A Journey of 3,040 Kilometres

Whew! I made it home at 2AM this morning (Wednesday)!

I had a most excellent drive even though it was a loooooooong day. I stopped for a nice lunch in Fernie, paused in Blairmore, then had a long break in Lethbridge where I did a ton of shopping (one clever person told me the apocalypse is over, LOL). I hit up a few electronic stores for a better cell booster antenna (no luck), Walmart for dried goods, and then Canadian Tire for a few projects. I also bought a big cooler that was on special; nothing fancy but will come in handy for supply runs.

There was construction coming out of Lethbridge, so it was slow going for a bit, but Medicine Hat still came more quickly than expected. There was a lot of talk on the radio about the flooding and evacuations, but I saw no evidence of any of this. I decided that I was four hours from home, so I was going to get my grocery shopping done and finish up this trip.

When I pulled out of town, it was about 9:30, with my ETA being 2:30AM. The drive to Swift Current felt endless. I was physically tired, but not mentally since my body thought it was an hour earlier. I stopped for gas and a leg stretch, found a station playing my generation’s music, and rocked to Bryan Adams, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and New Kids on the Block all the way to Assiniboia, a stretch that felt about a 10th shorter than it actually was. It’s nice when the last stretch flies by!

I pulled into Haven at about 1:45AM, unloaded what absolutely had to be unloaded, and climbed into bed where I was asleep by quarter to 3.

I’m feeling a little groggy today and expect it will take a few days for me to fall back into my routine. I did get the truck fully unloaded and most of my stuff put away. I don’t have internet at home right now (I’m telling you, the bloody thing is sentient), so I’m up the hill waiting for Charles and Caroline to come home so I can pick up my boy.

I have several posts to write up about the weekend, but I want to say two things right now.

1) The weather in BC was mostly miserable, as it usually is, and the mountains were damp and grey, and shrouded with fog. I am so happy to be back under the sun bleached skies of my beloved prairies. If I have to live in this cursed country, there is no place I’d rather be.

2) I LOVED camping in the truck. It was the perfect compromise between car and hoteling it or taking a cumbersome gigantic rig out. I’m going to write more about that, but I really saw on this trip that my gas guzzler wasn’t a stupid buy at all. I didn’t have a lick of trouble with her and she is soooooo comfortable. My clutch leg isn’t even sore today, as it would be with half the distance traveled yesterday traveled in my Accent. It took a year to really use the truck the way I intended to use it and now that I have, I am fully at peace with the compromises I have made.

I’m off to shop online for another antenna and plan to pay big bucks for fast shipping. Wish I’d known I wouldn’t find anything in stores and had ordered earlier.

Monday At the RV Owners Lifestyle Seminar

I awoke to rain and dampness in the back of the truck. Still, I was up a little later than the other mornings and had to hoof it to my first seminar of the day. The one I wanted to attend, about water quality, was cancelled so I went to boondocking, which was the only seminar of the weekend that was really disappointing.

After coffee break, I debated whether to go to the seminar in Baja or to the one about summarizing and sanitizing your holding tanks. I decided that I really have no special desire to go to Baja and that I did want to see one of Sanidumps John’s seminars, so I went there. I got some good tips out of that one! But I missed the first few minutes of it for a meeting with campus faculty. I’ll elaborate on that once I’m home as the meeting is only a tiny part of some thoughts running through my brain right now.

The final seminar of the weekend was about generator maintenance. That one alone was worth the trip! I found out the likely reason that my genset failed and that if I can’t get it going myself after doing a few things the instructor suggested, then I might as well get another one. There is nothing a service tech could do that I couldn’t (seeing as I’m moderately handy). I’ll blog more about that later also.

We had a brief wrap up session and that was it! I HAVE to fit this seminar into my schedule for next summer! I had so much fun and it is so well organized. Really, anyone going north to Alaska or into the Rockies in June should attend!

I left Kelowna around 3:30 on highway 33. Jody was heading west on highway 3 and our schedules were so well matched that our itineraries would likely intersect at the junction of the two highways at almost the exact same time, which they did!!!!!!!!!

Unfortunately, her plans had changed and she needed to get closer to Vancouver tonight. So we had a good chat, I got my mail, and then we continued on, with me taking the road she had just traveled, highway 3 eastbound.

There is no cell service along most of highway 3, so I decided to drive to Castlegar, where I would arrive around 9pm, with enough light to find a place to camp for the night. And that’s where I am now. 🙂

There was a torrential downpour between Grand Fork and here, so bad that I would start hydro planing if I went too fast. I hope it wasn’t that bad further east as the highway is apparently badly damaged around Fernie, with only one or two lanes open. It was fairly clear when I arrived in Castlegar, but it’s now raining lightly.

I decided against making a cannonball run to home tomorrow as that would stupidly keep me from doing a much needed stock up of supplies. I’ll see how far I feel like going tomorrow, will stop in Swift Current or Moose Jaw for stuff Wednesday morning, and will be home by mid-afternoon Wednesday. Provided I can get past flooded Medicine Hat…

Another upcoming post: a review of what it’s been like to camp in my truck!

Sunday At the RV Owners Lifestyle Seminar

Whew, another FULL day!

I started with an informative seminar on Mexico.

