Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Maple Creek, Saskatchewan

Tuesday October 30...8:00pm

Got up this morning to the motion of Sherman rocking back and forth in the wind. Not that cold though. We think it only went down to about 5 last night, so we were comfortable without having to put our newly repaired furnace on. But the wind was
really bad...they were saying gusts of over 50 km/h, which is not bad when you're driving a car, but taking Sherman across the prairies in that kind of wind is like setting sail...and the entire motorhome is the sail!

We went and wandered a nearby shopping mall as I am looking for a more efficient way of keeping the power going to the laptop. The battery from full charge is expired in about 2 ½ hours...but then we can't recharge it unless we are actually driving, or we put the generator on. The power to the inverter has to be above 11.3v or the inverter just cuts out. And with the inverter hooked up to the laptop it draws enough power that the battery drains to the 11.3v level in no time. We used the inverter to power the separate speakers while watching a movie, and it works just fine. So it's the amount of power the laptop needs that seems to be the problem. So what I was thinking is that there must be some kind of alternate power supply that would hook directly to a 12v battery and then straight to the 19v required by the laptop. So eliminating the power needed by the inverter. Went to "The Source" and the guy said he knew what I meant, but they didn't have a suitable product because every laptop is a little different. I think we'll have to wait until Medicine Hat or Lethbridge and find a Future Shop or a Best Buy. But there has got to be a better way. A fully charged car battery should be able to run the laptop for 5-6 hours with no problem, I would think.

Went for a swim at the Swift Current pool. Had the whole pool to ourselves. Did a few laps and had our showers. Then stopped by a tourist booth to see what there was to do in Swift Current because we thought we'd stay there until the winds settled down. But there is NOTHING in Swift Current. Remind me again why anybody would live there...?! So I decided we'd attempt the 2 hour drive at least to Maple Creek where there seemed to be a lot more things to do...even though it's a much smaller town. As we pulled onto the main highway and gathered speed, we heard a loud flapping noise and quickly pulled onto the nearby off ramp. We checked out the problem...a major wind gust had blown the awning loose and it was really badly flapping in the wind. We hadn't tested how the awning opened and closed etc., before we left on this trip...we just figured we would try it out whenever we got to Mexico and there was lots of time for that. So here we were at the side of the highway, the wind blowing like mad, it's not very warm, and there's traffic around. So we crawled onto a side road and into a motel parking lot where we faced Sherman in the opposite direction so that the wind was at least blowing the awning back the other way. It didn't take long to get it all rolled up again and I even tied everything together with cable ties so the arms couldn't come loose again.

So back on the road and I have never driven in a cross wind like that! Sometimes felt as if poor Sherman was going to tip over. And then, about 15 km's down the road, we hear that damn flapping noise again! So we pull over, get the ladder out and have a closer look at things. It turns out there's a lock switch that prevents the awning from rolling out from the top...even though the arms are locked closed. Got that switch properly locked into place, and we're on our way again. Fortunately, it doesn't appear to have caused any damage.

So we didn't make it to Alberta, but no worries. We did make it to Maple Creek, which seems to be a really nice little town of about 2,600 people. Well, nice until winter comes. I simply can't figure out why or how anybody could live on the Prairies in the winter. But for now, it seems nice. Supposed to get cold tonight, calling for -4...but we have a nicely working furnace, so it doesn't matter. We are parked in the campground at the fairgrounds here...it's actually closed, but the tourist office here said nobody would be bothered if we parked here. Nice little spot actually. Ruth is baking some blueberry oatmeal muffins....they smell really good!

Might go to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park tomorrow if it looks like a nice day.

Total Nights Sleeping in the RV... 17...

October Fuel $ 984.45

October Grocery $ 209.56

October Overnight Costs $ 0

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