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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Hot Summer Days And A Decision Is Made

It was a hot night and probably the reason why I woke up at 5:30am, got the coffee going, enjoying the still quiet morning. Traffic hadn’t been awakened. I put on a CD with Oldies and just enjoyed the cool breeze wafting through the trailer.

This summer is by far the warmest I have experienced since coming to Canada.  Yet we still have no drought conditions like we had in 2002, mainly because of short thunder storms. Day temps are often around the 30C-mark. I can enjoy far-stretched grain fields when driving the bus north. Bright yellow canola fields are lighting up in between. It must be good to be a farmer these days.
Cattle herds are grazing peacefully on pastures along the highway.
In the city people are walking in light clothes some of them truly on the verge of decency and good taste.

We have been considering what to do when fall arrives and temps will be dropping. With my employment in a new company we decided not to go south this winter but tough it out in Alberta. The only unsolved question is our accommodation. As of now we have considered a few alternatives but nothing is quite definite. Of course we are dreading long commutes and right now I have only 6km to drive which really is a great asset in a city suffering from daily traffic back-up. So I would like to stay in North-West Edmonton. It is also close to the Trans-Canada Highway, a fast way to go east, west and north.
Bea will be coming west as soon as summer season is wrapping up on the island. Being reunited with the love of my life and dear Molly, will be a feast I can’t appreciate high enough.

And as time has a habit of flying by, the wait won’t be too long.

Thanks for keeping me company here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Short Or Longer?

This morning I was startled by the morning news.
Some big-time Mexican Billionaire really had the gall to suggest that people should only work 3 days a week. Now I’m not sure what he was thinking IF he was thinking at all.
Let me just put out something which comes to mind immediately. While working only 3 days a week might be great for the rich man (if he gives me a couple of millions I even might go along with it..) I can see a few minor problems for the average Canadian and American being on the customary low wage end of things.  Minimum wage in Canada is $10/hr. Even working 40 hours a week would make for barely $1,600/month before deductions. A person with that kind of income would not be able to even pay the rent in most bigger Canadian cities, not speaking of other costs of living.  With only 3 days of work this person’s income would be reduced to crumbs of under $750/month.  Millions of people throughout North America are working at 2 or more jobs already to make ends meet.

Needless to say it would also make for a lousy market economy. But I can see why this would be great for employers as the employees would not be eligible for receiving benefits ever. Even in a country like Germany employers conveniently have moved to employing more and more part time workers, all supported by government programs.

But the writing is on the wall in big letters. Taking away reasonable income will turn a former consumer into a social client with extremely limited possibilities to make purchases, which, and this really is a no-brainer, substantially reduces the volume of any market economy. And as an unwanted side effect it will increase the crime rate. Every poor country in the world is dealing with the very same problem. But it seems that big employers like f.ex. Wal-Mart refuse to see this.

But one day this development will bite them in their behind. It might be hard to reverse then.

Naturally, a Mexican Billionaire hasn’t thought of this either.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oh My….How Time Is Flying By

I can’t believe it, but a full week seems to have vanished.

Vanished?

Well, that’s how it feels. And that’s what happens if you are too busy.  And busy I have been.

I switched from Inner City to Inter City Traffic. Honestly, all that driving in the city made me a bit stressed out. So now I can enjoy the more quiet landscape and roads of rural Alberta.

Last Friday I had a trip from Edmonton to Cold Lake and back. It felt like coming home, though “home” has lately become a word with many meanings. But at least I knew where I was going. Never quite knew that in this city.
And then the day before I was way up north. Destination was High Prairie.  That is one long drive from Edmonton. And for the first time I saw Lesser Slave Lake. What a huge water body that is.
The town of Slave Lake made the news a few years ago when most of the city was consumed by a massive and fast moving wild fire. Needless to say that all buildings are spanking new now. I bet a lot of history burnt down that day. There are still mobile homes out on a field. They are empty now, but after the fire most residents needed a roof over their heads.

Tomorrow it’s High Prairie again and then……we’ll see.

Have a nice weeks and thanks for dropping by again.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Getting’ All The Ducks In A Row

You might remember our friend Sally up north. A remarkable lady living a life style which most of us would deem impossible and being definitely outside of our established society. And I must admit I was shocked myself the very first time we visited her on her 10acre property. However, when you get to know her you will have the pleasure of hearing an endless stream of stories about her animals, her plants, about her neighbours, the environment, and her early years when she was still traveling.

