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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We Made A Move

We have not had any success in finding winter accommodations and have now chosen the next best – a stay in a full-service RV Park. For the small sum of $900/month we have now the luxury of water, power and sewer at site and a free WIFI.
DSC_0708Yes, you read correctly, it is indeed 900 Dollars tax included. Expensive? Well yes, but this is Alberta where people have to live with it. It is indeed my hope that lower oil prices will contribute to cool off Alberta’s economy. For too much IS too much.

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While the price is high, we think that we still “got a deal” as we are still close to the city and work. The facilities here at “Glowing Embers RV-Park” are good and behind-the-counter-personnel is really friendly.
DSC_0701Before we took off from our RV dealership dwelling I installed two vent-hoods. That way we can open the vents without getting a lot of precipitation on our heads.

For Molly this is a great improvement as well, as she can now enjoy much nicer walks through the park, and her dreamy face does show it.
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We celebrated with cake and cream….well most of the cream went….sideways.  Oh my!

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Partial Solar Eclipse

Today seen in Alberta:
DSC_0695If you missed this one, the next solar eclipse over North America will occur in about three years -- and it will be a more dramatic and rare total eclipse.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Oh Canada….


…what’s happening to my country? Has Terrorism arrived for good? Will we have to live with extreme security measures where ever we go and walk? Are our borders going to be the prison wall which keeps us inside and the bad guys out of the country?  The recent attacks on Canadian core values with the murder of 2 Canadian soldiers has rattled the country.

We can increase our security as much as we want, but there is a limit to how much we can protect the country. Like the attacks on 9-11 in the United States the terrorists will see the effect of every of their despicable actions as a victory in their efforts to destroy our society.

Yet, increased security will be the result of the attacks in Ottawa. But will the heightened security at our borders and ports of entry prevent future attacks? 

I think not.

Home-grown terrorism has become a problem in the U.S., the UK and now Canada.  Sleeping cells can live in our neighbourhood for years and seemingly be the nicest citizens until one day they spring to action.
Early detection of these elements is going to be crucial, which again will change our society as we know it today. And this, in turn, will lead to increased racism with radicals springing up in the most unexpected places.
Change is inevitable and we will have to learn living with it but it’s not going to be a dance on roses
Terrorism is posing a threat to travel, all public places where people gather, to public transportation and military bases.

A conflict, rooted in extreme Islamism, has spilled over from from the Middle East. It’s a conflict which is more than 2000 years old, and we will not be able to solve it for all future. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Last Dash Of Summer

It’s unseasonably warm in Alberta and especially in Edmonton. So having the day off we wanted to make the most of it and after doing a few errands in Spruce Grove we drove down to Devon to do a little river-side stroll. We got ourselves some lunch at the local grocer and headed down to the North Saskatchewan River.
DSC_0679It is really hard to believe that the date was October 20. Initially, I had thrown over my warm jacket but it got way too warm in it. Here, deep in the river gorge, the warmth was kind of trapped and created an oven-like effect. DSC_0682Of course fall colors are long gone and the trees way up on the top of the cliffs are standing bare.  An angler was coming down-river in his river boat and a single guy was hanging out here with his dog. Molly enjoyed the nice walk as well. It is truly a very beautiful spot.
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And a little update on us finding a place to live in this city.
It seems that 80% of all rentals are to be pet-free. And those which accepts pets are either for small pets only or they have 1 year lease conditions only. Or they are beyond reasonable financial means.
So for now we have decided that we will try a full-service RV-Park. For the fee they charge we could rent a nice home in New Brunswick. But we are in high-priced Alberta and have to deal with it. We will build a skirting around the trailer and put a heating lamp underneath to keep the trailer from freezing. The park has nice washrooms and even a store. And they are friendly behind the counter, which means a lot to us.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Are Bus Drivers Prone To Be Attacked?

He was a suspicious guy from the first moment. His speech was sounding intoxicated and even though his brother paid the fare, he should never have been allowed on the bus.

We were just driving into a small town, our second stop this day, when I heard agitated screaming from the last seat. I immediately knew that someone was drunk. When I stopped the bus I walked to the back asking what the problem was. He then started screaming at me what a lousy driver I was and that he had just been in the washroom when I had made a stop (at a red light) and he had fallen off his shaky legs. The guy was maybe 22-24yrs. old and he reeked alcohol a long way. I asked him to leave the bus, which was fine with him as this town was his destination anyway.

Outside he continued screaming at me and started to behave threatening. When I turned to the open baggage compartment to remove a piece of luggage for a lady leaving there as well, he attacked by punching me hard against the bus. I lost my hat, but luckily my eye glasses stayed on my nose. He made several attempts to hit me again but his brother who apparently had stayed sober held him back. Swearing and screaming they finally left around a corner.

