Saturday, May 27, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Wild Rose Country

We were back to our old RVing ways as we pulled out of the campground at 7:05. And we were not the first overnighters  to leave and make a run for it, so-to-speak! There was just a slight (really) wind. We entered Alberta and Mountain Time and drove straight to Home Depot in Medicine Hat. There I bought a 2"x 3"x 8' piece of lumber which they cut into 19" lengths for me. I also bought  sand paper and a pkg of weather striping. It took us less than 1/2 hour to have additional braces in place to stabilize the slideout when closed.  Take that, Alberta!
Not too many RVing firsts at this point in our 23 years of RVing, but we had one. We were going to stop at a Flying J in Redcliff for badly needed gas but Rhonda misdirected us. The station was a diesel fuel only truck stop. We carried on to the next town only to discover  that there were no gas stations !! In oil rich Alberta!! You've got to be kidding! As we were almost on  empty, the nearest station was back in Redcliff; we wouldn't make it to the next town. We had no choice but to return 33 km to Redcliff.  There was a Co-Op gas station on the other side of the hwy that we had not seen. We pumped 252.3 litres.  Duh....  A first: reversing our course for gas.
The remainder of the day was uneventful. We stopped at Tillebrook Provincial Park to have lunch. We stopped in Strathmore just east of Calgary for a few groceries. Traffic was heavy but moving through Calgary. We stopped at Calgary West Campground  around 4:00. We have a nice site looking over the suburbs of the city and next to a large fenced in area for dogs. Lots of frisbee tossing and running  for Shadow.
We motored 449 km, unfortunately, not all in a westerly direction. It was another windy drive in the afternoon. The slideout was solidly secured. Wild rose country....I guess they couldn't say wild wind country.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A VERY Bad Hair Day

The wind alert was cancelled, only 50 k.p.h. winds forecast from the NW so we decided to continue on. We left the campground at 8:45. It was an easy drive as far as Swift Current where we made a comfort stop and motored on. 
And then wham! Within 1/2 hour we were being broadsided by strong winds, so strong that they were causing the main room slideout to vibrate out!! We limped along at 70-80 k.p.h. with    flashers on and eventually stopped at a roadside picnic area west                                          of  Gull Lake around 12:30. We ate lunch and played Scrabble as we waited for the winds to subside.
 They did somewhat and at 4:50 we ventured forth the remaining short distance to Eagle Valley Park Campground near Maple Creek. Jean sat on the sofa to stabilize the slideout.  We drove 299 km..
The campground was not busy; we could pick our own site. Wi-Fi was only available at the bar, a deafening experience the music was so LOUD. We wondered at the name of the campground as we saw no eagles and there was a definite Hawaiian theme to the décor.
The wind subsided even more; I was able to BBQ hamburgers for dinner.
At the end of the day, I thanked Jean for not remarking that my hair looked like an abandon bird's nest when I went in to the office and later the bar.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

An "Active Weather" Day

The winds picked up during the night which unsettled the children
even more. Hunter and Shadow were very restless.
Shadow and I got in a few good walks including one at sunrise. The heavy rain never materialized, just a few brief showers but the  SW winds did blow and  gusted as high as 72 k.p.h. according to the news. It  did reach 25º.
 It was a mostly inactive day for us, which included a little nap/quiet time. Jean finished her picture editing.

The winds are to shift to NW overnight and the temperature will drop. The rain is expected tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Back Into Canada

We were up early again, thanks to the children, and on our way at 8:45, northwest on hwy 2. It was mostly sunny and warmed up quickly. There was a lot of truck traffic.
We made a comfort stop in Kenmare and saw the Danish Mill, built in 1902 and in operation until 1918. It was restored in 1959.

We crossed back into Canada at North Portal, Saskatchewan.  We were the only vehicle. The customs officer was very friendly,asked a few questions and we were on our way at 9:35 Saskatchewan time. (Saskatchewan does not practise daylight savings time.) We gained an hour. We stopped in Estevan for a few groceries and topped up the gas tank @  $.99.9 which we thought was a good deal until we saw gas farther north @ $.96.9. We made a brief roadside stop for lunch in Weyburn and arrived at Prairie Oasis Campground outside of Moose Jaw around 2:30. We drove 415 km..
As forecast, the winds picked up significantly after lunch. Alberta and Saskatchewan are under a "special weather advisory" for the next two days.  A low pressure system with heavy rain and  strong winds gusting  up to 90 k.p.h..
It was a very pleasant 25º and hazy. We let Hunter outside on his harness and leash, a first for him. I bbq'ed pork chops for supper. I can take Shadow for long walks outside the campground.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Roughrider State

The rain returned overnight and stayed with us intermittently as we continued west through Minnesota into North Dakota.  The winds were gusting, broadsiding us from the north in the afternoon. It was not pleasant. Jean was very busy taking pictures. We saw many interesting sights, so typical of rural Minnesota and North Dakota.
We stopped in Rugby N. D. to see the stone cairn marking the Geographical Center of North America. It was erected in 1931.

