Follow Our Journey

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Dehumidifier or Heater, thoughts?

With the weather cooling off we are beginning to have condensation on the windows and I have to crank the heater to remove it.

Keep in mind we are trying to run on 480w of Solar Power...

The question now becomes should we get a dehumidifier for $200ish or a heater for $50ish?

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated as we are buying something today!

We tried to buy a dehumidifier yesterday but were unable to find anything reasonable and now I think a heater would be better as the furnace truly only heats the bedroom, just not enough of it pumps through to the main living area to keep the windows clear overnight.

I will be inquiring about this next week at the dealership. In the meantime, I am running on the assumption that its simply a summer RV and blah blah blah...

Any thoughts or suggestions from some not-so-newbies would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Dentists. One Evil, One Good

Went to a Dentist yesterday because I had an infection in my gums, turns out my last dentist pulled 2 teeth quite possibly without need and it caused an issue with another which then became infected and required being pulled also. So I am now missing 3 teeth on one side of my mouth. Really not good! So angry.

The good dentist explained that I could have an implant put in for a measly $4000, I didn't have the heart to tell her I already knew it was $200 in Mexico... I looked it up after seeing it on Carolyn's RV Life shortly after the evil dentist took 2 of my teeth.

Upon returning to my Brother's I went to lay down and rest only to discover that our furnace was not operating. Wanting to have it sorted before it got too cold, the nap was forsaken and the tools pulled out. Apparently this particular model of furnace has a history of stopping when it gets wet, perhaps they all do, I've no idea. After a lot a Googling and trying simple solutions we pulled out the hair dryer and set about drying things out in hopes that that would resolve the problem. Still nothing, but now it was dark out so we left it for the morning. Then suddenly about 30 min later while sitting at the table the furnace kicked in for longer and longer periods until finally it was going as per usual.

This morning we woke up to a lot of humidity on the windows and will now be going hunting for a dehumidifier today. We also need to do a dump run because everything is full, why oh why didn't we think to do that 2 days ago when we had the RV taken down and on the road... newbie mistake.

Today we have an easy day, just the dump run, humidifier and supper out with Brad's Mum.

RV Life so far seems great, though we are visiting family at the moment and have a house right beside us so not sure we are getting an accurate feel for it. After we leave here on Sunday, we will have the Solar installed by Tuesday then the real journey will begin I suppose. Sure wish it was even a month earlier in the year as I've read on other Blogs that snow is expected/occuring in the Calgary area which we need to drive through to get to Brad's Brother before heading further West or South or both.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

I forgot the tires

Yesterday was quite a kerfuffle. There was a life snafu at my brother's and on top of that the water pump went (acerage, remember). So I was to watch my nephew who had woken up sick on what was to be his first full day at school. Fortunately, his other Auntie had the day off and came out to look after him.

Then we found out Fountain Tire had a spot to fit us in but only as long as we could 'take down' the rig and get it to the city within the hour...

Take it down we did and arrived just as that hour was ending. Suffice to say, I didn't give any thought to getting a picture of the old tires. Damn. Anyway, we have shiny new tires on the front of her now. Originally, I had wanted to replace them all at the same time but when we checked the rears they were still plenty good so we just did the fronts. Its pouring rain outside so I don't have a picture of that either. You'll just have to trust me. :)

Fountain Tire gave us excellent service and I couldn't praise them enough, it wasn't cheap mind you but we knew that before even calling around for a shop. They even left a little card in the cab when they were done to remind us to re-torque in 100km which I thought was a nice touch.

While the tires were being done, Brad went for his weekly massage (military injuries) and I went to Sherwood RV to check the price on LED bulbs to replace the GR921s we have inside the rig that make the lights crazy hot. They had them - 6 of them for $60! Fortunately I had already checked Amazon and so I just ordered them from Amazon on my iPhone - 20 for $60, they are due to arrive tomorrow. After picking Brad up, we went back to Fountain Tire and waited while Jordan did the wheel alignment then it was off to Brad's Mum's for supper. Its was getting dark when we left.

We didn't have time to get any tidbits done while we were there and as it was we had to set the rig back in its spot in complete darkness. I backed my brother's truck (that we have been driving since we don't have a toad (I tried to tell Brad we'd need a toad...) ) so that the headlights light up the corner of the house as we are parked precariously close to it. Brad managed to get the RV in without any trouble.

Incidentally, when I was searching for quotes for the Solar I sent a request for quote to Sherwood RV and they still to this day have never responded. I had even called them on the landline and after being transferred 3 times and listening to elevator music for 15 minutes the line just went dead. I was so angry about it I even sent them an email about that and never heard anything from them. The only reason I stopped there for the lights was they were the only RV place in that part of town.

Today I have a dentist appointment and Brad has Eyes and Hair appointments.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Family visit

We are not actually in Saskatoon but on an acreage just outside. The internet out here is appalling much like I expect Campgrounds to be from what I have heard, so I haven't written a Blog for a few days because, frankly, SaskTel doesn't have its *%!$ together.

We are definitely far too reliant on internet in this day and age (OMG, I'm old!) from the kids who walk/text/gethitbycar to restaurants filled with tables of people on their phones typing to others instead of talking to each other, but this is not the point of my Blog - there really is no point actually.

