Thursday, June 26, 2014

And Just How Did It Go?

Thanks for your expressions of concern regarding my burned hand. Well, it turned out to be of minor importance as the spot seem to be healing much faster than I had expected. I will spare you for a photo though. A rather unexpected consequence of the burn was that my physical “fit-for-job” testing was stopped in its tracks as one had concerns of looming infections. Of course quite ridiculous, but there is really nothing to do. Whether there will be further consequences on my job start date is still unclear.

And I am sorry that I did not remember to take pictures of the barber shop, it just didn’t occur to me at the moment.

It has gotten truly busy at the RV dealership. Most 30 RVs have been parked here now and more are coming from different storage sites around the area. Pictures of that will follow, but I am again limited to Mc.Donalds for internet. I CAN use the internet through my smart phone, however, the monthly limit is too narrow to make a whole lot of use of it. And there is really nothing wrong with McCafe and Company. In fact the coffee is a whole lot cheaper than at Tim Hortons and I like it. My newest discovery are Mc.Donalds Blueberry Muffins. When you can get them fresh from the oven they are downright delicious. I do stay away from their burgers and such. They are way too messy.

Alright, it’s still early in the morning and not a whole lot has happened yet. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Thanks again for stopping by.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

After Thirty Years…..

I have been in need for a haircut for quite a while, and since I’m no good at doing my own hair (Oh gawd…) and Bea, who’s done it for almost 30 years, is just about 5000kms away, I had to do something. When I had an errand in Spruce Grove with buying propane, I happened to drive by a very small barbershop. It looked like a place out of the sixties or seventies. It was looking so delightful unambitious that I dared to walk inside Gary’s Barbershop. I was not disappointed. Even though the place had recently undergone some interior refreshments, like new flooring, and some paint, it still had the inherent style of the founding year.
The chair, was the most dominating. There was only one to choose from and I’m sure it had seen thousands of customers. My guess was that most of the shop’s clients were of an advanced age, even more advanced than myself.

The master of the shop turned out to be what I call a typical barber. Before he even had started, he was chatting away about all kind of topics. It was just like time travel. I never knew his kind could still be found. But here he was, Gary the barber been there on this intersection for 20 some years. And even though his price was not of the sixties, it wasn’t big-city-style either.

When I left I met the next customer at the door. He was about 75yrs. and just another friendly guy.
I might go back there.

Having been at the barber I couldn’t but remember my very, very first visit at my hometown’s barber shop. Mother had brought me there and I might have been just 3 or 4 years old. Somehow, I was scared to death, comparable to be led to the electric chair. So, I refused to walk through the door and started screaming like a wild pig. It must have upset half of the town and I’m sure in today’s world it would have caused child services to pop up.

Monday, June 23, 2014

We Had A Situation

It was one of the warmest days this year, Winds were calm, sun was shining all day long and I even had my breakfast outside, which is a first this season. So far – so good.
During late afternoon, my host decided to try out a wood chipper. Being curious about that kind of equipment I joined in to help. Seeing the branches disappear in the machine just to come out again all chipped up was kind of fun. That is as long as it lasted. When one of the branches stopped I bend over to push it down. During that attempt I kind of lost balance and supported myself by putting my left hand on the hot, hot exhaust muffler.

I was quicker than quick to undo this, but the damage was done. My skin was sizzling and expanded enough to throw up a little wrinkle. Knowing that only immediate ice or cold water could limit the damage I ran as fast as I could to my trailer and stuck my hand in the freezer – which was painful enough. Then running cold water, then freezer again than running water. I figured I needed a trip to the E.R.  GPS gave me directions but it was a few miles off. Arriving there I just had a look into the waiting area and turned around. It would take all evening to get to a doc. So I decided next best solution was a pharmacy.
But it seems that pharmacies are closed on Sundays, so my last resort was Wally World on Stony Plain Road. I was lucky enough to find they were still in business. Got myself some gauze pads, medical tape and polysporin against infections.

Running back on Stony Plain Rd. I discovered that Police had barricaded the ramp up to Winterburn Rd.
4 cruisers were blocking the ramp and even more were on top of Winterburn Rd. What the heck was going on here?

I knew about a possible detour and when I finally was home again the word was that a hostage situation was going on in a camper parked about 300meters from our place. Geez….
It lasted several hours before police was gone.

