Thursday, 15 June 2017

We changed our minds

So as anyone who knows us knows:
We change our minds a lot.


We had such a phenomenal time in Nova Scotia that we had set our minds that that would be where we would go when (if) the house sells. However, .....

Upon consideration of taxes, both provincial and income, and the availability of services not the least of which for us is Customer service, we are back to our original thought of buying in Alberta. We seem to go back and forth on this a lot. At the end of the day though, while Nova Scotia is nice (Annapolis Valley) and we both really enjoyed it there, we know for a fact that we love Alberta (Canmore).

Though Canmore Real Estate is FAR more expensive to purchase than Nova Scotia, the tax incentives and access to services is one of those invaluable assets. Now to be fair, I do not know the ratio of Doctors to Patients, etc in Nova Scotia, I do know that Canmore has the highest Dr/Patient ratio in the Country. Not that we need them yet, but we're not 20 anymore as the saying goes. We have every intention that this next move will be the last and so we are taking all things into consideration in a hope to get it right this time. Canmore is beautiful all year round with plenty of things to see and do. Trails to hike, lakes to fish, not to mention shopping, and it is much closer to most of our relatives.

Nova Scotia has beautiful scenic areas, friendly people and Real Estate is what is now considered reasonable. Access to services are available though some things you may have to drive a ways for (Halifax is about an hour away). It is an up and coming community and now would be the time to get in there so to speak. Winters in Nova Scotia can be quite harsh but the summers have sun, flowers and friends. It would be a new area to learn and there is obviously a lot we don't know about it yet. That could go either way.

We spent 3 years in Canmore, AB before moving to our current locale and we both loved it but we were working in the service industry in a town created on the premise of selling to the International Elite market. Now trust me when I tell you that if you expect me to 'talk to the butler' you can kiss my a**. I WILL NOT use the back door, and if you think your so damn good that you can't speak to me in person - do it your bloody self!

However, now that we are retired... Canmore is very enticing.

Keep in mind that we just flew to Alberta, bought an RV and have driven it across the Country back to our 'home'. This was not a cheap RV and the Dealership naturally had to include the PST in the bill (Alberta does not have PST). They have mailed a cheque made out to our local registry for the amount of the PST so that we can pay the allotment when we register her.

Here's the rub: If we are moving to Alberta, why the hell would we pay $1000's to the local registry when it would not be required if we waited and registered in AB. The bonus?: Because it is currently registered in AB, we also would not have to get a safety done.

Canmore, AB

Will the house sell in the middle of nowhere in a reasonable time to allow us this option? Not likely, but possible. IF the house does not sell, we will have to register it here in order to take our winter escape in January.

Either way, we will be out of here in January, sooner if the house sells. We intend to have it on the market next week.

Monday, 12 June 2017

What did we learn?... tidbits from the road

Well we are finally home from our RV purchasing National tour. I thought it would be good to put down a few of the 'fresh newbie' lessons we learned.

1. When you plug into shore power, DO NOT switch the 'disconnect batteries' to off. This turned out not to be the problem with our batteries but for a long time I thought it was. Turned out to be a flipped Master Switch which we had A LOT of trouble finding and had to pay a guy $75 to find it for us.

2. When you plug into shore water, DO NOT turn your Water Pump on. Turns out, the water pump is only for the water tank. If you connect to city water and turn the pump on, it will run from your tank.

a) If you like water pressure for your showers, DO turn the water pump on for that. As without it the shower is very low on pressure.
b) Remember to turn the water pump off after said shower.

3. Before bringing in the slide(s), ensure that everything you could possibly need should you not be able to put slides back out wherever you actually (not necessarily intend) end up spending the night.

We had a great time on our little adventure, to reiterate we Flew to Calgary, Drove to Red Deer, declined the intended RV and purchased a completely different and much more expensive RV (we're okay with that) and drove it home to the East Coast over 2.5 weeks. The RV ran great and Woody's RV in Red Deer stayed in contact with us to help resolve the battery issue. So a huge shoutout to Blair and Tammy for their phenomenal Customer Service.

