Thursday, June 20, 2019

Building our summer RV lot

Wow, it's been a long time since our last post! My only excuse is that we've been say the least.

It finally dried up enough in early May for us to start working on our RV lot. We hauled in about 30 yards of gravel. We used recycled crushed concrete as a base layer and it has worked out very well. After some rain it has compacted quite well. We also wanted a topping layer of washed 3/4 inch stone to keep tracking the dust inside. Overall we are pleased with the finished result. We didn't put in any grass. My neighbour did his whole yard in grass so I'll just sit back, have a beer and watch him cut his lawn if I ever get a longing for yard maintenance!

Here is our yard build so far.......
We parked in the adjacent lot until our site was landscaped.

Our lot awaiting drier weather so we can haul some gravel.

All the sod in the foreground had to be removed. We wanted a low-maintenance yard.

Well this didn't help! This was May 4. Didn't last long though.

Everything staked and the shoveling has begun!

I had a skidsteer come and remove the sod. Saved the back.

Gravel on site, but first....let's plant the shrubs!

I dug in some weeping tile to help drain the lot after heavy rains. It is buried under the stones and exits into the ditch (bottom of the picture).

Shrubs planted, stoned added inside the edging bricks, crushed concrete base has been spread. The new shed is arriving!

Is that little Bobcat big enough to lift that shed?


Yep, safely down on the ground. Now to support the end and pull the trailer out.

Now to lift the shed, remove the supports, and gently lower it to the ground.

Lift and slide it into position.


Just in time for more gravel to be delivered. 

The Bobcat spread the gravel. All set to move our trailer over to this site.

We're home!

This is a good start. This was the first week of June.

Now to work on the shed. Wired, insulated......

.....and lined with OSB. Just needed paint and finishing.
 Next up is a deck and fire pit. Oh, my aching wallet!

Ominous clouds

Pretty sunset.

.....and that was Our View From Here!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Summer Home!

We've been kicking the idea around of buying some property to park the trailer on when we are back home in Alberta. We had some criteria: close to Red Deer, near a lake, four season availability, and affordable. There are a number of choices within an hour of Red Deer but there were disadvantages to pretty much all of them. There was one though, Sandy Point on Gull Lake that always kept drawing us back to have another look. We've actually been looking at that resort for about four years now but the timing was never good for one reason or another. We looked into leasing an RV site somewhere but they are very hard to find and none we really liked. After our marathon trip of last year we knew we wanted to be closer to Red Deer for a good portion of the six months we are in Canada. So......we are moving ahead with purchasing a lot in Sandy Point Resort.

This is a four season resort (deep water and sewer services). Most folks start by parking their RV on their lot and many then place a Park Model or Cottage Model on the lot and live there year-round. For us, we'll be parking the trailer on the lot, but who knows maybe we'll eventually put something more permanent on the lot too. There is a Condo Board so we do pay monthly fees. They include water and sewer, garbage and of course common property maintenance. Taxes are reasonable and the power cost is not bad either. Each site has 100 Amp power available. The financial calculation we have made is that we could maintain our lot for a year for the cost of a campground in Red Deer for three months. Now there is a capital outlay, but for us the advantages convinced us to make the investment. So even if we decide to go on a summer trip we really won't be paying more than we are now for campgrounds. The advantages of having our own place is that we can make it our own, build a shed, deck, buy a boat maybe, and have a family use summer place for many years.

If you'd like to learn more about the Resort or see some pictures, click here. We are lot 107 in Phase 2.

So we've started the process of purchase. Contract Conditions come off tomorrow. We will be moving out to the Resort roughly May 3 and onto a vacant site until our site is ready. We hope to get possession May 15 but the developer will let us start bringing in landscaping gravel and stone earlier than that once the frost is out of the ground and road restrictions come off.

Home dirt!

View of the Lake

Blank canvass
Certainly a lot of work ahead of us. Getting a good base of gravel and stone is the first priority. Next will be getting a shed built, then a deck. If we get that done this year we'll be happy. Maybe a fence next year and complete the landscaping. We might even get a chance to put our feet up and enjoy it!!

Stay tuned for updates!

.....and that was Our View From Here!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Our mega-trip is over but memories to last a lifetime

We left Red Deer on July 23, 2018 and arrived back on April 5, 2019. About eight and a half months. Yes, it was a long time to be away but we certainly had a great time and saw some amazing sights. Definitely checked off a few things from the bucket list!

