Scenery near Beavertown, Pensylvania. Photo taken yesterday.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Beavertown, Pennsylvania.

Where are they going next? Not sure, but it won't be a long drive!

And after that? Heading towards Lexington, Kentucky.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Rainy day and Sherman has some new LED light bulbs!

Well it was a dreary, wet, miserable day yesterday. But we didn't let that stop us... we had fun anyhow! Sure glad that we weren't driving anywhere in the motorhome though.

Barry and Connie took us out for breakfast. Just a local diner. It seems everywhere we go, they bump into someone they know!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Tire fixed, and a long driving day....

Up early at the Walmart in Watertown, New York. No idea what the temperature had gone down to that night, but it was only 39F (3C) inside the motorhome when we woke up. We never leave the heat on at night. Nice and cozy in bed still, but boy you sure didn't want to get out!

Looked outside and saw this...

Friday, November 17, 2017

Not a smooth start to the trip...

Well it wasn't a great travel day. But, we are safe and happy in our motorhome, and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. Today will be a better day.

How about I start at the beginning...

We got up at a half decent hour, with the plan to be pulling out of our daughter's driveway by 10:00am at the very latest.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

New dinette table for Sherman... and we're off!

Sherman has a new dinette table!

We've always hated our dinette table in the motorhome. It simply looked cheap.

Our son in law Justin is a wood craftsman. He's actually a trained cabinetmaker, and he builds the nicest furniture. But he's always so busy, so we hesitated to ask. We told him we would pay him to build us a table, and he agreed. So before we left for Barbados, we bought some (expensive!) Peruvian walnut hardwood at a wood specialty shop.

And while we were gone, we let him work his magic...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What did it cost for 19 days in Barbados?

We always find it an interesting exercise to go back over our trip costs when any particular voyage ends. Of course when someone goes on a typical package vacation, it's a lot easier to add things up. The typical one week all inclusive is especially easy because for the most part you know all of your costs up front.

But with us, you just never know until the end. Of course we try and do things as frugally as possible within reason. But when you travel to a relatively expensive country like Barbados, you're pretty much stuck spending whatever it costs. I mean after all, you still have to eat!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Back in Canada

But it's going to be a whirlwind visit, mostly just to say goodbye. We need to do some last minute shopping (maple syrup, among other things!) and then we're heading into the United States on Thursday morning.

Our travel day was fine yesterday. Everything happened exactly as planned.

Monday, November 13, 2017

October Expenses

There was so much going on in Barbados, we never got around to telling you about our month of October expenses. So I've got some time to waste here in Toronto airport waiting for our flight to Ottawa.

October was an expensive month. Mostly because of repairs and maintenance to Sherman, but also because we always seem to spend more money visiting Ottawa than when we're out traveling!

Barbados rough north coast

Our last day touring Barbados and we finally made it up to the rough north coast. Cliffs and caves and wind where the Atlantic Ocean crashes into the rocks.

Our couchsurfing host Eric was headed out anyhow, and he gave us a drive up to Archers Bay where we could then walk to Animal Flower Cave and the cliffs along the north coast.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Scenic flight around the island of Barbados

Our couchsurfing host Eric owns one of the very few private planes on the island of Barbados. He tries to fly it regularly, just to keep in practice. And, perhaps a small plane is something like an RV... using it regularly is better for it than letting it sit!

Yesterday was a beautiful day here on the island, so he offered to take us for a flight around the island, and we were quick to take him up on that!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Out for lunch

Just a coasting day yesterday. Nothing wrong with having a coasting day in Barbados!

We've been staying the last two weeks with a couchsurfing host. He's a single guy, about our age who is originally from the UK, but has been living here in Barbados for about 11 years.

It's not really "normal" to spend 19 days with just one host when you're couchsurfing.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fun times at the Mount Gay Rum Tour

Think of Barbados, and the first thing that might come to mind is beaches. But to some, the first thing that comes to mind is rum! Because Barbados is home to the oldest manufacturer of rum in the world!

In fact, Mount Gay has been making rum in Barbados for over 300 years.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The ruins of Sam Lord's Castle

Interesting story behind this part of Barbados history.

Samuel Hall Lord was a wealthy Barbados pirate who lived in a castle like estate that was built in 1820. Legend has it that Sam Lord would hang lanterns in the trees of the estate to look like the port of Bridgetown to lure unsuspecting ships onto the reef. He would then plunder the ships of their treasures.

The "castle" has had several different owners over the years.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Disappointing trip to Harrison's Cave, Barbados

We like to visit caves when we're traveling, and we've been to quite a few. I don't think that we are cave snobs by any means, but we have been to the magical Kartchner Caverns in Arizona, and the huge Grutas de Garcia in Mexico. And we've done the wild cave tour in both Mammoth Cave, Kentucky and in South Africa. Among others.

So perhaps it is because of these past experiences that we were quite disappointed in Harrison's Cave.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

140 feet under water!

It's not every day that you get to go on a submarine.

In fact, it's taken us 55 years to get to do something like this! Not that it's an exclusive club. In fact, more than 12 million people have taken one of the Atlantis Submarine Tours that operate at select tropical locations around the world.

And we had heard that it's a really great experience, so we decided to go for it!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Another hike to Barbados wild east coast

When we departed from the Bushy Park Racetrack yesterday, it was around 11:30am. In true Kevin and Ruth fashion, we decided that we could walk the 16 kms (10 miles) in the 30C (86F) heat through sugar cane fields and muddy coastal trails to Bathsheba where we could catch the bus back to Bridgetown.

We had lots of water, and a few snacks with us... so we set off. Worse case scenario on a small island, is that you are never far away from an alternate method of travel should you decide you have had enough!

Go Karting at 50 mph at Bushy Park Racetrack, Barbados

Well yesterday was another fun day!

I love go-karts. And when you get a chance to drive a really fast one, it's a big thrill for me.

The Bushy Park Go Karts in Barbados has go-karts that get up to 80 km/h (50 mph) on the straightaways. When you're only sitting an inch off the ground, that's fast!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Second impressions

Wow, we're already more than half way through our nineteen day trip to Barbados. Only eight days to go and we'll be back in chilly Canada! We notice that November weather is in full swing across most of the great white north.

When we arrived here on October 25th, our first impressions comment was... The people are friendly. It's not as "modern" as I expected it to be, but we haven't seen very much of it yet. Eric says "it'll look really nice when it's finished". We can't figure out how the locals survive given the cost of food.

Now that we've been here for a week and a half, we'll give you our updated impressions...

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A blast on the Jammin' Barbados Catamaran Snorkeling Cruise

Up early yesterday morning and it was pouring rain! But fortunately, the rain stopped by the time we were outside. We hopped on one of the small minibuses for the short ride to Bridgetown.

Jammin Catamaran Cruise Barbados leaves from the very first dock at the entrance to the south side of the river port at Bridgetown. Because we had never been there, we left ourselves lots of time to find the right dock... we didn't want to be late for the fun and games!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Finally, a relaxing beach day...

This was supposed to be a relaxing vacation. You know, as opposed to our typical travel lifestyle! But we can't help ourselves... there is too much to see and do! I can't remember who it was, but somebody had mentioned that they thought we might get bored with 19 days in Barbados.

Nope.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Made it back home in the dark...

We hopped on a bus yesterday morning to go check out some more of the island. This time, we were headed to Holetown, which is the site of the first English settlement on the island that began in 1627.

It's also the location of Barbados oldest church.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sandals Resort, Barbados

Just for something to do, we went and checked out the Sandals Resort in Barbados yesterday.

Sandals is a luxury all inclusive chain for couples only. We have personal experience with Sandals Resorts, having stayed for a week at one in Antigua back in 1993. Of course, they are also very expensive.

But, you sometimes get what you pay for, and at Sandals you get treated like royalty.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Day trip to Barbados east coast

We got out of the apartment fairly early yesterday morning, and waited by the side of the road for a ZR van to come by. These minibuses typically hold about 16 people, although you'll often see them stuffed a little more full than that. (The term ZR is derived from the licence plate code assigned to these vehicles.) They travel the busy roads, and competition is fierce as one competes with another for your business.

As expected, we didn't have to wait long!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Barbados steel pan drum band and new friends!

We had received an interesting email about a month ago. All it said was "Sundays..Southern Palms Hotel, St Lawrence Gap....noon till three.....Steel Pan Band.....rum punch our treat.   We hope to meet you.   Have been following you for quite awhile.  You will love Barbados."

No names mentioned! Who are these people? But, they did mention rum punch! Sounded like fun, and it was located only a 40 minute walk from the apartment.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Not everything in Barbados is beautiful...

Yesterday's blog post was late because our host Eric was going out to do some shopping and wanted to get there early. We went with him so that he could drop us off at the big Saturday market in Bridgetown and we would walk back to the apartment.

He was headed to the big PriceSmart (the Caribbean Costco) store so we went there first to check out prices since he has a membership card.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Just another beautiful day in Barbados...

We wanted to do a little less walking yesterday, and we did. But we still managed 7.2 kms (4.5 miles). We headed down towards St. Lawrence Gap, and wanted to check out the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary along the way.

It's nice to walk along the beach on the way there, and then walk back along the road where there is a chance of some shade, at least on one side of the street.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Caught in the rain!

We are here in Barbados during rainy season. But rainy season means that while it might rain every day, it's usually just for an hour or so every afternoon. So when we set out in the morning, it was a gorgeous day.

We decided to walk to the capital city of Bridgetown, about 4 kms (2.5 miles) away. But of course we don't take a direct route when we're out exploring!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hello Barbados!

Barbados is country #34 for us!

We left you yesterday in Toronto airport just ready to get on our flight to Barbados. The flight was right on time, and we got in the air at 8:15am. Our flight was with Air Canada Rouge, which is Air Canada's supposedly discount airline, although the pricing often doesn't show up that way! However, we did get the return ticket at $531 CAD, ($405 USD) which is not bad, and of course we used our Air Canada coupons from when we got bumped so only paid out of pocket $128 CAD each for the return trip.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

We're on our way!

