Thursday, 27 December 2012

Day 24 - kelowna to vancouver

This morning we are up bright and early.  Before we leave for Surrey, we have to get our four tires changed on the trailer.  Justin researched and called around yesterday and Fountain Tire had the best service around so we planned to be there for 07:40 (ATA 0830). 

They had a really big bay where we can just pull in with the trailer still attached and they changed the tires right then and there as we waited.  Frustrating thing is that the dealer in Cornwall (Cornwall Tire) where we purchased the tires, told us that in order to see if we could get some sort of refund, we would have to the bring the bad ones back.  So now, we have to carry the four bad tires across the country! Grrrr.  550$ later, we are on the road (0930) and crossing our fingers that these tires tough the trip.  For this leg of the trip, we also debated going south towards Penticton and the Okanagan Valley.   We were told that that route was longer but that the hills were not as bad. If we would have been 'sans bébé', we would probably have taken that road but the less driving we can do for BB girl, the better.  So the 97c highway it is!  After filling up the truck we are off (the steep gas station entrance makes the rack at the back of the trailer drag on the ground but no harm done).  

Thank you Fountain Tire! Great service!

Out with the old in with the new.

This leg of the trip was by far the biggest hills we encountered yet.  As much as our truck caused us problems with the entire front end replacement  it did not fail us today!  It showed those hills who's boss.  We pulled off the highway in Hope for a small lunch break and continued to the campsite to meet up with the rest of our crew.  We didn't really know what to expect because after speaking with them yesterday, they are really not impressed with the campsite.   We arrive at Dogwood Campground in Surrey at around 1430.  Mel and Aunt Sindy decide to go get some shopping done.  Surprise is on us when we discover that the stores close at 1800! Say what?!!!!?? So the only store we were able to hit was The Bay but at least aunt sindy was able to buy the pillow cases she needed.  We head back to the campsite and relax for the night.

The highway run-offs!  You know you are in the mountains when....

On the side of the road where we stopped for lunch - Hope, B.C.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Day 23 - kelowna

Today we had the option to pack up and leave with the rest of our gang, or stay behind, relax and see what Kelowna has to offer.  We opted to stick around for one more night.  The rest of our crew have a cruise to  catch on Friday so they wanted a little more time in Vancouver to explore so they carried on.  We had some breakfast with mom and dad and watched them pack up.  Mom and I got away for a little while and walked over to the beach just behind the campsite.  It was really nice and reassured me of our decision to stay. After lunch, we headed out to the waterfront.  We walked a fair amount and stopped in at a winery for a few samples.
Near the waterfront - Kelowna

Our plan was to go swim in the lake but it was way too cold for baby girl so we took her to the splash pad.  BB girl is not a fan of splash pads.  There was no making her smile at all.

Turns out we should have swam before, because shortly after we got there it started to rain and there were a few rumbles so they closed up for the day.  We headed back to the trailer for baby girl to have a nap and fed her some supper.  We then decided to go to Costco to stock up on some food and we also stopped in at the Chapters to pick up a few more books.  This was a nice relaxing day and we are happy that we got to explore Kelowna.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Day 22 - Banff to Kelowna

Our alarm was set on the iphone in mom and dad's trailer go get up and see our friends off (we slept in mom and dad's trailer and let them have our trailer for the night).  They had to meet their real estate agent early in the morning (We hope they found their 'now' dream home).  It was a short visit but we were really happy that we got to see them and it was so nice of them to come meet us! 

Our gang was ready to leave Banff at 1000.  Today we are heading to Kelowna.  We debated between there or Kamloops but everyone we spoke to said that we should go through Kelowna (Okanagan Valley)without a doubt. We are following the group at the back today and are surprised when they get off at the Lake Louise exit.  Turns out they decided they wanted to go have a look.  Fine with us but we have to keep going because we have to drive while BB Girl is sleeping.  That is our prime time travelling time.  We decide to turn around and get back on the Highway. Not too long after, we crossed the border into British Columbia.  We stopped for our must have picture and end up being there with two other cars from Ontario! 