The new RV: 2013 Thor Ace 27.1

We were able to visit family and friends along the way and really enjoyed ourselves. Unfortunately, at least for this particular trip, most of it was spent driving so I do not have a lot of pictures. We took the time to spend a few days in an area of the country which we have often considered as a viable option from our current locale, and were pleasantly surprised with the area.

Clearly not enjoying retirement ;)

Checking out the docks

Quaint

Views

Roadside quickie dinner 

On our last day at Dunromin RV Park we had intense rain and wind which didn't bode well for adventuring but we did drive around the neighbouring communities a bit and still managed to enjoy ourselves.

After returning home last night, this morning I checked on the return tracking number (UPS) to find out what was happening as I hadn't heard any more from the lovely lady who called to say they had lost 2 of my 3 packages. They were sending it back to me! WTF.... So I spent about an hour berating a few people at UPS trying to find out where my very expensive EPDM and accessories were. Little did I know that the UPS driver was at that very moment delivering the 1 package they still had. He just left it on the doorstep, no knock, nothing. Brad was even outside staining and didn't notice him.

We went back to the drop off location (45 min each way) to see if we could find the 2 missing boxes, but there is nothing there. Damned if I know where they are. Fortunately, this problem is not ours. In the event they are unable to locate the boxes, UPS will be on the line for the $$$ of the products. Fortunately, the one box they didn't lose is the EPDM itself. That is now not so neatly tucked into my front entrance. One of the local guys was kind enough to provide me with the number of a woman who apparently could put me in touch with a guy who may be able to help locate them. Otherwise, we will be filing a claim with UPS. 

So what happened was: The guy who originally took the boxes from me failed to put waybills on each of them (so one waybill for 3 pcs) and also failed to do up the Customs paperwork. I, of course being a layman, knew none of this was required and just left it to the professional. So we have 2 unidentified boxes floating around in the UPS universe. Anyway, at this moment, I am still a disgruntled Customer. Will keep you posted on the progress of this. 

Prime example of why we need to move. This sort of *#@% happens almost every day here and I'm so over it already.


Friday, 9 June 2017

On the Home Stretch

We arrived in Nova Scotia Wednesday evening and our friends called and invited us over to theirs for a visit. Arriving at the campground after the office closed, we just found a site we liked and set up. Thursday morning we went by the office and paid up through tonight.

Dunromin RV Park in Annapolis Royal, NS is a great park, they seem to be mostly catering to local weekend warriors but there are (at least currently - early June) several vacant sites within the park. There is a boat rental, several hook-up options (we chose water, electric and waterfront - ie. no sewer) as well as a tank dump station on the property, laundry, washrooms, cafe and small store which sells local handmade products, which we love. PS Highly recommend the 'Monster burger' and good luck with it....

Tonight is our last night here but we have really enjoyed the area and being able to catch up with some old friends. This community has really embraced the local products concept and it is evident everywhere from organic meats from the butcher to local micro-brewery products being promoted in the local restaurants/pubs, as well as local handmade crafts. They have taken to heart the concept of promoting each other which is a much welcome sense of community that we are not used to anymore.

It has been great to catch up with old friends we met while living in Canmore, AB several years ago. They are relatively new to the area and have expressed a great appreciation for the area to us. It is evident everywhere you go here that people are friendly and welcoming. Brad literally tested the theory by waving to everyone as we drove down the street to see how many people would wave back.

The weather has been great here the past few days, and  although yesterday was definitely windy the temperatures in the mid 20's Celsius made up for that. Today though, quite a storm has rolled over us with strong winds and torrential rains.

Tomorrow we have a long drive on our way home, though we won't actually get there until Sunday night at best but this trip is not about pushing through so we'll just take it as it comes.

Its just been so great to stop and enjoy the RV which was the point to the trip in the first place. It was a long hard slog to get across the country and we really needed to stop and take a few days, I was burning out for sure.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Arrived in New Brunswick

Well so far we have made it to New Brunswick. We've been kind of limping along with the coach battery issue but she is booked in for the morning and we hope to have her sorted out before lunch. Famous last words, I know.

