Aug 02, 2021

Banff, days two & three

I booked our reservation for Banff on April 12th, the day the system opened for RV reservations.  I was online the moment that they started taking live reservations.  I was 8,679 in line. I could not reserve three nights in a row. So I booked the first night you saw in the last post and the final two nights on the site on this post. There was only one other RV site between the two. We asked when we checked in and again later that Monday night and again on Tuesday morning, but there was no way we could stay put. So we moved, it only took an hour once the folks left their spot. Turns out it was a great site with more flat space and lots of sunshine. We decided to make it a day of rest. I sat outside with the girls and read while Colin played his guitar inside.

The only problem with this site was that it was next to the public bathrooms which gave the girls lots to bark at.

Lots of area to spread out. By putting the ramp within the fence the girls are free to go in and out at will.

My chair that I moved around depending on the sun which kept popping out.

This was taken from our first site. Kinda of looks like that wee thing was being pulled by the 45′ Class A. They actually were sharing a spot built for two RVs.

Another long RV.

This one had its own back balcony. Most of the RV’s are from Alberta & Quebec with a few from B.C.

I took photos as we walked around. This 5th wheel has no windows on this side.

That is a black door, the only one into the RV,  it is plexiglass and you can see right into the RV. A new concept I guess, weather proof?

Still lots of smoke.

Very tiny RV mostly used for cooking. They had several children and two tents. The yellow is a badminton net.

After the move to the new site we just totally relaxed for the rest of the day. My planned dinner was ignored and I made something much simpler. We definitely are sleeping well in the RV. At home I get up every few hours, here I slept and only awoke once per night.

Smoky sunset.

Sadly Carlie came in with dozens of mosquitoes bites. Ciela had not a one. Obviously Carlie is much more sensitive to insect bites. The bites bothered her but I did not have any liquid Benadryl and didn’t think that my out of date non drowsy Claritin was a good idea. Dr Google was of no help. Sunset photos by Colin.

Wednesday had much less smoke and we got to see some magnificent mountains.

The girls discovered an interesting hole on our morning walk.

Made by a large enough critter that they could put their head into the opening. We had to keep them from digging further into the hole.

These lucky children did it all including roller blading and biking. Their parents kept them well entertained. The little girl even had a backpack type of bladder full of water with a hose to “water” the trees and not her brother. Nice family.

The only time we left the campground was Wednesday afternoon to get the Jeep tire torqued. We had planned to take the girls to the off leash dog park which is really well done and huge. However it was full of large active dogs so we moved on as we felt it was not safe for the twins. The town was crowded with bumper to bumper traffic. With all the activity in Edmonton we forgot to fill the Jeep so did so on this trip into town. Yikes at 1.459 per litre but we had to do that because of the fires, some gas stations in BC were running out of fuel.  We discovered that back home the prices were 1.549 per litre.  Still Edmonton would have been much less.

Once back at the RV we took a two hour break to do whatever we wanted to. Then we began to prepare for the trip home in the morning. Colin hooked up the Jeep to the RV which saves a good deal of time in the morning. I put things away here and there. Then I began to check the fire situation online. That took a while. As we might not have internet while driving I took some screen captures  I might need to see re possible detours. We were somewhat concerned as there were not too many details. I also arranged for two friends to text me if something came up in the fire news that we needed to know about. We had picked up Subway for dinner while in town, I ate mine but was too tired to enjoy it.  The smoke hung heavy in the air.

This is part two of my Banff posts. The first post can be found here.

Back to real time. The smoke continues, more fires have started, the Kelowna airport was closed today likely will be tomorrow as well because of smoke affecting landings and take offs. We did have some rain late yesterday afternoon but it was not enough to do much for the fire, it did wash the ash off our vehicles.  With the humidity we are at 34C/93F today. 30 to 40% chance of showers over the next three days but that comes with wind and possible thunderstorms. Will that help or hinder the situation, we can only hope for the positive. We deep watered our tree roots today as I noticed that the leaves were drying up and falling. Hard to believe that the smoke appears to get thicker every day. Apparently in Kamloops some smoke detectors are going off because of the smoke intensity.

My own personal rant for here in the park.  Colin just noticed this less than an hour ago. Time to open a good bottle of wine.

 

 

 

 

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Aug 01, 2021

Back in time

We so enjoyed our site at the Riverview RV Park in Rocky Mountain House, great place to spend our anniversary. Monday morning, the 19th of July, we should have been on the road earlyish.

But the girls did not want to leave our bed. Well neither did I as it was only 56F and still smoky. They do not sleep in bed with us. However they do wake Colin between 5 – 7AM to do their business and he just started a few days earlier to let the girls into bed with us ( because they were so cold he said ) before we get up for the day. In a very short period of time they have come to love getting into our bed. Me not so much as they lick and kiss us non stop ( literally )  for the first five minutes before they settle down. Now they don’t want to leave the bed. We had already made the bed but they got back in. Back home here in real time they are no longer coming into our bed.

