A 4-Leaf Clover

May 26 – 28, 2018

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On Saturday, we went to a small town (Dutton, ON) after leaving Can-Am. Honestly, it really was a strange feeling. We were not newbies, but everything felt so safe at Can-Am, and now we were heading out with our new shiny Atomic Pod – on the 401! That first campground was way too expensive, but it gave us a chance to fill up our freshwater tank and do laundry.

Then, on Sunday, we crossed at the Windsor-Detroit border ($12.50 to cross the bridge with a truck and trailer). No questions were asked about the dogs. The guard just inspected the trailer. Strangely, he checked under the duvet. Paul had to wait outside, so he couldn’t see where the guard poked around, but the bedding was pulled back.

We found a state park in Ohio at around 7 pm, approximately 1.5 hours from Jackson Center, but it was Memorial Day weekend. The park host said the park was full, and we really needed an electric site to run the AC. Wow! It was so hot and HUMID! We only ran the AC on our previous Airstream 3 times in 10 years! The host said that she’d ask her husband if he knew of a site that someone had vacated in the morning.

While we were waiting, I found a 4-leaf clover! Never in my life had I found one. Things were looking up!

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The man drove around on his gator and found a site – one of the nicest in the park. So, off we went to follow him. Paul parked that big 30 footer like a boss! In no time, we had both of those air conditioners humming, and water was pouring out of the AC drain hose. That evening they showed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on an outdoor screen. What fun!

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We left in the morning, and we had some stops to make for supplies. Was the 4-leaf clover still going to cover us for the day? Oh yeah! When we got to Jackson Center, we asked if there were any cancellations for the event so that we could be parked on the factory grounds rather than overflow. We got a great spot. Woo hoo!

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We got to see Wally and Stella Byam’s gold Airstream as well as some other historically significant trailers.  Tomorrow (May 29) is the official check-in and the start to Alumapalooza.

 

Best.Sleep.Since.September.

May 24 & 25, 2018

We crossed the US-Canada border at approximate 10:15 am, which meant that we passed by Can-Am at around noon, but we only did a slow drive-by. We needed lunch. Our official pick-up was scheduled for Friday, so we didn’t know if we’d be able to accomplish much by arriving early, but we were given permission to sleep in the Airstream Thursday night. Our only glimpse all day was of the end of her in a bay. She was still getting her solar panels and extra batteries. We ordered 400 watts of solar and 4 AGM batteries. Some day, we’ll consider lithium batteries, but they are still too expensive. We also had upgraded Michelin tires installed, so she was getting a makeover of sorts.

It didn’t matter that we had to wait. We were in Airstream Wonderland, so all was well – very well, in fact. Ms. Bolerama got to see the new NEST! YES! It is even more wonderful in person than the pictures show. If only I could get one too! Some women love shoes, some purses, but my favorite accessory is a travel trailer! The NEST has glorious upholstery – the nicest of any Airstream I’ve seen. And when it’s robin’s egg blue with buttons, gasp! It had the same build quality that other Airstreams have. It also smelled like “new Airstream” – one of my favorite scents.

Airstream Wonderland had plenty of Airstream parts and goodies, so I spent a lot of time wandering around and touching things and doing some mental shopping.

The rest of the time, we spent in the lounge area. It was well equipped and well used. Can-Am is so busy! There are people in the lounge area waiting for service, or waiting for their walk-throughs, etc. It is pet-friendly, and they have a water bowl and treats. Humans have access to goodies too, but they don’t have to share a bowl. This is quite the operation. Our experience was so different than when we bought our first Airstream.

Just before 5:30 pm, they told us we could go see our Airstream. It was parked around the side, plugged in and connected to water. We were given a brief walk-through because Friday was our official one. Oh! It is so lovely! Then, we had to madly unload our totes from the truck and pile them outside the Airstream so that we could put the truck in the open section of the lot. The Airstream was in the blocked section, and we were going to get blocked in at 6 pm.