The past few days we have been doing some home maintenance stuff for Brad's Mum, a little babysitting of my nephew, running around doing odds/ends.

My oldest son noticed that our front tires are hooped. Part of our errands has been to find new tires and arrange for replacement of same. We have decided on a supplier/putteronnerguy shop and will be calling to make the necessary arrangements tomorrow. I haven't taken a pic of the tires yet but I will.

We also managed to get a doorknob, though I couldn't find the right colour and spent quite awhile going from shop to shop - this one had the colour but not the lock, that one had the lock but not the colour, etc. until Brad said 'the old set is still good, you just need the inside (latch) bit. So I bought a Brown set and thats what we did, just threw the knobs out and voila.

Finally managed to see my youngest son and  2/3 of my Grandkids today. The oldest was at her Mother's so I wasn't able to see her but hopefully this weekend, all things being equal.

Otherwise its been quite relaxing, just chilling out and getting some stuff done in the RV. Today we finally got to remove the dining table and pull the bed out so that I could see what kind of storage we have in there, not much but some. Refilled the fresh tank yesterday and I cleaned the mirrors and a few windows that had the dogs nose art on them.

So far we are finding this RV to be a good fit for us, not too big and not too small. It is comfortable for our needs at least so far. I know we need to do some re-arranging/organizing to better accomodate our stuff and create a bit more space, I had hoped to get to it while we are here but that doesn't seem likely to happen so it will wait until further down the line. Everything is put away for now at least so its really just a matter of using the space we have more efficiently.

Coming to Saskatoon is comforting in that it is familiar, we used to live here and so we know where everything is and how to get there (enjoy that while it lasts). Our favourite all time restaurant The Lebanese Kitchen that we thought was gone has reappeared and Brad noticed it on the first day as we were driving somewhere else. We have since gone for lunch and fully intend to go again before we go, next time for a sit-in meal since the owners remember us and want to have a coffee and talk world affairs with Brad which he loves. Our other go to restaurant is The Broadway Cafe (its everyones go to on the weekends), if you go be sure to tell Nicki that Brad & Katie sent you. That reminds me she wanted to get together before we go, hmmm. Gotta try to fit that in...

Moving into this week we have a few more tidbits to do at Brad's Mum's and we are having supper there tomorrow, my nephew starts Kindergarten tomorrow, coffee with Nicki, world affairs, new tires, Grandkids, we need a toaster and distilled water, aye aye aye...

I haven't taken many pictures during this visit mostly just enjoying the family, but I did catch one of Brad and my brother doing the dishes today.

I will try to do better.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Family territory

Thought I'd post a quick blog now because later today we expect to be in family territory and likely won't have time/energy to write a blog.

After 12 days of dawdling across the country, well not actual dawdling but its dawdling for us, we are on the last stretch today and Robbie is super excited to see Grandma...

For us who have driven this route several times in 3-4 days, taking 12 days is like a summer stroll across the country. We made several stops along the way, did a bit of shopping at roadside attractions and the like, even spending 3 days at campsites and we're ready to chill out with some family.

We haven't seen the Grandkids since May when we spent a week or so enroute home with our shiny new RV so we're looking forward to seeing them again. They'll be driving in a blink, getting married off and life will take over. Having lived so far away from them for most of their lives already we hope the RV will provide us more opportunity to get to know their little personalities better and watch them grow.

Okay well His Lordship is nagging me to get beautified (like I'm not already!) so I'd best get on with it. We spent last evening in the parking lot of Painted Hand Casino in Yorkton, SK which was not listed on so I sent them the details to be added (could take a month the website tells me) for others in the future.

I will post again in a few days... family bound... bring it on.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Dryden Walmart

After spending the night at a truck stop in Wawa, we were only going to drive 4 hours to our next stop but once we got there.... it was only 2pm so we decided to keep going... and ended up driving to Dryden, Ontario which was a 10 hour day! Far longer than we had planned and we kept stopping at 'the next stop' but whatever overtook us just kept us going.

I promised Brad that I would mention on this blog that in Wawa we discovered that I (someone, but I'll take it) locked the bathroom door - on the way out! Had to break the damn thing off since the little hole button thingy wasn't working...

So here I sit having showered and beautified (I don't wake up this good looking, ya know?!) at the Walmart in Dryden. Let me tell you if you don't already know - You haven't lived until you've showered in a Walmart parking lot! LOL

I will be going in to the Walmart for a cutting knife and a hair dryer. I know, of all the things to forget - my hairdryer! Good news is there is a Tim Hortons across the road - Bonus.

We have an RV Park booked for tonight and tomorrow in Manitoba.

We won't normally be travelling this fast but we are trying to get to Saskatchewan where we will visit with family and then on to British Columbia to see Brad's brother who is ill.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Camping on the beach

After several days on the road we decided to stay at a Campground last night, which of course allowed us to get some laundry done as well. We sat on the beach and had a relaxing drink while watching the sunset over Lake Nipissing. 

I tried to get Robbie (dog) to go swimming in the lake like Champ... even tossing his ball into the water - Nope, no way Jose... I had to go in the water to get the damn ball myself. Not impressed. Eventually we'll get him in the water. His cue word for bath is beach... so when he watches Champ swim in the water we call that swimming in the lake... trying to differentiate the two for him but he doesn't seem to be buying it.

