Wonderful Winnipeg

August 21 & 22, 2018

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Canadian Museum for Human Rights

After the boler bash, we stayed a few extra days in Winnipeg. It’s surprising that I had never visited this city before. Yes, I’d driven through and bought fuel or had a layover at the airport, but I had never spent any time there. It is a wonderful city! Growing up in Ontario, I had always referred to it as “Winterpeg”. It has so much to offer. Yes, some roads are really rough, but the traffic flows. That’s right. It was a breeze to drive even the Chinook. This always elevates a city’s status in our books.

A small group of us stayed on a Red River Exhibition for 2 more nights.  These are the only trailers left after everyone pulled out on Sunday:

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This was our little “circle of boler love”:

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clockwise: Our Chinook, Brenda’s boler, Heidi’s Trillium, and Sheila’s Escape

One of my friends (Lynn) emailed the Tourism Winnipeg to ask if there was RV parking downtown for 3 small rigs where we could spend the night. Someone got back to her and gave us a location in the French quarter, St. Boniface – right in the heart of the city! We were able to walk to trendy coffee shops, restaurants, The Forks, museums, and Fromagerie Bothwell. What fun! So Yves & Lynn, Sheila, and we did some boondocking in the heart of Winnipeg.

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Yves & Lynn and their Trillium Jubilee, Sheila’s Escape, and our Chinook (and Kenzie & Bunnah)

Along with our friend, Sheila, we toured the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It is an architectural wonder on the outside, but a somber experience on the inside. Will we humans ever learn from our history?

Entrance to the exhibits:

A few of the exhibits:

–Women’s rights and aboriginal women’s continuing struggles

–Religious rights (and the creation of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms)

–Racial rights and Viola Desmond’s bravery

There were also many separate exhibits on the various regimes that have oppressed humans.  Of course, the largest was the Nazi exhibit.

There were also bold messages about one’s behaviour when others around you are being persecuted.

This museum is a must-see for all.  It requires much reading, but there are some interactive exhibits and video interviews throughout to break up the reading.  We spent several hours there and were disappointed to discover that it closed at 5pm, so we had to rush through the last few floors.  Those last floors were the most uplifting.

The next day, we took Daisy and Poppy, and Sheila brought Kenzie (Westie) and Bunnah (Scottie) and walked all around St. Boniface and The Forks.

The Cathedral was destroyed in a fire, but the ruins remain, and a new cathedral was built inside the ruins.  On the grounds of the cathedral is a cemetery which includes the grave of Louis Riel.  Riel led an uprising (The Riel Rebellion) against the Canadian government in 1885.  He was hanged for treason; however, he is honoured as a hero in many parts of Canada.

The Forks is where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers meet. It has a very long history and is now a National Historic Site.

There is an interesting astronomy installation in the park.  There are huge structures that point to various star clusters and a description below each one.  You have to get the full effect at night, of course.

We had lunch at The Forks Market. The dogs really enjoyed helping Sheila with her fish and chips! Afterwards, Sheila and her girls left for points east to meet up with Donna Dee and her pack. They are heading to the east coast. We will meet up with them in BC and head south together this winter. Happy trails Sheila and Donna!

 

bolers Away!

August 15-19, 2018
Red River Exhibition Park, Winnipeg, MB

454 fiberglass trailers (including one Chinook) registered

420 fiberglass trailers (including one Chinook) attended (321 bolers)

930 participants (from 10 Canadian provinces and 23 US States)

1800+ public attended Saturday

What do these numbers represent? The gathering of molded fiberglass enthusiasts for the 50th anniversary of the boler trailer!

Ian Giles of Calgary, Alberta spent roughly 4 years organizing this historic event. Along with his wife, Joan, he worked tirelessly to create a memorable experience for all. Please visit myboler.com for detailed information and media coverage.

There were 6 snowball caravans arriving from points in Canada (West A, West B, and East) and the US (West, East, and South), with campgrounds along the way. Unfortunately, we didn’t join an official caravan because we were volunteering and arrived a day early. However, we had our own little caravan of 6 rigs arriving early. We met in Regina, SK, where we were treated to a wonderful dinner and driveway camping at Brenda Williams’ house. Then, the 6 of us headed east to Winnipeg.

We were the first arrivals on Tuesday. We set up camp, toured the grounds, and met the other volunteers as they arrived.

That evening, we had an orientation by Ian, and then it was Show Time!

