Monday, 17 February 2020

Trip gadgets and dinner with friends

Some of you have no doubt heard me say that I am a gadget Queen... this post is about just that...

Today I ordered this USB multi 12V adapter for the truck. This baby will allow me to charge up to 6 of my gadgets at a time and it will show me the truck battery level while it does that. Also, should it be necessary we can even plug the CPAP into it too.

Gadget #1: Charger

I also ordered some new sticky bits for the multitude of Nite Ize magnet balls we have all over everything already so that I can move them around to where we need them now. As an example there are 2 of these balls on our RV dash but until we move the RV, we don't need them on the dash but you can't just move them this VHB tape is not meant for that, so new stickies are required. 

I have secured the space in the truck which will house the above adapter gadget and I have configured the best way to run the wiring to the gadgets without obstructing the dash in any way. Brad loves it when I fit out a vehicle for my gadgets... hahaha.

Gadget #2: iPhone

Gadget #3: Traffic camera

Gadget #4: GPS

Gadget #5: Digital camera

Gadget #6: iPad

Gadget #7: eReader

Gadget #8: Headlamp

This will be handy for breakdowns in the dark as well as if we stay in the truck for some nights (unlikely but.... undecided as yet).

Naturally, I will also be taking this laptop on which I am writing this post but it will be in the luggage not in the truck cab.

In any event the point being that the truck will be wired for sound and satellite imagery in the event we get lost driving the Trans Canada Highway.

Went out for dinner with Jan & Steve tonight as they are abandoning us, er,  I mean leaving Salt Spring for Victoria enroute to Ontario for the Spring. We hope to see them in Ontario during our trip either going or coming or both.  These two were a great gain to us during our campground managing experience and I'm sure we'll be friends for many years to come.

Jan & Steve
Campers extraordinaire
We will be particularly sad to lose Steve's warped sense of humour. However, Jan will always have the iron in the fire, I'm sure.... (private joke)

They were kind enough to take pics of us also since we've obtained only 3 or 4 in our 15 years together. This one Steve took.

Jan took this one.

Daffodil growing outside the local Inn where we had supper tonight. 
First one I've seen this season, although I've been seeing tons of flower pics on FaceBook for weeks already.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

White Night, truck and trip

Here she is people, in all her glory... 

Head mechanic Robbie checks over the handy work

Decals removed - finally, but not by me.

I had pickle at 10am - Noon, then home for a short spell to putter with the truck then Brad took the truck for a spin and I prepped for my massage at 330pm. We passed each other as I was heading to the massage place and the decals stood out to me so I knew I had to get on that today, but when I got home Brad had removed the decals already. This is why I keep him around... he is my knight in shining armour... once we wash & polish the truck that will be literal - haha.

Fresh coolant done today, this is the quietest diesel truck I've ever known, at least it is since we changed all those filters the other day... it went from chug chug chug to toc toc toc. What a difference that day made!

What is left to be done on the truck before the trip?: The bypass kit, blue spring upgrade, air filter, new sleeves on the CAC tube and new module for the glow plugs. None of this 'needs' doing, we're just trying to avoid any mechanical problems while on our 17,200km journey this spring. 

Knowing our luck the tranny will fall out! Oops, I take that back.... not begging for trouble.

I will be using the label 'National tour' for posts about this trip. For the record, we are leaving from Salt Spring Island in BC late April, with stops in Saskatoon, Windsor and Ottawa before heading to hell and back again likely repeating those same stops.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Fix ups

We have the truck registered. I think I forgot to mention that...

Because of the long trip we have planned, Brad researched to see what known issues there are that we can sort out before we go and he found one to do with the coolant system (too complicated to explain here) so we are busy changing out oil/fuel/air filters and adding the required kit to ensure we do not suffer any problems from this known issue with these trucks. A delay has occurred which means we have to wait until this afternoon to continue. PS there is a business decal on the canopy which I have to remove before I can take a proper pic of the truck - in case you were wondering why there hasn't been one. I will try to get to that today.