We motored 532 km as far as Minot, our longest day to date. We filled up at a Flying J station before arriving at Roughrider Campground, another Good Sam campground. It has a very western theme.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Foggy Drive

The rain ended overnight and the fog rolled in as it warmed to 6º by morning. We made use of our full hookups site (you know what I mean)  before leaving the campground at 8:45. We continued west on hwy 28 through patchy fog and drove back into  rain within the hour. We followed hwy 53 to Superior and by-passed Duluth as we crossed into Minnesota.
There was more traffic, much of it vehicles towing fishing boats. We  made a comfort stop in the quaint town of Floodwood, "Catfish Capital of the World."

We arrived in Grand Rapids around noon, too early to stop for the day as we had planned originally and continued on  after stopping for gas @ $2.29.9 / gal..
We stopped to have lunch at the Pokegama Dam Recreation Area on the Mississippi River. The dam
is a headwaters lakes project.

We arrived at Royal Oaks RV Park, a Good Sam campground  in Bemidji at 2:15. It was nice to stop early after motoring  367 km. We needed the furnace again as it reached only 9º. The rain ended. There was  just a scotch mist which didn't stop us from taking a good walk outside the campground.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Waiting Out Bad Weather

Interesting sights en route
We decided to stay another day at Frontier Campground. Heavy rain and strong winds were forecast for Minnesota in the afternoon and overnight. We were quite comfortable with excellent Wi-Fi.  I was able to update the maps in Rhonda, my Garmin GPS.
The location was excellent for taking Shadow on long walks in the  campground and woods behind it which we did before a steady rain began mid-afternoon. Jean did some emailing and caught up on her picture editing. Both Hunter and Shadow enjoyed a day without travel.
We reached a cool 8º. At least the weather was keeping away the bugs.

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Smooth Motoring Day

The furnace got a good workout overnight as it dipped to 0º. We woke to frost and a clear sky. We left the campground shortly after 9:00 and stopped for gas @ $2.42.9 / gal. in Newberry. We continued west on hwy 28 along Lake Superior. We made a comfort stop at one scenic overlook and stopped for lunch at a roadside pull off along the shore. It was cool and very windy.
In the afternoon we stopped two more times, in Marquette at a Walmart for a few groceries and a comfort stop for Shadow at Agate Falls Scenic Site near Bruce Crossing. We enjoyed the trail walk along the Ontonagon  River to see the falls.

We passed several creeks and rivers swollen from recent rains. They had flooded their banks and swamped the surrounding areas.
We crossed into Central time just before we entered Wisconsin and stopped at  Frontier Campground near the village of Cedar  at 3:30 new time after motoring 413 km. Much of our route was along the Lake Superior Circle Tour. The campground was the nicest and cheapest  yet with full hookups, good Wi-Fi and t.v. reception for $31.65. It was also the busiest yet with several overnighters. With our earlier stop,  I was also able to take  Shadow for longer walks.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Back in the U.S.A.

Day 2 was a very eventful day and expensive. I spoke too soon. We were up early, thanks to the children, and discovered, only after we unhooked, that the house batteries were drained, dead, kaput! OMG! Not really surprising when I checked my servicing records and realized the batteries were 8 years old. We left the campground at 8:00, actually 8:10, a problem with the not so automated security gate! A possible sign of how our day was going to go?? Read on.....
We made good time, straight to Canadian Tire in Sault Ste. Marie where I was prepared to buy two new batteries and install them myself. Wrong. As  I was disconnecting the batteries, I found the connector end of one of the battery cables had broken off! Canadian Tire couldn't "fit" us in until the next day but suggested we try Martin's Trailers, a few km down the road. We did and hallelujah!
Approximately 5 hours after arriving in The Soo, we were on our way again, two new batteries installed and a new connector soldered to the battery cable, all for $588.92, our second most costly repair in Harvee Too's 12 years. I'm not complaining. It rained intermittently while the  mechanic worked. The awning helped to keep him dry.
We had about a 10 minute line up  at the border, no problem at customs and entered Michigan  at 4:05. We drove  as far as Newberry and checked in at Kritter's Northcountry Campground and Cabins at 5:35. We motored 305 km.
It was 12º when our day began, reached a high of 15º mid-day and dropped to 2º by the time we reached the campground.  I didn't think I'd be wearing my ski vest before The Rockies! At least the rain had ended.
We had two wildlife sightings en route: a wolf crossed hwy 17 in front of us and a crane in a ditch beside hwy 28.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

♫♪ On the road again...♪♫

Day 1 of our trip was uneventful which is a good thing, really, as Harvee Too comes out of 6 months of hibernation. All systems are working as they should ...touch wood. We finished packing Harvee Too, loaded the children on board and pulled out at 10:05. First stop was just 10 km down the road at Blacks Motor Sales  in Sundridge for propane. We were officially on our way north on hwy 11 at 10:35. We stopped in North Bay to do some shopping at Walmart and Pet Valu, ate a quick lunch and continued west on hwy 17.
It was a very hot, windy and buggy drive, SO many splats on the windshield which made picture taking a challenge for Jean. Traffic was light but we ran into some single lane construction delays west of Sudbury.
We arrived at Serpent River Campground east of Spragge at 4:30, later than we expected due to the construction. We are one of two overnighters.We motored  336 km.
Highlight of the day for me: getting the air conditioning on. It reached 29º. Highlight for Jean: her beer and 7up.  It was a disappointing picture taking day for her. Tomorrow she'll get out the big cannon Canon.