Then, it was time for mine. There were so many people we were scrambling for chairs. I think it went well and I got a lot of positive feedback.

A nice couple asked me to share their light picnic for lunch so we could talk about how I support myself. I’m living out of the truck and pretty much subsisting on nuts and apples, so the veggies were a treat. Last night, I was invited by one of the organizers to share his pizza and was also handed a much appreciated beer!

The afternoon was heavy. I did drivetrain maintenance, which was all about belts and hoses and routine maintenance, etc. It went way over time and I didn’t care it was that good. The teacher knows little about RVs so he asked the audience for input about whether an RV has a whatever compared to a truck and only one person in the room interjected, especially in the bit about batteries…

Up next was RV tires, same teacher, also went over length, and also padded with info by yours truly. I felt really obnoxious but was assured that I most certainly was not as I actually knew what I was talking about and was answering questions. I can’t believe how much tech and industry knowledge I’ve picked up over the years. The format of the seminars really do open themselves to discuss, though. They’re not lectures.

We then had a gourmet buffet dinner. I was very impressed by the spread, especially the tomato salad and the apple streudel. Everyone got a door prize. I was hoping for a tube of Dicor, but got a bookmark. 🙂 I donated an ebook as a door prize.

I have one or two more seminars tomorrow and then a meeting about something I’ve been thinking if doing that could, yet again, spin my life in a different direction… Whatever time I finish, I went to get some mileage under me. Highway 3 is open, so I am heading home. Jody and Gary are going west, so our paths may intersect. I should be home late Tuesday and can’t wait to see my cat and my bed!

Saturday at the RV Owners Lifestyle Seminar

It has been a wonderful first day at the RV Owners Lifestyle Seminar. If you’re anywhere near Kelowna in late June, it’s worth paying to attend!

My only quibble is that some of the courses I’m interested in overlap, so I can’t do it all! 🙂

First up this morning was info about the Canadian Snowbird Association. They are the advocates of Canadian travelers. I got some updated info for Full-Time RVing in Canada, but saw that I’m very accurate in the information I present about health coverage for full-timers. I spoke to the presenter about adding a full-timing component to the CSA and he said that there is talk about it, or at least a recognition that we need major help, but the government is reticent. Again, my experience. Now that I have my property, I am going to officially present myself as a snowbird, a term that doesn’t scare the government as much, and I will be joining the CSA.

There was a coffee break after with baked goods and coffee, which was great since I wasn’t equipped to make my own and had planned to do without all weekend (I just didn’t see myself setting up my camp stove in the parking lot!).

Next up was a seminar by Sheila, who owns the RV Times magazine. We had met back in 2011, but she didn’t remember me. Her seminar was about sharing your RV stories and how to contribute to the magazine. I have been instructed to send her something!

We had our lunch break after and I talked to a bunch of people and sold one copy of FTRIC!

The seminars after lunch didn’t inspire me. There was one on electricity that I knew would be too basic, one on Alaska, and one on RV safety. I went to that last one and am glad I did. It was a good refresher on all safety aspects, from fire extinguishers to water treatment (I can’t wait to try hydrogen peroxide in lieu of bleach!) to handling a blowout.

We had another coffee break, this time with several kinds of cookies, all homemade.

My final seminar for the day was Spain in an RV. I was really happy with it as it was both a ‘how to’/’stuff I wish I’d known before I went’ and a travelogue.

Coming out, I went to find an organizer to ask if my handouts had been printed, but failed at that since an organizer came over to tell me that my handouts had been printed and that I could pick them up in the morning. 🙂 I then went to find another organizer to asked about borrowing a PC since my Mac can’t hook up to their projector system… and they were already on top of that and knew I was coming in with a USB stick. WOW. What a huge difference with the 2011 seminar.

I’m pleased that my seminar tone is in line with what I saw today, very conversational and less of a speech like I did in 2011. I don’t think it’s quite long enough, but I can pad tons and suspect I will be interrupted. Several people have told me that they can’t wait to attend it and have tried to get teasers out of me.

We have a live music event at 7PM tonight. I appreciate the full day seeing as I’m living out of a truck!

Friday Evening of the RV Lifestyle Seminar

I hung out at the library till almost two this afternoon, got a few nibbles at Safeway, then headed over to Okanagan College. I was tired and looked forward to just being parked.

Upon landing, I knew this event would be nothing like my experience at the seminar in 2011. I was expected and promptly directed to a space reserved for my truck. I then went to register and wasn’t on the list… Turns out I should have specified that I’m an instructor. 🙂 I got a blue badge denoting my special status, plus food tickets for coffee breaks and the Sunday night buffet. I was also told where I could find the ladies shower and bathroom.

I got my paws on a schedule and learned that I am the second speaker on Sunday morning. I decided what I want to attend and have a full weekend ahead of me.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon working on some website issues, then joined everyone for a wine and cheese (and fruit and cold cuts) meet and greet… Under a glorious HOT sun. Yay! A few of us had been in Abbotsford in 2011, including John from Sani Dumps. I was singled out as the person who came the longest distance. 🙂

Then, it was time to try out those much appreciated shower facilities!

I’ll likely turn in early with a movie as tomorrow will be very full. There is apparently going to be live music in the evening. This is going to be a great weekend!