The first caravan arrived Wednesday at 10 am. Now that was a sight to see! A quarter of a mile of bolers! Spirits were high in the extreme heat. There was lots of cheering and honking. Paul was on parking duty for the first caravan. Ian arranged for specific parking areas: electrical, generators, groups, and general. Then, the participants were parked accordingly. There were only a few hiccups. Since there were waves of trailers arriving, Paul stayed parking people all day. His shift was supposed to be only 2 hours, but everyone was so excited that most of the first shift kept working and helping out the next shifts.

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One wave in the first Western Canadian caravan

Arrival of the Eastern Canadian caravan:

The party was on!

We had some new manufacturers in attendance such as Oliver Travel Trailers, Armadillo Trailers, and Happier Camper. Sadly, Airstream did not send a NEST, though they had been invited. If our current Airstream is ever written off like our previous one was, we would definitely consider getting an Oliver. What a sweet trailer! It has some serious features for full-time living. The only drawback is the wet-bath.

Armadillo Trailers:

Oliver Trailers:

Happier Camper:

We started our days with ukulele lessons by Long and McQuade and then the seminars began. We had seminars on topics such as boondocking, batteries & solar, sewing cushion covers & curtains, and photography, and there were also guest speakers as well as nightly entertainment.

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Even Randy Janes from Create Café in Saskatoon presented his 3-D printed trailer prototype. We have known Randy for about 14 years. He sold us our first Airstream. He is a long-time fiberglass trailer owner, and since he dealt with so many customers in sales, he knew what people wanted in a trailer, so he set out to create the world’s largest 3-D printer and printed a trailer! It is just a prototype, but it is the future of manufacturing.

On Thursday evening, we were treated to a wine and cheese social sponsored by Bothwell Cheese. They brought 500 lbs of cheese for the 930 participants! The family that owns Bothwell Cheese also owns a boler and they parked it for the event too. If you are buying cheese for yourself, choose Bothwell! They are such a generous company.

Saturday was the Trailer Open House from 10am-3pm. It was open to the public, who paid $10 per person to attend. Over 1800 people attended! We weren’t sure that anyone would want to view our Chinook, but we had a steady stream. Some wrote down all the information about it so that they could search for one too. At 2pm, we shut our door so that we could run quickly and see a few trailers we had to see. Unfortunately, we didn’t see nearly enough. This was a HUGE event. But, here are a few highlights:

Biod from The Netherlands:

Scholar Hauler:

Special thank you to Ian Giles, the volunteers, and participants for making this such a memorable event. If you are looking for special boler trailer parts or gifts, check out Ian’s shop: campingtreasures.com.

Canada’s Wonderland?

June 27-30, 2018

After spending a month in the Niagara Region visiting family and friends, it was time to start heading westward.  We had a wonderful time visiting; however, we didn’t do very much sightseeing this year.  After all, this is our home stomping grounds and we aren’t really tourists when we return “home”.

Our first stop on our westward journey was to Can-Am RV in London, ON. We had made an appointment to get a bike rack installed on the Airstream and to have our kitchen revamped. We arrived on Wednesday just before closing, and they gave us a spot with power and water out front. Our Airstream was moved into a service bay first thing on Thursday morning.

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A rainy night at Can-Am

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Jeep Cherokee & 25RB and Chrysler 300 & 30RB

Can-Am prefers the Arvika bike rack manufactured in Quebec, so we trusted their judgment. In order to mount it, they make braces out of Zip-Dee awning hardware, so the whole Airstream looks unified. What a beautiful job! Now we can’t wait to get back to Saskatoon to get our bikes.

Also, on Thursday, the cabinet maker, Larry, removed our built-in microwave and crafted a pot drawer. By the end of Thursday, he had made a very substantial drawer that is strong enough to stand in! However, he was waiting for the Landmark laminate to arrive from the Airstream factory. It was being shipped inside an Airstream. It didn’t arrive in the first trailer, but it did finally arrive later that evening.

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Original kitchen

We spent Thursday evening with a fun couple from California and a Can-Am employee. We were all camping out in the yard. The employee, Bill, has now moved away from the area, but he works 2 days per week, so he camps there overnight when he has a shift. He does the walk-throughs with new owners, and he and his wife are also full-timers. Ingo and Mary, from California (and Louisiana) camped overnight so that they could be squeezed in on Friday for some servicing. We had drinks, appetizers, and great conversation! Ingo and Mary are leading the Highway 61 Revisited caravan (A musical journey along The Blues Highway) this fall with the Wally Byam Airstream Club.

