Frugal RVing In South States - Ebooks

Monday, July 27, 2009

Contracting As A Sideline

Today, due to a referral from family, Ken and I spent the day on a farm making ramps to enter a barn, and a slightly raised tack / feed room. It was industrious work, and we getting better all the time at working as a team.

The outcome was quite acceptable and it gave the pocket a little better lining. :-)
Upon arriving home, I took Midnight for a quick stroll, and provided him the opportunity to check his P-mail, and as I was returning him into the cool of the 5th wheel, our neighbour across the "street" asked if I knew much about spreadsheets, preferably Excel.

I told him I had a bit of experience, and asked what he was attempting to do. Working with the theory that, "A picture is worth a thousand words", I went to take a look at the problem, tweaked and fiddled a bit, and now have a client for document formatting.

I am very pleased with the blessings of this day, Ken re-established his semi-retired hire-ability, and I have dipped into a pool in which I too enjoy working. It is actually a direction I would enjoy expanding, but until word gets around, being mobile makes it a bit challenging to establish a clientele for our available skills. Nonetheless, between Ken and I, there is a broad scope of possibilities we could be hired to do.

With any luck, today is just a mark of things to come......

So with satisfaction and contentment, I bid you


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Casual Day

We finished moving the bike rack to Smokey's nose just before noon, and the temperature hit the mid 80's.

We headed to the shade after that, and just had a quite afternoon visiting our neighbours and having a fun social afternoon.

I was going to bake bread, but opted out due to the heat. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow.

I am hoping that next week we can find a lake that Ken's daughter says is nearby and finally get the boats wet!!

Other than that, what can I say, all's well :-)

So I will pick a shady spot to chill with an iced tea and bid you,


Modifying The Roving Acre Assembly Order

Well, musical chairs continues. We are now putting the utility trailer, camper ensemble, and bikes on Smokey again.

He is very capable of pulling the load, and we will hopefully get a lease transfer for Mack some time before the year is up on his lease. If not, he goes back to the dealer anyway, so he might just as well not have the gear on now.

I have to help get the bike rack on Smokey's nose now, so I bid you,


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Settling Inn

Well, the untrained solo flight at the B shift (3 - 11) went well, and I am really getting the hang of my more predominant shift, the dreaded "graveyard" or Night Audit.

The duties fit me to a T, but I have never preferred the late hours. I am doing well with it though, as I am only picking up a couple shifts a week. It should at least be enough to cover pad fees, anyway.

We seem to be riding another random thought train, so bear with it. That's what comes from writing at 6 am, I suppose.. but I digress....

We continue to try to thin out the truck stock, and have had a nibble each on Mack, and Smokey, but they both backed away just when our hopes were lifting. (Both are good trucks, but 2 people really don't need 3 vehicles to drive, after all....) Mack would be a lease transfer, and Smokey would be an outright sale. I am actually favouring Mack's departure because even though I really like him, he brings a continual monthly hit that would not be missed. Now that Spirit is running well, he is redundant.

Some time in the near future, we hope to do a day trip to Sundre to visit another set of friends. I am still hoping that next year I can find a job as a camp host, but for now this is working out alright.

On the home front, Midnight is fully settled in and blended into the family, and Glory is getting a bit bolder about coming down the steps to see what the world holds. It is comforting though, to see that if anything spooks her, she immediately bolts for the stairs and door.

Anyway, my break is over, so I will bid you


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Friends Revisited

I got off shift at 7am on Sunday morning and when I got in the door, decided that I just had to grab a quick nap before I could wrap my brain around hitch drills. Ken was not eager to get up yet anyway, so at 9:30 we got up and got started.

We got in to Bellevue around 4:30 and were immediately greeted by our dear former neighbours. It very quickly felt like we had never parted. If I were to caravan with anyone, they would be the ones!!

We arrived just as the roads were drying from what was apparently a significant dump of rain.

The next day, I came out and immediately invited my old walking buddy out for a stroll. It was sunny, but darker clouds hovered over Turtle Mountain. Since that is where the weather comes from, we figured we should go now or forget it.

And off we went, heading directly to my Bellevue girlfriend's house, and just as I guessed, the two got on like old friends.

