Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day 24, Wed, Jun 27, 2007 Ferndale, Washington

Well, we drove about 10 miles to an RV place in Bellingham called Al’s I-5 RV Inc and gave them our sob story about the leaking sewer system. Fortunately, they took us right in and diagnosed the problem as a hole in the hose coming out of the drain of the tank. Then they set in to fix the problem. A couple of hours and $204 later, they had us back in business. We were so grateful they we able to do this for us. In fact, we made an appointment to go back tomorrow afternoon and have the RV serviced since it has been over 4000 miles since I last serviced it.

Barbara did a couple loads of wash and that was about it for the day.

Tomorrow we’ll check out of Cedars RV Resort, get the RV serviced and then report in to our reunion cabin in Maple Falls, WA. We are told there is no cell phone service in that area, so our internet access will be a problem. We are hoping to have stuff ready to upload and when we get back toward Bellingham we plan to upload whatever is waiting to go.

Temperature range: 51 to 77

Day 23, Tue, Jun 26, 2007 Ferndale, Washington

Today was a down day since we are in the area of Barbara’s family reunion, but the place isn’t available until Thursday afternoon. We did go to town to look for some pipe tobacco for me and we also went by the ferry terminal to see just where we have to go next Tuesday when we leave Bellingham for the ferry trip to Whittier, Alaska.

When we got back to the campground, we decided we should dump the tanks before settling back into our site. After I dumped the tanks, I saw this giant puddle under the RV and backed up to check it out. Surprise, it was sewage!! Obviously we have a good sized leak when the macerator pump is running. So I cleaned up the mess and set up on our site again, knowing that tomorrow we would have to see about getting this problem fixed, and just hoping beyond hope that someone would take mercy on us and slip us in for the repair.

Temperature range: 44 to 66

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 22, Mon, Jun 25, 2007 Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada to Ferndale, Washington, USA

We woke up to a rainy, cold morning in Kamloops and hit the road at 10:00 AM (early for us). We wanted to get back to the US before stopping for the day. Kamloops is very mountainous, but it looks like a desert. We drove for several hours before we got back into the beautiful green mountains we so like and by mid afternoon we were seeing snow capped mountains again. What beauty.

About 10 miles before we came to the border, we saw a farmhouse selling fresh strawberries, so we stopped and bought a container for $5.00 Canadian. Barbara washed them and starting eating them before we hit the road, then we remembered we were not allowed to bring fruit across the border, so she threw them out after eating only a few. She said they weren’t really all that good anyhow.

We finally hit the border at 3:30 PM. It took us 30 minutes to get through the line. After answering a few questions, we were waved on through. We looked at a campground just beyond the border, but didn’t like the looks of it, so we headed east to another site that looked good according to the Campground Guide. About halfway there, we decided to backtrack and ended up going to a really nice campground in Ferndale, WA, arriving around 6:30 PM. There are hedges between each campsite for privacy—really nice.

After a lengthy travel day (for us anyhow), we needed groceries, so we went to town. While looking for the grocery story we saw a Chihuahua Mexican restaurant and decided to eat there. That was a mistake, but we did leave there with full tummies. It was the worst Mexican food we’ve ever eaten. We then found the grocery store and stocked up and headed back to the campground to call it a day.

Miles traveled: 285
Hours traveled: 8.5
Temperature range: 44 to 66

Pictures: Click here

Day 21, Sun, Jun 24, 2007 Valemount, British Columbia to Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Today started out beautifully. We played the Oak Ridge Boys hymns and gospel CD and with the snow-capped mountain scenery it was as close to heaven as one could get and still be on earth.

Kamloops was a bit disappointing. It’s mountainous, but all dirt except for some scrub bushes. I’m sure the people of Kamloops would disagree with us; sorry, folks!