Meanwhile, I have put in a dog barrier so Robbie cannot jump around and will stay in the back crew cab section with his dog hair.... aargh. I was going to sew a dog hammock for the back seat to make keeping said dog hair controlled but my sewing machine would not cooperate...

The feed dogs will not raise above the plate, I had the whole bloody thing apart but to no avail, it will need to go to a shop or be replaced depending on repair costs. As we all know they make things to be replaced these days, not fixed.

Unable to reach the required repair, I had to seperate the entire housing.

When I had the sewing machine put back together (yes it all went back together), I immediately went online and ordered the dog hammock I was modelling mine after - since I had a lot of fabric to use. Sometime next week it should arrive.

Then, I was scrolling our local FB page and someone posted a water bottle stand-- now usually when I see these they are hours old and I never get a look in - but this one was 3 minutes old and I tagged it 'Mine' then sent the woman a DM for her address.... We have a small amount of counter as with most RVs and I've been itching to buy/build a stand to get the Berkey off the counter for ages. At the campground we were on 'city water' so the Berkey was put away but here its well water so the Berkey is used once again.

New stand will need a sanding and probably paint/stain but for now - Golden.

I could build a house on this much land.... LOL

Most of our counter has been used up with the Berkey, Brad's Keurig and my kettle, leaving only about 12" at the front of the counter for 'cooking and other such purposes'. Recently Brad has switched to just one cup of coffee in the morning and so the Keurig has been kept under the sink which in itself made a big difference, now with the Berkey off the counter..... Its like a whole new world has opened up to me for all the counter space I have.

Dad and Ann have arrived back in Windsor, he telephoned this morning. They have to stay in Dad's apartment because they are having some renovations done to Ann's apartment before the wedding and it is not completed as yet.

We have posted an ad locally for a piece of land, we'd like an acre or so to build an eco home on. I'd like to build something with a Rocket Mass Heater foundation and a 'normal' home on, although we've talked about cordwood and/or stone and in the 1000 sq ft range. The RMH foundation will allow us to light a small fire each morning and heat the entire house all day long - this would work even in Saskatchewan, so Southern BC is perfection. We've talked about doing an off-grid home which runs on solar and we could wrap tubing around the heater to provide sufficient hot water to the home as well. With a small garden, we'd be all set. At least that would be my personal ideal, how likely it is is another story I'm sure with all the bureaucracy these days. Me personally - I'd live in the Yukon to get the home I want but the reality is we need to be close to medical in our advancing years and especially massage for Brad.

There are some great lots available on Denman Island that we looked at but Salt Spring is a whole different story, this little island though famous for hippie eco stuff has, in recent years, become more of a retirement community for Vancouverites who want big mansions and no hippies. This is the current struggle on this island.

There has been no further development on our old home issues and we will be filing a suit in the coming months and no I cannot discuss it any more than that - at this time.

Unfortunately, with the old home hanging over our heads we are limited in our options for completing the goals as set out above. I've found some land options in the backwoods of mainland BC but after 40+ years in Saskatchewan, we'd prefer to stay in the more temperate climate of the Southern Gulf Islands.

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Garlic Scallops

Garlic Scallops

Ingredients for 2 servings:
16 oz Scallops (454g)
1 Tsp Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Peppercorn
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/8 tsp Paprika
1/4 C Butter
5 Cloves Garlic - minced
1/4 C Parsley
1/2 tsp Zest of Lemon - chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice

- Pat dry Scallops on paper towels very well before cooking
- Heat large cast iron skillet on medium
- In medium bowl- toss scallops with a drizzle of olive oil or butter, just enough to coat it all over.       Sprinkle them with sea salt, cracked pepper, red pepper flakes and paprika. Toss to coat gently.
- Drizzle a little butter to the hot skillet, just enough to coat the bottom. Add scallops making sure not to overcrowd the pan, and sear for 2 min on each side until nicely golden. (use small spatula to flip them individually)
- Add remaining butter to skillet with scallops and then add garlic. Remove from heat and using spatula push the garlic around to infuse the sauce for about 30 seconds. The heat from the skillet will be enough for the garlic to work its magic on the butter.
- Squeeze half a lemon over the scallops and move skillet around to combine with butter. Sprinkle with minced parsley, lemon zest and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Enjoy.

