Dwarf Cars, Legend Racers? Only in Arizona

The Sherriff is in town and parked at the Dwarf Car Museum.
The Sheriff is in town and parked at the Dwarf Car Museum.

This winter Charlotte and I were amazed to discover Dwarf Cars and Legend Racers in our travels of the Arizona deserts. We were leaving the Phoenix area and planning on finding some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land on which to spend the night. For those of you who are not aware the USA has millions of acres primarily in the west that are government owned on which they allow free camping. In most areas the maximum stay is 14 days, no services, pack in pack out. We thank the American people for sharing their land with us.

Back to our discovery, we stopped for lunch at a state park somewhere in the Maricopa County and the young lady camp host told us while in the area we had to see Ernie’s Dwarf Car Museum which she said was nearby. With our truck camper home is always where we park it, so we figured it did not matter where we stopped for the night we would take the time and check it out. Good thing we looked it up and set our GPS which should be called MSD (Marriage Saving Device as Char had the lawyer on speed dial during our entire trip). Following the GPS down roads we would never have taken and side roads we were surprised to find what we would call an incredible discovery right out in the desert.

A great find in the desert the Dwarf Car Museum.
A great find in the desert the Dwarf Car Museum.

The Dwarf Car Museum nothing fancy just a wooden structure and a workshop, inside we met Ernie, a down to earth very humble man, a creator of automobile masterpieces.  We were told even while in grade school Ernie was building automobiles out of wooden crates. Years later he got more serious and created his first Dwarf car, a Chevy 2 door sedan made out of 9 old refrigerators. The “Grampa Dwarf” was manufactured in 1968. Ernie had collected pieces for 3 years to build that first car which included an 18 hp. Wisconsin engine.  That original car is still running and driving today as all his creations are running and street legal in Arizona. If I’m not mistaken I think all are built to ¾ scale right down to the trim and upholstery.

Ernie Adams beside one of his master piece 3/4 scale cars. "Im going to drive this one to town tonight", he said after starting it up.
Ernie Adams beside one of his masterpiece 3/4 scale cars a 1940 Mercury sedan. “Im going to drive this one to town tonight”, he said after starting it up.

After attending sidecar motorcycle races in Phoenix Ernie felt they were too slow on the corners and adding a fourth wheel would speed up the race. He went to work in his shop to produce a four wheel version adding a body to it that was identified with the cars of that era. He felt it would add to the excitement as well as the speed to the racing. In 1979 the first Dwarf Racer rolled out; now known in the racing world as the Legends. The first race in Prescott, Arizona in 1983 featured 12 of Ernie’s cars and the small racers are still popular today. Ernie said he did not want to get into the manufacturing business so sold his 12 designs to a company that continues to manufacture them today using fiberglass bodies.

Myself and my friend pose with one of Ernie's Dwarf Racers now know as the Legends.
Myself and my friend pose with one of Ernie’s Dwarf Racers now known as the Legends.

The metal shaping skills Ernie had learned building the racers he then went on to master and apply to what he wanted as a masterpiece as he felt his first “Grampa Dwarf” was a little crude. He wanted to produce right down to the detail trim and interior a running replica of a 1932 Chev 2 door sedan. Approximately 3 years later it became what would become one of many masterpieces as you can see by the photographs.

Can I take it home, the 1932 Chev 2 door sedan his first built after the Dwarf Racers.
Can I take it home Charlotte likes this one, the 1932 Chev 2 door sedan his first built after the Dwarf Racers.
One could spend all day in here.
One could spend all day in here.
"Little Betty" the dtail is increadable and there is a story behind this one.
“Little Bitty” the detail is incredible and there is a story behind this one.
Charlotte likes them all you cpould get at least six into a full size garage.
Charlotte likes them all you could get at least six into a full size garage. A 49 Mercury sedan that wants a V8.
How about a 1942 Ford convertable?
How about a 1942 Ford convertible?
1934 Ford coupe.
1934 Ford coupe.
1954 Chev Bel Air a tight squeeze for me. Perfect in every detail including the whitewall tires.
1954 Chev Bel Air a tight squeeze for me. Perfect in every detail including the whitewall tires the rims are after market.
Looks like the 29 Ford Hillbilly to me.
Looks like the 29 Ford Hillbilly to me.

People’s amazement and fascination with the Dwarf Cars kept Ernie motivated to keep on building I think I counted eight and I don’t think he may be done yet. I asked if they were running, Ernie walked over to the Dwarf 1940 Mercury sedan and started it up giving it a couple of good revs a big grin on his face, “I’m going to drive this one to town tonight”. Ernie now uses import engines in the cars he said before showing me his shop and a large 4×8 sheet of metal that someday will become another masterpiece, a work in progress in a regular shop with simple tools, not big fancy equipment or robots to do the work.

Ernie at home in his work shop where he is happiest. No robot assembly line in here truley hand made in Arizona.
Ernie at home in his work shop where he is happiest. No robot assembly line in here truly handmade in Arizona.
Myself with Ernie the builder of Dwarf Cars and the original Dwarf Racers.
Myself with Ernie the builder of Dwarf Cars and the original Dwarf Racers.
Well presented the museum is definately worth checking out. the hours of labour and love put into this by Ernie and his family shows.
Well presented the museum is definitely worth checking out. The hours of labour and love put into this by Ernie and his family shows.
It's just not all cars either.
It’s just not all cars either.
Something for the motorbike collector.
Something for the motorbike collector.
Some may say I'm wrong but I believe this is the original Ford V8 flathead.
Some may say I’m wrong but I believe this is the original Ford V8 flathead.

The collection of cars includes of course the “Grampa Dwarf” a 1928 Chevy 2 door, 1939 Chevy 2 door sedan, 1942 Ford convertible, 1929 Ford Hillbilly, 1949 Mercury, 1934 Ford sedan, 1940 Mercury sedan and a 1954 Chev Bel Air. I actually just touched on a bit of the history and the museum you really must if at all possible see it in person to believe it. For those who cannot I hope I have shared a bit and you can find out more at www.dwarfcarmuseum.com  The museum is located 52954 West Halfmoon Rd. Maricopa, Arizona 85139.

Even Dwarf Cars sometimes need maintenance, just like the big ones.
Even Dwarf Cars sometimes need maintenance, just like the big ones.

The day Charlotte and I visited it was quite busy with people but we were impressed with the way Ernie took the time with us all to answer questions and of course to pose for photographs. With the help of his family members they were very hospitable, just down home people proud of the pleasure they give to others with the presentation of the “Dwarf Cars”.

Thankful to have our truck camper if we were towing 40 feet behind us we probably would have not have taken the time to visit what I consider one of the “Wonders of Arizona”.  Did we find a resting spot, yes somewhere in the desert between there and Yuma. Arizona a few miles from the Mexican border. We happened to take a trail to another quiet spot and enjoyed a restful evening on top of a hill overlooking the vast desert, home for the night.

Home for the night somewhere down a dirt road.
Home for the night somewhere down a dirt road.
The back yard,  the best so far that is until our next stop.
The back yard, the best so far that is until our next stop.

Thank you to the new subscribers and those interested this job pays nothing so it’s your interest that makes it worthwhile. I must admit though as I’m running so far behind on my posts from last winter it’s nice to revisit some of our notes and images for myself and Charlotte as she checks to make sure I got things spelled right. Subscribers get notice by email when I finally get something hammered out and 100’s of photos edited to post.

More to come on our experience in truck camper off grid living and the great people we met in the desert and how our experience changed us and our impression of the desert.

Safe travels this summer we really hope to meet some of you down the road.

Gerry and Charlotte, ”Practicing Nomads”.

Facebook: Gerry Popplewell

Instagram: gerrypopplewell

Truck Campers Invade Quartzsite Arizona

The invasion
The truck camper invasion

Charlotte and I were fortunate enough to be on hand when of 400 plus truck campers invade Quartzsite this past February. The truck camper rally has been on our bucket list for several years now and we finally got to add that check mark.  The event organized by Mello Mike from Truck Camper Adventures attracted truck camper owners from all over North America and beyond. If you’re into truck campers or thinking about a truck camper you have to check out Mello Mike’s site www.truckcamperadventures.com   Mello Mike and his crew did a fantastic job of keeping one of the largest, if not largest ever, off grid truck camper gatherings running smoothly, very entertaining as well as informative over the 4-5 days we spent off grid in the desert.

Organizer Mello Mike photographing the sunset, our proudly Canadian camper in the way.
Organizer Mello Mike photographing the sunset, our proudly Canadian camper in the way.
On all sides a sea of truck campers all makes and sizes.
On all sides a sea of truck campers all makes and sizes.
The desert off grid what a great place to host this event. Lots of room and great people.
The desert off grid what a great place to host this event. Lots of room and great people.
Yes pinch ourselves we ar at the Rally and this is Arizona.
Yes pinch ourselves we are at the Rally and this is Arizona.
Mello Mike and his partner  as well as crew put in a lot of time and effort to make all welcome and a great overall event.
Mello Mike and his partner as well as crew put in a lot of time and effort to make all welcome and a great overall event.
Seminars and  a trade show geared to the truck camping lifestyle were well attended and provided lots of information.
Seminars and trade shows geared to the truck camping lifestyle were well attended and provided lots of information.

