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:)

Friday, March 10, 2017

Viva Las Vegas

I just had to write a little it about our exploration into Vegas today. We have been here at least 15 times, which seems like a bit of overkill doesn't it?  We've stayed in hotels on the strip, on Fremont Street, in our RV and most often camping out of town and driving in. Sometimes we drove in to shop, once we drove in for an Eagles concert, and often like yesterday we drive for the light show and seafood buffet. 
We rarely visit the strip, unless it's to drive through and  gawk. But we love Fremont Street. 
We had a great outing and as always the entertainment of people watching and the light show were worth it. 



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Finding Our Way

Well we have been on the road for a week now and it feels great!

As expected we left home at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday.  As I had noted before, the roads and weather south weren’t behaving and we were anxious to get through and see what was up.  We had a long wait at the border.  There was only a few vehicles in the line up but they were all taking a lot of time.  However, our turn was painlessly easy, hardly and questions and we were off in a couple of minutes.  We are pretty easy customers now as we don’t take any food, Don doesn’t even smoke cigars anymore, etc. 

Our goal for the day was Idaho Falls and we did make it.  Overall it was uneventful but we certainly were surprised at the blowing snow and amount of snow north of Butte.  It was very clear where Ken and Brenda had their stopover.  We did face a few miles of blowing icy snow on the highway that caused a few white knuckles, but once through that all was well.

Our usual spot at Walmart was open, and we opened up the trailer, put on the heat, and visited Famous Dave’s for dinner.  (And that’s how we ended up addicted to Famous Dave’s pickles)

The second day was uneventful, short and sunny.  We landed at Sand Hollow State Park where we hooked up to services, flushed all the tanks and got ready for serious RV action.

A trip to AT&T for Don’s phone, a stop at Costco and Walmart for groceries, and we were ready to officially start the holiday.  It is always a decision – to stay one night and feel a bit rushed, or two and feel anxious to leave.  We paid for two nights so we wouldn’t rush out too fast.  It was a good choice, as we didn’t do a great job of inventorying our food needs, and made a couple more visits to the retails.  And also we had some phone plan issues and revisited AT&T.  As always we still struggle with the perfect phone plans, balancing between sufficient data to support our online browsing as well as work requirements, and not paying through the nose.  Telus has a pretty good roaming price – for $7 a day you can use your number and keep the same plan.  It maxes out at $100, but still when added to the cost of the plan you already have that is $200.  Of course it is nice to have the same number, but that is quite a high expense.  This year I decided to use Roam Mobility and put my Telus number on vacation disconnect.  Roam is unlimited calling and texting to and from Canada 4G data for $159 Canadian for 3 months.  The vacation disconnect is $30 monthly.  So my total cost for 2 months is $219.  Don is using AT&T.  As he has no contract his vacation disconnect is only $10 a month, AT&T is $60 US a month for the same phone usage as mine, but 8G of data.  His total cost will be approx. $180 for 2 months.  Of course all plans have to have a snag at one time or another.  It turns out that the AT&T plan does not allow to hotspot on a Windows or Android device.  ARGH  So we switched SIM cards, Don is with Roam and I am with AT&T.

And that brings us to where we are today.  Stewarts Point  near Overton, NV.  Always a favorite place, it allows easy trips into Las Vegas, beautiful scenery, access to Overton McDonalds for WIFI, etc.  It has been very windy, actually wind warnings, but that hasn’t lessened the enjoyment of this amazing place.

We  checked out the hot springs near, visited Las Vegas, and took a long walk around Lake Mead which for some reason we had not done before.  Tonight we are going back into Vegas for the infamous Freemont Street seafood buffet, and the light show.  We can’t miss that traditional opportunity.

Tomorrow we are headed to.  Nope not going to tell!




Monday, February 27, 2017

To Blog or not to Blog?

Wow if that sounds negative it’s not meant to.  But seriously the new year comes and all of a sudden we are planning our trip away in March!