1006 Calories
39.1g Carbs
54.9g Fats
96.2g Proteins

Monday, 10 February 2020

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian Beef

Ingredients for 2 servings:

3/4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Ginger root
1/2 clove Garlic
1 1/2 Tbsp Soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp Water
1 1/2 Tbsp Honey
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes
4oz Beef flank
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 large Scallion (green onion)

- Heat 2 tsp Olive oil in frying pan over medium heat, add ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds; quickly add soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.
- Add honey and red pepper flakes; raise heat and simmer for 3-4 min, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Slice beef into strips, place in ziploc bag with cornstarch and toss until all strips are evenly coated.
- Heat remaining 2 tbsp Olive oil in frying pan, until its hot but not smoking. Add beef and saute/stirfry for 2 min until it begins to darken around edges, stirring every now and then so that it cooks evenly. Set strips aside and clean the pan.
- Return pan to heat, add meat and simmer for 1 min. Add the sauce and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Add the green onions and cook for 1 min further.
- Transfer to plate and serve.

Nutrition stats per serving:
465 Calories
46.5g Carbs
19.8g Fats
27.3g Proteins

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Home again

On our last night of housesitting and looking after Teddy we decided to go for Vietnamese. Long time readers will likely know that Vietnamese is our favourite and we are always trying local restaurants wherever we go. Our favourite remains our old haunt back in our Saskatoon days some 15 years ago (restaurant sold to new owners and just isn't the same anymore).

A few selections, we enjoyed the lemongrass beef dish the best although it was all palatable (not always the case)

I have heard from Dad & Ann, they are off the cruise ship and touring around in the Florida Cays before heading home to Windsor mid week.

Our first experience with was a good one. Although we failed to inquire when exactly they would be returning, only knew that it was on the 8th (today), what none of us considered was that their flight arrived very late and we had plans to be home by supper out with friends on Salt Spring... so arrangements were made with the owners family that they would pick up Teddy for the evening so we could head home on schedule. 

Note to self: confirm the return date/time.... had we known we would be needed until the 9th, we would have made arrangements as per but as it was, expecting to be home today we made other plans... turned out okay though, I believe. 

Little Teddy sure is a delight. What a good doggie, he loved to cuddle with me specifically which Robbie was none too keen about but suffered the atrocity in disgusted silence time and again... poor little guy. We sure are going to miss little Teddy, just soo cute. It was a great place to be with some great sites to see but with all the bloody rain we just were not able to get out much and experience it particularly. 

We did get to Denman Island, but every other day we were there we'd wait until the rain stopped long enough to take the dogs for their daily walk and then the rain would start again... and not just a bit of rain - torrential downpours,    all   day   long  !! Which is why we wanted to do the sit in the first place, as an opportunity to get out from under the tick tick tick on the roof.

Funny enough today the sun came out and it is 'supposed' to be sunny for the next 5 days or more. Go figure.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Beef with Cumin

Beef with Cumin

Ingredients for 2 servings:

10oz Beef flank
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Ginger
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
2 tsp Soy Sauce
2 medium Scallions (Green Onions)

- Cut meat into strips; pat with paper towel to dry
- Mix spices( Garlic powder through Salt)  in ziploc bag; add meat; remove air from bag and squirm spice mixture to cover meat
- Heat Oil in frying pan over medium-high heat
- Stir-fry meat until almost cooked, 3-5 minutes
- Reduce heat. Add Soy Sauce and Scallions
- Cook for a minute or two until scallions are soft. Serve hot and enjoy!

