Saturday, May 14, 2011

Motorhome Polishing, Being Tourists and A Spaghetti Feed

Don and I started using Dri-Wash on the motorhome yesterday, and only got about 1/3 of it done. Today we took advantage of good weather to complete the job. He used his Little Giant Ladder that I got him last Christmas, and I helped make sure it was on level ground so he was (relatively) safe.


He does the high parts, and I do the low ones. This product is easy to use, and it removes water spots left by many commercial washes such as the one we used yesterday. It also puts a protective coating on the exterior, making it easier to clean dust and bugs off. It helps rain clear easier on the windshield while driving, too. We were tired when we finished, but we managed to get a coat on Carrie the car, too, before we had to quit. Everything looks better now.

After cleaning up, eating lunch and resting a bit, we went to the Dawson Creek Visitor Centre. It’s housed in the original 1931 Northern Alberta Railway (NAR) Station, along with a museum.


We watched a lengthy video about the building of the Alaska Highway.


I started cooking country style pork ribs and Italian sausage meatballs in the crockpot last night. This morning, I took out the grease, fat and bones and added diced tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, onion, garlic and spices to make the sauce. Others in our group cooked two kinds of pasta: whole wheat spaghetti and angel hair, and provided salad, garlic bread and desserts. We had a feast!


The wind died down and the sun was out, so we enjoyed beautiful weather.


Our happy group has filled out now, with the last couple Claudette and Jean Fradette joining us today (far right). Sorry, I’ll get a better picture of them later.


We have one more day in Dawson Creek before departing on Monday. There’s something special planned for tomorrow, and I can’t wait to experience it and then tell you about it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Alaska Highway Mile 0

We are now in Dawson Creek, BC, the beginning of the Alaska Highway. Our trip today was a very short one – 46 miles. We all pulled out of our sites in the Hythe Campground and hitched up the toads in the entry road. We had to avoid a Class C motorhome (visible in the background) that had parked in an awkward place at the exit. Our motorhome is 36 ft. long, Larry and Marilyn’s is 40 ft. We didn’t have too much trouble getting around the Class C. When Dennis and Carol came around with their 43 ft. rig, it was a little tight. But Dennis, being an excellent driver, was managing it fine until the driver of the Class C decided to move forward! I think he was trying to get out of the way, but he was actually making the situation worse. Dennis opened his window and strongly suggested that the guy just stop moving!


It wasn’t long before we saw the welcome sign for British Columbia.DSCN5742

We went through the lovely Village of Pouce Coupe.DSCN5748

Here’s a sign everyone recognizes. Too bad it’s not a Supercenter.DSCN5754

We tried to get our rigs washed at one place that was closed.DSCN5758

But the other one was open, a do-it-yourself for $1.15 per minute. Don washed then dried while Larry washed. Dennis washed in the other bay and went on to the RV park to negotiate a discount.


Dennis got us about 15% off, $32 per night FHU 30 amps, tax included. Two more couples of our traveling crew caught up with us, Gary and Mary Olson, and Jim Smith and Pat Livingston.

From left to right, Hills, Forbes, us, Olsons.DSCN5776

Jim and Pat are parked across from us.DSCN5772

In spite of a little chilly wind, we enjoyed happy hour sitting outside next to Dennis and Carol’s motorhome.


Keltie, from the Office of Tourism, stopped by to give us some info bags and hat pins, and to discuss various things we can do while in Dawson Creek.


It didn’t take Keltie long to recognize Dennis’ comedic nature!DSCN5768

Don bought me a dozen yellow roses, my faves. Beautiful!DSCN5778

We insisted that Dennis take one to his bride.DSCN5777

We ended the day by cooking various meats (‘burn your own’) on Dennis’ grill, sharing salads and baked beans, and eating in our own rigs to avoid the breezy air outside. We’ll have two more days here to play tourist before starting our journey on the Alaska Highway.

Northern Alberta; Celebrating a Birthday

NOTE: This blog was written last night, May 12, but not posted due to Blogger being down.