Our neighbours at this campsite are Americans heading home to Florida. They do not have internet access and only knew there was a hurricane but didn't know how bad it was (Hurricane Irma), they were trying to get cell service so they could call their (grown) kids and check in and we offered them our cell phone but (understandably) they wanted to do it on their own phone and managed to connect to bell for $5 CAD/day. Not too bad and similar to what Bell offers us going south also. As of right now they are still here at the campground but I suspect they will be heading off shortly. Not sure how close they will get with the evacuations going on down there but at least they will be doing something to keep their minds occupied.

This campground is quite literally at the waters edge and is mostly filled with permanent trailers but they had this awesome spot and we took it. $40/night for full hookups.

First Boondockers Welcome Stop

When we bought this RV in May and were driving it home, we contacted a couple in Ontario who were hosts on Boondockers Welcome and arranged to stay the night in their driveway. Unfortunately, the drive in the RV was longer than we had anticipated and I had to message them that we would not be able to make it to their place and we had to stay in a truck stop somewhere I don't even remember.

So when we knew we were going to be in the Ottawa area again, I sent them a message to see if they were home and had a spot available. Fortunately, they were and they did.

Once we had arrived and set up the rig, we sat on their front porch for some great conversation and a nice offering of cheese and crackers as a midnight snack was a nice touch. Now as I mentioned in a previous blog, Brad was quite unsure about this whole sleep in someones driveway business. In the end, he quite enjoyed the experience (thank you for that Jenne and Marcel), not sure how long I should wait before suggesting Boondockers Welcome again, but I will, unfortunately there aren't any along our journey for the next few days.

Their home is in a lovely, quiet neighbourhood and we were able to get a great, much needed sleep. While we are able to sleep in truck stops its not ideal and the quiet peacefulness of their driveway was much appreciated.

I am not linking directly to them for obvious reasons but suffice to say they are in the Ottawa area and we highly recommend them. They had read our blog (nice touch) before our arrival so they had some familiarity with us (not fair :)), and of course being RVers also we had plenty to talk about. In hindsight perhaps we should have stayed another night... next time.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

We've gone Rogue!!

Well, we've done it. We've gone Rogue. So far, so good although we've stayed at truck stops for the last 2 nights. Its been quite a relief just to get on the road. I'll be making more of an effort to find some back road areas for boondocking but I don't quite know how yet. I've been on Google Earth and found a couple but ... any suggestions for boondocking in Canada are welcome.

We are in Quebec at the moment and entering Ontario today, we have a meeting to attend and then we will be staying with a 'Boondockers Welcome'  couple tonight. This will be our first experience with Boondockers Welcome and Brad is a little unsure of it so I hope it goes well.

We will then be off to the Great White North of Ontario... there are a lot of campgrounds in Northern Ontario and I assume it is because of this that most possible stopping spots are designated 'no overnighting'. We noticed this when we were driving the rig home a few months ago. We will see how it goes... During our journey, once we have left a spot I will be publishing the stop on the map at the top of the blog so you just have to click the map to see options for boondocking (or staying at least).

After the last few weeks, we have really been taking time to unwind. I've seen some beautiful scenery but just couldn't bring myself to take pictures. I don't know why really, just needed time to get back to ourselves I suppose. Feeling much better now so expect to start posting pictures on Instagram and the like.

There are a few odds and ends that we want to rearrange in the rig and hope to get at that this morning before we head off through Montreal! Let the morning traffic pass is my thought, although anyone who's ever been to Montreal knows that doesn't happen...

It will be so awesome to talk to fellow RVers tonight and get some of their insight into this racket. Quite looking forward to that. They did say though that their driveway has a slight slope and after an experience we had in Nova Scotia last spring, that makes me a little nervous but we'll see how it goes. Our rig almost fell over because the jacks went too high. It was quite a fright, I must say.

Anyway, time to get His Lordship up so we can get on with it today....

Sunday, 27 August 2017

A bit of trouble

We've been having a bit of trouble with the locals. What started as a very small and obvious issue has been continually escalating for weeks.

I'm sure I mentioned previously how much I hate this place.... We are both fighters and have a long history of it but there comes a point... We have both had and done enough.

Our newest departure date is now Saturday, Sept. 2nd.

6 more sleeps. So much to do.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Departure date change

This post will be short and sweet (just like me!)

Well with a lot going on around here, we have decided to move our departure date up by 9 days. This leaves me with only 15 days to get everything done that needs doing. I shall have to begin a new list as the old one is starting to become hard to read with all the additions and subtractions I have been doing to it for the last few weeks.

We haven't told anyone about this change yet and unless we are in contact with them before Blogger sends out new post alerts, I guess they'll find out via email alert... Oops.

PS Happy Birthday to someone very special to us - you know who you are... xxx

Thursday, 17 August 2017

30 days to go!

This morning marks just 30 days until 'get-outta-dodge' day. This is very exciting for both of us, mostly me but His Lordship is catching up quickly. There has been a lot going on here which provides him incentive to go. (A countdown clock has been added above the blog)

I have begun sorting food stuff into air-tight containers and they are piled up on the kitchen counter (thankfully, we have a large kitchen counter - at home), I have sorted through the various Health Coverage options and we have settled on Blue Cross (C $3G) but have not yet made the arrangements -thats coming up quickly.