Nutrition stats per serving:
330 Calories
6.3g Carbs
19.6g Fats
32.3g Proteins

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Mediterranean Chicken

Ingredients for 2 servings:

1/2C Cherry Tomatoes -halved
1/2C Olives -chopped
1.5Tbsp Capers -rinse and drain
1.5Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Chicken Breast -boneless, skinless
2 dash Salt
2 dash Pepper

- Slice olives, rinse capers, and toss together with the tomatoes and 1Tbsp olive oil in bowl.
- Cube chicken, season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Preheat frying pan with 1Tbsp olive oil, add chicken and sear quickly to golden brown
- Flip chicken until almost cooked through ( ~2 min remaining)
- Add tomatoe mixture to skillet and continue cooking until tomatoes have softened. ( ~2 min)

Transfer chicken to plate, spoon tomatoe mixture over the top and serve.

Nutrition stats per serving:
420 Calories
3.95g Carbs
20.5g Fats
54g Proteins

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Adding some recipes to the blog

As mentioned previously I have been doing a lot of cooking lately in an attempt to accommodate Brad's less-carb (not carb-less) diet that he started about this time last year. We've been eating very few carbs and I have been using a program online to organize a meal plan and provide a weekly grocery list.

I have decided to post a few exceptionally good recipes which we find delicious and surprisingly simple even in a small RV kitchen. I will add the label 'Recipe' to each one so that they can be found easily in the sidebar of the blog.

This time of year, using the BBQ is a bit difficult but in very short order I will try to adapt them to accommodate BBQ cookers because many of my readers are RVers and RVers love to BBQ... this information will be added as a footnote to each recipe.

Now, it is important to note that I have already adapted these recipes because generally they are for whole meats - ie chicken breast, steaks,etc. For ease in a small kitchen - not to mention to ensure it is cooked through - I generally cut such proteins into cubes as it shortens the cook time (ie propane use). I have had no trouble getting any of the ingredients even on our small little island so everything should be easy to access for everyone.

The biggest problem for an RVer will be the spices, there are a few but typically not too many. With the bulk of the recipes we have settled upon for our dietary needs I would guestimate likely 6-8 spice jars. Fortunately, before we left our house to go on this adventure I added a curtain rod behind the cooker which holds approximately 15 spice jars. There are so very many options for RV spice racks online that I suggest you simply google it if you need to organize something for your particular space.

Once complete, I will put together a weekly meal plan with grocery list. Which, naturally, anyone can switch around each week so that Monday night isn't always meatloaf night for example. :D but the weekly shop list will be the same and this will include lunches...

Keep in mind that our own dietary requirements will be part of this: Brad does not eat cheese (except cooked Mozza) and I cannot eat hard greens (like broccoli stems). I also cannot eat lettuce except romaine so anything calling for iceberg lettuce I just simply use Romaine instead and I would encourage you to edit them yourselves to accommodate your own dietary needs in the same manner -as needed.

I thought about adding a recipe page to the blog but have decided not to as this is not a cooking blog, this is a travel blog and I intend to keep it that way... so the recipes will simply be added as regular posts.

I will post them intermittently between our regularly scheduled (not so much) programming.

Monday, 3 February 2020

It was a beach day

When Robbie was little and we lived in Alberta, we referred to the bath as the beach.... it has never changed.... the actual beach is referred to as the ocean so as not to confuse the poor guy. Robbie absolutely hates going to the beach but loves the ocean. After all the rain we've had both of these dogs stunk to high hell so yesterday was a beach day... 

Teddy was very scared at first not sure he's ever experience a self-doggie wash but he stopped shaking after about 5 min

Robbie isn't afraid of the beach, just hates it - he shakes for no one... LOL

Now both boys are sparkling clean and smell quite literally like roses, their coats are so soft I must say I am impressed with the shampoo they use at Bosley's. This product line has a shampoo specific for white dogs to brighten them I suppose, I used this on Teddy. Pretty impressive stuff.

Anyway, the rains are ebbing but not gone and we are awaiting a weather window for our next adventure. 

