will be done.  (Whatever that brings, I will deal with it at the time when dealing is needed)

Thank you for any contributions to the good will effort on her behalf.  She too appreciates it.

And I guess it is the point for me to bid you


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Red Deer Rendez-Vous

As a follow-up to the suspension correction on Spirit, we needed (desperately) to do an alignment, and also noted that the shocks in the front end were definitely due for a replacement as well.  Immediately upon getting him home yesterday, we booked the procedure in Red Deer.

Now, by the form of co-incidence that only full-timers can be truly familiar, on our way home from our previous Red Deer excursion last Friday, we drove by a class A that had a very familiar appearance, and it was north bound on 21 when we were south bound, and nearly "home" (Three Hills being the current filler for this description).

Five minutes later when we were parked and groceries unloaded, I decided to follow my hunch, and called the cell of our former Oliver neighbours (my walking buddy from earlier posts) and inquired if they had per chance, passed Three Hills in the last 10 minutes.  Sure enough, it was them. :-)

.... After we called for the appointment, I called them back and asked if they were able to be in the area today during our appointment. (She had mentioned staying around Silvan Lake and Lacombe for the next little while when I had previously called.)  

So during our 3 1/2 hour adjustment on the truck (3 hours alone on the alignment) we were able to have a joyful reacquaintance with  these dear friends.  We brought Midnight along as he was too new to us to leave alone for that long - 6 hours including commuting).  As they were with us when we lost Max, they definitely did a double take on Midnight!!

In all it was a wonderful day of reunion and repair.  We will be staying one more day to wrap up that which we had hoped to complete when we got home.  Then we are off to Bellevue.

I am still dropping resumes as I go, and who ever answers first, determines our summer parking.  However, with all these finalities on Spirit, it would be very helpful to land something soon.

Faith is a wonderful gift, and I have enough to assure myself that this too, will come at just the right time.

And now, we are going to quietly wind down, and bid you


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Spirit's Return

The boy is back and it is safe to say that our Spirit is lifted :-)

I took the picture of the new look, then noticed that the only one I have of the old look is reversed. Thanks to digital technology, it was an easy tweak.

Look close in the wheel wells, and you will see the tire line on the profile of the chassis and note that there is definitely an improvement. The front was nearly at the top of the well previously, and in the rear, you could see the tire over the white part in the well.

The ride was much smoother now, and just for info sake, Midnight contentedly rode the centre seat in a calm, poised, well mannered fashion. (We really like this young fellow)

And the people sighed with contentment.

So I am off to brew a stew. (or something of relative similarity) so again, I bid you

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The transfer is complete.

We finished making the transfer of the cottage to Mack, then moved the kayaks to the roof of the cottage. I think it looks like a very compact all-in-one unit, wouldn't you say!! The only shot not reflected yet is the final step of attaching the utility trailer to the hitch on the ensemble, and that is due to occur by Thursday if things go well.

One of the minor details I have been pondering is the bed of the cottage. It is the typical over the cab style format, although I am grateful that it is front to back instead of side to side. Nonetheless, it is still a bother to deal with standard sheets as you always have to make the bed while on it.

The solution I came up with is to avoid the problem altogether. Instead, I have done the following: I first got a memory foam topper as I find they really make a difference in mattress comfort. I then put a mattress protector on, then a fitted sheet. After that, for mattress cosmetics (the mattress is always viewable in the "public portion" of the camper when the curtain isn't drawn, but drawing the curtain shrinks the already compact living space.) I put a blanket that I crocheted on top of the fitted sheet and tucked it fully under both ends of the mattress to secure it.

The next step is the part that makes the difference. I took 2 flat sheets and attached snaps to the foot end, and thereby secured them to each other instead of to the mattress. I now have created a sheet version of a double sleeping bag. I might put a few snaps up the side, but the amount required for comfort will be easier to determine as we use the set up. Now sheet changes will be easy.

The reason I used snaps instead of just permanently attaching them together is that the washing machine that I have for the cottage is the manual "wonder washer", and although it can handle both together, the wringer dryer can only take one sheet at a time, so they must be separable.

That is topped by our goose down duvet. Set as such, we should not encounter any unnecessary chilling.

And so the tweaking and tuning of the roving acres continues.

As for the crew adjustments, we are getting closer to defining the role of our new member, Midnight. He seems to have taken on the position of Greeter. When Ken's daughter and family came over, he came to attention, then happily bounded between them and showered them with attention. Now do note, he is a poodle, and he did not launch into a barking fit at the new arrivals. To be sure, this is an unheard of precedent set!! (Did I mention he is ... how would you state in G rated acceptability(?) ... in tact?!) Definitely a trait worth passing on.

On that note, I must be off to run some errands, so I will bid you


Sunday, June 14, 2009


I am pleased to introduce our newest crew member.  As followers may be aware, we lost our beloved voyage critic # 1 due to age related maladies. 

Apparently, it is not God’s will that we continue with our mismatched crew.

While in Cereal for a week we chanced to cross paths with a family who were also full timing.  They were in a class A with a trio of dogs.  They were content with 2, but the third arrived when her mother had to move into assisted living.