We were on the road by 10:15. Nothing but smoke.

Just after Nordegg, the smoke lifted a bit and we saw that there were mountains out there. There are so very many RVing areas along here. Really nice area if the sun is shining.

This is the North Saskatchewan River. I was very disappointed with the lack of signage, no indication at all of a pull off ahead. I would love to revisit this area. We are nearing the Saskatchewan Crossing where this road joins the Banff Parkway.

I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta where the North Saskatchewan river divides the city into the south side and the north side. But where did this river start? The North Saskatchewan River originates from the Saskatchewan Glacier in the Columbia Icefields 1800m/5905ft above sea level. The North Saskatchewan is a majestic and beautiful river winding northeast through Edmonton. It originates 1,800 metres above sea level in the massive 325km2 / 125 square mile Columbia Icefield. It flows across Alberta and Saskatchewan to Lake Winnipeg, into the Nelson River and eventually into the Hudson Bay. 

So many glaciers along here.

Too bad they were not totally visible.

This is the area called the Saskatchewan Crossing, where the river begins as it trickles down from the Saskatchewan Glacier. It was named “The Crossing”, when travellers and fur traders used this spot to cross the North Saskatchewan River on their way to British Columbia in the 19th century. I would have loved to stop but there was no space for us along the side of the road.

There is glacier after glacier in this part of the Banff Parkway. Colin was fortunate to glimpse four bighorn sheep along here. As navigator I was reading the map (:

When the sun poked through we were treated to spectacular vistas. We have decided that Banff is much more scenic than Jasper.

The girls were content to lounge on the dash.

I have been here many times over the years. I even skied at Sunshine once. It is all so much prettier when the sun shines. Long ago I also spent a full summer studying art and drama ( in French ) at the Banff School of Fine Arts. I even successfully directed a play, performed entirely in French. We also recreated the performance in Calgary one evening. So many memories. Oh to be young again.

We arrived at the Banff Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court about 2PM. We sat in a long lineup idling and then found out that the computers were down. I had a hard copy of our reservation and we were in our site 35 minutes later.

A lovely location but a bit tight because of the trees.  We made do easily.

We did have a great view but it was mostly covered in smoke. Lots of space between RV spots.

Great location and it was even warm enough that we were required to turn on the air conditioning. The girls loved the area. After we relaxed for a bit and had a late lunch we all went for a walk.

Towards the end of our walk, just before six pm we saw elk.

Even a little one.

And then there were two.  One popped up from a nap in the tall grass. Lovely surprise.

A great end to the day.

The girls obviously were ecstatic  to be here. So many new sniffs and things to see including other campers passing by. We had to put a tarp down on the ground under the dog pen as they were eating everything like pine cones, pieces of wood, sticks and anything else that had been dropped.  There were many mosquitoes here but that was the only negative. How do you keep mosquitoes off dogs? We drove a total of 194 miles this day.

Back to real time. Today August 1st, we had close to 90 minutes of rain this afternoon. We even had puddles on the road. The temperatures went down but the smoke never stopped. Around 4:45PM the Kelowna International Airport was shut down because of smoke and an increased behaviour in a certain fire  nearby that is affecting all landings and take offs.  In other news one of our vets in Mazatlan just passed away due to COVID.  So very sad. Thanks for checking in, hope to have another post for you tomorrow. I genuinely appreciate all your comments for the past few posts 😀

 

 

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Jul 31, 2021

We end July with…..

…the calendar photo.

This was the biggest hike of my life. Happy to have done it but it wasn’t as moderate as advertised 😯 There were three times that I was convinced that I was going to die. Proud to have accomplished what we set out to do. Will I do it again? Never 😥

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Jul 30, 2021

Que pasa!

How smoky is it?

This is our view for the past two days and will be for a few more. The dark area in the foreground is the lake. We can’t see anything but smoke.

Downtown Kelowna from higher up.

The girls love to be outside, even more than before since our RV trip. They like to play, sleep outside and if they could they would eat outside. Often when they are in the house they will go out to drink from their water bowl on the top step or the patio. A favourite pastime is to go out one door, run the length of the yard and come back in another door – using the ramps to go up and down. However we are trying to restrict them as both have blood shot eyes from smoke irritation. A real challenge, so they can go out for a certain amount of time but then one of us has to keep watching from the window in case they want to come back in. Sometimes I cheat and leave the door ajar until the smoke becomes too strong and my eyes water.  They are sleeping more due to the combination of smoke and heat.

We are surrounded by the smoke.

Today we will have a high of 99F/37C and tomorrow we are expected to be 104F/40C. Our province of British Columbia ( BC ) is preparing for the heat wave by opening cooling areas for those who have no A/C.  So many rivers and lakes have heated up that they are finding fish and other small creatures like mussels are suffering and dying. This heat dome is affecting us is a variety of ways. There were 570 deaths during the week of June 28th. Deaths they say are a direct result of the heat dome. Doctors are trying to find a way to document for the respective governments how many heat dome injuries there were as well. At the moment there is no ‘code’ to do so.  Time to start keeping track of how bad things have become.

