Wa:k Pow Wow in Tucson

March 11 & 12, 2019

On the way to Tucson, we stopped for 2 nights near Gila Bend, at Painted Rock Petroglyph Site. We visited there last year and really enjoyed it. This time, Sheila and the girls came with us. There is nothing quite like boondocking on the desert.

March 17, 2019

The pow wow was held on the Tohono O’odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation. The San Xavier Mission is the prominent building on the reservation. This church was constructed between 1783-1797.

The dancing and costumes at the pow wow were impressive. There was so much energy! There are several annual pow wows in our home province of Saskatchewan, but we have never attended one. We will definitely attend one in the future.

And let’s not forget the fry-bread. Mine was stuffed with delicious summer squash.

Kofa NWR: Part 2

December 12, 2018 (Day 2)
Hiking the Palm Canyon Trail

After a leisurely and hearty camp brunch, Paul, Sheila, and I took all three dogs and hiked up the canyon trail. Since our campsite is relatively near the trailhead, we walked. Sheila’s dogs are seniors. Kenzie, the Westie, is 12 and Bunnah, the Scottie, is 10, but they did the rugged steep trail with us like champs. On the way down, we took a little break and Bunnah took a wee nap.

Here we are still climbing, but we looked back to see if we could find our camp. Can you spot the Airstream?

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Can you spot the Airstream?

Little did we know that our timing was impeccable. It’s great that none of us wanted to leave first thing in the morning. We arrived just as the sun was illuminating the palms.

You have to look up to see the palms:

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These are California Fan Palms, and they are the only native palm trees in Arizona. There are several theories on how they got into these canyons and other niches. It’s likely the seeds were spread by birds or coyotes thousands of years ago. They continue to survive due to the micro-climate in the protected canyon. The decaying fronds fall to the ground, decompose, and create a new growing medium for new trees. They are self-sustaining. There are other trees in other niches, but these are the most dramatic.

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Other palms in niches

The girls at the end of the trail

Here is our view from the top. Can you still spot the Airstream?

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On our way down, we saw a couple of lizards, but no other wildlife.

After an exhilarating day, we were treated to another spectacular sunset.

December 13, 2018 (Day 3)
Searching for Desert Tortoises

Yesterday, we met a fellow Canadian on the trail and he said he saw tortoises. The three of us humans left camp without the dogs, because this time we were hiking across the desert, through washes, and scrambling around cholla. It’s a good thing we left the dogs at home because the ground was covered with an assortment of sharp thorns. Sheila came near, but didn’t touch a teddy bear cholla, but one grabbed on to her bare leg. There is a reason why they are nicknamed “jumping cholla.” Ouch!

We searched hard for tortoises, but we didn’t find any. We will try again tomorrow.

And more desert beauty as the sun goes down

Zion National Park

November 17, 2018

We met up with Sheila and her girls (Kenzie and Bunnah) in Cedar City, Utah. We camped at The Home Depot for a couple of nights and then headed into Zion.

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Kenzie making herself at home in the Airstream

Even though I had read that there were some first come – first served campsites in the park, there were not any. They all were reserved 6 months in advance. We had to find a commercial campground outside the park. We chose the one right at the park entrance. We paid $72 CAD ($55 USD) for ONE night. Never in our lives have we paid so much for a campsite. I guess you pay for location, but that’s all we got.  We were expected to share a picnic table with our neighbour and there was nowhere to park the truck. However, we were close to the action, and by action I mean ZION!

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As soon as we unhitched, we headed into the park. We had an America the Beautiful pass from last year and it covered the admission for the 3 of us. We decided to drive Utah Highway 9 from the south to the east entrance. Oh the glorious views! This route includes the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel, which was built in the 1920s, when vehicles were much smaller. This tunnel is 1.1 miles long and fairly narrow. Vehicles 11’4″ tall or taller or 7’10” wide or wider require traffic control and drivers must pay an additional $15 fee per vehicle. There are many switchbacks leading to the tunnel. It’s a wild ride! For this reason, we did not continue with the trailer to go on to Bryce Canyon.  We will go to Bryce on a different road another time.

Here are some sights along Utah Highway 9 inside Zion.  I have not adjusted any colors.  This is wonderful, colorful Zion! (Click to enlarge)

Checkerboard Mesa:

Once we got to the east entrance, we stopped for a picnic lunch. There are no picnic areas in Zion, so we just used the parking area at the entrance.  Afterwards, we headed back. The views were different in this direction.

