Whither The Weather?

Isabella & Georgia’s fort stands guard over our motorhome, parked by their front yard in Winnipeg, Dec. 24/18.

In our December 9, 2018 post – Dreaming Of A White Christmas – Betty & I postulated that Winnipeg might have snow on December 25. We were not wrong.  But how well will we be able to accurately predict the weather for the remainder of our overlandish odyssey? We are now living in a connected world, often able to access the Weather Channel or other on-line forecast as we drive. However, despite all the sophisticated radar models, predictions of upcoming weather still seem to be 50 – 50, so your guess is as good as mine… LOL.

2018 Christmas dinner at Andrew’s, all with appropriate cracker crowns.

Fortunately when it comes to predictability, the reader might just as well read the December 19, 2017 post – Can’t Wait To Cue Willie – to catch the flavour of our festive Christmas activities. In addition to the school concerts referenced in an earlier

Gathering by the tree on Christmas day, 2018.

post, Betty & I hosted our family for at least the 30th time at Marigold’s Restaurant, while Andrew hosted the traditional Christmas dinner at his Winnipeg home. Everyone contributed to making a fabulous feast! By the marvels of modern technology, I was able to bring the Queen and her annual Christmas message into Andrew’s dining room before we snapped the Christmas crackers. A great time was had by all!

Not a lot of other traffic on the road…

Back to the subject of this post:  It wasn’t quite as cold on Dec. 26/18 as last year, but maybe we were a little more prepared. Our family outfitted us with hand, feet and bum warmers, and we headed into the winter wonderland with a full propane tank to run

Driving down the Interstate, before the road disappeared…

our furnace. While fairly well readied, I forgot to consider the need to open my driver’s window at the U.S. border, to hand our passports over to the border officer. The window was frozen shut, so all I could do was smile and wave to the officer. Of course that led to us being pulled over for further inspection, which was relatively quick and painless. Before he left our motorhome, the officer warned us that we were heading into a blizzard, so drive carefully! What adventure would lie ahead?

Walmart parking lot in Fargo, with plows continuously passing our motorhome. We decided not to stay…

Because we never know which food items will be accepted or rejected at the border (the officer did make a point of checking our empty fridge and freezer) we planned to stock up and power nap at the new Walmart in Fargo, North Dakota. However, by the time we reached Fargo, the wind and snow had picked up considerably, and we decided to push on rather than shop.  Traffic became lighter, and the road became whiter. If not for the fact that the road is straight and flat in that section of the Midwest, we would have had to depart the slippery stuff much sooner.  As it was, we were able to reach the Dakota Sioux Casino parking lot, on the border with South Dakota, before calling it quits for the night.

Resting at the Flying J in Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Through most of South Dakota the next day, we had the Interstate to ourselves, with only 3 vehicles passing us southbound, even though I was driving at no more that 45 mph.  There were only a handful of hearty travellers heading northbound through the blizzard that day.  Usually, the Sioux Falls Flying J is just a quick pit stop for us, but it became our overnight resting place on the night of Dec. 27.  (I was about to say that it became our final resting place, but didn’t want to give you the wrong impression. Lol.)

Thankful for the truck wash that finally removed our accumulated grime.

The road was clear by the time we reached Omaha, Nebraska, and we pushed on through Kansas City and Joplin, Missouri to our first actual campsite: Ivys Cove RV Retreat, in the Ozark Mountains just west of Little Rock, Arkansas. Fortunately, as we pulled off the Interstate, we came across a truck wash that did an excellent job of removing all the road slush and grime from both our motorhome and Smart car. I have often had to wash the vehicles myself, with a stack of U.S. quarters (they don’t use loonies or toonies), so was very pleasantly surprised to have a team of 8 men make short work of returning our shines.

Clear sailing, with blue skies and sunshine in Arkansas on Dec. 28/18.

Since we had tossed all our freezables inside the motorhome just before we left, this campground has provided the first opportunity to de-winterize (get the antifreeze out of our water lines; fill the fresh water tank; and turn on the hot water heater) unpack, and put things away in their proper spots.  As might be expected after driving through a blizzard, one of our levelers began leaking hydraulic fluid when we arrived, and our fridge has stopped working. We are hoping that both involve quick fixes, but the local RV techs are closed until Jan. 2/19, so we might have to hold up here for awhile.  It’s a nice enough place and the weather is moderate – not a hint of snow in the forecast – so we’re good to go (or stay…) whither the weather!

Our campsite comes with cable TV, so Betty & I couldn’t resist turning on the Weather Channel. Because we are at the end of one year, about to enter another, the channel featured all the extreme weather events of 2018, with many dire predictions for 2019. If we were still in a “bricks ‘n sticks” home, we’d just have to hunker down until the heavy weather passed. This week we turned the ignition key and kept driving until we left the inclement weather behind. Whether that will be possible on our further adventures, only time will tell. Just like the professional forecasters, we have about a 50-50 chance of an accurate prediction. Let’s hope we all can choose the right half in 2019!


A stop for coffee at the new Flying J south of Winnipeg on Dec. 26. Gas price is low for Canada, but not near as low as U.S. gas prices!

Venturing Into The Great Unknown

Venturing into the great unknown…

In a sense, we are all venturing into the unknown as we approach a new year. What will 2019 have in store for us?  If your plan is to settle into your favorite chair to watch your favorite television programs, then 2019 might hold a little more certainty.  But as Betty & I continue our great adventure, it is difficult to anticipate exactly what we will encounter.  While we have some ideas about where we wish to go and what we hope to do, there are many uncertainties about getting there – especially with a disinterested navigator like Betty! She has many other interests, but GPS and maps just aren’t her things… LOL.

