USA and Canada – What an Adventure!
May to November Highlights– 2018
Well most of May has been a difficult time for us. After we left the Slabs, we stopped at Moreno Valley to spend a couple of days with Janet and George before heading out. I had been sick for some time, so we went to the Luma Linda hospital. They said I had a respiratory infection, but I knew it was a lot worse than that.
By May 31 we landed in Vegas and stayed at the Hitching Post. Both Doug and I were down, and I think we spend about 10 days battling high fevers, chills and horrible chest infections. Needless to say, we did not get to see Vegas. When Doug was well enough to drive, we started to make our way home.
We made it to White Pines and got to grab a few photos. The coal hives were pretty fascinating, and I loved the way the roads were paved when you headed up into the national parks. The scenery was really breath taking.
Twin Falls – Idaho
We made a pit stop in a town called Twin Falls. In the couple of days we spent there we saw some fantastic places! Twin Falls is spectacular, and the parks they have set aside for tourists and locals are pristine! The local dairy farms and and ranches keep anyone with a camera quite busy. I am so very glad we dropped in for a spell. From there we decided to take a side trip and go and see something Doug and I had always wanted to visit.
Yellow Stone National Park
Since I was a kid, I had heard so many stories of Yellow Stone, so I was pretty excited when we decided to check it out. For those of you who live in the city, and do not get a chance to get into the mountains and see some wildlife and mountain scenery, it is quite beautiful.
Unfortunately for us, we were extremely disappointed. We stayed in an RV park about 15 minutes from the gates. After our first day of using our 3 day pass, several Americans even apologized that it’s GEM was such an embarrassment. Parking is a nightmare. Each time we wanted to park so we could see some of the Parks highlights, it took forever to find a spot. Given that we were there in the shoulder season, I was quite shocked to find myself in the midst of thousands of tourists. On a side note, if you have to use the bathroom…. forget it. I have never seen such filth in my life and the lineups are horrendous. We were later told that with government cut backs, the park is sadly understaffed, and upkeep for the comfort of the tourists has fallen into disarray. Such a shame.
Although we headed to the park very early in the morning, about 20 minutes past the gate we found ourselves in a traffic jam for close to three hours. There were buffalo (Bison) on the road. We sat for ages, as moms walked between all of the cars with their new born calves. We later learned that the Bison population in the park has increased so much in numbers that they are going to thin the herds. They are everywhere. In their natural environment, they are rather majestic – especially the bulls.
There are a lot of areas where they have built boardwalks so you can walk around and see some of the beautiful and stunning hot springs. The Grand Prismatic Spring is amazing! The colours are outstanding and like nothing I have ever seen. The Mud Pots were sort of cool as well.
Norris Geyser Basin is the parks oldest and hottest geothermal geyser. It is quite spectacular. If we were ever to return, we wouldn’t waste our time trying to park and see Old Faithful again.
After talking to hikers, we got the impression that the most beautiful and stunning areas of the park can only be seen if you park the car, put a back back on and hike up into the mountains. The water falls are suppose to be quite spectacular.
We only used two of our three day passes. I can see the attraction of the park if you live in the city.
Besides the geothermal pools, everything we saw there is what we see and live in at home. I suppose my byass is based on the fact that we are very blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places in Canada. We have grown up in the mountains, ridden our horses throughout the great Rocky Mountains, and our lakes and forest are breathtaking. Now Yosemite National Park from what I have seen on the internet would be some place I will be adding to my bucket list! When you compare the two, aside from the geothermal pools…. Yosemite is a place I think we would really enjoy.
FB Friends – Meeting in Montana!
After we left Yellow Stone, we had the chance to meet a Facebook friend in person. Lorna, in Montana, drove down to spend a few hours with us, and it was wonderful to meet her in person. The highlight of our trips is having the chance to meet people along the way that I have been talking to for years via FB. I am hoping at some point we will get to spend more time with her. Lovely lady!
Regina and Saskatoon – Saskatchewan, Canada
From there we crossed into Canada at the Saskatchewan boarder. We spend a week or so with a dear friend Penny that we also met on FB just outside of Regina. We helped her get a web site up and running for her business… Doug did a few repairs, and we enjoyed some great home cooking and company!
Then we headed off to see Doug’s brother in Saskatoon. We stayed there close to two weeks, and Doug was able to help with some repairs and stuff around the house. I love spending time with them. My brother and sister in law have always made us feel so welcomed in their home. Ted and Jean are amazing people! Of course the visit together is not complete without heading to the range to fire some of Ted’s handmade mussel loaders. When it was time to head out… it was sort of sad. We have such a great time visiting because we have so much in common. They rock!
