Making Plans In Jello

As full-time travellers (as opposed to full time-travellers, which would also be nice! lol), there are always numerous variables Betty & I need to take into account. Weather at our current site, on the road and at our proposed destination, campsite availability, motorhome and toad repair issues, finances, family events and health are just some of the considerations as we make and adjust our travel plans. Instead of carving plans in stone, we need to always remain flexible, adapting to changing circumstances. Our plans, therefore, get made with the malleability of Jello. 

Betty captured a beautiful sunrise over the Saskatchewan prairie, on our first morning after leaving Winnipeg. I’ll take her word, and this picture, that it was this nice. lol
We stopped for our first night in a small municipal campground in Chaplin, Sask. No, that’s not snow in the pic, but large mounds of salt, being mined in this tiny prairie community.
Here’s another pic of our nice, quiet Chaplin, Sask. campsite at $12., on the honour system.

Of course, in the past couple of years the coronavirus has modified everyone’s travel plans. Snowbirds like us have been especially affected by the closure of international borders. Betty and I spent last winter on Vancouver Island, unable to visit the U.S. west coast as a result of the border closure. As previously noted, the island is one of only a few places in Canada warm enough to survive the winter without putting our motorhome into storage. As options go, it’s not a bad one at all!

We stayed again in the SouthCentre mall parking lot in Calgary on our way through Alberta: Free with a reservation. Not that we felt it was necessary, but a mall security SUV regularly patrolled the area.

So far, this winter is looking like a repeat of the last, although we found out yesterday that we can move on Nov. 1 to an ocean-view site (#165) at Living Forest Campground in Nanaimo, B.C., from our current forest site. This is likely due to the recent announcement that U.S. border land crossings will re-open on Nov. 8/21. Already some snowbirds are changing their plans to head down to warmer climes for the coming winter.

Even though our trip west was early October, the Coquihalla summit was already covered in ice and snow, making driving somewhat challenging. Glad we didn’t postpone our trip until late October, as previously planned.
It’s been quite a while since we last saw snow, so it was nice to see the white stuff covering everything, especially since we knew it would only be for a few hours before we descended into the lush green again.
As usual, the roads to our hoped-for destinations have been full of twists and turns, ups and downs, darkness and light. But if we can maintain our optimism and the malleability of Jello, we can weather whatever life brings our way!
Soon the snow was gone, and sunlight illuminated green fields as we made our way down the Coquihalla Highway into Hope, B.C. (Glad there’s always Hope! lol)

We had plans to do that U.S. west coast & National Park trip in the spring, followed by a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway on our way to Florida and Texas next fall and winter. Those plans aren’t necessarily cancelled now, but to keep our options open, Betty was able to snag an oceanside campsite reservation at our current park for next year. If need be, we can set up our chairs on site 127 and watch the ships go by, as the tides ebb and flow. It will be a tough option, but someone has to do it! lol

Here’s our current campsite (#192), nestled among the trees and flowers in Nanaimo, BCs Living Forest campground. Thanks to our friends Jan and Ben for babysitting our 100 lb. propane tank while we were away!

In the meantime, we are rolling with the punches, and hope that you also can maintain the necessary flexibility to adjust as your situation changes.

Here’s another pic of our site, showing our Reddoch Retreat sign, which is likely making its last appearance this year. It’s aging out, and looking a little too rough around the edges, just like some of us. lol


Somewhere along the way (likely either on the icy Coquihalla, or entering or leaving the ferry to Vancouver Island) our Smart car bottomed out and dragged off the under-side coverings. I have an appointment at the Nanaimo Mercedes dealership in a couple of weeks to return protection to the underside of our little toad. Rolling with the punches…

Happy Thanksgiving 2021!

Warm fall weather is in the air, and leaves carpet the ground.

As Betty & I contemplate the next leg of our overlandish odyssey, we can’t help but be outrageously thankful for the many blessings we experience in this life. 

Charlie enjoys the fall sunshine, while sitting on our lawn among the fallen leaves. He’s freshly groomed & checked by the vet: Ready to go!

Our four grown children, their partners, and our three grandchildren are a pleasure to connect with as they and we share our common and unique adventures. We are so fortunate to maintain strong lines of truthful communication, fostering love and respect for each other! Eternal thanks for all the mutual compassion and caring we experience.

Georgia hams it up during her birthday celebrations.
October born Luke, Lisa, Georgia, and Andrew share a birthday cake, while Isabella, James and Adam look on.

As with large swaths of North America, summer and fall (so far) in Manitoba brought much warmer temperatures, with not a lot of rainfall.  With the help of recent showers, summer drought has given way to green grass, ripening fields, and restored rivers and lakes. The little garden at our campsite has done well, with the black-eyed susans reaching the top of the trellis, and tomatoes continuing to ripen well on the vines. We are thankful for a plentiful harvest.

The barn quilt on our shed and vines in front of our woodpile are ready for winter.

In preparation for our travels, we took our motorhome in for service at Stylings RV, and our Smart to Lone Star Motors, the Mercedes dealership from whence it came. While the Smart was in the shop, we were forced to drive a new Mercedes Benz, as a free courtesy car. It was tough trying to figure out all those bells and whistles (lol). Fortunately, the Smart needed very little maintenance, so we were thankful to get our little toad back at a low cost.

We had to slum it with a new Mercedes Benz while our Smart car was in the shop.

This fall I experimented with epoxy for the first time. As noted in previous posts, our campsite sign was heavily damaged by moisture and insects last winter on Vancouver Island. It’s not perfect, but I poured epoxy on both sides, and hope that it is sufficiently sealed to weather the coming winter. If not, I have another identical, unused slab of wood in storage, and will start the signage from scratch next year. I’m thankful for the opportunity to putter with this craft project.

A generous coating of epoxy now covers both sides of our sign. Hope it works!
I coated our cracked bathroom sink with some extra epoxy, tinted blue – a tricky proposition since the epoxy was self-levelling, and the sink basin is far from level!

Of course, the highlight of this thanksgiving season was the family gathering at our son, Andrew’s home. He cooked a fabulous turkey, with everyone else bringing sides and desserts. 

A “before” pic of Andrew’s dining table, set for 13. Napkins and place settings courtesy of James.
Around the table from left: Andrew’s hands, Annie, Aurora, Mom, Georgia, Valerie, Kevin, Isabella, James, Luke, Adam & Lisa’s hands, Dad’s dinner (lol). Btw, the tablecloth re-appears at all family gatherings, with new sayings and artwork added to commemorate the occasions. The orange pumpkin place names went into a bag, to be drawn for Christmas presents.

Our blog cover photo can now be updated, and we can share a few more pics from our fall festivities.

The clan: Front row- Georgia, Nana, Valerie, Luke. Second row – James, Isabella, Jersey, Kevin. Back row – Dad, Andrew, Adam & Lisa.
Ok, here’s right to left: Lisa, Adam, Luke, James, Isabella & Kevin.
Now for the other side (need a better wide-angle lens. lol): Andrew, Annie, Aurora, Mom, Georgia, Valerie’s shoulder.

Last night was another warm evening in southern Manitoba, and we were able to share some time together with our neighbours, around a very pleasant campfire.

Our kind neighbour, Henny, enjoys the warmth of the campfire, a conversation with Betty (and Charlie), and a quilt, made especially for her by Betty.

Betty and I are reminded that, whatever pitfalls may come our way, there is much to be thankful for. Hoping you can also take some time to count your blessings and enjoy your own adventures in living!

Caught a pic of Bet while testing out the camera settings.
And a self-pic, using the camera’s interval timer setting.