Friday, 23 March 2018

iPhone repaired

Well that was the longest 24 hours of my life....

I don't even think it was 24 hours.....

I took my phone to WeFix in Temecula and within the hour I had a shiny new phone and a case to put around it!  AND only $75 (plus case) because its a 6 not a 6S. Bonus! OOOHHHHH! SHINEY!


We have to move the rig today, another propane run. We've been on E for 3 days already... better get it done today because cooler overnight temps are on the way for a couple of days before the sun gives us a last hoorah for our final week here.

So sad to have to leave here but rules are rules. Our biggest mistake (so far) this season was that we crossed 2 weeks too early... Here's hoping the drive north and the temps in AB warm up from what is expected at this point.... -6C, -8C overnight will be a weeeee bit chilly for us.

Not that we can complain after we've had our warmest winter ever being in the SouthWest, but I'm sure I'll complain anyway... it's a woman's prerogative... oh, wait - that's changing minds.... well I'll come up with something that'll allow me to moan...

Thursday, 22 March 2018

iPhone broken

Not sure if I mentioned it before but a few weeks ago I got a new iPhone 6 from Bell. They mailed it to my Mother-in-Law who then forwarded it on to me. Everyone said I should get a cover whatsit for it and I intended to but there is a place in SK where I can get a specific cover that I wanted so I decided to wait.....Well, within the week I dropped the damn thing 3 times on the way to the golf cart one morning and cracked the screen. Figured I'd get it fixed back home where I know where to go...

Yesterday, when returning from Temecula we were getting out of the car with a ton of stuff and Brad grabbed the phones... you can guess where this is going I'm sure.... he dropped mine. Now the screen is good and broken....

I can't use most of it and it opens stuff all on its own.... Aaargh.

So I made a call, I had picked up a business card from the laundry room here at the resort waaaaay back when we first arrived here. Not needing it at the time but thought it might be handy in future. Well Ladies and Gentlemen... the future has arrived.

The man tells me that if the screen is just cracked its $60USD but because my (I don't know what - LCD or something) is broken also it will be $85USD. Still not as bad as they want back in Saskatoon and only 30 - 40 minutes, he tells me. So today I will be going off once again to Temecula to get her fixed AND get a protector for her too!

My problem with these protectors (cases) is that because I'm not what what you would call 'a girlie girl' and  because I hand my phone down to Brad when I upgrade them, I don't want a foofoo protector or something overly masculine and I have a lot of trouble finding something that will work for both of us....which is why I like my custom cases. I will see what they have at this shop, worse case scenario I will order one off of Amazon but that could take a couple of days to arrive and I don't want to break the bloody thing in the meantime...

My girlfriends were trying to message me yesterday and I couldn't respond... I can't do even the simplest of things with it. But I CAN see the message alerts for the most part. This has to end, it's only been about 18 hours and I'm going bonkers already.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Golden Girls of Aguanga

So our neighbour Roh was in a play here at the resort called The Golden Girls of Aguanga. Karen, Dave and I went to check it out. The show was a sell out - completely, and there were 2 shows... 2 weeks apart.

We had managed to get tickets to the last show which was on St. Patrick's Day, this past Saturday. We knew it was sold out but were still surprised by the size of the crowd. $5 per ticket and that included 2 beers.

The play was hilarious (Roh played Blanche Devereaux) and included scenes from 'Hollywood Squares', if your too young to remember 'Hollywood Squares' ...well I can't help you. They had an actor who played Rodney Dangerfield... anyone who remembers Rodney Dangerfield will know just how hilarious this was.

The cast did a fantastic job and Roh certainly did justice to Blanche's role.

Sophia's mic wasn't working so she was given a microphone and the cast managed to improv that whole kerfuffle into the plot on the fly which was incredibly well done.

Roh (Blanche) on the left

It was a great night out with friends and I will definitely go to next years show.

Bat Shit Crazy Life

So it's been a little rough here the last while. Brad has been having an extremely difficult time with the last reduction of his meds that he did 3 weeks ago. I haven't even been to pickleball for about 2 weeks because it's just been so difficult around here.

Sunday and Monday were the first sign of hope for him, he has had 2 good days in a row, so we are praying that he made it over the hump. I don't know what today will bring as it's ridiculously early -- Robbie! -- and Brad is still in bed.

One of Brad's 'sort of' good days was this past Friday, so we went to town to get some groceries. After returning home, we gathered our things to exit the car there was a guy there, on our lot -- I'm going to keep this story short-- he said he followed us from town and we were 'intermittently' doing 53mph on Hwy 79. Hwy 79 is a 55mph zone. After leaving the guy returned and things got very heated. Both Brad and I had warned him about Brad's condition but he just kept at it. The short part? He drove his golf cart into Brad. Security and Cops... Good news? Brad never touched him. It was quite the ordeal and the resort HOA is dealing with it. Knowing how hard this reduction has been for Brad, I am extremely impressed at his restraint that day to say the least. I know I couldn't have done that. Brad was not injured more than a bruise on his leg.

