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 other wheels. When we are not vacationing check in for updates, although less frequent, about our life at home and our wonderful family:)

Friday, March 1, 2019

February Part 2

So the weather held up for us, and from what the forecast was telling, it was time to get out of Dodge. Our plan was to be gone on Tuesday but Monday seemed like the right time so off we went.
Typically we stay our first night in Idaho Falls, then to St. George where we de-winterize and start the warmer weather festivities. Two things were different than last year – one we did not hit ice and storms so made it to Idaho Galls and stayed in the trailer; two it was too cold in St. George so we continued to Mesquite.
Although I say we stayed in the trailer here is what greeted us in the morning!
There it was just warmer enough to accommodate staying in the trailer, an affordable RV wash, a great storage facility that had an amazing station to dump and fill and a casino that offered overnight parking and restaurant choices! We both agreed this is our new second stop.
After getting in the spring mode, we headed to Baker CA. Ivan was camped out and we decided to skip the city life and join him. It was a wonderful and serene stop.

Well we here we did make a visit to Las Vegas Outlet Malls and Costco, and a Costco trip to Victorville. We did do a bit of exploring and drove through the Mojave National Preserve. We couldn't seem to get away form this white stuff! I'm pretty sure it is not natural habitat for a cactus.

After a few days it was time to move on to another favorite - Telephone Cove near Laughlin.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

February Part 1

The last week of January we spent an afternoon with Mason, celebrating his soon to be 5th birthday! He had a pretty solid idea of where he wanted to shop, but struggled a bit with what he would get. The chosen place for lunch was McDonalds, and the chosen place for a gift was Mastermind Toys. He did a great job of directing us to the store, and was expedient in selecting the Lego set. It seemed to me he shops by size. LOL  I gave him the money and he hosted the box on the counter, paid the lady, and proved he could carry that giant box to the truck on his own. Mission was accomplished and he declared he was ready to go home and build!
The actual February started at supper with Phil and Amanda at her house. She makes a mean veggie lasagna. Great start to the month.
Saturday was Mason’s birthday party, followed by a family supper. Emerson joined us as the rest of the family was engaged in Ringette and hockey activities. Emerson stayed over at our place and after brunch we took her home to face her weekend activities.
Of course a week can’t go by without medical appointments, and this week was no different, from a bone scan to yet another eye injection.
Next up on the birthday rounds was Emerson! She picked a visit to West Edmonton Mall and shopping for clothes. She is a pretty tactical shopper, and quite the price watcher, knowing that she could get more clothes if she bought less expensive ones. She did a great job and was loaded with bags. Just a couple of hours and she declared it was time to get home.
After we dropped her off we headed to the RV show, but again we found nothing to entice us form our current fifth wheel.
The week ended with Cal’s 40th birthday party at a community hall. It was great seeing him enjoy himself so much and seeing his friends all gather.
Because we are not yet tired enough, in addition to the usual hockey and ringette times, we also attended Emerson's Ukrainian Dance supper and show on Saturday night with Phil and Amanda and Ciara. She was astounding in her steps and performances. They practice for hours a week and it really shows.
The next week Don had a Dr. appointment and I essentially spent the week in Co-op meetings, with any spare time spent finishing any client projects I needed to wrap up.
Thursday was Connor’s long awaited birthday trip with us. He too picked McDonald’s for lunch, but spent a lot more time deciding where to shop for his gift. He had a Playmobile set in mind, and was very careful about his dollar allotment. After two stores he picked what he loved, and again, we headed home so he could begin the build.
On Friday night I attended the Family Dance at Connor’s school. It was so cute to see the kids dancing and playing with friends, and also to see the result of all of the hard work of the Fundraising Committee of which Lindsay plays a big part in.
Of course weekends bring ice times and this one Emerson had a tournament in Spruce Grove. It was also Emerson’s birthday on Saturday so between games they came to our place for a big birthday brunch.
On Saturday night we somehow found time to have a family supper – all of us! We met at Royal Pizza and once again shared birthday wishes with the February people!
I’m sorry we miss in person celebrating Jeremy and Connor, but Connor and I agreed I can Facetime him in the morning and sing Happy Birthday.
Our hope is to leave for the south on Monday, so you will know if we get away as planned soon.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Farewell January

