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, 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.

Grand Canyon

Of Yellowstone that is!

We have been to the Grand Canyon, and also the Little Grand Canyon of Utah - all stunning sites.

This Grand Canyon varies in width from 1500 - 4000 feet, and depths of 750 - 1200 feet. The waterfall on the Yellowstone River flows over 350 feet. There are several parking areas, and trails alongside for miles, making for a great walking/hiking opportunity.

We have had such great weather this trip, not cold, but not so hot that walking is difficult. Perfect in my opinion.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Grand Tetons

Don always says our plans are in jello. Sometimes circumstances cause us to change our plans, other times it is a road beckoning and no reason to not follow it!

We really like the town of Jackson and so decided to head south to visit. HOWEVER, once we drove through it seemed a better idea to take a new route over to Idaho Falls and just check the scenery and a few boondocking sites along the way.

Although the day was a bit hazy, the Grand Tetons were as lovely and inspiring as ever.

If you have a chance to admire the Tetons, do it!

Discovering New Boondocking Sites

When we drive in new areas, or areas we haven't visited since our passion for boondocking started, I like to do a lot of research using mostly Campendium and Google reviews, and find the perfect boondocking site. For us that means relatively easy access road or trails, good sun opportunity for the solar, and relative close distance to town services. Sometimes we come across a campground as well that warrants exploring.

I was surprised when we drove along the Tetons to find a campground near Moran Wyoming. It has 175 serviced sites. HOWEVER I was even more surprised to find a nightly rate of $75!!! And it was not an attractive place in our opinion.

The map showed the road continuing and Campendium showed several opportunities so we continued on. The road didn't look that horrid so we decided to track down some free camp areas other bloggers had spoke of. It was a road that eventually led to Ashton Idaho, but first you had to be willing to trek down 48 miles of questionable road. As one gentleman told us in a campsite we stopped at, no better rig than what you have there to see it!

The road we travelled on was Grassy Lake Road. Or some folks call it the Ashton - Flagg Ranch Road. It takes you form Wyoming into Idaho. There are eight developed camp areas, with fourteen campsites. The vault toilets are the cleanest we've seen.

In addition to finding some possible new sites to camp, the drive was peaceful and beautiful. It took a lot longer than expected as the road was winding, bumpy and of course we had to stop at each camp area.

Here is the road at the start, an example of the entrance into a camp area, and some beautiful waters, which seem to be the attraction for folks. A different day than our usual but just as enjoyable.

Exploring Every Geyser

Yup, we can say we have explored every geyser, unless they take a long hike to get there and we missed them somehow. I can't even figure out how to tell you about what we saw today, so here is a pictorial memory of Emerald Spring, Steamboat Geyser (the world's tallest active geyser which happened to erupt three days before we were there), Cistern Spring, Acidic Geyser, Puff n Stuff, Black Hermit, Green Dragon, Vixen and ending with a beautiful overview shot of the area!

So enjoy, hopefully it intrigues you to go visit!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A Side Trip

Sometimes we just like a day in town. Often this notion is prompted by a desire to shop for something or somewhere. This time it was a search for a 12V water pump to assist getting water in the tanks. Before I tell you this story you need to know that we have rarely ran out of water. As most boondockers will know, water conservation becomes second nature. When you also add that we have large tanks and even larger holding tanks, this isn't a common issue. But we like to be prepared, and we do carry 5 gallon water containers to fill with. The challenge that presents is the trailer is designed to need pressure to fill.

We have tried a few ways, including setting the water tank high and using nature's gravity, but that takes a LONG time (actually with Don and Ivan one beer per tank). So thus the reason to find a pump. It wasn't as easy as we thought to find an affordable 12V pump, but we did.

With that chore out of the way we took a scenic drive back, visiting Virginia Cascades, Henry Forks and Mesa Falls.

Another great day!

Still in Yellowstone!

I feel like I'm losing control of my posts. I keep looking through all the amazing photos Don has taken and trying to find words to accompany the beauty we have seen.

Our next couple of days were spent exploring Gibbons Falls and Sheepeater Cliffs, then Mammoth Hot Springs, the Geyser Basin area and the Paint Pots.

Gibbon Falls is right on the road, so an easy stop. There is a paved trial that takes you along the river view and gives many sightseeing opportunities. We stopped here many times on this trip as it is on a main road, but I cannot find my photos! Sorry

Sheepeater Cliffs is assumed to be formed over 500,000 years ago. Pretty cool...

The Paint Pots are always one of our favorites. These mud pots are named for their red, yellow and brown colors, which is actually form oxidation of iron in the mud.

That's your lesson today!

Discovering Yellowstone Park Part 2

Because we've been to Yellowstone before, we knew that the distances and times were not very accurate for really seeing the park. Between animals and slow moving traffic and roads not conducive to fast speeds, you need to allow a few days to say you've really seen the park.

Our ideal day is a slow breakfast, pack a lunch, and be back home for supper and a quiet eveing. Sometimes we switch that up for an evening at some location with wifi, like Starbucks or McDonalds, but those wifi evenings have diminished as we have such great phone plans now!

The days were unseasonably warm as we explored, and the evenings just cool enough to keep us cozied up in the trailer, enjoying books and a beverage or two. 

I read on another blog that they recommend four days to explore the park and feel like you've been everywhere. I think I would increase that to 6 days. We took even longer, but also did some day trips in other directions.

So - within the park...

Day 2 we focussed on Fire Hole Canyon and the Fountain Flat Drive.

Fountain Flat Drive veers off to the west off the Grand Loop Road north of Fountain Paint Pots. Fountain Flat Drive dead ends for vehicles not far from the main road. There’s lots of parking and a large turnaround. We walked down towards the Firehole River, and happened upon Ojo Caliente, a hot spring that feeds into Firehole River.

Firehole Canyon Drive takes you to the canyon where the Firehole River flow, gives you a view of the falls and a 40 foot waterfall. So beautiful. 

Stay tuned!