What if he had drawn a knife?  This morning we just heard of a stabbing at the Edmonton Transit Station and local residents spoke out about that violent incidents were happening there all the time.

What also comes to mind is the grisly beheading of a fellow passenger on a Canadian Greyhound bus a few years back or the triple murder on an intercity bus in Norway. How dangerous is this job really?

It sure got me thinking.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Back On The Road

After a total of 2 days rest I was back on the roads of Alberta yesterday. The view from behind the wheel has changed a lot since I drove the route on the last day of September. Gone are most of the leaves and with that most of the colours of fall. What’s left is brown, grey and black forests. A morning-grey sky did not help much either to light up the scenery. Fortunately a blue sky re-appeared in the afternoon, which at least let the Lesser Slave Lake shine in a lovely dark blue.

It is remarkable how outside colours are effecting us all in our swinging moods. Think of the colours of spring. Aren’t you all happy and hopeful and eager to get out between those light-green spring-fresh trees? And on a sunny day even the colours of winter let us go outside and admire the contrast between snowy white and a dark blue sky. What really causes colours to glow and shine is the sunlight.

And we can be so enthralled in outside natural colours that we are applying them to our house interiors. I remember photo wallpaper in the seventies.
People put giant fall landscape wallpaper on their walls. And even the automotive industry started to use nature colours on cars.

I once had this moss-green Volkswagen Transporter. You parked that thing in the forest and have a hard time to spot it! Mine didn’t have that white roof though. I still like that colour, but it has disappeared from the paint charts for autos – for now.

And if we first dive into the topic – have you been way up north and seen residences painted in very bright colours?
                                         Houses on Greenland (DK)
It’s been done all along the northern edges of the globe to mitigate the long days of winter. And houses in the Caribbean are often painted in a bright pink or turquoise - an expression of lighter moods of life as can be enjoyed in a beautiful climate.

So enjoy the colours, where ever you are.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Edmonton At Last

If you have been wondering what had happened after my last posting – well we finally made it to the Capital of Alberta. But we were both knocked out and needed some time off to recuperate. In fact I got a splitting headache yesterday afternoon and was not in any condition to write down anything.
DSC_0588                                            Horse on the Prairie
But here we are, weather is still unseasonably warm, and I just enjoy 2 more days off work.
DSC_0597                                           House on the Prairie
We still have a lot to get organized with the number 1 priority finding a place to live over the next 6 months. The last object I had found went down the drain. Every “for rent ad”causes a run of renters towards the place. And then it is up to the owner to make a decision.
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                                  Canada Geese on a pond
Of course, the warm weather is helping to make us comfortable where we are – in our trailer.
DSC_0603                                            Round silage bales

DSC_0650Her majesty, Molly, has made herself comfortable on the couch – that dog is smart.

DSC_0624                                     What is ugly and stinks?
Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Day In Pike Lake Prov. Park

Our friend Carol lives in Pike Lake Provincial Park. Her house is right beside of the lake. After a quiet night Sunday dawned with a clear sky and after breakfast we all took a nice walk along the lake. While many trees are already standing bare, some are still showing off in the full splendor of fall colours.
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Pike Lake Provincial Park is 20 minutes from Saskatoon and yet a “million miles” from the city.DSC_0536DSC_0538

Pike Lake is a recreation park characterized by aspen, poplar and Manitoba maple groves; manicured lawns with two picnic areas close to the main beach; desert-like sand dunes a short hike away and a popular outdoor pool with a waterslide.  Add to this a diverse array of plants and wildlife owing to its location on a flood plain of the South Saskatchewan River.

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An Oxbow is a shallow body of water that's called an "oxbow" - it's a loop of the South Saskatchewan River that became cut off from the main channel.  A barrier-free trail that starts at the main beach and runs southward to the creek that feeds the lake includes observation decks that provide a good view of the aquatic life and waterfowl in the vicinity. 

DSC_0544A 1.5-km nature trail that begins at the interpretive center, meanwhile, provides a fine opportunity to experience the surprisingly diverse ecosystems contained within this small park. During summer months many, many people bring their campers and motor homes to spend time out here.

Thanks again for dropping by.

Leaving The U.S of A. (763km or 477miles)

After a delightful rest and breakfast with our friends it was time to head on north.
DSC_0378                  Minot, ND – a city of Scandinavian Heritage with a    Norwegian built Stave Church in the center
From Underwood to Minot it is 50 miles and we had to cover another 80 miles before being at the border. The CBSA officer asked the common questions which we answered truthfully and then we were on our way into Saskatchewan.
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If you ever want to see absolutely flat country you should be heading over here to Saskatchewan. The grain fields are stretching to the horizon and way, way out you might see a house or a farm. I imagine what life would be out here on a wintry day with a howling blizzard pounding across the open landscape.
DSC_0385                     Strong winds have blown this barn askew
But the prairie has a charm of its own and people who live here would probably never wish to live anywhere else.
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We reached Saskatoon at around 6pm, did a shopping round at Wally World and headed out to Pike Lake Prov.Park where our friend Carol lives.
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Bea made a super delicious veggie-soup and Carol had a great Black Forest Cake  for dessert. So what else would we be asking for.
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Tomorrow is a full day of rest and I might not have anything to blog about.