Today is massage day so Brad is heading back to Salt Spring for that and to check on our rig as the power went out in a storm 2 nights ago and some trees and a lot of branches came down around the island. Robbie will be going with him for the ride.

Teddy and I will stay here to await the fridge repair guy that we thought was coming last Tuesday.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Day on Denman Island

Yesterday we went to the Village of Cumberland for a Pickleball game. Nice crowd, not the same as my familiar SSI crowd but they were friendly enough to a stranger. Had 3 games and headed out.

Someone in town had built his entire fence out of skis. Picture worthy for sure.

This is what I have in mind for us, although this is on a lot and Brad wants a couple of acres. I like the small house - simple but not too much.

After walking the dogs for an hour today we went to Denman Island. We are close enough to the Denman ferry from this house sit that we decided to check it out.

Denman Ferry

No side walls to speak of so nice view all the way across (10 min) and this ferry runs on cables somehow...

Our first stop was for lunch. Google suggested a spot so we headed there right off the ferry. What an amazing find this place was. On a bit of land that has been in his family essentially for almost 200 years, he has a little chuck wagon set up beside the house where he cooks a variety of items and offers an incredible atmosphere you really need to experience. The food is delicious, definitely something to write home about- Brad's onion rings were the best I've ever had - I stole one off his plate... amazing. If you are ever on Denman Island - go here to eat. In bad weather, eat in the car - but go regardless.

Nearly 200 year old barn with a chandelier

Fantastic timberframe barn

Outdoor restaurant only

another barn

The original Chuck wagon his father built many years ago

Chuck Wagon now has an add on for the BBQ

You can't get lost here

Incredible views of the ocean and the mountains of Vancouver Island

The ambiance was incredible, old classics playing discreetly in the background and today's much needed sunshine after record breaking rains made for a very memorable experience.

Cheeseburger and fries, delicious.

Burger and onion rings, try the onion rings - fantastic.

Shack n Wagon on Denman Island folks
Be sure to try this, it gets my vote!!

Drove all around the island checking things out. Not a lot on the go here but some really beautiful properties and reasonably sized housing (important to me anyway). Comparatively reasonable real estate pricing also. 

Ferry leaves Buckley bay every hour on the hour and leaves Denman island every hour on the 40 min, only 20 minutes to a walmart from Buckley Bay.

The rains have turned creeks into raging rivers here also

Local real estate office

View of Vancouver Island mountains from the ferry heading back

All around it was an amazing day, we saw some fantastic sights, experienced the incredible Shack n Wagon and finally got out of the house for more than an hours walk with the dogs.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Simple update

Ann & Dad sent another pic. Looks like a communal area of the ship? Again, never having been invited I wouldn't know, but it looks like that. :D

I promised house pics so this is the livingroom. To be clear, they keep blankets on the furniture for Teddy & other family dogs - I didn't do this to someone else's furniture for Robbie.



Brad had had a rough night so cuddled up with Teddy on the couch

Out for a stroll with his Daddy

Teddy is with me

I haven't slept well since we arrived here. The first morning the owners were leaving so while I slept well that night I was up early to see them off. Sun/Mon am Teddy woke me up at 5am eating Robbie's food and generally making whining noises. On Monday I read on the local community FB page that two strange men were on someone's property and our dogs were set off at 6am that morning also so Monday night - no sleep for me with a fair sized doggie door on the house. Tuesday Brad secured the doggie door but then he had a rough night which kept me awake. Wed (last night) the power went off at 1am and as most of you know, Brad uses a CPAP... off to the couch with him once we found the flashlight and ensured the problem wasn't localized to our breaker box. Power returned at 245am with brightness and beeps. However, I feel like I slept even given last nights events so probably won't be near so miserable today. So take that Steve!!! (private joke)

We went to Comox yesterday as we needed a couple odds & ends so I got my outfit on, grabbed my paddle and away we went for a game of pickleball. Except the info I had found was for an outdoor court and of course no one was there. I will perhaps try again today, the sleep I had should help.

We will be going to Denman and Quadra Islands at some point soon, dependent upon weather.