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:)

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”.


Friday, September 14, 2018

Discovering Yellowstone Park Part 1

We decided to take the map of Yellowstone and visit every nook and cranny we could. This takes quite some time and also some patience. I'm not sure if it is the unusually beautiful weather, the time of year where school is back and people without school children are travelling, or if Yellowstone Park is just that great, but the park is busy. And the animals have road right of way. Add to that (and I won't rant too much) the drivers that don't pay attention to the stopping areas, and it can take hours to get through one area.

We approached the trips though the park methodically, stopping at every trail and attraction there was. With our lunches packed, we had no obstacles to when or where we stopped.

Our first day was a short jaunt, going only as far  as Old Faithful. We timed it pretty good, only having to wait about 20 minutes for the show.

The unique areas in Yellowstone include canyons, rivers, forests, hot springs and geysers. There are also numerous animals like bears, bison, elk and antelope! The park covers almost 3500 square miles.

Here's a picture drive with us...

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

It's Vacation Time!

We have had a great start to September.

Before leaving for a visit through Yellowstone Park, we stopped for the weekend at the Stecyk cabin. Phil and Ciara joined us, the Camerons came for a day out, and we just sat back and relaxed, enjoyed the beautiful weather and had tons of laughs. Even Amanda and Josh made it out for a day. Of course sit back and relax means lots of quadding, fire pit fires, "refreshments", food, etc.

Thank you Stecyks for sharing your place with us!

On Monday we headed out on our annual September adventure. Although we have been to the Yellowstone area a few times, we both felt it was worth another, longer visit. We were excited to check out a new boondocking spot I had found on one of my sites.
The border crossing was easy, and we pushed through a few hours of driving, making it to the Walmart in Great Falls. We are feeling pretty confident about the new solar install, as it was charging form the streetlight in Walmart! LOL After a big grocery fill at Walmart, we had a beverage and headed to bed.

The next day we had a shorter drive to our destination of Bill Frome Park in Idaho. Sometimes we stop and make lunch in the trailer but this time we decided to find a restaurant, We were driving through Harrison, MT when I saw the Town Haul Diner, and as there was easy parking on the street we decided to try it. What a great stop. Isn't it great when you try a little local stop and it turns out the food and ambiance is just why you travel in the first place - to see the locals and get a flavor for their life? This place was family, cowboys, office workers, etc all stopping in their day for a bite. The conversations around were lively.

It wasn't long befire we were approaching Island Park and the area where we were hoping to stop, but first we had to find a sewer dump. Again another frequent website came in handy and we found a dump, but not a water fill. We were feeling confident about our water supply though, as we are pretty careful users and had only been out for a few days at this point. So we dumped and made our way to the park. When I was looking for a boondock site near Yellowstone, this place received tons of great reviews. As we approached we were kind of wondering, but wow! Here we are in a campground that is no charge! It seems wrong to even call this boondocking! The sites are very generous, have fire pits and tables, and for those that may want, there are even toilets.

I can tell already this is going to be great...

Saturday, September 1, 2018

OMG–August is OVER??

So it appears I do have a blogging pattern – last minute or a month passed.
That means you get to enjoy my brief point form once again.
  • I don’t think I mentioned that for the last days of July and early August we have a special house guest? That’s right our grand-dog Lucy was with us. She is a pretty easy guest, and I love having her.
  • As the August long weekend approached we decided we would go camping. We made reservations at North Buck Lake, but as the weekend approached didn’t really feel like going there. We had decided in time to get a refund, so I phoned a few places and we lucked out by finding sites at Lessard Lake, a county campground and less than an hour from us! We also decide not to take the boat, as it is parked at the Stecyk land and only about 20 minutes form the lake if we wanted it. That was a good decision, as there was no boat launch. LOL Phil and Amanda joined us, and although it was our first time meeting Amanda, I felt an instant bond, and we had such a great weekend! We took in the Alberta Beach market, spent a day quadding and even had time to take the boat around Lac St Anne.
  • The next week we had the Cameron kids for a two night sleepover. We spent the first day lazing at the Stony Plain Outdoor pool, then the second day on the boat at Lac St Anne. Love anytime the kids are at our place!
  • My next week was busy as I helped prepare for the Cowboy Gathering. It was my first year of volunteering at the event, and I enjoyed it so much!
  • Although the festival didn’t end until Sunday afternoon, that morning we once again headed out in the trailer to Long Lake Provincial Park with Lindsay and the boys. What a great time we had!! We went tubing every morning and afternoon, including me. It was funny because when the boys got tired of “grandma speed” on the tube, they stopped and asked for their mom to ride instead! But since I don’t swim and am somewhat terrified of the water, I was impressed with myself.
  • We had some work commitments as always mixed in with those days:)
  • The last Wednesday of the month, Tracy joined Lindsay at her house and they did a big cook prep for the upcoming month of back to school. Normally I would participate, but this time instead, Don and I took the kids to Allstars playgym and then lunch. The perfect way to end August – time with the grandkids before we leave on our annual September trek!
I know you’ve just been waiting for my random photos with no explanations…

Thursday, August 2, 2018

June and July Mixed Together Part 1

Ugh - as if I am not bad enough at blogging when we are away on"vacation", here I am two months behind and sitting at home.

