Sunday, July 29, 2007

North Battleford, SK

We're in the twilight hotel in North Battleford. Gawd, I'm tired. Even though I slept a lot of the way here.

I just finished doing all my blog updates with the awesome internet connection the hotel has. I also update my BellaOnline sites.

I'd tell you about the giant egg but I'm tired and don't feel like downloading the camera. See you in the morning.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Frustrated and Tired

Still no internet. I'm sitting in their coffee shop having a Mocha Java and catching up on a few more blogs and articles. It'd be easier if I could get online but it doesn't seem to be happening. More later.


It's hotter than hades in Edmonton but we decided to venture out to Edmonton Mall. I'm pretty sure there are a lot of ladies out there who are excited by this. I'm just not one of them. Jeff and I did it for some exercise and we bought a few t-shirts for the nieces and nephews.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


ACK! Still no internet. I was able to send one message and get on the weather page. Or load the odd page but not do anything. I've been trying to upload articles to the BellaOnline sites all night but can't keep a connection. Jeff was pretty pissed tonight because he had called ahead from Jasper to book an extra night here because they said their internet connection worked. Jeff got it to work in the driveway. Kind of hard to work there. So we'll stay here another night. I'll try to get some articles done up and we'll stay at a hotel one night (with internet access and support staff) so I can do some major uploading and updates.

We're on the way back... I think Jeff and I are both ready to be home, the animals too. It was nice spending time with his parents but I just want to sleep in my own bed etc... etc...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Loving Jasper

Still in Jasper. I think it's been the favorite spot all around. It's a nicer National Park. I'm surprised because Jasper is the bigger of the two, something like 300 more campsites. Usually bigger means they slack on the amenities.

Today was a very tiring day physically. We had breakfast, the usual cereal and toast; no one's been brave enough for pancakes yet. And headed out for the Columbia Ice Field.

We had a few stops along the way. Most notable, Athabasca Falls. It was mildly busy but worth it. Rolling falls, mist, and a trail around the front of the falls. Shelby went along for the walk and made a few new human friends. She was really good.

On the road again and we had to pull over for a spectacular sight. Mountain Goats! I've been hoping to see them (or long horn sheep) for days. They were gorgeous. And attracting a lot of attention. I got some video and a few pictures. Jeff was able to get respectably closer but I won't see those pictures until we find an Independent to develop them. A gentleman who pulled over said he does a lot of hiking in the area and that it is very rare to see mountain goats on the side of the road. So we considered ourselves blessed.

We finally made it to the "visitor center" at the Colombia Ice Field. I had to go up 60 stairs. Hello? Is that any way to treat visitors? Who the heck thought of that? We had lunch in the cafeteria which was hopping. The food was surprisingly good for the quick output they were doing. Bus loads of tourists were lining up. We drove over to another area at the base of the field. Jeff and I hiked up a 200-300 meter incline to reach the ice. Momma Mia!

Jeff and Shelby went on a head. I probably had about ten rest stops along the way: two sitting, one chatting with a few people, another offering to take pictures, reading signs... any excuse to stop and smell the roses or catch my breath! It was really breathtaking all around and not just because it was crazy windy. I had to wear a solar fleece jacket because it was a few degrees cooler than the base which was already cool. When I finally made it to the top (where the ice began) I had to cross a metal grate across a petite rushing stream before I could step on the glacier. I walked another ten feet and I called it quits. The incline was too steep and I was wearing sneakers. My fear of falling and breaking something won out over my adventurous endorphins. In my book I made my goal - I walked up the mountain and stepped on the glazier. It was a surreal experience. Walking up with everyone reminded me of those religious pilgrimages where devotees walk in droves to a historic monument. Have a look...

Going down was definitely easier. The wind was at my back and Jeff and Shelby were with me. We took our time and only took a few breaks on the flatter areas. We were wiped out but happy at the bottom.
The effects of global warming can really be seen here. There were markers set up along the route from the visitor's center marking where the glacier use to lie. It is receding quickly in length and in depth. It boggles the mind the area that has been lost in the last 50 years. I'm sure all the people walking on it isn't helping but it was poignant; especially after having watched Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

That was pretty much all we could take. Next stop, grocery store, hot dogs, pack up and here I am writing with sore hands and forearms from chopping wood. I think I have a bit of sun/wind burn on my face but I plan on sleeping well tonight.

We're off to Edmonton in the morning and hopefully internet access.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Good Morrrrning....

