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.