It was amazing to see all the different makes, models and sizes of truck campers arriving; coming from Saskatchewan in Canada truck campers are few and far between. Those of us gathered shared a common passion for the versatility of a truck camper mounted on a 4×4 that allows us to go just about anywhere the big units cannot and park in small spaces. The slide in also allows the truck to pull boats, horse trailers, cargo trailers and as we discovered in Arizona a side by side off road vehicles. Some units even pulled Jeeps another favourite vehicle in the desert.

Our neighbour another Canadian from Quebec.
Our neighbour another Canadian from Quebec.
Not all were 2024 models
Not all were 2024 models
Some were big.
Some were big.
And very big.
And very big.
An Alaskan.
An Alaskan, hard side pop up. Some images taken on my phone and not up to quality.
Hard side pop up a Rossmonster.
Hard side pop up a Rossmonster.
Some with lots of solar.
Some with lots of solar.
Flatbed campers
Flatbed campers
And the 4 Wheel Camper group.
And the 4 Wheel Camper group.

Charlotte and I met people with massive rigs and those with smaller rigs, some fixed, and some with pop up tops and those with one to 4 slide outs on big 450 and 550 trucks. Our crowd was made up of many who live full time and travel in their camper, those who just travel during the summer or winter months, and some serious off road off grid campers. The information we gathered here cannot be found in any book or on line and we just sucked it all in. The willingness of those living and travelling in what some may consider a small space to share their knowledge and experience was overwhelming and we thank them all for that. Many do not know that many truck campers can cost the same or more than a lot of the big class A motor coaches with some of the Earth Roamers truck campers in the million range.

Many suppliers were on site with information and products for the RV lifestyle.
Many suppliers were on site with information and products for the RV lifestyle.
And some good old country music added to the desert atmosphere.
And some good old country music added to the desert atmosphere.
20240216 182315

The best part of our gathering was it did not matter what year, model or price range your camper was, we were more than welcome and accepted….after all we are all living the same dream in our small homes on wheels. We were from all nationalities, not all grey hairs as there were some young bucks with the big Kodiak 4×4 truck campers with military grade tires, and those in between.  The classes on Lithium, solar, full time RVing, first aid, camper and truck weight ratings, Harvest Host camping, photography, off grid camping and more that I cannot remember, were extremely welcome for us nomads in training. We thank the suppliers who helped put on the event for their displays and assistance.  Evenings of fire pits, a good old country and western music entertainer and food topped off the event.

For us it was not only a chance to learn more but enjoyed the open and friendly people we met sharing travel and life experiences, the good and the not so good of life on the road. Thanks to Mello Mike and his crew we felt right at home in the middle of the Arizona desert with close to 800 strangers, a lot now friends. A big bonus for me is I got to check out some campers we do not see north of the border. The Four Wheel Pop Ups, the Rossmonster hard side pop up and one of my favourite that we do not see  in Canada the Alaskan hard side pop up. Thanks to all who opened their home on wheels for us to see and get to know more about the features of these RV’s.  From the massive to some homemade campers that made you question why one laid out 50 grand and some even more. The simple freedom and lifestyle is what it is all about, was the message from many we took away with us.

Mello Mike from Truck Camper Adventure is planning the 2025 gathering; will we be there, well we do not plan our lives that far in advance but if all goes well and it’s meant to be YOU BET! Not sure he can keep the prices but we felt the $50 per camper was a real good deal even if that translated to $70 Canadian. Yes our dollar sucked but it was our decision to go. Ya can’t take it with you. I priced out another gathering which we will not be attending at close to $300 US, so thanks for keeping it real and affordable.

As one has probably already gathered I am a truck camper guy and Charlotte and I, over the years, have owned many RV’s from fifth wheel to bumper pulls and we keep coming back to our truck campers for freedom and simplicity. Which camper was the best…well they all were. We park it and we are at home even on a driveway, so here are a few photos I have dug up over the years, and yes Charlotte and I have hardly aged a bit must be that nomadic lifestyle….

"Big Blue"
“Big Blue”
Our Rodeo rig many miles in this one.
Our Rodeo rig many miles in this one.
Our Kodiak one of the better campers we owned. Spent a lot of time at trail rides and rodeos.
Our Kodiak one of the better campers we owned. Spent a lot of time at trail rides and rodeos.
Our overloaded 2500 Dodge with a 12 foot Vangaurd.
Our overloaded 2500 Dodge with a 12 foot Vangaurd.
Our Adventure truck camper.
Our Adventurer lake truck camper.
Our Adventure on the old Dodge dually.
Our Artic Fox on the old Dodge dually.
20240131 140052

Last but not least our Northern Lite, at todays prices probably our last. After all these it’s no wonder I have no money, but each of the campers have given us many memories, much more important than cash.

Our travels into the desert for two months, our thoughts, what we learned boondocking off grid and the folks we met. The lifestyle is not exclusive to truck campers only, there are good folks in all sorts of rigs we found out…  That coming in a future blog, the beauty of being so far behind posting is I get to relive it all over again. Hope you enjoyed the images and your comments are very welcome.

“Your journey is not the same as mine, and my journey is not yours, but if we meet on a certain path, may we encourage each other”.  –Unknown- 

Be kind, stay safe and we hope to see you down the road.

Gerry and Charlotte: Nomads in training.

Facebook: Gerry Popplewell

Truck Camper Adventures Northern British Columbia, Canada

Part two

Our truck camper adventures in Northern British Columbia continue…

On our way to enjoying the roads  and sights in Northern BC.
On our way to enjoying the roads and sights in Northern BC.

I’m a little behind in my posts as many will notice but hey I’m living this life to see and experience and when the weather is good we should be on the road and not in front of a computer…right! I knew those who follow will understand. A lot of water had gone under the bridge since my last post.  I’m writing this just outside of Quartzsite, Arizona camping on BLM land.  We left Saskatchewan at the end of January to attend a Truck Camper Rally there in February and that was awesome, I will be posting images and thoughts on that in an upcoming post. I will also share our travels to Arizona and images of our travels so stay tuned, but now I want to continue to share the beauty of northern British Columbia, Canada.

As per my last post did Scott and I ever find that elusive water fall? Well after three separate days of hacking our way through devils claw, a very tall plant with sharp needles, that grew everywhere back in the mountains, no we did not find it. I knew it was not a figment of Scott’s imagination as we were close enough we could hear it.

Scott clearing a trail through the Devils Claw which grows thick and sharp in the mountains.
Scott clearing a trail through the Devils Claw which grows thick and sharp in the mountains.
The trail went very steeply up in some sections and the air was getting thiner.
The trail went very steeply up in some sections and the air was getting thinner.
You want me to follow? Your half my age, but I did.
You want me to follow? Your half my age, but I did.
Hey Bear! One cannot be too carefull in Grizzly country.
Hey Bear! One cannot be too careful in Grizzly country.

Hearing it and getting to it was no easy matter, we literally climbed the side of a mountain, Scott hacked our way through deep ravines with a machete,  ravines so overgrown and dense we could not get through.  Scott had come to an old hunting lean-to on previous trips along the river that ended at a 40 foot stone wall, and to get around when the river was high was impossible and one could hear the falls from there. I guess one could say we were “stonewalled”. 

Day three don't look down another climb down into a ravine.
Day three don’t look down another climb down into a ravine.
We got to the river and could hear the falls but getting there was not in the cards.
We got to the river and could hear the falls but getting there was not in the cards.
The beauty of this rushing stream was to view only as it blocked out acess to the falls we could hear.
The beauty of this rushing stream was to view only as it blocked out access to the falls we could hear.
The rocks along this stream were full of fossils with patterns stamped into the rock.
The rocks along this stream were full of fossils with patterns stamped into the rock.
A massive stone wall stopped our progress and we decided to tun back and call it a day. Three and your out, but Scott did return later to discover the falls when the stream dropped its flow and he was able to get around to the falls.
A massive stone wall stopped our progress and we decided to turn back and call it a day. Three and you’re out, but Scott did return later to discover the falls when the stream dropped its flow and he was able to get around to the falls.

We left the area to continue our travels without seeing the falls but later Scott tried again along the river when the level was lower and did find the elusive falls. The importance of this is that even the local Rangers did not know these falls existed.

In the mountain areas west of Dawson Creek we found many fossils and some unique streams Scott took us to for some fishing. We thank Scott, our new friend for showing us the area.  Scott, like others we have met on the road, have been very helpful in setting us on the right directions in the area we are exploring and much appreciated.

Some roads less traveled need a little bush cutting, we always carry a chainsaw when travelling in tree country.
Some roads less traveled need a little bush cutting, we always carry a chainsaw when travelling in tree country.
Roads are not maintained and sometimes a little sketchy but we made it through to enjoy a great afternoon in the beauty of the mountains.
Roads are not maintained and sometimes a little sketchy but we made it through to enjoy a great afternoon in the beauty of the mountains.
One never knows what one will find way out back, and this vehicle was not four wheel drive.
One never knows what one will find way out back, and this vehicle was not four wheel drive.
Beautiful mountain streams natural and clear as well as cold.
Beautiful mountain streams natural and clear as well as cold.
Scott picked the best hole to fish and caught one, I got skunked.
Scott picked the best hole to fish and caught one, I got skunked.
Sharing the beauty through my eyes.
Sharing the beauty through my eyes.
Peacefull and quietly flowing.
Peaceful and quietly flowing.
Nature naturally!
Nature naturally!