We decided that because we do not get much snail mail that we would have our mail sent to Brad's Mum who will then forward to us anything we must have. Because most everything is done online these days it seems ridiculous to pay a small fortune each month to have a mail service, if we find it is necessary we can always set this up from the road. I have a few organization gadgets that I need to set into the rig to assist with shelving, storage and the like.

We have chosen our Solar and Installer but we are waiting until closer to the day before booking the rig in although I think we can likely do this anytime now.

I have to re-organize the tool bag as we've made a mess of it since I did it last and clothing needs to be gone through but first I need to check online for average temps in the areas we hope to be.

Robbie (the dog) has been to the Vet and had all his required pokings so he is good to go. I asked the Vet about his shedding - he loses a Bishon every time we brush him and a Chihuahua falls to the floor everyday we don't. She suggested we get 'the coat blown out' which I didn't know was a thing... obviously I called the Groomer immediately to inquire and it costs C$65 so I was sceptical and googled it to see if it was a gimmick or actually worked.

I am none the wiser unfortunately, while lots of groomers say its great, I haven't found anything from 'average joes' but will look again. Anyone have experience with this? Does it work? Roughly how long does it last? Is it a 2/year or monthly endeavor? THIS is what I want to know before I fork out C$65. Sure would be great not to have to sweep a Chihuahua out of the rig everyday.

I added a map to the bottom of the Blog a week ago and I have used - I think its Halifax as our originating point - though this is inaccurate. This map will allow me to post where we are (at least, where we were the day before). Obviously I do not want the world to know where we are when we are. So I will post the location of the previous stop so that we and others can know where there is appropriate overnighting. Also, I will add to the infamous Apps as required.

Our rig is the same height/width as a 40' but is only 28' long and I will try to note at each location details of what the largest vehicle should be. I have found that some RVers detail where they stopped but do not advise if a much larger rig would fit at that location. As we intend to do a lot of Boondocking I anticipate finding a few spots that will add to the various App details especially in Northern Ontario where Campgrounds are rampant and Boondocking frowned upon.

No big surprise that we intend to do another 'hard push' to get across Canada (we've done it in 2.5 days before), likely doing it in a week this time. Turns out we're getting old and these 'hard push' drives are getting harder and harder -even with a bed in the back.

I have a list (its what I do) of everything we need to put into the rig, unfortunately we do not have access to a weigh scale around here so we'll just have to wing it until we get to civilization and we can sort through any weight issue then, although I don't think we'll be over -or at least not by much, but we'll see.

Anyway, the clock is ticktocking now!... WooHoo

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Calculating Solar - Complete

I did a post a week or so ago about calculating your Amp Hour requirements. But what do you do with that information? To reiterate: I am not a Professional!! Double check everything...

AH = Amp Hours
V    = Volts
WH = Watt Hours
Panel V = Panel Volts
Panel A = Panel Amps
Panel AH = Panel Amp Hours

Okay so here are the calculations for Solar and how many panels (of a specific panel you will require). The Solar kit we have chosen for our needs is here.

AH x V = WH
WH /Panel V = Panel AH
Panel AH / Panel Amps = number of panels required for 1 hour of sun.
Number of panels required for 1 hour sun / Number of hours collecting sun (check online for your specific area) = number of panels based on the specs used in calculation (so make sure they are right).

So I will use a few of our own numbers and the panels we have chosen to show you the calculation:

In order to run everything we have at the same time we will use 440 AH (won't likely run it all at the same time)

440AH x 12V(RV system (some are 24V)) = 5280WH
5280WH / 12V = 440AH
440AH / 8.8amps (our particular solar panels) = 50 panels for one hour of sunlight
50 per hour / # hours of sunlight (5 average but check your area online)
= 10 panels

Now we are not putting 10 panels on the roof. In fact, our kit is 3 - 160W panels. We don't expect to be running everything at the same time and we will have to monitor our energy usage for the first while. If we find it is not enough, we can always add more later. However, according to all things Google it seems that the 480W is enough for most full-timers. Our particular RV runs most of its systems off Propane or electric but some newer RVs are coming off the line now strictly electric which will obviously require a lot more solar to operate.

Trouble with getting Solar before you leave is that you really have no idea how you will use the space and what your energy consumption will be. So we are starting at 480W and we'll see where we go from there... I will update as we progress.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Solar, Mail and Health decisions

The past few days I have been wrapped in solar details. Literally like a scarf. However, progress has been made...

As most of you either know or can safely assume Solar (while conceptually simple) is a technical minefield with so many components required to get it working properly. Once you have your Solar needs calculated you then need to find all the necessary components and not all components are compatible with each other. Having spent a fair bit of time sodding about trying to piece together all the different components I finally said 'to hell with it' and began searching for a kit which has everything in it. Sure I could probably piece it together cheaper but whats the point if one or more of them are not compatible in the end and being a layman means I don't know that until I do which would be at the wrong time, of course.

The Go Power Extreme 480w Solar Kit is our saving grace. It has all the components in one very convenient package. So with that resolved I then needed to find an Installer with time available to get it put on. Fortunately, the website lists all the Dealers by province/state with a map making it very easy to find what your looking for and just as well as it turns out.