First, let me clarify something from my blog yesterday. I said the other two women in our group don’t drive their motorhomes. That’s only party true. Marilyn chooses not to drive an RV. (Although she agreed to give it a try if we find an empty parking lot somewhere along our travels!)

However, Carol is a capable, in fact, very experienced RV driver. After all, she’s part owner, along with hubby Dennis Hill, of the RV Driving School! During the years I’ve known Carol, probably about 7 or 8, I’ve known her to drive her mother-in-law’s Class A motorhome from Texas to Florida, and another time from Texas to California. She continues to do most of the parking of the 43-ft. diesel pusher she and hubby Dennis own. The reason that she usually doesn’t drive going down the road is because Dennis loves to drive. He has spent many of his adult years driving big rigs and still feels most comfortable behind the wheel. Thanks to my blog followers and good friends Jerry and Suzy LeRoy for asking about this.

Second, if you didn’t read the comments on Tuesday’s blog, a loonie (one dollar Canadian coin) may be required to unlock the grocery carts in the supermarket. I tried a Canadian quarter, but it didn’t work, so next time I’ll try a loonie. In any case, you get your money back when you return the cart to lock it back into the collection of carts. This is a way to keep the parking lot clear of shopping carts, and eliminate paying employees to go retrieve carts. Maybe this is a good idea for the U.S. markets to adopt. Thanks to Bob, IdahoRV, and Rick and Paulette for commenting on this.

Today was another travel day, going from Alberta Beach to Hythe, Alberta, about 275 miles. One of the first things we noticed was a campground we wished we had stayed in, as we’re all good friends with Walt and Kellie Gunn.

The Gunn Campground is behind the Gunn General Store in Gunn, Alberta.DSCN5661

We’ve been keeping our eyes pealed for moose, deer and other wildlife. Dennis had assured us that we’d see animals today. We did. We saw cows, horses, a dog, and then there was the big moose.

Hurrah! We saw one!DSCN5691

The world’s second longest wooden railway trestle crosses highway 43. The C.N.R. Rochfort Bridge Trestle is 2,414 feet long and was built in 1914.DSCN5617-1

We decided not to stay in a campground in Beaverlodge after I drove through it and found the host site #19 empty and no one in sight. About 10 miles down the road, the campground in Hythe was also empty, but a worker said it was open and directed us to a deposit box where we could pay our $10 per night. Hythe is an agricultural community, and a processing center for fruit and berry crops. It’s also known as the Volunteer Capital of Alberta. We are the only RVs in the campground.


Today was Dennis Hill’s birthday. We went to dinner at the restaurant Dennis chose (out of 2 in town), The Real Deal.DSCN5712

We look like one happy family, don’t we?DSCN5714

Dennis looks a little like the kid on his card, don’t you think?DSCN5718

The food was pretty good, and the waitress brought a piece of fudge pie for Dennis to share, complete with a candle to blow out while making a wish.DSCN5720DSCN5721

Dennis, you’re supposed to be sharing!DSCN5725

Okay, maybe one bite…DSCN5724

And maybe another one.DSCN5726

And just one more…DSCN5728

May you have many more Happy Birthdays, my Friend, and our Fearless Leader of the Last Frontier Gang!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lethbridge to Alberta Beach

Today was a long distance drive for most RVers – over 350 miles. We departed from Lethbridge at 8:30 am, and I drove the first 150 miles, needing to take a break for the last 40 or so, but not able to find a place to pull off with 3 motorhomes towing cars where we could comfortably get off and back on the freeway. When we finally stopped on the north side of Calgary, at the first stop light Don and I did a ‘power switch’ where I unbuckled the seatbelt and slipped out of the driver’s seat as he sat down and took over. I raced for the back room as he released the brake and took off when the light turned green. Oh, what a relief it was! The guys driving the other 2 motorhomes had to wait until they got parked in the Walmart lot to take their breaks, as their wives don’t drive the motorhomes.