Writing this from Toronto airport, waiting for our flight to Barbados. Not long to wait, either! It starts boarding in half an hour!

We got up at 3:00am this morning, and daughter Lindsey drove us to the airport. Only saw one other car on the road for the entire 20 minute drive.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Checked in!

Received the notification from Air Canada first thing this morning to do the online check in for our flight to Barbados early Wednesday morning. Very early.

Of course flying from Ottawa, you almost always have to connect in either Montreal or Toronto. This time, we're headed back to Toronto again. So in order to get there in time for our 8:15am departure from Toronto to Barbados, we have to take the first flight out of Ottawa to Toronto.

That one leaves at 5:35am!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Funny Halloween outfit!

We won't be here for Halloween this year so we won't get to see the grandkids dressed in their outfits. But we did get to see our son in law Justin in his outfit the other day. Too funny!

I had been perusing Amazon.ca one day a few weeks ago and saw a great costume on sale. Grandson Cameron is a big dinosaur fan, so I knew that he would love this one.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Beautiful day...

Well, I've managed to survive two nights with my friends. My voice is a little hoarse from laughing and talking so much. But that's what happens when we get together. Good times.

And we got out for a hike yesterday morning. The weather has been perfect.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Out with the boys

I've been spending time with my long time friends the last few days. Was out playing pool with my son on Wednesday night, then another old friend on Thursday night.

Then yesterday, was up early to drive Ruth up to her father's place for the weekend, because I'm at a cottage (actually a very large lake home!) on Whitefish Lake just north of Kingston, Ontario.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Motorhome upgrades

When we're staying in one spot for a while, like we are now with Sherman parked up at our daughter's house, it's really the only convenient time to do some repairs and renovations to get Sherman ready for his big trip.

So we bought some inexpensive blackout curtain panels and curtain rods for the bedroom, and we're having a new table made for the dinette booth!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

All set for Barbados!

A week from today, we will be arriving in Barbados. Everything is coming together, including our accommodation.

Some of you will remember that back in July, we had booked to stay with a couchsurfing host Eric, who had offered to let us stay for the entire nineteen days. But that was over three months in advance, and we were worried something might happen between now and then.

5 Reasons To Choose A Luxury Rental For Your Next Vacation

Planning a vacation can be a stressful endeavor. Everything from booking the plane tickets to managing kids can make the hassle of it all seem like a near waste of time to even leave the house. Fortunately, a few things can make your experience significantly better, not the least of which is the type of rental you choose. If traveling for example to a place like Colorado, ample Breckenridge cabins for rent provide the luxurious accommodations you need to have an amazing vacation filled with rest and relaxation.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sorting through our stuff...

As George Carlin once said, "a house is just a place to keep your stuff". Well when you have a small house like a motorhome, you have to keep your stuff to a minimum! So yesterday we started sorting through every drawer and cupboard looking for stuff that we don't think we need any more.

And it's amazing how much stuff you can get rid of!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Planning for Barbados

Nine days from now, we will arrive on the southeastern Caribbean island of Barbados for a nineteen day stay. We haven't really got too much planned, because this is supposed to be a relaxing "vacation".

But most of you know us better than that!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

10 years ago today!

It was 10 years ago today that we left Ruth's father's place in Galetta (Ottawa) for our very first big road trip with our new to us motorhome Sherman!

Our very first blog post was also 10 years ago today! You can read it here...

http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2007/10/were-cookin-with-gas-now.html

Friday, October 13, 2017

A huge sigh of relief!

We received a text message from Kal Tire at around 5:30pm yesterday afternoon, telling us that Sherman was ready to be picked up. But we were quite far away, and they close at 6:00pm. So we stayed with our friends Jeff and Shelley again last night, and picked up Sherman first thing this morning.

Like I mentioned yesterday, we had no idea how much the bill was going to be.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sherman is still at the shop

We didn't plan on being without Sherman for this long. This is day number eight that he's been in the shop. Part of the problem is that we just went through a long weekend here in Canada, so he sat for three days with nothing being done.

And the other part of the problem has been waiting for parts.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Back in Ottawa...

Well, we drove back to Ruth's father's place in Galetta (Ottawa) yesterday. From Hamilton, it was 500 kms (310 miles) which is far more than we typically like to drive in a day. But, we took a bit of a different route because we had a craving for Thai food!

Proof that you can justify anything you want!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fun afternoon at Pelee Island Winery

We had a 12:00 noon reservation for the Pelee Island Winery on Sunday. But first, Heinz and Ulli made us a delicious breakfast. And then we left a few minutes early so that we could take a drive to see some more sights we hadn't seen the day before!

You would think that an island only 12kms by 6 kms wouldn't have much to see. But there's actually quite a lot!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Finally made it to Pelee Island!

Up at 6:00am yesterday morning, and on the road for 6:30. The Pelee Island ferry leaves from Kingsville, Ontario on the north shore of Lake Erie. At this time of year there are only two sailings per day, one at 10:00am, and one at 6:00pm.

But we had a 300 km (186 mile) drive to do. I figured I had done the math okay...at 100 km/h (62 mph), we should be there in three hours, right?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Just a quick update...

I'm writing this blog post on my phone! Who would have thought?! Anyhow, we're relaxing in the backyard of Ruth's sister's house in Hamilton, Ontario just west if Toronto.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Grocery shopping tip of the day

Rainy day yesterday, so we just stayed in and got caught up on a few computer things. We're doing a travelogue presentation on October 13th at the seniors residence where my mom lives, so I spent some time putting some of that together on the computer.

We're going to talk about our trip to Moldova and Transnistria last December.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Well, what a day that was...

Monday afternoon, I had called a Kal Tire franchise near Lindsey's place. They have a full service truck mechanical bay, and I had to find someone to do some work on Sherman that I wasn't prepared to do myself.

I don't mind doing the work, but I know my limits. And when I don't have the proper tools to do the job, it's better to pay the money and hand it off to someone who does.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Help, if you want to.

As you know, Ruth and I are leading an RV caravan through Mexico this winter, and the company that is operating the caravan is spearheading a small earthquake relief campaign on their own.

On October 5th, Caravanas de Mexico will personally go to Cuernavaca to buy groceries and other Items urgently needed for people suffering the consequences of earthquakes in Morelos State. The area was at the epicenter of the Sept 19 quake and the situation is terrible in several towns such as Jojutla and its surroundings.

Picked up the car rental!

We've got wheels again!

Yesterday morning, Lindsey drove us to Dollar Rent a Car near downtown Ottawa. We had a reservation for 10am, and got there right on time. I had booked the deal back in July when they had a special price on their "whatever car we have is what you get" deal.

Monday, October 2, 2017

September Expenses... one of our cheapest months ever!

Well September was a good month! I would have to go back into the records to check and see, but it may have been a record low month for us. We only spent $515 CAD ($415 USD)!!

The main thing we were trying to do this summer was to keep our grocery budget around the $550 per month mark, and we did a lot of stocking up in May and June, sometimes buying enough of a sale item to last all summer. So if you remember, we spent a lot of money on groceries in May ($929) and June ($726).

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Too many rules

First of all, I got the new solar charge controller installed and working. And then the clouds moved in and I couldn't properly test it! Too funny. Solar energy works great... but only when the sun is shining!

Today is supposed to be bright and sunny (not a cloud in the sky so far) so tomorrow I'll give you an update as to how our batteries are charging.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

I didn't plan that very well...

I found us a fantastic deal on a car rental a few months ago, and I booked it for three weeks during our time here in Ottawa.

Only problem is, I have it starting this coming Monday, October 2nd. I figured that Lindsey and Justin have two cars and that one should be available for us to use occasionally for a few days our first week here. But, it turns out that the one older car needs a major brake job now and it's not safe to drive the way it is.

So we've been without transportation these first few days.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Getting Sherman ready for his adventure

Had a great sleep Wednesday night back in the motorhome. Seems like it only took the one night to get caught up on the lack of sleep from our travels the night before. So that's good. We got our bags unpacked and everything sorted out to live in Sherman on and off for the next three and a half weeks or so.

I say "on and off" because we're headed down to Ruth's sister's for a night, and then Pelee Island next weekend. And then of course we'll be up at Ruth's dad's for a few nights along the way and I've got my guys weekend away on the 20th of October.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Arrived in Ottawa!

When we left off yesterday, we had been at Toronto airport waiting for our flight to Ottawa. The gate agent had offered us $200 cash each to take the next flight at 9:15am, but had said that she had to wait until boarding was complete to confirm that was going to happen.

Everybody was on the plane, and she called our names.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Well that was a busy 24 hours!

Writing this from our daughter's home in Osgoode, just south of Ottawa, Ontario. Arrived here at about 9:30am this morning after our four flight marathon from Regina.

Our friend Wendy drove us to Regina airport from Moose Jaw yesterday afternoon. (Thanks again Wendy!) About a 45 minute ride, and we purposely arrived at the airport a couple of hours early, because it's better to be early than late. :-)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

First day of pretirement, and it's going to be a travel day!

We said goodbye to the park yesterday, but it wasn't until almost three o'clock in the afternoon by the time we finally pulled out. Just lots of last minute stuff to do, and all of it had to happen on the last day. So, a couple of hours later than we were planning for, but it didn't really matter.

Then, we had a 258 km (160 mile) drive to Moose Jaw. Uneventful, and we've done this route before a few times, so not much exciting to see along the way.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Today is the day!

And what a beautiful start to the day it is. A little bit crisp out there, but the sun is shining and it will warm up nicely. Supposed to be a high of around 17C (63F), so just a nice fall day.

I went out and took some early pics of our last morning at the park...

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Almost finished up

One more sleep here in the park. Still some work to do tomorrow morning, but then the adventure begins!

Pretty much right on schedule. This is our fourth year closing the park up, so we've got it down to a science now. The bathrooms are all winterized and locked up, and today I'll get the oil changed on the equipment.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Campground Manager Couple Wanted - Canada

While we are not coming back next year as managers, we still care about the park and the effort that we've put into it over the past four years.  And so we want to help the park find the right people to carry on where we left off.