So if you're wondering why I haven't posted much, this is it. Fortunately, we have made some friends here that have helped us get through this nightmare. Even our next door neighbours have been great during this difficult time. And what a time its been!

We are back to sunshine and warm temps for a few days, expected to cool on the weekend and then beautiful again until we leave for 'home' where it is nowhere near beautiful weather. Depending on whether Brad continues to improve we may take a little trip somewhere in the days to come. We shall have to see what happens.

As sad as it is to know we have to leave here is a couple of weeks, we are looking forward to getting back to our families. Especially the Grandkids. Unfortunatey, we will miss my Grandson's birthday but maybe we'll make it for Easter, I have to check the calendar and see whats what with Easter.

Friday, 16 March 2018

All Sunshine and Rainbows

RV life may just be all sunshine and rainbows after all....

Woke up yesterday after a hard rain throughout the night to the sight of this beautiful rainbow, as usual the picture doesn't do it justice but you can well imagine I am sure. It was a vibrant rainbow although the picture seems so faint...

The pickleball group I play with in the mornings was having a pickleball 101 class yesterday afternoon so naturally, I went. Met some potential new players who seemed to catch on quickly and we all certainly had a good time for 3 hours while the sun was shining overhead. This will be a regular class on Thursday afternoons. Some were complete newbies and others, like me, had played a bit before. There were 5 of us but one had to leave a short while before this picture was taken by the coach.

We exchanged lot numbers and some of us will get together to practice throughout the week. One is a Canadian from Alberta who is leaving the same day and same route as us. They will not be in an RV though so they will be waaaay ahead of us no doubt. 

All in all it was a fun day.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Rough week with a happy ending.

Our neighbour/friend Karen's husband Dave flies back here today after driving their truck back home. They decided to park it at home as they have no intention of moving their 5th Wheel from their site. So he drove it home and today flies back. It's been a long 3 days without him around here. They do have another car here.

Brad has had a difficult week, having reduced the last of his PTSD medication, thank God that's almost over...  He and his Dr decided to try a different medication as the side effects of his (former) current one were far too many... he has been slowly reducing since before we left home. Some of you will recall the week of hell we went through a few months ago. That was the last time he reduced and he has now (pretty much) recovered from his final dosage reduction.... Whew! 

So grateful to Karen being around during this week, I couldn't have done it without her!

We have had a couple of hot, sunny days here this week but that is over after today and the rains will be returning tomorrow for a few days- at least according to 'those in the know'... although I haven't checked the weather in 2 days... hmmm, better take another look and see what they think now.... Not having a lot of luck with my sexy legs lately!

At least when we get home I know it will be hot and sunny (eventually) and I will be able to get some colour on them, I hate disturbing the guys at NASA every time I put shorts on. We still have about 3 weeks left here so maybe I can pull it off yet, really want to have some colour on them before we get home.

The resort here has an owner's FB page so yesterday I put out a request to see if anyone had an extra golf cart cover before I ordered one off of Amazon.

Within half an hour one of the ladies here messaged that she did in fact have an extra one. Wasn't expecting that but we figured it was worth a shot and sure enough - it was. Though we offered to give her some cash for it, she declined saying it was just sitting in her 'basement' since they bought a new golf cart and she just wanted to get rid of it.

Woohoo! Bonus! It fits perfectly. When we first put it on there was a door missing so I called her to see if it could be found and after about an hour she arrived with it. They recently sold their Motorhome and bought a 5th Wheel, I guess it got lost in the shuffle but she managed to find it without too much fuss. So grateful to her for this as it's a really good rain cover and they are quite expensive.

To celebrate our golf cart coup, Robbie and I went on a date with Karen and Cooper to the dog park.

Mother and Son. I told you he gets his good looks from me!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Homeowner's Dinner and Jeep update

Last night the resort held a Homeowner's Dinner, catered by the resort's restaurant The 15th Hole. Brad was unable to go as he wasn't feeling very well and because David is away, I asked Karen if she would like to use his ticket since they hadn't picked up any tickets. Prime Rib dinner isn't something you just ignore after all.

Because it was raining alllllll day yesterday, Karen picked me up in her golf cart since hers has a rain cover and ours doesn't. We had a bit of difficulty finding somewhere to park, it was a little crowded over there, but finally found a spot and walked in the rain to get inside. The place was packed and it looked like we'd have trouble finding a table but we were called over to a table at the front which had 2 seats open. Met some friendly new people, so grateful for those seats.

