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Well, I've Gotta Start Some Where

So lets rewind to this little gem (and trust me you will want to stay tuned for the adventures of the crazy journey to today)

June 30 2016 – Over 3 weeks had passed and the water in our home is finally on. 4 days of the irrigation plumber scratching his head trying to understand why the pump wouldn’t supply the house. You would think we lived in an old farm house living like “Little House on the Prairie”; but no its our less than 2 year old, three quarter of a million dollar acreage home. Hasn’t been the most prosperous few weeks. Never the less, today is finally the day we had planned to venture to beautiful BC in our new truck and travel trailer…. Not really in shape to be prepared to go anywhere with the long days of no water running at the house it gets pretty smelly, dirty and just not great… Grateful to have the water back on aside from the scary expense we will face when we return home. We race together anything we will need for the next week long adventure. Nothing will get in our way to get off on this adventure. We need some good family time, time away and time to reap the benefits of hard work and dedication. Most importantly I am going into this vacation with focus on what I need to do professionally to contribute what I was intended for in this world. I know this means the inclusion of time like this. Time to plan our future and work on growing the business plan. I will head home with time lines, some plans on paper to analyze and work toward.

Heart pounding moment of the day – Awning falls forward while mobile on 43rd Avenue in Lethbridge…. Thanks to the lady in the SUV honking and waving to get our attention causing us to somehow get off the highway to safety. Jared was able to pull together all the lose parts and secure it enough to continue with our travels to Canmore Tourist Center for night 1!

July 1 2016 – Happy Canada Day!! Off to Banff for any festivities and some coffee and shopping in the mountains! Have to love being able to stop anywhere for the night.

Troubling fact – Tourist Centers like Canmore have full service access for RVs so that’s super handy, Jared didn’t want to ask how to figure out our pooper in the RV so I asked a fella…. I think we have a blockage so we are hulling our poop on our adventure and the toilet is off limits until this issue is solved!

Once again, thank goodness for kind people! Flagged down just beyond the gates of Banff and the trailer tire burst, poof just like that…. The tread part still in a loop jammed up in the axel and holy smoke batman! Poor pups in the trailer it was like a smoke box. Thank god for AMA. The highway is insanely busy already and there is no way Jared is safe to replace the tire himself like that since the flat is on the traffic side. Short wait and we will be up and on our way. Spare in good shape and all is ok.

Lots happening in Banff and bustle in the town, glad to have gone in the early morning, towing a trailer has proven to cause me huge driver anxiety …. As if I didn’t have it already. Nix and I ventured into the rock store to find some treasures. I found a second piece of Citrine, my birthstone and the stone of mindfulness, mental clarity, strength, prosperity and intended for relaxation and stillness. Sounds perfect for the start of a needed vacay!

Kelowna Bound here we come!!

We found the coolest place with the “Giant Cedars” outside Revelstoke. Unreal the size of these trees… there was a big board walk with bridges and stairs to walk through so off we went, great opportunity to stretch our legs and get the dogs out. The size of the leaves are massive!! Nix and I held our hands up to them and they had to be 4-5 times the size. Crazy! Unbelievable forest….. who knew this gem was right here on the side of the highway! Too cool!

It’s a hot day, the truck and trailer are doing good today but the passes are tough and the heat doesn’t help. Gassing up the breaks were hot and smoking…. Jared will have to adjust his driving and put more of the work on the transmission. Should be there for supper time.

We made it with some time to spend in a nice park to make dinner and relax for a bit. Then a quick little overnight with the Walmart villagers. Holy people are always so interesting aren’t they? What is important to some and not others.

Even in the glow of the Walmart lights I’m feeling pretty grateful to have a home waiting for me, a clean cozy RV with plenty of space for all of us, loaded with food and way too many conveniences because we can. We work hard, its great to enjoy why….

July 2, 2016 – Off to the beaches of Kelowna, it’s a beautiful day!

We are up early and off to the Saturday Morning Market for some fresh fruits and veggies for tonight and then to plan out our further travel to the grandparents in Christina Lake. Coffee in hand we set to leave Walmart parking lot, truck and trailer we are nearly turned off and on our way when a couple came flying around the corner in an old minivan clipping the corner of the bumper. Oy! So phone numbers exchanged and back at it again…. Off to the market.

I’m seeing that Kelowna although a very active and cycle friendly community I don’t see that its overly welcoming for pets. We took the directions down to what was labeled a dog park on the tourist info but not the case. Definitely no dogs aloud.