Also, we will be coming back through this area next May on our way up to Canada's northern Territories and Alaska, and we have offered to spend some time with the new manager(s) to get them off on the right foot. Whether or not the park board takes us up on that offer will depend somewhat on who gets hired for the job.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Four more sleeps!

Well, we're into the final stretch. Only four more sleeps and it's on to new adventures. But there's still a lot to do here over the next four days. I've got four of the five washrooms winterized, and I'll do the final one today. I've got part of the beaver fencing up, and I'm trying to do a little every day rather than doing it all at once like I've done in the past. Much better this way! And I have to change the oil in the machinery and get it all cleaned up.

Monday morning we'll shut off the water and I've already made the appointment to get the big compressor down here so we can blow the lines out... and then we're gone.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More Saskatchewan scenery...

Well, the park is pretty much empty. I think the last two nights we were the only ones sleeping here overnight, although there are still two trailers here that need to be picked up. Still a few boats kicking around too, but I guess people are hoping for one last boat trip of the season, although the weather for the immediate future doesn't look very promising for that.

But, we did take advantage of yesterday's nice weather!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Damn rabbits!

Remember last month when I had a problem with chewed wires on the little blue car? Well I've learned since then that it was not mice that caused that problem... it was rabbits!

Who would have thought? But we've got lots of little bunny rabbits here at the park this year. They sure are cute, but they sure are a nuisance.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pelee Island visit?

We've been wanting to visit Pelee Island for a long time. But Pelee Island is located in the most southern part of Lake Erie, and the access point to the ferry is located in Ontario, just southeast of Detroit.

And we don't make it down that way very often.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

We are now carless, for the first time ever!

So now that the little blue car is gone, we have to get by with being carless. It's a little strange saying that we don't own a car. No car, no television, no microwave. I guess we are strange!

Being carless means that when we want that type of transportation, we will have to rent, borrow, or taxi!

Friday, September 15, 2017

The little blue car is gone!

We had not had any response to the advertisements I had been doing. It seemed that everybody around here wants a pickup truck or SUV or some kind of large vehicle. You just don't see many small cars on the road out here in the countryside in Saskatchewan.

But I knew the price was fair, and that someone would come along eventually.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Cancelled our campground reservation!

I should have known better than to make a campground reservation four months in advance. But, here I was trying to be proactive so that we weren't left without a spot. Not a big deal, because I think we only lose $10 or so... plus, I think the caravan company is going to cover our new spot.

It's a bit of a story, but here's what happened...

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day trip to Grasslands National Park

We took a day off yesterday! Nothing going on at the park, with the exception of a few more seasonal trailers pulling out, and it was looking like the last day of nice summer weather for a while. So we decided to drive down to Grasslands National Park on the border of Saskatchewan and Montana, and do some exploring!

Boy, did it ever feel good to get out on the road and see some different scenery for a change!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Two weeks today

And we're outta here. And still no bites on the little blue car. Strange. I guess everybody in this area wants a big gas guzzling pickup truck! Oh well, if it doesn't sell we'll store it for the winter and re-evaluate next May. Maybe this is a sign that we shouldn't be selling it anyhow!

A few more trailers disappeared over the weekend.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Foreign exchange transaction fees

The Canadian dollar (CAD) has been finally gaining strength versus most other world currencies. Of course this makes our travels outside of Canada cheaper, and a strong dollar is better for the country as a whole.  And, the U.S. dollar (USD) has been weakening versus most other world currencies, after an abnormally long period of strength.

For our personal situation, it pretty much evens out because our blog and Amazon income is mostly paid to us in U.S. dollars.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

So far, Barbados has been spared

The last major hurricane to do any damage in Barbados was in 1995. And there have only been five major hurricane events to affect Barbados in total in the last 100 years.

Records show that in the 1600s, four hurricanes devastated Barbados, in the 1700s five systems directly affected Barbados, two causing devastation, and in the 1800s there were 17 hurricanes. Sure makes you wonder what kind of climate change was going on in the 1800's! I don't think they have all this stuff figured out yet.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Pretirement

I guess in a couple of weeks Ruth and I will be pretired. Once again. We pretired at this time 10 years ago in 2007 when we were on our first planned two year motorhome excursion.

Then, we pretired again between 2011 and 2013.

Most people retire. And I suppose we will eventually, but for now, we will be pretired.

Never heard that term before? Either had I until the other day.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

We made a campground reservation!

We started RV'ing almost ten years ago. We've put 70,000 miles (112,000 kms) on our motorhome during that time. And now, for only the second time ever...we actually made a reservation at a campground!

We meet up with our Mexico caravan group at Lake Casa Blanca State Park in Laredo, Texas before crossing the border into Mexico on January 7th.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chilly mornings and more blog reading visitors!

Woke up yesterday morning and the temperature was only 5C (41F). It was nice and bright and sunny but it was chilly, and there was a mist coming off the lake. Really pretty. But, you could sure tell that it felt like September in Canada. Funny enough, it's supposed to warm up by Friday with highs above 30C (86F) again!

It was chilly again this morning though, with some area reporting frost although we didn't see any here at the park.

Useful items to take on your travels

Travelling has become something that people do both as a hobby but also as an actual career these days, as the websites and blogs devoted to travel that have sprung up during the digital era have acted as an inspiration to many.

Of course, while most people think of exotic locations and adventure, bag packing is a necessary chore that must be completed before all that, but if you know what to pack it will make this process quicker and less stressful.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Winding things down here at the park

Well, our last long weekend of the summer is over. Labor Day weekend is normally pretty quiet around here, but it was slightly busier than normal this year. The weather was fantastic... warm and sunny all weekend. And fairly calm too, which made for great boating weather. Well, calm with the exception of a major windstorm that went through on Saturday night.

But, like any long weekend around here, it was not entirely glitch free!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Can't wait to get on the road again! But first need to fix some things...

Wow, thanks for the fantastic response to yesterday's post. It will be an adventure, won't it?? We think Sherman is up for the challenge, but he has not been used nearly enough the last couple of years. The last time we drove him was our trip from Saskatchewan to Ottawa at the end of last September. And while that was a good trip, he did have some minor mechanical issues along the way. Most of them were sorted out when I changed spark plugs and plug wires last fall. But there were some other things I noticed as well.

By the time we arrive in Ottawa, he will have been sitting for a full year!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

A two year North American full time motorhome adventure!

Our motorhome Sherman, at age 21 is starting to show some signs of wear and tear. We think that he's still got lots of life left in him yet though! And with less than 100,000 miles on the chassis, we still believe that he's got enough motivation in him to take us on a two year North American motorhome adventure!

And so this is the plan...

Saturday, September 2, 2017

August Expenses

Well, it was another cheap month. Exactly the way we planned it. Although, groceries were a bit higher due to the fact that we had five grocery shopping days during the month of August. And our friend Doug brought us a couple of Amazon packages up from the U.S..

But otherwise, it was a darn cheap month!

Friday, September 1, 2017

The little blue car is for sale!

As much as we don't want to sell it, we don't see the point of keeping it. We simply don't think we need a car for the foreseeable future. We will be living and traveling in the motorhome, and if we do ever need a car we will rent one as necessary.

If we didn't have to pay, we would just keep it in storage. But long term storage at $500 a year or so doesn't make sense for a $3,000 car!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A tough decision to make...

This was our fourth summer in a row managing the park. And we spent the summer of 2013 managing Sturgeon Lake Regional Park in northern Saskatchewan. So we haven't had a summer off since 2012.

We've decided we need a summer off, so we're taking a break.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It only lasted two weeks...

When our friend Doug was here earlier this month, he helped me install the new water pump assembly after the motor burned out in the other one. This is the second time this summer that a motor has burned out, and it's never happened before in the four years we've been here. Strange.

The pump itself breaks down regularly, but never as often as it has this year. Yesterday, it broke down again!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Activity at the park, and a special birthday!

Do you remember last year when one of our young great horned owls was electrocuted? You can read about it here. At the time, we had contacted the power company to see if they could put some kind of shield on the wiring to prevent it from happening again. They said that they would put it on their "to do" list, but I guess it wasn't a priority and it never got done.

But I kept on asking, and when one of their reps was out here on another matter two months ago, I brought it up with them again.

This time we got some action, and they went over and above what we expected!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Bugs!

We've been really lucky this summer with regards to mosquitoes. Especially compared to last summer when we were swarmed by the little buggers every time we stepped out the door. It was so bad last year that you almost couldn't go outside without having bug spray on.

It must be related to how much rain we get. Last year, it rained almost every second day. This year, we've hardly had any rain at all. In fact, we bought a new rain gauge for the park over two weeks ago and haven't had a chance to use it yet!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Movie tracking apps

We don't watch television, but we do watch movies. So when we're traveling both by air and in the motorhome, we always have a selection of movies on the laptop. But sometimes when I'm looking for movies to watch I can't remember if we've seen it or not!

I finally downloaded a movie watching app onto the smartphone. Not to watch movies with... but to keep track of the movies we've watched.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Another mouse problem!

Ruth had gone to Swift Current with the little blue car to do groceries on Wednesday and when she came back she said that she thought she might have hit a bird and asked if I could have a look under the front end. Well, I did not see any evidence of a bird strike.

However, I did notice something that didn't look quite right!

Friday, August 25, 2017

More blog reading visitors

We don't have many reservations at this time of year. In fact, I checked back in the blog to see what I was saying at this time last year and the year before... and it's the same thing. Still, we have a few campers who are enjoying the park when it is quiet. And although we don't have many reservations, we do get a few campers who show up unannounced.

Like Jim and Judy from British Columbia.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Retracing our route in Spain

I've been wanting to do this post for a while, so I finally sat down and did some mapping. More for our own records than anything else, but perhaps somebody thinking about RV'ing in southern Spain will also get some benefit from it.

And now that things are starting to slow down at the park, we're going to try to get back into our regular daily postings even though we still won't be actually traveling for another month or so.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Things are winding down...