The Main Club House was decorated very nicely and with some 260+ people there last night, quite a gathering. The dinner was served buffet style and it was really delicious.

The guy cutting the Prime Rib gave me a slice that was a whole lot too rare for me ( I prefer my meat dead, not walking), so Karen took that slice and he cut me another off the end. Baked potatoe, roasted veggies, bun and a solid dose of Horseradish later we were sitting at our table enjoying a fantastic meal with our new acquaintances.

The band began playing some old school tunes (an advantage to hanging with an older crowd) which I love. There was a fantastic cake for dessert and a table with bowls of a variation of candies that we just couldn't resist. As I was going over to ask the waitress to bring me a slice of cake for Brad - if there were any pieces left over once everyone had one, I saw Karen snag an extra one for him. No questions needed to ask I guess.

After dinner we high-tailed it out of there... large crowds are not my thing so I was grateful when I noted by Karen's body language that she was over the gathering too.

I checked in on Brad to make sure he was okay and then went across the creek to Karen's and we played 3 games of cribbage... she beat me every time. Clearly she was cheating, right?! LOL

So about the Jeep.... after receiving several comments and realizing that we will have 30-45 days to get the edits done once we get it to Canada, it seems like we've decided to keep her. Sure it will be a bit of a nuisance but we think she's worth it. I still have it listed but will likely take it down today, we seem to have settled on taking her home.

Somehow I had it in my head that they literally wouldn't allow us to take her in to Canada and we'd have to leave it at the border. In hindsight this is clearly ridiculous... one of those blonde moments my gray matter seems so fond of I guess.

We had several inquiries about the Jeep but nothing too serious and she is still with us, so....pretty sure we're gonna keep her and take our chances.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

No longer selling, 2006 Jeep Wrangler TJ / RV Toad

Currently in Aguanga, California (1 hour West of Palm Springs)

So it turns out, though we didn't know it at the time, that our Jeep has been lifted. By lifted I mean raised, not stolen. The Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) will not accept ANY vehicle which has had ANY modification. We were in the process of sorting out the paperwork for Customs and after finding out we did not need a 'Compliance Letter' except to bring a Canadian Vehicle to the USA, getting our 'Recall Letter' from Jeep, digging out our 'Certificate of Title' and the 'Bill of Sale'.... We then moved on to Modifications...

We didn't think our Jeep had had any modifications but when I was looking at 'Stock' photos of the Jeep online, I noticed they seemed to sit lower than ours. So today we drove over to a Jeep dealership and had them take a look. YUP, Lifted.

He suggested a place where we could have it lowered but also mentioned that if we had it lowered the tires would likely rub.... so we'd be looking at a $ couple grand $. Given the price of Jeep's back 'home', we have decided to try and sell her - before we leave. Not a lot of time.... So if you or someone you know is looking for a reliable Jeep by all means, Please, let us know.

All fluids changed Oct/17.

A day out Jeeping in the Arizona Desert

This Jeep is in great shape, we had all the fluids changed out the day we bought her in October and we put Brand new tires on her a week later, she also got a brand new (soft top) lid at Xmas and she has side rails.. Her power comes from a 4 cylinder, 6 speed, 2.4L engine. Sale includes tow bar for towing her behind an RV (about $3000 value). She has 72,131 miles. Jeeps were designed for towing I'm told, making this the perfect Toad.

Asking price: $12,500 obo (ono)

She is a fantastic Jeep and we had every intention of importing her to Canada but this ridiculous CBSA rule is making that too complicated.

We will be actively trying to sell her over the next few weeks, baring that - we will likely just leave her here at our site and either use it stateside only or sell it next season when we come down.

As any Jeeper will know, this has been very disappointing and upsetting to us but hopefully we can find a buyer who will keep her at her best. We will just have to buy one back 'home' when we return.

Pictures of her taken today:

March 6, 2018

Sunday, 4 March 2018

How to RV as a Canadian

So I was talking to my girlfriend about RVing... answering all kinds of questions... and I remembered how hard it was for me, as a Canadian, to find pertinent information about this lifestyle. So I decided to write a blog post about all the things you need to know as a Canadian RVer to give her a clean and concise point of reference. Of course, I am hoping that this will help other people in the future too.

The following is based only on our experience to date but keep in mind we've only been doing this for 6 months so we are not experts.