Thunder, lightening and rain interrupted our sit on her patio, so we went in. We took a quick drive into Blairemore to let her sister's dogs in. They are well sheltered in their pens, but one doesn't think much of these types of storms.

We were then dropped off at the RV site, and my local friend headed off to appointments. Ken and I then returned to Frank and Blairemore to return bottles to the depot, and pick up some grocery and sundry before heading back. Since I needed to get milk, I also picked up a rotisserie chicken and some potato salad, and since the rain started to really take itself seriously, we called a matinee day. We made popcorn, cranked over the generator, and settled in for 3 movies, and had a wonderful dinner with dear friends.

Today we took a quick jog in to Pincher Creek to drop off some things to the storage locker, and grabbed a couple others. The weather held off until after we got back and unloaded. Then it decided to soak us down again.

Tomorrow we get haircuts, then head back in the late morning so I can be back to Three Hills in time to get ready for Thursday's 3 - 11 shift at the hotel. I would definitely say that in spite of the weather, it has been an awesome trip.

Now again, I bid you


Friday, July 10, 2009

On The Job

Well, I have completed 2 shifts under supervision, and the next one tonight is in theory, a solo, although I believe Ken's daughter will swing by to check on the night audit portion. (Thanks, gal!!)

It seems I am catching on well, so I am content. The night shift responsibilities are among my favourite processes, as is felt by many night auditors, but I am never fond of the time. However, as it is only 2 nights per week and one afternoon preceding it, I don't foresee any matters of burnout.

Sunday we head back to Bellevue to connect with our former Oliver neighbours. It will be great to see them again.

And so I head off to gather some food stuffs for one of my sporadic meals that comes from night shifting. I now bid you


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Back In Three Hills

We headed back today around 1 to ensure due hugs and byes were issued.

We stopped in Hanna for a bite, then boogied on down Highway 9. Just before we hit the big ditch which highway 9 travellers will be familiar (coolies for prairie folk) the heavy dark clouds started dumping their contents in Costco bulk volumes. A mark of heavy rain and wind is when you are going down an 8% grade hill, and you are watching the water on the road stream up hill.

That and high wipers not accomplishing an effective sweep of the windscreen, you just know that the attempts to end the drought are at least sincere on this day.

(And so the tangent is found.....)

I have actually been told by a lifer from the Palliser Triangle (during the thirties it was the drought triangle) that it is actually drier than it was in the thirties, but the improved farming practices have improved the moisture retention.

Apparently, according to his father, back then, the area still got heavy snowfalls, so that even on a low rain spring and summer, there was the melt that provided moisture. For years now, there is nearly no snow to supplement the lack of rain.

So for now, let it pour!!

Well, I start my training shift in an hour and a half. Wish me luck as I bid you


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Roving Acre Going in Circles

Let's do a quick recount:
  • We wintered in Oliver - 7 months - left May 18
  • Leaving Oliver, 2 days in Revelstoke (18 & 19), 1 in the Kananaskis (20)
  • Heading to Ken's father's place, 5 day stop in Three Hills visiting family (21 - 25)
  • Landed in Cereal for undetermined duration (26 - 30)
  • Prairie Bible College power plant explodes, early departure for Three Hills to bring genset to family (June 1)
  • Dash down to Bellevue originally to head to Nelson to borrow second genset from other daughter, but power crisis averted by connecting to main grid. Instead, to Bellevue to pick up Smokey and Camper to reunite components of Roving Acres (June 2 & 3)
  • Back to Three Hills for visit and regroup. (4-21)
  • Down to Bellevue for promised visit with local friend as all previous visits were Bed, breakfast, and Business. Time to actually say hello and sit down. ( 22- 29)
  • Back to Three Hills (30 - July 4)
  • Back to Cereal to see Ken's Dad (5 - 7)
Tomorrow we will return to Three Hills, which is now establishing itself as our summer home. We return so early because I have been offered a part time position at a local hotel to do night audits, and occasional afternoon shifts. That should satisfy our need for minor supplementing of income, and still provide the opportunity to explore on my off shifts. (Thanks to my unnamed champion of my employment search)

(oh, and BTW, July 12 - 15 Back to Bellevue to connect with the Oliver neighbours for a bit of a camp-out)

I don't know why, but for some reason, it seems we just keep going around in circles...... but I digress...