We were planning on heading down to Prince George then on to Prince Rupert, but like so many of our  plans that summer we had to improvise as fires were burning in those areas. Instead we headed to Tumbler Ridge area west of Dawson Creek an area which we really liked and stayed in for over a week exploring the area. One of our highlights was driving to Kinuseo Falls and the Provincial Park there near the Monkman Pass, the road in is only 50 kms but it took us almost two hours to get there. It’s a rough gravel road (Kinuseo Rd. a forest service road) winding up the side of a mountain not sure I would drag a 30 foot trailer up there but probably some would try it. I would say definitely not for big rigs, but that’s when I appreciate our truck and camper and where it can get us.

On our way to Kinuseo Falls and Monkman Provincial Park.
On our way to Kinuseo Falls and Monkman Provincial Park.
Several of these tunnels along the forest service road.
Several of these tunnels along the forest service road.
The light early morning was beautiful and soft had to stop lots for photographs.
The light early morning was beautiful and soft had to stop lots for photographs.
The Kinuseo Falls the images do not do the falls justice, would have liked to been at the bottom but settled on the beauty where we were at above the falls.
The Kinuseo Falls the images do not do the falls justice, would have liked to been at the bottom but settled on the beauty where we were at above the falls.
GEP00028

A tremendus amount of water flows over the falls just before the drop.
A tremendus amount of water flows over the falls just before the drop plunging 70 meters into a deep pool.
It's a long way down where the Murray River continues.
It’s a long way down where the Murray River continues.

The Falls are spectacular and drop further than the Niagara Falls in Ontario, from Tumbler Ridge one can book a jet boat to the base of the falls which would be even more spectacular then where we were at the top of the falls. There is also a hiking trail which is a 3to 4 day hike, experienced hikers recommended. The Provincial campground nearby was pristine and very quiet as we were the only ones there with a camper another car and tent showed up later in the day. This is definitely grizzly country and great care has to be taken with food, garbage etc.

Monkman Provincial campground set on the Murray River above the falls is not only beautiful but well kept.
Monkman Provincial campground set on the Murray River above the falls is not only beautiful but well kept.
a very well kept campground we were the only ones until some tenters pulled in later in the night. Quiet clean and beautiful checked all the boxes.
A very well kept campground we were the only ones until some tenters pulled in later in the night. Quiet clean and beautiful checked all the boxes.
GEP00015

Dispite the 2 hr drive  50 km to the Park and falls we were glad we made the drive.
Despite the 2 hr drive 50 kms to the Park and falls we were glad we made the drive.

After the drive up we kind of had an idea why there were not a lot of rigs camping there also one must realize no cell, no power but lots of well-maintained clean sites, gazebo with BBQ stove, and pit toilets. We overnighted on the river and made the trip down early in the morning before the big trucks got going.

As always we hate to leave places so beautiful but then the next one is the best.
As always we hate to leave places so beautiful but then the next one is the best.

The community of Tumbler Ridge is small, basically a coal mine and tourist town. It has the essential amenities only,  groceries etc. with several campgrounds. The area is known for hiking and perhaps biking in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter, skiing and snowshoeing. Some say the busiest time is winter here.

Tumbler Ridge was established as a coal mining center.
Tumbler Ridge was established as a coal mining center.
GEP10093

We enjoyed our overnight stay in Tumbler Ridge Campground so much we stayed a week.
We enjoyed our overnight stay in Tumbler Ridge Campground so much we stayed a week.

From here our travels took us back to Dawson Creek where we met Joie a 31 year female nomad I featured in a previous post. Our plans due to fires and evacuations in the NWT had changed and once again we had to be flexible.

One of the many no service no reservation campsites in BC were starting to love traveling here.
One of the many no service no reservation campsites in BC we’re starting to love travelling here.
Another free campground along the road we were the only ones here just off a 60 km gravel road.
Another free campground along the road we were the only ones here just off a 60 kms gravel road.
Camped by the stream we had the place to ourselves, just us and the beauty of nature.
Camped by the stream we had the place to ourselves, just us and the beauty of nature. Probably not one of BC’s tourist destinations one many will never experience. No standing in line here.
Our second time visiting Dawson Creek on our way into northern BC.
Back where we started.

Well this post was written in Arizona but not published until arriving back at the cabin how bad is that, I can blame it on the lack of a US data plan or perhaps just enjoying the trip more than staring at a screen and the time required inside. I’m going to share my images of the beautiful BC North Country, and may even add to them this coming summer. However the next posts will feature the Truck Camper Adventure Rally we attended and our Arizona winter travels while they are fresh in mind. We experienced off grid living with it great points and the challenging situations one encounters while off grid and will be sharing those thoughts. I think for two rookies alone in the desert we did mighty fine…and I met Russ from RVer TV more to come for sure.

You can always take a chance and sign up to be notified of my sporadic posts.  Thanks to our new subscribers and your comments you keep me motivated and feeling guilty on not posting regular, but very much appreciated. Enjoyed meeting some readers of the blog while on the road  and we hope to see you somewhere down the road watch for the studiowest.ca condo and make sure to say hi.

Remember: “Some of the best journeys are when you just pack up, hit the road, follow your heart and see where it takes you” –unknown-  No reservations required our thoughts exactly.

Gerry and Charlotte:  Nomads in training.

Facebook: Gerry Popplewell

Charlotte (Partner in life and travels)

Dawson Creek/Northern BC

We left Whitecourt and had one of our longest drives so far right to Dawson Creek, B.C., Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway. This is our second visit as we were here last year on our way to Dawson City in the Yukon.  Many campers were at the Walmart resort we asked if it was OK to stay and they said yes, however our experience from last year told us it was a very noisy night with traffic. We opted instead for the rodeo/fairgrounds and being all alone had a very quiet night.

Our second time visiting Dawson Creek on our way into northern BC.
Our second time visiting Dawson Creek on our way into northern BC.

This morning another slow start we went by the fairgrounds office to pay for our stay and were told no charge…bonus! We then toured the sites Dawson Creek had to offer and started our trek to Prince George down Highway 97. A great drive but very busy with trucks, we nearly collected a moose as I had to hit the brakes hard to avoid collision, had one of those big rigs been on my tail as they usually are….well who knows. Stopped in Chetwynd for lunch, a very interesting B.C. community. I will detail in another post. We are for sure now in the Rockies and by chance we stopped to check out a BC Provincial Park.

It can hardly get better than this what a site with a view.
It can hardly get better than this what a site with a view.

We discovered a beautiful quiet campsite overlooking the lake and the best part it is a free campsite for 14 day limit. There are 14 campsites here with no services other than pit toilets, picnic tables and fire rings. This year the fire ban has been on since May in all BC parks in this area. As we found out BC has many free camping areas most along forest service roads this however was one of the few free provincial campgrounds.

GEP50125
Our beautiful back yard for the week.
Our beautiful back yard for the week.
Coffee in the morning.
Coffee in the morning.
We could get used to this.
We could get used to this.

Just a note on finding those off road forest service campsites one has to be careful if they are being actively logged or connected to mine sites. The roads are usually partially maintained and can be anywhere from good to bad and could become quite tricky in a rain storm. Before leaving I purchased a Boefang FM radio for the truck as we intended on checking out these sites off road. The radio provides a great deal of safety for not only us but big rig truckers on the road as well. I programed a lot of the BC service road channels into the radio before leaving home. These roads usually have signage with the radio frequency posted. As you drive up these roads you will notice a road name and kilometer marker approximately every two kms and you call out that saying the name km and up meaning you are on your way in. Other logging trucks and those equipped with radio have the right away on the way out as they are usually loaded. They will also call out road name km and down, this gives you notice you do not have the road to yourself and you must get over to let them pass safely. We also tuned in road repair crews on one trip in so were expecting a slowdown. I personally would not travel these service roads without the radio for my safety and for those making their living travelling these roads that are sometimes very narrow on the side of a mountain.

Narrow forest service roads and bridges for everyones safety an FM radio is handy.
Narrow forest service roads and bridges for everyones safety an FM radio is handy.
Did I mention you may be the only one on the road could get lonely.
Did I mention, you may be the only one on the road could get lonely. Just the way we like it.

Back to our campground experience, we really enjoyed the beauty of this little lake and the quietness so decided to stay another day instead of an overnighter. I had noticed one of my stable blocks that contact the overload spring was worn on the campers’  passenger side, the heavy side more than the driver’s side. My 12.5 ton jack I purchased at a garage sale came in handy to lift the blocks off the springs and to switch them side to side. The camper had also shifted to the passenger side so I once again installed the two front camper jacks and lifted the camper shifting it closer to the driver’s side and more centered on the truck. So far the KO2 tires are working out great.

Good neighbours.
Good neighbours.