Aah…..big city life.  What a pleasure.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


It’s The longest day of the year. It’s called midsummer or summer solstice or (in Norway) St.Hans Aften. People are celebrating this evening, this long day. I remember many of those evenings in Norway. The sun would be above the horizon until 11pm and it would re-appear at around 2am. For those among us who need darkness to sleep, it was a difficult time. Some people hung dark curtains over the windows. I never felt that way. I still can sleep in broad daylight. It doesn’t bother me a bit. Bea always had an eye cover.

Having a bonfire is what most people do on St.Hans Aften.
Unfortunately, many times it had started raining around midsummer night and then it was damp or downright pouring.
Bugs were always plentiful and if one didn’t have a repellent one would look like a German Streusel Cake the day after. Many times, we did spend the evening inside, were simply forced to.

Tonight I have no fire and no guests hanging around. But I will be sitting up a bit longer than usual and remember by-gone years.

Today I also remembered our friend Earl, who left this world about a year ago after a year of battling cancer. It was a very sad time for us. I called his wife Carol today and we talked about Earl. It still hurts.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Is It Really A Good Reason To Celebrate?

Turning 62 yesterday I had my loneliest birthday ever. Not that everyone forgot it. Oh no. I got emails from Norway and Germany and 2 phone calls from Down East and another from Germany. But nobody knocked on my door here. simply because there’s nobody here who knows me. Yet my host came over today with a cake in his hands. I made the coffee and we had a nice chat in the trailer.
And it’s not that I am FEELING being past the 60-mark.  I am still very active and have no intention of slowing it down. So, maybe people celebrate not their age but rather that they are still doing fine? It sounds like a much better reason to me, anyway.

I am helping my host getting his RV-dealership moved to the new location and there is sure a lot of things I can do, like f.ex. moving RVs around town. Unfortunately, my potential employer has postponed the start of my training again. So I am more than happy having something to do.

Bea is also staying quite busy on the home front, helping our friends with their motel and doing gardening for a variety of people.

Summer is starting officially in a few days and the temps are gonna reach in the high 70s low 80s. (26-28C).


House Delivery

We had been waiting for this for a few days. Then 2 days ago, it finally arrived. The property and business owner had ordered his office building to be delivered to the new property. They couldn’t get through the main gate with the 20ft wide load, so they came around from the back and a ramp had to be build from soil to make the big semi go down to where the building would be dropped off. We were all watching the transport when it turned down the ramp. Would the ground be supportive to the huge weight? Could the trailer sink in or, worse, tip over too much?  It turned out the driver knew what he was doing and the move went over just fine. When the building was in the right position they mounted heavy duty jacks under the steel frame and lifted it above the trailer. Then the truck moved away from under it. But before that ever happened the building was leveled up and blocks were place to carry the building. That was the most tedious part of the work and took quite a few hours.
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Moving houses this way is a thing which is quite uncommon in Europe. European highways are usually not wide enough nor does the infrastructure allow such moves. Besides, most houses in Central Europe are made of bricks or concrete. Only in Scandinavia houses are build the same way than in North America.

Now a skirting has to be build around it stairway to reach the entry door – 4 feet above the ground….

Have a great week and thanks for visiting!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Friday The 13th. But The Furnace Was Fixed

One of these rare Fridays have passed over us again and nothing really bad happened, that is if you don’t think of the threat of gas prices increasing again tomorrow. Our wonderful oil companies have again plotted a new excuse for sending oil prices to heaven. Well, it MUST be heaven for them. “Give me my daily military conflict and I will raise the gas price tomorrow and forgive me for my wrong doing…..” and so on. You know it.

Well, I am just cutting down on my driving again. Right along with oil companies are insurance companies who are masters in increasing their premiums for no good reason.

But let’s focus of the positive things in life. Otherwise you’ll tell me you saw the news already and don’t need it coughed up again. Right so!

At about 2:30pm the RV technician was pulling in. And I mean PULLING, as he had his shop trailer right with him. Dave had everything ready for testing my furnace and was pleased to see that he wouldn’t have to crawl underneath the sink to remove it first. He slid the thing out of its shroud and quickly found the culprit. Not any surprise there, it was the circuit board. I made the call to Suburban and they gave me the phone number of their Canadian Rep. Company in Calgary where I can submit the bill for refund. The total came to $388.50 – not cheap but then nothing is cheap in an RV and especially not in Alberta. Furnace works again, but now it’s been so warm that I don’t need it.
But if I’m not mistaken temps are gonna take a dip for a few days tomorrow and Sunday.

