Thursday, January 11, 2024

Happy New Year

Well, I guess it’s been a while since we have posted anything. Time for an update.

So shortly after posting that last entry, and with less than 400 Kms on our new truck, we were parked at a bank in Red Deer. While we were inside some $h!thead decided he was in such a hurry that he either forgot to look behind him while backing up or didn’t care as he backed into the back right corner of the truck. He must of hit it pretty hard as in addition to the dented fender, he also managed to twist the bumper!





The estimated damage was somewhere around $6,000 as the bumper had to be replaced along with some sheet metal and the tail light. Fortunately, insurance covered it but as it was a hit and run, we had to foot the deductible of $500. This happened in early June but the body shop couldn’t get one part so the estimated repair wouldn’t happen til late August. End of July we managed to switch to a different body shop closer to our location and got it moved up to early August. I think we let them have it around the 3rd or 4th and they were going to need it for at least a week to 10 days.

By that time however, we were starting to realize that the campground we were at wasn’t the best fit for us. Amongst other things, we were being required to work way more hours than we were led to believe at the start. Around August 10, we had had enough and tendered our resignations.

Luckily, we were able to stay at our site at the campground a few extra days until our friend Mike was able to come and get us with his big Kenworth as our little rented Ram 1500 would not tow the trailer. 

At this point, after contacting Reg at Alberta’s Littlest Airport just east of Camrose, Alberta, we were able to stay there for about a month on and off till about mid-September. 




During that time, we were able to attend an RC airplane event just outside of Edmonton, and then on the way back to BC, we went to a new float fly event hosted by the MOFFA (Mostly Old Float Flyers Association) club at Clear Lake Park, near Barrhead, Alberta.



Over the summer, Rob was noticing that when we brought one of the front slides in, it was coming in a little cockeyed. As I was bringing that slide in before we left Clear Lake, there was a “POP” that Rob heard outside and I heard inside. Well, the slide wouldn’t move much after that. Since the ground where we were parked for the weekend, was quite uneven, the one side (the side with the broken slide) was up a fair bit, so much so, we needed a step to get to the lowest step of the stairs to enter the trailer. 



We brought the rest of the slides in, hooked up the trailer and moved it to a flatter area, and then after about 5 to 10 mins of carefully hitting the slide switch in and out, we were able to get that slide in the majority of the way. The front wouldn’t quite come in all the way leaving about a ½” gap. Now it is trying to figure out where to get it repaired on our travels to Prince George, British Columbia. 


At the end of August, Rob’s cousin Peter had passed away, so as a family, we met up with his mom and brother in Prince George for his Celebration of Life. On our way to Prince George, we overnighted in McBride, BC. Sure enough, a thunderstorm came through and it rained hard overnight. Even with the slide in, Rob noticed the next morning that the rug we have in the front area of the trailer was wet. After leaving Clear Lake, we had not put the broken slide out with worries of not being able to bring it back in. We continued onto Prince George and then when we got to the campground, as I was getting things set up, specifically putting the TV up, the area I needed to get to was the area of the wet rug. Well, it wasn’t just a little bit wet, it was drenched. Had to take the wet socks off. At this point, it was grab all the extra bath towels we had to soak up as much of the water as possible and get a fan going to help dry things out. I was lucky enough to be able to lift the rug up and fold it back in order to mop up the water underneath it (the rug was only held down by a couple pieces of carpet tape and not glued down to the linoleum). At this point, the main thing Rob wanted to get done was to seal the slide up to prevent any further water from getting in. Out came the roll of silver aluminum duct tape, and he sealed the outside of the slide to the trailer to keep out anymore water that may get in with anymore rain. 

And guess what? I ended up doing laundry. Had to do some anyways. 

While we were in Prince George, we were able to secure an appointment at a dealership in Quesnel, BC on our way home after the Celebration of Life. Thank goodness for extended warranty on the trailer, instead of $1200+, we only had to pay the $100 deductible.  After a couple of hours, we were on our way. 

We then spent about a month in Kamloops taking care of appointments for us and Maya. And also visiting with our parents in Vernon. We left Canada on Oct 22 and were in the Yuma area 5 days later. One of our quickest trips down south, but when you are trying to beat the cold weather you go when you can. But on the other side of that, boy oh boy, was it quite hot when we got to Yuma. When you have been used to sub 20C weather and then all of a sudden it is hitting 35C+, its was way too hot. Especially when you are not plugged in to power. Had to get Rob to run the generators for a bit in the evenings so we could run an air conditioner to help cool the trailer down. 