I feel bad not blogging the last couple of months but I have to make a decision if this blog is about when we are home or away, or both, and that’s not easy.  I have always loved writing about where we are going and been, including some antidotes about life at home with each other, our family and friends.

So I think I’ll keep doing it how I have, a mix of what I feel like doing.  It isn’t that I consider myself a writer, but I will accept the dry spells with the other days where I am full of content.  I don’t want to loose readers because I start reciting our activity calendar, and I don’t want to loos readers because I have nothing to say.

I will summarize January and February because there are some things I don’t want to forget when we read back.

First I am just busy enough with all my work projects – some bookkeeping, some admin work, grant applications, etc.  And the Co-op Board.  It all takes time, both to do the work and the prep work leading up.  Don would say the same, he hasn’t had any field work but has been doing office work.  Not his favorite, but we both seem to have a need to do something to keep our minds active.

The grandkids are all busy in their own ways, and we have spent a lot of time doing some great things; attending swimming, hockey, ringette, and visits.  As always we love every little aspect of each of the 5 of them and wouldn’t miss these opportunities for anything.

Lindsay and Jeremy bought a piece of property with a cabin on it and we have had a few nice visits out to see them at it.

One fabulous highlight was in February when we took all the grandkids to the West Edmonton Water Park for a day.  Thank goodness Tracy and Lindsay came as well, to help with the kids and do the water things.  Haha

We replaced my Dodge Journey with a Dodge Durango in January.  The Durango is a bit heavier vehicle and will be much better for boat towing, as well as it is a 7 passenger so I can take all the grandkids places at one time!  We went on a day trip to Jasper to try out the comfort and mileage and it was fantastic.

As you all know by now February is birthday month in our house.  And we celebrated in our usual styles, fitting things in where they can.  Connor and Mason had a joint party.  Can you believe these boys are 3 and 5??  And Cal and Emerson shared a birthday dinner with all of us at Japanese Village.  Fabulous!!  And me??  Well I turned 55 and applied for my pension.  How much better can that get?  And Lindsay and Tracy gave me tickets to Garth Brooks.  Amazing amazing concert! And dinner out as well.  Cal and Jeremy had birthdays in there as well and they are too young for age disclosure!


Fast forward to the end of February, and Don’s mom came out to visit.  We are truly blessed that Mom can make these trips still.  We may have exhausted her with our schedule of watching the kids in all these activities.  It made me realize we are really never home, and then we try to throw work and our own personal life in there.  Not much surprise we need a holiday!


 Our exit date is this Wednesday.   Here’s hoping the highways south stay clear and dry, as Don’s brother Ken faced some snow closures near Dillon. 

Thanks for listening to me…

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas from the Smiths

I must say that overall I am not much for Christmas.  Some of you won't believe that, I have lots of decorations, lots of presents etc.  But it saddens me to see people who are exhausted from trying to do what everyone thinks they should and all that goes with that.

So my Christmas wish, which I have finally seemed to achieve, is that if you are exhausted over Christmas prep and all that goes with it, is that you are at least happy about it.  Don't look at the season with dread, and if you do reevaluate what you do.

Christmas through the eyes of the children is what makes it enjoyable for me.  Not just their stockings and gifts, but also watching them enjoy the lights, seeing them at concerts, taking about Santa, and even about Jesus.  And eating.  That sounds funny, but watching them enjoy cookies I baked, the Christmas dinner and everything else.  Would I go without presents?  I wouldn't want to. But I could.

So instead of a letter filled what we have been doing all year, you could read the blog.  A year of memories, laughter and some tears,  Which makes life, well life!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

Monday, December 12, 2016

One Year

This is not meant to be a sad post but a post of love to the main person in my life.  My driver!

One year ago today this guy terrified us, and himself I imagine.  It has been a year since Don had his heart attack.  Sometimes to me it is just a memory, but then other times it seems like just yesterday. 

I think these times are meant to put things in perspective.  It is a drop everything and focus on each other sort of moment.