As we were planning to go south through Windsor I began by searching this route and spoke to a few dealers in the Toronto/London area, but as happens all the time around here the route changed to crossing in Maine and heading south as quickly as possible so my Dealer map focus changed to accommodate this new crossing. However, with family needs brought to our attention on the west coast of Canada, the plan shifted once more to a complete Canada crossing.

You might ask why we wouldn't go across in the U.S. and the answer is simple, because every day spent south counts not only towards the maximum number of days we can be in the U.S this year but also counts as a half of a day next year and a quarter of a day the year after that, essentially shortening the number of days we can donate our coffers to the building of the infamous wall. But thats another story that has no place on this particular Blog.

So with this new information I set about looking for quotes and availability along our path across Canada and I have found 2 (there are likely others but this works for us). One is in Ontario and the other in BC. I have received a formal quote from BC and am still awaiting (likely Tuesday) the other from ON.

The other detail I have been working on is Health Coverage. Canada, as most know, has full Health Coverage for all Canadians (well, mostly full) paid for by the Province in which you reside using your exorbitant tax dollars. However, when a Canadian goes to the U.S where there is no such coverage you have to buy exorbitant Health Coverage over and above paying your exorbitant tax dollars.

This Coverage is NOT CHEAP (almost $200CAD/ Month each, at least for us). But it is certainly cheaper than paying a hospital bill in the U.S. So it is necessary. As an example, Brad's 20something niece was south recently and had a situation for which she required minor day surgery while down there. When the bill arrived (covered by the Insurance) it had been $90,000 CAD. Which could have ruined her life had she not had the Coverage.

Now I'll be the first to admit that I have been to the U.S many many many times and have never bought Insurance and fortunately have never had a problem, but if you did.... Yowsers! Frankly, as a Canadian this is not a topic that even comes to mind, its just always been there and so is not something I think about - Like when you flip the light switch.

We are going prepared for this trip, well I am doing everything possible to ensure that we are covered 3 ways to Sunday on everything from RV Repairs, Road Side Assistance, Health Care, etc. Trying anyway.
One RoadSide Assistance Plan

Think I may have forgotten or are unaware of something? Please let me know in the comments section below.

About the mail... As we will be away for a fair while, we obviously will not be able to get our mail at home. Escapees offers mail services to RVers whereby they provide you with a U.S mailing address and upon request will send your mail anywhere you may be passing through or stopping as you travel along. You simply advise them that you will be at Aunt Mable's RV Park on Tuesday and they send everything they have to you. Fantastic Service! When you put in a temporary mail forward with Canada Post they send your mail to your new location as it comes in. Great!

Problem for us is we will be in Canada for an unknown time before going south. Solution: Put a hold on the mail for a couple of weeks prior to the forwarding start. If your mail is held prior then upon the beginning of the forward Canada Post will forward everything currently held as well as new mail. Without the hold any mail prior to the forward will be stuck in the mailbox until we return in May.

And so it goes...

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Changed our minds 2

Okay so a couple of things...

I have spent today contacting Solar salespeople trying to get us sorted out for departure October 1st, booking the Dr for a pre-departure check-up, booking the dog in at the Vet, researching the best internet options while south and generally pulling my hair out.

THEN... himself decided to change our departure date.

We are now departing Sept 16th, 2017....

I swear you can't make this stuff up. Such is our life. We are incredibly lucky to have such a flexible schedule at our age and we know and are grateful for same.

For anyone who read my blogpost yesterday.... I made at least one significant error on the wattage calculation (decimal too far right) and today calculate our needs at 4 - 100w Mono panels (minimum) though we will likely get at least 120w Mono panels and actually I am awaiting a quote currently on 265w Poly panels... (I had originally wanted Mono panels - and might still).

Still unsure if we will get the solar in Canada or in the USA but will update as things become clearer. Given that I just lost 2 weeks in my get-out-of-dodge timeline, I will really need to buckle down and get some things organized around here. Start loading the rig with fishing gear and life jackets, dog toys and coffee (you'll find out if we meet on the road), not to mention sort through the clothing and figure out what to take and what to leave behind. We also have to make a plan for mail, and figure out what to do with our 'prized' possessions. We have some delicates that we don't won't broken on the road and I personally don't want to leave them unattended either.

Health coverage needs to be arranged, we want to join FMCA and our Credit Card will expire before we expect to return so I have to contact them also. Lots of little details - you know those ones that testosterone blocks from some thought processes. Girls: you know what I mean. Guys: look an obvious distraction...🙋

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Calculating Solar Needs - me thinks.

Okay as promised I am writing today about how to calculate your solar needs. Now lets be clear, I am not an expert!!! In fact, I am a blonde, so please do verify everything that I am about to tell you.

I have been studying solar and its required pre-calculations for almost a year. Brad uses a CPAP when he is sleeping for his Sleep Apnea and so having power is a requirement for us - Every Night! We are leaving in 60 days to go RVing for the winter in our new-to-us RV and so it is imperative that I get this Solar issue finalized. I have written on this topic before and someone (I forget who) asked me for the details of the calculations... again, I am not 'the man' and the following may require tweeking but this is what I learned...

Every electrical item be it CPAP or coffee maker has the electrical requirements stamped on it somewhere (except the desktop computers for which I have learned 300w should be typical). Now these numbers are not always in the same configuration. What I mean by this is that some are written in Watts (w) some in AC Amps (A) and some in DC Amps (A). The only way to know if the amps are AC or DC is to check the cord. If it plugs into your home outlet it is AC Amps. If it plugs into your cigarette lighter it is DC Amps.
North American AC outlet (yes I know they are upside down- thats another story) European sockets look different but they are still AC so the same rules should apply.