The truck and trailer both performed well. We drove 37,177 kilometers (23,100 miles). We pulled the trailer almost half of that number (17,500 km or 10,900 miles). I put a new set of tires on the truck in New Brunswick before we crossed into the US. Other than that it was just oil changes (three) and some oil changes in the transmission and transfer case that were due in Louisiana. Our average fuel consumption for the entire trip was 16.8 liters/100 km or 14.0 MPG US gallons. That includes all the towing. I'm very pleased with that.

We did some maintenance on the trailer. It needed a new water pump and of course the usually re-caulking, but nothing major.

We traveled through 8 Canadian Provinces (missed Newfoundland and BC) from July through October, then passed through or stayed in 20 States and Washington, DC from October until April. Pictures? Yes we took a few. Just under 30,000!! Maybe even a couple of 'keepers'.

So we thought about all the great things we saw and tried to narrow it down to maybe a top 3 or 5 or 20! We made a few lists and categories and wanted to share them with you. To be honest we enjoyed every day, every mile, every location and sight. If we had to narrow it down, here it is in order of date we visited.....

Most moving:

  • Swissair Flight 111 Memorial - Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
  • Arlington National Cemetery - Washington, DC
  • Vietnam Memorial - Washington, DC
  • Astronaut Memorial - Kennedy Space Center, FL
  • Hurricane Harvey Museum - Waveland, Mississippi
  • The Alamo - San Antonio, Texas
  • Little Bighorn National Monument - near Billings, Montana
Swissair Memorial

John F Kennedy gravesite, Arlington National Cemetery

Vietnam Memorial

Astronaut Memorial

Hurricane Harvey Museum

The Alamo

Little Bighorn National Monument

Natural wonders:
  • Perce Rock, Gaspe, Quebec
  • Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia
  • Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia
  • Everglades National Park, Florida
  • White Sand Beaches of South Carolina and the Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi
Perce Rock

Cape Breton Highlands

Peggy's Cove

The Everglades


Animal kingdom:
  • Alligators - Florida
  • Manatees - Crystal River, FL
  • Gladys Porter Zoo - Brownsville, TX
  • Bird watching - Rio Grande Valley, TX


Gorilla at Gladys Porter Zoo

Parrots near Brownsville, Texas

Top Cities we enjoyed touring:
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Montreal, Quebec
  • Quebec City, Quebec
  • Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Washington, DC
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
National War Memorial, Ottawa

Notre Dame Basilica, Montreal

Old City, Quebec City

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Boston, Massachusetts

Washington, DC

Savannah, Georgia

New Orleans, Louisiana

Prettiest drive:
  • Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia
  • Fall colours - Rural New Brunswick
  • Florida Keys
  • Texas Hill country
Cape Breton Highlands

Rural New Brunswick

Florida Keys

Hill Country of Central Texas

Top things we saw/did (and so many more):
  • Parliament buildings - Ottawa, Ontario
  • Coal Miners Museum, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
  • Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Baddeck, Nova Scotia
  • Sailing in Halifax Harbour and seeing the Bluenose II, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • National Monuments - Washington, DC
  • Spanish Forts - St Augustine, Florida
  • Kennedy Space Center and watching a Space X rocket launch, Cape Canaveral, FL
  • Snowbird Extravaganza concert of top Canadian entertainers - Mission, TX
  • Sitting on a beach - Wherever!!

Parliament Buildings

Underground Miners Museum, Glace Bay, Nova Scotia

Alexander Graham Bell Museum, Baddeck, Nova Scotia

Bluenose II in Halifax Harbour

Washington, DC monuments

Spanish Fort, St Augustine, FL

Space-X launch, Cape Canaveral

NASA, Kennedy Space Center

A beach.....somewhere!

What helped make all the sights and locations memorable were the people. We met some wonderful folks along the way. Special mention must go to the hospitality of the folks of the Deep South - Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana; as well as the great folks in Eastern Canada and the Maritimes. They all made our trip such a pleasure.

I can't forget my old work team mates in Winnipeg, Montreal and Halifax. It was great to see them again and for some it was the first time meeting them in person after working with them virtually for years!

This was certainly a bucket-list trip. Not sure we would tackle one quite that big again, but we're not done exploring yet so who knows.

Sunset over Arcadia, Florida

......and that was Our View From Here!