We started unpacking, but we were tired and hungry, and I was greatly disappointed in the Flying Cloud upper cabinets. I knew they’d be smaller than the International cabinets, but I wasn’t prepared for how small. We had to go eat dinner and rethink the kitchen, so we went down the road to a wonderful Italian restaurant. Afterwards, we were able to tackle the lack of kitchen storage.

I subscribe to a YouTube channel, The More We Explore, and the creators are a young full-timing couple who went from a 30ft Flying Cloud to a 23D International. We are doing the exact opposite. Anyway, when I saw them pack the kitchen of the 30 and put everything in the 23, I heard warning bells, but I also wondered if they just had less than we do. Well, we probably have more in our kitchen, but we left half of it in Wakaw. Oh my! The 23D has amazing storage, but the 30 has usable countertops and seems more functional, so it all balances.

Now, in the bedroom, there is no comparison. This bedroom rocks! There are wardrobes on either side of the bed, so it makes it cozy. Also, the curtains have black-out lining. The mattress is very comfortable, so we had such a solid sleep. I don’t even think I tossed or turned during the night. I finally got a full night’s sleep! I awoke refreshed, before my alarm, and ready for our walk-though!

A technician came right away and asked if there were any issues that needed attention, and he got to work immediately. Then, at 9 am, someone came for our truck to reinforce the hitch, and we cleared out of the Airstream so that the equalization system could be installed. We went to the lounge and had coffee and waited for our walk-through, etc. It was all very civilized and organized. Marshall came to get us to give us our walkthrough. He was incredibly thorough and knowledgeable, since he had been a tech at one time.

We explained to him that we’d like to remove our microwave to gain more storage and showed him pictures of our friends’ (Tracey and Derek’s) trailer:

IMG_7645We asked how we would go about ordering the doors to create a cabinet from Airstream. He said that they do this all the time – in house! They have their own carpenters and they can rebuild an entire interior or tweak an existing one. He set us up with one of the service advisors, and we are getting quotes for different configurations.

Can-Am exceeds all expectations!

We camped Friday night at Can-Am again.

On the second night, Daisy decide to do a little investigating.  She was so adorable, peeking into the new spaces.

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We will leave on Saturday and start heading to Ohio because we’re going to ALUMAPALOOZA!

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The Geographical Center of North America

May 21 & 22, 2018

On Monday, we left Wakaw, SK on our way to get our new Airstream at Can-Am in London, ON.  We made it to Brandon, MB and stayed at a lovely pet-friendly hotel.  This was Poppy’s first time in a hotel, and she behaved herself quite well.  She was so happy to get out of the vehicle.  However, we really miss travelling with an RV.  We have packed most of the goods from our International Airstream into our GMC truck, so we have no room to spare.  Poppy’s crate takes up most of the backseat, but it is worth the loss of space.  She feels safe in there.

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On Tuesday, we got an early start. (We woke up at 5:30! Eek!) We headed straight to the border.  Since we were so packed, we knew we’d set off a red flag.  However, that really didn’t set off the red flag.  Daisy did.  We anticipated some questions since her vet discontinued her vaccinations due to congestive heart failure.  Her rabies vaccine was due in May.  Since her final vaccinations were still valid during our winter trip, all was well.  Thankfully, our vet gave us International Travel Certificates for both dogs (this time for free!) and Daisy’s certificate explained why the vet deemed it detrimental to continue vaccinations.

We had to pull over for inspection.  Poppy stayed in her crate, and we went inside with Daisy.  Paul had to complete a customs form while our vehicle was inspected and the officers waited for the official vet’s response.  They were all very calm and kind and kept us informed about the progress.  Finally, the vet looked over Daisy’s forms and gave her the all-clear.  She told the officer that they don’t really expect dogs over 12 to have vaccinations (Daisy is 15).  That was news to us and the 2 customs officers looking over our case.  We knew there might be some issues with Daisy, and we were willing to take the longer Canadian route.  However, we were worried that if we were turned away, we would always have to answer the question “Have you ever been denied entry to the US?” in the affirmative.  Now, we have to consider whether we will return to Saskatchewan by travelling through the US.