First things first:
There are 3 different types of RV's. Prices are based on reasonable condition and just estimates.
             Travel Trailers - these are towed behind a car/truck at bumper level, your typical going to the lake for the weekend kind of trailer. Easy, inexpensive and they are now (very recently) available with slideouts also. No longer weekends only, these travel trailers are now as luxurious as 5th Wheels (see below) but all on one level, great for people with physical limitations. Almost no storage especially outside, so difficult for full timing. Requires suitable car/truck to tow it with, lightweight, driver's seat in separate vehicle. Not as stable on the highway, more difficult to back up and requires additional equipment such as stabilizers and sway bars. Separate vehicle means you have something to drive when you get where you're going. Be sure the vehicle you are towing with is rated for the weight of the trailer you intend to pull. For example: DO NOT pull a 20,000 lb trailer with a car rated to tow 5,000lb.
                           Ballpark Price: $20,000 - $50,000 CAD
                           Insurance: Inexpensive

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            Motorhomes - A driveable trailer available in 3 different configurations:

             Class A -  Good full time option. Plenty of storage in the 'basement', ie. plenty of bays beneath for storage. Generally comes with a built in Generator for power, slides for more roominess inside and easy access to driver's seat.  Requires a second vehicle to be towed (called a Toad) on the back for driving around when you get where you're going. You don't want to try to take a Class A into a typical parking lot so a toad is a must.
                          Ballpark Price: $50,000 - $1,500,000 CAD
                          Insurance: Expensive (our is in the $240/mo range)

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             Class B / B+ - Essentially a converted van with all the amenities you will need strategically arranged, minimal storage, no slides, easy access to driver's seat. B+ is an extended version, the extra length providing more living space. Can easily park in any parking spot. Great for Stealth parking ie. parking undetected as an RV giving you more overnight options.
                         Ballpark Price: $120,000 - $160,000 CAD
                         Insurance: Expensive

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             Class C/C+ - Cab over the driver's seat generally has a bed though sometimes more cupboard space. more storage than a B but less than an A, Class C's now have slides allowing for more living space. More maneuverable but can also do with a toad for when you get where you're going.
                           Ballpark Price: $50,000 - $180,000 CAD
                           Insurance: Expensive

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           Fifth Wheels - Great full time option. Large trailers which connect to a truck bed via a 5th Wheel Hitch (similar to a semi). Very large living space, large 'basement' storage and interior storage, slides (as many as 5 slides or as few as 1). Some have two bathroom or bath and a half, handy for guests. Pulling truck means you have a vehicle for getting around when you get where you're going. Again, Do not pull a 5th Wheel with a 1/4 ton truck, make sure your truck is rated for the weight you require it to pull. Due to the weight of a 5th wheel, the trucks required to tow with can be hard to find parking for at say Walmart or Safeway. 5th wheel have a seperate bedroom usually located above the hitch but some 5th wheels have the bedroom in the rear and the livingroom above the hitch. This space is accessible by a couple of steps, awkward if you have physical limitations. In my opinion, 5th Wheels are the most 'homey'.
                          Ballpark Price: $45,000 - $85,000 CAD
                          Insurance: Reasonable

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Buying an RV... Many things to consider before buying an RV. We live in the RV the same way we lived in our sticks and bricks. Not much is different. So when buying an RV keep that in mind. Also as a Canadian I advise, even if you intend to spend 6 months in the States, you should make every effort to get an RV that is 3 or preferably 4 season rated, also called 'Arctic Package'. This will keep you plenty cool down south on hot days and warm during the Spring/Fall when travelling back and forth to/from Canada.

Consider how much of your RV runs on electric vs propane. RV's that are fully electric mean you will be tied to resorts/parks... the more propane your RV operates on the more flexibility you will have with regard to where to stay. Also the size of your rig should be given a great deal of consideration. The longer it is the harder to find a resort/park that can accomodate it, and maneuverability is much harder the longer your set up is also. Try to balance comfort and length, ideally you will be spending most of your time outdoors anyway, but on cold/wet days you do not want to be cramped.

As much as you may like to think you will have company, you don't want to have a lot of wasted space so consider the number of people your rig sleeps. You'll likely be surprised how rarely extra sleeping space is needed and usually the couch will convert to a bed, making room for those rare occasions and saving the expense of extra space for bunk beds, etc which could be used for storage.

If your RV has slides, how much is accessible with the slides in? You will want to access the fridge when you stop for lunch, the bed when you overnight while travelling, the bathroom would be a great convenience - believe me. If the slides block any of these items, my advise would be to keep looking.

It is also advisable to live and buy in a Province with little to no Sales Tax for obvious reasons. You can plate it in your home province but will need to pay the sales tax amount to that Province when you plate it. If you are planning to live fulltime in your RV then your residency will be an important decision. For us, this is Alberta. Alberta has no Sales Tax, insurance is reasonable, Personal Income Tax is low and Health Insurance is free.

Travel Styles:

      Stationary -  This style of RVing means you buy an RV, place it at a site in an RV Park somewhere and it never moves. Good for University students, Grandparents who don't want a big house but want to stay near the family. Price will vary by park.