To be clear (parents/family), the RV itself runs fine. The problem batteries are the ones that run the lights in the bedroom, etc.

We pulled into a truck stop off the highway and dumped the tanks so we should be good with that for a good while at least.

Still have a bit of a drive to go before getting to the repair shop where we will stay for the night as they are starting the rig at 8am, or so they tell us. We are pretty lucky that they can help us out, a lot of places are booked solid for months yet. I think it helps that this fix doesn't (shouldn't) require it to go into the shop, they should just be able to deal with it in the parking lot I would think. Again, famous last words. I should really shut up. :)

We've had good luck with BoondockersWelcome at least in so far as getting responses, but unfortunately the first one we had to cancel because it became clear that they were too far for us to reach as expected that night. The second didn't get our message until the next morning which was completely our own fault for attempting to book on such short notice. (something like 3 hours). We have used Overnight|RVParking a couple of times, as well as the typical Flying J truck stops, which I quite like because with the semi's being there noone cares if your generator is running.

Today we stopped for 20 min or so at a Quebec rest area just to fry up some bacon and had bacon sandwiches for brunch.

We are possibly going to spend a couple of days in Nova Scotia and I have found a great campground there that I have no doubt we will love. It is also close to some friends of ours we have not seen in quite some time so - benefit. If they're home. We will have to see how the repair goes tomorrow and go from there.

Big shoutout to FlowerGirl who comments regularly, thank you for that. It's nice to know I'm not just writing into oblivion, that people are reading the story of our crazy life.

So excited to get going in January but there's so much to do between now and then. Maybe just maybe we'll get lucky and the house will sell before that... a girl can dream! This trip has been great and we've really enjoyed it even with the battery snafu but it will be great to only have to drive a couple of hours every few days than this hurried drive to get home. The dog sitter called yesterday and he is doing okay so thats great and she is in no panic for us to get back, hence the possible NS holiday within a holiday.

The only thing tying us down at the moment is the Permit which expires June 12th, worse case scenario, we could get another one in NS, but... we'll see what happens. Oh, and I am expected at work on the 18th?! I think I said I wouldn't make it back for this coming shift. Guess I better check into that.




Friday, 2 June 2017

Boondocking attempt #1

Well we made it to Dryden Ontario Friday night. Dryden, Kenora and many other northern Ontario towns have city ordinance prohibiting RV Overnighting. However, on www.overnightparking.com they listed the Dryden Walmart as 'not enforced', we were tired so we figured we'd give it a shot.

Spoke to Customer Service and was advised that though Walmart does not object, they accept no responsibility.... and the cops can kick you out. Fine. We enjoyed a pizza we cooked in the convection oven, a first in the RV, with some Coke. Unfortunately, we discovered my blonde roots again.

Well it really doesn't have anything to do with being blonde, just a newbie mistake that happened to be made by a blonde. When we camped at the RV park the other night, I disconnected the batteries. Yes, I pushed the button out of concern for over somethingsomething the batteries and they screwed me.

So, suffice it to say the 110v outlets are not working without the Generator. Brad needs the 110v for his CPAP machine. We didn't get much sleep (2 hours) and he was up and across the road to the Tim Hortons for his middle of the night intravenous and I couldn't get back to sleep.

Off we went to Thunder Bay, arriving 4.5 hours later. We tucked into a weigh station just outside Thunder Bay, turned on the Genny and managed 3.5 hours sleep. Then at 8:30am we had to go to the Service Ontario office (because the rig fit into it) on James St S to renew our 'In Transit' permit which expired at midnight tonight.

Fully refreshed with a new transit permit which is good for 10 days, we took off towards Sault Ste. Marie, ON. We hope to be able to cross into the USA at SSM but we chose to attempt it here because if they won't let us in with a permit the TCH is right there also that we can continue on.

However, if they do allow us in, we will be able to stop at my Daddy's after all. Total Daddy's girl here!! I own it. My Daddy rocks! He's wonderful, which is where I get it from. Ha Ha.