We returned to camp to drop off the girls, and then we took the shuttle through Zion Canyon. This scenic drive is no longer open to vehicles. Park guests must use the shuttle. It has 9 stops.  We took the shuttle from the Visitor Center all the way to the last stop at the Temple of Sinawava. We got out for a walk along the North Fork of the Virgin River to the Narrows.  Most of the walk was quite lush, sometimes swampy, and incredibly spectacular.  There are hanging gardens throughout, but even in this damp environment, there are cacti. Zion is in the desert after all.

As we took the shuttle back to the Visitor Center, night was falling. The Airstream looked beautiful against the backdrop of Zion and a rising moon.

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Goodnight Zion. You are spectacular!

More Day-Tripping

Late September 2018

We’ve spent quite a few days driving through the valley. We like investigating the provincial park campgrounds and walking trails. We also liked to give Daisy different views and chances to sniff new areas since we knew her time with us was ending.

If we leave our RV park and head west on Highway 3, the next town is Hedley. Beyond Hedley is Doug’s Homestead. Everyone raves about Doug’s pepperoni and jerky. We were disappointed to learn that the pepperoni is really pepperettes. However, it is very tasty. So, we asked Doug to make us dollar-sized pepperoni. Oh yeah! Perfect! Our pizza oven is back in business. We’ve made pizzas down at the fire pit in our RV park for anyone who showed up. One night, we made 6 pizzas! What fun!

Near Doug’s is the turn off to Old Hedley Rd. There are several provincial campgrounds there, so we often pack a picnic and head to a campground to watch the Similkameen River and let Poppy get out some zoomies and Daisy got to sniff.

Between Hedley and Princeton is Bromley Rock P.P. It has a nice beach and picnic facilities, but no camping.

After all the sniffing, the girls got pretty tuckered out.

Good-bye Sweet Daisy

On October 4, 2018 we said good-bye to our dear sweet Daisy. She lived to the fine age of 15 ½. She was born in Edmonton, danced into our hearts in Saskatoon, and died in Penticton. She added so much joy to our lives that it is hard to imagine life without her. Even though our last year was challenging as we provided hospice care for her, we will cherish those moments.

Enjoying a campfire a few days ago

Let’s remember her with some epithets and many pictures (click on pics to enlarge):

Amuser of Canines

True to her breed, she liked to entertain other dogs, especially her big brother, Goliath. When she came to live with us, he looked up at us as if to say, “She’s mine? She’s really mine?” She brightened his life and her “uncle” Sundance’s life too by being a wrestling partner. She was sturdy, and though they tried to tip her over, she stood her ground.

Princess of the Skies

From the tender age of 8 months, she flew regularly with me to visit my family in Ontario. She never fussed. She just cuddled into her travel bag and took it all in stride. On our very first connection through Winnipeg, the security agent lifted Daisy from her bag and held her in the air (in Lion King fashion) and pronounced: “It’s a Shih Tzu!” Daisy just gazed at her subjects.

Devourer of Groceries

We always enjoyed taking the dogs when running errands. However, there was always a risk associated with it if groceries were on the agenda. Many a baguette was pulled off the dashboard and munched on. The most daring move she ever made was when we had a roast in the bag of groceries. While we were in another store, Daisy went through the groceries and dragged the roast to her spot in the Jeep. She tore open the wrapping and proceeded to gnaw away at it. When we returned to the vehicle, Goliath was shaking in the corner and Daisy’s face was covered in beef juices. We could just imagine Goliath warning her, “Oh Daisy! That doesn’t belong to you. God doesn’t like it when you steal.” (imagine the Claymation Goliath voice in your head)

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Master of the Stink Eye

She may have been small, but she had a powerful gaze. She could stare down a dog many times her size. My sister’s pitbull, Penny, gave Daisy a wide berth when she passed by. Daisy just knew how to claim her space, and her humans. When Paul cuddled another dog, she really gave the stink eye. Sometimes her whole body would vibrate.