Today's my wedding anniversary. Jeff and I have been married twelve years. We had our anniversary supper before we left. Jeff's parents said 'happy anniversary' to us before we were able to say it to one another. Grrr.

I woke up about 10 (yes, we slept in) and decided to walk to the bathroom before anyone else got up. I opened the door of the RV to leave and can you guess what kind of shock I had? If you've been to Jasper, you probably can. A female elk was munching on a shrub not even twenty feet away from the door. Of course I went on high alert as Shelby was nosing behind me. I quickly closed the door and yelled for everyone to look out the window. Jeff followed me out and took some video. Today was a good day for elk. We saw about twenty of them throughout the park. Some were grazing some were trying to sleep. All but one looked like they were female.

After showers we headed into Jasper for a brunch at Papa George's. I had a Mocha Java (my new drink/addiction - half coffee and half hot chocolate) and a cheese ciabatta with turkey and cheese and a bowl of zesty roasted yellow zucchini soup. We had a cute little waitress from Australia who has relocated to Jasper, married and pretty much settled here. She was a gem.

After that the MIL and I took a walk down Main Street to check out the shops. We could actually do it without bumping into people every three inches. I didn't buy anything. Not a big "touristy" shopper and most of the stores have pretty much the same thing. I would like to walk into a shop and find only things produced by locals instead of made in China. I have nothing against China but I can get that anywhere.

Late afternoon we headed over to the Jasper Tramway (the tram) which goes up 7,500 feet above sea level. I chickened out and napped in the RV with FIL, dog and cat. I was actually suffering a bit from lightheadedness and was afraid of making it worse. Ok... and screaming my head off in a box filled with 20 other people. Afterward Jeff thought I would have tolerated it well (I get nauseas in an elevator). It took about 7 minutes and was a smooth ride to the top. Jeff and his mother then walked around the boardwalks on top. It was windy and cool above the tree-line. Jeff took some footage which I watched that night. Here's a small sampling for you. It reminded me of the movie Truman, you can only go so far before you walk into the backdrop. Weird. A local told me a Tram is not a gondola. It's better. My loss... but at least Jeff experienced it with his mommy.

When we got back to the campsite Jeff did up some steaks on the barbe and I chopped some wood (day 2) and started a fire (ok, community start, lots of smoke). But it was a good one in the end and a good night for it. We sat outside reading and chatting. It was quite cozy. Not a bug to be found. Bonus! I did some longhand blogging and turned in by midnight.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Vancouver Here We Come

We left Kamloops for Cariboo RV Park and Campground in Burnaby, B.C. where we spent a few days. It was a tense drive as we hit higher altitudes, driving through clouds (amazing but eerie) and rain at a 17% incline. We had to stop in Hope, B.C. to give Jeff a break and of course eat. We had lunch at Rolly's Restaurant and Pancake House. Busy Place. Some smoo tried to bud in front. FYI: The movie Rambo starring Sylvester Stallone was filmed here.

We really liked the site at Cariboo. Clean, manicured, private sites with laundry facilities (I did 2 loads), private showers, washrooms, lounge and a pool. There was suppose to be internet access but we weren't able to get on until the third day and we were barely able to check email. This was so frustrating for both Jeff and I. The staff were not helpful in this regard. Hence the back log of late blogging. I'm, actually in Jasper at the moment writing my blogs by hand. We'll be in Edmonton on the 28th and I'm told I'll have internet. Here's hoping I can upload the updates and get caught up.

We did the Mall at least twice and ate at the same place, Rickey's Restaurant, twice. I had the same thing both times too. Thai Curry Mango rice bowl. It was awesome. The best food I've had so far. I'd eat it again right now. Soooo good and sooo tasty. I ate it with chopsticks both times and still finished before everyone else. I wish I had taken a picture for you. I'm looking for another Ricky's along the way (If I had internet I could look up their locations, but I don't).

We also went to Stanley Park. Jeff boasted a lot about this beforehand so I was really looking forward to it. I took a picture of the famous Hollow tree then we got poured on at the aquarium, standing in line. Even with an umbrella, I got soaked; it was such a down pour. So many people had the same idea as we did, getting out of the rain. It was mind boggling how many people there were. You couldn't move without bumping into someone. There should be a law about bringing a stroller into such a place and pushing it around empty. It was really hard to look at tanks and displays. We went through as quickly as we could, took a few pictures and left. Tired. And probably a bit cranky.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

En route to Kamloops, British Colombia

I'm trying to catch up on the blogging. I haven't had the internet access I was meant to have (can you say 'ticked' off?) so I've been trying to blog offline in hopes of uploading later.

