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.


  1. You have had quite the summer. Continuing to pray for your family. Glad you are on the road again. See you on the beach!

  2. So sorry for your loss, memories will keep Derek with you always.
    It was a busy summer for sure, lots of exciting things happening. I’m glad
    Cj’s on ice is launched and things continue to go well. It’s great that Kenia came to visit and experienced so many new things.
    Soon the sun and warmth will be a reality and not a dream. Safe travels.


  3. I am so sorry to hear about Derek. That is something no parent should have to go through.

    Kenia's visit looks like a trip of a lifetime that she will never forget.

    Safe travels as you head south.

  4. Very sad and happy summer. Great to hear you are on the road, safe travels.

  5. Congratulations to all of you for making CJ's on Ice happen. That's awesome!
    Glad you are on the move, I've been waiting for your first post!
    Is Sue up to running any races yet? 😉

  6. A lot has happened this past summer. I'm glad you have your new business set up and now you three can enjoy the Mexican beach and sun. Safe travels my friend.

  7. So sorry to hear about your son. Glad that there were lots of good things going on to help keep your mind off the bad stuff. Safe travels south.

  8. So sorry to hear about your son. I also have been looking for your posts. Safe travels. Becky

  9. Lorne & Sue we are so sorry to hear of your son's passing, you are in our thoughts and prayers. I'm sure CJs on ice will be a great success! Safe travels and hope you are into warm weather soon.


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