We spent time just sitting and enjoying the quiet and beauty of this spot. Tonight the Park Ranger and his crew of 4 student rangers tented in the tent area next to our campsite and had a chance to chat with them about the area and the parks down the road. Reportedly there is a water fall approximately  3/4 hour hike from the campsite, Scott our neighbor in the campsite next to us informed  the ranger  who was not aware of it so they decided to try and find it. They left and approximately 10 minutes later I decided to catch up to them and see this for myself, grabbed my camera and stared to follow hoping to catch up which I never did. Luckily the thick overgrown trail with lots of deadfall across it had been marked by red markers and I managed to follow. Not overly prepared for a hike of this nature wearing tennis shoes with only my camera and bear spray I found it tough going and probably exerted myself extra trying to catch up. About two kms in I was told later, I came to a huge steep mountain ridge, I made it almost to the top but the daylight was running out and there was no sign of the other three hikers at this point, not even their footprints. Finally 73 years of common sense kicked in and I decided to turn back. Very tired by this point and found the way back very long and more deadfall to climb over than I had remembered going up. I felt bad by not seeing the falls or knowing how close I was, but as it turns out Scott, the Ranger and his student never saw the falls either. Where I had climbed the ridge was probably the right trail they had left and followed a lower trail running into a stone wall. Night was approaching and they returned not being able to relate if the falls were worth the hike. Should all sleep well tonight.

The trail was tough going and I never did catch up to the group.
The trail was tough going and I never did catch up to the group.
When the sun goes down the forest in the mountains turns dark really quickly. I had the sense to turn around and head back to camp.
When the sun goes down the forest in the mountains turns dark really quickly. I had the sense to turn around and head back to camp.

The next day as we were in love with this site we decided to stay and after the hike made it a camp day. I organized the rear travel box and truck trying to make things we were using more accessible. We met Nick and Mellany from Fort St. John, a couple travelling in a small Hummingbird overland camper with rear kitchen pulled by a 4×4 Ford Ranger, a neat set up.  We hit it off instantly as they also like to camp off grid and away from the pack. Now Scott our neighbour met them as well and we all passed the day  getting to know more about each other, the area and camping ideas for off grid. Scott still wanting to find the falls informed us if we wanted to come on the hike tomorrow we were welcome. Being as I felt I was close to them the last trip I was first in line to volunteer to accompany him the next morning. We enjoyed a quiet evening in this beautiful little park. The Ranger and his students were actually fairly well behaved. They were leaving the next morning, they had their hands full with bear problems and fires in their area. Scott kept chasing a bear from the campsites during our stay which kept getting extended.

Nick and Mellany with their off grid camper.
Nick and Mellany with their off grid camper.
After a pot luck supper we enjoyed with our new friends. L-R Nick, Scott (the ringleader) myself, Mellany and Charlotte.
After a pot luck supper we enjoyed with our new friends. L-R Nick, Scott (the ringleader) myself, Mellany and Charlotte.
Just plain pure beauty everywhere you looked.
Just plain pure beauty everywhere you looked.
Our backyard.
Our backyard.
Even after the weekenders cam it was fairly peaceful and quiet.
Even after the weekenders came it was fairly peaceful and quiet.
Everyplace has its beauty but BC tries real had to excell.
Every place has its beauty but BC tries real hard to excell.

Do we find the falls? Where is this gem of a campground?  Well it’s like a good fishing hole as soon as you tell one person it’s crowded and fished out. Besides the people we met that go there a lot know where we live and I have a travel blog so I had to promise the secret would remain as to avoid bodily harm to myself.

Scott and Gerry
Will Scott (left) and Gerry get us lost or a Grizzly find them first….next Blog post.

The beauty of travelling is to discover gems like this, we were not even looking for it and as it turned out was one of the nicest campsites of the whole trip and free, gotta love BC. Another reason we love BC north is that not all sites in the parks can be reserved and for travellers like ourselves can find a first come site and stay, unlike some provinces that are booked every weekend so travellers are out of luck. I could never figure out why people would head right straight across Saskatchewan with its beautiful northern forest and the grasslands to the south. But if you want a campground on the weekend during the summer … forget it they are booked as we found out many times.

That’s it the quest for the falls and more of northern BC’s beauty as well as Tumbler Ridge in the next posts as to keep these ramblings manageable. Thanks to all those interested and your comments are always appreciated I enjoy reliving our travels and being able to share my images with those interested. We love our truck camper it has allowed us to roam places of beauty off the beaten trails and views of our natural  environment few get to see let alone camp in. Watch for our Northern Lite studiowest.ca  condo and say hi, as we hope to meet you along the road….

Gerry (Rvcowboy) Word butcher

Facebook: Gerry Popplewell

Instagram: gerrypopplewell

Charlotte (Editor in Chief)  In charge of my bad spelling.

Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site

Cowboy Trail: Rocky Mountain House Part two

Our trip from Sundry to Rocky Mountain House was only 81 kilometers, we arrived early in the day so we could check out the National Park.

The "condo" at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site campground. Unserviced sites well groomed and clean. Good washrooms and showers important to travellers.
The “condo” at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site campground. Unserviced sites well groomed and clean. Good washrooms and showers important to travellers.
A very imortant part of our history is on display here.
A very important part of our history is on display here.
All the information you need right here.
All the information you need right here. I recognize Welcome.
Even on a rainy gloomy day the park and its trails were very inviting and well groomed, pleased we took the time to stop.
Even on a rainy gloomy day the park and its trails were very inviting and well groomed, pleased we took the time to stop.

Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site commemorates a series of fur-trade posts built between 1799 and 1864 by the North West Co and the Hudson’s Bay Co (HBC) near the junction of the North Saskatchewan and Clearwater rivers. The posts were established to form a link between the eastern supply routes and the Pacific Slope fur trade, and it was intended that they would promote trading relations with the Kootenay of eastern BC.

The fort located where the Clearwater and North Saskatchwan rivers meet on the eastern Rockys.
The fort located where the Clearwater and North Saskatchwan rivers meet on the eastern Rockies.
Those in canoes and kayaks can follow the routes of the aboriginal fur traders.
Those in canoes and kayaks can follow the routes of the aboriginal fur traders.

The posts were in the territory of the Blackfoot Confederacy, which opposed trade with the Kootenay, so they failed in their intended purpose. Instead, Rocky Mountain House became the centre for sporadic trade with the Blackfoot. Despite HBC attempts to close the post, Blackfoot pressure kept it in operation. Little remains except 2 restored chimneys from the last establishment. Trade with the local aboriginal peoples continued until 1821 when the companies merged, they continued to trade until 1875 and closed the Rocky Mountain House post. The name of the settlement however remained. We’re told the Post there was opened and closed seven times in its existence. The site includes a campground, visitor centre and interpretive hiking trails.

All that remains of the original Fort.
All that remains of the original Fort.
Only two original chimneys left on the original site.
Only two original chimneys left on the original site.

The Park campground unserviced sites were $26 per night where we stayed. The campground also had showers and washrooms as well as some other interesting accomodations. One can book the Métis Trapper Tents: Sleeps up to 5: double or twin beds, wood floor, table, and chairs. Fur Trade Camp Kit: bison hide, period cooking kit and utensils, blow tube and flint/steel fire-starting kit, bannock mix, trapper’s tea, spices, oil, and soap.

No RV, no problem one can rent a trappers tent on site.
No RV, no problem one can rent a trappers tent on site.

Another option Tipis: Sleeps up to 8: sleeping mats. Wood floor, table, and chairs. Fur Trade Camp Kit: bison hide, period cooking kit and utensils, blow tube and flint/steel fire-starting kit, bannock mix, trapper’s tea, spices, oil, and soap.

Another overnight option is a tipi right near the replica Fort.
Another overnight option is a tipi right near the replica Fort.

Or more modern Trapline Cabins: Sleeps 6 people: 1 double pull out bed and 4 sleeping mats in the loft. BBQ, table, chairs, cookware, utensils, mini fridge, induction burner, microwave, and lighting. There are also Walk in tenting sites along the river.

Trappers cabin a more modern version of the originals is also available for rental.
Trappers cabin a more modern version of the originals is also available for rental.
I think any trapper would have found these accomidations a little over the top.
I think any trapper would have found these accomodations a little over the top.

The day was a bit overcast and rainy, we donned our ponchos and toured the histoic sites walking approximately 5 kms. There are many hiking trails of varying distances to choose from. We found the park very interesting watching some jig dancing, wearing native costumes in the days of fur trading.

An old time light on the trappers cabin.
An old time light on the trappers cabin.
One of the river trails leading to the walk in tent camping sites. Beautiful even in the rain.
One of the river trails leading to the walk in tent camping sites. Beautiful even in the rain.

We also visited a early blacksmith shop demonstration before hiking back in the pouring rain. Along the river path we took back is where we discovered the Trapper cabins and walk in tenting sites. There are many hiking trails where if you pick the right time you can see Bison and also some in person demonstrations of Tipi living on the prairies. We found the park very interesting and to do it justice perhaps two days to see it all taking ones time to check out all it had to offer. Sometimes we just rush too much.