So that’s over. Not necessarily thankfully because as I’ve said I never want to wish a day away, but it wasn’t the greatest weather, I was faced with my “eye” issue which I touched upon last post, and I was very busy with my Co-op world. None of those are really bad things in the big picture, and give a person something to do constantly, so that is the good side.
Our new year started with a fantastic day at the Stecyk cabin, snowmobiling and sliding. I even put skates on for a short time.
We had to laugh at ourselves a bit because between the 2 of us we sure have had a lot of medical appointments. I had a CT scan and an ultrasound due to my eye, as well as another injection day, and then a Dr. appointment again so she could review everything and be comfortable with things. We have met enough people on our travels through the states to appreciate our amazing health system, and hence I will not complain about having a Dr. that worries about me and sends me to what feels like an overabundance of testing, but…
As for Don he had his annual checkups with the cardiologist and regular Dr., and he passed with flying colors. He takes very good care of his diet and exercise and is a rock star heart attack recovery patient! Sadly though he broke a tooth which led to several dentist appointments, dental surgery, and a crown. Although I offer glowing reports on our medical system, dentistry, in my opinion, is a necessary evil that costs far too much. We opted out of having a dental plan added to our medical, and although at this time it would have covered some costs, the annual premiums still don’t balance out for us. But why can I have my teeth cleaned in Los Algadones for $25 US and in Canada it is $488?? Anyway…
We had a great visit one weekend with our friends Jim and Janice. We see each other very rarely but when we do it’s wonderful and full of laughs and reminiscing. Who knows maybe one day Jim will retire and our meet ups will be in a warmer climate. And one Saturday evening I went to a fundraiser cabaret with my friend Amanda. We had a blast supporting the Children’s Make a Wish Foundation, and of course sharing a beverage or two:)
I spoke of lots of Co-op meetings – nine this month! But the product of those was a successful hiring of a new CEO. This is exciting times for us as a Board, and a monumental move forward, well worth every meeting held. I truly treat my Directorship as a job, and respect it as such.
We made a trip to Saskatchewan to celebrate Don’s mom’s 90th Birthday! As many of the family that could attend did. Several grandchildren and great grandchildren were there as well, and I know mom enjoyed her visits.
January concluded with Don curling in a bonspiel, which he has not done for a few years. They started out losing a couple pf games and ended up wining the C division and playing far more games than expected, They made their entry fee plus back, and a fabulous Sawmill gift certificate.
Of course in between all that we went to several hockey games, ringette games, one swimming day, and a lot of coffees and dinners with friends and family.
Not a lot of pictures worthy of our blog, but here is our beautiful mother!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

Well I think I am going to skip a separate November blog and just recap the last 2 months. It's the lazy way out, but as I sit here reflecting on them there is a lot of the same to report. Sometimes I copy and paste the Christmas letter but I didn't do one. I didn't do cards either. No particular reason, I actually really enjoyed this holiday season.

Anyway the fall has passed in a whirlwind of activities, family and friends. I created and taught my first bookkeeping class, a dear friend on the co-op Board passed away, a past co-worker of Don's lost his wife to cancer, and amongst all of that we found life in other places.

We celebrated friendships over the holiday season with lots of visits and dinners, fit in the annual Santa Claus appointment and taking the grandkids shopping for their parents gifts, and fit a few dental and medical appointments in. I had a strange thing happen to me called an eye stroke. It has affected the vision in my left eye and I now find myself going for monthly injection treatments in hope that the problem can be corrected.

Amongst all of that Tracy and Reese had birthdays! Our usual tradition on a birthday is to take  the grandkids shopping and let them go wild, then out for a meal. It gives us a chance to spend some one on one with them. This year We has already bought Reese a new equipment bag, but we still did the mall for lunch and some small shopping!

To Tracy we send the most love and happiness to her.

We hope you had a very Merry Christmas and may all the best that 2019 holds be yours!

Thursday, November 1, 2018


Well after we returned home from Saskatchewan we were a bit out of sorts. Of course you never expect to have to return early from a vacation for a loss in the family, but even so I was surprised how it feels.

That makes this Thanksgiving even more special. We are thankful most especially for our awesome family. Our return home in October always includes an introduction back into the whirlwind of life that we love - following the grandkids in their activities, usually at this time of the year at the rink. Blake, Connor and Mason are playing hockey. Emerson and Reese are playing Ringette. Connor and Mason are on a break from swimming lessons but are taking skating lessons as well. Emerson also Ukrainian dances, and Reese started Brownies. We try to attend at least one thing for each child each week, but the younger 4 seem to be on the ice at the same time more often than not. And I have no problem admitting that the 8 or 9 am ice times are not inviting. In Mason's case he is always on early so we do miss a lot of his practices. That's another thing to consider, do we attend practices. In the other's cases no, but as Mason doesn't have games, we will try a few of his practices.