Her vast knowledge about animals, derived from spending years of watching animals behavior would boggle everyone’s mind. Her minimalistic way of living on a shoestring, yet living good, will never cease to amaze me. When you come to her yard she will lead you to her babies, her new-born chickens, turkeys or ducklings.

Or she might just call out for GEORGE and her beautiful male turkey will answer her from across the yard. Collarcollarcollar….

But Sally also has good help in her border collie BRANDY guarding the many birds in her yard.
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This time she showed me her happy group of ducklings. A narrow path leads through foot-high grass. When we approach a make-shift fence she’s calling out after the ducklings and before I know it a long row of tiny duck-babies come running down the path, eager to see whether breakfast is brought. But the feeding bowl is on the other end so we walk carefully between the ducklings and mother duck. I can’t take my eyes off the path, for too high is the risk that I step on one of these adorable small creatures. Once we have reached the feeding place we hunker down and Sally dispenses the grain into the bowl, which immediately is surrounded with tiny ducks.
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After a little while everybody is getting thirsty and moves over to the water bowl. Of course there is always the odd one who seems to think that drinking water can also be used for taking a bath.

Getting all the ducks in a row is certainly not any easy task with this lively bunch and it puts a whole new meaning to the old saying.

Besides of having a mystery yard she lives in a home-built straw-bale house, which keeps her warm during any cold Alberta winter and cool on a hot summer day.

An interesting way of life for sure.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

It’s Red-Hot In Alberta

With temperatures soaring higher than in many, more southern, U.S.-locations, it is so hot that even the mosquitoes have quit attacking me. But there is a relief coming for Thursday, when temps are supposed to dropped into the mid-seventies again. And it’s not just bare enjoyment in Western Canada as firefighters are battling more than 200 wild fires spread across Alberta, British Columbia and the Northern Territories.  Most of these fires have been sparked by lightning strikes. Central parts of B.C. have indeed experienced temperatures above the 100F degree mark.

Alberta has been shaken by the latest terrible crime committed in Calgary, where a young boy and his grandparents have been missing for 2 weeks. And the last message from the police is as devastating as it possibly can get. Murder charges have now been laid, even though no bodies have been found yet.

My training has progressed nicely, and I am now looking at a few days off until the company finds out where to put me at work.

And what’s going on in Germany? Well, I’ve never been a great soccer fan, but when your country of birth is winning the World Cup and the crew is having the most triumphed home-coming ever, one can’t just ignore the party.
Nach der Landung auf dem Flughafen Berlin-Tegel sind die deutschen Nationalspieler in einen schwarzen Truck umgestiegen und haben sich auf den Weg Richtung Fanmeile gemacht.
Germany Lufthansa had even repainted their plane transporting the crew back home and named it FANHANSA.
Illustration einer Boeing 747-8 mit Fanhansa-Schriftzug.
Die deutsche Nationalmannschaft hat auf der Fanmeile in Berlin mit hunderttausenden Fans gefeiert.<br />

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Almost Back To Normal On Campobello And I am Finally Working.

After 2 days of living camper-style parts of Campobello have returned to normal. That is the village of Wilsons Beach on the north end is still without power. As with other natural disasters people were all helping each-other. Some cooked food for those in need, others brought propane cook stoves they had sitting in the basement and now crews are working with removing fallen trees from roads and popular hiking paths. 

For me particularly, it was good to know that Bea received help from neighbours and that she did not get stranded in a hostile place.

While things return to normal on the island, I have finally started my training which so far I have enjoyed a lot. The trainers are extremely friendly and helpful and today I had a first run throughout the city with one of their nice Prevost buses. I would just love to have one of those for a motor home. But they cost upto $1.5mill. And I just know that we will never own anything like it, not even used.

Driving to and from work I have tried several different routes, but it turns out I have to cope with rush-hour-style traffic conditions where ever I chose to go.  It’s life in the city.

Thank you for dropping by again.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

No Phone Calls To Campobello Island

Since yesterday Campobello Island has been without power, and consequently, no way of making phone calls by land line to or from the island.
At this time I have no idea what’s going on over there.
 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Stormy Night

While the east coast is being pounded by storm  “ARTHUR” Edmontonians have enjoyed a stormy night of their own. Here is how I got into it:

My host had asked me whether I could pick up a stranded travel trailer around Vegreville,AB, a good hours ride east of Edmonton. So I started on the trip at 8pm.
It had been another warm day and the sun was still up when I hit the Trans Canada Hwy 16 east out of the city.
The trailer had broken down due to a burnt wheel bearing and had now been repaired locally. It was sitting in a driveway to an oil lease and needed to get out of there as it posed a hinder for oil trucks pulling in there.

