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 8, 2024

Back to an Old Favorite

A few years ago we were trying to find a place to boondock that was close to Ron and Bev in Gold Canyon. Through one of the many boondocking/campsite links we have Don found Cottonwood Area. Through the recommendation of another user we didn't go directly to the typical user area, but rather a bit further north, still on State Trust Land. 

This is a beautiful location - close to the city, the Edmunds, and the airport for when I fly to Saskatoon!

And it is quiet and serene. 


We spent most of our time here visiting Ron and Bev, got in 2 great visits with Carol and Richard, and even had Dalton and Lindsay host a supper at their uncle's house in Coolidge. While here I was back in Saskatoon for 5 days, with no travel interruptions finally.


We spent a couple more days before it was time to pull up the jacks and head on. Next destination is Lake Havasu.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Expect the Unexpected

We had quite the experience on our way to our boondocking spot west of Tucson. A trailer axle broke!

We were turning onto the last couple of miles of dirt road when a rancher pulled up beside us and told us there's trouble. Yup - stopped and the axle was broke. At that time the tire was still on, but as we moved a few feet off the road for safety, that left us too.

We called AMA and eventually a large tow truck came. The photo below is after Don and the driver secured everything to be moved. As it was a Sunday there was no where to tow us to, and the trailer was able to move a short distance. so the driver led us to a spot by a gas bar to spend the night, intending to return the next morning and get us to a repair shop.

We spent the night there and as promised the town truck was back on Monday morning. I called Freedom RV in Tucson on advice of a group of ranchers who stopped by to ensure we were safe. I must say while on the road with this breakdown we had many local folks stop and ask if we were ok and even offer us a place to stay. That was so kind of everyone! Anyhow we pulled to Freedom RV to assess everything, and checked into a hotel. Not too long later they called and said we could pull it to a near by RV park but no further. The axle was ordered from Elkhart Indiana and overall the timing was 12 - 17 days! UGH I may not say this but if you know boondockers it is about NOT being on paved RV sites and NOT having your neighbor at the end of your awning. BUT no choice in this.

Some points to ponder:
We have the best RV AMA (Alberta Motor Association) coverage you can buy, BUT accommodations and meals are only covered for 72 hours;
AAA (American Auto Association) and AMA don't agree on what a tow is. A flat tow is only covered to $500 US but costs approx. $1700 US.
Some bitterness may be noted:)

When we purchased this trailer last summer the trade in experience was far below par. I won't go into all the reasons why but one of the factors was the arrogance of Arkann RV about ALL the work completed pre purchase and the value of it. So much so that they provided a lengthy report along with their costs for the work. Of course this was to increase the value of it. One item on it was repacking the bearings. In the case of our breakdown the bearings were not done correctly and hence our little adventure. After a lot of back and forth Don and Arkann agreed they would reimburse us for the full cost of the repair. A slight $2700 US cost. We do appreciate they stood behind their business that way, we don't appreciate a poor bearing job.

The axle arrived faster than expected and by Wednesday the 21st the trailer was fixed. We had paid for the RV site for 2 weeks, and since Tucson had been our planned stop for those 2 weeks, we stayed in the park.

Amid all that adventure while in Tucson we still enjoyed ourselves. We met Ron and Bev at the Circle S Saloon and then Bev and I enjoyed some shopping, Don and I had a great hike at Saguaro National Park, a drive down through Nogales and Tubac, and a visit to Ivan while he was at Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

On my birthday Ron treated us to beer and dinner at the River Bottom Bar and Grill. Karaoke and all! I wanted Don and Ron to reunite on stage to sing Dusty Old Farmer, but no go. Bev and I enjoyed the music though!

Once it was time to leave Tucson I won't say we weren't ready! Enough memories there for the year.







Sunday, February 11, 2024

On the Road

What an easy trip south this time! The roads were dry and quiet the whole way. We left home about 5 am with our destination, if all went well, of Idaho Falls. That was an easy target. After our typical dinner at a steakhouse while the trailer warmed up and an overnighter at Walmart we were off again. Traffic through the whole Salt Lake City area can be crazy busy and this day was no exception. There is never a time where something isn't under construction.

Our second night was also a stop now familiar to us at Casablanca Casino in Mesquite. They have an RV park but also a free RV overnight area. Of course that's where we stay! Casino stays are great because they typically have good food and coffee shops. Last year we stayed here 2 nights but this year we enjoyed the evening but moved on early, heading for Yuma!

We made great time and before we knew it we were surprising Ivan (Roadtrip 2014) with our fast arrival at Sidewinder Road! This was what I consider our first real day of holidays. And what is the first thing to do? After a beer of course? Set up the new Starlink!!

If you have Starlink I don't have to share all the amazing reasons you need it, and if you don't have it, and find yourselves always looking for a great phone connection or somewhere to snag some strong data, then you need it! While we were her I ordered a pole for Starlink to attach to the trailer and be off the ground. 

