La Vie en Rose . . . Then, We Blew our Top!

We left Saskatoon on December 11.  It was about 34F (1C), but in a couple of hours it had climbed to 43F (6C).  The little Chinook was living up to its reputation of being a snow melter!  Before we had reached Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, all the snow was gone.  The roads were dry the whole way to Lethbridge, AB.  Driving this late in the season is a surreal experience.  It looked like fall, but the sun was low and glaring.  Just past Medicine Hat, we were both blinded by the sun and neither of us saw a big wood pallet on the highway.   Eek!  We ran over it.  What a lot of noise!  Paul pulled over when it was safe, but there didn’t appear to be damage.  After a few more miles, he pulled over again, just to be sure.  We think all is well.

Lethbridge is a gorgeous city with coulees all around.  Unfortunately, it is also incredibly windy.  It certainly lived up to its reputation again.  I barely slept.  The wind was so noisy.  It sounded like it wanted to break in.  We’ve experienced plough winds before when camping, so I am cautious.  Lots of small branches came down, but nothing major.  Phew.

The sunrise was spectacular. La vie en rose?


What a lovely pink morning!  It was already 45F (7C) by the time we left. It must have been the Chinook.

We crossed into the US at Coutts AB – Sweetgrass MT.  I had special International Health Certificates for the girls, but the guard did not ask for them.  He also didn’t ask to see their food.  It was a pleasant crossing, and the Duty Free shop had excellent prices, so we stocked the liquor cabinet (basically, it’s crammed where it fits — space is at a premium).  4L for $49.

The wind stayed with us all day.  Paul was exhausted keeping the Chinook going straight.  We pulled into the rest stop past Shelby MT.  What a treat that was!  It was a new facility.  Outside, there was a street sweeper cleaning the parking lot.  Inside, there was a wall of doors — each one leading to a private WC, complete with toilet, sink, and a little strap-in chair to hold small children while mom took care of business.  However, upon our arrival, the air conditioner shroud blew off!  We had just got out of the vehicle when the wind took it sailing!  Thank goodness we weren’t on the highway.  Fortunately, I had seen an RV dealer right where we pulled off, so $200 US later, we have a new shroud.

Poppy wore her Thunder Shirt most of the way.  I think she had a breakthrough this time.  She was still so nervous, but she left us for a while and climbed up on our backpacks and pillows and hunkered down for a few hours.


Too bad the last picture is blurry, but she almost looks happy up on the back of the sofa, wedged between the Thermarest mattress, pillow, and sheepskin.  Maybe she’ll almost start enjoying the ride.  We can hope.

We are staying the night in Helena MT.  It’s surprising how many campgrounds stay open year round.  We have hot showers and electricity.  Life is good.

Chinook: The Snow Melter

Introducing our 2002 Chinook Destiny


Back in July, when our life couldn’t get crazier, I found this little darling on Craigslist in Abbotsford, BC.  IMG_4473IMG_4460IMG_4463IMG_4464IMG_4466

There is a background story, as there usually is.  A few years ago, I started looking for a small motorhome that I could take on summer adventures with the dogs when Paul was working.  I had already decided to practice retirement by taking summers off.  Yes, I could take the Airstream, but it was too much trailer for me to take alone.  The thought of backing it up by myself frightened me.  Yes, I did take my little boler on solo adventures, but I must admit, I missed the amenities of my Airstream.

About 3 years ago, I narrowed my search to a Vixen.  One day, I was driving to work early in the morning.  Thank goodness there wasn’t any traffic, because I got totally distracted by what looked like a massive Delorean.  I had just enough time to catch its name.  I even joined the Vixen Owner’s Association to help me find one.  I wrote about meeting a member of the club here:

Alas, I could not find a reasonable Vixen, but I knew I wanted something fibreglass.  Then, I discovered Chinook motorhomes late last summer, and the search was on.  From October 2016 – June 2017, I only saw 3 for sale in all of Canada.  When this one was listed, I knew it was my Destiny (pun intended).  I sent a deposit immediately, and Paul booked a one-way plane ticket to Abbotsford.  It was just as beautiful as the pictures, so he drove it home.  I prefer my wines oaky, but not my furnishings.  Nevertheless, this is a lovely motorhome.

The day after he arrived home, my boler sold, so it was a bittersweet day.  I owned my boler for 19 years, and I feel it contributed to defining who I am today.  The following week, we attended the annual bolerama (Prairie Egg Gathering), but this time with a moulded fibreglass motorhome.

People often wonder if we are going to sell the Airstream.  I believe I will always have an Airstream — maybe not the one we have, but I love Airstreams.  Our current Airstream is a little small for full-time living.  The Chinook is just a fun little getaway B+ van.  However, we have decided to take the Chinook rather than the Airstream down into Mexico this winter.  It will be more nimble.

On December 4, I finished my last day of work.  Student numbers were higher than expected, so I had to return for one final term.  On December 11, we left Saskatoon to start our soft retirement.  Our little Snow Melter will take us away this winter!