What you need to do is convert all these numbers to DC Amps. Sounds complicated and I got really frustrated at first until Pippi Peterson saved the day... (Incidentally and for the record, Pippi is not a professional either and the same 'don't hold her to it' rule applies).

Here are the conversion rules:
AC Amps to DC Amps = multiply by 10.
Watts to DC Amps = divide by 12.

For example:
Brad's CPAP plugs into the house outlet and states 1.43 Amps therefore the calculation must be: 1.43 x 10 = 14.3 DC Amps
My CrockPot plugs into the house outlet and states 275 Watts therefore the calculation must be: 275/ 12 = 22.91 DC Amps

The appropriate conversion must be done for all appliances you require to power, once complete you will have to ask yourself how much you will use each item while 'boondocking' ie. not plugged into shore power.

While Brad almost never sleeps 8 solid hours I am calculating the power requirement for his CPAP as 8 hours. The CrockPot will only be on approximately 1.5 hours a day if at all and that is what I am calculating its power requirements on.

For example:
We now know that the CPAP uses 14.3 DC Amps per hour and assuming 8 hours of sleep the power requirement for the CPAP alone is 14.3 x 8 = 114.4 Amp Hours
The CrockPot uses 22.91 DC Amps per hour but will be used approximately 1.5 hours/day 22.91 x 1.5 = 34.36 Amp Hours

Let me remind you to consider your rig itself. Now for us the whole rig runs on Gas/Elec/Propane options except for the lights and plugs, which is not necessarily the same for you. Newer rigs are coming off the line fully dependent on electric ie. Fridge, Hot water heater, water pump, etc. So your calculations may not only be about the items you wish to bring but also the function of the rig itself.

Once you have completed this calculation for all of your required items add the Amp Hours (A.H.) together. This number is your required Amp Hours. Now the trick is that you can't just say I need 400 AH and ensure your batteries cover that. Oh no, not that simple Chuck!

In our case, we have 2 - 160AH batteries for the coach itself which of course is 320 AH and our total requirements are 450AH but its not about just getting one more battery and your good. It is 'prohibited' to allow your batteries to run below 50% so for a 450AH consumption we will require 900AH of batteries. Again, this is just my understanding from a lot of research but I will update you as we progress as to exactly what happens when 'the big boys' install what we actually need. Suffice it to say for a power requirement of 100AH/day a minimum of 200AH battery storage will be required.

Oh yes, we are getting this done professionally. Neither of us is electrically minded and this stuff is complicated and expensive. I will be having everything verified especially since I just realized I did not include the lights or the Fantastic Fan in the rig- told you I was blonde. Now we will be switching all of our lights to LED which use very little power (1Amp) and the fan I believe is 1.5Amps. Minimal but it all adds up and we don't want to drop our battery levels to a point where they will need to be replaced as Deep Cycle batteries (which we have) are expensive.

The panels are not the only item you need in order to get Solar working on your rig, there is also a Charge Controller, an Inverter, specific gauge wiring and a Monitor. I have also learned that you should buy your Charge Controller and then get the Panels dependent on the Controller. What this is about is beyond me but we will figure it out as we go.

Nothing money can't fix, hey Brad?!? LOL (private joke from our recent house build)

So I hope this helps. The biggest take away from this is the conversion calculations themselves which i had a great deal of trouble finding, I'm sure its out there and I just wasn't looking properly but regardless if this helps anyone it is worth it. Good luck with your Solar install and/or follow along on this Blog to learn with us as we travel through this maze.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

We have a departure date and an Inverter

We have set Oct 1st, 2017 as our 'get outta dodge' date. There is a lot to do and only 8 weeks to do it now...

I rummaged through the house a couple of months ago and made a pile of stuff in the garage to try to sell in a garage sale. Last weekend I finally got around to having one. Nothing major, I just put a sign over the realtors sign with a couple of balloons and Brad mentioned it on Facebook but I didn't go all out with advertising it everywhere. Did pretty good too, mostly it was just small stuff and I put stupid cheap prices on everything since the goal was just to get rid of it. Having started with many many boxes I am now down to just one box and a few odds left. So I'm pretty happy with that.

On our travels home from Red Deer, AB with this new rig we purchased a 500w inverter for Brad's CPAP machine. We don't want to be tied to 'needing' shore power and the inverter will allow us freedom to boondock whenever we want/need. We have full intentions of putting solar on the rig shortly after we head out in October and will likely have this done in the states but we still need to get to the USA and to that end sleeping would be helpful.

We tried the inverter on that maiden trip but could not get it to operate the CPAP. Having read through the paperwork I now understand why not. Yesterday I had great plans to get the inverter set up into the battery box (basement) and run an extension through to the bedroom but having read through the details I am once again kerfuffled. The paperwork says not to put the inverter with the batteries and not to subject the inverter to the elements, well the battery compartment is open to the elements due to the battery 'off gassing' (can't think of a better way of saying that) so now I guess I shall have to locate a way to have the inverter in a different box with the battery connections close enough to reach the batteries at the front end of the rig and the extension cord heading towards the back.