As we made our way across the city we realize the truck and trailer need servicing, the trailer was pulling pretty hard to one side and the break was catching and smoking…. Something is not right. The breaks had a hard go coming down the mountain passes. The trailer is a big unit and safety is most important. As we sit in the parking lot of the “no dogs aloud” beach, Jared starts troubleshooting the issues, making calls and trying to determine what was going on. First concern is the heat and the 4 dogs in the trailer that need to remain cool at the no dogs aloud beach.

So now where to camp is the next question… just so happens right beside the Gyro Beach is the Willow Creek Family Campground. Thankfully they had available spaces and we are here… beach front, somewhat stranded. Could be worse right?

Jared spent the day meticulously setting up with the trailer and figuring out the toilet so we have services! That’s a bonus. But wait….. we discover a leak in the gray water holding tank….. oy. Campground is full service so we are hooked up and beside the bathroom/shower. Again, stuck beachside with some inconveniences; could be worse. Nix and I spent the day back and forth at the beach, mom taxi with the dreaded dingy pulling mom back and forth in the water under the hot summer sun. THIS is vacay…. All I could want in life (minus the slightly stranded part)

July 3, 2016 – Cool, breezy, rainy day and nothing much open for service station outside of Canadian Tire, which has not great reviews in Kelowna, so the plan is tomorrow morning to get it into a local place; Glenns. Jared and I both don’t do well with uncertainty so it will be a tricky day staying positive and hoping the servicing doesn’t set us back too far. Nix is struggling a little, eager to do all the fun camping beachfront should be, disappointed the water and weather are less than desirable today. We take a stroll up the boardwalk, the wind is crazy by the water compared to in the camp area. Took the dogs for little walks up and around the camp area and I took a few little pedal bike rides up the boardwalk. Nix and I went to the dollar store so she could buy some little things and we had a relaxing day playing card games and looking up what is going on in and around Kelowna. Wineries are in the plans for the tomorrow! So many in and around Kelowna alone. Jared is certain I should make Mission Hill a priority as it is a world renowned Family Winery.

July 4, 2016 – Booked the truck in for service… first thing tomorrow morning. Thankfully we are able to extend our stay at the camp site here…. A little longer than expected here in Kelowna but again…. How much can we complain about being stuck beach side camping in our new trailer with all the amenities of home.

Reserved lunch at Mission Hill! Pretty grateful my family will take these tours with me… even just if its our own little version of a tour.

What a beautiful drive to these wineries on West Kelowna. Bridge over the water is breath taking… something so invigorating about travelling over water in a vehicle….. looking out and soaking it all in. Watching programmed commuters here in Kelowna that no longer see the beauty they are surrounded with everyday… I am one of those people in Southern Alberta I suppose.

Unreal how many great wineries that are so recognizable to me! They are Huge! All as big as Luckett Vineyard on the East Coast at least, and the grounds and gardening are so breath taking. I am all about the dining experience… a wonderful view, great wine, my favorite people in the world, a decadent menu and pairings, a server that oozes hospitality, knowledge and passion for what she does. Local fare for lunch today….. I know my husband is looking at me thinking this is absolute craziness…. He’s a big critic on dining as well, but good hardy portions are the only way to win him over. Consider it done. Infused chicken over beans, lentils, mushrooms, cream carrot in a red wine reduction… portions so generous we even had to share! I enjoyed a beautiful cheese board, bread and preserves paired with a lovely red wine….. couldn’t be more perfect. Nix ran up and down Mission Hill in her bare feet enjoying the lush grass, warm and heavy over cast sky, perfect for a stroll, some great photos and a really awesome afternoon. Feeling incredibly grateful in life right now.

Quick stop at Quails Gate…. Have to; my dear friend Janelle I had the pleasure of sharing many bottles of this over an amazing meal, crazy work week, or just casual conversation in Red Deer. Many memories in a bottle of Quails Gate. Wonderful people here to greet us and guide us through an actual traditional wine tasting. 6 different tastings today… hello wine time in the afternoon! What fun… I chose the 2 I liked most and we were off and on our way back to “camp stranded”.

I do find it odd that camp fires are a foreign thing here in Kelowna however when your camping full service its maybe less of a thing. Jared said they used to be a wild fire area so perhaps they just stay away from reckless fires at campgrounds. Some interesting people at this place, retirees with amazing campers fenced in with little gates and gorgeous gardening, neat little patios, a quite a little haven… along with young families that are obviously facing adversity or uncertainty, not knowing when their camping trip will be over…. Some in campers and others tenting, calling this all home for a year or more not knowing when or if it will end. I was especially taken by a girl and her very sweet, inquisitive little son, maybe 4 years old. It sounds like they have lived in the tent at the camp ground for a long time, he’s very comfortable in the area. Mom struggles with addictions and mental health issues, her teeth are rotting out of her head, she the size of a stick and they take walks every day to the store to by “smokes” he says but no money for toys at Walmart….. oy.

