Our Travel Blog

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Driving Miss Donna - what does this mean? Whenever I want to go somewhere, if Don is home he will usually drive. He always says he is driving miss Donna! This blog is for our travels, usually with our truck and fifth wheel trailer, but sometimes in our Journey. Don retired October 2011 so hopefully the travelling part will increase! When we are not vacationing check in for updates about our life at home and our wonderful family:)

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Brrrr

That sums up January. I don't really know if it was actually cold, but I felt cold the whole month.

January started out with a sleep over with Connor and Mason on New Years Eve. I had a few plans we could initiate, but the weather was cold and the boys found lots to do inside. It was a quiet and peaceful ringing in.

There were the usual work days for us, interspersed with watching hockey, ringette and swimming. We visited Red Deer and watched Emerson and her team in a tournament. Being at the rink and watching Ringette never gets old for us, it just feels like we are back 20 years.

Emerson and Reese were also both in their home tournament, the Silver Ring, and as well as watching a few games, I worked a volunteer shift at the registration table. Now that takes me back as I was the tournament director in Spruce Grove for more years than I would like to remember!

We went to Lanigan to celebrate Don's brother Ken's 65th birthday, and continued to Tisdale to visit more with his family. I love that my sister Ginger is working in Tisdale - it gives me a great chance to see her more often. I reserved my spot for lunch with her both days:)

We also took some time to shop for a new truck this month and were successful. The only small change is the color - form white to a light silver. It will be interesting to see how it pulls without the delete kit, and I am happy to have heated seats, even if I don't ride in the truck in cold weather too often.

As the grandkids get older and their birthday parties get more hectic (to us), I was looking for a way to make their birthday time with us a bit more special. So I decided that we could take them out on a special day with us where we let them pick a present, have lunch or supper, and get some one on one.

Mason was first. We picked him up at school, went to McDonalds for lunch, and Toys R Us for the gift. It was a lot of fun watching him get down to the business of gift selection, and he is at that age where he doesn't study prices, so we topped up the Lego present he picked with a gift card. He turned 4 on February 3, and it's hard to realize he truly is not a baby any longer. Independent, strong willed and very funny.

Next up is Emerson. She turned 9 on February 16. We picked her up and went to West Edmonton Mall for supper at the food court and then some clothes shopping. She is pretty set in her style sense, had a great time trying everything on, and came away with lots of new things. She spent her money very wisely and had enough left for one squishy toy. Emerson is quite the girl; deep feelings, loves her friends and family so strongly, and loves ringette and Ukrainian dance.

The last grandchild birthday in February is Connor. Our day out with him is extra special as we are not going to be home for his actual birthday. We went to watch him and Mason in swimming, then headed out for lunch and shopping. He picked McDonalds as well, and rather than a toy store only wanted the Lego store. He is a cautious shopper, taking a lot of time to think through his purchases and the money he is spending. Connor is such a deep thinker, very considerate of others, and like Em loves his family and friends very deeply.

Both of our son in laws celebrate their birthdays in February as well! I didn't give them a special day and meal with us though. LOL

And last for February birthdays is me!!! I like to think of it as my birthday month. First I had a great brunch and spa date with Maria and Anne, then I had a birthday day that started with a manicure, pedicure, and haircut. the day was finished with the most mazing supper at the Melting Pot with Tracy and Lindsay. I can't remember the last time the three of us sat for over two hours with no kids and just visited. Thank you so much girls!!

And the takes care of our time at home in January and February. On February 17 we were hoping to head to warmer climate and an extended vacation, but the snow storms and roads in Montana kept us home for another few days. That gave me a chance for a few meals out with some girlfriends and Don and I went ice fishing with the Stecyks!

We are attempting another departure tomorrow so I’ll let you know how that goes!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Cat's In The Cradle

So - this song has some pretty heavy implications, but I selected it because I didn't just want to say that the days pass too fast.  Which they do and I will say it anyway.

We try very hard to attend the grandkids events and experience little precious times with them, and it's a bit scary knowing with our own kids how that time goes by and you never get it back.

So that's where we have been though November and December.  We have both been doing quite a bit of work as well, and yes the days have flown by.

As Christmas approached we had some great days with everyone and find ourselves ready for Christmas and our annual DWS Aggregates Christmas Party.

Don's mom stayed with us until November 7 and we had a great time having her to ourselves.

I had a fantastic girl's weekend away with two very good friends, Don went to Jasper to watch parts of Blake's hockey tournament and came back to Edmonton with Emerson so she didn't miss Ringette, we had the Stecyk boys for a few nights while their mom and dad attended a staff function, and we went to many many ice times and swimming times.