Miles traveled: 255
Hours traveled: 6.5

Pictures: Click here

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day 20, Sat, Jun 23, 2007 Valemount, British Columbia, Canada

Today we decided to take a down day. We had some internet work we wanted to do and some cleaning we needed to do. It was a beautiful day here in Valemount, although a little windy this afternoon. We got the motorhome cleaned up, took the rugs out and shook and vacuumed, and went to town (actually a small village) and got a couple of items we needed. Late afternoon we went back to town and found a nice little Chinese restaurant and had a great dinner. Afterwards we got relieving showers at the shower house, updated our pictures and blog We almost have our pictures updated now. We added Days 13, 15, 18 and 19. We also added more pictures to Day 17 if you want to go take a look. We are hoping to get an early start to Kamloops tomorrow, as it is about a 200 mile trip and we are hoping to arrive there fairly early.

Temps ranged from 44F to 68F

Pictures: Click here

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day 19, Fri, Jun 22, 2007 Hinton, Alberta, Canada to Valemount, British Columbia, Canada

We left the Walmart at Parks West Mall which is anchored by Safeway and WalMart. This Walmart looked like just a regular store, nothing at all like we expect a Walmart to look. We had a gorgeous drive today, seeing snow capped mountains all day long. We drove through Jasper National Park and saw a herd of dall sheep and a black bear along the side of the road, but we couldn’t get their picture before they disappeared into the weeds. We passed into the Pacific Time Zone and also crossed the border into British Columbia, Canada. We’ve now been in four Canadian Provinces on this trip. We finished this short day by stopping at a very nice campground in Valemount, BC.

Miles traveled: 129
Hours traveled: 3.5 (does not include time stopped)
Temperature range: 42 to 68

Pictures: Click here

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day 18, Thu, Jun 21, 2007 Perryvale, Alberta, Canada to Hinton, Alberta, Canada

We left North Wapiti Kennels, home of the Ramsteads, after a delicious breakfast. Mark and Karen were very gracious hosts and we appreciated their hospitality. What great people they are! From their house we headed to the West Edmonton Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment center, complete with an ice skating rink, an amusement park, and a beach with several slides and wave pool. The place is huge! We left there and headed west and ended the day in Hinton. While looking for a campground in Hinton we found a truck/RV wash, so took time to wash this filthy RV. It was really a mess after two plus weeks, driving through a lot of rain and being on some pretty muddy roads. Then being unsuccessful in finding a campground, we ended up pulling into the Hinton Walmart (along with about ten other rigs) and spending the night.

Pictures: Click here

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 17, Wed, Jun 20, 2007 At Ramstead’s in Perryvale, Alberta, Canada

What a great day! We were awakened at 6:15 AM by Karen (after sleeping through the first wake up call at 6:00 AM) and told if Barbara wanted to ride on a run to be ready in five minutes. She didn’t make the main run, but Karen did take her for a short run with 14 dogs when she got back. After a great breakfast we had a leisurely day until early afternoon when Mark built a fire in the fire pit, Karen made slaw and some great baked beans and we roasted hot dogs and had a fantastic dinner out under the trees. What a beautiful place they have here and what a beautiful afternoon it was. We also enjoyed getting to know their new handler, Ronnie. He seems like a really great guy. It was 42 degrees when we got up this morning.

Pictures: Click here

Day 16, Tue, Jun 19, 2007 Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada to Karen and Mark Ramstead's in Perryvale, Alberta, Canada

We woke up to a beautiful sunny chilly morning in the park. After breakfast we headed north to Lamont and dumped our tanks at their public dumping station since the park had absolutely no hookups or even a dumping station. From there we drove into Fort Saskatchewan and stopped at a Safeway and bought some steaks to take to the Ramsteads. They also had a filling station so we topped off the tank at $1.034 per liter (about $3.77 per gallon if I’m figuring correctly). We finally made it to Karen and Mark’s around 3:00 PM. What a great feeling to be in the presence of an Iditarod musher. For those that do no know, Karen has run the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race seven times and plans to run again next year (2008).

Pictures: Click here

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 15, Mon, Jun 18, 2007 Battleford, Saskatchewan to Elk Island National Park, Alberta, Canada

We left the campsite at Battleford with partly sunny skies and the temperature of 58. We actually used the heat pump last night with lows in the upper 40’s with rain and lots of wind. But we were cozy warm.

We’re still in Canada’s prairie land and anxious to see mountains again, but enjoying the mileage we’re getting in the flatlands (upwards of 15 mpg).