There is still just over a month (actually 34 days, but who's counting!) to go for us here at the park this year, but things do seem to be winding down. The park is pretty empty this week, despite the nice weather.

That's typical for this time of year though. When harvest begins, most of the local clientele are back at work. And the Labor Day long weekend coming up is the last hurrah for the summer season but it will depend on the weather.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The day we met Sherman

I almost forgot! It was ten years ago today that we met Sherman.

On Sunday, August 19, 2007 we drove from Ottawa and crossed the United States border down to a little town near Albany, New York. About a five hour drive each way.

About two and a half weeks prior to that, we had made the rash decision to sell our house, quit our jobs, and buy a motorhome to travel North America for a couple of years!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Our route in Mexico this winter

We're sure excited about our return to Mexico this coming winter. I know, it's still over 4 months away and we've got a lot of stuff to show you in the meantime, including 19 days in Barbados and a six week RV trip through the U.S. to the Mexican border.

But what can I say? We're most excited about our return to Mexico!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A few decent wildlife photos around the park...

It was our friend Doug's last day here yesterday, and he wanted to take us out for lunch. There's a nice little cafe in the town of Cabri called "House of Heart" with good old fashioned home cooking. We've been there before, and it's a great little spot.

Fortunately, the park is pretty quiet during the week, so we were able to take an hour and a half and go in to town.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Back in business

When the pump when down yesterday morning, it was pouring rain. This is actually a good thing (not the timing, but the rain!) because the park has been under a fire ban for over a month now, and the steady morning rain was enough for the ban to be removed.

So the campers will now be happy that they can have campfires again!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Well, I was all set to do a blog post...

When someone called and said the water pump is down. I ran out (in the pouring rain) to see if it was something simple... but it's not.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What we chose for a new solar charge controller...

I showed you in our last post that our friend Doug had brought a new charge controller up from the states for Sherman's solar charging system. I wanted to expand on that a little bit and explain why I wanted a new one and why it is different from the one we had before.

Charge controllers are rated by the number of amps they can process to the batteries. In our case, we have 240 watts of solar panels that produce about 15.0 amps under ideal conditions.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lots of news!

On Tuesday, our friend Wendy arrived from Moose Jaw to visit for a couple of days. She and her husband were full time RVers for 22 years until he passed away 10 years ago. Now, she has a class B van that she takes on trips, but lives in an apartment in Moose Jaw.

She just brought her minivan with her to visit us though, and she's staying in our spare bedroom.

And, another visitor showed up yesterday!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A pretty successful weekend

Well, our last busy weekend of the season is over. Sure, there will be a few people around the park for the next couple of weekends, but we won't be sold out again this year like we were last weekend!

Plus, harvest is starting a little early this year because of the dry June and July. So most of our local clientele are out working the fields for the next month or so.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

You just have to give your head a shake

Here in the province of Saskatchewan, they have a great recycling program where almost all empty drink containers have a deposit on them. Juice boxes, all bottles and cans... virtually any kind of drink container. This way, none of it is tossed out the window of a car, and what is tossed out the window is soon picked up by someone who collects them for the deposit money.

Of course we collect a lot of those containers here at the park, and many people who camp here "donate" their recycling for the park to be able to collect the deposit.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Busy weekend coming up

Well, you may not hear from us much this weekend. The park is sold out, as it is every August long weekend up here in Canada. It's actually been sold out for almost three weeks now, and I'm still fielding about ten phone calls a day from people looking for a campsite.

We had about a half an inch of rain on Tuesday, but it wasn't enough to remove our fire ban which is instituted by the RM (Rural Municipality) that governs the area.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Google Assistant

In some ways, I am fairly familiar with computers and high tech stuff. In other ways, we're definitely a little behind the times.

For example, we didn't own a "smart" phone until our son donated his old iPhone 4s to us just over two years ago. And of course the iPhone 4s was ahead of it's time when it came out in 2011... but by mid 2015, the time we started using it, technology had already surpassed it.

Monday, July 31, 2017

July Expenses

Well here we are on the last day of July! Tomorrow, we'll be able to say "next month we're outta here!"...lol.

And we're not planning on spending any money today, so we might as well give you our July expense report.

It was a good July for us! We only spend $675 in total, and that included buying a brand new laptop! Wow!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

RV'ing in Newfoundland!

Canada's newest province is Newfoundland and Labrador. Often, the province is simply called Newfoundland although Labrador is part of the mainland and Newfoundland itself is an island. In fact, 92% of the provinces population live on the island of Newfoundland while 8% live in Labrador.

The entire area has a population of 528,000 people.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Parched

Last Sunday, the park was packed. It was a beautiful hot sunny day, with hardly any wind... perfect weather for getting the boat out on the lake... and that's exactly what people did. It was a zoo... hardly any parking spots and you almost couldn't make your way through the number of trucks and boat trailers that were parked out front.

Even at 9:00pm Sunday night when the concession usually closes, there was still a lineup of people trying to buy ice cream!

But by Monday, things had quieted right down. And yesterday was dead, despite the beautiful weather!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

RV Caravan trip to Mexico

Most of our regular readers will remember when we led an RV caravan group in Mexico for the month of February in 2016. That was a kind of a test run for us to be able to decide if we wanted to lead a longer caravan.

And, we did end up making a commitment to lead one this coming winter. I was talking with the organizer yesterday, and it turns out that you can still come with us if you like!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Drive to the Arctic Ocean

We have some campers visiting the park who are from Whitehorse, Yukon Territories. We had spoken on the phone when they made their reservations here, and I had mentioned how we wanted to drive up there in the motorhome someday.

She had offered to bring some tourist info down with them, and they were here this weekend.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nova Scotia

One of our favorite provinces in Canada is Nova Scotia. We've spent a fair bit of time there because our daughter and her husband Justin lived there for about 7 years and our grandson Cameron was born in Nova Scotia!

And Nova Scotia is a fantastic province to explore in the motorhome. Fabulous little coves and fishing villages, and easy boondocking.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Visitors, and a project almost finished...

Had an email a couple of weeks ago from blog reader Nancy and her husband Larry, a couple from Washington state who were coming through the area and wanted to stop in and say hi. Of course! We love getting visitors here at the park.

So Nancy and Larry arrived with their big diesel pusher motorhome... certainly one of the bigger rigs we've ever seen here...

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Prince Edward Island

I had tried to get our profile of Canada's different provinces and territories finished by Canada's 150th birthday celebration on July 1st, but it just didn't happen. Oh well... we're just going to continue and get it finished anyhow!

So next up is Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What's the least money you would have to spend to get a usable motorhome...?

I don't know what I was thinking that made me go on the kijiji website (similar to Craigslist, but here in Canada) looking at cheap motorhomes the other day. But it got us thinking... how little could you spend on an RV that would take you to South America?

Ever since we went to Colombia, we've thought about driving from Canada to the southernmost tip of Argentina and Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Monday, July 17, 2017

It almost seems too cheap...

When we go back to Ottawa at the end of September we'll need some transportation. So I've been checking the car rental prices, and came across a website that looks like it's going to pay off.

I had found a pretty good deal through Thrifty Car Rental. Including taxes, it was going to be $396 CAD ($315 USD) for three weeks. Not bad, and I booked it.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

It feels like a long weekend!

When I ordered a new laptop on Amazon Prime Day last Tuesday, the shipment said it would arrive on Monday the 17th. But I got the arrival notification on Friday morning so I headed in to the post office to pick it up before the weekend.

I've been using my old laptop as the office computer here since May, and it was getting to be a pain bringing it between the house and the office every time I wanted to do something.

Friday, July 14, 2017

We're past the half way point...

We're now into the second half of our summer work season. Yesterday was the official half way point. The next month will go by fairly quickly because the park is busy, and then things will start to quiet down as summer harvest will start in mid August and a lot of our clientele will be hard at work.

September typically drags for me, but we've got a few projects on the go here to keep us occupied during the last month of the season.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bought a new laptop!

Yesterday was Amazon Prime Day and like many of you I was in the market for a great deal. My current laptop is only about two and a half years old, but it was a cheap ($248 USD, $311 CAD) laptop when I bought it and the processing power isn't very good. It still works fine, but I was on the lookout for something that can keep up with today's technology a little better.

So when I saw that one was coming on sale for Prime Day up here in Canada, I made a point of getting up at 4:00am to buy it!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Ruth's brother's new trailer...

Pretty busy weekend here at the park. Not sold out, but busier than we expected it would be based on the reservations that came in May and June. Lots of last minute people calling to see if we have availability because the weather has been so good.

And, there are NO mosquitoes. Well, perhaps one or two. But compared to last year, there are none.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A project on the go...

A little project on the go here at the park. When things are busy, I can't go too far from the office area because I know it won't be long before my pager goes off telling me that there is someone waiting at the office. So Ruth had delegated me to do one of her landscaping projects nearby.

We had ordered a pallet of patio stones and they needed to be installed outside our main bathroom.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Surprise visitors!

We didn't have anybody scheduled to arrive here at the park yesterday, but of course we do get the occasionally unexpected arrival. And, of course they usually arrive right as we're sitting down to supper!

So yesterday as Ruth was putting supper on the table, I just happened to notice through the kitchen window that a trailer was driving up. So I headed out the door to meet them at the office.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Things are going pretty good so far...

Well, July 1st long weekend came and went and we're enjoying some beautiful hot summer weather here at the park this week... and into the foreseeable future!

Oh, I haven't mentioned our workcampers lately. Barry and Jeannie showed up here in mid June with their motorhome. They were readers of this blog, and applied to come and work with us when we advertised the opportunity last fall.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

June Expenses

Well, we were pretty much on track with expenses until we bought three new pairs of eyeglass. But, it had to be done. And, our grocery expenses were still above what they should be but we continue to believe (hope?) that things will average out in that department over the next three months.

So, we spent a total of $1,033 CAD ($800 USD) for the month of June. Here's how it all broke down...

Monday, July 3, 2017

Barbados update...

We told you a couple of weeks ago that we booked a trip to Barbados. We leave Ottawa October 25th for 19 days of island life in the sun. It's been a long time since we've been to the Caribbean, and we're really looking forward to relaxing and exploring the island.