By the time we get back in the truck, my parents and aunt and uncle pass us so we are reunited again.  Turns out their rig was way too big to be pulling in at Lake Louise on a Sunday afternoon.  It's time for lunch and mon oncle Bernie the fearless cowboy pulls his gigantic rig into a picnic area.  We didn't think much of it at first because we figured he had been there before but he then told us he didn't.  You never know how big those areas will be.  Turns out it was perfect for our 3 rigs.  There was a nice little river and it was so inviting.  Justin was the first brave one and went right in!  Me and ma tante Syndi followed.  I didn't think she was go all the way in but since she did, I had to follow!  Glacier water is Refreshing!  Ma tante Syndi prepared some sandwiches for the whole gang and we continued our journey.  This was a really nice relaxing spot for all of us!
Love these running/water shoes!

Pépère et cocotte

Mon oncle Bernie et Cocotte

Mom loving life!
Justin is the first brave one to dive into the glacier cold water.

My crazy ma tante!!! Gotta love her!

Our mini trailer, followed by mom and dad's fifth wheel, and finally mon oncle Bernie's castle on wheels!
Next stop was in Revelstoke for gas.  Dad's truck has the smallest gas tank.  He can't go much more than 300kms before having to fill up.  It makes for a lot of fuel stops.  Along the journey, I am responsible for finding us a campground.  After calling all the campsites there are only two campgrounds with availabilities.  One of the sites is 80$ a night.  For that price, we can almost stay in a hotel so I decide to go with the other one which is right across the beach and near downtown Kelowna.  I don't know why, but we were expecting a four hour drive.  It ended up being a very long day with about 6hours of driving. 
We've got a convoy going on.

Once at the campsite, ma tante and mon oncle had to turn their RV around and they went to the back of the campsite to do so where all the tents were.  Ma tante wanted to leave immediately.  Me and Justin had no idea what was going on.  Turns out when they drove back there they saw a lot of people smoking weed and having a good time.  She was terrified that they would harm our trailers or us.  She was saying that we couldn't stay there with BB Girl!  Oh! Ma tante!  We almost convince her that they are just having a good time when the RCMP pulls in at the front office! oh! no!! It adds fuel to the fire.  Ma tante went to ask what was going on and they were only looking for information on something that had happened at the beach earlier that day!  They wanted to go to the really expensive campground but when I told them it was 45minutes back the way we came from they decided to stay! Guess what! I am still alive to write my blog ma tante!!  Love you crazy girl!!  We settled in, mom made some supper, I did some more laundry and we all called it a night early.
We were all together.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Day 21 - Visit with the Williams

We are leaving early this morning because we are hoping to all get a site in Banff tonight.  Check out at Callaway Park is early (1000) but it gets us going.  We stop in Canmore for gas and arrive at Tunnel Mountain campground at 1200.  Déja vue! The signs say that the campsite is full but we pull in and again, we are lucky and all three of us have a spot.

We have been trying to meet up with Lee and his family for about a week now.  We wanted to make it work somehow, but it was difficult with them being in Cold Lake and the fact that they are in the process of house hunting in Calgary.  Lee was Justin's boss at the Air Marshall unit.  Justin has a man crush on him :)  Lee gives us a call and to our surprise they are going to come meet us in Banff for super! Yahoo!! Mom took BB Girl for us and we headed into town to grab some groceries.  By the time we returned, they were just pulling in!  

We enjoyed a nice evening with a beautiful view.  They stayed the night with us but had to leave early to go meet their real estate agent.  It was a good night.   We were so busy catching up and having fun that we didn't even think of taking pictures.  One thing we don't miss about the military - we make some good friends and then either we or they move away - it is fun to know though that we have friends in every corner of the country.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Day 20 - The Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth!

