Goin’ Up The Country

Charlie says “Lets blow this popsicle stand!”

It was freezing cold this morning when I got up. (We turn the furnace down while sleeping in our cozy bed, to save energy). But I soon warmed up with the music of Canned Heat going through my brain. Betty & I are getting closer to heading out again on our overlandish odyssey, and this upbeat tune from back in the day just came rolling out:

“I’m goin’ up the country, Betty don’t you want to go?
I’m goin’ up the country, Betty don’t you want to go?
I’m goin’ to some place, I’ve never been before
I’m goin’ I’m goin’ where the water tastes like wine
I’m goin’ where the water tastes like wine
We can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time…”

Before leaving, we wanted to pay a visit to our youngest son’s home. Luke has a very unorthodox lifestyle, living in a Winnipeg warehouse where he has room for his artistic endeavours, and can play his various musical instruments as loud as he wants, without disturbing the neighbours. Below are a few pics from our recent visit.

Ok, so we likely won’t stay drunk ALL the time. lol.  And we may not jump in the water too much either, as a lot of this trip will be inland Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. But only time will tell where we end up, and what the water & wine will taste like when we get there.

The warehouse is surrounded by a chainlink fence, with barbed wire on top. Access by invitation only…

Our preparations have included trips to the dentist, the optometrist, fresh pedicures and haircuts, and today we got our flu shots. We’ve renewed our motorhome & Smart car insurance, confirmed out-of-province coverage with Manitoba Health, and arranged for extended health travel insurance. Our bikes are tuned up and mounted on the back of our motorhome. We just need to pack our BBQ into a basement compartment, bring in the slide-outs, raise our levelers, and away we could go!

We have a few preferred campsites booked in Palo Duro Canyon (Texas), Sante Fe (New Mexico) and Lake Havasu City (Arizona), but for the most part we’ll wing it – deciding on the fly whether or not to boondock or stay in a campground. Really looking forward to adding those lithium batteries in a few weeks to extend our options!

Betty made Luke a new quilt, to keep him warm this winter while we’re away.

As it stands, we’re counting down the days until departure, and closely watching the local weather forecasts, hoping we don’t get another dump of snow before we leave. The motorhome and car are prepped and ready to roll, and we’re ready to sing along with Canned Heat:

“We’re gonna leave this city, got to get away
We’re gonna leave this city, got to get away
All this fussin’ and fightin’ man, you know we sure can’t stay
So Betty pack your leavin’ trunk
You know we’ve got to leave today
Just exactly where we’re goin’ we cannot say
But we might even leave for the U.S.A.
It’s a brand new game, that we both want to play…”

Songwriter: Alan Wilson

Going Up the Country lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


In the distance on the left are the downtown towers, so Luke’s warehouse is not far from Winnipeg’s city centre.

Happy Thanksgiving!

As much as Betty & I enjoy our travels – meeting interesting new people and experiencing engrossing environments – there is nothing quite so pleasant as getting together with our family for another milestone celebration.  

Isabella, Adam, Lisa, Georgia, James, Luke, Andrew, Bronwen, Valerie & Kevin joined Betty & me for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Andrew’s home. BTW, for better or worse (maybe in this case worse) I chose candid shots, rather than staged, but that meant 12 people weren’t always focussed on the photographer…

This past week we gathered at Andrew’s home to enjoy a great Thanksgiving dinner. With four family birthdays in October (Luke, Lisa, Andrew, and Georgia) we were also able to recognize the indomitable aging process – the never-ending movement, until death, from birth to childhood, to teenager, to maturity, to senility (for some). OK, so Betty & I aren’t quite senile yet, but as our kids and grandkids get older, there seem to be more and more things that they can do, and fewer and fewer things that we can do. On that point, Betty says I should speak for myself, since her daily yoga practices have contributed to her much greater range of motion. Point taken…

Andrew consults with his older sister, Valerie, regarding dinner preparations.

In any event, there is much to be thankful for, and we are truly blessed with a wonderful family. It is a joy and honour to engage with each of them as they experience the highs and lows of navigating life on this earth.  

Betty & Lisa pose for the photographer.

As we return to our travels, Betty & I hold each of them in our hearts, and look forward to future opportunities to share celebrations together.

Isabella brings the birthday cake to the table, as Lisa, Georgia, Luke and Andrew move their presents aside and get ready to blow out the candles.

