grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Monday, August 31, 2015

23-31AUG15 - Sultan, WA (via glendive, mt; bozeman, mt & post falls, id)

Early Sunday morning, 23AUG, we said our sad goodbyes to Ed & Elaine, & started the long drive back to the USA.  During the drive we encountered not the worst winds we have driven the RV in, but we haven’t seen them this bad in years.  Again to bypass the heavy oil field traffic around Williston, ND, we stayed in Canada & crossed back into the USA at a small border crossing.  Once again USA Customs wanted to know why we were crossing border there?  Like we must have some criminal reason?

During our short drive in North Dakota, we could see the once booming oil field is now pretty quiet – empty camps, very little semi traffic, etc.  We stayed at a RV park in Glendive, MT.  Unfortunately their websites does not reflect reality!   Turns out the RV park was sold to a hotel chain four years ago & closed.  The hotel was built & the chain decided to reopen the RV park on the remaining land this year.  Apparently the chain decided that it wasn’t worth the effort to create a new website for the RV park & just reposted info from four years ago.  So we were expecting a pool, internet, & cable TV – NOT!!!

Early Monday morning it was back on the road heading west to WA state.  The smoke from WA, OR & CA fires was blanketing Montana.  After setting up camp in Bozeman, MT, we had a short walkabout of downtown.  We noted that Bozeman has some pretty exclusive & pricey stores on their main street; turns out Bozeman is the 19th most affluent small town in USA – it shows.

Then it was off to Susan & Brian Troth’s for a visit & excellent dinner.  You may remember that Dan reconnected with Brian last year & we had short visit with them, before seeing Brian at the Coast Guard Academy fortieth reunion (see following BLOG link for details of that visit).  We all agreed that next visit we need to spend more than a few hours in Bozeman.

Tuesday morning is back on I-90 west to continue our drive to Sultan, WA.  One interesting thing we hadn’t noticed before was that the large highway gas stations in Montana might have pumps for two different companies?  We pulled into what we thought was a Flying J to fuel the RV with diesel & get our Flying J discount.  When Corrie went inside to prepay, she discovered we were at Exxon pumps & needed to move to another group of pumps for Flying J.  We also discovered at a brand new rest stop in Montana that they no longer have separate men’s & women’s restrooms.  This rest area had multiple unisex restrooms, all handicap accessible, & all with infant changing tables.  As always as we approached the Idaho/Montana border we had to stop at the $50,000 Silver Dollar (now up to $66,542 silver dollars on display) before camping near Post Falls, ID.  (see above BLOG link for our last visit to this world famous tourist stop)  Tomorrow final push to Sultan, WA.

Wednesday morning, AUG26, we were back on I-90 west to Sultan, WA.  Last night Dan (as he usually does) was checking diesel prices along our route, & discovered a low diesel price that he thought must be a mistake?   But when we got to the truck stop outside of George, WA (get it?), we discovered diesel at $2.31!  To say there were a lot of semi’s waiting to fuel-up, would be an understatement.  Since we were also stopping for lunch, the twenty minute wait didn’t bother us.

After “reopening” the house, we spent the rest of the month doing nothing more than gardening, mowing, cleaning RV, partially empty RV, house maintenance, etc.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

12-22AUG15 - Sprucewoods, Manitoba (canadian side family reunion)

Wednesday, 12AUG, we finished our drive to Sprucewoods, MB, in 90 degree heat; the forecast is for three more days of hot & humid in Manitoba.  As usual we set up camp at Corrie’s brother Ed Riesmeyer & wife Elaine’s (see below BLOG link for our last visit here).  The purpose of this visit is a family reunion that was discussed between Ed & Corrie when they visited us in February this year in Houma, LA.  Corrie felt it was sad that our kids, Rebecca & Joe, had only seen all their Canadian cousins once back in 1986.  So the decision was made that after our trip to Alaska, we would pick a time in August & fly Rebecca, Raymond, Jaxson, Mason & Joe to Canada for an “impromptu” family reunion.  Now it is just waiting for them to fly in, while making the final preparations for the event at niece Marta Werbowski’s house on Sunday!