Also, they didn’t confiscate the dogs’ food even though we no longer had the bag.  We were hoping for this, and it was a good gamble.  We just don’t have room for a fresh bag. We have to wait until move-in day!

Next, we were on the road and made an obligatory stop in Rugby, ND to take some pictures of the girls.  We have pictures of our first dog, Honey, here from when we moved West from ON back in 1995.

Rugby is the Geographical Center of North America.  These days, Daisy is the center of our universe, requiring much medical attention.  However, for Poppy, wherever we are, she finds the Geographical Center of Attention!  It’s true!  She always manages to plunk herself down in the middle of a circle. That way, she’s in cuddle distance to everyone.

Next, we passed through Bemidji, MN and had another photo shoot.  Here are the girls with Paul Bunyan and Babe and art in the Rotary park, (and look at what is across the street from the park!):

The girls were pretty restless and weren’t going to pose for me.

We stopped for the night in Duluth, MN.  We found another pet-friendly hotel, but this time it was harder.  We tried at another hotel, and we were directed to this one.  It’s beautiful and smells really nice!  Best of all, we each get our own bed again — real beds!  –not like the uncomfortable Chinook beds (Oh, my aching back!).

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We will end tonight with pictures of Daisy.  A) getting a bath in the Chinook (she requires bathing every week)  B) lying on the Airstream sofa before we handed it in to the insurance company (We had always protected the upholstery with covers.  Why?  So that the insurance company can get paid more in the auction?  We will USE our next Airstream to the max!  No more upholstery covers! And we will cook inside!  And we will use the toilet!  OK.  I’m talking big now.)

Fifteen more hours of driving to go.

Okanagan, OK!

April 10-15, 2018

We spent our first night back in Canada at the Husky truck stop in Osoyoos, and then we travelled west past Keremeos. We wanted to see two RV parks that have lots for sale. The first one is a cooperative and we needed to do an interview and be approved by the board. This park has been on our radar for over a year now. A friend went out last year to investigate it for us and gave us positive feedback (thanks Gregory!). We really liked it, but we aren’t thrilled over the lot that is for sale. The other park is not a co-op. We liked the amenities, but it is a larger park, so we are concerned with how busy it will get in the summer.

 

We found a free campground on Crown Land (this is like BLM land in the US) right between the two parks. It was very convenient. The campground is rustic (no facilities), but it is right on the Similkameen River. There were about 6 or more sites, and some were big enough for a longer trailer. We had the place to ourselves. Unfortunately, it was incredibly windy the entire time, and we did have frequent rain showers. We really pushed our water conservation limits. We lasted for 5 nights with only 38 gallons of water!  However, staying this close to both RV parks gave us a good idea of the area, and we like it.

April 16-18, 2018

Nk’Mip Campground, Osoyoos

After roughing it for 5 nights in the wind and rain, we needed to get to a campground to dump wastewater, fill with fresh water, and recharge our batteries. We had only planned to stay at Nk’Mip for one night, but this place is too wonderful for a short visit! It is clean, spacious, and manicured, and best of all, it is located right on Osoyoos Lake. There were many lakefront sites open, but we opted for a site higher up, overlooking the lake, but more sheltered.

 

Nk’Mip is a huge complex which includes a campground, winery, golf course, restaurant, and resort. It is owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band. This is the place to stay if you are in Osoyoos. In fact, we have already reserved a site for the fall before we cross back into the US.

 

We were delighted to see all the cacti in the park as well as quail because we have been missing Arizona. Osoyoos is on the edge of the Sonora Desert. We can walk about 3 kms along the lake to get to town. This is something that we have not been able to do all winter – leave the Chinook parked and walk to town. It is so precious to watch the ducks pairing off and enjoying the lake. We also saw our first robin of the season. Travelling north and experiencing spring arrive in many locations along the way was something we won’t soon forget. On this leg of our trip, we witnessed the orchards started to bloom.

