Wednesday 30 November 2022

The Cost of Living

WHERE ARE WE? El Reno, Oklahoma

It was -12C when we woke up this morning.  Brrrrr.  It took a while to get the frost off the windshield so we could see to drive.  I hope we see the end of this cold soon.  The sun was shining so it helped warm up the MH a little faster.  By noon it was actually quite comfortable out and we began to see the fields getting greener.  The winter wheat is about 4 inches tall here and I asked a local farmer at the gas pumps what the frost does to the winter wheat.  He says it needs a few good frosts to ensure a good crop!!!

Speaking of gas pumps, the price of diesel was all over the map today.  We saw some for 5.12 a gallon early in the day.  Later on, I saw it for 4.49 a gallon so decided to stop and fill up.  When I got to the pump it said 4.87 a gallon so I just put in $50 worth to get me to where Gas Buddy said it was 4.39 a gallon.  When we go to the next spot, we were pleasantly surprised to find it was only 3.94 a gallon.  It's like winning the lottery!!  We took on 75 gallons which was almost a $75 dollar saving!!!

Now my pet peeve on fuel prices.  At the place diesel was 4.87 a gallon, gas was only 2.98 a gallon.  Thats almost a $2 difference!!   I remember 7 years ago when we started travelling, diesel was actually cheaper than gas.  What happened?  Well maybe it's like this.  First let me tell you that I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I sure question the reason things are like they are.  Food prices have gone through the roof recently and I'm not sure the reason but I'm wondering if it is because the price of diesel is being artificially inflated.   They (large corporations) keep the price of gas down so everyone still gets to work to keep making more product for the rich corporations to sell, but they make sure all the employees' wages are spent trying to feed their family the expensive food that the rich corporation sells, meanwhile reaping the benefits from all their diesel that is bought delivering that expensive food.  It's all about money I think!!  I'm afraid that we have come to a point in our society where the poor are becoming expendable in the quest for the almighty dollar.  Rant over.

After ranting above about the cost of food, we did find lettuce for $1.88 a head instead of $4.98 like it is in Canada.  A year ago, the same lettuce was about 0.89 a head in both countries.  Who gets the extra money?  Not me and I'm betting not you or the farmer either!!!  (I guess the rant was not over!! LOL)

Well, we will be in Texas tomorrow and temps are on the rise.  By the time we get to Magnolia Beach the forecast says highs of 27C.  I'm gonna look for my shorts tomorrow because I will need them on Friday.   Archie says "Are we there yet?   How much farther?"  Goodnight

Tuesday 29 November 2022

We Can't Shake Winter!!!

WHERE ARE WE? Strang Nebraska

When I woke up this morning, I could feel the MH moving around from the wind.  We don't put stabilizers down on our overnight stays and with air still in the airbags, the MH likes to rock and roll.  Wind is not usually a good thing but, in this case, it was almost straight out of the north and we are heading south.  That will work.  There was a light skiff of snow on the ground when I took Archie for a morning walk, but the wind made the cold drive right in your skin.  It's still winter here!!!  We spent overnight in a truck stop and it was full when we went to bed.  By morning there were only a couple trucks left.  Today the high on our trip will be -3C.  

We headed south and when we got a couple miles down the road there was some evidence of ice that had formed overnight from blowing snow.

Further down the road we met a snowplow truck, and I began to think that this did not look good.  I was right.  The road turned from patchy ice to almost solid snow covered.  It was was not the really slippery ice but rather a snowpack, and we soon caught up to a plow truck.  He was dropping a little salt every now and again which would get the snow melting later, but for the first 400 kms, we had mainly snow and ice with a sort of track down the middle.  We just putted along and were quite fine.  If we don't know how to drive on this stuff, we should move out of Canada!!!  

The hill down to the Fort Randall Dam was quite slippery and we had to use the lower road to cross the dam because of the winds up top.

We noticed some semi's that are used to carry very heavy loads parked on the side of the road for the day.  I don't know how many tires were on the trailers, but it was lots.  Not a good day to carry multimillion dollar loads, I guess.

Archie is getting back into the travel routine and sits quite nicely on his mat on the dash.  He does like to bark at the odd cow along the way but all in all he is a good traveler.

Nebraska sunsets are not all that spectacular with all the cloud cover.  We are looking for a low of -12C tonight so will have to run lots of heat.  Hope we don't freeze in our beds.  lol.  Goodnight!!

Monday 28 November 2022

On the Road Again!!

WHERE ARE WE? Plankinton South Dakota

We are finally back on the road where we belong.  We have had an extended summer this year which means we are leaving later than we normally do.  We have experienced some minus temps in the teens which are not my favourite.  More later.  Lets' go back and review our summer.

We arrived home to Rivers Provincial Park on May 1st.  

I like to call it 20 to 7 Park.  Can you see why??

We have to make sure we get to the park before the frost comes out of the ground because there is a large sloppy grassy area we have to back over to park the MH.  We made it in lots of time this year and are ready for the season.