On Friday, Larry continued working on the drawer front. He worked ALL DAY and the results are spectacular! What a craftsman! He decided to make it look like 2 drawers so that it wasn’t so overwhelming in appearance. He used all the same hardware that the rest of the trailer has, and he also did some special touches, like routering out the area around the push latch and then edging it with laminate. He did lovely custom work. Maybe in the future, we’ll be having him make a desk for us if we decide to remove the dinette. We will have to use the trailer for a while to see if we learn to love the dinette.

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New kitchen

So, we spent 2 days in the Can-Am lounge, but it was fine. We had air conditioning (and did we ever need it!), coffee, wifi, Airstream tours, and Wendy, the receptionist, kept bringing the girls treats. It was a wonderful experience.

As you are driving in Southern Ontario, you will see signs for Canada’s Wonderland, a huge amusement park; however, for Airstreamers, the real Canada’s Wonderland is Can-Am RV.

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A 4-Leaf Clover

May 26 – 28, 2018

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On Saturday, we went to a small town (Dutton, ON) after leaving Can-Am. Honestly, it really was a strange feeling. We were not newbies, but everything felt so safe at Can-Am, and now we were heading out with our new shiny Atomic Pod – on the 401! That first campground was way too expensive, but it gave us a chance to fill up our freshwater tank and do laundry.

Then, on Sunday, we crossed at the Windsor-Detroit border ($12.50 to cross the bridge with a truck and trailer). No questions were asked about the dogs. The guard just inspected the trailer. Strangely, he checked under the duvet. Paul had to wait outside, so he couldn’t see where the guard poked around, but the bedding was pulled back.

We found a state park in Ohio at around 7 pm, approximately 1.5 hours from Jackson Center, but it was Memorial Day weekend. The park host said the park was full, and we really needed an electric site to run the AC. Wow! It was so hot and HUMID! We only ran the AC on our previous Airstream 3 times in 10 years! The host said that she’d ask her husband if he knew of a site that someone had vacated in the morning.

While we were waiting, I found a 4-leaf clover! Never in my life had I found one. Things were looking up!

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The man drove around on his gator and found a site – one of the nicest in the park. So, off we went to follow him. Paul parked that big 30 footer like a boss! In no time, we had both of those air conditioners humming, and water was pouring out of the AC drain hose. That evening they showed Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on an outdoor screen. What fun!

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We left in the morning, and we had some stops to make for supplies. Was the 4-leaf clover still going to cover us for the day? Oh yeah! When we got to Jackson Center, we asked if there were any cancellations for the event so that we could be parked on the factory grounds rather than overflow. We got a great spot. Woo hoo!

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We got to see Wally and Stella Byam’s gold Airstream as well as some other historically significant trailers.  Tomorrow (May 29) is the official check-in and the start to Alumapalooza.

 

Best.Sleep.Since.September.

May 24 & 25, 2018

We crossed the US-Canada border at approximate 10:15 am, which meant that we passed by Can-Am at around noon, but we only did a slow drive-by. We needed lunch. Our official pick-up was scheduled for Friday, so we didn’t know if we’d be able to accomplish much by arriving early, but we were given permission to sleep in the Airstream Thursday night. Our only glimpse all day was of the end of her in a bay. She was still getting her solar panels and extra batteries. We ordered 400 watts of solar and 4 AGM batteries. Some day, we’ll consider lithium batteries, but they are still too expensive. We also had upgraded Michelin tires installed, so she was getting a makeover of sorts.

It didn’t matter that we had to wait. We were in Airstream Wonderland, so all was well – very well, in fact. Ms. Bolerama got to see the new NEST! YES! It is even more wonderful in person than the pictures show. If only I could get one too! Some women love shoes, some purses, but my favorite accessory is a travel trailer! The NEST has glorious upholstery – the nicest of any Airstream I’ve seen. And when it’s robin’s egg blue with buttons, gasp! It had the same build quality that other Airstreams have. It also smelled like “new Airstream” – one of my favorite scents.

Airstream Wonderland had plenty of Airstream parts and goodies, so I spent a lot of time wandering around and touching things and doing some mental shopping.