Here's a pic of Suzie I took from my seat, in motion. She was in the alcove. This is pretty much where she is most of the time and what she is doing. I'm kind of jealous. When she's not doing this, she's eating (drinking) or pooping.

We stopped at the Timberhill Family restaurant in Golden, BC for lunch. Yum

We only stayed in Kamloops for one night at the Knutsford RV campground which was quite nice especially after staying at Tunnel Mountain. You can tell they put a lot of time into aesthetics. They had pay showers but at least they were private.

Pic Tip for taking pic in your vehicle through windows - Set camera to landscape so it will focus on the scenery in the distance and not the glass.

The road view en route to Kamloops is very scenic. Here's a whole smack of pictures to look at (click to enlarge).

Monday, July 16, 2007

Something Smelly This Way Comes

We really didn't care for Banff (other than the pretty mountains). We went down town and the road was all closed off with construction. Hello? Busiest time of the year?! We found it hard to get around in general (and I'm still miffed about the park bathrooms. I know, 'let it go'.)

In the morning we drove out to the Cave & Basin, the first hot spring discovered in Canada. We watched a 30 minute video on the birth of the National Park system and the discovery of the hot spring in 1883 when it was originally called Rocky Mountains Park. The cave was quite small and full of the sent of sulphur which reminded me of the drinking water when I lived in Geraldton, ON.

After that we drove a short distance to the Banff Gondola rides. We took pictures from the lookout but didn't go for a ride. It looked really busy and we are impatient people. It was still really hot.

Ground squirrels have been in abundance since we hit Alberta. They are cute and probably the size of an average city squirrel. They burrow everywhere and seem to be in groups. They make a loud chirping noise when humans approach and aren't too scared, always willing to pose for pictures.

After I had a hissy fit with my MIL in the grocery story I became ill. It hit me around 3 pm. I don't know if it was a heat sickness/altitude thing or what. Everything was spinning if I lifted my head. Occasional bouts of nausea but mostly a head thing. I was out for the night and pretty much good to go the next day.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Drumheller is Dino-myte!

Drumheller, Alberta is cool! I'd like to come back here and spend more time. The Tyrrell Museum is a must stop. We spent a couple hours there devouring dinosaur data. Jeff and I both are fans of the movie Jurassic Park so we really enjoyed seeing the tyrannosaurus and brontosaurus and other unique ones no one ever hears about unless they go to a museum.

Here's a picture of Shelby in the early morning, before we headed to the Tyrrell, outside a "touristy" shop. These greenies were all over the town. She doesn't look too worried about the horny dude looking over her shoulder does she?

The Giant Dinosaur lookout at Drumheller was $10 per person so we decided against it, saving our money for the museum and ice cream. Besides there are lots of other free lookouts in the area. That's me and Jeff's parents at it's feet. And that's our RV.

The next best stop was Drumheller's Hoo Doos, yes that's what they call them. They are a unique land formation. Rock solid. Very cool to look at. But we baked. It was well over 30 degrees. I actually stayed back with the dog in the RV because she was acting up, barking bad dog in the badlands. Good thing I had binoculars. [Some idiot climbed to the top to dig up a sunflower, roots and all.]

We ended the day in Banff, Alberta's National Park - Tunnel Mountain Trailer Park. There is an awesome view all around us. After we the RV, Jeff and I took Shelby and the cameras for a walk. Excellent area to be but I was very unhappy with the park, especially the bathrooms. No hand soap. No paper towel. No screens on windows. No locks/doors on showers and no hooks. For the price I expect at the very least to have some screens to keep moths out at night. I skipped showering in Banff for the two nights we were there because every time I looked in the shower I had a Stephen King moment.

Here are a few pictures of the view (click for larger image).

I really like this picture of Jeff and Dog. I was bending over trying to take a picture of Shelby and the long grass and just happened to catch Jeff at the right moment. It's all focused and everything.

Topic Links

* Royal Tyrrell Museum

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Salt and Ice Cream

Today was an easier day. Only 7.5 hours from Regina, Saskatchewan to Drumheller, Alberta. Final destination - Kokopelli Kampground. Jeff had to practice his backing up skills. He did a bang up job, no pun intended, OK pun intended.