As we headed to Calgary… as we had been doing all through the prairies… we did a lot of side trips so I could work on my collection of photographing grain elevators. They have a site on the web that tells you which ones are still standing, those still in use, and those that are going to be taken down. So it was stop and go constantly so I could get as many photographs as possible before we hit Calgary.
Calgary is my home town… born and raised there. My sister lives on the outskirts in a town called Chestemere. Cathy had taken a few days off to visit with us, but as luck would have it, she had come down with a terrible case of Shingles! It kind of worked out nice though, because it gave Doug time to make some repairs to her house and yard, we had a ton of time to visit, and got to see our life long friends Sylvia and John. Cathy and I are very competitive in crib. I enjoyed the hours we spent playing cards and chatting. Doug even built Cathy a shade hut for her little dog Brandi in the back yard. She is soooooooo cute!
The Calgary Stampede was on, so we made a trip down and walked around the grounds. I was after my gluten free chocolate and caramel candy apple! Having grown up in Calgary, the Stampede is always a wonderful place for me to go. It was my moms stomping ground as a Pioneer of Alberta. A lot of memories, and a few rides made for a great day.
Before we left, we headed north of Calgary about two hours and spent several hours with a dog trainer to see if we could get some help with Chicago. We learned a lot of good tips on recall, and helping her build up her confidence.
Water Valley, Alberta
We made one final stop while we were in Alberta and spent some time at our friends Colin and Wendy’s farm in Water Valley. I think we stayed about three days. It was awesome to see them again. Colin took us out on the ATV to check on his various herds of Cattle, and Chicago and Journey had the time of their lives charging all over the lower property chasing birds and talking a swim in the watering hole. Journeys first experience in the water was pretty darn funny. I will let the attached video speak for itself. Bad mommy! So busy laughing I couldn’t or didn’t think she might need help getting out! Chicago rescued her though 😉
Over the Rockies and Back To Kelowna
By the time we left Calgary, the summer and tourist season was in full swing. To get from Calgary, Alberta, we had to cross the Rodgers Pass through the Canadian Rockies. In spite of the traffic, or the fact that I have driven this pass hundreds of times, the majestic mountains and scenery never fails to make me catch my breath is awe.
If you have never driven over the pass or taken some time to visit Lake Louise or Banff… I suggest you add it to your bucket list.
When we finally hit our familiar roads in British Columbia, it really felt good to be home. Driving through Revelstoke, Sicamouse, winding our way around Mara lake and finally into the northern part of the Okanagan, left me feeling even more anxious to return to what was familiar.
Finally Home for the Summer
About 30 miles from home, the reality that we really had no home to return to, actually made me sad. I longed to be able to return to our house, but that’s a page in our life that no longer exists. Instead, we pulled into Doug’s brother’s place, a few minutes from Kelowna in a town called Winfield. That would be home for us for the next couple of months.
Bruce lives on an acreage that is completely fenced…..so Chicago and Journey were in heaven. Bruce, needless to say was thrilled to have so much time with Doug. Between the two of them they re-wired and painted Bruce’s home. It looks great!
The one and biggest pitfall we had while in the Kelowna area was smoke! We had fires burning all over the province, and combined with the smoke from the Paradise Fire in the the States, it was difficult most days to see more than a few hundred feet.
I went down a few times to say hello to my horse – Peanut, but riding would have been cruel. Ciera had pointed out that they thought they had a water main leak that was pooling in a lower field. Doug brought a back hoe in, and after working for some time, discovered that they indeed had a break that needed to be fixed quickly. Once winder came, that line would have frozen, and near 20 horses up the hill would have been without water. Thank goodness Doug is so darn handy at fixing most anything he comes across!
I spent a great deal of time in the RV over the remainder of the summer because of the smoke, but we did get to spend time with some friends. We also enjoyed some great evening and days with my Dad and Maxine.
We met the family that lives next door to Bruce, and we fell in love with them. The kids are amazing! So I took the family out for a photo shoot, and then took some great pictures of the two girls. What sweeties! Everyday they would stand by the fence waiting for an invite to come and play with the dogs, visit, have hot chocolate or play games. Their parents are a rare find.
They come from Russia…. and when they had us over for brunch one day, we were blown away with the stories they told of how it was hard it had been growing up in a Country that has such disdain for Christianity. Their grand parents and parents had been tortured and spent years in prison for having Bibles. Many from their village and family disappeared. Reality check!