I haven't told him yet, because they could well refuse us entry with this permit thing so no point until we know we're in.

At present we are just East of Thunder Bay at a Flying J with the Generator on so Brad can get some sleep. 3.5 hours so far, think its time to wake him up so we can get somewhere today,.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

...And we're off...

After a great weekend visiting the family we are finally on the road again.


We had supper on Tuesday evening with Brad's Mum and my oldest son Lee, then back to the RV to prep for leaving Wednesday morning. We awoke at 6:30am, beautified, and then headed off to a local truck stop enroute and met Brad's Mum for breakfast so she could see the new RV. My brother lives on an acreage so Meg wasn't able to see the RV before this as she was on a holiday of her own.

By 11:30am we had said our goodbye's and were off down the highway. The RV is running great so far (don't jinx it Katie) and I turning my phone into a hotspot I managed to use the laptop to book a camground for the evening just outside Virden, MB.

Oak Island Resort is a great spot. We will definitely be stopping here again. Great beach, great staff (though the office was closed when we arrived because I forgot about the time change from SK to MB, but I spoke to a woman on the phone and she told me what spot we were booked into, she gave me 3 site options).

We set up (full hookups) our camping chairs, had organic bacon wrapped medallions cooked to perfection by my wonderful husband with a vintage glass of wine in our dollar store plastic glasses. The birds were chirping, we had a mosquito insense stick burning and no mosquitos in sight. The campground appears to be mostly seasonal weekend warriors, there was one truck amongst all the very large 5th wheels with gazebos set up, boats, bbq's. People clearly live here but noone was here except Mr. one truck and he was gone when we woke up at 8am.

Hope to make it to Ontario today, Thunder Bay perhaps?! We shall see because I haven't looked to see how far that is and we don't want to push. The biggest part of having this RV is to enjoy the experience, not drive through it.

I have pictures on my camera but apparently forgot to bring the upload cord.


Monday, 29 May 2017

Not quite as planned. Meet Ace

Well, we left home Thursday to fly to Calgary, double check what we knew about an 07 Coachmen Mirada that we had had inspected professionally and drive her home...

Landed in Calgary Thursday about 9:30pm, grabbed our rental car from Enterprise and plopped on the hotel bed for some much needed sleep. Neither of us were able to sleep, I suppose because we were excited about our new rig. The inspection said it was in great shape, the brakes, rotors, tires were all like new, the body was in great shape and that he would buy it if he were in the market.

Friday morning, after driving to Sylvan Lake, we pulled in and immediately noticed that the front tires were almost bald. After checking the dates on the tires, we learned they were original (2005), knowing as we do that tires have an expiry date that was very concerning. There was some body damage at the rear we had not been advised of, and the ladder to the roof looked like a farmer had fixed them. We did a thorough go over anyway, and then went for breakfast at a local Humpty's to discuss it, as we had planned. We both decided right away that no, that was not going to be the one. But now what?

We had passed an RV dealership on the way through Red Deer so we headed there. Woody's RV World it was, and Blair Seens was quick to offer his help and after telling him what we were looking for ($40K range) he took us around the lot on his golf cart and showed us a few. This guy is the salesman you dream of, Not pushy, helpful and playful too as thats how we roll and he caught on to it quick. Really had a fun time looking for an RV! AND he even agreed I was CUTE! (I tell everyone I'm cute, its a thing LOL)

Well, my pick of the lot was a 2005 Southwind 32VS, it had solar and was 32 ft long with a couch. Brad chose a 2013 Thor Ace 27.1, the price difference was significant at $20K+ so after much ado we decided to go for lunch and discuss it.

Brad made the point that we weren't travelling to sit on the couch and watch TV which I thought was a very good point, but I was also concerned about our parents being able to get into the hydrolic cab over bed should they come to visit. However, we both agreed that they won't be coming often we don't expect, they are all agile enough to get up there, and the dinette booth could sleep one person easily anyway should that change later on.

Everybody meet Ace, Ace meet Everybody

The heart of her.