Hats off to Don for his unfaltering commitment to health and exercise.  He consciously does what all of us should - monitors his weight and diet, and exercises regularly.  Although it must just kill him with my bad eating habits, he is able to avoid all that bad stuff and focus on healthy eating.

I love you to the moon and back - happy healthy heart anniversary to my heart!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Love Letters to Grandchildren

This might be my longest post!  If you have grandchildren you know the amazing amount of love and entertainment they offer.  Every one of them is different in their own way.  I find myself remembering little parts of what I have loved about them all as they grow, but with Blake for example, although I will never forget how much I love him, I find myself forgetting little things.  So I am going to do a yearly summary in this blog, as it is really for us to read back on and remember!
This year I will start with the youngest to oldest.

Mason Theodore Stecyk

Every child has a special "place" in the family.  Mason is our last baby.  I think I will always think of him that way!  But make no mistake this little guy is no baby.  He cracks us up constantly.  Watching him crash through life is so funny, but sometimes so tender too.  Right now he has such physical features.  His shoulders are so wide.  He has big hands it seems too.  And he has such strength.  He often seems like a bull in a china shop, not much finesse.  But when he hugs his brother or gives love to his puppy, he can be gentle.  For some time he seemed to have a cry as he went to bed, but lately he just climbs in, cuddles up and looks like an angel.  His big brown eyes and a smile that looks at the same time mischievous, goofy and sweet melts your heart.  He tries so hard to talk about everything, and watching his lips as he forms words is so sweet.  In the mornings after Lindsay has taken Connor t school she will often phone me form the truck.  Mason and I have this thing where I say "Hi Mason".  He says "Hi Yaya", I say "How are you today?", he says "Good", and we move on.  But I treasure those little conversations.  Mason has drive and determination in everything he does.  Love you little guy!

Connor James Stecyk

So Connor's place is special, he is my baby's baby!  I don't know why Connor and I have this special love.  Lindsay insists he is not like this with anyone else.  Maybe because when he was born they lived in Fort McMurray but I spent a lot of time with him?  He's 4 years old, and there isn't a time I can't count on him for a kiss or hug.  Sometimes he will say I need you Yaya and just sits close.  Another thing that kills me is he will walk up or cuddle up and kiss my arm gently.  Connor is a deep thinker.  Never doubt he is always assessing his surroundings and thinking. He's a quieter boy than Mason, unless he is playing one on one with his brothers, cousins, or someone he is totally comfortable with.  Then the emergency vehicle sounds start, and he gets wound up.  Here is a funny story.  After his first hockey time, they came to our place.  I said "There's my hockey player".  He looks around and says "Where?".  LOL  I said "You Connor".  He gets this silly grin on his face.  And you can tell he is proud.  But he's a man of few words usually, although you see the pride in that grin.  He is like that a lot.  Connor has a quiet but determined way about him, and has taught me about a gentle lasting love.  As I always say to you Connor - I love You THIS Much!

Reese Peyton Anne Cameron

Reesey is Tracy's youngest, and our last little girl.  She holds many roles in our family.  She is a free spirit I think. She keeps me on my toes trying to fit her in a "category", but is the epitome of why you should not do that with a person.  What you see is not what you get.  I think that is my connection with Reese.  Sometimes I want to scream to the world that there is so much more to me than you see.  I think Reese might find that in life.  Sometimes she is this quiet little shy girl, other times I catch her laughing her head off and surprising me.  For example she is now taking music lessons.  We recently went to a recital.  It appeared the teacher wanted the students to introduce themselves, their song and at the end bow before exiting.  Reese was one of few who were able to do that!  So proud of that side of her.  She might not be the first one to run up to hug, but when she does it is tight and loving and lasts a long time.  We had a lot of fun last winter when I would pick her up from school to take her to music.  We would stop for treats, sing songs, and sometimes shop.  I treasured those times with her, as being the third child, it is sometimes hard to find a time for one on one.  I also love watching her try to tease grandpa and tickle him.  Those big blue eyes are filled with mischief.  Never loose your individual spirit Reese- it will take you anywhere.  Love you Reese's Pieces!