They were doing alright with the arrangement, but when we half in humour implied that he would always be welcome with us, the ball was rolling.  I gave him our card, and we thought that was the end of it.

Yesterday we got a call from an unrecognized Saskatchewan number, and low and behold, there was a little boy who was available for relocation.  Today, we went down to a campground near Drumheller to reacquaint with his family.

Ken is the dog person in the family, but of course, I love all members.  Nonetheless, the intention is for the bond to be with him.  We have decided that difficult though it is, for the first while, I am going to ignore him and just let Ken interact with him.  That way, the bond will be encouraged in the preferred direction.

As for Glory, we settled her into the bedroom and gave it a couple of hours where they knew each other was there, but were completely out of each other’s range.  I then closed the glass slider between the kitchen and the living room, and gave Glory a great cuddle, then let her loose into all but the living room.

They have seen each other, and other than curious sniffing at the door’s threshold for each other’s scent, there has been no kerfuffle.

Later, I will test the final grounds and see how the final connection goes.

So without further adieu, I introduce the latest addition to the crew roster:, Midnight.

He is 5, he is well adjusted to RV life, has great manners and training,and seems to be a great addition to our ensemble.

I must say, it is now 3 hours since Midnight stepped into our home.  Look at this.  Glory has not said a single expletive, only a couple inquiring mews.  


So now I shall head off to feed the 2 legged crew members and will now give you the further...

Adieu :-)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Conclusion on teaser for today :-)

I have often said that life is what happens while you are busy making plans, and today was no exception.

Originally, we were going to transfer the cottage to Mack so that we can prepare Smokey for sale.  Then we remembered that our night shifter had only 1 full day and night off, so we went with the plan of the last post..... Then finally concluded in the plan C version of the day.  :-)

While we let our family members get organized, we did manage to transfer the mopeds to the rack which we moved from the back of the 5th wheel to the nose of Mack thanks to the recently attached nose hitch.  It looks great and travels well, but if we do any night moves, we might need to supplement the lighting and signals just in case.

The Arboretum (spelling corrected upon sight of the sign in Trochu) was postponed as we wanted to spend more time at the next stop, the TL Bar Ranch Campground.  The idea with this local is that you can dry camp, trail ride, canoe (or in our case, kayak), hike, or just hang out.

We decided that we might just take the cottage out for a go some time this summer.  The gals of our group are keen on a trail ride.  The guys are more inclined to hang back on the idea, but it sounds like they might be persuaded....

In the meantime, we took some neat shots of the area.  Again, I will link to my photo album, but highlight some of the pictures 'cause I like the look of colour on the pages :-)

For example:


Two of the friendly staff we met


River scenery (you could see minnows and clam shells in the water) and on the left was the training session for this year's trail ride staff.

As for kayaking, it too was postponed until we first scoped out the site, and besides, time was limited, and the transfer is currently more complicated than our schedule allowed.

And as for the aisle my Step-Granddaughter had planned, it was a tragic bust.  This unavoidable disappointment is brought on by the bizarre notion that bowling alleys are no longer needed to be open once the summer season arrives (??!!???)  Okay, yes, it is an alley, not an aisle, but they are close in meaning after all....

So tomorrow we will get the cottage placed, the kayaks moved over to its roof, and then we shall see what else can be added to the itinerary. 

And as I glance at the clock and see how quickly tomorrow approaches, I bid you


Today's prospects

You never know what a day will hold, but today is Ken's daughter's last day off this week, and so we are hoping to take in the Trochu Arborium, (tree garden) and perhaps, finally taking the kayaks to a meander in a nearby river for the maiden voyage of the kayaks.

..... but time will tell what the day actually does hold, so stay tuned.  If my Step-Granddaughter succeeds in her hope in a shared activity, we could possibly end with a trip down the aisle.  (She in only a mid-teen awesome young lady, and unattached, so I will leave you hanging on this puzzle. Tune in for our next episode for the exciting conclusion on this post)  ;-)

With question marks well positioned for the day, I now bid you


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Hiccoughs and Horsing Around

First off, Ken has finished the fridge panel for the cottage, as you can see:

I am very proud of that man, you know. He is quite a fabricator!! :-)

Second thought of the day: We have hit another tweaking needed on Spirit. He has been bottoming out on the slightest of bumps on the highways, and especially with the new deeper tranny pan, it is very concerning.

We have taken it to a place a bit outside town which specializes in shock and suspension. They took one look, and determined that the suspension had been lowered (!!???!!) Considering the previous owner bought it to tow a fifth wheel, it is rather boggling all our minds - Ken's, mine, and the shocks specialist.

There should be at least another 3-5 inches clearance, so right now, there is nothing but rubber to give a bit of "koosh" over the bumps. I think the old buckboards were smoother.

Anyway, it should be all better by Thursday.

On a lighter side, I went with Ken's daughter to the stable. We had a really good time. She has a filly that is just over a year, and an older girl who has had disabling health issues that were undiagnosed by the previous owners, as well as some less appropriate training. She is well on her way to healthy and is learning trust and training in a much more appropriate manner. It is going to take time, but both should be ridable with patience and love.