Since being in Yuma, we haven’t done a whole lot. For November and December, we have been at our friends Robin and Michael’s place in the Foothills of Yuma. 




After a quiet Christmas, we left them on January 1, to stay for a week at the KOFA Escapees RV park in Yuma. From there, the trailer was back into the shop to get a grey tank valve changed out on January 8 and then off to Quartzsite for a bit.

After the service work we headed up to Quartzsite and to our usual area just off Plomosa Road for the rest of the month. This is where the Escapees Boomers hold their annual 2 week Boomerville gathering.




Arizona certainly does get some fantastic sunsets!


Thursday, May 11, 2023

Spring 2023 update

Howdy folks.

We figured it was time for another blog post. I know. It has been a long time. Guess that is because over the winter we really didn’t do too much different from previous years. 


Some of the highlights. Unexpected expenses. We wound up having to get 6 brand new tires on the trailer! On the way down, we stopped at a boondocking area just south of Overton, NV where we have stopped before. The day before we were planning to leave, Rob was walking around the trailer just checking it out and discovered we had a tire separating at the back right hand side of the trailer, so he put the spare tire on. The other 5 looked fine and he figured we would be good until we got to Yuma.


Notice the steel cords sticking out!




Fast forward to just west of Quartzsite where we stopped for a lunch break. Rob checked all the tires again and all looked good. Pressures were good and tire temperatures were fine. Also, they physically looked OK to the eye. On we go until about 30 miles north of Yuma; we actually had a blow out on the left rear tire on the trailer. When we say a blow out, it was exactly that! Sounded like a bomb went off and there was tire shrapnel all over the road. We were lucky though. The only damage other than the tire was a small piece of the fender skirt on the left side disappeared as well. 






At this time though, we didn’t have a spare tire for the trailer because we all ready put that on the other side. The left side of our trailer is quite a bit heavier than the right so Rob took the middle tire off from the right side and installed it onto the left and we slowly limped towards Yuma. We made it to the area we were going to spend a few days at before getting to our winter spot without any further issues. Plus, it was a Saturday, and by the time we got to our spot, it was too late to do anything until Monday. On Monday we ordered 6 new Sailun S637 14 ply tires at Big O and they were delivered and installed the next day. 


We spent the majority of the winter in Yuma but did venture up to Quartzsite for the end of January for the Escapee Boomers Boomerville. An event we have attended a few times now and then again for the last week of February for the Grand Design RV Rally. We had a friend from Alberta join us for a few weeks at the end of January and he was also around at the end of February, so the three of made a quick day trip down to Los Algadones. It was the first time for him and I think we all spent too much money!






One other change we made while down south this winter was switch to Starlink for our internet and TV. We had been using Shaw Direct for TV but they have been making a bunch of changes recently by moving channels onto the newer Anik G1 satellite. That is good for subscribers back home but sucks for us as the new satellite doesn't work down south. For internet, we had been using a number of solutions depending on where we were. In Canada we used a Telus Smart Hub at about $85 for 500 GB of Data and in the states an AT&T Mifi on an unlimited plan at about $80US / month. Between the TV and internet our monthly cost was in the neighbourhood of $200. Starlink on the other hand, works in the US and Canada and provides unlimited high speed internet for about $170 /mo. By streaming our TV content over the internet we get about the same service for about the same cost.

We started heading home the last week of March, spent the first night at a rest area just south of Pahranagat Lake in Nevada, then 3 nights in Twin Falls, ID, a night at the Wildhorse Casino parking lot in Pendleton, OR and the last night we spent at the Veterans Memorial Campground in Oroville, WA which is about 10 mins away from the border crossing into Canada and right on the shore of Osoyoos Lake. We were the only ones in the campground that night. 



Osoyoos Lake looking North from Oroville.

We spent 2 weeks in Kamloops to take care of some appointments and to help Rob’s mom celebrate her 103rd birthday. We then headed to Alberta and stayed for a week at Mountain View Farm Campground and then we headed up to Innisfail, AB where we are now for the summer working at the Discovery Wildlife Park Campground. We have been here now for not quite 3 weeks. The park opened May 1 but it’s not overly busy at the moment. The May long weekend will likely be our first taste of busy!





Hopefully I'll get some more and better photos of the locals later this spring.


We have also started the process to become Alberta residents. We now have our drivers’ licences and vehicle insurances switched to Alberta, have an address for the government, and we have applied for Alberta health care which we will get in July 2023. Several reasons for this with the main one being that we seem to be spending a lot more of our summer time in Alberta than BC. Also, no Provincial Sales Tax and much cheaper fuel.


