September 7: All done by clockwork – and RV democracy

Bill, my trusty web-master in Manitoba came home late last night, and fixed the wi-fi problem.  It was not my computer, and not the evil spirits in the Hoodoo campground server.  No … it is an Alberta Telephone problem.   Bill changed some settings, and it now works. 

Awaiting events.  The garage guy is going to look at the cruise control problem this afternoon.   In the meantime I am trying to catch up on the blog, etc.   This is on a really slow connection, and frustrating.   Another example of the growing gap between urban and rural.   The campground is linked by satellite to the Internet, and this is slow.   The cellular phone sorta worked if I stood outside on the picnic table.

The garage guy in Drumheller tells me that we have a broken “clockwork spring”.   Darn my eyes … all this time I thought the car ran on gasoline.   Clockwork?  Anyway, a new one would take two days to get here, so we will likely address it later in the trip.  All we lose is the cruise control (marginally useless in mountains anyway), and the air-bag.  This could be important if we run into anything really solid, like a train, but we would just mow down Hondas and deer, so not a major concern. 

For those of you who have just begun to suffer from this blog, I apologize for not getting things going sooner.  Apart from the rush of selling the house and getting on the road, Louise did not persuade me to do this stuff until recently, and we have been “out of touch” with the electronic world most of the trip so far.  This should change when (if?) we ever get to Vancouver.   But the lingering along the way has been absolutely fascinating, and Elaine says that she needs a day or so to draw breath, clean out the mud and dust, and generally organize the trailer.

We are not unfamiliar with RVing, and enjoy life on the road.  The best part is that every night we sleep in our own bed, which means more soundly than in a motel room.  The challenge is to find a park which is NOT on a main highway, or main line railway, and preferably one with electricity, water, and a sewage connection.

RVing is a great leveler.  Next door there may be tents, pop-up little trailers, fifth wheel trailers (like ours), or large motor homes.  Whatever else, we need to empty our waste tanks. 

A neighbour in Thunder Bay had a Prevost motor home … the absolute top of the line machine which starts as a luxury motor coach and ends up as a two-story home.  The prices for these start around $1 million, and usually they tow a luxury car for local excursions.   This neighbour had an impressive barbecue:  he pressed a button, and the four-burner monster slid out of the side.  Magic!   Sharing a coffee we were both dismayed that this new municipal campsite lacked a “dump station”.   His problem was worse than mine, since he had a small army over for a family reunion barbecue, and even a Prevost bus eventually fills its tanks and needs to find a drain!   Think about it … a million-plus dollars, and still up to his neck in you-know-what!

The amazing coincidence is that the big-bus guy was born in Gretna, Manitoba, which few people, apart from Bill and his family, have ever heard of.   However it does have a Post Office, and I told the woman there that we were the folk who shipped all the linens to Gretna for on-shipment through Neche, North Dakota. Now retired.   “Oh yes,” she said, “I wondered why the linens stopped coming.”

But back to some of the peculiar challenges faced by those living on the road. 

National, provincial and state parks usually have 30-amp electricity and water taps, plus a “dump station”.  Sometimes all these sites are full, and then we fall back on our “boondock” experience.  We can exist quite well on our batteries, tanks and propane stove for a few days, but have to forego the air-conditioner, microwave, and … worst of all … the electric coffee grinder.   I can often be found wandering around a campground in the early morning, grinder in hand, looking for an electrical outlet.  Failing anything else, we do have a hand grinder, but this is traumatic in the early morning.

There are also a few chores that have to be performed, but more about these later, and I will add some thoughts from Elaine.


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2 Responses to September 7: All done by clockwork – and RV democracy

  1. Violet says:

    John and Elaine..I am thoroughly enjoying your trip. Makes me feel that I am with you. What makes it more interesting is all the places you’ve been I have been there so I can relate real good They are some of my best memories. By the way where you at the Last Chance Saloon around Drumheller?Please keep the stories coming they are making my day……The best,,,Vi

  2. Judy says:

    Good morning Elaine and John,
    Just want you to know I am enjoying your trip immensely. So pleased you are doing this blog! Fall is setting in here in Gretna but hopefully not for good this early. Strange year weatherwise. Take care and am looking forward to more stories and pictures. BTW, you are both very photogenic! What a wonderful country we live in!

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