Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Headin' to ......Winnipeg!

July 23 to August 9
We said our tearful goodbyes to our family in Red Deer and headed out on a long and extended road trip. It's been a year since we last saw our families in Manitoba so a stop-over on our way to the Canadian East Coast was in order.

We enjoyed favorable winds and relatively light traffic on our way through the prairies. Some folks find the long drive through Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan rather boring. Us? We love it. The wide prairie vistas are breathtaking in our opinion. The scenery changes every mile or so.....well maybe every ten miles or so.

The Canola fields were blooming when we left. The yellow flowers will be gone in a few days. The seed pods then begin to form.

The TeePee in Medicine Hat. It's huge!

Southern Saskatchewan vistas.

Salt piles near Chaplin, SK.

Our overnight stop was Walmart in Moose Jaw. Easy access to the highway and close to fuel,  groceries and restaurants. Red Deer to Moose Jaw is a very long day. At least 8 hours drive and not a distance we would like to tow often, but it gets us a long way down the road and makes the second day much shorter.

The friendly moose statue outside Moose Jaw.

Rouleau, Sk, aka 'Dog River' from the popular TV sitcom Corner Gas. The show has quite filming and the sets have all been removed. Just the elevator remains with the Dog River name on it.

Lots of pumping oil wells in Southern Saskatchewan.

It's not uncommon to find a cluster of four to six in the same yard.

Lots of towns have statues greeting visitors at their outskirts. Some are historical in nature......

......and others are just for fun.

My hometown of Deloraine.

Our next stop was my hometown of Deloraine, Manitoba. I have family and friends there and it's been a long time since we spent more just a few hours visiting. We pulled in at my cousin's farmyard and set up the trailer. A convenient location just a mile from town and 30 amp power! We had great visits and enjoyed driving some of the old roads and haunts from years ago.

We drove out to Lake Metigoshe where I spent a lot of weekends when I was younger. The lake straddles the Manitoba / North Dakota border.

Lots of big homes on the lake. Not the small cabins of yesteryear.

Pretty yellow lillies.

Fun rural roads.

The guard goat at my cousin's farm.

Downtown Deloraine.

Too soon it was time to head out for Winnipeg. We arrived Thursday, July 26 and left two weeks later on August 9. So what do you do in Winnipeg for two weeks? We have large families and each day we spent there was another visit with family or friends. We enjoyed each visit. We also made time to visit those that have passed, as their memory is important to sustain.

Another statue. This one is a turtle welcoming you to Boissevain, MB.

We spent a day near Gimli, MB. This is Lake Winnipeg. It's a biggie!

Not a mushroom cloud, just a prairie shower.

Lots of sunflower fields in southern Manitoba.

The Winnipeg Floodway. It helps control the Red River during springtime high water.

Beer store in the French part of the City.

Downtown Winnipeg

The Burton Cummings Theater, named after the proud Winnipeger.
Winnipeg was home the famous rock band The Guess Who.

We stayed at the Town and Country Campground in the southeast corner of the city. We've stayed here a few times and although not the best campground around it is a convenient location. It seems their priorities are a bit mixed up. Their plans for a swimming pool have been shelved, which is fine by me, but now simple maintenance items are being overlooked. The same washers and driers that were broken last year are still broken and the same potholes and mud bogs are still on the roads. This is a family run operation and we wish them well, but they need to focus on the simple things. Their first year running the campground was spent running the mower over the grass several times a week it seemed. This trip I never saw the mower once. I guess the novelty wore off. Their next big project is installing automated gates at the entrance. Again, this isn't a bad thing, but I sure wish they'd keep up with maintenance as their first priority.

So we said goodbye to Manitoba for this year. We had lots of fun and got caught up with everyone.

Up next? How about Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and eventually Halifax? Yep, big road trip. Stay tuned!
Beautiful sunset over Winnipeg.

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Always some something to do

When we sold the house and decided to live in the trailer full time I thought 'WooHoo, no more maintenance!' Yeah, right. A different type of maintenance maybe but it still needs to be done and if you don't it you can expect costly repairs down the addition to the stress of ill-timed breakdowns.

A couple of months ago we got a letter from Forest River stating the fire extinguisher in our trailer was likely being recalled due to a safety issue. We checked our model and sure enough it was part of the recall. We went online and completed the 'paperwork'. About four weeks later the new one showed up. If you have a Kidde fire extinguisher in your rig you might want to check their website to see if you are eligible for a free replacement. ( )The biggest issue was apparently the plastic pins in the handle mechanism. The could break or jam when you tried to use the extinguisher.