Thanks for following us around on this trip from east to west. We sure had some great weather and saw a lot of great scenery.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Seemingly Endless Prairie Of North Dakota

As usual we left Minnesota before daylight had arrived. We were still talking about the incredible traffic chaos we had experienced the evening before. Today the I-94 was almost empty, a good sign that we had reached the wild plains of the west.
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Pretty soon we crossed into North Dakota, the last state to go through before we would get back into Canada. Today we had a certain destination. We wanted to visit friends Diania and Glenn in Underwood, ND. We used to hang out in the California desert with them, but this would be the last chance to see them for the whole winter.
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From Bismarck,ND we went north on Hwy 83 and arrived at Underwood at mid-afternoon.
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The sun was out, it was a beautiful day and we seated ourselves outside and had a lot of catching-up to do.  Other friends from nearby came by as well and we all sat down to a delicious ham home-cooked ham dinner.
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Tomorrow we have to do the miles up to Saskatoon where we will be visiting our friend Carol.
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But that could become the next story and if you hang in here you might get to read about it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

After 1020km or 638 miles: The Trek Through the Twin Cities

Leaving Indiana when it was still pitch dark is what we did today. Looks like we are getting earlier out every day. Must be the journey through the time zones causing it.
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DSC_0226Anyway, we were headed towards the Windy City, but unlike the 2 previous days there was no wind, which made for a much more comfortable ride.

To my dismay they had still closed off the ramp where I-80 and I-90 are parting. Luckily we found the DETOUR and ran down the I-65 until we hit the I-80. I never go through Chicago itself but continue on I-80 until it intersects with I-39. From there we went straight north to Rockford and Wisconsin. It’s the only sensible way around Chicago, unless you LOVE traffic jams and toll stations.
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Wisconsin is such a beautiful state with all its colorful forests and rivers and lakes. I can’t but ooohhh and aaahhh myself, when I go through there. What we learned this time was that the state is home to extensive cranberry production.

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                                          Cranberry fields

 DSC_0267Wisconsin is indeed the nation’s leading producer of cranberries, harvesting more than 60 percent of the country’s crop. The little red berry, Wisconsin’s official state fruit, is the state’s number one fruit crop, both in size and economic value.

The cranberry, once called “crane berry” by settlers because of its blossom’s resemblance to the sandhill crane, was first harvested in Wisconsin around 1860 by Edward Sacket in Berlin, Wisconsin. Today, more than 250 growers produce cranberries throughout central and northern Wisconsin.

Cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in Wisconsin. The sand and peat marshes in central and northern Wisconsin create the perfect growing conditions for cranberries.

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Contrary to popular belief, cranberries do not grow in water. A perennial plant, cranberries grow on low running vines in sandy bogs and marshes. In Wisconsin, cranberry marshes are flooded with water to aid in harvesting. Because the tart, tiny berries contain a pocket of air, when the marsh is flooded, the berries float to the surface to be picked up by harvesting equipment. DSC_0272

Cranberries are harvested each year from late September through October.

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And then we went on towards THE TWIN CITIES. It was about 4:30pm when we first approached St.Paul. I had decided to run straight through in I-94 rather than driving all around the ring road on I-494.

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An Avalanche of cars coming around the bend

In the beginning it all went fine. While the oncoming traffic had stalled and been converted into a parking lot, we still made a 50mph speed. That, however, changed the minute we had passed St.Paul and were approx. smack in the middle of Minneapolis. Now it was our turn to crawl along. Even though we hardly ever stopped completely things ran kind of slow. Even after we had left Minneapolis and the traffic sped up we got another halt way out towards the town of Rogers.

DSC_0288 DSC_0291  We had thought of staying at the Super 8 in Rogers but were disappointed to learn that they don’t accept pets at all. So we went back on I-94 and continued to the town Monticello where we found yet another Super 8, this time accepting dogs. Great place and the best of all: There is a Pizza Ranch in the close neighbourhood. It’s buffet-style pizza and more.For $8.99 you eat and eat and eat until you roll out the door. They got excellent coffee and ice cream as well. Well-fed and somewhat rested we drove the short distance home.

If you wonder how we survive those daily distances: we alternate on driving. Works great!

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