      Boondocking - Boondocking is all about going into the Boonies and being self-sufficient. Creating your own power and supplying you own water. Dealing with your tanks usually requires taking the RV to an RV Dump Station somewhere every few days or a week, depending on how well you conserve water. Your showerhead should have a 'pause' valve to save water while you lather. Some are better at this than others so much thought should go into it before you consider this endeavor.

Boondocking is FREE!! There is a ton of free Boondocking/Overnight Parking in the SW of the US, but as you move further East there are less and less Boondocking options available down here.  Similarly, Ontario has virtually no boondocking, they have that Province sealed up pretty tight. Also available, including Ontario is Boondocker's Welcome which gives you other RVers who have a space for you and your rig to stay in their driveway or on their land for a night, maybe two (by invitation) - for free (though you should provide a small gift, make a purchase in the case of a business or offer to pay for electric if it is provided). Being in 'the boonies' can be dangerous so use your common sense in your location choices and if you are uncomfortable even a little, move. Find a new location. Even staying at a Walmart is preferable to being uncomfortable or in personal danger.

      Resort/Park - Travelling around and staying at one resort/park for a week, a couple of weeks or a month at a time before moving on to another RV resort/park. Resorts/parks can range from $300/month to $3000/month with full-hookups (water, sewer and electric) so it is wise to plan ahead. Florida and California are especially expensive but other states especially during the summer are pretty pricey as well. We got very lucky on this front in California. Resorts/Parks are the safest places to be as everyone watches out for each other. Assuming you don't choose a Park in 'the hood', of course.

      Snowbird - 6 months in the US and 6 months in Canada. The United States of America only allows you to spend a maximum of 182 days a year in the US and they have a wonky calculator which uses the previous few years of visits in its calculations. Learn this system before your second year and DO NOT under ANY circumstances stay more than 182 days your first year. You can be forced to pay taxes on your Canadian income to the IRS as well as to CCRA if you do! This should not be taken lightly. Fly or even walk if you have to to be across that border in time. Allow yourself plenty of time for the trip north in case of emergency, bad weather or vehicle problems. Snowbirds can spend the entire 6 months at one park or move from park to park as they see fit.

Fulltime in Canada?
This is possible. Again, a 4 season RV is preferable. You will want to be in a location that is relatively warm in winter such as Victoria, BC / Osoyoos, BC etc. You will need to put a 'skirt' around your RV to keep the wind out from under it which will help you keep warm. I am aware of people fulltiming in their RV in Fort McMurray but you've got to be pretty hearty for that I think. Walton's resort in Osoyoos for the winter will run you around $500/month plus Electric.

Points to Ponder:

   1. Check into Provincial tax details, each Province is different for Sales/HST/GST/Personal taxes.

   2. Residency requirements ie. How long can you be out of Province before losing residency and thereby Health Insurance coverage. Alberta is 6 months but some Provinces differ, so don't assume.

   3. Mail. In order to get residency you require an address. UPS offers mailboxes which provide you with a street address. Be sure to consider the address of the UPS store itself, you don't want your address to appear like this: 101-253-42578 Main Street... Your address for residency purposes should appear as: 101-42578 Main Street. UPS will also forward your mail to you wherever you are whenever you request it.

   4Travel Insurance. You NEED this if you cross into the States! The US has extraordinarily expensive health care so this Travel Insurance can be the difference between life/death or at the very least bankruptcy should something unforeseen occur.

   5Work Camping. This is an option to Canadians in Canada, there are many campgrounds that will hire RVers to run their campgrounds and provide them with free/inexpensive sites and/or pay in return. This can be especially helpful if you do not own a home and cannot afford RV Park rates. Canadians CANNOT work in the US without the proper documentation.

   6. I recommend, although it's not a required thing, to have a drinking water filter. Some parks are old and their inground plumbing has not been updated in decades...

   7. Once you have a mailbox street address, change your cell phone address. Take proof of your new address (ie. phone bill, etc) to any Motor Vehicle office and get your new Driver's license, apply for the Health Care of the Province you have chosen and generally you are a resident after 3 months.

   8. As for funds transfers/banking, etc. We pay all our bills online through our bank website and apply everything else to our Credit Card. We then withdraw a set amount each week to use as spending money. Keep in mind that the exchange rate, currently, is 1.25% so every $1 USD is $1.25 CAD. The ATM charges approx $3.50 for each withdrawal but we have found - surprisingly, that neither the Credit Card nor the Bank charges any additional fees other than the exchange rate of the day. I do not know if that is based on our banking history/Credit rating or just how they do it so check into this at your own bank.