But Barbados is fairly expensive, so in true Kevin and Ruth fashion I started looking for a deal. Fortunately, one thing in our favor is that we'll be there before busy season actually starts.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Canada Day at the Park

The day didn't start off great. Our water pump went down at some point overnight, and I spent most of the morning trying to fix it to no avail. I ended up calling our local specialist, and he came out on Canada Day to fix up our problem. Turns out the impellers inside the pump had broken and nothing I could have done was going to fix it without having the right parts. But I tried really hard because I didn't want to have to call him on a holiday.

Meanwhile, Ruth was going around supplying water to the toilets to flush them manually because we still had a park full of people to look after!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy 150th Birthday Canada!

Ruth and I were only about 5 years old when Canada celebrated its 100th birthday on July 1, 1967. So we don't really remember the big event. And so we had better enjoy this one because it's highly unlikely we'll be around to see Canada's 200th birthday in 2067!

Even at 150 years old, Canada is a relatively young country. And it almost didn't make it this far. Most recently, the independence of the province of Quebec has been an issue, and in 1995 there was a referendum in that province where the people voted on whether or not to become an independent nation.

Friday, June 30, 2017

We have been *really* busy...

Our regular readers may have noticed that we've skipped a few of our daily posts this month, and at other times when we have posted they have not been at our normal posting time, which is usually mid morning.

We've just been super busy here at the park getting things ready for our six week camping season. The time seems to just fly, and now here we are at the end of June and our busy period starts today!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Brunswick - Canada's only bilingual province

Canada is an officially bilingual country, but each province can choose whether or not to be provincially bilingual. Yes, it's all very complicated! There is only one province that has chosen to be officially bilingual, and that province is New Brunswick.

New Brunswick is a province that we haven't spent much time exploring. Much like Saskatchewan is a province that many people drive through while on their way west, New Brunswick is the province many people drive through to get to the east coast. And we are guilty of that as well!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Quebec - Canada's French speaking province

Continuing our series leading up to Canada's 150th birthday, we are now heading east to the province of Quebec.

Quebec has a population of 8.3 million, with most of the people living in and around the two major cities, Montreal, and Quebec City.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Rent out your RV...?

I saw a question posed on facebook the other day. It was asking people what they thought about the idea of renting out your own personal RV when you're not using it.

The responses were astoundingly negative. I mean, there must have been over 100 responses and they were all negative...

Except mine.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A new swim raft for the park!

A beautiful day yesterday and with quite a few campers in the park we recruited some of the guys to help out putting our new swim raft together. It's quite heavy duty, and it's huge! 16' x 16'.

It came in two sections that had to be bolted together, and of course it's heavy. So then you have to build it on a trailer of some sort so that you can put it in the water right side up.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

New glasses

Because we are so "frugal", we got to the point where we had to order new glasses for each of us. I was using three different pairs of glasses! One progressive, but the lenses were plastic and they got scuffed up easily over time. And one pair for working on the computer. And one pair for watching movies on the computer at a distance.

Ruth's glasses were still fine, but her prescription had changed. Then the other day, the glasses started coming apart. So it was time for some new ones for both of us!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A dramatic evening sky...

Wednesday is our grocery day, so we drove the 45 minutes each way to the town of Swift Current. We always have some running around to do for the park while we're there, and so besides getting groceries, yesterday's goal was to find some specialty stainless steel nuts and bolts to put our swim raft together.

We thought we were going to have to special order them, but the third place we checked had them in stock.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Why not do it now...?

I saw a blurb on facebook that said the Quebec couple who stopped in here back in early May while on a long distance canoe trip were interviewed on television in Winnipeg yesterday.

Pierre and Jennifer, along with their dog Jasmine, had been here at the park for a night and they were an interesting couple to talk to. In fact, we found we had a lot in common with them. Well, other than the fact that we don't do long distance canoe trips!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ontario - Yours to Discover

Continuing our series on Canada's different provinces and territories leading up to Canada's 150th birthday on July 1st. As we head east across Canada, we are now at the province of Ontario.

Ruth and I were both born in Ontario, so we've spent lots of time there. Mostly in and around Canada's capital city of Ottawa... but we've explored a lot of the rest of the province as well...

Sunday, June 18, 2017

We're booked for Barbados!

After humming and hawing for the morning, we finally decided to book the trip. As I had said yesterday, the airfare wasn't a screaming deal, but it was a decent deal. And, it was flying from Ottawa so we didn't have to make our own way to Montreal or Toronto.

And to top it off, it came out to be cheaper than we were expecting!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Barbados for two weeks?

Hmmm. A flight deal passed across my screen yesterday evening. $579 CAD ($440 USD) return from Ottawa to Bridgetown, Barbados.

We've got about three weeks in the October/November time frame where we're looking for a trip. We haven't been to anywhere in the Caribbean for a very long time. The flight deal happens to be through Air Canada, and of course we've got those travel vouchers to use up at some point. Our out of pocket costs for the return flight would end up being $142 CAD ($110 USD) each for the round trip flight.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The water is rising

The water level of the lake here at the park is dependent on the runoff from the snow melt in the Rocky Mountains west of Calgary. They had a fair bit of snow this past winter, and we are now getting the benefit of that. The last two years our water level has been low, but this year is going to be different!

We have a marina area that hasn't been usable since our first year here in 2014, so it will be nice to see it full again.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Manitoba - Fishing, Hunting, and Polar Bears!

Continuing our series on Canada's different provinces and territories in celebration of Canada's 150th birthday coming up on July 1st.

Manitoba is geographically the middle province. It's more often than not considered part of western Canada though. With a population of around 1.3 million, it has only slightly more people than its neighbour Saskatchewan.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The White Towns of Andalusia, Spain

This past winter while we were RVing in Spain we came across many towns and villages that were all painted white, they are known as "White Towns". These towns are mostly found in the region of Andalusia in the southern portion of Spain and they are usually found in the mountains.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pics around the park

Pretty quiet weekend here at Cabri Park, despite the fact that it wasn't bad weather-wise. But, we were told that there were quite a few events taking place in the area, so perhaps people were just busy with other things.

Reservations are on the upswing though. Not many sites left for August long weekend, but of course we will be pretty much sold out for that period, as happens every year.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Well, I heard back from Air Canada

In case you missed our earlier story about Air Canada, you can read all about it here...

http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2017/06/we-tried-to-book-flight-to-china-this.html

Anyhow, I had sent a formal complaint by email to Air Canada. This is the only avenue available to you to register a complaint. You cannot actually speak to someone on the telephone, other than a standard customer service agent. And if that customer service agent can't fix your problem, they will tell you to register a complaint online.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saskatchewan - Land of the Living Skies

Next up in our series leading up to Canada's 150th birthday is the province of Saskatchewan. Also known as... the province you have to drive through to get to Alberta.

Most people driving across Canada don't spend much time in Saskatchewan. The province is overlooked because the Trans Canada highway crosses in an area where there is not much to see. And instead of getting off the main highway to see some sights, people simply carry on and only see the worst the province has to offer.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Rodent problems

We're fortunate to have central air conditioning in the old mobile home that we live in here at the park. It sure does make things a little more comfortable when the temperature gets up over 28C (81F) or so. Although, we never had air conditioning at home, so we know that we could get by without it if we had to.

Good thing, because we thought we were going to have to get by without it.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

RV Tire Pressure

Man, there's a lot of bad information being distributed on the internet. Yesterday, Ruth was reading one of the RV'ing groups that we belong to on facebook and they were talking about tire pressure.

The question was "Do you inflate your tires to what it says on the tire, or what it says on the vehicle?"

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Home on the range

Where the deer and the antelope play.

Ruth went to pick up some flowers for gardens that she has made here at the park, and along the way she saw a few pronghorn antelope. There are quite a few of them in this area here on the prairies, and it's funny how we occasionally see deer in and around the park, but the pronghorn seem to stay up on the flat parts.

Monday, June 5, 2017

We tried to book a flight to China this morning...

I was all set to write the blog post this morning when I saw a flash up on my facebook notifications....

Montreal to Shanghai, China for $683 CAD ($515 USD) return on Air Canada.

For some reason, at the time I thought it said $638 return, but it was a great deal nonetheless. Anyhow, we have those two Air Canada flight vouchers from when we got bumped on our way out to Regina at the end of April, so we thought about it for a couple of hours and then decided to book.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

At some point, we want to do something epic...

Meeting a couple of guys like Mike and David makes us want to get out there and do more neat stuff. As much as some of you think that we are fairly adventurous, our activities pale in comparison when we see what other people are doing. I mean really, can you imagine what it takes to paddle a canoe across Canada? We have no ambition to do that. The same way that we have no ambition to climb Mt. Everest.

But, there are some things we'd like to do. Something epic... something that makes people say "wow" when you tell them what you did.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A moose on the loose!

Lots of fun having Mike Ranta and his dog Spitzi here at the park yesterday. And meeting photojournalist David Jackson was interesting as well. He is traveling with Mike and Spitzi and documenting their journey.

Yesterday morning, Mike was scheduled to do a talk at the long term care residence in Cabri, so Ruth and I took some time out of our busy schedule to go up and listen to him and what he has to say.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Some special visitors arrived yesterday...

Last year in May, long distance canoer Mike Ranta and his dog Spitzi arrived at the park on their 200 day journey across Canada.

He's doing the trip again in celebration of Canada's 150th birthday and we were pleased that he decided to stop in and spend some time with us again this year. And, he's got a traveling companion with him this time. Professional photojournalist David Jackson is doing the entire trip with him and documenting their journey with some fantastic photos!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

May Expenses

Well, I had to go back into our 10 years of budget history to see the most we ever spent on groceries in a month. Because we certainly broke that record last month!

We remain convinced that it will even itself out over the next four months (yes, we are 1/5 of the way through our time here already!), or at least we're hoping that it will.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Alberta - Wild Rose Country

Next up in our series celebrating Canada's 150th birthday is the province of Alberta.