Reese celebrated her 7th birthday and had us over for dinner and cake.

I spent two weekends in Co-op meetings, learning and retreats; Don spent 7 days working in the field, etc etc!

Two very fun things we did this season were our annual trip to see Santa at West Edmonton Mall and a kids shopping day. At the mall you can book a VIP appointment with Santa and it is FANTASTIC! You get 20 minutes of uninterrupted Santa time and every child gets a chance to interact and not be rushed. As for the shopping I thought it would be fun if each family were able to shop for their parents with me.  The boys were first and we visited the mall, bought the gifts and had a quick dinner. They were so fricking cute picking what to buy, although their decisions were made faster than I expected. The Cameron kids had a lot of notice and had put quite a bit of thought into their gifts beforehand, so the time was spent mostly considering types and sizes.  We took time for a Starbucks visit as well. This was so much fun for me, I cannot wait to do it again!

I sent Christmas cards out but no letter, so I can't even cut and paste that.  But I will end this year with our annual family photo and send tons of love and friendship to all who are a part of our life.  We are blessed and happy and that is a great way to end 2017.  Talk to you next year, and please if you are ever near us stop in for coffee,


 
 

Monday, November 6, 2017

October in Alberta

When I look back at October I see a blur.  LOL

First we had to end our September holiday early so I could attend training for the municipal election. This year I was working as a Presiding Deputy Returning Officer for the Town of Stony Plain. The election was October 17 and all went well, although it was long day.

Of course upon returning home the first item is always visiting the kids and getting those grandkid hugs!

Between meetings with clients, coffee with friends and Co-op meetings the month passed quickly.

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  The weather was agreeable and after the big turkey dinner we went skating at the Glenn Hall Arena in Stony Plain. I have no idea why we don't have any photos, but oh well!

October buzzed right along, with Don's birthday on the 24th, and the month ending with a visit to Tisdale to a family wedding. Don's niece Tiffany was married on October 28.  Both of our girls and their families attended. Don's mom had almost all her grandchildren and great grandchildren in attendance and it was a special time to take photos.

Of course the month ended with Halloween, but even more special for us was mom travelled back to Alberta with us and spent a week! Although I know she was exhausted after attending every great grandchild event we could get to and her brother's birthday party in Rocky Mountain House, we know she had a great time. We are so blessed that she is able to still travel and has the energy to share a piece of our lives with us!

Here's a few photos for you.  First back to school pictures youngest to oldest - Mason 3 in playschool, Connor 5 in Kindergarten, Reese 6 in Grade 2, Emerson 8 in Grade 3 and Blake 10 in Grade 5. Next up the wedding photos with Mom - mom and her children, mom and her grandchildren, and then mom and her great grandchildren! And last the Halloween photos.

Enjoy:)














Thursday, September 28, 2017

Hot Tubs and Home!

Well once a decision is made to go home, no regrets can be made and you need to enjoy the time left on the road.

While we gone all the grandkids started school, skating, ringette, hockey and swimming. The first day of school photos were wonderful to see and we printed them and added to our photo collection on the trailer window!

We decided to stay at the Redstreak Campground in Radium, instead of the private RV park in the valley. No real reason, we just didn't need services or laundry. We had purchased a book of hot tub passes a year ago, and were able to use them up this visit.

Other than that we relaxed one day, and another took a trip north to see the town of Golden. Somehow Golden was another town our travels had missed. We have a friend who's son lives there now and we were curious. A drive through town, a stop at Timmie's, and we were back to our camper.

I love this drive out of the park. So majestic.


We had one sad event in our family while we were gone. The Cameron family dog, Heidi, passed away suddenly. We had just enjoyed 2 weeks with Heidi this summer, and she leaves a hole in everyone hearts. Farewell sweet puppy!

As I always say when we are returning home from the road, don't expect too many posts for a while. But enjoy your fall and we will update October when it's over. Thanks for coming with us.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Here We Are Again!

Settled in at Farragut State Park. We come here so often that I know the ladies at the desk. "You're from Alberta aren't you?"

Such lovely service and park!

We idled our time away for two nights here, doing lots of nothing. This is always our last US stop so we visit our favorite stores and make sure we have all the unique Costco items we don't want to miss until we return. And of course ensure we have the maximum amount of alcohol stocked up!

I spent my mornings at Ralph's coffee shop in Bayview. I'm so glad he is still open. I did have to succumb to the laundry mat one day, but with a beautiful view and a hot cappuccino even that wasn't a strain!