A working blacksmith shop this day making nails.
A working blacksmith shop this day making nails.
Moulding the hot iron into useable nails.
Moulding the hot iron into usable nails.
Some of the items that would be made in the blacksmith shops  by skilled craftsmen.
Some of the items that would be made in the blacksmith shops by skilled craftsmen.
We enjoyed the music and dancing demonstrations put on by these young students.
We enjoyed the music and dancing demonstrations put on by these young students.
Items from days of the fur trade on display.
Items from days of the fur trade on display.
reliving a lifestyle of days gone by, cooking and traditional ways presented well by these young people happy tpo answer questions.
Re-living a lifestyle of days gone by, cooking and traditional ways presented well by these young people happy to answer questions.
Imagine paddling one of these York boats full of furs.
Imagine paddling one of these York boats full of furs.
Yeo David Thompson walked here with his wife Charlotte.
Yep David Thompson walked here with his wife Charlotte.
A rendering of what the layout of the fort was like.
A rendering of what the layout of the fort was like.
A full scale metal frame outline of the fort now stands over the original site.
A full scale metal frame outline of the fort now stands over the original site.
Inside the replica fort shows the courtyard, sleeping areas and fur storage sheds all in scale.
Inside the replica fort shows the courtyard, sleeping areas and fur storage sheds all in scale.
for some accomidations were modest built from materials in the surrounding area.
For some accomodations were modest built from materials in the surrounding area.
One of the first RVs of those settling the west.
One of the first RVs of those settling the west.
Equipment from one of the first transport companies, no fossel fuels required.
Equipment from one of the first transport companies, no fossel fuels required.

The campground was quiet for most of the evening but it was Friday and the weekenders arrived. Arriving later in the evening they set up across the road until 1 am, portable fire pits, tables chairs, BBQ’s were all set up with the constant banging around of car doors and the unhooking and leveling of the big unit. At just before 8 am in the morning the generator fired up to perk that first cup. Other units were arriving and it looked like it was a group camp out so we decided to move on that day and head to Drayton Valley.
Am I old and grumpy… probably, but first of all we try not to arrive too late at our campsite and if we do we try to be as quiet as possible, saving setting up to the next day. But we’re finding unserviced sites are becoming very noisy. We have spent a lot of money on solar, batteries and ways of cooking making coffee etc without a lot of power so we can utilize the less expensive unserviced sites. We carry a generator as a last resort emergency power source, as I hate the sound of even our own quiet generator running and I’m sure the couple in the tent next to me did not leave the city to camp next to a power plant. We as RVers must be considerate of those who wish to get into nature and camp without all the necessities of home with them and do not require power.
This site is about RVing and travel so I can rage on. One of our favorite National Park campgrounds at the Narrows in Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan. Once a quiet campground to enjoy the sounds of nature and a little peace and quiet around the campfire has become a mobile home park with generators providing the power day and yes last year all night. In one way I feel sorry for those who were sold a 40 foot something on wheels that requires massive power and they provide a single 12v battery, or perhaps two at most. This little 12v battery has to power two maybe three slides, at least four leveling jacks and of course the power awnings just to get set up, and already the battery is dead. This is before the microwave, air conditioner, coffee perk, toaster, water pump and large screen TVs are even turned on. Yes one would have to run a generator, or better yet book a site with power they now come with 50 amp. These units they call campers are actually mobile homes and require 110 power not one 12 volt battery as sold by the mobile home dealer.
Unfortunately we along with a lady who does a lot of camping especially at the Narrows packed up and left early as this is not what we signed up for. We choose the Narrows for what it used to be, a quiet place to listen to the loons, and escape the noise of everyday life in the city to CAMP. Perhaps it’s just me but when you book an unserviced site one should be prepared to do without power, sewer and water. I would not think of taking my 4×4 truck camper into a walk in tenting site. Just a little consideration folks we all love the getaway.
When you spend months in your RV as we do we get to see many places and experience all types of camping and people. We find those who spend a lot of time in there RV and travelling are much more relaxed, happy and considerate of those camped around them. We travel for the sights, meeting new people and to enjoy the beauty of nature God created. There is nothing more beautiful than nature quiet and at peace. For all others there are taverns, bars and nighclubs and city lights and sounds built for exactly that reason.
We enjoy sharing a bit of the beauty and places we see in hope it will inspire others to travel and learn about our history, communities and lifestyles. We share the good and the bad of RVing along with the beauty of nature where there is no downside if left in it’s natural form. Let’s be mindful to keep nature and its creatures for all to enjoy, by not leaving our garbage and destroying natural habitat along with a healthy respect of the people around us. Even the grumpy old campers in their slide in truck campers.
No more rants I hope that I have not offended but I would rather it was taken as constructive criticism. Thanks to our new subscribers, our old ones will tell you they have never been bombarded with unwanted product, just notices when I get around to posting. Were just selling the lifestyle as we see it nothing more. Your comments are alwayts appreciated.
Next post we continue up the Cowboy Trail (yes there is such a thing I did not make that up) check it out. Until then we hope to meet some time down the road.
Gerry (RVcowboy)
Charlotte (Editor In Chief

The Cowboy Trail, Alberta Canada

Travelling Alberta’s Cowboy Trail
Part 1
Our plans to someday travel Alberta’s Cowboy Trail finally became a reality after getting rid of some bad tires from Canadian Tire that slowed us down in our travel plans. Thankfully in Calgary they changed us out of those X Trail tires for our KO2’s and everything has been fine since then, that nightmare in a previous post.

The cowboy Trail highway 22  a beautiful drive along the foothills of the Eastern Rockies.
The Cowboy Trail Highway 22 a beautiful drive along the foothills of the Eastern Rockies.

So Yea Haw! and let’s get the Cowboy Trail covered, it’s already mid July and we have some ground to cover. The best thing about writing much later from my diary notes is one gets to view the photos and relive the four months of summer travels.
NOTE of Interest: This whole trip we did not make one campground reservation, if we had made reservations along the way our tire problem delays would have created a nightmare with those reservations. We will never fall into the trap of having to make reservations and plan our travels by the day and clock, if it comes to having to make reservations we will probably quit travelling. We had no problem finding places to stay without adding restrictions to our travel life. After spending a week visiting Charlotte’s brother and sisters and our two adult children who all unfortunately live in Calgary. I lived in Calgary for a period and Charlotte grew up in Calgary but it was smaller then, now to me it’s just carbon monoxide, cars, gravel trucks and people everywhere. Some love it, it’s just not me, it’s home to the famous Calgary Stampede. If you want to catch a real rodeo check out the ones in Bragg Creek, Sundre and many of the small communities along Highway 22. They don’t call it the Cowboy Trail for nothing. At small town rodeos one can taste the dirt sitting right next to the action and get to know the cowboys and cowgirls up close. You have probably guessed I do not like big cities, let go country.
The Cowboy Trail starts south at Cardston, Alberta and travels Highway 5 to Highway 6 near the Waterton Lakes National Park, north on 6 to, I think Lundbreck, where it becomes Highway 22 north to Longview, Alberta. We jumped on 22 at Longview so probably missed a lot in the Mountain View, Pincher Creek area. Pincher Creek Rodeo August 15 to 18th and only $15 per adult (top that Calgary) still on the bucket list.
Chris, our daughter’s partner gave us the tour heading from Calgary to Bragg Creek a very interesting area in the foothills. I’m not sure how we got from there to Highway 40 as he took a pretty much unused Forest Service road through the back country.

A small Lake along the forest service road on our way to Kananaskis country.
A small lake along the forest service road on our way to Kananaskis country.
Great views off the major roads the peace and quiet in the foothills.
Great views off the major roads the peace and quiet in the foothills.

We hit Highway 40 in Kananaskis Country known as the Kananaskis Trail and headed south to Longview, Alberta. The Trail is 148 kms long and passes through Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and the Highwood Pass. This is Canada’s highest paved road, a beautiful side drive in the summer, as the pass is closed each year from December 1st to June 14th due to high snowfall and to protect wildlife. This was a great side trip taking us to our start point on the Cowboy Trail at Longview, a beautiful community set in the foothills of the eastern Rockies.

Elbow Falls near Bragg Creek a popular spot for a quick getaway from the city.
Elbow Falls near Bragg Creek a popular spot for a quick getaway from the city.
A great short hike to streach the leggs after a drive and beautiful scenery to top it off.
A great short hike to stretch the legs after a drive and beautiful scenery to top it off.
Chris and Heather at Elbow Falls.
Chris and Heather at Elbow Falls.
Elbow Falls along the trail.
Elbow Falls along the trail.
GEP50010
Kananaskis Village a beautiful small community.
Kananaskis Village a beautiful small community.
GEP50031
Picture perfect anywhere you looked.
Another good excuse to streatch those leggs.
Another good excuse to stretch those legs.
A little smokey but always stunning views.
A little smokey but always stunning views.
Overlooking a gold course can it get any better then this.
Overlooking a golf course can it get any better then this.
GEP50042


I will not do the Trail justice and even at that it will take several blogs to cover the little we did discover and enjoy, as we were pushing north to the Dawson Creek area after our delays. Leaving Calgary we stopped briefly in Bragg Creek to pick up supplies then on to Sundre, Alberta where we stopped for the evening. A nice campground on the outskirts along the river it cost us $35 with power for the night a little noisy from the highway but not bad.

The Sundre Campground set along the river and a nice tribute to a local person.
The Sundre Campground set along the river and a nice tribute to a local person.
Some great bear carvings at the campground. We enjoy community campgrounds some a little over priced and some a bargin.
Some great bear carvings at the campground. We enjoy community campgrounds, some a little over priced and some a bargain.