The next new item with us this winter is a Lithium Battery. We have a 340 watt solar panel and a 300 amp lithium battery. The photo below shows all you need to know, if you know you know. HAHA

We can watch most of the grandkids hockey and ringette on live stream but it is sure nice to not be concerned with data use and battery use. Last we added a transfer switch so when you want 120 V power it is one little button inside to push. I won't go on and on about this whole combination of power and data power, you get the idea. 

Anyhow what did we do in Yuma? Well we had beers, visits, dinner with Judy and Phil, trips to buy and organize food (and drink), a drive to Costco over the California border in El Centro, a day trip to Quartzsite for Silly Al's Pizza, and f course a trip to Algodones Mexico for a beer and tacos.

After a while it was time to move on and we decided our next stop would be Tucson. 

Stay tuned!











Friday, February 2, 2024

Just Mananging

That explains how I felt all January - just managing. I always feel panic in January as we prepare to head south. For no reason. I feel sad to leave the kids for 3 months, I worry about my work and if I can really manage to be virtual (which I am anyway LOL), I worry if I have packed the right clothes, household items, if there is anything I am leaving at home I will need for work, it goes on and on. Never for reason. LOL

I bought a second monitor to use in the trailer, I'm expecting it will make spreadsheets, etc. easier to work with. And we are excited to see how the new trailer works for actually living in. The design with reclining loveseat and kitchen island is quite different from our last 5th wheel. We camped quite a bit in this one last summer after purchasing, but extended living is usually quite different. And we are excited about the new solar, lithium battery and Starlink!!

At any rate we made it through the month jam packed with ringette and hockey, family visits, work, dentist appointments, eye appointments, etc.

We celebrated all the February birthdays in different ways. As you know we typically take the kids out for supper and shopping. This year Emerson chose Japanese Village so off to West Edmonton Mall we went and covered off both activities! Connor and Mason missed out on the supper thing this year but we made a great stop after hockey one day to Marble Slab where they created their own gastronomical delights! And as Lego is still the big wish list we donated to their pots on that!

I spent a few days at meetings in Saskatoon and Don went home for another visit and check in with his mom.

And then as fast a we knew it it was the last weekend in January, the trailer was hooked up in the back and we were ready for an early morning departure! The weather and roads look great all the way down, I will let you know if that was false hope or not!

I have no idea how I ended up with no pictures to even share so here are a couple of old ones I may not have posted.

Until next time!





Monday, January 1, 2024

December Wraps 2023

November ended with the delivery of the first Christmas Boxes to the kids. This started during Covid and I can't seem to end what is now a tradition. Based on the example of all the subscription boxes out there I started the boxes as a way to get the little pre Christmas items to the kids. There are 2 boxes over the season, one on November 30 and the other around December 15. They include items like Christmas ornaments, homemade cookie decorating kits, pjs, games, gift cards, gingerbread houses, etc.

December was filled with all things friend and family! And somehow we found time to decorate, cook and bake! Thanks to Don:)

  • We had an Aggregate party to attend mid December at Bruce and Kerri's. We have hosted this party for years and now that Don's company has closed, Bruce, who still works in aggregates, is hosting it
  • Ron and Bev had a one night layover in Edmonton on their way home form Phoenix, so we enjoyed an evening out with them
  • I attended Connor and Mason's Christmas Concert
  • We took both families for the traditional buy your parents a Christmas gift
  • We attended MANY ringette and hockey games!
  • I went out of town overnight for a co-op meeting
  • Don and I went to Tisdale and hosted a catered Christmas dinner for mom and his siblings. This is the second year we have done this and it is quite nice. Mom's building has a space we can set up a table to eat, and we stay there in a rental suite when we visit. This is one of the few times I wished we lived close like the other siblings so we could cook a real family meal and have everyone over like mom did when we were all raising our kids. Those are sure great memories!
  • Don drove me back to Saskatoon for my December co-op meetings and then back to Tisdale for a few days. When he came back to Saskatoon we had a great evening visiting with my Uncle Mike and Aunt Doreen who recently moved to a condo in Saskatoon.

And then?? Finally back home to enjoy the season!

On the 23rd we joined all the kids and had a big family meal followed by 2 Christmas light tours - the RAD raceway lights and Leduc Lights. It was such a beautiful evening company and weather. Wonderful memories!

We joined Tracy and family for Christmas brunch, then our family Christmas was on Boxing Day. So much fun, love and food!

Last night Don and I went to the Century Casino and hotel for the Chilliwack concert. They were as amazing as you would hope. Our kids gifted us with the tickets and it is a perfect gift - a night out together.

And now it's 2024. Hard to believe. January will fly by with many more ringette and hockey games, days of work (yes I still work), and a co-op trip to Saskatoon. And we are preparing for our annual trek south at the end of January.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!