The last days of our trip will be spent in Radium, visiting the hot springs, so we will see you there!






Monday, September 25, 2017

Washington Visit

We decided our next stop would be the Lewis and Clark Trail State Park near Dayton WA. Sometimes I like to keep Don on his toes and this was one of those days. I researched this park, and was excited to find full services.  State parks are so much more affordable than our Alberta parks that full services aren't even a luxury. I tried to access reservations to at least see what the availability was, but the site was not working for me.

Looking forward to dumping, filling and plugging in (it was cold now), we were puzzled as we drove around the small campground and could find no serviced sites. Now readers familiar with state parks may not be as surprised as I was to find there are at least 6 state parks with that name!  UGH So no services in this one. Thankfully we are very conservative with our plumbing and water, and there was no concern over un-serviced sites.  We found a comfy place to slide into and settled in.

Our time here was spent on a drive to Kennewick and walking the small town of Dayton. I don't often post about restaurants unless it's Mo's Seafood and Chowder.  And you just have to post about Mo's!!  But we stopped at what looked like a little informal diner in Dayton called Manila Bay Café. This was so much more than a café! Locally owned and operated by a friendly family, the food was AMAZING and the atmosphere astounding. It was like a real date night. LOL So you have to suffer through a photo.  Of my beer.  haha


We did a day drive to Kennewick after resolving that we would buy a Little Buddy heater.  These are common amongst our RV friends, and especially boondockers. We are spending more and more time boondocking, and although we like the warmer days, we also appreciate the cool nights.  But that means cold mornings, and the furnace uses about 6.5 amps per hour (yes Don has that figured out). So using another heat source is the best way to conserve batteries!

Anyway, we visited several stores looking for a price close to what we saw online.  Walmart was the winner at $69.99. Some stores were as high as $129.99 for the same product! The first morning we used it I was in heaven. LOL I am so easy to please!

We also took a full circle drive east from our campsite to Kennewick, then north and east. We found Palouse State Park and wanted to see what the camping there was like.

We were about halfway to Palouse Falls when I had a life changing experience. As we were driving along highway 261 a sign appeared for Starbuck!! I take that as a sign in many ways. The coffee of my dreams had a town named after it?! Of course as it turns out this little town, population 129, was named after some railroad guy, and there was no Starbucks.


The state park was a bit odd. We never did see any camping as advertised, but we did discover Palouse Falls and have a chance to walk a bit and capture some photos! The stunning views made up for any disappointing drives we had recently taken.



 
So that about sums up our stay in the Dayton area! Next stop is an old favorite we've already been to this year...









Sunday, September 24, 2017

Clyde Holliday Sate Park

Well sadly we knew it was time to start heading back.  But rather than expedite the trip like we sometimes do when heading south, we try to plan some great stops as we head north and home. So although we were leaving the ocean shores, we were heading to yet another of our favorite state parks, Clyde Holliday.

We knew there were fires in the area from the reports and news we had read and watched, but the drive from the coast here gave us a fist hand view. Fire camps were still set up, although not many personnel were still on site, and many roads were still blocked. There was also a lot of snow as we reached higher peaks, and I'm sure that was welcomed in the time of fires. It is always a bit sad to drive through the aftermath of fires and this was no different.

Clyde Holliday is nestled in central Oregon, along highway 26 and the John Day River, and a close drive to the John Day Fossil Beds, which for some reason we had never visited. Hence this was our destination.

This is a small state park, only 31 sites, with power.  As the weather starts to turn colder and try to condition us for Canada, we really enjoy our services!

We don't usually put in long days unless we're changing territory such as this time.  So after a 7 hour day we just hooked up and began the evening ritual of Yahtzee and a drink:)

The next day it was out to the fossil beds. We were pretty stoked about this visit. We packed plenty of water and a fantastic lunch, knowing that the hiking would be fabulous and the weather perfect. Well as sometimes happens with tourist areas and publications, this one was a bit of a downer.  The scenery was amazing, but as far as our dream of spending the day hiking, no luck.  The highlight is a visitor centre operated by the National Park Service. The Thomas Condon Paleontology Center is a 11,000 square foot building with a ton of viewing opportunities, but the Fossil beds themselves were areas that you could not hike to.

We did manage some photos this time though!



 
We spent the extra time visiting the town of John Day and a Wi-Fi café, catching up on the blog, other people's blogs and Facebook in general.
 
Although the tourist stop wasn't scintillating, we never really get tired of the lifestyle in general, so no stop is ever a waste!

We are going to move closer to home again soon, and the weather forcast is not that wonderful, but no snow, so that's a good thing!