I can tell you over the past year the one thing I have learned most which really has changed a lot about me is my view of people. This along with watching the amazing growth and development of my own child, I recognize the fragility of our brain and how tender we need to treat it through its pivotal growth periods. Many people would have looked at this girl and her son (as do I too) wondering how the heck she could be ok waking up everyday with total uncertainty for her and her son…. how? Many may be horrible critics, casting judgement with no understanding first…. Those are the small people. The ones we all have to fight to keep away and out of our heads. This girl has no ability to make good decisions or have any ability to stimulate her dopamine receptors…. Because she has none. They are dead. You can’t stimulate something that isn’t there. She is the one in a million currently skating by in places like the Kelowna campground with no social supports therefore only set up for crisis intervention. Maybe she was my gift from that experience. Reminding me of the hunger I have to understand the neurology of an aging brain. I am incredibly eager to hear about my acceptance to the University for my Bachelors in Health Science. I just feel myself bursting at the seams to learn more, grow more, serve more…. Those who help the most WIN!

June 5, 2016 – Charlie is off to get serviced…. Fingers crossed all goes well. It’s a rainy day here today so its not the worst thing to be stuck in the camper, cards, scrabble, and puzzles. Hopefully the weather clears a little and if not maybe a recreation center close by will help us wave any anxiety and boredom.

We plan to get all packed up anyway and hope once the truck is back on the road we will continue on to Christina Lake and visit the grandparents, spending time in the warm water and beaches.

Nearly lunch time and hadn’t heard anything from the service station. Jared got on the phone and they hadn’t even looked at the issue yet. Frustrating since we had booked the day previous based on the anticipated work required. By 2pm they had installed new breaks and Jared was off to pick the truck up and we will hitch up and get on the road. Thankfully the camp ground has been good enough to let us check out late.

I guess we were over eager, Jared returned only to have the front callipers smoking like no tomorrow. Awesome. Back to the service station I guess and hopefully one more day extended at that camp ground…. Center of Gravity Beach festival is coming up so the influx of visitors should be rolling in to Kelowna any time.

6pm and the rain finally stops, Jared is enroute back to the campsite with the truck finally. Over a grand later, Charlie is set and ready to tow safely again. So I dig out the barbeque and loosely unpack our little camp set up so we can have dinner and putter through the evening once again before trying again tomorrow to hit the road and make our way to the grandparents. Staying positive…. Grateful for our truck, trailer, we are safe, and beach side in Kelowna with no real urgencies. Its been a long day. Relax. I guess if we are looking for stillness Citrine crystal we’ve had it… thank you J

June 6, 2016 – Up, packed up and a quick visit to the beach here one last time and we will be up and on our way this morning to Christina Lake, hope to secure a great beach side spot at Cascade Cove and surprise the grandparents.

Jared thinks he may have found the problem with the grey water leak as well so hopefully that problem too is solved. We will be heading over some good mountain passes today so the importance of our safe new breaks was a must. Only a few hours drive and we should arrive in Christina shortly after lunch.

Super proud of how well we have done with staying on our wellness path. We have stayed consistent with exercise, brought our weights with us, taking walks with the dogs and I have really enjoyed pedaling around with Vega…. I really hope to bring her to ride to work from my dads house through the summer time and hopefully this will inspire Nix to give it a shot once more. I know she has the agility to do it now. She’s stronger and smarter and can manage the bike much better right? We have picked up fresh veggies from local markets for dinner at night and Jared did an awesome job packing lean meats to prepare. We did have coffee and egg McMuffins (no butter no cheese) for breakfast morning one. Jared’s favorite pit stop in Canmore so we thought it was worth while, we are on vacation and lord knows we need coffee in the morning… now looking back that was a premeditated decision I guess since we ended up awaiting AMA on the side of the Banff highway shortly after this little indulgence!

Truck and trailer hauled great to Christina and look at that we got the best spot in the place! Elderberry cove, hookups, stairs to the sandy beach, unbelievable 360 mountain and deep woods…. Stairway up to the playground and services. Amazing little set up, fire pits too! Now we are feeling the good camp life!

