Love Sushi Restaurant, Stettler

To my immense delight, Stettler has a brand new, well reviewed sushi restaurant AND Donna was interested in expanding her palate! So we headed out to Love Sushi for brunch this morning.

The food was exquisite, very fresh and flavourful. This was a sushi meal that satisfied the itch fully.

We shared:

-miso soup (too salty, but still tasty)

-unagi (eel) roll (so good that when we were done with everything else we ordered another!)

-tobiko (fish egg) nigiri

-spicy tuna roll (Donna loved it, wasn’t quite spicy enough for me, amusingly enough)

-California roll (crab and avocado; pretty sure this was real crab, quite yum)

-yam roll (very indulgent tastiness)

-rainbow (tuna, shrimp, salmon, avocado) roll (very good but a bit bland for Donna’s palate)

It was such a joy to see Donna savouring everything as much as I did. She’s very handy with the chopsticks!

Having to drive 300KM round trip for sushi is probably the biggest downside to my property. πŸ™‚ Donna is so lucky to have such a yummy sushi place minutes from her new home!

Oh, and with the tip, our meal came to $18.77 each, a bargain!

Stettler Weekend

It’s been a lovely weekend with Ken and Donna!

Saturday, Donna and I headed to their RV property to finish emptying and cleaning ‘the trailer’ as the Ark 2.0 is now being called. It was a full day of hauling and cleaning, with the goal being to make the place sale ready ASAP. I was rewarded with a Blue Boy, a foot rest for my patio, and a good metal spatula. πŸ™‚

We got home feeling rather knackered, so we put together a quick dinner then settled down with Ken to watch a few movies. Their new dog, Roxy, and I bonded and spent some time cuddling. She’s a sweet but neurotic/skittish girl.

I wound up accepting quite a bit of work for the week (why can’t it pour like this at times when I’m at home twiddling my thumbs?), so I started on that this morning because Donna was going to church in the morning and Ken was having a down day since he has a cold. I put in about three hours then quit since Donna is working the next couple of days and we wanted to spend more time together.

We lounged around for the rest of the afternoon, then I cobbled together dinner with the meagre offerings in the pantry and some leftovers. Ken is going grocery shopping tomorrow. πŸ™‚

I’m hoping to put in a full day tomorrow and get the project done so I can finish preparing the seminar on Tuesday and also get the truck ready. I’m not really in any hurry to leave Wednesday, so it’s okay if some prep leaks over from Tuesday. I just want to get some mileage under me so I don’t get to Kelowna too late on Thursday.

Visiting Donna and Ken is just like being at home, except there’s dogs and a gentleman makes my morning toast and coffee. πŸ™‚ I look forward to a time when I will be set up to reciprocate their warm hospitality.

A Long Good Drive

I went to sleep around midnight to the sound of pouring rain and awoke at 5:00 this morning to the same. I managed to squeeze in another fitful hour and a half of shut eye before giving up.

The rain varied between torrential and drizzling during the half hour or so it took to finish packing and load up the truck. I pulled out just past 7:00 with an ETA of 5:00 pm.

I got fuel and coffee in Assiniboia, then headed west on high 13. Just shy of Cadillac I got my sign that I really wasn’t meant to make this journey with Miranda. A truck in the opposing lane marked oversize load approached me waving madly that I needed to pull over. There was no shoulder and I made it to a country lane as a house wider than the road bore down on me. I have no idea how I would have gotten Miranda out of that lane way without having to back her onto the highway to turn around.

The weather was still miserable when I made a pit stop in Swift Current, although I had seen a few promises of clearing.

I hit Medicine Hat at noon and was looking forward to a sushi lunch, only to discover the restaurant doesn’t open till 3:00 on Fridays. Oh, well. I’m sure I’ll have another chance for sushi on this trip.

Medicine Hat’s road planners must have been drunk as the city is a bear to get through as it has service roads and odd turns. I managed to rejoin highway one, but got off almost immediately to get gas and coffee.

Just past Brooks, a massive hail storm hit. All but one driver in a long column pulled over to let it pass. This was good hail, small enough not to be damaging, but big enough to really clean the truck!

Speaking of Moya, she hasn’t had a good leg stretch since we went to Mexico in February and she’s been cranky on our few runs to town. Not worrisomely, just showing signs of her advanced age. Once we got a few miles under our belt today, she started purring. I don’t thing I’ll ever get sick of doing long hauls with her.

The Badlands soon followed and were incredibly lush, not a word I would have associated with them!

