Before our visit to see the home of world’s largest T.Rex our tire problems persisted and I have had a lot of you ask to hear our story on that. My tire problems have been resolved. I am trying to be fair to the tire company in seeing how they handle my nearly 20 hours of wasted time and travel as well as almost $2,400 in extra costs. At this time it has not been resolved to my satisfaction and will share my experience at the end of this month which I feel has been adequate time for even a large corporation to respond.
On our travels we stopped for breakfast in a small town in southern Saskatchewan, I had heard of Eastend and someting to do with a dinosaur. We noticed the T.Rex Discovery Centre built on the side of a hill from our breakfast spot in the park. We drove up after breakfast and it was not open yet, so we toured the small community nestled in the hills of southern Saskatchewan. Eastend is one of those small towns one drives into and you say to yourself “I could actually live here”. The well kept community has most of the amenities one would need as well as a great campground, which we ended up not staying at as we had another tire appointment. The reason for Eastend being put on the map was the discovery in 1991 by a local school teacher Robert Gebhardt joining a team of palaentologists to look for fossils in the Frenchman Valley. What they discovered was a tooth and tail vertabra from what would be later discovered to be from the world’s largest know T.Rex dinosaur. In 1994 excavation began on what is now known as one of the most complete 75 percent, 65 million year old carnivorous dinosaurs ever found. The T.Rex was nicknamed “Scotty”. The T.Rex Discovery Centre was opened to house the fossil remains and is open May 20 to Sept 4th for visitors and admission is by donation.
The wait for the centre to open was very much worth it and would recommend it to anyone. Charlotte and I were shown around by a young student palaentologist who answered many of our questions and educated us a lot on the process of preserving and identifying the remains of these million year old discoveries. He also told us how they can date such finds but I have already forgotten that it was kinda over my head a little. We really did appreciate the personal time that was spent with us as we knew literally nothing about the process and time required for them to safely excavate and store the prehistoric past.
Eastend is in southwest Saskatchewan, Canada 55 kms north of the Montana border and 85 kms east of the Alberta border set in the rolling hills of the Frenchman Valley. For more information check out T.Rex Discovery Centre or watch the documentary, The story of the T.Rex-Biggest in the world. Hope you enjoyed the photos and just a little information on this community I will leave the rest for you to discover and enjoy as we did.
Thanks to our new subscribers as this is a non monetary site so just your appreciation and interest is our pay and we are pleased to share our images with you. Way more to come as we have another 6,000 kms to go and may I add on good tires. Hope to meet you down the road, the scenery is great but the people we meet make the memories. Make today and every day the best day of your life. Gerry (RVcowboy) Charlotte (Editor in Chief)
We left Wood Mountain this morning to the Grasslands National Park East Block, just 29 kms south of Wood Mountain on the US border. Rock Creek Campground turned out to be more than expected with 24 tent/RV sites all with 50 amp electrical. Eight oTENTsiks, picnic tables, fire pits and fire wood with a burning permit. Vault toilets and RV sani dump station with potable water. The park also features dishwashing stations, and a kitchen shelter. The park can also facilitate the equine campers in a fantastic setting to hill ride in the grasslands of southern Saskatchewan.
If you’re looking for water activities this park is not for you, if you want to hear nothing but the wind blowing and big open skies full of stars at night this may be a fit for you. GNP is Canada’s only national park that presents and protects the Prairie Grasslands Natural Region. The park represents one of the finest intact parcels of North American mixed grass prairie habitat in existence. This is the type of park we are looking for away from the noise and the crowds and land untouched by plows and concrete, nature pure and natural. I am so pleased we have the National Parks to preserve nature in its natural state and protect the grasslands from the plow as it appears canola is taking over more acres all the time.
This is so different for Charlotte and I as we have travelled the north and the forests in the province, but if all we wanted was more of the same we would just stay home and not travel. We are finding beauty wherever we are either in a canoe, hiking or just passing through. It’s been a great day and a great find. Before registering at the campground we took a tour on a paved roadway passing through the park and were amazed at the hills and deep ravines, there are many spots to get out and view the landscape. We registered for $31.50 which included power and water. There were very clean washrooms, potable water and sani dump. After taking one of the hikes through the hills we enjoyed the quiet of the campground where one could only hear the wind, a total change from the rodeo. We also enjoyed meeting a couple Marc and Nancy from Quebec who practised their english on us and did very well, much better then I would do in their province. They had been on the road for several months and were returning home in their class B van. We also met Ron and Maureen from Ottawa travelling pulling a teardrop trailer it was good to meet others who had no timeline to be anywhere.