Fashionista of Saskatoon

No dog could rock a coat like Daisy! She loved to be warm, so she had quite a collection of coats (and broaches). Her favorite was her Czarina coat. It was reversible burgundy fun-fur and velvet. It kept her even warmer than her down parka. Keeping warm is a serious business in Saskatoon in winter. As a pup, she would race outside to do her business and then race right back in. However, by the time she was 10, she would race outside, but then become so cold that she couldn’t make it back inside. We would often have to run out to lift her from the snow.

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The Great Road Tripper

Daisy was a great traveller. She travelled by vehicle across Canada and the USA, and this past winter, she even went to Mexico. She loved car rides, short and long. She camped in our boler, Surf-Side, Airstream 23, Chinook, and Airstream 30. She was just as content hanging over Paul’s shoulder or riding in her Pet Cruiser bike basket. But one of her happiest places was in her bag.

The One Who Never Barks

Daisy was never a barker. Remember, she was the Master of the Stink Eye, so barking was unnecessary for her. One day, we were visiting friends at their cottage at Emma Lake. We all went in for dinner, and we put Daisy and Goliath in the screened porch. They’d be ok. Well, Daisy was beside herself. What in the world were we doing inside with all that food when she was outside, like a common dog?! She summoned up her gravelly bark and worked herself into a lather. She was nearly frothing at the mouth. We had never seen nor heard this side of Daisy before. Poor Goliath just looked on, “Oh, Daisy!”

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Begging at Gammy’s door

The Tiny Table Dancer

In her younger years, she was quite an agile girl. She could balance on the back of the Jeep seats, the sofa, Paul’s shoulder, or any high place, almost like a cat. When she was still a puppy, I visited a friend to show her Daisy. While we were visiting, Daisy went missing. We found her dancing on the kitchen table, sniffing out snacks. A few years later, when she was spayed, she was dancing all over the Jeep on the way home. Once we got home, she was doing gymnastics and ballet all over the house. I want to remember those years and not the months when we had to carry her and support her to do her basic functions.

The Puppy-sitter

Daisy loved puppies!

 

We will miss her forever.  Wherever we went, she was with us.  Whenever Paul was apart from us due to travel, the first thing he’d ask was, “How’s Daisy?”  That was always our joke.  When she no longer gave Daddy Nose Kisses, we knew our time with her was coming to an end.

Good-bye our sweet little dumpling . . .

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. . . You will remain forever in our hearts.

 

 

The Qu’Appelle Valley

August 24 & 25, 2018

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This scenic valley is located in southern Saskatchewan. It features rolling hills, the Qu’Appelle River and many lakes that the river feeds. It is a must-see for travellers to Saskatchewan. We stayed at Crooked Lake Provincial Park on Friday night. We were fortunate to get site 33, which is right on the lake and has little steps leading to the rocky shore. In true retriever fashion, Poppy bolted for the water as soon as we had parked the Chinook.

We arrived at noon, so we had all day to explore and relax. The smoke from the BC forest fires was still strong, but the lake was beautiful. We gathered wood for a fire, but Mother Nature had something else planned. While we were preparing dinner, the winds picked up and then the lightning, thunder, and rain came, so we hunkered down in the Chinook to eat and pass the evening.

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The next morning, we were greeted with much cooler temperatures. It was like autumn came during the night, which took us by surprise. Was it our imagination that leaves turned color overnight? Was it heat stress or cooler temperatures? Brrr.

We continued our scenic drive to Fort Qu’Appelle, which had been a Hudson’s Bay trading post.

We thought we would investigate the Lion’s campground in town, but when we arrived, police were down at the beach stringing up Caution tape. The beach and campground were crawling with police and paramedics. It did not look good. Sure enough, a woman had been found dead on the beach. No foul play is suspected. If she drowned, it wouldn’t be surprising because of the storm the night before and the windy conditions that day. The distressing situation is that the police cannot locate her 7-year-old son who had been with her. This happened on Saturday, and as of today (Friday), they still can’t find him. The family is frantic.

We continued on to Katepwa Provincial Park. We passed through the picturesque town of Lebret before reaching the park. Sadly, the park is day-use only. We walked the girls on the beach and saw a job posting for Poppy:

Lebret:

For the night, we ended up staying at an overpriced Regional park before reaching our basecamp in Wakaw on Sunday.

Big Quill Lake, on the way to Wakaw:

Now we will spend a few days winterizing our motorhome and securing everything in our shipping container. Then, we will head to our autumn basecamp in British Columbia.  What a summer it has been!

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!