The old 'defective' extinguisher. This one was recalled and replaced for free. Apparently the plastic pin actuator could fail.

The new extinguisher with a metal pin and a much more durable handle actuator. Kidde replaced defective extinguishers free and paid to have the old defective one returned to them.

Our water regulator woes were getting out of hand. I had been using a high pressure (50 - 55 PSI) one for over a year with no issues. Then one day it stopped letting water through it. I ordered a new one and it lasted less than two months. So I bought a real cheap one from the RV Dealer. Well, the pressure through it was unacceptably low. I even tried removing the regulator entirely. (Note to self: don't do this again!) This campground has VERY high pressure. In fact I found a couple of fittings leaking inside the trailer! I reverted back to my old standby regulator that I have had for over five years. It worked but it is much nicer to have slightly higher pressure at the taps. So, after chatting with a neighbour in the campground that showed me his adjustable water regulator I was quick to order one. The adjustable regulator has a gauge so you can see exactly what pressure is heading into the trailer. This is by far the best water pressure regulator I have used! It was under $40 on Amazon. Should have bought this one first!

Left to right: two silver regulators are the high pressure (55 PSI) regulators. Both failed and wouldn't allow any water through them. The gold one in the middle was a cheapo from an RV dealer. It didn't allow much pressure through. The dark coloured one is my good old standby. It allows reasonable pressure, The one on the right  is the same one but for some reason it doesn't have much pressure.

Tilt your head! This is my new adjustable regulator. The screw in the middle of the black cap is adjustable. The gauge tells you what pressure you are sending down the hose to the trailer. The white hose goes to the trailer plumbing. The green hose goes to the black tank flush.

One of the issues with fridges mounted in a slide out is there is no roof mounted chimney to remove heat from the cooling coils. To aid with heat removal the manufacturers often install a cooling fan that blows the hot air out. When the trailer is exposed to full sun on the slide out the internal fridge temperature gradually rises. The cooling fan kicks in (thermistor mounted to the cooling fins controls the fan) and so far we haven't experienced an unsafe temperature in the fridge (except when the thermistor screws got loose and didn't sense the temperature and therefore didn't turn the cooling fan on), however many folks have installed a second fan either beside the existing one or at the bottom of the coils to push air upward.

I picked up a 12 volt computer type fan from Princess Auto ($5) a switch, fuse, and some metal pipe strap to make a mounting frame. I can switch the fan on in hot and/or humid weather to help move hot air out of the cooling cavity. So far it works well. With our trip to the East Coast and down to Florida this winter I hope this will help keep the beer/milk cold.

My auxiliary cooling fan. The heavy yellow wire is the fused power line that taps into the 12 volt fridge feed. The orange switch allows me to turn on the fan in hotter weather and off when the temps are cooler or the fridge is shaded. The silver metal strapping was shaped into a  frame to support the muffin fan mounted horizontally and blows upward toward the fridge cooling fins.

I noticed the tape (Eternabond I believe) that Cedar Creek installed along the outer edges of the slide out roofs had some screw heads that had begun to wear through exposing a potential water entry point. I had a roll of 4 inch Eternabond tape on hand so after cleaning the roof area I placed an additional strip directly over the existing tape. Hopefully the tape will adhere well and help prevent any leaks. Of course I didn't get a 'before' picture.

A second layer of Eternabond was added to avoid screw heads from wearing through the existing strip of tape. Do what you can to avoid leaks!

I added an attachment to the TV antennae on the trailer. It is supposed to improve the VHF reception where digital TV channels reside. Some US parks we were in would receive dozens of digital channels but would pixelize, break up or freeze. I am hoping this attachment will improve our reception. We'll see.

Supposed to increase VHF reception. Should help with digital channel reception in the US.



We've had a very busy summer helping with child care duties. Picking kids up from school, helping with field trips, and now since school is out we've had kids at least three days a week. Flying kites, riding bikes, sleep-overs at the trailer, and visiting every playground in a twenty mile radius! We expected to be busy as we won't be here after the third week in July so we packed in as much kiddo time as possible! Fun times!

I have two blow-up kayaks that the kids love. We go to Gull lake which has a very sandy beach and shallow water. Perfect for learning paddling skills, or if they get tired then Grandpa has to pull them back in to shore!

C'mon Grandpa, hurry up!