This province has a population of about 4.1 million people, most of them living in and around the two major cities, Calgary and Edmonton. Alberta has an oil based economy and is the largest producer of conventional crude oil, synthetic crude, natural gas and gas products in Canada. Alberta is the world’s second largest exporter of natural gas and the fourth largest producer of natural gas.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The older you get, the more difficult it is...

While that sentence applies to a lot of things, this particular time I'm talking about learning a new language.

When we were kids here in Canada, we took French in school. But it was very basic. I think we got 20 minutes per day (or something like that) in grades 1 through 8, and that increased to 40 minutes per day in high school.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

It's nearly impossible to keep clean...

I've always been really good at keeping a clean car. Washed, vacuumed, and with crystal clear glass. But the little blue car has been neglected the last couple of years because it's so impossible to keep it clean living here. And it's frustrating.

I had given it a quick clean up when we parked it last September, but when we arrived here at the end of April and got it fired up, it had a nasty smell in it.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beautiful British Columbia

That's what it says on the vehicle licence plates issued by the Canadian province of British Columbia. And it's true! British Columbia (or simply "B.C." as it's called by many Canadians) is a beautiful province.

Home to 4.7 million people, British Columbia is the 5th largest province by area, and the 3rd most populated province. Over half of the population is in the area around the city of Vancouver.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

It was a blustery day!

Well, just an update about what's been going on around the park. We had a decent Canadian May long weekend. Quite a few of the seasonal campers moved their trailers in for the summer, and the weather was good for this time of year. We only had three or four day to day campers come in, but that's typical. Our park is usually fairly quiet until the water level in the lake rises.

Haven't seen our owls again. Haven't even seen remains of what they've been eating, which we usually do.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A lesson in modern farming

Our regular readers will remember last fall when we had a lesson in modern harvesting when the crop was ready to be taken off the field. At the time, we got to ride along in a high tech combine and we learned a little about farming.

Yesterday, we were invited to learn a little about what farmers are busy doing at this time of year... planting the crops. Or, simply called "seeding"...

Monday, May 22, 2017

Canada's 150th Birthday

This is a big year in Canada, with lots going on in celebration of the country's 150th birthday. So over the next few weeks leading up to the big day on July 1st, we're going to be talking a lot about Canada.

There are 10 provinces and 3 northern territories that make up Canada.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday morning pancakes

Actually, they are "weekend" pancakes for us, because we only happen to be having them this morning. So while they are Sunday morning pancakes today, they could just as easily be Saturday lunch pancakes next weekend!

Ruth and I have a bit of a tradition with weekend pancakes. As well, we do weekend bacon and eggs!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Great RV and Camping Deals

As you know, we love a great deal. In fact, who doesn't love a great deal? Even people with lots of money love to get a great deal. That could even be how they got to have lots of money! After all, they say that a penny saved is a penny earned.

Most of our regular readers know that I'm pretty good at finding great deals.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Opening day!

Well, it's opening day for most campgrounds here in Canada. Monday is "Victoria Day" so it's a holiday long weekend up here in the great white north. Americans have to wait another week yet for their "Memorial Day" May long weekend.

But things are not so white up here any more! Mostly very green. And they're calling for a beautiful weekend with sunshine and highs around 21C (70F) for the next four days.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

We found our baby owl...

Late Tuesday afternoon, our summer employee Kevin was cutting some grass in one section of the park and he spotted our baby owl! We came and had a look, and sure enough, there it was sitting against the bushes. We were so happy to see it alive and well.

We had seen the mom in the same area, so she's definitely looking after it and making sure it's fed. After dinner, we decided to go move it and put it in a nearby tree. So we grabbed the camera and went to see how it was doing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Our three favorite places in Mexico

We've been to 29 of the 31 states in Mexico. We're still missing Hidalgo and Tlaxcala. And while there are many places that we like in Mexico, there are three places have become our favorites. These are not normal Mexican vacation spots.

You'll notice that places like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun don't make the list of our top three!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Casino Camping

Back on October 17, 2007, on only our second night in our motorhome, we woke up in the Sudbury Casino parking lot. No, it's not because we drank too much, or because the engine wouldn't start. We had actually asked if we could overnight in their parking lot.

At the time, and even today, many RV'ers will overnight in parking lots if they're in transit. Walmart parking lots are somewhat famous for this activity, however we've always found that there are better options.

Casino camping is one such better option!

Monday, May 15, 2017

This mom is going to be busy!

Well, we're more than a little disappointed to say that there has been no sign of our little baby owl. Yesterday, Ruth saw both the mom and the dad in nearby trees. This is rare, because we hardly ever see them at the same time. Usually the dad is off doing... well... dad things. But, haven't caught sight of the baby. We're still hopeful that it's safe and sound stashed away somewhere.

Sitting here this morning, and we saw a deer come wandering into the bush beside our house trailer.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Camping in Europe

I've been meaning to do this post for a while now, simply so that we have a record of the following resources that we used while we were camping in Europe for two months. We will definitely be going back to Europe at some point to do some more RV travel. The best way to see Europe is in a campervan!

In fact, we might even buy an RV to use in Europe.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

No more owls...?

The strong east wind never let up yesterday at all. It was a pretty constant 40 km/h (25 mph) all day, and right through the night. Remember yesterday I had said we were amazed that our owl nest stayed up in that tree?

Well I guess I spoke too soon...

Friday, May 12, 2017

33 years and the adventure continues!

It was 33 years ago today that we were standing in a small church in Galetta, Ontario saying "I do"!

We were only 22 years old at the time. Seems awfully young to be getting married, doesn't it? Especially since we had only known each other for 14 months or so! But, some things were meant to be, and here we are still carrying on.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Even the packaging is impressive!

We did a lot of flying this past winter, and we were offered the opportunity to try out a top quality set of earbud headphones so that we could enjoy a premium listening experience while watching the in flight entertainment systems on the various aircraft.

The Swedish brand Sudio sent us each one pair of their top quality earphones. Ruth chose the blue ones, and I chose the black ones!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

How to save money grocery shopping!

We are having a bit of sticker price shock here in Saskatchewan. It's only May 10th, and we have already spent over $600 on groceries this month. Partly because we didn't have the motorhome with us and so we arrived to totally empty cupboards and a totally empty refrigerator.

So there was some stocking up to be done.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Booked another flight ticket!

This time, it's for our return flight back to Ottawa at the end of September. Of course we have those $800 each travel vouchers from our Air Canada flight bump experience a couple of weeks ago. But just because they were given to us doesn't mean we would squander them.

So yesterday I saw that the Regina To Ottawa flight had dropped from $323 CAD to $191 CAD. To put that in perspective, we had paid $235 CAD each for our flight from Ottawa to Regina a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, May 8, 2017

I should have been a plumber...

We noticed yesterday that the drain under the kitchen sink was dripping. It's a double sink, and the dishwasher hooks into the same drain. It was only a small drip, but it wasn't going to get better on it's own!

Turns out the seal between the drain pipe and the sink itself was broken and it needs a new pipe. After taking it apart it wouldn't go back together, so of course now we can't use the dishwasher. But fortunately we can still use the second sink but we have to be careful and drain it slowly.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

How to do a motorhome exchange

In the summer of 2016, we gave our motorhome to strangers from Europe to use here in North America for two months. Just imagine that. People we had never met before were going to be using our motorhome. And they were going to be using it for free.

However... a few months later, the tables were turned. We went to Spain and used their motorhome for two months! For free. All of a sudden, this is looking like a pretty good deal!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

You can almost watch the leaves opening up!

Ruth was busy all day yesterday doing leaf clean-up. Hard work when it's this warm. The temperature got up to 30C (86F) yesterday, but there is no humidity at all, and there was a breeze all day as well. Supposed to be warm again today, then back to normal with highs of around 20C (68F) and sunny all next week.

Perfect weather.

Friday, May 5, 2017

We have another baby!

A baby great horned owl, that is!

After 5 days of watching mom owl in her nest, we have finally caught sight of the baby. There had been no indication at all that there was a baby there yet, except that mom was spending an awfully lot of time in the nest, and I had found some broken egg shell directly below the nest.

But, it's definitely the latest in the season so far compared to past years.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Park clean-up has started!

Kevin is working in the office this morning taking reservations.  Today is the first day and it is always non stop for about 4 hours so today you are getting a rare post from me, Ruth!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Where we live at Cabri Park

The guy who normally looks after our water pump here at the park came and had a look at the water leak under the house trailer. He crawled under there and started poking around and he got lucky! The first place he started looking, he found the leak. And he had a bunch of fittings with him and was able to fix it right away. I had been under there four or five times without any luck, and this guy comes in and makes it look easy!

Well, he's our hero of the day. So, the place is livable again and we can use the washing machine, dishwasher, and shower! Good news!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

April Expenses

We spent a lot of money in April!

Total expenses came to $2,993 CAD ($2,250 USD).  I checked back through the records, and April is always an expensive month for us because we're often returning to Canada at that time of year. This year was the highest yet though, because there was a lot of flying involved. Plus, we were a couple of weeks in Ottawa and we always seem to spend more money there than when we're traveling!

Here's how it all broke down...

Monday, May 1, 2017

Something we don't see every day at the park...

Well, I was not very successful with repairing the water leak underneath the house trailer. I was under there four or five times, and there's not a lot of room!

There is a tarp type of material holding in the fiberglass insulation under the floor. You have to cut that away to get at any of the pipes, and of course where the water is coming out is not necessarily where the actual leak is.

And, did I mention there's not a lot of room?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Back at Cabri Regional Park

Said goodbye to Wendy and Phil in Moose Jaw yesterday morning (thanks again guys!) and we were on the road yesterday morning just after 9:00am.

Not much in the way of traffic. Just put the cruise control on and drove. Made it to Swift Current around 11:00am and we headed straight to the Salvation Army Thrift store!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Back to the Prairies

Up bright and early yesterday morning at 5:00am. Had to be downstairs at the Radisson Hotel Toronto airport for the shuttle bus at 6:00am. Got to the airport and through security and to the gate with lots of time to spare for our 8:00am flight.