We had 12 days to get Cj's ready for opening day on May 13th.  Also, we had to go to Winnipeg to pick up Kenia on May 6th at the airport.  She came to spend the summer with us and experience some of Canada and to brush up on her English.  (We hoped to learn more Spanish too, but that wasn't very successful!!)  We met her on the Hug mat.

We had to hustle and pick up supplies and get back to the shack from Winnipeg to keep preparing.  It was a real eye opener for Kenia to see snow and experience cold temps for the first time.  She loved it.

We sell firewood in the park, so we had to get a couple big loads delivered into our compound.  Selling firewood is my favourite job because I get to visit with all the campers, but the employees see it as back breaking work loading it into totes in the back of the pickup. 

Susan and I are very proud of the business we have developed here in the park.  Cj's is known for great food and friendly service all over Manitoba.  We love our new store front!!

The very first Saturday we started our "Music in the Park" with Dave Oakey and Murray K.  The music has become an important part of Cj's and Dave does a heck of a job hosting it every week.  People come every Saturday night to be fed and entertained.

Kenia got her first taste of our signature Donny Burger and home cut fries.  She says she still prefers taco's.   

Every year our daughter Kaitlyn takes me to get a pedicure for Father's Day.  We go for lunch and just spend some Father/Daughter time.  I look forward to this every year and always get my big toe painted.  All the grandkids love seeing what I get painted on my toe and I usually keep it until the polish starts to look real ragged.

One of the things we had to deal with again this year was some pretty major flooding.  The water flooded about 3/4 of the parking lot and was about 5 feet deep so the girls took advantage and went swimming.  The weather was quite hot so every time they got a break from the kitchen; they would run out and jump in the "parking lot!!".

July was not a good one for our family.  On July 17th we received news that our son Derek had lost his life in a motorcycle accident.  He was 34 years old.  This has been a lifechanging event for our whole family, and is in addition to the loss 8 years ago of Dereks son Clayton to SUDS.  Deaths without goodbyes are especially tough and we have had too many.  Derek was a loving son, brother, husband, father, uncle and friend and will be missed by everyone who knew him.

Derek and his son Clayton James (CJ)

I think this picture says how we all feel.  We will always love both of you.

We did some neat things with Kenia that she will never experience in Mexico.  I was hauling some gravel with a friend's big loader so I let her drive it a bit.

Thanks to some other friends, she got to experience a Manitoba harvest as well.  She was all smiles.

She even got to experience nice fireworks display for Canada Day!!!

All too soon it was time to say goodbye to Kenia as she had to travel back to Mexico to carry on with her business, El Cafecito.   We hope she will come back to visit soon, and we will visit her on this winter's trip in La Penita.

She made lots of friends at the lake and a bunch of the girls (and me of course!!) came to see her off at the Brandon Airport. 

As we wound down the season, we introduced a brand-new event to our customers.  Our friends Reg and Linda have a huge smoker and they offered to do a whole bunch of ribs and chicken for a fundraiser for a local group known as Friends of Rivers Lake.  The organization undertakes various projects to enhance our lake and we chose them to be the recipient of this year's profits from the "1st Annual Hootenany".  We had lots of help preparing the food, and the people showed up on a picture-perfect day in early September.

Lots of meat

All set up

Bring on the smoke

Lets eat!!

And the music was amazing.  We had lots of musicians, and the music went on until the sun went down.  

When the smoke all cleared, we presented a cheque to Friends of Rivers Lake for over $2000.00.

We even made the front page of the local paper!!

That was how our summer went.  But it wasn't over.  With Dereks passing, our daughter Sheri decided that she needed to be closer to family, so we all worked together to find her something to do.  The local Arena has been struggling with volunteer for its canteen so a couple years ago we had proposed renting it to set up and winter Cj's.   With Covid that was all put on hold until this fall when they called for proposals to run the canteen.  After some struggles convincing council that this would be a good thing for the community, and after Sheri expressed an interest in stepping up to manage it, "Cj's on Ice" became a reality.  We are offering our delicious Cj's menu items with a few additions from October 1st to March 31st, every winter.  Sue and I hung around to get it all set up and then turned it over to Sheri to run.  Her and our granddaughter Dani will be awesome!!!  

Of course, Sheri will still have the master Chef looking over her shoulder and keeping her on track.

Well, when I have to experience weather like we are starting to have, my mind slips off to Mexican beaches and Margarita's.  Thats what happened when I saw this outside.

We have been living with our daughter Kaitlyn and her family so at least we were not in the motorhome in this weather.  They have a big dog who has become Archies best friend.  They had to have a goodbye cuddle before we left.

So, we are on the road trying to rid ourselves of winters icy grip.  We have travelled through North Dakota and South Dakota and it's still cold.  Soon we will break out into the sunshine and our friends will be there waiting for us on the beach.  Can't wait.

I have to leave everyone with a beautiful Manitoba sunset earlier this fall.  We always boast about the Arizona and Mexican sunsets, but we have some pretty awesome ones too!!   Goodnight.