The rest of the time, we spent in the lounge area. It was well equipped and well used. Can-Am is so busy! There are people in the lounge area waiting for service, or waiting for their walk-throughs, etc. It is pet-friendly, and they have a water bowl and treats. Humans have access to goodies too, but they don’t have to share a bowl. This is quite the operation. Our experience was so different than when we bought our first Airstream.

Just before 5:30 pm, they told us we could go see our Airstream. It was parked around the side, plugged in and connected to water. We were given a brief walk-through because Friday was our official one. Oh! It is so lovely! Then, we had to madly unload our totes from the truck and pile them outside the Airstream so that we could put the truck in the open section of the lot. The Airstream was in the blocked section, and we were going to get blocked in at 6 pm.

We started unpacking, but we were tired and hungry, and I was greatly disappointed in the Flying Cloud upper cabinets. I knew they’d be smaller than the International cabinets, but I wasn’t prepared for how small. We had to go eat dinner and rethink the kitchen, so we went down the road to a wonderful Italian restaurant. Afterwards, we were able to tackle the lack of kitchen storage.

I subscribe to a YouTube channel, The More We Explore, and the creators are a young full-timing couple who went from a 30ft Flying Cloud to a 23D International. We are doing the exact opposite. Anyway, when I saw them pack the kitchen of the 30 and put everything in the 23, I heard warning bells, but I also wondered if they just had less than we do. Well, we probably have more in our kitchen, but we left half of it in Wakaw. Oh my! The 23D has amazing storage, but the 30 has usable countertops and seems more functional, so it all balances.

Now, in the bedroom, there is no comparison. This bedroom rocks! There are wardrobes on either side of the bed, so it makes it cozy. Also, the curtains have black-out lining. The mattress is very comfortable, so we had such a solid sleep. I don’t even think I tossed or turned during the night. I finally got a full night’s sleep! I awoke refreshed, before my alarm, and ready for our walk-though!

A technician came right away and asked if there were any issues that needed attention, and he got to work immediately. Then, at 9 am, someone came for our truck to reinforce the hitch, and we cleared out of the Airstream so that the equalization system could be installed. We went to the lounge and had coffee and waited for our walk-through, etc. It was all very civilized and organized. Marshall came to get us to give us our walkthrough. He was incredibly thorough and knowledgeable, since he had been a tech at one time.

We explained to him that we’d like to remove our microwave to gain more storage and showed him pictures of our friends’ (Tracey and Derek’s) trailer:

IMG_7645We asked how we would go about ordering the doors to create a cabinet from Airstream. He said that they do this all the time – in house! They have their own carpenters and they can rebuild an entire interior or tweak an existing one. He set us up with one of the service advisors, and we are getting quotes for different configurations.

Can-Am exceeds all expectations!

We camped Friday night at Can-Am again.

On the second night, Daisy decide to do a little investigating.  She was so adorable, peeking into the new spaces.

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We will leave on Saturday and start heading to Ohio because we’re going to ALUMAPALOOZA!

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The Geographical Center of North America

May 21 & 22, 2018

On Monday, we left Wakaw, SK on our way to get our new Airstream at Can-Am in London, ON.  We made it to Brandon, MB and stayed at a lovely pet-friendly hotel.  This was Poppy’s first time in a hotel, and she behaved herself quite well.  She was so happy to get out of the vehicle.  However, we really miss travelling with an RV.  We have packed most of the goods from our International Airstream into our GMC truck, so we have no room to spare.  Poppy’s crate takes up most of the backseat, but it is worth the loss of space.  She feels safe in there.

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On Tuesday, we got an early start. (We woke up at 5:30! Eek!) We headed straight to the border.  Since we were so packed, we knew we’d set off a red flag.  However, that really didn’t set off the red flag.  Daisy did.  We anticipated some questions since her vet discontinued her vaccinations due to congestive heart failure.  Her rabies vaccine was due in May.  Since her final vaccinations were still valid during our winter trip, all was well.  Thankfully, our vet gave us International Travel Certificates for both dogs (this time for free!) and Daisy’s certificate explained why the vet deemed it detrimental to continue vaccinations.

We had to pull over for inspection.  Poppy stayed in her crate, and we went inside with Daisy.  Paul had to complete a customs form while our vehicle was inspected and the officers waited for the official vet’s response.  They were all very calm and kind and kept us informed about the progress.  Finally, the vet looked over Daisy’s forms and gave her the all-clear.  She told the officer that they don’t really expect dogs over 12 to have vaccinations (Daisy is 15).  That was news to us and the 2 customs officers looking over our case.  We knew there might be some issues with Daisy, and we were willing to take the longer Canadian route.  However, we were worried that if we were turned away, we would always have to answer the question “Have you ever been denied entry to the US?” in the affirmative.  Now, we have to consider whether we will return to Saskatchewan by travelling through the US.