I guess everyone is wondering how the is truck doing? Recall last fall, GM replaced the entire fuel system from the lift pump in the fuel tank all the way forward to another 8 fuel injectors.  Last time we gave you an update, we had had to get a new alternator in Jerome, ID. It ran pretty well over the winter, but when we started towing again in January, we were starting to hear the noises indicating that the issue was coming back. Well, guess what, half way home the check engine light came on again just south of Twin Falls, ID. We took it into the dealership in Twin Falls for a code read and they confirmed it was the same issue starting all over again! Once back in Kamloops we took it back to Zimmer Wheaton. At this point, the GM TAC team that the mechanics have to talk to for repairs, indicated that they wanted a GM Field engineer to look at it. Because we were limited on our time in Kamloops, we couldn’t do that, electing to wait until we got settled in Innisfail. After getting here, we took the truck to the GMC dealer in Red Deer. Wweelllllllllllll, our problem child is no longer our problem. Keep in mind, since COVID, these trucks are very hard to come by and when a dealership gets one, they typically don’t last very long. The dealership in Red Deer just happened to have what must have been, if not the last one in Alberta, close to it. They even gave us a much better trade than we were expecting. Only $10K less than we paid for it 3 years and 55,000 Kms ago even with its issues.

We wound up trading it in for a new 2023 GMC Denali virtually identical to the old one. The only issue is that it is white; Rob doesn’t care for white. We had no other options out there especially since all GM wanted to do on the old one was throw 8 more fuel injectors into it. Go figure. That would have made for 38!  Yes, you read that right. 38 fuel injectors plus a sh!tload of other parts as well since new! 

Therefore, we would like to introduce you to Driving Miss Daisy, or Daisy for short. 

We are not sure if this is to be our long term truck yet or not. We have plans for something else but at least now we will both feel better if or when it comes time to sell this one for the next step.


Out with the old (right), in with the new (left). Notice the Red and White licence plate.






Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Does Christine do a lot of baking in the trailer?

Yes, I do. I know; the next question is going to be how do I do it? Answer is, just like I would in a house.

 

When we got our previous trailer, the Cameo 5th wheel, I was lucky and there was a decent sized oven in the unit, and when we were looking for our full time unit, the main item on my list was a certain size oven and we have one. It is even larger than the one from the Cameo. Well, how big is it?



It’s not a normal sized as in a house but it works. As you can see, I can get a regular 12 cup muffin tin in with lots of space. I even have cookie sheets that fit with just enough room. I can get 2 dozen cookies on that one.

 

As for other baking implements, I have the normal measuring spoons and cups, a hand held mixer, a Kitchen-aid Stand Mixer (it is at least 27 years old and still mixing), whisks, spatulas and other stuff. What can I say, the RV is our house, so I use the kitchen like a house kitchen. I even have a dishwasher, his name is Rob. The only stipulation he has is that if I am baking, I am to do my baking dishes.

 

So, what do I bake? Lots of stuff. Today, I made some raisin muffins. They are quite good. I haven’t made them in awhile, because I couldn’t find the recipe. I have been searching for the recipe book I found it in, but could not find it. I went looking for a picture the other day on my iPad and lo and behold, as I opened my picture gallery, the recipe was staring right at me. When we were getting the house ready for selling, I had photocopied or took pictures of the recipes I liked and used in my recipe books, got rid of the books and had the recipes.   


 

I also baked up some sourdough biscuits that I started the night before.

 


And the other day, I made a loaf of sourdough bread.

 


 I have made lots and lots of cinnamon buns and a few pineapple upside down cakes also.

 



Now you are thinking, sourdough. How is she making all these sourdough recipes?

 

I have tried in the past to make sourdough starter from scratch, but it was a flop. So, I waited for a bit, and this July when we were in Burns Lake, BC, I tried doing it again. And it worked. I followed the recipe and have made a few things with it since. I have made bread, biscuits, a lemon poppy seed cake, chocolate cake and even brownies that are very rich and fudgy. I need to make those again soon, but when there are more people around. The last couple things I made, I had brought my sourdough out from the fridge and feed it for a couple of days and then made the loaf of bread and the biscuits and after feeding it today, in the fridge it went again.

 

Here is the link for the recipe for the sourdough starter: https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-your-own-sourdough-starter-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-47337

 

And once it was ready, I just did some searching online and found recipes to try.

 

A couple more recipes:

 


 

APPLE DUMPLINGS

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 drops red food coloring
2 tbsp butter or margarine
6 whole apples pared and cored or 3 apples pared and sliced
2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup margarine
½ cup milk

Combine first 5 ingredients; bring to a boil. Add butter. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in marg. Add milk all at once and stir until moistened. Roll 1.4 inch thick on lightly floured surface; cut with pastry wheel or knife into 6 “ squares. Place apple in center of each square. Sprinkle generously with sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon dot with butter. Fold corners to center and pinch edges together. Bake in a 375°F oven for 35 mins.