So I’ll be relying on The Band’s Up On Cripple Creek to get to our first destination:

“… you know where I wanna go?
Straight down the Mississippi river, to the Gulf of Mexico
To Lake Charles, Louisiana, little Betty girl that I once knew
She told me just to come on by, if there’s anything she could do

Up on Cripple Creek she sends me
If I spring a leak she mends me
I don’t have to speak, she defends me
A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.”

A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one…

After leaving Manitoba, the Interstates take us straight down through North & South Dakotas, Iowa, Kansas, and Arkansas, before depositing us at Palmetto Island State Park,  just east of Lake Charles, Louisiana. While I anticipate our wine rack will be full of “Wally wine” (Walmart Special Reserve: $2.98) by the time we get there, I’m still not sure it will be a drunkard’s dream! LOL.

In any event, Betty & I may usher in the new year at Palmetto Island, or head east to New Orleans, or further east again to Buccaneer State Park in Mississippi. It all depends on which way the wind blows. Our first stop in 2019 might be Meaher State Park on Mobile Bay in Alabama, with our first reservation at Big Lagoon State Park, on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, from Jan. 7 – 15/19. From there we hope to make our way around the State of Florida, stopping in Orlando for a Disney visit with our kids and grandkids in mid-February, and with our old Winnipeg next door neighbours who are wintering in the area.

Of course, our furthest south destination is Key West, in the Florida Keys, where we hope to take in the attractions before heading up the coast to Cape Canaveral, Daytona Beach, Savannah Georgia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to name a few bucket list stops before beginning our journey home.

Whether your current vision for 2019 is clear or cloudy, Betty & I hope and pray that you can enjoy the full richness of life on planet earth as you venture into the great unknown. Happy New Year!


“Now there’s one thing in the whole wide world I sure do love to see
That’s how that little love of mine puts her doughnut in my tea…” LOL

Merry Christmas!

As we count down the days until our departure on Dec. 26, here are a few pics from our family to yours:

Our daughter, Valerie, brings some homemade Imperial cookies, while granddaughters Georgia & Isabella hold an attractive, custom-made gingerbread house & creche.
Our grandson, James, waits for a special Christmas visit.
Stockings are hung by the fireplace with care…
Georgia (in red dress) plays percussion in one of her school’s concerts.
Isabella & Georgia participate in their school’s concert finale.

Merry Christmas & cheers for the new year!

Dreaming Of A White Christmas

While there are no guarantees in life, Betty & I can be pretty much assured that we will see snow on the ground in Winnipeg this Christmas. Just to be on the safe side, the snow arrived in early November, and we may very well have to brush it off the old Boy and the Smart before heading to Florida on Dec. 26.  In fact, the white stuff could remain in southern Manitoba until our planned return in early May. As a contingency, on our return trip we are considering holding up near Betty’s brother in Amherstburg, Ontario, until the snow melts in Manitoba.  Amherstburg is outside Ontario’s major snow belt – actually south of Detroit and on a similar latitude as northern California. We should be safe there in our plan to never have to winterize our motorhome again!

Dashing through the snow (or at least past it) on a previous trip.

Some of you might think, why not just stay in Florida until we know that the white stuff has left Manitoba? As Canadian snowbirds, we are limited to a certain number of days in the U.S., before Uncle Sam comes knocking on our motorhome door. Not only does our calculation need to account for U.S. days in the calendar year, it also must track rolling days. So if we were to spend three months down south at the end of one year, and four months at the beginning of the next, we would be well over our limit and subject to deportation or refusal of entry on future visits.  The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is holding its hundredth international rally in nearby North Dakota next August, and Betty & I would like to attend. In order to do so, we must find an extra five “U.S. days”, either at the end of this trip south, or the beginning of the next.  BTW, if you cross the border at 11:00 pm and return at 1:00 am, that is considered two days, not two hours…

Since this blog was established to keep our kids, grandkids and friends informed of our adventures, there have been no posts for over a month – the longest period since we began. Of course that is because we are not on the road, and haven’t been taking pictures of our familiar surroundings in snowy Manitoba.  We get to see our family in person and don’t need to share pictures from a distance. Yeah!  But as we visit friends and talk to more distant relatives, they wonder if some kind of update could be added. Ok, here’s a very brief update, with possibly another before we go south.

Our son’s wintery Winnipeg home. We are staying on the 3rd floor, so we’re getting our exercise. lol

Well, it has been a very busy time, with check-ins and checkups.  Betty and I have been having some great visits with family and friends, noticing how the aging process affects the very young and old alike! The old Boy was delivered to Stylings RV in Lockport, Manitoba for maintenance and upgrades. The Smart spent a week at the Mercedes Benz dealership addressing issues related to our fuel pump failure on Cape Cod, and I was forced to drive a new Mercedes for the week. LOL.  Betty & I have both visited our dentist, and I got a medical checkup.  Betty has been catching up on her yoga practice with our daughters – one of whom is a yoga instructor, so that helps! Charlie got his meds renewed by our vet, and we’ve shopped on-line and in person for whatever we’ll need on our upcoming trip.

The Christmas season is a great time to spend with family and friends, and Betty & I are blessed with the many relationships developed over the years. We wish all our friends and family best wishes and God’s blessings for a happy Christmas and a merry New Year! And yes, we appreciate the white Christmas where we join with others in singing “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”.  But as we contemplate the next phase of our overlandish odyssey, Betty & I are also saying:  “Lets go, lets go, lets go!” LOL