I can’t finish my story on this family without adding that Doug and I were so impressed with the kids. We lived 50 feet from them for months, and NEVER heard them fight, disrespect their parents or have to be told more than once to do something. When we went on our photo shoot, the girls had me over to look at the cloths they were taking, and their bedrooms were spotless. Every article of clothing in the dresser drawers were perfect! I wish I could somehow bottle this family and duplicate them all over the world. Never in my life have I seen children so polite, quiet, respectful, and humble. Gee I wish I could describe them better. Doug and I naturally adopted these kids in our own way. The entire family is nothing but pure joy in life, each other, others, and God. Very rare indeed. We are really going to miss them!
Art Walk Sept – 2018
This year Art Walk was really exciting for me. It’s one of the biggest Art shows in Canada, and I submitted several pieces to the jury to see if they would accept any of my photography. Six of my pieces were selected for the show! A very dear friend of mine, Micheal, who is a master photographer, did my printing for me, and then helped me frame the ones we chose not to put on canvas. I was tickled pink and my work got a lot of positive feedback from those who attended the event. So well in fact that an Art Gallery asked if I would show a couple of pieces of my work at their Art Show in February. I am over the moon! I want to thank my dear friend Michael with his help in getting my prints done. It was an honor to be chosen to show my work yet again at this amazing event! There was some brilliant work at this show, and I was feeling pretty great about being a part of it!
Blind Bay Resort and the Vineyard
During September and October, we spent time at my brothers resort in Blind Bay on the Shuswap Lake. Most of the vacationers had gone so we had a huge lake lot all to ourselves on the beach, with a spectacular view! My daughter, her husband and my two grandchildren live there. Taryn and Stephen had to make a run back to check on their rental property in Alberta. So for a few days Doug and I enjoyed time with the boys. They are growing up so fast! We taught them how to play crib, and it didn’t take long before we were battling to keep them from the final win 😉 They are cuties! Nathan is 11, and Ty is 9.
While we were there we did a lot of really neat things. My brother and his wife own a vineyard, and unfortunately that year they had a mold that showed up on a fair portion of their crops. So we went out with everyone else and spent our days clipping off bundles of grapes that had to be disposed of. It’s really very peaceful work, and I enjoyed it a lot! Taryn, Doug and I were busy filling buckets, and then Ty and Nathan would come by with the golf cart to empty our harvest so we could keep going. Together with Dan, his wife Bonnie, my niece Hanna, Dad and Maxine we managed to clear the vines in about a week.
Back at the resort, Taryn and Stephen would bring the kids over to the RV and we would make a great fire, play cards, and visit. I sure enjoyed those evenings! We went out for lunch with my brother and his wife, and then they took us down to see the great Adams River Salmon run. It was just beginning, but I can see why people come from all over the world to see it! The bright reds of massive salmon struggling up river to lay their eggs is something a person really has to make the time to go see. If I remember right, although the numbers were predicted to be down this year, at it’s height there would be tens of thousands of them make that final run home from the river, to spawn before they died. Nature just fascinates me!
Once hunting season had stated, Stephen set out with a couple of my nephews and managed to come home with a large moose. I spent time helping them cut and prepare the meat to freeze. That was a big job! I hate killing anything, and I have a very sharp edge for those that do. However, if someone is hunting to feed their family, I have no issue with it. As kids, our family relied on my Dad bringing home meat so we had it for the winter. It was nice to see the kids fill their freezers.
It’s also wonderful to see my daughter enjoying life again, after spending so many years suffering with massive pain. She home schools her boys, and as a family they do a ton of things together. Ty has gotten to be quite good at the fiddle, and Nathan is doing great on guitar! I wish we had of made it out during the summer to see them wake board and water ski… but that wasn’t in the cards. Maybe next summer, I am also looking forward to more campfires, singing and “crib games”. Grandma shall not be defeated! 😉
Towards the end of November we left the Okanagan, and made our way west across the Coquihalla mountain pass. (More famously called “The Highway to Hell”…a TV reality show where tow truck drivers clean up massive winter accidents and flipped semi’s). We picked a time to cross when there was very little snow, and made our way to the Vancouver area so we could get out to the Island to see Doug’s daughters. It was especially hard to say goodbye to Dad again, but I knew we would see him and Maxine in Yuma at the end of January when they came down to get some dental work done in Mexico.
Well so much for a brief overview of the past several months. I have been keeping journals in an attempt to catch up on my Blog. Sorry if this was lengthy, but it gives ya an idea of some of the things we did before returning to the States again. In case you are wondering about the mission outreach of our life journey…. we were always actively involved in reaching out to others and helping when ever the opportunity presented itself. We don’t have a Slab City here…. but trust me… everywhere you turn there is need and ways to Bless others.
Prayers you are all well and thank you for your patience with my delays in posting updates. I am getting there 😉
Love – Sherry, Doug, Chicago and Journey.