I got out to hitch on the trailer and was immediately attacked by millions of mosquitoes. No fun!
By now the sun had gone beyond the horizon and I noticed a looming dark cloud cover way out west.

As I approached Edmonton I saw lightning appear all over the horizon. A mighty thunderstorm was underway. At 11:30pm I had crossed but all of the city to the west when the first rain started falling. It wasn’t too bad yet. I pulled off the Yellowhead (HWY16) and went down Winterburn Road when the rain increased.

I had barely made it into the sales lot when the thunderclaps were reaching ear-deafening noise level. I just parked, locked the rig and ran towards my trailer. This was it.

Just about 10 minutes later the hail started. If it had been pretty loud before, now it was like somebody throwing a load of stones from high above on the roof. I was expecting my roof hatches to burst at any time. Luckily, the hail lasted for about 5 minutes only before it was replaced with pounding rain. I could handle rain.
Lightning was now so intense that there was no break in between. A steady flicker of harsh white-blue light was all around me. The cracking thunder was so bad that I felt the sound vibrations in the trailer. When it finally subsided I fell asleep.

Bang!

I had slept maybe an hour when it started all over again. Geez… could I get some peace around here?
What a night this was.

Taking to friends on Campobello this morning they reported high winds and tons of rain last night, and it was still going on. Trees have fallen across the roads and power was on and off all the time.

I hope it will be over soon, but the hurricane season sure started early this year.

Thanks again for stoppin’ by.

Update Storm Arthur:  It is 6pm ADT and Campobello Island is without power entirely. Fallen trees are everywhere, but nobody got hurt. Wind has diminished somewhat but it is still pouring down.

Friday, July 4, 2014

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY AMERICA!

Congratulations to all Americans!


This is the first time that I will not see the great fireworks over at Eastport,Maine. We have lots of American neighbours celebrating the big day on Campobello Island and the wonderful eastern summer.
Right now Hurricane Arthur is moving up the east coast and we just hope that it will not cause too much damage in its path. Usually it weakens substantially as it moves over colder waters. But there will be strong winds and lots and lots of rain over Campobello Island.

Right here, on the other side of the country, summer has settled over Alberta and temps are between 24-30C (high 70s to lower 80sF).

How long have you been Rving? Me, I started some 40 years ago and have never regretted it. It’s just the greatest way of traveling and seeing the country. And a great bonus has always been meeting other RVers along the way. But there are newbees out there who have never gone camping before and don’t know too much about it. For those it might be a good idea to rent an RV for their first trips to find out whether this really is something they want to do. There are RV rentals around where one can get anything from small travel trailers to a huge class A motorhome. Right here in Edmonton is https://www.northernlightsvacations.com
where they have travel trailers and Class C models to rent. The company just moved to a new location. Owners, Roland and Brigitta Maag are from Switzerland and they have a lot of European customers arriving at Edmonton Intern’l Airport.  IMG_9099 IMG_9100
If you are coming to Edmonton you might want to check them out.IMG_9098-001Thanks again for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Canada Day – If You Like The Crowds

I had gone up to Cold Lake,AB for the long weekend to see old friends. Boomtown Cold Lake is 295kms northwest of Edmonton, or about a 3.5hr. drive by car. Over the past 3 days I have surprised many people by simply popping up in their midst.
Our old Church group f.ex. was already seated when I entered from the rear.  Surprise, surprise!
Of course, it rained a lot of questions and they kept me quite busy after the service.
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We lived in Cold Lake for 6 years and built a lot of relationships during that time.
And today was Canada Day. I drove down to the beach which is the traditional place where the crows are gathering. With 25C most of the population seemed to be on the beach of Cold Lake. Wandering through the crowds I felt a bit like grandpa in the elementary school. Most of the people looked like students and I assume that average age was not any higher than 35yrs. Out on the lake several speedboats were cruising back and forth showing off their big engines. But the prize for best in show must have gone to a guy who was about 20ft. up in the air and moving along on a water jet engine. What a way to celebrate a National Day.
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