It's a good thing airports have finally figured out how important it is for them to supply free wifi to people in the terminal. We've been in 10 different airports so far this year alone, and they have all had fast free wifi.

Friday, April 28, 2017

There wasn't any kicking and screaming from us!

Well, this was an interesting day!

Let me back up to Wednesday morning when we were first able to "check in" online for our 9:00am Thursday flights from Ottawa to Toronto and Toronto to Regina. At that time, our seat assignments for the first flight from Ottawa to Toronto came up normally. We had seats side by side and on a larger jet that had economy seating three rows on each side with an aisle in the middle.

But on the Toronto to Regina leg of the trip, I noticed that things seemed abnormally "full". In fact, when the system tried to assign seats, it put Ruth in an upgraded seating section with no extra charge, and me in a single seat in the economy section at the rear of the plane.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Back in the air again!

Sitting here in busy Toronto airport, waiting for our flight to Regina, Saskatchewan. We weren't supposed to be here this early. Our flight from Ottawa was scheduled to leave at 9:00am, but there was another flight at 8:00am, and they asked if anybody would volunteer to leave early. Okay!

Then, we sat on the plane for an extra 45 minutes because they are repairing a runway in Toronto and the arrivals had to be scheduled... or something like that! Can't win. But, we don't care and it's out of our control anyhow. It's all part of travel.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What's on the agenda for next winter?

Did some work around Ruth's dad's house yesterday. Ruth did some yardwork while I took off the winter tires and rims on his vehicle and installed the summer ones.

In the afternoon, I went for lunch with an old friend of mine who used to be my accountant partner when I owned the auto body repair shop many years ago. Nice to catch up since I hadn't seen him in about two years.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Do you remember Expo 67?

Our daughter Lindsey lent us her car, and we drove up to Ruth's dad's yesterday. On the way, we stopped at a Walmart to pick up a few things. One of those things was a new battery for one of Lindsey's key fobs. These new cars don't have an ignition key. Simply a thing (called a fob) that hangs from your key chain, and so long as it's in the car, the car will start with the push of a button.

But, these fobs won't work when the tiny battery in them goes dead.

Monday, April 24, 2017

What have we been up to...

We finally had a nice spring day. Yesterday was up to about 20C (68F) and mostly sunny although there was a bit of a wind. You can tell that winter is over in this part of the world, but April in Ottawa is a bit of a wildcard. Sunny again today, but only a high of 11C (52F).

Saturday morning, Ruth and I took our grandson Cameron out for his birthday.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Another update from our friends Volkan and Heather

It's been a while since we've had a guest post from our friends Volkan and Heather. They had sent us an update on their travels while we were away in Europe, but we never got around to publishing it for you.

They recently spent some time in New Zealand and wrote to tell us about it...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What does it cost for five months of travel in Europe?

Well, it's not as much as you might think.

We spent $14,000 CAD ($10,800 USD) for the six month period between November 1st and now. An average of $2,333 ($1,800 USD) per month. That includes all flights as well as our return trip back to Canada at Christmas time.

That total also includes all of our expenses, because that's the only way that it's meaningful to anybody. It even includes our new Samsung smartphone. Yep. Everything.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Too many rules!

We've just been spending time with our daughter's family these last few days. Grandson Cameron (6) is in grade one, so he's gone to school all day. So granddaughter Sadie gets a lot of our time.

She sure is a character!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Could we live there?

Well, we sure did have an interesting winter, didn't we?

Certainly not a "normal" winter for us. Sherman the motorhome remains parked up here at our daughter's house where he has been since last October. And he'll be sitting here for a while yet because we have no plans to move him until October of this year!

And, we have now visited 33 different countries. We've been in 12 different countries in the last six months alone! Wow!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Body Bark

A company we had never heard of sent us a couple of t-shirts last Christmas. They simply asked us to try them out, and write about them if we liked them.

We're always willing to offer our opinion, especially on a product that can be related to our travels. And most of you know that we travel very light. So when we did some research about this lightweight, comfortable, easy to wash and dry clothing, we took them up on the idea!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Not a bad deal on a Canadian SIM card...

On the way up to Ruth's dad's place yesterday, we stopped at the off leash dog park. This is a really popular place for dogs to be running around loose and playing with other dogs. I'm pretty sure that many people come here every day to give themselves and their pups some exercise.

It was a little chilly, but after all it is only mid April...and we are in Canada!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Introducing...Chester!

A bit late getting started this morning! We wanted to come up to Ruth's dad's place fairly early for Easter Monday, so today's blog post had to wait until we got up here.

Our daughter Lindsey and son in law Justin had a spa gift card from his work that they wanted to use up, so they took advantage of the fact that Grandma and Grandpa are now here visiting. And that was fine with us, so we spent the day looking after Cameron (6) and Sadie (3 1/2), Boy, they sure are growing!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Back in the motorhome!

Yes, we slept in our motorhome last night! Felt great to be back in our own bed again, even if it's only for a few nights.

It was a long travel day yesterday as we flew from Barcelona, Spain to Montreal, Canada and then Montreal to Ottawa.

Here's the whole story...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

One night in Barcelona

We were up at 5:00am Friday morning! Probably could have slept until 5:30am, but this way we didn't have to feel rushed. We were outside at the corner waiting for our pre arranged taxi driver at exactly 6:30am.

But he wasn't there!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Getting ready to go home...

Writing this Thursday evening because we will be up at 5:30am Friday to get on our 8:30am flight from Tangier to Barcelona. Then one night in Barcelona, and Saturday we fly back to Canada!

We had booked the overseas flight a long time ago...back in early September of last year! So I wasn't really paying attention at the time that April 15th was in the middle of Easter weekend. And that Easter holidays are a big deal in Spain.

We had a very successful day!

We planned an afternoon trip from Tangier to Tetouan, a small city near the east coast here in northern Morocco. But first, we had to figure out how to get there. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a whole lot of detail online, so I'm going to include those details here for the benefit of future travelers.

Unless you hire an expensive guide and private driver, there are only two choices of transportation... the bus, or what they call a "grand" taxi"!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A good hike, but with some obstacles...

Another beautiful day here in Tangier, Morocco. So we decided to go for a hike. We had wanted to take a coastal trail all the way to the Cap Spartel lighthouse that looks out over the Atlantic Ocean, a distance of about 12 kms (7.5 miles), and then take a taxi back home.

But we encountered a few obstacles!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I'll bet not many Americans know about this...

We had planned to do a couple of day trips during our four full days here in Tangier. But so far, we haven't got any ambition to sit on a bus for any length of time. One of the day trips we had planned is to the popular "blue town" of Chefchaouen, or simply "Chaouen" as the locals call it. But it's 3 hours each way by bus! Apparently it's slightly quicker in a collectivo van, but we're still not ambitious.

Another is to the beach town of Asilah. It's only an hour bus ride away, so we may still do that.

Anyhow, yesterday we just wandered around Tangier. There are a few interesting things to see here, and we managed to (almost) match up a couple of my dad's photos from his visit here in 1954.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Made it to Tangier, Morocco!

We didn't have to rush yesterday morning because our train wasn't scheduled to leave until 12:30pm. And so we finally got caught up on our blog posting and photo editing from our three days away in the desert without internet.

We said goodbye to our AirBnb hosts Jamila and Mohammed. They were really good hosts and we're glad we found a common ground communicating in Spanish. That wouldn't be the case with our next host!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Exploring Rabat, the capital city of Morocco

We planned a long walking tour of Rabat, leaving from our AirBnb apartment at just before noon. Clear blue sky all day, with a high around 28C (82F).

First stop was the nearby train station where we bought two more rail tickets for Sunday. We fly out of Tangier next Friday, so we decided to head directly there for five nights and do some day trips from Tangier.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Marrakesh to Rabat train ride

This is the second post for today as we get ourselves up to date. If you missed it, you can go back and read the earlier post here.

We were up and out by 9:15am Friday morning and on our way walking to the Marrakesh train station. We had tickets for the 10:45am train to Rabat.

Avoid the Marrakesh street food market!

Still getting caught up on our blog posts after our three day desert tour. So this post details our day on Thursday the 6th.

We stayed in the room all morning, getting caught up on internet and sorting through photos. You have to take a down day every now and again, and we were certainly due for one. But, we had to get to the train station to buy our tickets for Friday so we were going to have to get out and do that.

Besides, we just can't sit around doing nothing!

Friday, April 7, 2017

We were dreading the long ride back

This is the third and final post regarding our Sahara Desert camel excursion.

We were up right at 6:00am as the desert guide had told us. They had said to get up, watch the sunrise, and then we would be hopping on the camels and returning to where the van was and having breakfast.

We climbed the big sand dune and watched the horizon for the sun to appear. And then we heard a voice yelling at us.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Camel riding in the Sahara Desert!

This is the second post of the day as we're catching up from our three days without internet. So you might want to start with the earlier post if you don't want to miss anything. You can access it here.

We were up bright and early Tuesday morning and arrived at breakfast right on time. Apparently breakfast in Morocco is typically bread, crepes, two different types of jam, and tea and coffee. Oh, and olives.

This tour reminded us of why we don't do group tours!

Well, that was a pretty wild three days. As always, we're going to write  it up as three separate daily blog posts, so if you're just reading this one now... stay tuned because another one will be posted later today! Hopefully we'll be all caught up and back on schedule by tomorrow.

Okay, so we had booked a 3 day 2 night group tour to the Sahara Desert. We don't often do group tours because we like to make our own schedule. And we haven't done a group tour since we were in Iceland in the fall of 2012.

This tour reminded us of why we don't do group tours!

Monday, April 3, 2017

You may not hear from us for a couple of days...

We're up early this morning because we're heading out into the desert for a three day/two night getaway. No idea what kind of cell service we'll have where we're going, so you may not hear from us for a couple of days. I'll try and do up a blog post when we can, and worst case scenario you'll hear all about it when we return on Wednesday evening.