I have a reader asking exactly where we live. Our home is legally in Kelowna but we are the cusp of Lake Country in British Columbia. If you click on ‘profile’ just above the photo of us on the main page you will get a bit of information. Kelowna is surrounded by lakes & mountains, we have many wineries and fruit orchards and we are warmer than most of Canada. Feel free to Google Kelowna.

Carlie tends to put her paw in her mouth before she falls asleep and sometimes just for the heck of it.

Meanwhile because of the fires that keep starting, our Health Emergency Management BC is preparing to open field hospitals, for those who are being evacuated. There is little to no room for people to turn to unless they have relatives or friends nearby, hotels/motels are full. Many volunteers have offered help to animals in need, no matter the size or number, including horses. Arrangements have been made all over the province for livestock. Things have become that serious here. At this moment there are 18,691 properties on evacuation notice.

Then she falls asleep.

Then there is Covid.  The numbers in BC are going up, in particular in our area of Lake Country, Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland where we live. This is called the Central Okanagan and just over 50% of new daily Covid cases in all of BC are taking place here where we live. We are now back to wearing masks indoors plus there are restrictions to being inside. Here in our park, all indoor activities, the gym, the indoor pool, various classes and indoor events have been cancelled for at least two weeks. Outdoor pools and other activities are allowed for now. There is a big push to vaccinate everyone, especially the young who seem to be the cause of the increase in Covid cases – too much partying.

They are so precious.

So besides all of the above I have managed to get my emails down from 300 to 146. I haven’t been able to get back to everyone but I will. Where does the time go? Oh I know, dealing with our accountant over the 8K that is owed to us re taxes. 😯 The delay is blamed on Covid by the government. Trying to straighten out RIFF’s for Colin who just turned 71. Turns out we might have been given inaccurate information by our investment company. Of course it is the long weekend here ( Monday is a Civic Holiday ) here in Canada. Plus today we were given a deadline to deal with the accident claims from the November 2nd, 2019 accident. We were rear ended in Vegas on our way south to Mexico. Oh and I guess just finding out that Mazatlan is dealing with a serious outbreak of Covid cases. The Canadian consulate says there is a potential oxygen shortage. Of course the Isla is also dealing with many cases and some have died. Yes, I have been busy.

Wednesday was our first BBQ of the summer. Beet tops, peas, carrots, tomatoes and cucumber from our garden. Wild salmon fillet and baked potatoes. Truly a tasty meal, every single bite.

Taken this morning close to shore. This is a full colour shot taken over by the smoke. The heron was actively fishing.

Colin took this of myself and Ciela. She was restless and kept wanting me to pick her up so I just put her  up on the credenza next to me. She relaxed and I got this post completed. I love writing like this but two hours of my day passed swiftly. I want this to be a short post but as I write I feel compelled to add this and that.

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Jul 27, 2021

Doing well here, but have some challenges

The night we got home, July 22nd, we could actually see the smoke coming in.

Neither of us have stopped since we returned.  It took three days to unload and clean the RV. I did 14 loads of laundry in three days. Colin had to deal with one of our trees that almost doubled in size while we were going.  It really needed a trim. It took both of us several hours over a few days to get our garden under control. So hot that we can only be outside for so long. The house was wrapped in spider webs and so on. I still am having problems with Revenue Canada since the end of April.  They owe us money yet are charging us 50.00 – 75.00 interest per month. It is all being blamed on Covid.  I am really getting tired of that excuse. It was supposed to be resolved while we were away but it was not. Might even be a few more months.

Then the smoke moved from west to east across the lake.

That same night it was only a day before the full moon. The smoke changes the colours.

The next morning the girls stationed themselves outside the front door. They did not want to miss anything. Ciela decided to bury herself under the towel covering the bed.  I try and cover the beds with one or two towels or blankets so they don’t make holes in the actual bed while chewing.  They are still puppies.

Our tomatoes have gone wild within the yard. So have the ones in the garden. The pot on the right has a  smaller patio tomato plant in it. They all have tomatoes ready for eating, we have already enjoyed a few  as well as cucumbers.

Ciela looks chunky here but she just curls up ‘fat’. In the past month they have not grown more than 0.4 of a pound each.

The night that we returned, the 22nd, was actually Colin’s birthday. I decided that we would celebrate on Sunday the 25th. Colin wanted Chinese take out for his special dinner.  While he was out I was frantically putting some gifts together.  I had preplanned and had various gifts ( from a mini flashlight to a baseball cap ) ready. That M & M bag held six bottles of wine. I did have champagne in the fridge but we decided to enjoy that on a less busy evening.

He was surprised to see the gifts when he got back with dinner. We ate and later opened the gifts. I even had cake – but it was crumble apple pie, his favourite. The morning after photo.

Today the smoke was very thick. I could barely see beyond the lake.

I still plan to do the rest of the Banff blog posts. I think that after tomorrow I should be back to normal. Thanks for checking in.

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