The camper had shifted from the high side winds in southern Alberta so I took the time to jack the camper and straighten it on the truck. Some hiking included checking out the local RV dealership where we were in for a surprise. The fifth wheel units were massive including two bathrooms, fireplace and too many slide outs to count and a lot more dollars than I could count. I would hate to have that thing follow me around and find space to park it. I was very happy to get back to my cozy, go anywhere, park anywhere truck camper, one bathroom to clean. Cozy and content we called it a night. Our next stop was in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta.

Sundre Alberts our first stop in the community campground.
Sundre, Alberts our first stop in the community campground. Our go anywhere park anywhere cozy condo.

We did not spend much time in Rocky Mountain House but went to nearby Rocky Mountain House Historical Site and camped there. Rocky Mountain House is a beautiful small community of approximately 6,500 residents in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Rocky Mountain House became a firmly established town by 1912. The town has a long history dating to the 18th century with the presence of British and Canadian fur traders during the westward Canadian expansion. In 1799, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company each established the Rocky Mountain House and Acton House fur trading posts. Trade with the local aboriginal peoples continued until 1821 when the companies merged, they continued to trade until 1875 and closed the Rocky Mountain House post. The name of the settlement however remained. Were told the Post there was opened and closed seven times in its existence.
Rocky Mountain House was also a stop over for the explorers such as David Thompson even as it now is for those travelling the David Thompson Highway or Highway 11 west through the mountains to Banff National Park. Put that one on your bucket list if you like mountain driving.

Along the David Thompson Highway, higest paved highway in Canada.
Along the David Thompson Highway, highest paved highway in Canada.
Well worth the drive when the highway is open as it closes over winter due to snow and wildlife.
Well worth the drive when the highway is open as it closes over winter due to snow and wildlife.


The official Cowboy scenic Trail is well suited to all types of RV travel big and small. However it’s advisable to download maps to your GPS or have a hard copy as scenic routes often take you out of cellular coverage. We found some incredible scenic trails, some to explore at hopefully a later date, however just a note do some checking on road conditions. Scenic roads in Canada can be beautiful paved highways to gravel and dirt roads to forest service roads. Not all these are designed for towing long trailers or Class A and C RV’s. Roads can be windy and narrow with little pullouts as we found out. Good advise is to always check with the local residents if unsure.
Part Two coming in the next post. Images and a little of what we learned about Rocky Mountain House National Park Historical Site, a very interesting National Park for sure. then we continue our journey along the Cowboy Trail.
Thank you for giving me a reason to relive our summer and share a few images with you. Your interest and comments make it worth while and perhaps will inspire others to actually find the beauty and interesting places in these areas for themselves. If your interested in planning a trip on the Cowboy Trail you can do more checking at ExperianceTravelGuides.com/Library

GEP70001 1
The studiowest.ca NL condo.


It’s just all so easy in a truck camper hope to meet you down the road.
Gerry (RVcowboy)
Charlotte (Editor in Chief)

Cara, a Saskatchewan RV Nomad

Cara  and her Partner Bruno thew bilingual dog.
Cara, a Saskatchewan nomad and her partner Bruno, the bilingual dog.

Not often would one run into a Saskatchewan RV nomad calling her motorhome home wherever she parks. We first met Cara Court camped in Prince Albert National Park, we were in the site next to her overlooking the Narrows on Waskesiu. Over the course of a few days we got to know a little about Cara, camped in her small Class C motorhome she called home. At the time she had just retired from the Prince Albert City Police, rented out her home and decided to live and travel for a year or so in her 20 foot Class C. Her daughter travelled with her for most that first year after her University classes ended.
Retired at a young age she had already put in 25 years of service. “I joined when I was really young and back then there were not many female police officers on the force.” It was a learning curve for all involved. Myself being an RV nomad at heart, I was naturally interested in her story and travels and when we parted it was ‘see you down the road’. I occasionally saw her posts to Facebook so knew she was still on the road and doing well.

Cara and Bruno along the Narrows trail enjoying their backyard one of many over the past three years.
Cara and Bruno along the Narrows trail enjoying their backyard one of many over the past three years.


Fast forward three years, staying in the same spot along the Narrows one camp neighbour pulled out and a 26 foot Class C pulls in and sets up camp. It was kinda crazy as we both recognized each other at the same time, our rig had not changed but Cara’s motor home had grown an extra six feet. She had a new partner Bruno, a big dog, an amazing dog as he was bilingual and would respond equally as well in French as English. Bruno was very protective of Cara but eventually we earned his trust.
It was fall again and as it turns out as this is our go to place when it quiets down from the summer season, it was also her go to place as well. We had just come back from three months of travel having rented our cabin out, and over the next month we spent many hours around the campfire and hiking telling each other our stories and comparing notes. As always the people we meet who live or travel a lot in their RV are always upbeat, happy and have many interesting stories to tell. Cara has allowed me to share her story with you. And although, as with the other nomads we have met, I cannot even begin to share all their stories with you but had a few questions for Cara of interest to me.
Cara enjoyed some tent camping when not working and after retirement bought her little class C motorhome which she said was perfect size for her. A novel by Lee Child about Jack Reacher, a single nomad and ex military cop with just a backpack, travelling, free to go wherever really appealed to her. That’s when she decided to rent her house and travel for a year. The downsizing started then, getting rid of her accumulated stuff and putting some in storage. The more she got rid of the freer she felt and as she found out it was just stuff she really did not need.

Charlotte and I are not what you call dog people, however when you meet one this well trained that can understand my french as well what can I say.
Charlotte and I are not what you call dog people, however when you meet one this well trained that can understand my french as well what can I say.
well trained dogs deserve a little comfort so when Bruno visited I had a rug just for him.
Well trained dogs deserve a little comfort so when Bruno visited I had a rug just for him.


That first year travelling with her daughter they put on a lot of miles visiting National Parks in Canada and the USA. Travelling east in Canada, and being an avid Blue Jays fan they caught some games in Toronto before heading south when the border opened up. They travelled through New York and south searching for a warmer climate as far as Big Bend National Park in Texas. This was in a short time as they entered the U.S. November ninth and then to Las Vegas December 20th where her parents reside to be with them for Christmas. After, she travelled to the Valley Of Fire State Park for a week then to Palm Springs area for a month now travelling on her own. After going back to Vegas and picking up her daughter they headed back to Canada. “My daughter was very happy to get back and out of the motorhome and end RV life as we had several issues with it” she said. When asked what issues she said it did not start at most of the places she had stopped at having starter problems and then fridge problems several times. Not all in RV life is easy but she said the benefits far outweighed the negative and she continued on alone with Bruno.
The second year she spent travelling in Saskatchewan. “I grew up here and really did not even know about my own province” she admitted. “I thought I should see my own backyard and I travelled to many small communities throughout the province over the summer” she added.
On her way south that fall she had an accident in Casper, Wyoming totalling her little Class C. “That was scary. Bruno and I could have been both killed,” she said. When asked if it was tough to go back out on the road after in that bigger 26 foot Lepricaun Class C which her parents in Las Vegas helped her find, Cara said it was a little, but there were places she still wanted to travel and see, so had to keep on. She appreciated the help of her parents where she stayed while looking for a new RV “they really helped me back on the road, I think they wanted me out of the house,” she laughed.
When asked if it was scary starting out on her own as a female she said not really. She travelled the first year mostly with her daughter, then got Bruno, the bilingual dog, so she was not really alone. After a trip to India with her daughter she met at least three other women travelling on their own.They inspired her and as well she had met other single women camping and travelling who were also an inspriation and she knew she could do it. “When you can’t find someone to do it with you, you just do it” she added.

The highlight of RV living are the people you meet along the way. We can second that as we enjoyed the company of Cara her daughter and friends around the fire one rainy evening.
The highlight of RV living are the people you meet along the way. We can second that as we enjoyed the company of Cara, her daughter and friends around the fire one rainy evening.


When asked what the highlight of RV life is, she said “definitely the people you meet along the way”. I asked if finding spots to stay, propane and dumpstations were the downside she said not really you always find a place. Living a little more glamorus life than Jack Reacher her backpack a motor home. When asked about setting out in her motor home if she had done any research into RV living, vanlifers, full timers on YouTube or Bob Wells from Cheap RV Living, she said “no”.

An RV lifestyle is an active one besides her yoga a lot of outdoor living includes many hikes. Charlotte and Cara on the Treebeard Trail.
An RV lifestyle is an active one besides her yoga a lot of outdoor living includes many hikes. Charlotte and Cara on the Treebeard Trail.
Living in her RV Cara gets to explore many different areas some from the water.
Living in her RV Cara gets to explore many different areas some from the water.
Long hikes along the beach just part of everyday life along many different shores.
Long hikes along the beach just part of everyday life along many different shores.