 

 

PEANUT BUTTER CRISSCROSSES

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 beaten eggs
1 cup peanut butter
3 cups sifted flour
2 tsp baking soda
dash salt

Thoroughly cream shortening, sugars and vanilla. Add eggs, beat thoroughly. Stir in peanut butter, sift dry ingredients, stir into creamed mixture.

Form into tiny balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press with back of a fork to make crisscross. Dough may also be rolled and cut if desired.

Bake in 375° oven – 10 mins

 


That is about it for now. Hopefully you will try a couple of the recipes. Have a wonderful day.

 

BTW - Currently hanging out in Quartzsite, AZ for a bit before heading over to California and some BLM land at the south entrance to Joshua Tree NP.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

October catch up

Figured it was time for an update. Last that we posted, we were at a fun fly not far from Raven, Alberta. That fun fly turned into a nice time. Was little damp at times, but everyone had fun and we felt very welcomed at the RC flying field.

While not formally part of the Rocky Mountain Barnstormers, the field at Raven does fall under their MAAC charter. It is actually a private airstrip owned by the local landowner who is also an avid RC flyer. They have a fantastic facility with a huge clubhouse and several ‘hangers’ as well as a large camping area.




Next up was the wings over Bremner event at the Edmonton Radio Control Society just outside of Edmonton. This was an all aircraft type of event with small foamies right up to large turbine powered aircraft. The Edmonton club always puts on a great event.




From Edmonton we made our way an hour and a half or so SE to Bawlf, AB. Home of “Alberta's Littlest Airport”. Bawlf is about 20 minutes SE of Camrose, AB and the airstrip is about 5 miles before Bawlf. It is also home to a fairly busy, depending on the time of year, cropdusting airstrip. While here, there were a pair of Air Tractor 502B spray planes working. 


The RC event here had probably the largest number of campers I have seen at an event like this. At one point I counted over 40 RV’s of one type or another. The strip and model facility are owned and run by Reg and Terri Blackwell. The club started years ago by Reg's father and is now cared for by Reg. While here we met and became friends with a fellow named Mike and his mom Agnes. Very knowledgeable guy who tows his trailer with a modified Kenworth heavy duty truck. Rob has had this in the back of his mind for a few years now and after talking with Mike, it is definitely something we will have to look more into.





About an hour North of Bawlf is Tofield, AB. Tofield is typically a jet event and is held every year at the Tofield Municipal Airport. All in all this was another successful event with only a little wind slowing things down for a bit.





After Tolfield, as we started to head back to BC for a few weeks, we stopped at Woody’s RV in Edmonton so they could replace the pull on the black tank. Rob has been finding it really difficult to pull open ever since we got the trailer. It has been attended to before, but wasn’t fixed the best. It is now working effortlessly. A little kid could pull it without issue. Also, nice that Grand Design paid for this repair under warranty. 

Once the trailer was done for the repair, we started heading towards Grand Prairie, AB. We took Hwy 43 to head back to BC, and just before we got to Grand Prairie, the frost heaves on the road were nasty. Rob was down to 60 km/h for a bit. After a quick stop in Grand Prairie for a Costco shop and a fuel up, we headed to Chetwynd, BC to visit with my sister Theresa for a bit. My mom and dad were there also. One of the days we were there we took a side trip to the site of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam near Hudsons Hope, BC





After Chetwynd, we headed to Burns Lake to visit with friends of ours. We normally see them at least once a year for a RC float fly at their place, but because of COVID and the RC group getting smaller, they haven’t held an event there for a few years, so we got the lower section by the lake all to ourselves. This event is usually held the 1st weekend of August for the BC Day long weekend. This year as there wasn’t an RC event, we headed to Terrace, BC with them for that weekend and stayed at the Ferry Island Campground.

Our friend, Dave is a car and drag racing buff so we took in a car show and shine and then Dave and Rob spent a few hours at the drag races.






After Terrace, we headed back to Alberta for more RC events. On our way, just after crossing the BC/Alberta border, we got a call from the GM dealership in Kamloops, saying that all the parts were now in for the next fix for the truck. At that time, we made an appointment for the beginning of September. We continued on to the rest of the RC fun flys in Alberta we had planned to in August. 

We started off in Drayton Valley at a smaller event. While fairly small, the Drayton Valley club were super friendly and put on a great event.