Dave runs his own company (Mike and Dave RV Inc.) together with a partner and this young outfit deserves positive mentioning. First, of all he came when he said he would be coming, second, he knew his stuff and didn’t have to fool around first and third, he was friendly and customer service oriented.

In stark contrast, this was the reception I got when I was first contacting a local RV-dealer with the same issue:  “Our first available date for a repair is July 02. No, we can’t pull any mechanic from existing work, not even to have a quick look, unless you have purchased your RV with us”.

So let me back up a bit: IF the RV would have been sold by them THEN there would have been time available????   A very strange policy and one which invariably would lead me to seek out a different place to buy my next RV.
A good example of non-existing customer service.

How would YOU like to be met with this attitude if you were just passing through and had a pressing issue with your RV?  
I bet you have met something similar once in your years as an RVer.

Anyway, we are at the end for today. Have a great weekend and see ya’ll later.

My New Digs And The Big City Life

Never before in my life have I spent any extended time in any big city. Never felt for it and never really will. One of the things I want to mention on the positive side though is how close everything is. I don’t need to drive on for ever to find a food store or a laundromat or Post office. Everything is pretty close. Another thing on the positive side is a much bigger CHOICE of what I can get and WHERE I can get it. If the nearest gas station sells their gasoline at an over price, I simply drive to the next one which indeed can be 6cts lower pr. liter. Those are the good sides of being in a big city.

What about the bad sides? Number one irritation are big city drivers. Many of them have one or another obvious brain damage, at least it seems so if you look at the mindless way they are driving. Aggression and  even road rage are obviously a daily experience if one spends extended time in big city traffic. Why there are speed limits in the city is beyond me. Nobody cares anyway. If it says 70km/hr, drivers seem to read 90km/hr. Double medians are crossed over all the time. Who cares?
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Then there is rush hour. Yesterday I watched it from my camp chair. A busy city road is passing just 50m behind my trailer. At 5pm the number of vehicles on that road caused a complete stand-still. Definitely a time when it is better to watch than to drive out here.

Nevertheless, I like my place of city residence. As you can see I’m all by myself with lots and lots of space around me. I do have a TV-reception again, even though it is shaky at times.

While I am waiting for my training to start I am helping my host with all kind of outdoor work. Yesterday it was weed-whacking, today I used an electric chain saw to cut low-hanging branches of the trees. It keeps me busy and I show him my appreciation of being here for free.

Another thing I did today was removing my furnace from under the kitchen sink. I finally figured out why it wouldn’t come out last time I tried. I took off the gas line and found a plug for it at Home Depot. Another benefit of being in a big city. Tomorrow I have an RV mechanic coming to check out the darn thing and hopefully find the reason for malfunction.
I had called the manufacturer, Suburban, to ask about the warranty and found out that I still have 5 months left of it. Guess I lucked out there. Hopefully they will acknowledge the claim. I will have the mechanic talk to the guys at Suburban to make sure they cover the cost.

And THAT will be all for today. More is coming up tomorrow.

Thanks again for dropping by here.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

No More Camp Fees For Me, But Lots Of Memories

After a very peaceful night at Wally World in Leduc, I pulled the trailer to the Lions Campground in town. I just didn’t want to leave it unhooked at Wally World while I was checking out my future “camp digs”. The Lions is close to downtown Leduc and that makes it a very popular place for travelers as well as seasonal residents, which results in a fully booked place.
I got a spot, and it is at the end of  a long row. The spot is not level but I don’t care. It’s just for one night.
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The Lions Campground does hold a few memories for us as we have been here a few times. The RV-Park itself may not be above average, but the surroundings sure are.
IMG_9047  Huge dog run. I remember Boomer and Molly in here
The city of Leduc made a multi-recreational paved pathway leading from residential areas in town out towards a beautiful lake and in a loop touching the campground before its running back to town.
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Residents as well as park visitors appreciate the beautiful walk or bicycle ride, and bird watchers and nature lovers can just stand at the view platform by the lake observing all kind of local wildlife.
While this night is still costing me $40,- I am looking forward to spend the rest of the summer without having to pay any camp fees. My host is Northern Lights Vacations and RV-sales. They are just getting ready to move into a new lot and were in need of a guard.

