Monday, September 25, 2006

On the road again...

We're back on the road again, after spending the last six days visiting in Ontario. We spent a couple of days at the camp Jai's parents own in Northern Ontario, then came down to Newmarket just outside Toronto. It was really nice to take a little bit of time relaxing at the camp - Jai and his Dad spent time making the trailer waterproof (mostly!) and I walked around and took lots of pictures of leaves and trees. The photo function doesn't seem to be working, so I'll to post them later.
It was great to see the new addition to the family - Jai's brother Brad, and his wife, Karissa just had their first baby (Rowyn.) She's very tiny and very sweet. The next generation has begun - Jai's cousin just had a baby as well. Now we can tell them that we knew them when they were too small to do anything but wiggle.
Yesterday we did a big shopping spree at Ikea. We got a huge table that seats ten so we can have all sorts of company (but not yet, unless they want to sit on the floor) and an awesome farmhouse-style sink, and lights and fun stuff. Plus sandwiches, but no one tried the meatballs. Maybe next time.
Tonight we're in Cornwall, just at the border of Ontario and Quebec, and tomorrow we should make it all the way to New Brunswick. Wednesday we're hoping to be in the house! We're getting there - we've done over 5000 kilometers now. I knew it was a big country, but it didn't really mean anything until we started to drive across it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Truck Got Stuck

So today we decided it was time for us to do something fun. We were in Thunder Bay last night, and they have a big booklet on "Fun things to do in Thunder Bay, " so we perused that and decided on the "Panorama Amethyst Mine." It's the biggest amethyst mine in North America (it has a staff of FOUR whole miners!) and it sounded cool - you can mine your own amethyst and there's tours and stuff. Nowhere did it mention 8 kilometers of dirt road to get there. So we turned off the highway and started down. About 5 km in we round this corner and see a massive hill. Massive doesn't even begin to describe this hill, and it goes on and on, around corners, with big dropoffs on either side (getting the picture?) Well, after coming that far, and not really having room to turn around, we decided to go for it (after all, we made it through Roger's Pass!) About twenty seconds later we knew we were in trouble - the truck was going slower and slower and then backwards. Shit. We put it in reverse and began to back down. And then we got stuck. Damn stuck.

These pictures don't even do it justice. We were standing there looking at the truck, jammed up against a pile of rock and sludge piled up along the road to stop people from going over into the ditch, when an old crotchety miner drove up and called us stupid. He was on his way up to check on the mine, so he told us to sit put, block the tires and not touch anything - he was going to get the cavalry. About fifteen minutes later we saw the tractor coming down the hill. Hooray!

We were hoping they would just straighten us out so we could get out of there, but they towed us up and around the first corner. Now there was even more hill, and absolutely no way to back down it. The miner guys were looking at us like we were crazy for feeling dubious about the next hill (and I think even muttered the words "what, are you scared?") so we got up as much speed as we could on the little flat and zoomed up the hill. We almost made it too. So they hooked us on again, and towed the truck and trailer the rest of the way, moving cones and redirecting traffic along the way. When we finally got to the top, we went into the gift shop, bought a post card and a souvenir, then turned around and left. Couldn't wait to get out of there, but we did pause long enough to have this picture taken:

The rest of the day was relatively uneventful, but we did see the birthplace of Winnie-the-Pooh, which is a very small town with three gas stations. We had to stop though and get our portrait taken with the Pooh statue!!

Tonight we're in Wawa (which means tomorrow we'll be going South of Wawa) (for those videophiles out there) Go...Wawa.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hello Winnipeg

We made it to Winnipeg today, but it was a long, boring day for driving. I found the scenery on this side of Regina not as spectacular, although it may just be that we're both getting tired of driving! We did see some pretty spectacular weather on the way, though.

These two shots were taken fairly close together. We were going through patches of storm and then patches of sun, storm, sun, storm. The weather in Winnipeg was supposed to be "severe thundershowers" but so far it's actually been quite nice. We'll see, we bought a tarp to put over the top of the trailer because last night there were drips all over the place. Jai put a cup under one and it was almost full in a matter of maybe ten minutes. Hopefully our stuff will survive! Jai says it's really nice to drive (he's been doing all the driving so far), though, and people really like to hear our story.

Here's a picture of us with Mac, and one of his jewels, in case you didn't believe me:

We've got loads of great pictures (all taken through the car window.) Here's some more:

I'm having way too much fun having our computer in our hotel room!
Tomorrow we start into Ontario...

Friday, September 15, 2006


We're in Regina tonight, so far everything is going well. I'm really loving Saskatchewan - just wish the weather would co-operate and clear up for a little bit. Sounds like it's only going to get worse, though. It's snowing tonight in Calgary.
Stayed in Medicine Hat last night, and I got a coat at Giant Tiger (like the Canadian version of Walm-mart) for $12.97. We ate at a place called the Beefeater where everything was weird and expensive. Today was mostly driving, but we did get a chance to stop in Moosejaw and get our photo taken with Mac the Anatomically Correct World's Tallest Standing Moose. Also had Thai food at Nitt's Thai, which came highly recommended from Jesse and Lale (some of our fave Yo Customers) - we ordered medium, though, and it was HOT! Even Jai thought it was hot, and there was one dish I couldn't eat. Everything else was delicious, though, and I'm in love with Moosejaw.
Tonight there is a Chuck E Cheese across the street from the hotel, and we are debating whether or not they will let us in. Jai says he just wants to play DigDug.
Hi to Grandma and Grandpa.
Tomorrow we should be in Winnipeg, if all goes well. We're hoping to get in early, as they are calling for a large storm to hit later in the day.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Still in Calgary...