On the way we stopped at Chaplin Nature Center in Chaplin, Saskatchewan. If you're ever out that way it's a must stop and see. There is a huge naturally occurring salt flat (NaSo4) as well as a protected bird nesting area. We didn't know about it before hand so coming upon it was like seeing snow in July. There is an interpretive center and an outdoor lookout for gazing at the salt lake and shore birds.

Just before the flat lands started changing into rolling hills we took some roadside pictures. I really like this one of Jeff took of a cow grade with his and his father's shadows. Jeff snuck this one of me checking for birds specifically the beautiful magpie we kept spotting over the last few days.

We stopped for ice cream at a roadside shack near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. It was hotter than hot but no humidity and I had an air conditioned RV to run back to. I gave the poor girl a $5 tip (for a cool something something) because I felt sorry for her.

Drumheller is considered part of the "badlands" and it does get interesting as you go along. It's hard to describe. Lots of hills with deep crevices and very green and brown. Kind of spooky.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Regina, Saskatchewan

We left Rushing River about 10 am, much better than the previous day but still... with the long drive to Regina, Saskatchewan (8.75 hours) it would have been nice to leave earlier. The six of us just can't seem to get it together it leave by nine.

Sleeping quarters: I sleep on the pull out couch. Dog sleeps on the table that converts into a bed. Jeff sleeps above the captain chairs in an alcove. The in-laws sleep on the double bed in back.

We had a quick breakfast of cereal and toast. We are still getting a hang of where everything is and how to maneuver around one another in the small space.

The lunch stop today was at Humpty's Restaurant in Winnipeg. Apparently it belongs to a chain. Never heard of it. Good grub. It kind of reminded me of Denny's.

It was 8 pm when we pulled into King's Acres Campground. Nothing special. Gravel lot. Tight quarters. Pay showers. Bathroom a stone throw away. It was late, we pulled in, ate, and went to bed.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

B.C. or Bust

Well... we didn't hit the highway until 11:30 am. It was a pretty frustrating start but at least we made it on the road. We had to stop and get the neighbor to take a picture of us in our matching "B.C. or Bust" t-shirts.

I really enjoyed revisiting the landscape from Thunder Bay to Kenora. I always forgot how beautiful the area is until I am back. Lots of rocks, large hills, lakes and of course lots of marshes and trees. No wildlife although we did see a lot of signs warning of moose and deer.

We camped just outside of Kenora on Rushing River. It really is a beautiful spot. It was almost 8 pm by the time we arrived and set up shop. Jeff and I (and dog of course) went for a walk through one of the trails even though it was close to dusk. I took some video of the rushing river. You couldn't stop for long to admire them because of the blood hunters. After that we both took a midnight shower and turned in. I do believe I slept like a rock.

* video of rushing river

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Day Has Arrived

This week really seemed to drag. I've been ready to get the RV loaded and hit the road all week. The day has finally arrived. We had a great breakfast at Joe's on Arthur with Jeff's parents and his Aunt and Uncle. I had a Breakfast Pie which is like a quiche but not a quiche (that's what the description said). It was awesome. I'd definitely have another. It came with lacy hashbrowns and I ordered a side of fruit. Am I a good girl or what?

I actually think I'm PMSing as I've been a royal "B" all day. Just ask Jeff. Poor guy. Anyhoo, we picked up the RV at noon. The same entourage from breakfast followed us out. Everybody was taking pictures. Except me. I did however have the video camera but I haven't downloaded anything yet. I followed the guy around who did the safety check and then I followed the guy around who showed us where all the important buttons and hoses are. Very exciting footage (insert sarcasm).

I'm currently in the RV, with my little kitty. I'm supposed to be working but I'm blogging. Me and kitty are sleeping out here tonight and it is coooooold at the moment so I'm ducking out and crawling under the sheets real soon.

We're hopefully heading out tomorrow by 9 a.m. depending on whether we can get the remainder of the stuff packed. We spent most of the day loading the giant turd (reference to RV the movie) up but we didn't finished. We ordered pizza and crashed. Hopefully everything will go off without a hitch tomorrow. Next stop... just outside Kenora, Ontario.

Topic Links
* Get your copy of RV the movie from

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More Food and Haircut

We spent the day with my brother-in-law and his family. They taught us a new game they played in Italy when they visited this past winter. It's called The Settlers of Catan and it is sooo addictive (and time consuming, but in a good way). We were only able to play one game and I almost won. Almost. Ok, I might have had some help. I've challenged them to another one when we stop back this way in a few weeks. Of course, they are game. Haha!