We finally got to some rolling hills and made it into Alberta, Canada. We stopped at a Walmart in Lloydminster, Alberta at the Saskatchewan/Alberta border. We needed a few supplies and I had to buy a set of wiper blades for the motorhome.

We have had internet access via the data cellphone continuously since we entered Alberta, which was really nice after not having it for such a long time. Last night we had to buy WIFI time at the campground.

Our friend Karen Ramstead mentioned the Elk Island National Park to us in an email, so we decided to check it out. Elk Island National Park is noted for it’s elk and bison,. We are now camped at Elk Island at a nice campsite, however we are stuck inside since it started raining a couple of hours after we got here. And the mosquitoes are STILL terrible.

We are turning in early tonight so we can get up early in hopes of seeing some wildlife in the morning.

Tomorrow on to North Wapiti Kennels near Perryvale, Alberta.

Pictures: Click here

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day 14, Sun, Jun 17, 2007 Yorkton Saskatchewan to Battleford Saskatchewan

Shortly after leaving Yorkton we saw 2 stone churches on a side street—one on each side of the street. They looked very similar, both had cemeteries, and grassy yards. No parking lots and it didn’t look like cars had been parking on the grass. Nor were there any signs on the churches. We made up stories of how they were used—young people in one church, old in the other; men in one, women in the other. Who knows? We’d loved to have worshipped there.

The land is still flat farmland but we can’t figure out what crops they’re growing. We’re noticing a definite difference in when the sun goes down; in fact it doesn’t seem to get really dark at night. And we’re losing satellite connection (DirecTV). I understand the TV satellites are over the equator and we’re quite far from the equator.

It rained all afternoon and the wind is really blowing hard. We stopped at North Battleford, Saskatchewan and treated ourselves to dinner out at a place called Country Cuisine. Trish, our waitress, couldn’t have been nicer, asking where we were from and where we were headed. We explained about going to see our friends in Perryvale, Alberta, the Ramsteads. The gentlemen sitting behind us, upon leaving, shook our hands and said, “welcome to Canada.” How nice of him. And Trish gave Jerry a pocketknife with the name of the restaurant on it for a Fathers’ Day gift!

We’re camped at the Town of Battleford Campground. A beautiful place for $20.00 CDN. Unfortunately it is rainy and very very windy, so no outside activities this evening.

We gassed up at Walmart here in town for $1.134 per Liter for 75.626 liters. Ouch!

Pictures: Click here

Day 13, Sat, Jun 16, 2007 Portage la Prairie Manitoba to Yorkton Saskatchewan

After a leisurely morning of making breakfast, packing and stowing everything and dumping the tanks we headed north and west again. We were in very flat Canadian countryside 99% of the day.

We did see a girl dressed in a wedding gown out in the country standing on the railroad tracks at a service road who waved at us as we went by. I noticed there were several cars parked near there. Barbara said the groom was near one of the cars. We would like to have known what was going on there, but it sure looked like someone was getting married on the railroad tracks!

We finally came into Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Just prior to that our cell phone changed time, so now we are in Mountain Time, allowing us to gain an hour. We stopped to gas up and although I do not have the exact conversion figures, it looks like we paid $3.96 a gallon for gas. Wow!

Shortly after that we saw a Walmart and went in and got three or four items we needed. Then we found a campground called the City of Yorkton Campground. And yes, the mosquitoes are still driving us crazy.

Even crazier, we ran into a couple from near Memphis, TN while we were camping at the Grand Forks Air Force Base that is traveling to Alaska. A couple of hours after we set up at the City of Yorkton Campground, Barbara noticed our friends from Memphis had pulled into the campsite right next to us. What are the odds of that happening? It’s a small world.

We drove about 240 miles today in about 7 ½ hours.

Pictures: Click here

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Day 12, Fri, Jun 15, 2007 Grand Forks AFB to Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada

This morning we left the campsite at the Grand Forks Air Force Base and headed north, but only after we back-tracked a few miles to allow Barbara to do a small amount of shopping at the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, ND. She even managed to get her hair thinned a little while she was shopping.