But you wouldn’t know how this connection was made. It started with me calling my former neighbours in Cold Lake asking for ideas about where I could stay in the big city. They happened to know “Jackson”, a local song artist who happened to know Roland of Northern Lights Vacations. My neighbours had told “Jackson” who is an Edmontonian, whether he knew a place in the city. And when “Jackson” talked to Roland, he heard that Roland was looking for someone guarding his lot. And there I came into the picture again. And tomorrow is moving time.
By the way, right across from my new digs is a regular campground. They might have a dump station…or what?
For the first time in 2 months I have a regular TV-reception again. At least it’s good for the News.

Thanks again for being here.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Leaving The National Park

In spite the very beautiful area of the National Park I have decided to pull the plug. And it’s got nothing to do with the area but everything with tourism. The hospitality industry is known to pay the lowest possible wages and if that pairs up with a low number of hours really worked and the fact that living costs tend to be astronomical then it doesn’t make much sense to keep it going. An additional problem I faced, was the need to constantly move  my trailer every 2 weeks as all public parks have a policy of not accepting seasonal residents. And the very few private parks are even more  expensive.  When I received a phone call from an Edmonton-based company offering work in and around the big city I really had no choice other than accepting the offer. It is part of Canada’s biggest bus company with thousands of buses around the country.

So today I left the National Park, and hopefully I will find suitable accommodations for my trailer. A promising appointment with a business owner in the city is scheduled for tomorrow, and I might end up being a property watch-dog in my spare time.

Meanwhile, I found “a home” at Wally World, at least for one night.

Friday, June 6, 2014

It Can Happen Anywhere

A Canadian City has been under hard stress and fear for the security of their citizens. The hunt for the perpetrator is over. Moncton, New Brunswick is drawing a breath of relief but is also marked of sorrow over the tragic death of three RCMP-officers. What happened in my own province can surly happen anywhere. It has happened in Mayerthorpe, Alberta before. And at about the same time a campus shooting happened in Seattle,WA. One of many in the U.S.
Canada has only about a 3rd. of the U.S. population and we do not have the same numbers of tragic mass shootings as in the U.S. Nevertheless, or just because of it, we are shocked as much as people are in the U.S. when such mindless acts happen in our middle. And we SHOULD be shocked and never, never accept such terrible acts as being part of normal daily media headlines.

My thoughts are now in New Brunswick and with the families who have lost their loved ones.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Taking A Ride North

Having lived in Alberta for 6 years we still have friends in the province and on Monday I took a ride north to Cold Lake/Bonnyville. One of our friends, Sally, is living a life with animals and as close to nature as one can get. Her property is a 10acre-parcel where she over many years has built up her own paradise.
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There is small Dexter cattle, ducks, hens, small pot-belly pigs (one is called Peter the other Bea!!) there are turkeys and of course last but not least the border collie lady Brandy. In fact, as I was rolling into the farm yard Brandy started crying as her emotions over seeing me took over. And it is about 3 years ago I had seen her!. I love that dog.
20140602_203410 “Brandy”

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Sally built her own house of straw bales. Her heating bill is neglectible.   Her electric power comes mostly from solar panels, though she does have a Honda 2000EUi as well.  Yes, she has been living off the grid for a long time. Her property features an extensive vegetable garden, which feeds her in the winter. There are fruit trees and beautiful shrubs as well.
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                                                  “Peter & Bea”
Monday evening was very warm and after we had watched the newborn calves jump around in the fresh green grass, we seated ourselves outside catching up with each other’s events.

It is a rather long drive from Banff to Cold Lake about 7-8hrs. and when I left there yesterday around 11am, I managed to forget my wallet on a sideboard. Of course that did not come to my attention until I had pulled into a gas station 90 minutes drive away and couldn’t pay!  OUCH.

Luckily, I had my passport with me so I could ID. myself to the people and they let me go back to fetch my wallet. So I lost about 3 hrs. on my travel time back to Banff, and when I finally arrived in the hills around Cochrane,AB around 10pm, a mighty thunderstorm was pushing through the area. Lightning was so intense that the road was illuminated almost to daylight. It was a horrific show and then the rain started pelting down.

When clouds opened up a bit, there was still some light from the sun behind the horizon. Alberta thunderstorms can be extremely violent and I just attribute that to the dry air we often have here.