Still on the "to do" list:
  • Check in to Sundry to catch up with friends from Oliver (different ones than earlier mentioned)
  • Find some lake where we can wet the bottoms of the kayaks
  • Day trip to Banff
  • Check out Lake Louise
  • Explore unnamed mountains and streams
Ah, well another day, another post.

It is late, and I must prep for shifting to a different sleep cycle so I bid you


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Red Deer Revisited

For those following our adventures, we recently fixed up our fairly newly purchased 2001 Dodge Ram Diesel Duelly.

Apparently, for some reason that eludes us, the previous owners had lowered the suspension, and as the alteration didn't show up in the Carfax report, I assume that it was done either at home or by a backyard mechanic. The end result was that the tires' turning radius was decreased, and the the only "give" in the suspension was from the rubber between the metal parts.

And so we had the suspension restored to normal, and then we took the truck to a shop in the North end of Red Deer to install new shocks, and do an alignment. It took longer than usual, but afterall, we had a great visit with our former Oliver neighbours, so no big deal, right?......

Not quite. We left for for Bellevue, a 4 hour (plus lunch stop) trip, tripped around for 11 days, and returned back to Three Hills. All the while, Ken was noting a strange crunching or banging type feel/sound when turning the wheels in slow speed turns. Because of this, the same day we arrived back in Three Hills, he took it back to the wonderful fellows in Trochu for their opinion on the cause.

They joined Ken for a test drive, then checked and found that the bolts that were supposed to secure the idler arm were left dangerously loose. It could have caused us to crash, and when pulling the 36' fifth wheel, the results could have been fatal to more that just us!!

He tightened the loose bolts and immediately called the Red Deer shop, informed them of their grievous error, and demanded that they take the truck back in and redo the alignment properly.

Once we had the job completed, he wanted us to return to the Trochu shop and he would confirm the work was done properly. We showed him the alignment read-out, and then he rechecked the bolts. He was still able to torque the most awkwardly located bolt a quarter turn. Nonetheless, we are completely assured that the job is now done safely, and there was no bill for the redo.

It is frightening to know how the Red Deer shop could neglect such a serious matter. Especially since alignments shouldn't take more than an hour, and they took over 3 hours. One would think a reasonable mechanic would wonder why it wasn't working after the first hour and a quarter, and recheck the earlier job, but I digress....

Even then, they still didn't get it just right, and they noted that to us back when the job was first done. They said they suspected something about the tires.

So we are now driving safely, and breathing better for it. We are holding ground until either Sunday or Monday. Then we will be taking just the cottage ensemble (Mack, camper, bikes, kayaks, and utility trailer) back to Cereal to visit family for a few days.

So that brings us up to date, and I bid you


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Frank Slide Interpretive Centre

Two days ago, as a wrap up to our current visit to the Crowsnest Pass region, we decided to take in the newly revised Frank Slide Interpretive Centre.

It was a very well laid out centre. It has many photographs, audio stations, and scale models representing the region, and events.

There is a theatre that plays a 20 minute docu-drama recounting the events just prior to and including 4:10 am April 29, 1903, and the immediate aftermath.

There are also several lookout points to view the fallout field. I took a picture of a before shot that was recently created, as well as an after shot, so you can get a feel for how much of the mountain came down.

Recreated Before shot ...... After shot

This is one of the cottages that a miner family was living in, and the right shot is a map of the slide area, and what actually got hit. It seems that the town at the time had a population of 600 people, so that only 100 were in harm's way is a mazing. It is still tragic that only 23 of them survived.

It was noted that (all, I'm sure, but one specific quote) one of the miner's wife always worried about her husband when he went into the mine, but the only miners killed during the slide while on shift were the 3 who were taking a lunch break just outside the mouth of the mine when the slide occurred. The others, 17 in all, were able to dig themselves out. As for the wife of the afore-mentioned miner, she and her children were killed at home. The husband was one of the 17 who survived inside the mine.

See my album for my other shots.

And so ended our stay in Bellevue. We are now back in Three Hills, and enjoying power, water and sewer hook-ups :-)

Other occurrences since our return yesterday will wait until the next post.

So for now I bid you,