There are other horses in the pastures, and it is a joy to watch them come on over when they notice people approaching from the high pastures. As you can see, they come a long way for a bit of attention :-)

As we were getting close to departure, they all started yawning. It was quite the giggle seeing it. Apparently, yawns are as contagious among horses as it is among people. Take a look at this :-)

So sorry, was I boring you!!??? LOL

Well, having put the horses to sleep with this post, I think I will bid you,


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Settled for the Week

We are booked in our site in Three Hills until Thursday.  While here, we are going to take it easy, get some tweaking done, and take in a bit of the hulla-ballou as well as have some family time.

I missed when it was most showy, but this is a not bad shot of our view out the passenger side living room window.

The nice thing about a rig with slides like ours is that there is room for a variety of working in it that can be accommodated. For instance, Ken has some important woodworking to be done, but it is raining.  Solution?

Set up the workbench in the kitchen, and have at 'er!!  :-)

This particular project is replacing the outside fridge panel off the cottage.  It decided to leave us somewhere on our journey back from Bellevue, and now resides somewhere south of Strathmore.  We now have an exposed outlet and outer workings of the fridge.  Ken is making a vented panel out of 1/4 inch plywood with hinges and a latch, and a series of 1/4 inch drilled holes for ventilation. (A 1/8 inch pilot hole was done first, and the holes are at a 45 degree angle downward for weather guarding.)  It will be painted white to match the camper.

This Saturday, Three Hills hosts an event known as a Show and Shine (I believe it is actually a car world's version of a rodeo circuit as I know Oyen hosts one too, later in the year)  Car buffs can follow them around all summer, I suppose :-).  Early signs of the day weren't too hopeful, but by 1 pm, it had cleared away the rain and hail to be respectable.  Although I am more inclined to trucks, I took a rounded selection of shots for you to traipse through. 

All can be viewed on the link, but here is a nibble.

It was well presented.  I had to laugh though, there was an old beater beetle there that from the front, I just didn't see why it was showing, but on our way out, I happened to walk behind it, and I saw a bumper sticker on it that just made me giggle.

(You will probably have to click on the picture to view it closely enough to read.  Here's hoping it works on the cops, LOL)

In the evening, they let off fireworks, but we were already hunkered down in bed, having also filled the day with workshop stuff, and I helped out on the farm where Ken's daughter boards her horse.

We were shuffling around the horses, pairing a potential breeding pair, moving 2 moms and foals to a different pasture, (and stopping to deworm the foals before turning them loose), fixing some fences, moving some oat mix, and general barn work.  Ken had a chuckle when I returned.  He took a picture, but it is a bit blurry.  Probably a reflection of my exhaustion :-)

Anyway, we are off to visit the family again this afternoon, so I will bid you,


Friday, June 5, 2009

Power to The People

Okay, so we have been a bit busy since I tagged in.

First off, I got a few shots of the burnt out power plant:

This shot accents to me how far out the charring reached during the fire

These 2 shots show what little is left of the plant.


We did take Spirit over with his generator, and we ran it for a few hours to get the fridge back up to temperature.  The powers that be decided to just hook into the main grid of Three Hills, and I guess they were able to accomplish that by very late that night.  All was well, no contents were lost, and crisis was over come.

Meanwhile, we decide that we were nonetheless, going to go down to Bellevue, as we still needed to get the cottage and Smokey back to the Roving Acres.

We left Tuesday morning, and took our time on the trip.  We stopped in Nanton AB as Ken and I really like "the old birds" of WWII and they have a really neat museum there with a Lancaster bomber and several other static displays there.

We spent about an hour and a half just wandering through.  Among the displays inside and away from the actual birds was a section about the Great Escape of POWs from German capture. (There was a movie made about it if you haven't heard about it.)  When one thinks about the details, the ingenuity, logistics, and all else that was involved while under strict supervision of enemy soldiers, the mind boggles!!

After that we simply meandered down to Bellevue and stayed 2 days before bringing both trucks home.  There was no longer a need to go to Nelson for the generator, so that trip would be saved for another day.

The scenery along Highway 22, heading towards Highway 3 is very breath taking.  It truly is the foot hill region.  I was able to snap 2 shots on the fly, but it is amazing how you have lush hilly green pastures with mountains wedged between the hills.  If it weren't for cold winters, I would consider it a really good place for permanence. 


These shots are somewhere south of the Chain Lakes half way between the 22 junction with 533 and the 22 junction with the 3. There were better shots, but the camera was never handy at the right time.

Anyway, we are back in Three Hills and holding ground for the next week anyway.  Tomorrow is supposed to be the Show and Shine (a car show that engulfs the community and its roads) but in its honour, the rains that have long been awaited, have arrived with gusto!! (Oh yeah, and did I mention that they are predicting snow as a possibility??!!!)

One more set of shots for you, this is the re-assembled Roving Acres.


I am now heading out into the cottage to plug in a heater so the lines don't freeze.

With that, I will bid you