Well, we're still in Calgary today, but we should be leaving very soon. Had a couple days of delay finding a new tire that would work on our trailer, and then having to get the vaccuum pump replaced on the truck. Many hundreds of dollars later, we have a good spare and good brakes again! So that's a relief, we had some excellent mechanics who got the job done, after talking to some other mechanics who told us they might have to take everything apart.
The weather here is very cold and wet, so we'll be skipping Drumheller and Saskatoon to make up lost time and try to avoid the snow they are calling for in the next day or two. Yikes!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A few highlights...

Well, we made it to Calgary in one piece!

Oh my goodness, it's been a long couple of days. The wedding was great, we enjoyed ourselves entirely and it was so nice to see (just about) everyone that we love gathered together in one room! We spent the first night of our trip in Hope. It was quite nice and totally uneventful. I had some awesome pie at this diner that Kim told me about - great tip Kim, thanks! The next day took us over the Coquihalla...that was an experience. The first couple of hills we hit were pretty nerve-wracking as we slugged up them at 30 km/hr in first gear. But we made it up each and every one (thank goodness!) We don't care how slow we're going - as long as we're going forward!
In Kamloops at the gas station, Jai noticed that one of the trailer tires had a slow leak. We ended up calling BCAA and got the tire changed with the spare, then tripped over to Canadian tire where they found a new tube to fit. So after a 2-1/2 hr stop-over we were on the road again, and spent the night in Salmon Arm. Today we left fairly early, but blew another tire, on the opposite side of the trailer. This one we changed ourselves on the side of the road. Our jacks are both the wrong size to fit under the right place in the trailer, so we had to dig a hole for the jack to go in, and then a hole for the tire to fit in, so we were both pretty dirty and a little tired when we hit the road again, an hour later. We both felt pretty good about changing it ourselves, but tomorrow we will go to Canadian Tire and get some proper tire-changing tools, and a shovel.
We had been planning on spending tonight in Golden, but arrived there fairly early, so decided to press on to Banff. There is some beautiful scenery on this trip, but it is devastating to see the damage the mountain pine beetles have done already. A few more hairy spots on the road, and we pulled into Banff. Imagine our distress to find absolutely nowhere that had parking for a rig like ours. Banff looks cute, but not so practical for travellers like us. What to do? It's now seven o'clock at night but we decided to press on to Calgary. We pulled into Calgary well after dark, and found Aunty Janet's place with relatively few problems. We have a few errands to run (get a new tire, etc) tomorrow, but we're hoping to get on the road again some time soon. It's SO NICE to be in Aunty Janet's house. Hooray for houses!
The bunnies were relieved to arrive finally, too. They really don't like bumping around on the road, but perk up fairly quickly when we finally stop. After we pulled into Calgary and settled them in we closed up the truck and went back to grab our stuff out of the trailer. I loaded up and turned around only to see a bunny hopping quickly down the street. I threw everything down and ran to the truck to see Peanut happily munching on hay (whew!) - some other bunny. Apparently they are everywhere here, but even growing up near Uvic, I have never seen a bunny hopping down a residential street like that. It was a very strange moment! That's pretty much the only wildlife we've seen. We were pretty disappointed in the wildlife turnour through Banff National Park. I saw the back of one lonely deer. None of the bears, moose or caribou we were completely prepared to photograph. Oh well, got lots of nice mountain shots, and several shots of tires getting changed. Good times!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Well, tomorrow's the BIG day!!! The computer's coming down today, as it's one of the last things we have left to pack, and everything's got to get done today so there's nothing at all to do tomorrow except get married. I don't have a lot of time to sit here and type, but I thought I would include some photos of the chair I just finished. It's not coming with us, so it is recorded here for all posterity. See you soon, as married people...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

This is the box that Jai sold

One Week Till We Get Married

Only one week today until we get married! Our goal today is to figure out how to load all the lumber into the trailer so that it won't go flying around as soon as we hit the road. We have so much to do, but we are also trying to fit in some things that we wanted to do before we leave Victoria. This weekend we'll be making time to go to the Saanich Fair, as it's a yearly tradition that we'll both miss. Hopefully there will be something similar somewhere in the Valley.
Last night we went and saw Corb Lund and the Hurtin' Albertans - it was a great show. He played all the songs we were hoping to hear (and we'll be playing some of them at the wedding, so some of you will get to hear them too.)
Jai picked up his boxes from the gallery, and he had sold one! So he is now officially a professional woodturner, and has already quit his day job.