Of course Thanksgiving was a turkey day, and then there's Don's birthday too.

We went to Jasper for a drive and lunch to celebrate Don's birthday. His birthday gift was tickets to the Suzi Quatro concert, and we were very excited to check off this concert as one fo our favorite performers.

October was full in many other ways as well. I attended a record number of Co-op Board meetings, Don's company had the external Safety Audit, and I spent 2 times reading at Connor and Mason's school for reading week. We also spent a weekend at the Stecyks babysitting while Lindsay attended a business trip with Jeremy.

The month ends with our regular trip to view the Halloween costumes and that's a wrap!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Family Farewell

It was with such great sadness that we had to change our plans and head home to Saskatchewan. Don's dad has suffered for several years after his stroke with declining health. This last week or two we have been in constant contact with Mom and Don's sisters. Sadly on the morning of September 16 Dad passed away. We packed up quickly and hit the road. In a perfect world it would have been nice to make the trip in a day, but we made it to Ceylon Regional Park. When we knew approximately where we were going to stop for the night I used the Campendium app and found this one. I called to see if they were open and what process we should follow for a late night arrival. The manager was so amazing, he said if we were only stopping to sleep to just pull in the parking lot and stay there. No charge, nothing. People are wonderful aren't they? 

We made it to Tisdale on Monday by noon, and were relieved to be with Don's family as they planned the funeral and we were able to help with the many challenges of this time on life.

Another great help on this  trip was the owner of an office complex behind Don's sister's house in Tisdale. For the second time she allowed us to park in the lot and plug in. 

Although it was a sad event that brought us all together, we were blessed that we could be there and to see the multitude of family and friends we did. Thank you to everyone for their support.

Here is Dad's obituary

Arthur Herbert Smith was born on May 17, 1927 in Ninette, MB. Art grew up on a farm one mile north of Eldersley where they farmed four quarters of land. During the winter of 1950 Art met Margaret. At the time Margaret was the school teacher in Eldersley.

Arthur Smith and Margaret Campbell were married on July 4, 1951, in the Anglican Church at Meskanaw. After their honeymoon, Art and Marg went to Bjork Lake and worked together, breaking the land and picking roots. Art and Marg lived in two granaries while their house was being built. On January 23, 1953 Art and Marg’s first son was born, Kenneth Arthur. Ken was born in Tisdale and at this time Art returned home and the new family of three moved into their farm house. Over the years the family increased, two daughters were the next to arrive, Kathleen Margaret born on March 22, 1954 and Karen Louise born on July 15, 1955. After the two girls, two more boys arrived, Donald Wayne on October 24, 1956 and Terry Allen on May 19, 1960. With a family of this size, there was never a spare moment! Art and Marg kept busy with the children’s activities and community affairs. Art especially was very active in the community. He served on several boards and committees and spent many, many hours helping with flooding rinks, preparing sports grounds and other community projects. In 1972 Art and Marg rented their farmland. Art spent that summer working for Tisdale Alfalfa Dehy Plant. In December 1972 the family moved to Tisdale to live. After the move to Tisdale, Art had many different jobs over the years. He worked at Lamb Hardware for a few years then went into the freight business with Ken. After they sold this Art started to work at Prairie Gas with propane. He worked there for many years and at one point the name was changed to Superior Propane. Art retired from Superior Propane in the spring of 1988.

Arthur was predeceased by his parents Jim and Louisa, sisters Florence, Ruby and Mary, and brothers Jim and Seymour. He is survived by his wife Margaret, his five children, thirteen grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren, and brother Fred. 

As Art always said - “Don’t say good-bye – say see you later”.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Almost Done

We have really enjoyed our time here, but are looking at our next stop on this trip. We are not sure but really considering the Butte area, so again using Campendium and Google, we found a boondocking area that was worth investigating. One lesson we have learned is it is always worthwhile to take the time and fuel to check out a boondocking spot prior to taking the trailer there. We took a drive out to Homestake Pass and are pretty sure that will be our next spot!

In the meantime we spent our last two days here finishing our drive around the park. Here are the last amazing photos from my favorites. Again you can only imagine the deep colors and true brilliance. Enjoy.