From there we finally headed north and around 3:30 PM we made it to the 49th parallel, the US/Canadian border. It took us about 20 minutes to work through the line, but they only asked us a few questions and sent us on our way.

We arrived at Miller's Campground in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Canada around 6:00 PM.
Barbara had put a roast in the crockpot before we left Grand Forks. At one of our stops later this afternoon she added potatoes and carrots. We got to smell all the good smells all afternoon. What a way to travel!

Shortly after we got here, dinner was ready and was it ever good. Just as good as the steak we had last evening.

Have fun. We sure are!

Pictures: Click here

Day 11, Thu, Jun 14, 2007 Down Day at Grand Forks AFB

Today we took a down day. We went to the Base Exchange and the Commissary and made a few purchases of stuff we needed and went back to the campsite. Barbara spent the entire afternoon doing laundry and I did various and sundry things. Unfortunately, getting the pictures up and the blog updated didn't get done.

We also took time to watch the ground squirrels. That place is just full of them and if you were quiet they would come out of their holes and look all around. Those guys move so quickly, it was really fun to watch them.

Unfortunately the mosquitoes were absolutely terrible. We couldnt' stand to be outside more than a few minutes before we couldn't take it any more.

We baked potatoes in the convection/microwave oven in the Roadtrek and then cooked steaks outside on the Foreman grill and did stay out long enough to eat them. What a great dinner we had.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Day 10, Wed, Jun 13, 2007, Brookings, SD to Grand Forks, ND Air Force Base

Last night we got rained on. When we left the Oakwood Lakes State Park it was sprinkling. The further we drove, the worse it got.

We did have to stop for gas in Sisseton, SD (just before the ND) line. Gas was $3.059 per gallon. Ouch! But I'm afraid it will only get worse.

A little before we got to Fargo, ND it started raining so hard I could barely see the road. All the way through Fargo all I could see was my part of the road. We really wanted to see Fargo, but it wasn't meant to be. It literally poured rain until we were well north of Fargo. We put up with a lot of rain most of the day, but it did let up a bit before we got to Grand Forks, ND.

Barbara had gotten an Rx before we left home, but her sinus infection has actually gotten worse. So today she got on the cell phone and called her doctor at home and asked him to prescribe something else and had him call it in to CVS in Grand Forks, ND. So when we got to Grand Forks we had to stop to pick it up.

From there we went about 15 miles west of Grand Forks to the Grand Forks Air Force base and found a nice campsite at their campground for $12.00 per night for full hookups, including cable TV hookup.

Pictures: Click here

Day 9, Tue, Jun 12, 2007 Fremont, NE to Brookings, SD

Lesson of the day. Pack extra checks! Fortunately we have 2 checkbooks with us and we can transfer money from the account that has money to the account that has checks! But we ran out of blank checks for the account we wanted to use.

We stopped at a rest area in Burbank, SD that had a unique sculpture. The Technical Schools in the area had a contest to design a sculpture that represents that area of South Dakota. The winner is a very modern concrete teepee.

When we went through Sioux Falls, SD we took a short side trip and went to the actual falls the city is named for. What a beautiful site. It was a worthwhile side trip.

We stopped for the night just west of Brookings, SD at the Oakwood Lakes State Park and had a great campsite at a beautiful campground.

Pictures: Click here

Day 8, Mon, Jun 11, 2007, Carrollton, MO to Fremont, NE

We left Aunt Dot’s and drove to Kansas City for a short visit with Aunt Theo at the Senior Center. From there we drove to Lincoln, NE to visit with Jerry’s sister Janet and her husband, Mel at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. It was her 1 year anniversary of being in a hospital—so sad. But she was in great spirits and we were so glad to see them both. We end the day in Fremont, NE at a Walmart parking lot. We tried to spend the night at a state park before Fremont, but could not find anyone to check in with, so we drove on to Fremont and found the Walmart.

Gas in Fremont was $2.979.

Day 7, Sun, Jun 10, 2007, Carrollton, MO Family Reunion

The Lake Family Reunion! There were 45 of us at Aunt Dot’s today and we had a great time doing what we do best—talking and eating! We spent the night with Aunt Dot (where the reunion was held) and visited a bit more with Aunt Dot.