This will require some thought and as the rig is perched beside our house on the edge of a cliff and I don't like going into it particularly, it will need to be pulled ahead so that I can look around into the compartments and figure out the best configuration without having to punch holes through everything. All of our basement bins are sealed units and I'd sure like to keep it that way but the man has to sleep and a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Yes I'm the technical one in our family. Brad can do it also but he usually has other stuff on the go and I am quite capable of doing things so why not?! Rhetorical question, I don't really want your answer and I may be a girl but I'm a girl with scissors so... let's stay friends.

Anyway, I watched a video on Love Your RV where Ray explains his inverter installation and a couple of other options which is where I learned just enough to be dangerous. I chose the extension cord option for this situation as it is really only a temporary fix for a couple of weeks while we get deep into the States where we will promptly let a professional sort us into some solar.

The great thing about this particular rig is that everything except the plugs runs on DC, gas or propane (this is my understanding at this point - but I'm just a girl ;) so we'll let a professional actually do it) but by my calculations (redone since the previous rig) using the details learned from Pippi Peterson we will require 3 100w panels. Now I need to verify this as I've lost the actual calculations somehow. Someone asked me on a previous blog for the details of solar calculations and I said I would write a Blog about it and haven't yet. I will do this on Tuesday Aug 1st.

Perhaps I will make a video about it, but I will definitely put a written explanation on the blog also. Everything I found online was very piecemeal and confusing so it would probably benefit a lot of people to have a clean concise way of calculating ones solar needs. It is surprisingly simple once you know all the pieces to the puzzle.

Thats enough for today as I have to go to work. Yuk! Who's bright idea was this anyway?! Oh! Nevermind.....

Until Tuesday then.

Friday, 21 July 2017

We attempted a trip and lessons learned

Mostly out of boredom but also because everyone recommends taking a test trip, we did just that. Packed up the rig, booked time off from work and off we went Thursday for a 10 day mini holiday....

The Campground we chose (10 hours from home) had provided us with bad directions and we ended up forced to drive our 12' rig through a 10' forest. There was nowhere to turn and we couldn't back up as it was near dark when we arrived (there wasn't any staff to direct us) . So Brad said 'to hell with it' and we drove through the damn thing.

Lesson #1: Don't pull into a Campground at/after dusk.
Lesson #2: Don't pull into a Campground at/after dusk.

The next morning, first thing, Brad checked the roof. There were a few cracks varying between 6 and 12 inches in the TPO roof. The closest RV supplier was a 3 hour drive away in the direction we had just come so off we went. Having purchased the Eternabond and some lap sealant we returned to our campsite - long day and not how we envisioned spending our first day out.

Having cleaned the roof Brad realized there was only 1 crack about an inch long which was quite a relief to us but meanwhile we have plenty of extra Eternabond should we need it again. Shout out to our RV Salesman Blair who told me that TPO was better than EPDM and in this instance, I believe him to be correct, because TPO has a hard outer shell the branches just dragged across it instead of digging in as I think would have happened with the EPDM I was so insistent upon at the time.

Saturday we drove around the area and there was not much to be found. With feelings of great disappointment and with our Campground being just a gravel parking lot we decided to come home after just 2 nights. We will stay home now until we go. We can always fish off the lower deck.

Our house, as you may know, is finally on the market. Unfortunately the MLS listing is terrible, very few of what we consider 'selling' pictures showing the double-sided rock fireplace, view of the main floor, etc... just a lot of duplicates of the 2 offices and the staircase, even the dot on the map is in the wrong location. I emailed the realtor to have this fixed and received an email last week that she would address it that day, but nothing yet and she hasn't returned Brad's call from 3 days ago.

I discovered Property Guys and wanted to switch to them but having re-read the contract with our current Realtor there is no way for us to cancel her contract as it is 'irrevocable'. However if the contract were to be terminated there is a 120 day after termination clause... seriously!?! We'll try to dig into this issue.

The good news about our trip is that Robbie (the dog) found his place in the rig.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Going once, going twice?!?!

Well... we've finally done it. We listed our house for sale. Our friend and realtor came all the way out here today and we now have a sign on the lawn. Actually, we don't have any lawn but you get the idea.

Because of the long weekend the listing won't hit the MLS system until Tuesday but the realtor seemed to think we wouldn't have any trouble selling it especially since we knocked $100,000 off the list price she had pre-determined before arriving. She was surprised by the size of it, apparently the house is much bigger than it looked in the pictures I sent her. I have not yet checked her website to see if it is there yet (probably not since that was only about 4 hours ago).

I had to take Brad to ER!! He was banging the sign into the property with the back end of an axe. Yes, an AXE! Got himself right between his thumb and forefinger, about a half inch long split. Built the entire house just the two of us and he built the 70' x 8' deck all by himself on the edge of a cliff and only upon banging in the for sale sign did he injure himself!!!

My poor baby has an owie

Anyway, after sitting there for a couple of hours with no Dr. in sight, we left. We went for supper to celebrate the milestone and he refused to go back to the hospital so I will be doing my Nurse Neverwell routine on him shortly and wrapping the damn thing up so his thumb can't move and he will just have to adjust for the next week or two. (PS Don't tell him I put this on the Blog - you know who you are) LOL

Well so much for that. He did it himself. Manly man and all that.