I didn't think it would happen when we left the dealership for lunch, but Brad was right and I agreed to get the much more expensive 2013 Thor. Of course, this meant financing as we had only arranged so much available cashflow when we left home, not expecting to go all out.

Returning to the dealership we spoke to Blair again about our decision and he sent us to the Finance department to do the deed. Tammy Chapman was also a dream to work with.  They knew we were trying to get to a family event in Saskatoon for Saturday night and she worked diligently to get the deal finalized. She confirmed with our insurance back home what time they were closing so she knew how much time she had to get us on the road Friday night. 8pm Alberta time, they told her.

The deal was finalized around 7pm Alberta time so she rang the insurance to get that done. Nobody home. She spoke to someone at the Head office in Ontario who advised that our home office would be open Saturday at 8am., they did not have anybody else available before then that was licensed in our area. With no other choice, we spent our first night in Ace in the Woody's parking lot because we couldn't put her on the street without insurance, they provided us with power and we went to sleep.

Tired and fed up, but clearly still Cute!

After a great night of sleep, Saturday morning we got up, beautified and waited for the dealership to open. We had a short wait while the dealership did their morning ra-ra session and then Blair drove us to Enterprise to return the rental car. We had contacted the Calgary airport location and advised that we would be dropping the car in Red Deer, the lady there later called us back and said they would be dropping the 'drop fee' ($100) they usually charge for dropping off at a different location.

As you might expect, Tammy called Blair as soon as the car was returned to say that the insurance company was not open Saturdays after all. In a bid to save our family get-together, Blair then drove us to a 'OneStop' which provides insurance, but because of our domicile they couldn't help either. What a gong show this whole situation became, but through it all the dealership (Tammy and Blair) were determined to get us to Saskatoon.

Tammy actually remembered an insurance company (Johnson.ca) that was tied in with one of our banks, that was also based in our domicile so she contacted them as a last resort. Without that we would still be sitting in Woody's RV parking lot waiting for them to open this morning so we could finalize the insurance allowing us to leave.

We spoke to a gentleman there who's name I can't recall but have written somewhere and can't find,   who quickly got us insured so that we could drive to Saskatchewan Saturday in time for our family shindig. When I come across his name I will add it in this blog.

If you are ever in the RV market, we definitely and with glowing recommendation would send you to Blair Seens and Tammy Chapman at Red Deer Woody's RV World in Alberta!!!

Quite the adventure, as is our way. We arrived at 7:30pm while the party was in full swing. It was so nice to see the Kids and Grandkids and my Sister-in-law who by the time we arrived was completely a mess (not a big drinker this woman, so...) a good time was had by all, even though we were thoroughly exhausted by this time. Unfortunately our oldest Granddaughter was not able to be at the party and she was missed for sure, such a cutie, I call her 'mini me' as she looks just like me at that age.

Never been so happy to see Saskatchewan

2 of our 3 Grandkids
(Don't take it personal, but I purposely took pics of the back of their heads)

We have now at the time of this writing had 3 great sleeps in this rig and are thoroughly enjoying it. We went shopping yesterday for pots, dishes, camp chairs, bbq, etc that we will need just to get home, Brad waited in the car while I hit up Wallyworld and loaded my sister-in-law's car to the hilt. He didn't bat a lash which is highly unusual, normal he gets to twitching when I spend money but he's been very relaxed the last couple of weeks. Nice to see.

Currently we are staying at my brother's place waiting for Brad's Mother who returns tonight from her own adventure and after visiting with her tomorrow, we expect to be on the road likely Wednesday morning. Unfortunately because we are not plated and only running on an 'in transit' permit we are not able to cut through the USA which would have allowed us to stop at my Father's for a short visit. We have to drive right across Canada and I don't think the necessary backtrack is viable but hopefully the house will sell in short order and we will back across very soon. I will be checking though to see just how much of a backtrack it would be.

So today is more shopping as we want to replace the 2 front tires and we need a proper comforter as the 'RV comforter is paper thin and the quilt I brought is too small as I wasn't expecting to get a King size bed! As Wilma Flintstone would say, "CHAAAARRRRGGGGGEEEE IIITTTT".