This year is the 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede!!!  Yes, we are tourist and yes we are going to the Stampede today.  Mom and Dad set their alarm clock nice and early and took a shuttle downtown to go watch the parade.  After the terrible day we had yesterday, we decide to take our time.  We end up arriving at the tail end of the parade.  I call mom on her cell phone and it turns out they are very close to us so we meet them.  Mom tells me that there are tickets set aside everyday that go on sale at 11.  Mom and Dad have tickets to the rodeo at 1300.  Maybe our luck is turning today because we are able to get tickets for the rodeo this afternoon and also to the chuckwagon races tonight.  Matante and mononcle  aren't really interested in going to the stampede.  They are getting their trailer ready for the trip so I ask ma tante if she would watch BB girl for us!! We are so spoiled! Best Auntie in the world!   Before the rodeo starts, we walk around the grounds.  There are a million food vendors but they all seem to be doing well (funny how we look at that stuff since our experience with Two Guys).  There is a really big midway and many exhibits that are actually very interesting.  The rodeo started with the RCMP musical ride.  It was a little long but beautiful. 

RCMP Musical Ride

The rodeo was really fun and as usual very entertaining.  BB Girl was enjoying the show but then the weather turned on us.  It started raining really hard and we had the cheap seats that aren't covered so we decided to head back to the campsite so that BB Girl could have a rest and be good for matante tonight. 

Budweiser Clydesdale
Here is a cute video of BB Girl and Bones

We came back to Stampede park just on time for the chuckwagon races.  The races were cool and interesting.  I didn't really understand how the race worked so we looked it up and this is how it is described;

Chuckwagon racing is a team event, led by a driver who commands a team of horses pulling the chuckwagon, and is supported by two or four outriders, each racing individual thoroughbred horses that follow the chuckwagon. Each race typically involves three or four teams, and begins with the outriders "breaking camp", by tossing two tent poles (with four outriders only) and a barrel representing a camp stove into the back of their wagon before mounting their horses and following the wagons as they complete a figure eight around two barrels before circling a race track. The first wagon to cross the finish line typically wins, although various time penalties are handed out for infractions such as a barrel being knocked over, a tent pole or stove not loaded, wagon interference or an outrider crossing the finish line too far behind his wagon driver.

I have to say that I preferred the rodeo over the chuckwagon because there is a long lull between each chugwagon race but we were really happy to have attended both events. 

The biggest surprise of the day was still to come.  When the races were over, they announced that the show would be beginning in a few minutes.  We had no idea that there was a show after the races but they took out their big tractors and pulled out a huge stage from the side of the track.  Well, it had to be one of the nicest biggest coolest shows we have ever seen.  They had acrobats from cirque du soleil, stunt bikes, performers doing aerial tricks on bicycles, singers and the icing on the cake was Paul Brandt.  He performed at least 5 songs including one of our favourites 'Convoy'.  The show was just amazing.  It was capped off by Paul Brandt signing Happy Birthday with a 12 meter high birthday cake on stage and a crazy fabulous fireworks display.  It was an amazing night!  The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!

Grand Finale

Monday, 30 July 2012

Day 19 - The last of our bad luck?

Yesterday, the dealership had told us that the truck could be ready for lunchtime.  Turns out it won't be ready until 1600.  The campsite, Glowing Ambers, is generous enough to let us leave the trailer on our site at no extra cost.  It would have been really complicated to move the trailer and would have delayed my parents and aunt and uncle.  They are heading to Calgary and want to wait for us but we told them to go ahead and we will get in touch with them when we get on the road.  My mom was smart and booked a campsite for the stampede ages ago (and this is my mom we are talking about so I am not even exaggerating).  Smart on her part, because we can't get a site anywhere.  We have to hope that we will find a spot in the overflow.  So the rest of our gang head out.
BB Girl playing in Pépère's truck before they leave

Their plan is to stop at the Costco in Red Dear.  Our truck is ready to go at around 1530ish.  We don't get out of there until at least 1600.  Justin tried to negotiate some sort of discount on our gigantic bill but nothing!  That's what happens when you are not home.  We head on over to the campsite, hook up the trailer and get on our way.  We have about a 3.5 hour drive to get to Calgary.  We see my parent's and my uncle's rig from the road parked in Costco in Red Dear, so we have caught up with them.  We decide to keep going to try and get to the campsite early and pray that the overflow still had room.  BB Girl is not happy with that plan and with reason - it's time for us to stop and have some supper.  We pull over at a rest area and start supper.  Not soon after, someone knocks at our door.  A nice man asks us if we knew that we had a flat tire! He has got to be kidding!!!! Another flat tire!!!