Emerson Marie Cameron

Well our first little baby girl!  Emerson with a heart of gold, wanting to be helpful.  And a personality a little too deep for a 7 year old.  You care so much, you try so hard, and you take everything to heart.  Your grim determination on the ice when you are playing ringette, your love of your family, your patience with your brother, sister, and cousins.  You are quite the package.  You feel too strong sometimes, and these emotions are hard for you, so you may sometimes get upset.  But that is just part of who you are.  Every single time you see me your face lights up and you come running for a hug.  I wonder if that will end?  You make me want to circle you with protection.  But I know you are a force and I don't need to do that.  I see strength, perseverance and kindness in you that I know will follow you.  I sense as you are growing up you will follow your own strong will and perhaps offer challenges that are unexpected.  I take the feel of your tight strong hugs with me through the days.  I love watching you read as you grow, the joy from books, and watching you read to your little cousins.  I love you miss amazing!

Blake Smith Cameron

I know this is said all the time, but as our first grandchild you are responsible for showing us the first love of being a grandparent.  I never thought that the love of a parent could be any better.  But  you showed us that grand parenting is even more.  From the silly little boy to the big boy you are now.  I almost want to say young man, because as the oldest in your family you seem like that sometimes already.  But watching you play assures me you are still a little boy.  (Sorry)  I watch you go from being a noisy happy guy, to the young man who can talk about hockey, think things through, and deal with the changes in life and the world that you are astute enough to recognize.  Some might think you live for hockey right now, but I see more than that.  I see hockey is one way you show your quiet but determined approach to life.  Your commitment to your friends, your respect for adults such as your coaches.  I find myself wanting to fast forward to your teen years but only because I am so excited for the young man I know you will become.  The guy who will still let grandma hug you and kiss you, maybe still cuddle on grandpa's lap a bit?  I hope it will be a few years before I have to stop singing you a bedtime song while you hold my pinkie finger.  Love you!!

Sunday, December 4, 2016


As always it is hard to believe how fast time moves.  I realized I didn't post any Halloween photos last month, so here they are.  We are so lucky to be able to see the kids in their costumes and enjoy their excitement!

I keep say it was busy, but it was!  Tracy celebrated her 36th birthday, Reese celebrated her 6th, and we tried our best to attend every swimming, ringette and hockey time there was.  That doesn't always work out and/or we don't always go but we try.

I also attended the annual Federated Co-op Conference in Edmonton.  This is one of two I attend annually - the other one is in Saskatoon in February.  Lots of learning and lots of fun combined.

This month was our chance to spend quite few days with Connor and Mason while their mom and dad enjoyed some sunshine in Mexico.  Grandma Violet and I "shared" the boys, each having them for 4 days.

Connor and Mason were real troopers.  Although we did have a couple of relaxing days at home, we also spend almost 2 days on the road, first off to Connor's hockey, then off to a tournament Blake was in.  Although they returned home tired, we loved having them.  There is something more magical about having the grandkids for a coupe of days as compared to a couple of hours.  You get to enjoy bedtime stories and snuggles, and see them interact all day long.  Connor and Mason are happy to have their trucks and rescue vehicles and play all day long.  When that doesn't interest them they switch to Lego!

 We enjoyed one Christmas dinner with the Co-op board, and look forward to a couple more in December. 

And to finish the month off we took a quick trip to Tisdale to see Don's family.  It was a great visit, including a long lunch with my sister Ginger, who works in Tisdale now.  I love that I can see her when we are there, as over the years our schedules and life don't cross too often.  We stopped at Ken and Brenda's for an evening as well, which also doesn't happen enough (although now that Ken is retired a bit more).

Take it easy as December comes upon us and all the holiday preparations begin.  Remember to relax in between!