   8a. Americans are just getting into chip cards now so a lot of gas station pumps are swipe only, if your card's swiper is not working you will need to pay inside each time and guess how much gas you need. ATM's take the chip cards. If asked what your ZIP code is: it will begin with 00 and then use the 3 numerical digits of your Canadian Postal Code as the last 3 digits of your ZIP.. as an example: If your Postal Code is A1B2C3 then your ZIP for Credit Card purposes will be 00123. If this does not work, put the 00 after your 3 numerical Postal Code digits.

   9. For getting around, we highly recommend an RV (or at least trucker's) GPS this specific system allows you to enter the height, weight, width and length of your RV setup. The GPS will then route you based on these parameters and you won't end up stuck under a low bridge in the middle of either New York or NoWhere.

   10. Once you have your RV where you want it to be, you can use your Google Maps app on your cell phone while in your toad, to show you in real time what the traffic is like enroute to the destination you have chosen, perhaps a restaurant of RV supply shop.

   11. Each State and Province has a Visitor Center, these are great for stopping on long travel days, many will allow you to stay overnight, and they will provide you with free maps and information about the sights and sounds of their particular State/Province.

   12. RVers are very friendly (for the most part), and always willing to lend a hand and/or knowledge. There is a very real sense of camaraderie amongst RVers. Happy hour is a 3pm daily occasion at campgrounds/resorts, and in some instances boondocking locations, should you choose to partake once in a while. No one cares WHAT your drinking, just that your there so take a coffee or even water if you find the alcohol a bit much.

   13. RV Tanks are not the nightmare they are portrayed to be. Just be sure to have a designated pair of gloves in the dump bay of your RV and use them. Ensure that all hoses are properly connected PRIOR to pulling the levers. Our tanks are of fairly typical sizes and we can last 3 days boondocking with both of us showering, dishes, drinking water before our tanks are full. If you don't want to move your rig every 3 days, you will need to conserve water better (alternate shower days) or stay somewhere with full hookups, we have lasted 6 days boondocking without dumping tanks so it can be done.

Do not leave your black tank open, even when at a full-hookup site - ever (bugs/mice/rats from the sewer will crawl in), and keep a dip in your sewer hose if your gray tank is left open (bugs don't swim under water). Simply close the grey tank valve the day prior to dumping your black tank to accumulate some rinse water, dump the black tank first then rinse the hoses by pulling the grey tank last.

Sewer hoses are delicate and can easily be torn/poked so be careful with it until you can purchase a heavy duty one.

   14. It is wise to eventually get a  portable water softener and water filter if you are moving around and unfamiliar with the water at your location. A lot of parks (again, back to old plumbing) have very hard water which can cause health problems. This is not required before leaving on your journey but don't wait too long as this hard water can build up in your RV's pipes and cause problems over time.

   15. In cold (freezing) weather, leave a tap dripping. It doesn't need to be much but a drip will keep the water moving and moving water will not freeze. As long as you protect the drain from clogging should the water make it float you can use a dish cloth to minimize the sound of the drip. (turn the drain plug upside down and/or tie the rag to the tap)

   16. If taking a pet into the US, ensure the animal is up to date on all immunizations, and ensure the Vet knows where you are taking the animal. We have a flea/tick prescription that we administer to our Dog every month to make sure he stays healthy during our travels. Border patrol will require up to date immunization records for your animal also. Do not leave an animal unattended inside the RV for extended periods, just like a car it can get extremely hot inside an RV and the animal could die. On reasonable temperature days you could leave the animal with blinds down/windows open, etc. Use common sense to ensure the safety of your pet.

   17. If you have an issue with your RV, my first suggestion (except in emergencies, obviously) is to check YouTube. There are a ton of DIY how to fix this and that with your RV videos online which could save you $Thousands$.

   18. Always maintain a basic set of tools, and I personally recommend a compact air compressor that is appropriate for RV tires. A typical air compressor will be okay for car tires of around 50psi, but an RV's tires could take 80psi or more so ensure your compressor is sufficient for the job. This way you can fill your tires if you find them low when you are in the middle of nowhere,. Having an RV towed is very expensive.

   19. Your sewer hose and water hose should be a minimum of 25 ft long to accommodate unusual site layouts, hookups are not all conveniently located.

   20. Solar power is a luxury you do not necessarily need. We thought we needed it for Brad's CPAP machine and it has certainly come in handy on several occasions... but $10,000 handy? Probably not. A simple CPAP battery that can be charged while the generator is on or while your driving would suffice. While we don't regret getting 480w of solar, new batteries, upgraded wiring and tilted panels- because we unexpectedly changed our travel style we could have done without them. However, for boondocking they were a great asset with his CPAP. Hindsight...

   21. There are a lot of RV Clubs/Groups available. As an example, Escapees has many smaller groups within it, a Boondocker's group, a sewing group, bird watching group... just about anything that interests you, where you can meet like minded people to travel with.