We hope that you also can know love and acceptance in ways that contribute to a healthy, stimulating, and satisfying future, whether you are travelling or staying put for awhile.

Isabella hams it up with her Nana. OK, Thanksgiving dinner was turkey, rather than ham, so maybe she turkeyed it up? lol


Adam & Lisa smiling for the photographer.
Georgia watches while James plays a video game before dinner.
Getting ready to snuff those candles.
“My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh my friends –
It gives a lovely light.”
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Just had to add a nice pic of our youngest son, Luke.
Betty’s sewing machine is now back, and she has sewn a new jellyroll rug for our kitchen.
And finally, the snow is all gone, the sun is back, the water is receding, and many leaves have fallen from the trees as we prepare for our journey south.

Why Are We Here?

The great white north. We are here… It is October 12…Really?!!

Some reading the above title might think that I am about to reveal the secret of this most important existential question. But you would be wrong! You’ll just have to wait for another post for the answer to that one. lol.

A before winter wonderland!

Betty & I awoke yesterday to a blanket of white – and it wasn’t on our bed… It’s still only mid-October, but Manitoba is experiencing its first blizzard of the season. Yikes! With leaves still on the trees, the weight of snow has downed many branches, and in some cases, whole old trees. Many have lost hydro power. All major roads out of Winnipeg were closed yesterday, and many businesses shut. We were scheduled to have our brakes and tires checked before our departure in a few weeks, but the garage was closed as a result of the storm.

A little too cool to bbq just now…

The weather in Winnipeg has not been great this fall, with far more rain than usual flooding our campground and the fields around. So sorry for the farmers who haven’t yet finished harvesting their crops.  But for us this winter weather is the icing on the cake – or some other kind of frosting!

For the past month we have had lakeside property, otherwise known as the campsite next to ours. The ground has been saturated with rain.

In some ways we have been preparing all summer for our imminent departure, but now it can’t come soon enough! For those unfamiliar with snowbird rules, we cannot spend more than 180 days a year in the U.S.A. without being impacted by U.S. immigration and tax laws. As previously noted, the calculation is not based on a calendar year, but any rolling period. So for us, if we were to leave prior to November 8, we would have to return before April 30 of next year, and who knows if this snow will be gone by then… Looking forward, we must be careful in counting days, as next year February contains 29, rather than the usual 28. Therefore, this requires 2020 foresight. lol (or groan…)

The road less travelled.

Unfortunately, the bad weather has not been our only setback. Our last post on “Tinkering” noted that Betty was enjoying quilting with her Pfaff sewing machine again. But the machine broke down just after the post, and she was only able to get back to quilting today. Time is running out to complete all the birthday & Christmas presents before we leave.

After I finished, the burgundy ink ran in streaks down our sign.

I highlighted work refurbishing our site marker: The Reddoch ReTreat.  It had been a labour of love as I applied 15 coats of Varathane to the 40 year old tree slab. For some unknown reason, after the final coat was applied, I stood it up only to have the red ink from the Canadian flag on one side, and the motorhome on the other, run in streaks down the wood – under the Varathane coating!  I had no alternative but to sand it down again. This time, I went to Staples and had the images for both sides laminated. I have now applied another 15 coats, and hope that the sign will stand up for a few more years to come.

I notched our foam mattress base, to make room for a new rope ladder.

While at the FMCA rally in Minot, North Dakota, Betty & I attended a session on RV fire safety. On return I confirmed that one of our fire extinguishers was subject to recall, so had it replaced and mounted horizontally, as recommended, to prevent the chemicals from compacting on the bottom. At the same time, we purchased another extinguisher which I mounted horizontally in the unlocked propane bay. Finally, we purchased a rope ladder which I attached to our bed base, just below the emergency escape window in our bedroom. We hope to never use it, but in the event of a fire, Betty & I now know that the window will open; the ladder will drop down; and we can evacuate.

With the topper and featherbedding added, the rope ladder, which is secured to the bed base, is unseen but readily available for a quick exit.

Well, speaking of evacuating, Betty & I can answer the question: “Why are we here?” another way. In a couple of days we will be joining the rest of our family for a Thanksgiving dinner at Andrew’s home. It will be a great time together to celebrate our love for each other and all our rich blessings. And finally, we will also be voting on Monday in the Canadian election, with thankfulness for where “here” is, even if it is prematurely cold!

Our streaking Canadian flag.