I landed in Stettler at 5:00 and found Donna and Ken’s mansion without any trouble. Note that anything bigger than a 45′ class A motorhome with full slides counts as a mansion in my eyes now. πŸ™‚

We gabbed for a bit, then Donna and I headed out to get supper fixings. I decided to pay for and make supper myself, which meant grilling prepared garlic bread, slicing a pre-roasted chicken, opening a bottle of dressing for a prepared salad, and then doing the dishes. πŸ™‚

Donna and I gabbed till way too late and then I availed myself of the luxurious appointments of the guest bathroom.

It’s really late and we have a full day tomorrow so I’d better sign off. I’m just so glad I’m here.

Cost of the Alberta Trip to Buy My New Toad

I’m meeting with the third party’s adjuster tomorrow morning to discuss my claim for non-Aviva covered expenses due to the accident. I already sent justifications/evidence for things like lost income and supplemental medical coverage, but I didn’t have much to justify my $1,500 for the trip to Alberta to buy my new toad.

So I took about an hour this morning to add up everything and get my receipts in order. My trip to Alberta cost me $1,600 in flights, hotels, taxis, buses, fuel, and food. My estimate was pretty good!

One piece of good news was that I was never charged for the car rental I ended up not using! So I only lost the two nights at the hotel in Calgary, but that was made up by staying at Chez Life on Our Ark in Stettler for two nights.

My breakdown for the trip had been:

$500 for fuel (actual: $596)

$300 for meals and incidentals (actual: $241, with this category including the bus and taxis)

$200 for the hotel (actual: $330 since I got a hotel in Sault Ste Marie)

$50 for a car (actual: $0)

So I have no problem justifying that claim. Now, I just have to get them to understand that buying a car in Quebec was not a viable option. The adjuster is a Quebecer so he does know a bit about how things work in Canada, which may help.

I will be so happy if I get that $2,700 that I am claiming. It’ll cover the toad conversion, meaning that I won’t have to save up anything this summer beyond my usual amount in preparation for departure and I just may be able to take a proper vacation in August. I shouldn’t be out this money and I really hope I don’t have to sue for it. πŸ™

Through the U.P. Along the Shores of Gitche Gumee

I made it to the Soo Ontario!!!!!!!!! I left Thief River Falls, MN, at 5:45AM CST and pulled into my final destination at the Soo (no room at the first inn) at about 9:00PM CST (10:00PM EST). It’s been a very long day, not aided by the fact that the fastest speed limit all day was 55MPH. At least, most of it was through the U.P., the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a gorgeous stretch of country.

This long day was soooo scenic. I love northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan! I went through a little bit of this area between the western and eastern tips of Lake Superior back in ’05 when I did my grand tour of the Great Lakes. I highly recommend making that road trip once in your life!

I really wanted to get across the border tonight to get it done, figuring that a couple more hours waiting to cross and then being interrogated wasn’t going to kill me at this point. So, of course, I only had to wait a minute and I got the nicest Canadian Customs officer I have ever dealt with!

Her: “Where are you from?”
Me: “Lethbridge, AB.”
Her: “My God, dear, what are you doing all the way out here?!” (that is verbatim, LOL!)

I explained that I was coming to visit family. She asked where I crossed and then we had a discussion about the fact that Montana extends into Saskatchewan. Bla bla.

Her: “Did you buy anything en route?”
Me: “I didn’t have time; I just drove straight through.”
Her, handing me back my passport: “Well, you be safe now. Have a good trip!”

No questions about booze, drugs, guns, nothing. She made my day. I wish I could have hugged her. πŸ™‚

Tip: Like at Sarnia/Port Huron and, presumably, Detroit/Windsor, there is a bridge connecting the US and Canada. You will need to have some small change with you as there is a fare. Today, it was $3 both CAD and US. When I crossed at Sarnia/Port Huron in ’05, the dollars weren’t close to par so the amounts were different and I remember opting to pay in US dollars as it was better value!

My destination tonight was the Super 8 motel. That chain is my standby on road trips as it is always clean and sometimes is very nice. But they were full and told me to try the Comfort Inn across the road. I did and blanched when I entered the lobby in my super casual skirt and tee-shirt to discover this is a much more luxurious hotel than I normally stay at. Everyone in the lobby was dressed to the nines and the next person in line with a suitcase had on a business suit. But I was there and the clerk didn’t even blink when she saw me so I figured I might as well inquire about rates even though I was sure I’d be turning around and sleeping in my truck at the casino.