   22. Toilet paper must be RV or Septic approved. Do not use regular household TP unless it is 1 Ply as it will bung up your tanks. Scots now makes an RV paper which can be found at Walmart or online. RV appropriate paper can be found at RV stores such as Camping World or a Dealership.

   23. Ensure that you have a Surge protector,  again- old campgrounds may have poor wiring and could fry your RV's electrical system, available in 30Amp or 50Amp depending on your RV's Amperage.

   24. A slide is a portion of a wall which extends outwards when parked to allow for more living space, before driving these must be pulled (automatic) in.

   25. When travelling keep in mind that the longer you stay somewhere the lower the rate will be. For example: One night could be $55, a week $200 but a month will be $600. Nightly rates usually include electric, most weekly rates include electric but if you stay for a month they will generally add the electric to your bill. ie $600/month + electric.

   26. There are programs like Passport America which cost about $50/year, these programs provide you with discounts of up to 50% off at a resort/park. Thousand Trails is another more expensive option that offers you significant discounts at a multitude of different parks all around the US.

   27. KNOW YOUR VEHICLES HEIGHT. Always measure it yourself, just because the dealer says its 12'6" doesn't mean it is, changes may have been made by a previous owner that the dealer/newest owner is unaware of. Never fully trust a GPS, pay attention to clearance signs along your route. Don't get stuck. For the most part, clearance will not be an issue but when you get into back areas there is a chance of a low bridge or other obstruction like low hanging trees which could tear your roof. If you are unsure - pull over and check. Replacing a roof is very expensive.

   28. Due to the size of your RV set up, toll roads can be costly and there are a lot of them. When routing your GPS always review the route before approving it, and stay alert as you drive.

There are plenty of people who will tell you that you NEED this or that, you do not. There are a few items that would be must haves but very few. Most items are pick up as you go along items. Leveller Jack Pads would be a must have (see below) in my opinion, as is an RV appropriate GPS.

Items we wouldn't be without: (other than the above mentioned items)
* as much as possible all items should be collapsible or otherwise space saving.
* The links below are for examples and pricing ideas only and not necessarily recommendations for that particular product.

Stovetop Kettle, Bucket, Flashlight (including black light to see snakes and scorpions at night), Compact BBQ, water jug to hold Berkeyized water, storage containers, air tight canisters, (for rice, sugar, etc.), vent insulators (one for every ceiling vent), cheap garden hose (extremely handy for rinsing your RV or other outdoor chores), leveller jack pads (keep your rig from sinking into gravel/dirt - important).

During our own research we found a lot of information at, Carol Anne has compiled quite a bit of information for Canadian RVers.

I will update this Blog Post as our experience changes.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

A Coup for Fine Hair

All my life I've struggled with my hair, I'm not a vain person but I could never keep my hair looking presentable - ever. Until now.

If you have fine hair keep reading, if you don't then wait for my next blog which will be an information post about RV Life, perks and poops. Mostly for a friend but informative for everyone.

Now, about my hair. It is SO fine that I have to wash it every morning because I look like Medusa when I wake up... unfortunately, this stops oils from building on the hairs but is also why I believe I'm still so blonde at 49.

I shower and get myself stunning - and I do look good when I'm done! haha. An hour later though, I look like a drowned rat. I started using a Leave-in Conditioner about 10 years ago and have faithfully driven literally 3 hours to get more in the past. While I was happy with my Fast Food leave-in conditioner by AG I couldn't reasonably get it down here. Had to go closer to LA and while I've driven much farther for it before - LA is a whole other world, so I needed something...

Enter Walmart! Yes, Walmart. Never would have thought. With the help of 2 other women who were also looking for a leave-in Conditioner (hard to find in the aisles at Walmart), we found this:

Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner!

Now I promised I would only talk about products that were worthy and this one is certainly worthy. I've been using it for about a week now and boy am I impressed! It doesn't weigh my hair down - at all. I can even put my hair up in a ponytail to play PickleBall and when I take the hair tie out my hair isn't kinked... it just falls back to the way I styled it a couple of hours earlier. Holds that style all day. We went for supper the other night and I ran a brush through it though I didn't have to and it really woke it up. Usually, I just do my hair in the mornings and don't touch it again the rest of the day and it looks presentable and doesn't get static'd right up until I go to bed.

Amazing stuff. If you have fine hair - this is the answer to your prayers. About $10US at Walmart in the US. Also available at Walmart Canada and Ralph's in the US (only places I've looked.) Highly recommend.

Here are before (9am) and after (7:30pm) pictures.



See? Still Cute as hell.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ideas change by Opportunity and Experience

I was just watching a video by Random Bits RV about Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. And I got to thinking about our travels and how our plans have changed.