Set up and down to our own little spot on the beach with the dogs, Nix has found some little friends to beach with, puttering around on her dingy. Perfect weather for everyone, not too hot with the broken clouds but some good sun to keep me smiling and Nix happy in the water.

Quick little trip to the market for some fresh veggies for supper, surprise the grandparents and we set a date for lunch tomorrow to visit. No stress or inconvenience for them.

Grilled up salmon, sweet potatoes, and a little salad, nice glass of wine and enjoying the sunshine and nice relaxing evening in the mountains. First fire of the camp trip, we grilled up some late night chicken sausage and some toasty marshmallows - they are a must when camping! Just need to hike more to burn off the sugar! Perfect little camp day.

June 7, 2016 – Wake up to the rain drops in Christina Lake, surrounded by trees and mountain air. Coffee outside… breathing in the amazing mountain air. Cleansing the mind, body and soul that air.

Cooking a great breakfast for the family, eggs and pancakes, good start to the day. Then plans to grab some take out and bring it to the grandparents for lunch. The locals say the pizza place is the best and really only place to grab food to go. Not much for healthy alternatives much less choice in the little mountain town! Fortunately, we have our weights and lots of stairs in the campground so we have kept active on this journey and will throw in a little extra today to indulge with family.

Nice walks with the dogs then to get lunch ordered and freshened up to visit the grandparents. Nix has been awaiting this visit for way too long.

So the pizza place doesn’t open until supper…. Plan B, head to the market and hopefully pull together some salads and sandwiches. Not as easy as suspected. Plan B quickly turned into a crippled plan B but buns, meat, cheeses and salads are bagged up and off to grandmas house.

Grandma was up early picking berries to serve at lunch. Grandpa is miserable for no good reason, sore and cantankerous but as I know the soul of a Kilkenny he was truly happy to have the visit, even though he may not openly admit it. Sounds like they are discussing the need to move closer to family and support. Grandpa being the text book senior waiting way too long until its too late to retire properly and productively in a community but so it is….. at least the communication ball seems to be rolling from the right place this time. Grandpa has had 6 falls in the past weeks. Grandma is most definitely feeling the burden of caregiving now. She needs the care as much as he does, and so starts the dismal distress of seniors home living. What happens behind that closed door……

Off to the beach front at the provincial park. Always a great spot, overcast today but some beach fun for Nix for a bit before the rain started coming around again and we head back to the campsite.

Can’t say the beach time and weather gave Nixon the fulfillment of our long awaited vacation so far. Some great time spent just her and I though. That’s what I live for.

Nix and I took a little stroll up to the park only to discover a fella setting up to play a concert in the park tonight!! Yay! 7pm we are there!

So we made up a little supper, burger for Nix, chicken for Jared and I threw together a salad with some salmon and we were set. Jared and I had time to fit in a little work out before we went up the mountainside with our lawn chairs, blankets and bevies. A couple from CNRL camp at the show Jared chatted with a bit, both working at the same camp in Fort McMurray at one point. They are 2 weeks away from returning back to Fort Mac to their home after evacuation in May. Their home sounds like one of the few lucky ones. Before long buddy from Fort Mac was up taking over the mic and guitar and singing his heart out. Good therapy for someone who has faced that adversity. And again, self check the gratuity. Although we have certainly faced some trials, tested our patience and our pocket book we are here, together, safe, happy, healthy and will prosper!

Jared came to watch just long enough to say he did and went back to meticulously pack up camp to head home in the morning. It should take the full day to trek back to Lethbridge with the rig.

July 8, 2016 – Oh Friday…. Bitter suite Friday. The end of the week off. Wishing we could have spent more sunshiny days on the beach but we still have our whole summer ahead of us. Jared is already busy getting the truck ready for the journey home. Wanting to be on the road for 7am, I got Nix dressed in bed, put together a pb sandy for her breaky a few bananas, apples and oranges will get us off and running on a hunt for coffee.

All hooked up made a great haul to Moyie Lake with some small little struggles setting the fancy new trailer break system properly. Poor pups, makes me so anxious since we have now had 3 times where they have been smoked out in the camper from vehicle issues and I’m sure it scares the crap out of them sitting back there all alone in the camper as it fills up with smoke for some unforeseen reason.

Although I love being off on adventures, especially satisfying my gypsy soul I will be glad to be home (or at least not on the road for a little while)

After over 10 hours driving we have returned home. Many memories, lessons and things to consider for the upcoming chapters of our lives…..

Jared returns to camp in the morning….. ooops nope, one more oversight, missed his flight. Better luck tomorrow….

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