I asked about a single, non-smoking, and was told that the singles were actually mini-suites with king beds, and their least expensive option at $99. What?! Had the Super 8 had room, it would have been $88. What was an extra $11?! I took a room, went back to the truck to get all my valuables, and then hoofed it to my ‘tower’ room. Pictures are below. It is insanely luxurious. I love the shower and that there is a proper work desk. I actually feel comfortable walking barefoot in here.

First order of business was a very long shower, which included a test of all the bath products available. This is such a fancy place that there is both body and facial soap. πŸ™‚

I’ll be heading to bed shortly. It’s 11:15 here, so I’m pretty sure a super early start tomorrow is unlikely. I have another 14 hours or so of driving to do, but it’s all familiar territory, so I’ll get home when I get home.

Driving the truck for such a long day has really made me see my Accents in a new light: I’m not even remotely sore. Moya pretty much drives herself, making her name very appropriate! I laughed when I stopped for gas just before lunch when a guy came up to me and said, “So, how do you like YOUR Ranger?” I looked up and saw Moya’s fraternal twin, a dark green topperless 2000 ‘sport’ Ranger. Not sure what makes it ‘sport’ since it’s not a side step model.

The pictures below are out of order as I finally got my camera pics dumped onto the laptop. So far on this trip, you’ve only seen what I’ve taken with my iPad. Tomorrow, I will see if there’s anything worth sharing from the phone since I didn’t bring the mini card reader adapter. That’s a crazy number of camera options, but I finally learned how to add pics to my posts from the iPad, so I’ve been favouring that camera since I’ve only cracked open the laptop a couple of times.

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

nice to land here tonight!

I gave a lady toilet paper at a rest area and she felt obligated to reciprocate with a box of Raisinets. Raisins and chocolate, I could not refuse. As for the drink, McDonald's sizes are ridiculous! But all the sizes were $1 and I wanted a big cold drink. So half the cup is ice, two thirds of the rest is water, and there's a shot of juice. :)

I gave a lady toilet paper at a rest area and she felt obligated to reciprocate with a box of Raisinets. Raisins and chocolate, I could not refuse. As for the drink, McDonald’s sizes are ridiculous! But all the sizes were $1 and I wanted a big cold drink. So half the cup is ice, two thirds of the rest is water, and there’s a shot of juice. πŸ™‚

bird near Donna's RV park

bird near Donna’s RV park

bird near Donna's RV park

bird near Donna’s RV park

park near Donna's RV park

park near Donna’s RV park

lovely bridge in Stettler

lovely bridge in Stettler

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

the spiral maze

this reminded me of the pingo in Tuk!

this reminded me of the pingo in Tuk!

looking at the spiral maze from the top of the hill

looking at the spiral maze from the top of the hill

Stettler sunset

Stettler sunset

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

Stettler museum

the Roving Acres + half of Travels With Miranda :)

the Roving Acres + half of Travels With Miranda πŸ™‚

Rugby, ND, the geographic centre of North America

Rugby, ND, the geographic centre of North America

entering Minnesota

entering Minnesota

the truck ahead of me is one step up from the Ranger, the F150. Same colour as my truck but definitely beefier!

the truck ahead of me is one step up from the Ranger, the F150. Same colour as my truck but definitely beefier!

entering Wisconsin, a sorely under rated state

entering Wisconsin, a sorely under rated state

I love the French names in Wisconsin, like Eau Claire and Fond du Lac

I love the French names in Wisconsin, like Eau Claire and Fond du Lac

It was noon when I hit the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI. I had a nap, then took the time to tour the museum before grabbing lunch and dinner (a Subways sandwich) down the road

It was noon when I hit the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland, WI. I had a nap, then took the time to tour the museum before grabbing lunch and dinner (a Subways sandwich) down the road

Monarch butterflies land in Wisconsin in droves during their migration

Monarch butterflies land in Wisconsin in droves during their migration

more about Monarch butterfly migration

more about Monarch butterfly migration

Lake Superior has the largest surface area of all the fresh water lakes on the planet

Lake Superior has the largest surface area of all the fresh water lakes on the planet

"The oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it." Aldo Leopold

“The oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it.” Aldo Leopold

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Lake Superior from a viewpoint where I had my dinner

Lake Superior from a viewpoint where I had my dinner

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

I'm a direct descendant of Grosseillers, a French-Canadian explorer of this area

I’m a direct descendant of Grosseillers, a French-Canadian explorer of this area

a hole in the clouds after an impressive storm (had I been an hour behind where I was, in Marquette County, MI, I would have had to find shelter because of a tornado warning!)

a hole in the clouds after an impressive storm (had I been an hour behind where I was, in Marquette County, MI, I would have had to find shelter because of a tornado warning!)