Well of course we are not just sitting at home, but you would think I could get more writing done?

Of course all the usual has happened - a bit of work for both of us, Co-op meetings for me, etc. In May I forgot to tell you that Ron and Bev stopped in for a few days after the long weekend, and we had our usual shenanigans of eating, shopping and drinking, not necessarily in that order.

I think I will supply the highlights this time...

  • The first event in June was the annual Farmer's Day Parade, which I attended with the Stecyks. I think the boys got just enough candy to get them through a week or two!
  • Don and I decided to take a drive to our favorite restaurant in Jasper for lunch and a beer. The weather was perfect - a little cool but sunny, and of course the views never disappoint.
  • North Central Co-op and the Edmonton Valley Zoo have started a program that is a wonderful family venture - Zoo Night for staff and Board. We attended last year, and since the Zoo is a favorite place, I was easily able to convince them to come with me again. Don and Blake joined us for dinner before heading to lacrosse, so it was just myself with Emerson, Reese, Connor and Mason. We had a blast and are so thankful to the organization for sponsoring this event. I would say Lucy the elephant and ice cream made the day!
  • Connor and Mason had their last ball games and although we haven't made it to all of them, we went to this one and had ice cream after. A great year for Connor and Maosn's first year was so cute to watch!
  • I volunteered at the annual KidSport Parkland Golf Tournament. Sometimes we are away during this event, but if we aren't I like to attend. I founded KidSport Parkland in the early 2000's, and it is a cause dear to me, so although not an official executive member, they call on me at times, for which I am grateful.
  • Now this happened - we had solar installed on the trailer! We have been using solar and boondocking for quite a few years, and it was time to make a bigger commitment and install a permanent panel. After a LOT of research we selected CBI Solar out of Red Deer. I will tell you, it has been a long time since we visited a business that showed such passion for their product and professionalism in their service and overall business. We highly recommend them to anyone considering solar, whether house or RV or even cabin at the lake.
  • Next up was our annual fishing trip with the Scotts. This year we made our way back to Calling Lake in search of the perfect Walleye. With the hot weather and those fish biting, it was a success. And of course always a fun time with them!
  • We made it home just in time to attend both Emerson and Reese's music recitals!
  • The Stecyks invited us to Family Day at Northlands and it was a blast. Besides getting some bets in, we watched the dogs race, which is hilarious, not competitive, and a great event. Keep it in mind - no admission and tons of things to do!
  • June finished with a camping trip to Cross Lake with the Camerons. Although the weather was warm, the wind was not conducive to a lot of tubing, but we made it out often enough to somewhat satisfy the water babies. LOL

These photos should be in order of what I described. If they aren't oh well.

June and July Mixed Together Part 2

Well this barely qualifies as June, but here is the finishing post. We left off with a camping trip on the long weekend with the Camerons…
  • We headed home on Monday to do laundry, replenish water and groceries, then early Tuesday morning we headed in the opposite direction to meet up with the Stecyks at Crimson Lake for a few nights. We had pretty good weather, and although the lake is too shallow for tubing, we even tried our hand at fishing. The beach there is wonderful for hanging out on as well. We even took time to drive to the Bearberry Saloon for lunch one day.
  • We had been planning a trip to Saskatchewan mid month, but our plans changed when a very dear friend’s mom passed away. So we left Crimson Lake, went home and re-packed, and headed to Tisdale for the funeral and some family time. Of course it’s always sad to say a final goodbye to someone, but we did appreciate seeing old friends and having some quality time with the Edmunds families.
  • On July 12 I picked up all the grandkids and we had a day our at Jurassic Forest. Well in fact it was a morning out, but everyone enjoyed themselves! The dinosaurs are a big hit with everyone, but all the bug and bird displays were a bit tiresome. It is not a place you need a day to walk through, so we also took time for treats and a park play!
  • We couldn’t decide what to do about Blake’s Lacrosse provincials in Calgary, but I really wanted to go. So although we missed the Friday game, we did decide to take in Saturday evening and Sunday games. They came home with a Silver medal and we were so proud we could be there.
  • As you know we had solar installed on the trailer, and we have been anxious to put it to the test, so on July 24 we headed out to Abraham Lake to do just that! Don and I did some hiking, and our friend Ivan amazingly enough was in the area (he never stays home) so he also joined us. We relaxed and spent some time concentrating on beverages and solving the world’s problems.
  • Ron and Bev surprised us with a visit the last week of the month, and we had a blast! We are so fortunate to have them in our life, and whenever we visit we sure do enjoy ourselves!
  • The rest of our July days were spent visiting friends, eating out and hanging with the kids – in other words PERFECT!
As always here are random photos.  Enjoy…
crimsonhikingkidssask fieldseffleurv falls

Monday, June 11, 2018