Thursday & Friday were lots of errand running (mostly by Corrie & Elaine).  Because of the continued heat we headed to a very nice community pool at Wawanesa, MB, on Friday afternoon.  Ed & Elaine brought their grandson Tripp.  (You may remember from our June 2012 BLOG that their son, Jason, was married to Katelyn in Wawanesa back in June 2012.  That’s where they now live with son Tripp.)  We were also joined by Ed & Elaine’s daughter Kim, husband Brian, & children Haley & Rowan.

Saturday morning first thing, it was into Brandon, MB, to pick up a rental minivan.  (After three days of record heat, we now have rain & thunderstorms?)  Then it was off to the Winnipeg airport for daughter Rebecca, husband Raymond, & grandkids Jaxson & Mason.  Naturally the plane was one hour late, & then the airline lost one of their car seats; adding another hour to our wait as they cleared Customs.  Finally it was a two hour drive back to Ed & Elaine’s, & pizza dinner.

Sunday, early afternoon, we all headed to niece Marta’s for the family reunionJ  Pretty much everyone was there; but niece Natasha & our son, Joe, was notL  Joe has started a new job working offshore, & can not fly to Canada until Tuesday.  Marta has a pool; & the weather warmed just enough, that the pool was well used; & a great time was had by allJ!

The below picture is from 1986, showing all the cousins at that time.  (Not born yet were Matthew & Kristi.)  Front, L to R – Joe, Nicole, Scott; Middle, L to R – Kim, Marta, Natasha; Back, L to R – Jason, Rebecca

The below picture was at the reunion.  (Missing were Joe & Natasha.)  Front, L to R – Kristi, Nicole, Matthew, Scott; Middle, L to R – Kim, Marta; Back, L to R – Jason, Rebecca

Monday morning, 17AUG, Rebecca, Raymond, Jaxson, Mason & us headed to the Royal Canadian Artillery Museum on Canadian Forces Base Shilo (Dan visited this museum in June 2012 w/Ed).  This was followed by lunch at one of Canada’s “institutions” - Tim Horton’s.

That evening after dinner Kim (Ed & Elaine’s daughter) came by to take Rebecca & Raymond quad’ing.  Quads are what Canadians call their ATV four wheelers.  Apparently Kim got stuck in mud & it took two quads to pull her out.  They finished the night by getting hosed off in the front yard.

Tuesday morning it was off to the Winnipeg Zoo with Raymond, Rebecca & the grandkids.  The Winnipeg Zoo is very nice.  One unique exhibit they have is dedicated to polar bears (maybe because Churchill, MB, touts itself as the polar bear capitol of the world?).  Part of the exhibit allows you to walk thru glass tunnels with the bears swimming/playing above you in their pool.

Then it was off to the airport to pick-up Joe.  After dinner at Ed & Elaine’s - Rebecca, Raymond & Joe went skeet shooting with Kim’s husband Brian; while Oma & Opa babysit four grandkids with Elaine.

Wednesday, 19AUG, everyone slept in, & after lunch it was off to the Wawanesa community pool.  This turned into a mini-reunion when we were joined by Elaine & grandson Tripp; niece Nikki, husband Roger & their son; Brian & his two kids; Corrie’s youngest brother Robbie & his three grandkids; & eventually Tripp’s mom Katelyn.

The rest of the day was spent not doing much, other than a walk thru the Provincial Forest next to Ed & Elaine’s.

Thursday morning Rebecca, Raymond & Jackson went to the local Reptile Farm for a quick visit, while Mason napped.  Meanwhile Joe headed to a nearby farm with cousin Jason for a full day of harvesting activities; which apparently involved firearms?

Sadly that afternoon we had to take Rebecca, Raymond, Jaxson & Mason to an airport hotel, so they catch their early morning flight tomorrowL

Friday morning, 21AUG, Joe & Dan headed into Brandon so Joe could see the wonders of Princess Auto.  After lunch Joe went shooting w/Jason & Brian.

Then after dinner Joe went quad’ing with Kim (no one got stuck this time & no one needed hosing down in the front yardJ).

A few hours after midnight, Saturday morning, Dan ran Joe to the airport so he could catch his 6:30AM flight back to the states.  Apparently he was upgraded to first class for some reason?  After Dan’s return to the RV, we returned the rental mini-van & collapsed with exhaustion.  After ten days of good weather Brandon is now experiencing a cold “monsoon”, as we prepare the RV & Toad for tomorrow’s departureL

We had just enough energy left for dinner that evening with Robbie & wife Yvonne at Kim’s Asian.