Also, they didn’t confiscate the dogs’ food even though we no longer had the bag.  We were hoping for this, and it was a good gamble.  We just don’t have room for a fresh bag. We have to wait until move-in day!

Next, we were on the road and made an obligatory stop in Rugby, ND to take some pictures of the girls.  We have pictures of our first dog, Honey, here from when we moved West from ON back in 1995.

Rugby is the Geographical Center of North America.  These days, Daisy is the center of our universe, requiring much medical attention.  However, for Poppy, wherever we are, she finds the Geographical Center of Attention!  It’s true!  She always manages to plunk herself down in the middle of a circle. That way, she’s in cuddle distance to everyone.

Next, we passed through Bemidji, MN and had another photo shoot.  Here are the girls with Paul Bunyan and Babe and art in the Rotary park, (and look at what is across the street from the park!):

The girls were pretty restless and weren’t going to pose for me.

We stopped for the night in Duluth, MN.  We found another pet-friendly hotel, but this time it was harder.  We tried at another hotel, and we were directed to this one.  It’s beautiful and smells really nice!  Best of all, we each get our own bed again — real beds!  –not like the uncomfortable Chinook beds (Oh, my aching back!).

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We will end tonight with pictures of Daisy.  A) getting a bath in the Chinook (she requires bathing every week)  B) lying on the Airstream sofa before we handed it in to the insurance company (We had always protected the upholstery with covers.  Why?  So that the insurance company can get paid more in the auction?  We will USE our next Airstream to the max!  No more upholstery covers! And we will cook inside!  And we will use the toilet!  OK.  I’m talking big now.)

Fifteen more hours of driving to go.

Okanagan, OK!

April 10-15, 2018

We spent our first night back in Canada at the Husky truck stop in Osoyoos, and then we travelled west past Keremeos. We wanted to see two RV parks that have lots for sale. The first one is a cooperative and we needed to do an interview and be approved by the board. This park has been on our radar for over a year now. A friend went out last year to investigate it for us and gave us positive feedback (thanks Gregory!). We really liked it, but we aren’t thrilled over the lot that is for sale. The other park is not a co-op. We liked the amenities, but it is a larger park, so we are concerned with how busy it will get in the summer.

 

We found a free campground on Crown Land (this is like BLM land in the US) right between the two parks. It was very convenient. The campground is rustic (no facilities), but it is right on the Similkameen River. There were about 6 or more sites, and some were big enough for a longer trailer. We had the place to ourselves. Unfortunately, it was incredibly windy the entire time, and we did have frequent rain showers. We really pushed our water conservation limits. We lasted for 5 nights with only 38 gallons of water!  However, staying this close to both RV parks gave us a good idea of the area, and we like it.

April 16-18, 2018

Nk’Mip Campground, Osoyoos

After roughing it for 5 nights in the wind and rain, we needed to get to a campground to dump wastewater, fill with fresh water, and recharge our batteries. We had only planned to stay at Nk’Mip for one night, but this place is too wonderful for a short visit! It is clean, spacious, and manicured, and best of all, it is located right on Osoyoos Lake. There were many lakefront sites open, but we opted for a site higher up, overlooking the lake, but more sheltered.

 

Nk’Mip is a huge complex which includes a campground, winery, golf course, restaurant, and resort. It is owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band. This is the place to stay if you are in Osoyoos. In fact, we have already reserved a site for the fall before we cross back into the US.

 

We were delighted to see all the cacti in the park as well as quail because we have been missing Arizona. Osoyoos is on the edge of the Sonora Desert. We can walk about 3 kms along the lake to get to town. This is something that we have not been able to do all winter – leave the Chinook parked and walk to town. It is so precious to watch the ducks pairing off and enjoying the lake. We also saw our first robin of the season. Travelling north and experiencing spring arrive in many locations along the way was something we won’t soon forget. On this leg of our trip, we witnessed the orchards started to bloom.

We continued east on Hwy 3 (The Crowsnest Highway).  The grade out of Osoyoos is steep, but it provides a good view of the lake and Nk’Mip.