Yet again!!
This is turning out to be a really bad day!  On the phone with Good Sam's road assistance again.  The girl has a really hard time locating us.  She ends up doing three way call with the tow company and the guy tells us he is over an hour and a half away!  Meanwhile, I am on the phone with my parents to let them know of the situation and that we are just a few exits passed the costco.  Turns out they are just leaving so they will meet us. Have to give some iphone love here again: my mom can't really understand where we are.  I fix that easily by bringing up the maps app and take a screen capture of where we are and message it to mom! Voila!!! Oh!! How I love thee! :)

When they get there, Justin is still on the phone trying to arrange a tow truck.  He decides to tell the lady that he will call back if he needs help.  Uncle Bernie pulls out his air hose (what does he not have in that Coach!), and that's when Justin realises that it's not just a hole, the tire is ripped apart in the back.   Dad, uncle Bernie and Justin try to figure out a way to change the tire.  They decide to jack up the trailer by pulling ahead and raising it with our orange blocks that we usually use to level the trailer. Mon oncle has a tire iron in his coach(mansion) so we are set.
Trying to put some air in!
Everyone looking on
Not good!
Of course we hear about how it's a good thing that we finally got our spare fixed.  Mon oncle was not impressed that we went through the Rockies without one.  We are on our way again and mom calls me soon after and for the first time today we have some good news.  She was able to get a hold of the campsite they are booked at and they are going to save us a spot in their overflow! Yahoo! That's one less stress. We pull in.  It's late, it's been a long day, it's been a stressful day and we just want to call it a night.  The playpen had stayed in mom's trailer so me and BB girl just ended up sleeping in mom and dad's trailer and Jusitn and bones settled in our trailer!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Day 18 - Guns & Steak

First thing on the agenda today was for Justin to call around to see if a dealership could have a look at our truck.  It's been doing a funny sound when we turn and it's been worst since our off roading adventure yesterday! We figure we better get it looked at before crossing the Rockies again.  So we drop off the truck and cross our fingers.

Mon oncle Bernie comes to the campsite to take his Coach out of storage (whatever you do - do not call ma tante's motor home a bus!! just a friendly warning!)  He takes us for the grand tour! Wow!! What a a beauty! BB girl really enjoyed it as well.

Justin, dad and mon oncle Bernie head on over to mon oncle's house to get the RV ready.  Then we get the bad phone call.  Turns out the truck needs a lot of work done, I should rephrase, expensive work done.  Justin wants to go to the garage so I go pick him up at uncle Bernie's and we head to the garage.  We give them the go ahead to fix the front end for a whopping 3000$!!!!!!  The hourly rate for these cowboys in Alberta is 130$! I try to console ourselves with the fact that there is no provincial tax. We all meet back up at the campsites and the boys head on over to West Edmonton Mall.  Yes, I did say the boys are going to the mall.  Of course not to shop, they are going to the shooting range!  

Mon oncle Bernie
Justin's weapon of choice
Justin in his element
Can you guess who not to mess with?
(BLang - this target is for you)
Us girls, we head on over to the grocery store to get things for supper and head on over to uncle Bernie's to get it ready.  Daniel and his little 'fam' are joining us for supper tonight.  Daniel cooked up some good steaks.  We came close to making the whole neighbourhood blow up (note to self for next time - ma tante can not be in charge of lighting the bbq!).  Here are some pictures of the family!
Daniel, Amanda & the girls

Paquette Men
Dad picking on his little brother

How hard can it be to take a picture of these two!!!

AH! Finally!
PS: Thanks ma tante for emptying mon oncle's garage and handing over a bunch of his princess auto treasures and his groupon surplus!  Love you mon oncle! :)