On the road, Betty & I are limited by size and weight in the number of tools and supplies that can travel with us. While we want to reduce those things to the bare minimum, we both likely have some way to go in reaching that goal. For me, maybe it was my Boy Scout training that taught me to always “be prepared”– you never know when you might need that extra wrench! But the old Boy can only carry so much, and we’re always thinking about what we can leave behind. I’m sure there are times when Betty considers me to be excess baggage, but for now she’s still lugging me around. Lol.

Betty hard at work in her sewing room, while Charlie sleeps under a chair.

In any event, back in Winnipeg we are able to temporarily borrow back some of the tools and supplies we passed on to our children when we left. While Betty uses a lightweight Brother sewing machine during our travels, she was more than happy to get reacquainted with her Pfaff Quilt Expression 2046 on return. As previously noted, she has been sewing up a storm, with new pillow cases, place mats, runners, rugs, and quilts, to name just a few of her many new creations.

Our Reddoch ReTreat sign, looking a little worse for wear.

On our travels, whenever we stop somewhere for more than a couple of days, we set out our shingle, identifying our Reddoch ReTreat, highlighted by a planter of blooming flowers. But over the past year, that sign has become decidedly ragged, and I looked forward to restoring it this summer.  With tools borrowed back from our sons and sons-in-law, I was able to sand and re-finish the tree slab recovered from the Rocky Mountains near Banff, Alberta forty years ago, in hopes that it can live a few more years as our campsite marker. So far I have about ten coats of Varathane on each side, and hope to finish off the can in the next week, before returning the brush to my son.

One side of our refurbished sign.
The other side, with a map of North America added.

We had attached our Carefree of Colorado Buena Vista Add-A-Room to our coach for the summer, mostly creating a sewing room for Betty. Although the structure is fairly well designed and engineered, it came with two very weak rafters to hold up the side panels. Even a light breeze would dislodge the rafters, letting in rain and scratching the paint on our motorhome. Yikes! I contacted what maybe should have been called Careless of Colorado, as their “Customer Care” department was no help at all, even though I was very specific about what we needed: Did they make what we needed? We had purchased the room through Camping World in the U.S., and C. of C. simply referred me back there. In my experience, Camping World staff are largely uneducated about the products they sell, but would have been more than happy, if I insisted on their help, to charge me $100./hour in their service department to look at the problem. No thanks!

Our Home Depot parts, ready for MacGyver to go to work fixing our rafters.

Instead, I went to Home Depot and picked up a number of small parts which, with the help of our neighbour, Brian, and son-in-law, Adam, were able to be “MacGyvered” together into a fix. Even in moderate winds and rain now, the structure is holding firm. I described the fix to Carefree of Colorado Customer Care, and would suggest that their engineers may want to improve their product before I patent the fix. Lol.

Slide bolts now lock the rafters into the awning roller, preventing them from dislodging in a wind.
A newly insulated storage compartment, ready to receive our lithium batteries.

My tinkering has also included insulating some of our basement storage spaces in preparation for adding lithium ion batteries this fall; taking some golf lessons & getting out on the course with our son; and taking the photography course noted in the last post, among other large & small tasks. Attached to this are some of the pics from previous trips that I cropped after taking the photo course.

Our late afternoon campsite view in Alamogordo, New Mexico, featuring a very noisy bird – One of my favourite pics.

The summer has passed by quickly, and we are now in preparation mode for future travels. Tinkering with borrowed tools and supplies has been great, but it’s time to think about lightening our load again. Just hope Betty still isn’t considering me excess baggage!

Another favourite pic, taken at our campsite in Shelburne, Nova Scotia.


This was a white on white shot, for my photography class.
I hear the train a comin’. It’s rollin’ ’round the bend.. Another class pic.
A foggy day at South Padre Island – another fave.
A Harvest Host vineyard near Quebec City, featuring light & shadows (and great wine!).
Charlie, on his way for a haircut.
Charlie, back from the groomer.

Picture This

A very photogenic granddaughter – Isabella

On our travels, Betty & I are inspired and mesmerized by extraordinary people and fascinating places we visit. The purpose of this blog is to capture some of these experiences, both to share with our friends and family, and for ourselves as we continue to age and our minds lose those all-important brain cells. But words often don’t do justice to what we are seeing. If a picture is worth a thousand words, we have been attempting to include a number of images with each post in order to reduce the verbiage. But what if the shots are crap? Well last month I finally completed a photography 101 course, in order to reduce the crap shots. Of course, there is no way of predicting what we will see from now on, so to some extent the outcome could still be a crapshoot. Lol.

I finally graduated…

Before we began our overlandish odyssey, I purchased a Nikon DLSR, with dozens of buttons and screens. Unlike a point and shoot camera that any idiot can use, this digital documenter allows some idiots to change the image into whatever augmented reality one might choose – a scary proposition! It also has an “auto” button – which until now has been my go-to setting… 

Georgia & Valerie ham it up while I try for a portrait.

So I signed up with the PrairieView School of Photography in Winnipeg for “Photography 101: Putting The Fun In Fundamentals”. At the outset, I would say that at least 85% of the buttons and features on my camera were a mystery to me. Over eight lessons, we learned basic camera functions; considered the works of inspiring photographers past and present; developed an understanding of basic composition; reviewed techniques for stop motion, motion blur, panning, and natural framing; attempted portraits and landscape shots; found out what a histogram is; played with white balance and lighting direction; considered black & white photography; and generally experimented a lot with our shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings during and between every class. 

Isabella agrees to a portrait for my photography class.

Well I completed the course, and now understand the purpose of most buttons and functions on my Nikon. I’m hoping that will lead to improvements in image quality, but those reading this must know that this was just “Photo 101”, and I am nowhere near the skill level of a professional photographer. My photographic future is still a crapshoot!

Georgia finally poses for a beautiful portrait.

As we continue our journey through life, Betty & I hope to find new inspiration in more people and places, and to reflect what we are seeing and experiencing through pictures on this blog. We hope that our paths will cross with yours, and we can capture the joy of sharing time together on planet earth. Picture this!

Isabella & her sweet Mom


Valerie & Georgia share some joy.