After Drayton Valley we made our way back to Edmonton for their annual Airshow. They do a one day event in August with admission being a donation to the local Food Bank. There were fortunate with good weather and a good turn out. 

After this we were back in Bawlf at Alberta's Littlest Airport again for their Corn Roast. Another great event hosted by Reg and Terri. 

While we were back in Bawlf, the plan was to attend the next event back in Edmonton. We decided to skip that event and start heading back to BC. Once we got back to BC, we attended the Vernon RC Aeromodellers Labour Day event. With being back in Vernon, was able to celebrate my mom’s 75th birthday. The next event after Vernon, was going to be the RC Float Fly at Sandy Point Campground, but while we were visiting my sister in Chetwynd, her daughter got engaged and decided that the wedding would be in Nanaimo, BC on Sept 10 this year. So, it was back to the Silver Sage Campground on Sept 5, dropped the truck off to the dealership on September 7 and then mom and dad picked us up from Kamloops on September 8 to head to Nanaimo for the weekend. We rented a place through Airbnb. It was a really nice weekend weather wise and visiting with family.





Left to right, Dave(my BIL), Theresa(my sister), Leanne(Justin's mom), Marilyn(my mom), Justin(Groom), Tiffany(my niece), Marshall (my dad), me and Rob


After getting back from Nanaimo, we picked up the truck from its hospital stay. Hoping that this will be fixing the issues that we have been having.  

About a week after getting back from Nanaimo, Rob and I went and took an air brake endorsement course. We both passed the course and the knowledge test with ICBC. So, if it ever does come to it, we can both now legally drive a big truck with air brakes. We decided to do this because we have been thinking about getting a different vehicle to replace our truck. The more we think about it the more we like the idea. 

After the knowledge test, we went and hooked up the trailer to head to Princeton, BC for the last RC event of the year. This was the RC jet rally. Well, you guessed it, Not even 200 kms since the last repair (8 more fuel injectors, underhood wiring harness and a NOx sensor) the check engine light came back on. Called the dealership right away and was scheduled to go in to the shop again the Monday after the event. Otherwise we had a good weekend in Princeton. 

Now back to the dealership we go with the truck. By this point, the mechanic is getting frustrated that this keeps happening. He got us to come up with the truck and trailer so he could plug his computer into the truck as we drove with the trailer. Took it for about a 45 minute drive but nothing came up. After we dropped him off, and almost back to the campground, the check engine light comes back on. He wanted us to come back with the trailer again on Friday to do this again. We were also told when we set the Friday drive up, that a GM field engineering tech was going to be in on Thursday, so be aware that we may have to go up with the truck for him to look at it. Didn’t have to, but the Friday drive got rescheduled for Monday. On that drive, the mechanic was telling us that talking with the field engineer, it was suggested that maybe there was internal fuel contamination, meaning possible metal in the system. The suggestion was to replace the entire fuel system. He was only given authorization initially to drop the fuel tank to look for metal but guess what? He found metal flakes in the tank and the fuel filter.  Now it is a race to do a complete fuel system replacement except for a couple of lines that were easier to flush than to change, before our departure date to head south on October 15. Well, he did it. We are now hoping that this will be the last issue with the truck. So, to recap, there has been a total of 30, yes 30 fuel injectors, both fuel pumps along with the fuel pressure regulator, complete engine wiring harness, Engine Control Module, Body Control Module, 3 fuel filters (one was replaced in Sept 2022 because it was due to be changed), a couple of sensors, and some misc. other parts. 

Left Kamloops on Sept 14, got to Vernon that night. Spent time with mom and dad and friend Laura, had breakfast with Rob’s mom Saturday morning, and crossed the border at Oroville, WA just outside of Osoyoos, BC. We stopped for the night at the Walmart in Omak, WA, then on to the Wildhorse Casino just outside of Pendleton, OR and then to Twin Falls, Idaho for a couple nights to visit with friends. As we were getting ready to head down towards Overton, Nevada, we started to smell a melting/burning plastic smell. Turns out the plastic cover over the nut that attaches the battery cable to the alternator was melting. It seems the nut which holds the cable down was not properly tightened which cause the wire to arc and partially burned through the stud. As a result, we had to get a new alternator. That repair and car rental, fortunately, were covered by the dealership in Kamloops. We got the truck back last Saturday but our weather window to head south had closed so we elected to stay an extra couple of days in Twin Falls rather than risk high winds and snow over the pass outside Ely, NV. We left yesterday morning and had an uneventful but long days drive.

We are now on some BLM land just outside of Overton, NV and will likely stay here til the weekend.





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