We still have no idea what we are going to do if/when it sells and frankly I can't even bring myself to think about it never mind try to talk to him about it. Since there really isn't much to talk about unless/until it sells anyway we might just as well wait it out. We have a couple of ideas and I have done some research into the options already so now its all about the wait. If it isn't sold in 3 months we will likely pull it until we return from our snowbird session in late spring/early summer and try again.

In the meantime and in between time I think we'll enjoy what we've built, spending the summer out on our deck with a drink or two - thats probably all we'll drink too. We often complain we don't drink enough. I will buy Coke periodically with the specific intention of having a stiff drink and then we forget we have it and it goes flat. I refuse to buy 2L bottles anymore just because of this. At least if you only open a small can the rest will hold for a couple of months if need be.

There is still the problem of our vehicle which we need to address. We have an FJ Cruiser which is not flat towable or even 2 up towable without spending a couple thousand $$ on something or other which is above my head, so I have been researching vehicles which are our style and flat towable. The Jeep Wrangler 4WD (2010 and up) is the obvious leader of that pack. Brad is very broad on the shoulders and just doesn't fit comfortably in most cars and neither one of us is really the car type, so... I'm watching for a suitable Jeep Wrangler 4WD in Canada - If you hear of one, please let us know.

Special thank you note to Kelly for calling me when I asked for some advise on RV Logistics, appreciate that.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Realtor? What Realtor?

Sorry for the delay in posting but its been very busy around here. We had a lot to do to get the house ready for the Realtor.

I had always said that when we sold the house we would use a Realtor friend of ours (Bev), because when we arrived in this area she was our Realtor (and friendly neighbour, too) although when we actually purchased a tiny house quite a way from her general area we did it without her, so it seemed only fair to me to give her the large house listing. Because Bev is so far away, when Brad posted a remark of selling on FaceBook and a local Realtor reached out, he thought that was the way to go. So go that way we did.

The local Realtor was due to arrive at 4:30pm yesterday so we ran around like chickens trying to get the house sorted out and ready. We have built additional land on one side of the house, taken the ensuite bathtub rock wall off to revamp, had to finish the trims on the far side of the lower half of the stairway, sort through a bunch of stuff for a Moving Sale, and then clean the house which by this time was a disgusting mess.

Now I'm known for being a clean freak, but the house was a hot mess. This damn dog (Robbie) sheds like you wouldn't believe and I would literally have to vacuum the entire 3000 sq ft everyday just to keep up - and I refuse. Add to that that we were working on the place and the mess was astronomical!

By 3:50pm we were finished all that we were going to get done, the house looked normal once again and I headed off to beautify. Mr. Realtor said he would call to confirm at 10am for our 4:30pm appointment, and when he didn't - I knew.... Brad wasn't convinced but I know how the 'Service' industry works in these parts, so we carried on just in case he just arrived for the appointment as a neighbour suggested he would.

He didn't. No phone call, no appearance. Nothing.

What a gong show the 'Service ' industry is around here (in fairness, its not just this guy). You'd think working a commission job like real estate that he would be all over a new listing - but nope. This guy only has 5 listings at the moment which is one reason we agreed to use him, so we would get some much needed attention, as we are remote we need all the help we can get to sell this place.

The good news is, we called Bev and though she is away at the moment, she will call us next week when she gets back. So this allows us a few more days to get some more stuff done. The deck needs a shelf thing built and the bathtub can be trimmed out. These are the only things we were unable to finish in the allotted time yesterday.

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



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 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 ( 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".

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Safety Done

Well boys and girls, we had the safety done on this potential rig we are flying to Alberta to look at. We haven't received the actual report yet but spoke to the Inspector over the phone afterwards and he believes that it is in really good condition, no rust, no signs of leakage on the roof, brakes are all good, engine clean, etc., etc.

So it turns out we have been extremely stressed all day about this rig, we didn't really realize it until he called and said he believed her to be in good shape. After that call we were both feeling quite excited in anticipation and beginning to feel noticeably more relaxed.

Now, we just hope that the inside of her looks as good as we think it does and there will be a new member of our little family. Okay thats over the top, but you get the idea.

I sorted out banking today (gong show), arranged the RV insurance, notified all credit cards that we were going on a trip so they don't cut us off (which they do all the time!!! - even locally.), I ran a background check on the VIN, did laundry and packed what can be packed before morning. I even found other potential RVs in the area to check out as a backup just in case and created a binder to keep all the required documentation in. Yes, I'm an organization freak. Accept it, move on, I did.

Incidentally, I hauled out 2 large suitcases and 3 carry-ons hoping to fit everything we need in them and somehow managed to get it all into 1 large suitcase and 2 carry-ons. Clearly I was trying to take my mind off something... even managed to fit clean bedding in there. Though we fully anticipate getting a new mattress, a quick stop at WallyWorld for pillows, a mattress cover and disposable dishes and that will get us home.

Did I mention this RV has 1200w of Solar! Yup, I'm excited about that. Just hope that it is all connected appropriately but have always forgotten to ask, at this point we'll find out soon enough.

Since I sat down to type this I have received 3 comment emails from my faithful followers. I'm really coming up in the world! :)

Well for now, its good night and sleep tight, big, long day tomorrow. Going to see the Mountains!