Day 6, Sat, Jun 9, 2007, Sedalia, MO

We spent Friday and Saturday night with Ken and Vicki. It was nice to be able to sit down and put our feet up for a change. Plus I got caught up with the laundry.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Day 5, Fri, Jun 8, 2007, Jefferson City MO to Sedalia MO

Today was a low mileage day. We left my Aunt's house around noon and leisurely made the 60 mile trip to Sedalia to my brother's house. We will be here for a couple of days before our reunion in Carrollton, MO on Sunday.

Anna's sister met us at Kenny and Vicki's and picked Anna up to take her to their house in Iowa where she will spend the summer. We really enjoyed having her with us and will miss her dearly, but she's probably really glad to be out of the small RV.

Gas prices in Sedalia are mostly $2.95 for regular.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Day 3, Wed, Jun 6, 2007 and Day 4, Thu, Jun 7, 2007, Hardy, AR

Day 3 and half of 4 were in Hardy, AR. We had passed through here once before on our way back from Missouri and liked the little town. The campground was nice and clean, and on the Spring River, but it cost as much as the two State Parks put together! It wasn’t that nice! However, we enjoyed the town the next morning. Jerry toured the antique car museum and Anna and I walked and shopped the downtown area. Anna and I bought new purses, the 3 of us ate lunch at the Hardy CafĂ©, then we headed out of town about 1:30. We promised ourselves we’d only drive about 5 hours a day and so far that’s what it’s been. Today will be about the same.

Tonight we’ll be staying with Jerry’s Aunt Faye in Jefferson City, Missouri.

We haven’t had a great start with our blog. We had internet connection at both state parks, but it was hit and miss. We did get email, but when we attempted to get on the web sites, we usually timed out, so we gave up trying to post to the blog.

Now that we are in Jefferson City, MO I have a much better connection and have been able to get days two through four up.

Gas here in Jefferson City is mostly $2.99. We passed a place shortly after we made it into the state of Missouri where it was $2.88, but I was past it before I saw it and thought I’d just get it later, but after that is was $3.03 to $2.99.

Pictures: Click here and Click here

Day 2, Tue. Jun 5, 2007, Crossville, TN to Lexington, TN

Day two was pretty uneventful except that when Jerry went to bed he kept forgetting things like locking the motorhome and every time he got up Little Bear (the cat) took his place in bed. He put her on top of me, climbed in bed, forgot to turn on his CPAP machine (for sleep apnea), got up again, Little Bear took his place….. I thought this routine was hysterical but he was getting frustrated about the whole thing. And every time he went to move her she went as limp as a dish rag. This series of events happened three times before Jerry finally got settled and Little Bear decided she’d take up residence at the foot of my bed instead.
We stayed at Natchez Trace State Park in Lexington, TN at the Pin Oak RV Park. It had a beach so Anna and I went swimming. So did Blackie, but he had to swim outside of the fenced in beach area.

Pictures: Click here

Monday, June 4, 2007

Day 1, Mon, Jun 4, 2007, Hampton, TN to Crossville, TN

Day 1, Monday, June 4, 2007

We picked up Anna (our neighbor that is going with us as far as Missouri) around 1:30, only 3 ½ hours late. It is now 2:30 and we’ve made it as far as Johnson City and we’re now on our way back to Elizabethton; however, we did stop at the Post Office and the Water Office to see about having our water shut off, since Jerry couldn’t get it turned off this morning. We were checking our “to do” list and realized we didn’t get new tags for the motorhome. They expire in August, so we turned around in Johnson City and so now we’re headed back to Elizabethton. As Jerry just said, “we’ve driven 30 miles and gotten nowhere.” Anna is listening to her music and is quite unconcerned about it all.

We finally got out of town and had an uneventful trip to Crossville, TN. We stopped and ate at the Bean Pot restaurant and went the short distance on to the Cumberland Mountain State Park near Crossville and found a nice campsite to settle in for the night.

Gas prices here are $2.97/gal, but we don’t need any yet.

Pictures: Click here