I was sure glad when my trailer was showing in the headlights, and it didn’t take me long to fall into a deep sleep.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mechanic Sunday And A Great View Of Banff

When I purchased the former ambulance, it had two alternators. One for the engine and the other for all the medical stuff they had onboard. Trouble was, alternator No.2 was faulty and by that reason disconnected. And it did make a howling sound as the bearings were worn out. So I have speculated a good deal whether just to replace alternator No2. or rip out the extra equipment and just buy a shorter belt. I finally came to the latter, and today I got myself the right tools and started it halfway through the morning. Prior to this action I had watched a video on how to go about. What the video did not show was the fact that both alternators were mounted on a special bracket which is not to be found in any other vans of this model. That bracket was about to cause a major problem as the standard one-alternator-belt was too short to reach up and around. So not only had the two alternators to come out, but also the bracket they were mounted on.

It sat with 3 bolts only, so that seemed easy, but even after removing all three of them the darn thing would not come off. It seemed like welded to the motor.

I bend and hammered and poked and pried and finally, after a full hour, it came loose. With that part removed, the rest was peanuts. I restarted the engine and the terrible howling was gone.

Of course, I now needed a little road trip and decided to check out a few of the most wonderful views around Banff.
My first goal was to drive up to Mt.Norquay. In winter, this is a fine ski destination while now only a few cars make the long switchback road to the top.
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Not only was there a grand view but I was lucky enough to see a whole herd of horned Mountain Sheep resting peacefully on an alpine meadow. Well, a few were even checking out who was visiting down on the road!
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Vermilion Lake seen from Norquay Road
Next on my bucket list was Vermilion Lakes, down in the valley. A narrow paved road leads from the west Banff entrance along the few shallow Vermilion Lakes.
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The views across the quiet waters are crowned by towering snowcapped mountains. Mt. Rundle sure dominates most pictures I took, yet the foreground changes in every picture. I’m sure it was way over 70F today. People were lounging on the few boat docks along the lake just hanging out there enjoying.

What a great way to spend Sunday. First being a Mechanic then a Tourist. Oh well…..

Thanks again for coming along.

A Bear, A Chipmunk, A Canyon And A Few Lakes

All this happened just over the last 3 days, and most of it today. We had a trip with some Chinese folks coming from +100F Shanghai and a few from Beijing.  (looks odd the 3 dots there…)
Went up to Lake Louise which was still under ice though it has gotten thinner now. Our path was partially covered in thick snow so they all had to balance themselves across.
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Moraine Lake was even worse. More snow and more ice and I missed the beautiful deep turquois color of these mountain lakes. Oh well, a few more weeks maybe.
Then today I was in Lake Louise again. From Chinese to Japanese… it goes all in a heartbeat. While my passengers were enjoying themselves elsewhere I had an hour to kill and went into the information centre. Last time I had been here was in 2004 with Mother. But nothing much had changed.
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Well, I didn’t remember the Grizzly looking up to me. SCARY! 
From Lake Louise we had gone up to Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge at Yoho Nat’l Park.
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         Today                                              Last week
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Remember my last visit there just about a week ago. It was pouring then and people were considering to buy rain gear. Not so today. We were all blessed with the bluest of all blue skies.
20140531_141929    Above: Avalanche underway…
The colors are almost indescribable. It is just so pure beautiful. Deep blue sky, snow-white mountain tops, spring green trees and yellow flowers. Marvelous! No ice on Emerald Lake any longer! And the Natural bridge looked great in the bright sunshine. Next stop was Marble Canyon at Kootenay Nat’l Park. Boy oh boy, mother earth sure got a big crack in the surface. That canyon is super narrow and super deep. All around on the top are the remnants of the big 2003 forest fire. The area has recovered nicely over the last 10-11 years and new tree growth is standing in between the old burnt ones. It’s something nature has done over and over and over again. The 2003 fire was caused by lightning. Nat’l Park Fire Fighters managed to stop the fire before it was spreading into the busy Bow River Valley.
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While walking along the canyon trail I noticed a few chipmunks playing around between the rocks. Aren’t they cute?
Yeah I had 3 busy days and with all there is to see one gets tired when it is all done. It is good to come back to the quiet neighbourhood in the Campground and listen to nature.

Thanks again for stopping by.