Jeff's parents had to go to a birthday party tonight so they suggested that Jeff and I go out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary, which isn't for another 12 days. Seeing as I love eating out I had no problem with this. We went to the Prospector Steak House which is another hot spot of ours that we make a point of visiting when we pass through. They have their own farms which supply the beef but the main reason people go and what you see most people piling on their plates are the buns. They have the best melt in your mouth buns that are so warm and comfort foody. I restrained myself and only had two. Actually, as you can see from the plate, there wasn't much room for buns. We were painfully full for hours afterward but it was worth it.

I've been complaining about my hair for weeks so Jeff finally took me for a haircut after dinner. This isn't a regular occurrence. I can go get my hairs cut by myself. He offered, I accepted. I went to Magicuts at Zellers. A nice young woman went to town giving me a stylish do which will never look the same. In fact, it looked quite different by the time I got back to the in-laws for the night. I have no talent in hair styling. No patience either. I made a point of taking pictures right away because I thought I looked cool.

Tomorrow is Wednesday and we'll be having breakfast with Jeff's Aunt and Uncle before we pick up the RV at noon. Nighty, night!

Topic Links
* Official Website for Settlers of Catan
* Prospector Steak House

Monday, July 09, 2007


We had breakfast at the Hoito Restaurant this morning with the whole clan. The Hoito is a Finnish cafeteria atmosphere where Thunder Bay'ers will willingly stand at the entrance for twenty minutes or longer waiting for a table to be cleaned for them, just to savor the offerings of the Hoito's breakfast. They have lots of regular stuff like bacon, eggs etc. but the majority of people come specifically their Finnish Pancakes.

The Hoito is located in the basement of what was the Finnish Labor Temple and was started by a group of Finnish bush workers looking for a descent meal in 1918. The "tradition of hearty food, large portions, low prices" continues.

It is always a must stop for us when we go home. As per always, it was fab. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of my pancakes, bacon and homefries but I did take a picture of the outside of the building.

Topic Links
* Official Hoito Website

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Thunder Bay

We made it safely to Thunder Bay. Been visiting with the family. Tomorrow it's the Hoito for breakfast. I'll be dreaming about finnish pancakes tonight!

We pick the RV up on Wednesday. Jeff's mom has been stock piling stuff. May have to leave dog behind to make room for it all.

I'm socialized out. Off to bed...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

B.C. or BUST

Yes, that's right people. I am going to B.C. After many years of haggling I am finally going. So are the dog, the cat and the in-laws.

Jeff and I decided on this trip last summer. It's a once in a lifetime trip for us. We decided that regardless of anything else we were going. One of the first thing we knew was we were going to go via RV. Since we can't drive through Ontario without stopping in the home town we booked the RV there. It just made sense to rent it from there and head out instead of renting it form here, stopping for a few days and then heading out again.

In the late fall we watched the movie RV with Robin Williams (totally recommend it) and I got the brilliant idea to ask Jeff's parents to come along. Actually, it was a combination of the movie and years of stories from Jeff about travelling with his parents when he was a kid. They aren't getting any younger and I thought this would be a great memory for him to have. Hopefully, I can behave myself.

When I mentioned it Jeff didn't really take me seriously. After numerous minutes of assuring him I was he jumped on the idea. We decided it would be our Christmas present to them. As Christmas drew nearer we debated on ways to present their gift. We finally came up with a toy bus, a little smaller than a pound of butter, that he painted white and he decaled with BC or Bust and The Wood's. He also printed out pictures of all our heads, including dog and cat and pasted them on the inside windows. We wrapped it up and presented to them when they came to visit us for the holidays. They weren't sure what to make of it at first but were touched. I think they were kind of slow to warm up to the idea. They obviously had the same concerns Jeff did. His parents and I in an enclosed space for three weeks.

I joke about the "in-laws" but Jeff's parents are really great. They have always been there for us when we needed it. They are very supportive. The biggest problem I think will be all the type-A / alpha personalities and the fact that I'm used to being alone most of the time. The longest amount of time I've spent with them was three weeks and it went really badly. A week and half seems to be our tolerance limit (both ways). I'm hoping the fact that we're all on neutral territory will make the difference.

We are leaving for Thunder Bay on Friday and I hope to update the blog at least twice a week (connection pending) about our travels and escapades.

Wish me luck and a safe journey!

Topic Links
* Get RV from