We had to take a detour in Edmonton to buy fuel at the Flying J, and we encountered construction and heavy traffic, but it saved us a lot of $$. We paid $1.07 Canadian per liter for diesel (about $4.35 US per gallon, I think), whereas prices elsewhere were $1.17 and higher, and some would have been difficult or impossible to get into with a big rig. In fact, Don had to battle a bit (thanks for the air horn!) with some cars and pick-ups who thought they could cut in front of him when he’d been waiting to get to one of 2 diesel pumps. There were no dedicated RV pumps, as is usual at Flying J stations in the U.S., and we were not allowed to get fuel in the truck lanes. Our fuel economy worked out to 9 mpg for the day, and we aren’t complaining about that!

We finally got parked at the Alberta Beach Golf Resort at about 5 pm, after a slow check-in and winding our way through the trees. You can see Dennis and Carol’s tow car with kayaks on top as they make a turn ahead of us.


Our sites are pull-throughs, so we didn’t have to unhitch. There’s not much to see around here, anyway, as it’s too early for boating or much golfing or anything else.


The wind was blowing pretty hard when we arrived, in fact the last half of the trip, so we just hunkered down. Marilyn had a chicken enchilada casserole (yummy!) ready to heat up, and Carol made a big spinach salad, so we enjoyed an easy and nutritious supper together.

A walk around the park showed lots of long-term/seasonal occupants.


Some left several belongings on their site but haven’t arrived with their RVs yet. What a different place from where we stayed the last 2 nights!


We caught a glimpse of the lake, Lac Ste. Anne, which looks like it’s quite large. But the wind, cooler temps and long day prevented us from getting serious about putting the kayaks in. Maybe another day in another place.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Day in Lethbridge

We were credited by our Canadian neighbors in the RV park with bringing nice weather with us. It was simply beautiful today, in the mid-60’s, sunny and no wind.

Don and I took a drive, first to get US cash changed into Canadian and to wash the car. Then we picked up a few groceries at Safeway. We were immediately challenged by something we’ve never encountered before. The shopping carts were all locked together.



We tried putting a quarter in the slot above the chain, but it didn’t work. How does this work? I guess you have to be Canadian…We used a couple of hand-held baskets instead, and then forgot to ask anyone how to get a cart next time. So maybe some of my Canadian blog readers can advise?

It was enjoyable to do the Scenic Drive, stopping at a few places. The dog park is a huge part of Botterill Bottom Park. I barely caught some dogs and owners on a path in the distance with a zoom on my camera. If we took Shadow here, I doubt that he’d know what to do, since he’s so rarely off leash, and even then he stays near us.


This interesting building is part of the University of Lethbridge, on the other side of the Oldman River.


Here’s part of the High Level Bridge, visible from our Bridgeview RV Park. It was built in 1907-1909 and cost over $1.3 million (Canadian dollars). It greatly reduced the steep grades of original railroad tracks in the area and saved over 5 miles of track.


The following pics are from Henderson Lake.






The Nikka Yuko Centennial Garden is called “one of the most outstanding Japanese-style gardens outside of Japan.”


After returning to the RV park, Dennis climbed on our roof to examine the CB antenna. When transmitting, Larry was having trouble hearing us. It turned out the problem was a spring relief on the antenna. Removing it eliminated the problem. We’ll try to find a replacement soon, but we can still use the antenna as long as we don’t drive under any low-hanging branches.


Another problem, not so easy to resolve, is that Don’s computer failed to recognize the hard drive and wouldn’t boot up. Larry helped him open the back to remove and re-install the hard drive, but it still didn’t work. Meanwhile, he’s using the small Acer notepad computer, but it’s very slow online and limited in capabilities.

We enjoyed the beautiful weather sitting outside Dennis & Carol’s motorhome for happy hour. Shadow watched while Don went back to our rig for a few things. Notice Dennis’ little green man standing as a reminder to go Slow!


For dinner, we visited Mojo’s Pub & Grill. You can probably tell we all enjoyed the food.


Tomorrow, we have about 350 miles to drive to Alberta Beach Golf Resort near Edmonton. We decided to pass through Calgary this time; maybe we’ll stop there on the way back.