I haven't had good internet connections that are readily available to me so blogging has taken a back seat to other online priorities like paying bills and making campground reservations. I am now using my Verizon Jetpack but the speed is very slow. It uses the Bell system in Canada. It is marginally better than campground internet, when it's available. All this issue will go away when we get into the US and on to the Verizon system.

As of July 23 we headed out from Red Deer on our next adventure. Still catching up on the blog so be patient!

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

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Trailer maintenance and land search

May 10

Yes, another long gap between updates. Not sure it will get better. We have no internet service at this campground so I have to go to one of our son's houses to post. We have moved from the Westerner Campground to the Lions Campground in Red Deer. Both are City owned and each are nice. We find the Lions is closer to the kid's houses so pickup and drop off of Grandkiddo's is easier……and we doing lots of that!

Our new site at the Lions Campground in Red Deer. There was a huge windstorm last year that blew down a lot of the large poplar trees. The yellow tape is where they dug out the old roots and laid some sod this spring.

So Spring is now in full swing around here. River ice jams have cleared and even the snow runoff has subsided. We've had quite a swing in temperatures with highs of over 25C (close to 80F) and crazy low temps, like today (May 10), with rain and a daytime high of 5C (about 38F).

Red Deer River clear of ice and water levels are down to normal spring level.

Red Deer River taken at the end of April. All the snow and ice are gone now.

We've been out looking at small properties for sale. As long as you leave your check book at home it doesn't cost anything to look, right? So we checked out a couple of places at nearby lakes. Buffalo Lake is about 45 minutes East of Red Deer. Nice drive out there, but we didn't see much we liked.

Farmers moving equipment. You just have to be patient to pass. They're way bigger than I am!

Seeding crops is well under way now.

Buffalo Lake taken May 5. Still lots of ice to melt.

Buffalo Lake is a typical prairie lake. Shallow, large surface area and very little natural streams to feed it. They keep this lake artificially higher by channeling water from a nearby river. Gull Lake is the same.

The geese are anxious to see some more open water.

Next stop was Gull Lake. It is about 30 minutes North of Red Deer. We've looked there many times but property is just too expensive for us. We had thought maybe an RV site to buy where we could park for the summer months. There are some RV resorts out there but there is just nothing that really grabs us. They are all condo board operated and something about those that waves a yellow flag at me. I'm sure they are fine……but we'll keep looking. Not sure we want to be tied to just one place for six months a year. At least not just now. It's a good time to look around before the leaves

We've done some maintenance on the trailer. First was trying to do something about the terrible oxidation on the rear cap. The front is fine as it was re-painted under warranty by the previous owner. The back has never been touched. I did some research and checked into some options. The local RV dealer would repaint it for about $2500! Yikes! I looked into various products that claimed to be just what I needed. After talking to a guy at a specialty autobody shop he sold me Presta Compound. $40 for a big bottle. I started out using an orbital buffer with wool pads. It worked but I found good old hand scrubbing worked just as well. The net result? Well, I saved myself over $2400!! It took several hours of hard work but honestly it was worth it. Not sure if there is a UV blocker I can use to prevent the oxidation from returning but I think if I keep ahead of it and use a good wax I can keep it looking pretty good.




Nice and shiny!

We are planning a long trip this Fall and Winter. Travel to the East Coast of Canada and down to Florida and back to Alberta through the Midwest States. A long way to tow the trailer so having the axle bearing re-packed and brakes checked seemed like a good idea. I know RV Dealers can do the work but for a few dollars more I took the trailer to Fleet Brake that specialize in heavy truck and trailer suspension and brake work. They also do a lot of RV's and I've had them do work for me in the past. They re-packed the axle bearings and replaced the seals, cleaned and checked the brakes, and inspected and greased the suspension. There is less than 25% wear on the brakes, and just a tiny bit of play in a couple of suspension items. We're good to go and it makes me feel better having things well checked and serviced before hitting the road. Total bill….$480. High, but the peace of mind is free!

We have a Motor League membership (AAA, or AMA in Alberta) and with that they offer a discounted price on an annual Canadian National Park Pass. They sell it for $120 and if you buy it from the Government at the Park Gates it is $136.50. A decent saving, so if you are looking for a National Park Pass this year, check with your Motor Association first.

We have more birthdays to celebrate in May , and of course Mother's Day is this Sunday so lots of family stuff to do. I'll try to update more often. Now that the nicer weather has arrived I hope to get out on some local trails and see some sights.
......and that was Our View From Here.