We continued east on Hwy 3 (The Crowsnest Highway).  The grade out of Osoyoos is steep, but it provides a good view of the lake and Nk’Mip.

 

Licence Plates and Slogans

As we crossed the border, we were greeted by a sign:

“Welcome to BC. The Best Place on Earth”

Err? What?

Then, I immediately noticed some BC licence plates that more closely resembled many US plates. They have a photographic image in the background rather than just a simple graphic in the center. I like them. However, the slogan made me gag a little. They also said: “The Best Place on Earth”.

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Image from The Tyee

Yes, BC has natural beauty, but it is far from the best place on earth. I’m wondering if there will be a new campaign for more realistic slogans.  Fill in the blank:

The _____________________ Place on Earth.

Most expensive

Most taxed

Money-Laundering-Friendly

I had to get online because I had never seen plates like these, nor had a seen that slogan on travel guides I’ve received from BC. Well, it turns out that this slogan is actually old and being phased out. (Really? I wonder why.)

Here are some quotes from Bob Mackin at The Tyee:

How could a province with a misery-filled neighbourhood like the Downtown Eastside and a nation-leading child poverty rate ever call itself best-on-Earth in the first place? How did the politicians and bureaucrats decide to deep-six the slogan? . . .

“Yes, I am proud of the province and I think it’s the best place on earth, but it was probably not the best way to attract people from other parts of the world who think their little section of the world was the best place on earth,” Chandra Herbert said to Bell. “I’m just wondering: is ‘best place on earth’ shelved for now, and we’re now not going to see that anymore, and we’ll see ‘Super, natural B.C.’ in its place?”
Bell answered that “Best Place on Earth” was a “broader brand” used only in B.C. “to help motivate British Columbians.”

Ah ha! So there you have it! It was to motivate British Columbians. Jobs are few, pay is low, and housing is high, but this is The Best Place on Earth!

I’ve made no secret that we would like to move to BC to extend our shoulder seasons, which is essential as full-time RVers, but BC, you make that hard with your delusions.

Yakima, WA: Birthplace of our Chinook

April 8-9, 2018

Due to the rain on the coast, we decided to head inland and enter Canada in Osoyoos. Rain is messy to deal with in an RV. Our next stop was Avery Park near Wishram, WA. This is a beautiful free campsite on the Columbia River. The area is government property and free to use, but during the salmon run, it is closed to the public and only the local native tribes can use it. There are picnic tables, fire-pits, pit-toilets, and a garbage bin. The problem with the site was the trains. All. Night. Long.

After a sleepless night, we moved on to Yakima. We had heard on the Chinook forums that an RV shop, Aubrey’s, bought as many Chinook parts as they could when the company was liquidated. The parts manager, Carolyn, was most helpful. We were able to get new lenses for our porch and patio lights, but we had no luck on getting a step replacement.

Yakima had this old-school McDonald’s restaurant and a car wash for my dad’s GTO.

We camped overnight at Cabela’s and then made the final trek north into Canada.

Re-entry into Canada
April 10, 2018

In Canada, everyone jokes that B.C. stands for Bring Cash. B.C. has lots of economic woes, and so it taxes the heck out of its citizens.

On the US side, two US agents boarded the Chinook and opened drawers and doors. They were friendly enough, but I’m not sure what they were looking for since we were leaving their country.  Then, we travelled on to the Canadian border guard. It was our lucky day. She was wonderful! Because we have no space, we didn’t really buy any goods, but we did have alcohol. We rattled off our amounts. We were over our limit of 1L each (we had 7L total), and we were expecting to pay the duty. Most of our friends cross in Coutts, AB with much more than 7 liters and just pay the duty. It works out to be a big savings even after paying duty. Well, this border guard said that she was going to give us an education that day (and not charge us) and advised us to cross in Alberta or Saskatchewan next year. She said that in BC, the duty is (are you sitting down?) $1.50 PER OUNCE over your 1L limit! If our vehicle had BC plates, I don’t think we would have been so lucky. Lesson learned: Never ever ever cross into BC.