But, we still have to tell you about our day yesterday!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

March Expenses

Wow. March was a great month, wasn't it?? We were in six different countries... Spain, Italy, San Marino, Monaco, France, and Morocco!

We had a fantastic time, and we pretty much did it exactly as we wanted to. But, it came at a price. Definitely one of our higher months for expenses. Italy is certainly not as cheap as Spain! We spent a total of $2,448 CAD ($1,836 USD) for the month.

(The following figures are all in Canadian dollars. For U.S. dollar equivalent, you can subtract about 25%.)

We like to try and blend in...

Many women in Morocco wear a head scarf...or a "hijab" as it is called in Arabic. Hijab is actually just the Arabic word for "cover". It's a tradition related to the Muslim religion, and it essentially is a means of displaying modesty.

I say many women, because while Morocco is a Muslim country, it is not an Islamic country. There is no law here saying that women have to wear a hijab, and it is not necessarily expected. While in Islamic countries (such as Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran) it is a different story.

And so here in Morocco, many women do not wear a hijab. It is a personal choice.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Every few steps there is something interesting to see...

We were sitting having our morning tea and hot chocolate (no, we don't drink coffee) when our host Marco came downstairs and offered to take us out  for breakfast. Sure, we're up for that thanks! We explained about our gluten intolerance, and he said he would do his best to ask about the ingredients.

And off we went on the busy inner streets of Marrakesh.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Why don't we just walk to the airport?

"Well, because people will think we are truly nuts!", says Ruth.

After all, who walks to the airport with their bags? Especially when it's 9 kms (5.6 miles) away. Apparently we do.

From where we were staying, I figured it was a 9 km walk. And either downhill or level the entire way. And, it was a beautiful day and most of the walk was on a paved path that follows the beach in Nice, France.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Monaco...country #32 for us!

If you're staying in Nice, you can't help but want to visit Monaco...the second smallest country in the world. And fortunately, there's a very inexpensive bus service from Nice to Monaco.

So yesterday morning we walked the 2.5 kms from our apartment down to the bus stop at La Port. Buses leave for Monaco every 15 minutes and cost only €1.50 ($2.20 CAD, $1.70 USD) for the 20 km (12 mile), 40 minute trip.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

We made it to France!

I can't believe it took us 55 years to make it to France! Country #31 for us. Now, we're only going to see a tiny corner of the country so we'll have to make it back for more at some point. But at least we're here!

The day started off in Savona, Italy. Our train didn't leave until 1:30pm, so we did some computer time and then went for a walk along the waterfront in Savona.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

We finally managed to have pizza in Italy!

Travel days are always interesting. You just never know how smoothly things are going to go! And we had quite a lot to accomplish. First, we had to return our little red rental car. We had picked it up at Bergamo airport exactly two weeks ago at 10:00am, so we needed to return it by 10:00am.

And that meant getting an early start.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Crawling across the top of the hiking trail...

First on the agenda yesterday was to get down to the main grocery store in the nearest large town about 4 kms away. We were originally planning on walking down, but with the time change here in Italy early Sunday morning, we were late getting started. The grocery store  closes at 12:30pm on Sunday, so we packed a  lunch and hopped in the car to make that our first stop.

When we had come through this town on Saturday, it was the middle of the afternoon and things were very quiet. So we were surprised to find it very busy, and we even had a hard time finding a parking spot.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

It is definitely spring in northern Italy...

Well, our time in Europe is quickly coming to an end. We fly on Thursday from Nice, France to Morocco...Northern Africa. So we're making our way towards Nice. But first, we have to drop off our rental car Monday morning at Bergamo airport. So I found us a place to stay about half way to Bergamo.

So we did that drive yesterday. And we could have taken the toll road almost the whole way. But the more direct route was through the mountains on a narrow curvy road! That sounds much more interesting, doesn't it??

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Walled City of Lucca

With a decent weather forecast for the day, we headed off down the mountain to go to both Pisa and Lucca. We decided to take the toll road, figuring that it wouldn't be too expensive. Plus, we had a lot to see at our destinations so didn't want to waste our day driving.

When we got off the toll road after a distance of 70 kms (42 miles) and the bill was €8.30 ($12.20 CAD, $9.00 USD). Hmm. Expensive enough!

Friday, March 24, 2017

More travel plans confirmed

We woke up yesterday morning to rain...buckets of rain. It was pouring! And the rain continued on and off all morning. So we stayed put and got caught up on some internet stuff. In fact, it's quite a lot of work planning our onward travels, and so it has to get done sometime.

It might as well have been yesterday. We've now got all of our accommodation booked right up until and including our March 30th to April 3rd stay in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Castles and Yachts

We set out yesterday morning with plans to go to both Lucca and Pisa. But we got a bit of a late start. It was just after 10:30am when we set off down the hill. We got to the valley where the road heads to Brugnato, and sure enough, the "road closed" sign was still there.

So, just like we had to detour the day before, we now had another long detour to contend with.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Detour!

After our long hike on Monday, we were pretty happy just relaxing indoors yesterday morning. Besides, the weatherman was once again wrong, and the sun didn't look ready to make an appearance. So it's not like we were missing a beautiful day.

But we just can't laze around all day, so after lunch we decided to go into the nearby town of Brugnato (pop 1,270) to pick up a few supplies and just wander around.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A long day at Cinque Terre National Park

We had been waiting for a nice sunny day to do the popular hiking trails along the coastline in Italy's Cinque Terre National Park. It had looked like either Monday or Tuesday was supposed to be half decent, because they are forecasting clouds and rain after that.

So we set off at about 8:20am to do the 50 minute drive down the mountain to the coast.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hiking up in the clouds

We like this area so much that we've extended our stay. We were supposed to leave this coming Thursday, but now we're here the whole week. We'll move on Saturday the 25th.

One of the things we like here is the number of different walks we can do right from the village itself.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Grocery shopping in Italy

We woke up yesterday morning to a heavy wet fog. Quite a change from all the sunshine we've been enjoying for the last several days. The forecast said it was supposed to burn off within a couple of hours, but by 11:00am we still felt like we were up in the clouds,

So we decided to go into the city of La Spezia (pop 95,000) and do some stocking up on groceries and maybe have a walk along the waterfront.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

We're pretty sure the whole village must know about us by now!

We love to travel, but moving around all the time can get tedious. So we were really looking forward to staying in one spot for a whole week. And yesterday morning, we did nothing but relax indoors, despite the fact that it was a gorgeous day and we really should have been outside doing something.

We made up for it in the afternoon though!

Friday, March 17, 2017

After yesterday, we are not in the mood to drive anywhere!

Yesterday was a pretty busy day, mostly because of the long drive we did. And driving in Italy is not what you'd call relaxing. By the time we arrived at our destination, I felt like I had just finished a NASCAR race!

We were driving from Rimini to the mountains near La Spezia. Clear across the country! We drove right by Florence, and didn't even stop. Who does that?? But the problem is, there is so much to see in Italy that we have to pick and choose what it is that we want to see. Especially when we only have just under three weeks.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Welcome to the Ancient Land of the Free

The Republic of San Marino is the 5th smallest country in the world. It is only 24 sq miles in area, and has a population of under 35,000 people.

An official Republic since 1600, San Marino remains the oldest constitutional republic in the world, almost twice as old as the second place United States. It's been an independent neutral country since the year 301 when it was founded! And, it's a really fascinating place to visit!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Long driving day!

We left our Airbnb host Fernando at 8:00am when he was ready to leave for work. We had a long driving day ahead, so we didn't mind getting an early start.

We were driving from Bergamo to Rimini...a distance of 335 kms (208 miles). Definitely a long day for us, but even longer because we wanted to stay off the toll highways.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

I drive like I'm in a Ferrari...

First order of business yesterday was to get us some wheels. I had booked a super cheap car rental, but we had to go to Bergamo airport to pick it up. We were prepared to take the bus to get to our 10:00am appointment, but our Airbnb host Fernando insisted on driving us.

I booked the car through a rental car reseller...in this case, www.economybookings.com. They don't have a good reputation because they are very strict on the rules when you book. And, you have to pay in advance and there are fees if you cancel.

But, if you follow the rules, and you don't need to cancel,...you can get a great deal!

Monday, March 13, 2017

When in Rome...

We haven't had a "do nothing" day in almost three weeks. And even on our last "do nothing" day, we had still gone for a walk. So, after trekking more than 24 kms (15 miles) in the previous two days, we both agreed that yesterday would be a day of rest.

So we stayed in for the morning and had some computer time and reading. The computer time was productive though, in that I got some more of our future travel plans set into place.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

We thought we were going to Milan!

When we first started looking at visiting Italy, our place of arrival was determined by cheap airfare! The flight to get here from Alicante, Spain was on sale, and I booked it without doing much research. In fact, we originally thought we were coming to Milan. The airport was listed on the Ryanair website as Milan (BGY).

So based on that, you'd think you would be flying into Milan, wouldn't you? But, you'd be wrong!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Great first day in Italy!

We woke up yesterday morning to a clean blue sky, sunshine, and warmer than normal temperatures. It's usually a high of around 16C (61F) at this time of year in Bergamo, and they were calling for a high of 22C (72F).

So it didn't take long for us to decide we were going for a hike up the mountain behind us!

Friday, March 10, 2017

We made it to Italy!

We left the apartment in Alicante at about 10:50am. The bus stop for the airport was only a 10 minute walk away, and a bus comes by every 20 minutes. We arrived at the bus stop, and the electronic sign said the airport bus would be there in one minute! Perfect timing!

Sure enough, the bus came by and we paid €3.85 ($5.60 CAD, $4.20 USD) each for the half hour ride to the airport.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Enjoying our last full day in Spain.

I took advantage of our good unlimited internet here in Alicante to do some onward travel planning. We don't tend to book very much in advance, but one of the places we're wanting to visit in Italy is the area in and around Cinque Terre National Park and the five villages that exist on that rugged coastline there. As well, of course, as the hiking trails that link those five villages together.

It's a popular tourist destination, and so I figured I'd better get something booked for us. And because it's popular, it's also quite a bit more expensive!