We began this journey with the intention of sightseeing all around America, just like all the videos I've watched for the last two years... and I wondered why we changed our minds and bought this site. When you consider that we bought a small rig specifically to be able to have easier access to State Parks, we added Solar so we could Boondock and we packed the rig with camping in mind not living, it strikes me as odd that when the opportunity to see The Grand Canyon was there we drove right past it.

So why did we buy a 'living' site? Well, not to offend my American readers because it's great that you can tour around your country and check out all the sites and sounds that you've grown up hearing about - but while we've heard about these places (and I've seen about near all of them in videos), we're Canadian. So I think that for us (at least us specifically) while I'd love to see The Grand Canyon and Winslow, Arizona, I'm not as willing to drive out of the way for it.

Likely in the future as we travel to and from our 'winter home' we will take specific routes to such destinations and spend a week or so puttering around but for us in a strange country where we aren't even sure where some States are... wandering aimlessly just wasn't working out.

Admittedly, I find this sad but I'm so grateful that we found a place we like, with great amenities, close to a lot of attractions that we can use as a base. I found it mentally exhausting trying find and then get to a spot only to spend the entire time there searching for the next spot.

I also just watched Pippi Peterson say goodbye to her first rig, a Motorhome -after getting a great deal on a 5th wheel. It was clearly an upsetting thing for her to sell that rig that she put so much effort into. She completely renovated it inside and out, took meticulous care of it and even added a LOT of Solar to Boondock. To know that people I've followed like Pippi and also in the past Less Junk More Journey, The More We Explore, The Paddy Wagon and many others have all changed the way they travel - some many times... no pressure Nathan and Marissa! - makes me think I'm not quite as crazy as I had been thinking I was.

I guess like all things in life your ideas about what you want change either by opportunity or experience. So while I'm still a little off in the head, I'm not completely coo-coo. Not yet, anyway.

Unfortunately, the decision to buy this site means that we won't likely be running into the many people we've been following for so long, which is disappointing to be sure. Perhaps next year we'll make our way to Quartzsite for the big event but we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it this year.

We have a lot of 'irons in the fire' as they say and really needed -it seems, to take some time to sort of 'find ourselves' again. Okay, so it was me that needed to be found and I'm damn near back to my old self so I'm very grateful for that.

Today is our 6 month Anniversary on the road and we've enjoyed every bit of it. There was a time, you may recall when things got a little disconcerting but we pulled through that and are all the stronger for it. This experience of the RV Life has been more about living than escaping, escaping being the need which brought us to buy an RV in the first place...

We have met so many people, some of which will undoubtedly become lifelong friends. I have finally come out of the shell I withdrew into and my bold, cocky, in your face abilities have returned. Not that I'm an in your face type, but I used to have the ability to do it back in the day - the last several years it feels like I withdrew into my shell, afraid to stick my head out (for justifiable reasons, I assure you). So it's been great to get away from all that B**S!&% and 'find myself'. (Incidentally, I always hated that phrase).

So thank you to all my readers for hanging in there through our trials and tribulations, I'm sure there will be many more to come. I still enjoy writing this Blog even when we've had quiet, cold, wet days and just sat around the RV or gone over to friends to play cards. Sometimes I feel like we have to go do something exciting so I can write about it but then I remember that we drove past The Grand Canyon and I realize that we're retired and doing our own thing.

For us, we're homebodies and like to hang close to the nest. At least that's been our experience this past 6 months but who knows what the future will bring, as I said earlier ... ideas about what you want change either by opportunity or experience! So here's to the next 6 months and all the wonders it will bring!!

Losing friends

Started yesterday with a couple of games of PickleBall, didn't do very well I'm afraid but I don't go to win, I go to have fun and I always have fun.

Fun game on the go

Great crowd to play with

Snow on the hills behind the resort from the night before

We decided to go to The 15th Hole for lunch yesterday so we invited our new friends Dewaine and Patty, they are leaving today for greener pastures. They just bought themselves a Condo in a 55+ community and they are very excited to settle in after living in their Motorhome for the last 2 years. Dewaine bought lunch which we thought was very nice especially considering we invited them. On the way out, Patty's shoelace was undone and with her hands full Dewaine very gentlemanly offered to tie them for her. Priceless. They have been married for 50+ (I think it's 51) years so she has him well in hand. In comparison, Brad and I have been married for 10 years.... enough said. I have my work cut out for me.

Denise and her husband came by in the afternoon with our new firepit cover, perfect fit. Big thank you to Denise for making this for us.

Brad's flower's are growing well, they got quite a bit of rain the last few days and he covered them during all the frost/freeze nights. They must have doubled in size already.

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