Now well into her third year on the road Cara says all the positives of the lifestyle far outweigh the downsides which is cold weather, adding “but then you just move to where it is warmer”. “Being able to get up and do Yoga outside sometimes with trees on one side and the lake on the other, like now with leaves falling, it just does not get better than that” she added. I also asked how long she stays in one location she said the longest has been about a month. “Again I do not have any set time, it’s just when I want to move on” Cara added. As for goals she wants to see as many National Parks as she can and even the small towns along the way in Canada and the US. When asked if she had a hard time emotionally selling her house and getting rid of a lot of stuff she admitted renting it for the first year to make sure was a good idea. As for getting rid of the house later and a lot of her stuff she said was in a way very freeing and found it actually enjoyable. I asked what her friends and people she knew thought of her selling all to live and travel in a RV, “For the most part a lot of people say they were jealous and said they would like to do it. A lot of people are starting to see the benefits of not owning a home and paying all those bills”. When asked if she felt RV living was less expensive Cara said she could control her costs, “like when we went to the Maritimes it was expensive, but I planted myself a month before and a month after so it kinda all works out”. It really depends a lot on what you want to do and your lifestyle.

Cara and her baked potato, we spent many evenings around  our fire as we had the fire permit. Cara would bake a potato everytime for the next days meal. Lots of travel ideas discussed.
Cara and her baked potatos, we spent many evenings around our fire as we had the fire permit. Cara would bake a potato everytime for the next days meal. Lots of travel ideas discussed.


What now I asked. “Well I plan on seeing as much of the world as I can and am not planning on quitting, I may be doing this for three more days or another three more years.” It all depends on how she is feeling and what suroundings she wants to hike, bike and do her yoga in. We got to know Cara and her not wanting to wear her battery down running her heater, we know it will be someplace warm. Safe travels Cara, thanks for sharing your thoughts and we hope to meet again down the road.

RV life is not all fun and games sometimes home maintenance has to be done. The Leprechaun never looked better.
RV life is not all fun and games sometimes home maintenance has to be done. The Leprechaun never looked better.
OK I could not be outdone by the girl next door. the Northern Lite condo needed a scub anyway.
OK I could not be outdone by the girl next door. The Northern Lite condo needed a scub anyway.

A brief touch on the life of a Saskatchewan, Canada nomad, who along with so many others, Ron and Anne, Owen and Lynn and of course Joei to mention a few have the best stories to tell and when and if we meet on the road again it will be just like we parted company last week. Only new stories to tell and roads to share.

PS: many have asked how they can get Joei’s books and she gave me permission to publish her email. JoeiCarlton.H@gmail.com you can reach out to her there.

That’s it for now, next blog, our trip up the Alberta Cowboy Trail. As my posts are very sporatic you can subscribe by email and get a notice when I publish if you’re interested. Thanks to those who have done so it helps working at this when you know there is intrest in my rambling. We hope to meet you down the road studiowest.ca
Gerry (RV Cowboy)
Charlotte (Editor in Chief)

Joie 31 years as a RV nomad


The title says it all and we met Joei, an RV nomad in Dawson Creek, British Columbia this year. We love our travels as part time nomads partly because you never know who you will meet next.

Charlotte at mile Zero in Dawson Creek where we met Joei.
Charlotte at Mile Zero in Dawson Creek where we met Joei.


Pulling into Mile Zero Campground in Dawson Creek in northern Brittish Columbia, located on the start of the Alaskan Highway, we ended up parking next to another truck camper. We noticed it right away as it was a Kodiak, one of the many truck campers we have owned. We were due for a laundry day so Charlotte headed straight there going to get that task over with. In between loads she told me she had met our neighbour in the truck camper, a young 80 year old lady who had been a nomad for 31 years on her own. I had to meet her figuring she would have some great travel experience and some stories to tell. Yep I was right, she has enough stories to tell, she has written numerous books on her experiences and travel as a solo female since her 50’s. She told us, with a grin, that we were allowed two days to set up next to her and then we would have to move on or she would have to do us in. The reason will be obvious as my tale unfolds, we spent two and a half days there and listened to more stories than could be written in this blog, it’s not much wonder she has published so many books. I think she kinda liked us as she said she was sorry to see us go despite her previous warning.

Joei Carlton Hossack, a true nomad. I purchased two of her many books and spent some great time listning to her many experiances. 80 and still going strong a true inspriation.
Joei Carlton Hossack, a true nomad. I purchased two of her many books and spent some great time listening to her many experiences. 80 and still going strong a true inspiration.


More about Joei, her business card reads Joei Carlton Hossack, Author/Entertaining Speaker/Photographer/Publisher/Jewelry Maker and Designer/Artist and Painter…and Woman of the World. You just won’t read all about that in this blog you will have to buy her books. I was interested in why she chose the lifestyle, the challenges and if she had any regrets.After getting permision to post to my blog she told me her husband Paul and her were stricken with a wonderlust and looked forward to travelling the world together. In 1992 they purchased a large condo in Florida where they would store their “stuff” while travelling. Shortly after they travelled to Great Britain where they had their Renault Traffic motorhome stored and continued to travel. Only 16 days into their planned four-month trip Paul had a heart attack and died in a campground in northern Germany. “That condo to store our stuff would become my milstone” she said adding Florida was never the place she wanted to end up. She felt trapped, but in the meantime had started writing about their 2.5 years of travel in Europe for newspapers and magazines as well as some speaking.
After constant complaining to her neighbours about how much she disliked where she was at they told her she should just get out. “So I did” she said proudly, she put the place up for sale and sold her “stuff”. After the condo sold she said she felt free, no tears, no joy, just relief, she was free. Selling it all she admitted was not easy and had hoped it was the wise choice and started looking at RVs. She said no matter the cost and all the fancy trim one still had to go outside to hook up the sewer. She settled on her first trailer a 22.5 foot Thor fifth wheel and her new Ford F250 Powerstroke Diesel to pull it. Well after many differnt rigs over the years some good and some not so good, she still has her trusty F250 diesel now with a 9.5 Kodiak truck camper. She really likes this set up as it is easier to drive, can park anywhere and she is home.

Joei lives here, a Kodiak truck camper on her trusty F250 powerstoke diesel.
Joei lives here, a Kodiak truck camper on her trusty F250 powerstoke diesel. A good diesel but I’m not sure it will keep up with Joei.


Those first years she admits were a steep learning curve starting with pulling a trailer and driving my “Big Diesel truck”. She travelled the USA speaking and ended up publishing her first book of several, took art classes and started making jewelery which she started selling along the way. “I was well set financially, her friends referred to her as trailer trash with a debit card,” she said. She has spent time in Walmarts and many different places and campgrounds enjoying every moment meeting new people along the way. RVers and especially nomads are always upbeat and have great experiences to share, she said. As we found out one never knows who you will meet down the road with interesting travels and stories, and the more time they have spent travelling the better the stories.
Despite not everything being all roses and some trying times, things breaking down, lousy weather, she would not trade her lifestyle for anything. “If I don’t like a place or the weather is bad I can just leave,” adding with a grin “or if I don’t like the neighbours.” Being a solo female traveller has never to her appeared to be an issue as she is usually surrounded by interesting like-minded people. Joei now spends most of her time in Canada, not retuning to the US during the winter as it is a hassle with health insurance as one gets older becomes very expensive. She now winters in BC when not on the road. Mile Zero campground where we met her now appears to be her summer place, as she has a monthly rate and an OK from the owners to sell her books and jewelery.
I would need books to share her stories, and I heard a lot of them, I found her stories and life an inspiration to follow ones dreams. She loves the freedom from being tied down with “stuff” and perhaps pushing ones self out of their comfort zone to obtain their freedom. At 80 she is fit and healthy and not ready to change her lifestyle any time soon. Mile Zero campground is the ideal place for her as there are many people heading up the Alaskan Highway and her RV neighbours are always changing usually never staying more then two days, more stories and more book sales along with her jewelry. I bought her book, “Kiss This Florida I’m Outta Here”, and one of her short story books, “North to Wherever”. She was told many people had the attention span of a “gnat” so she wrote and self published several short stores, (at the time we met her some 22 of them) for those with the attention of a “gnat” could enjoy them.
In her words to sum up her life,” I have been an RVer for 33 years – 30 years as a solo RVer. Thirteen years as a full time RVer and 10 years as a solo full time RVer. And yes my family and friends are a little worried about me, but this is my last kick at the can and I’m not ready to give it up soon”.
You will probably find her next summer between May and Sept in Dawson Creek at Mile Zero, ask for Joei and be prepared to listen and share. Did I mention she is also very outspoken, a shameless self promoter and sales person, but it fits her perfectly as she puts it “Woman of the World.”
Joei you made our brief stay at Mile Zero very interesting, informative and inspirational, we hope to meet again down the road.
I still have some catching up to do on the interesting people we meet, the great places and not so great places we have stayed at so stay tuned. We’re also pumped that we got tickets to the Quartzite Truck Camper Rally this year, it always sells out allowing only 450 truck campers to attend. If all works out it should be a good time meeting like-minded travellers, kinda sucks to be Canadian when the $50 ticket becomes $70 once you put the maple leaf on it. But hey, Joei would say …go for it!
Thanks for your comments and feed back on our travels always enjoy them, hope to see you down the road,
Gerry (RVcowboy)
Charlotte (Editor in Chief)

Wild Western Days Rodeo and lawnmower races…Beechy Sk.

A wild western days weekend in Beechy, Saskatchewan Canada
Beechy Western Days, just one of the longest running rodeos in southern Saskatchewan, Charlotte and I had the pleasure of attending this summer on our travels. We made it to Wood Mountain Stampede, the longest continual running rodeo, and now in it’s 56th year Beechy Western Days. For a small community of around 250 people, some say more, some say less, but regardless of the number the community and surrounding area came together to host not only an excellent rodeo but an added feature “the lawn mower races” wild and western entertainment at its finest.

Beechy Western Days rodeo now in it's 56th year.
Beechy Western Days rodeo now in it’s 56th year.
Even these young wranglers get to helping prior to the rodeo.
Even these young wranglers get to helping prior to the rodeo.
Checking upout the bucking chutes. this is not their first rodeo.
Checking out the bucking chutes. this is not their first rodeo.
Hours of pre preperation go into hosting a Rodeo including lots of corral setting up.
Hours of pre preparation go into hosting a rodeo including lots of corral setting up.
A lot of action happens outside the arena preparing livestock for the event.
A lot of action happens outside the arena preparing livestock for the event.


Beechy is a village in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan within the Rural Municipality of Victory No. 226. The village is located in the Coteau Hills region of the province, at the intersection of Highway 342 and Highway 737. It’s really a destination community as it is not located on any of the major highways but a nice drive in the rolling hills on a decent highway, we met only a couple of vehicles on the way. The Beechy area was first settled by ranchers early in the 20th century, starting in the 1910s, immigration of Europeans to the Canadian prairies resulted in an increase in population for Beechy. These settlers started ranching and farming in the area, which remains Beechy’s primary activity today.

Beechy set in the rolling hills of southern Saskatchewan a population of approx 250.
Beechy, set in the rolling hills of southern Saskatchewan a population of approx 250. Quiet before the community fills with spectators and competitors for the annual rodeo.
Parked on a hill we spent a wuiet evening only to awaken surrounded by large horse trailers and the sound of horses and trucks.
Parked on a hill we spent a quiet evening only to awaken surrounded by large horse trailers and the sound of horses and trucks.
The quiet of a prairie sunset in Beechy.
The quiet of a prairie sunset in Beechy.

Beechy boasts a long history of community events, the first agricultural fair was held in the area in 1922. The first racetrack was built in 1948, and the following year the first harness races were held In 1996 the first Beechy Western Days Rodeo was held and continues on to today.
Charlotte and I arrived a day before the event and were amazed at just how much work went into putting on a first class rodeo, as well setting up many games for the kids and a first class race track for the famous lawn mower races. Small communities like this could not make these events happen without volunteer support from the community and area surrounding Beechy. Pens had to be put in place for the rodeo stock, the arena ground prepared to provide safe footing for the rodeo stock and barrel racing horses. Beer gardens and dance area set up, a full hall of events for the young ones and a race track second to none for the lawn mowers. Sometimes those of us who just show up for “the show” really do not appreciate the work that goes into entertaining us that goes on not just before but after the event as well.

Just a few of the many contestants arriving hopeing to place well and take home a cheque.
Just a few of the many contestants arriving hoping to place well and take home a cheque. We ended up moving to make room for many more to come. It’s easy when your home is in the back of your truck.


That first evening with our truck camper parked on the hill overlooking the arena all by ourselves we settled in for a very quiet night. The next morning we moved, fueled up and did a little shopping in town at the local Co-op and gift shop in town. Contestants needed the area we were parked in the night before, so we moved to spend the night near the golf course, close but thinking we were out of the way. To our surprise we awoke early the next morning surrounded by trucks and horse trailers all around us. We were in the middle of a rodeo so to speak, needless to say we knew more would be coming and in the hilly community of Beechy every space would be needed to park and unload their horses. The beauty of the truck camper is we could easily move our home to a steet in town and out of the way, quieter but close enough to enjoy the atmosphere.

Carl Bennet of Prairie Rodeo oversees the stock he provides being unloaded and placed in suitable pens.
Carl Barrett of Prairie Rodeo (center) oversees the stock he provides being unloaded and placed in suitable pens.
Rodeo contestans travel 100's of miles every weekend to compete. Between ,before and after get a chance to do some visiting and story telling about their last performance or lack of one.
Rodeo contestans travel 100’s of miles every weekend to compete. Between, before and after get a chance to do some visiting and story telling about their last performance or lack of one.
Team ropers line up waiting thier turn in the arena.
Team ropers line up waiting their turn in the arena.


Being one of the only Canadian Cowboys Rodeo on that weekend and near the finals the number of contestants in every event was packed for the Friday and Saturday performances, by contestants chasing the standings for the finals. Sunday’s performance featured the top ten from the prior events.

A calf roper makes a sucessful run and tie in just a few seconds.
A calf roper makes a successful run and tie in just a few seconds.
A crowd favorite Bull riding.
A crowd favourite bull riding.
One of the fastest events in rodeo ladies barrel racing.
One of the fastest events in rodeo ladies barrel racing.
Then there are those who jump from a racing horse to wrestle a steer down.
Then there are those who jump from a racing horse to wrestle a steer down.
Another fast time for this calf roper.
Another fast time for this calf roper.
Another popular event ladies tie down roping a lot of skill handling a rope.
Another popular event ladies tie down roping a lot of skill handling a rope.
Bareback and saddle bronc riders take the hardest beating of all on some tough bred bucking stock.
Bareback and saddle bronc riders take the hardest beating of all on some tough bred bucking stock.
Both horse and rider are marked in this event after the eight second ride. The tougher the horse the higher the mark and the riders style in staying mounted all count.
Both horse and rider are marked in this event after the eight second ride. The tougher the horse the higher the mark and the riders style in staying mounted all count.
Why anyone would want to compete in the wild horse race is beyond me...if you want really wild and western, you have to see it to believe it.
Why anyone would want to compete in the wild horse race is beyond me…if you want really wild and western, you have to see it to believe it. This cowboy barely got on before being ejected.

For those who do not know rodeo it is one of the only sports I know of that the contestants themselves pay the winners of the event. They pay an entry fee which goes into the event pool with the top three splitting the money, those who do not qualify for the money go home earning nothing. In some cases rodeo committees will add extra money to the pot to attract more contestants. Most rodeo contestants live on the road all summer long competing at rodeos across the province and for some as many as three in one weekend, putting on many miles. A lot of the contestants are from cattle ranching operation backgrounds and are a big family every weekend visiting and story telling, but fierce competitors in the arena.

A number of simple games for the young, housed inside the curling rink kept the younger ones entertained.
A number of simple games for the young, housed inside the curling rink kept the younger ones entertained.
Duck hunting with a fishing rod.
Duck hunting with a fishing rod.
Train rides around the race track pulled by of course a lawn mower.
Train rides around the race track pulled by of course a lawn mower. One looks not so young.


Outside of the rodeo Charlotte and I were impressed with the amount of work that went into entertaining the younger ones with some very simple games we had not seen since our youth, fishing in the duck pond and bobbing for apples…go figure.

Feature presentation the "lawn mower races". Pit crews preparing their machines.
Feature presentation the “lawn mower races”. Pit crews preparing their machines.


Then there were the Lawn Mower Races, the year finale to be exact on a very challenging track, lawnmowers and people packed the pit area all preparing the lawn mowers for the races, all helping each other make sure they were running their best. On the track it was fast and furious and everyone for themselves, with rollovers, crashes and bumping and grinding at full out speed. When one contestant ran into trouble and broke down everyone helped get the mower and driver fixed and back into the race. A first for us, we will never look at a riding lawnmower the same again, great fast paced entertainment, good sports and a good time for contestants and huge crowd of spectators.

Racing was top speed and may the best person win. Disclaimer: no grass was cut during this event.
Racing was top speed and may the best person win. Disclaimer: no grass was cut during this event.
Rounding corners on two wheels not uncommon during the race.
Rounding corners on two wheels not uncommon during the race.
A few crashes as fierce competition for the years final trophy pushe racers to thier limits.
A few crashes as fierce competition for the years final trophy pushes racers to their limits.
In the pits everyone helped each other to keep the machines running and on the track. Notice the safety bale in place to support the machine during repairs.
In the pits everyone helped each other to keep the machines running and on the track. Notice the safety bale in place to support the machine during repairs.
Sometimes the gears just get jammed and need a little adjustment.
Sometimes the gears just get jammed and need a little adjustment.
GEP20029 1
The years final race and the prize trophies along with the bragging rights…until next season.


Charlotte and I would like to thank those involved and the community of Beechy for making us feel right at home and part of the event. We met so many great residents of the area names elude us and we would just get them mixed up anyway, so thanks for your hospitality. The main organizer of the lawn mower races requested some images from me, he reached out but for some reason I cannot email to a gmail account so if you know him have him contact me at 306 229-4542 and I will arrange to get him the images.
If you have some time next year and want a weekend packed with fun check out Beechy Western Days, sure you will not be disappointed.
In our four months of travel we stayed at some pretty fantastic spots and met some very interesting people who live full time in their RV. I look forward now that we are stationary for a few months to feature them and places of interest we visited with you in future posts. Also working on a breakdown of costs and our feelings about life on the road in a truck camper.
Hope you enjoyed the images as much as I enjoyed taking them the indoor rodeo photos are a little blury due to low light and fast action. Thanks for those who subscribed and your feedback on the posts is always welcome…more to come, and we hope to see you down the road.
Gerry (RVcowboy)
Charlotte (Editor in Chief)