The park staff were very helpful and friendly, also fluent in french and helped us understand the balance of sharing a natural resource with the public. This is definitely a park we would return to and one we almost overlooked in our travel plans. That’s it for this one, thanks to the new subscribers it makes me feel good as we are now over 23,000 viewers to the site. Take care, have a safe summer and we hope to meet down the road… Gerry (RVcowboy) Charlotte (Editor in Chief)
July 7th saw us at Wood Mountain Stampede, this was definitely not on our original travel plans. Delayed for a medical procedure in Saskatoon, we had spent the month of June in Prince Albert National Park. We then travelled north to La Ronge for a short trip and to pick up the best wild rice grown anywhere. So far our trip has taken us from La Ronge to Prince Albert, Smeaton, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, and Wood Mountain Regional Park. It was here at Wood Mountain the longest running continuous rodeo in Canada was held, it’s been 134 years of traditional rodeo.
One of the best rodeos anywhere and we have been to a few, in our earlier years we followed the CCA rodeo circuit as rodeo photographers and were at one every weekend across the province of Saskatchewan. This is the account as recorded in my daily journal: Friday July7th Stayed over in Moose Jaw last night had rear tire balanced one more time with no change in the shaking at 100 kms. Thinking it must be the tires. Drove to Wood Mountain Rodeo $70 for two nights on the rodeo grounds and $15 each for rodeo passes. Visited Wood Mountain Post established by the NWMP in 1874. The post established just north of the newly established international border with the US made it a strategic point in stopping illegal trade including whiskey traders, horse thieves and cattle rustlers. When Fort Walsh was built the post was closed. In 1887 when Sitting Bull and thousands of Sioux fled the USA the post was re-opened to monitor their activity. The Sioux lived comfortably in the area until food supplies ran short and returned to the USA. The Wood Mountain Post was once again closed in 1883. The North West conflict prompted the NWMP to re-open the post in 1886 to do border patrols and stop supplies coming from the US. Following the conflict the post was used as a police station until the Provincial Police Force was established in 1918 and the Post was closed for the last time. Today it still stands partly reconstructed a reminder of by gone years in our history.
Another day in Wood Mountain Regional Park. Today we took in a team roping competition in the rodeo arena, a Ranch Rodeo and the Canadian Cowboys rodeo. We talked to and met some very interesting people that love the western lifestyle. Also a different breed of RVers who travel all summer long going from rodeo to rodeo pulling their horse trailer which also includes RV living quarters. Some of these units would be right up there with the top RVs on the market today and are dual purpose. It has been 26 years since we were at this rodeo and enjoy the laid back, very traditional western feel to the event. This includes placing willow and poplar branches over the grand stands and bucking chutes. This practice dates back to the beginning of the rodeos here. The popular rodeo draws a large number of contestants, featuring the beer gardens and cabaret dance on the Friday and Saturday evenings after the performances. The CCA Rodeo is Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday night was one of the noisest nights we have had so far, When there is a rodeo dance on you can expect the music to play into the early morning and it did. That was expected, what was not expected was a generator parked right out front ran all night long, and not a quiet generator. Sleep was very sporatic to say the least, we hope it was for a sleep apnea machine or something.
That’s about it for this blog, so much one just has to experience it for themselves and take the time to explore the rich history of the area. We’re off to Grasslands National Park next blog and would like to take you along for the trip. We were impressed by this park if you want to subscribe leave your email address and you will be notified by email when I actually get a post up or get cell service. We are working our way north now that we have travelled from the north of the province to the far south.
The best part of this travel is meeting some very interesting people who we will also share with you.
Safe travels and make every day the best day of your life…..Cheers
You asked for it more on the quick set-up camp table. We do as much boondocking as we can so in many places there are no picnic tables to cook on. There are days we do not want to add any heat inside the camper cooking so we cook outside and not always able to have a fire to cook over. We needed a quick simple table to do this. I started with a laminated pine shelving from Home Depot and being a photographer looked at my mono pod and tripod for support. I accomplished this with screwing two quick release camera mounts to the underside of the shelf.
This way I could use both the tripod and mono pod to create a table or just the mono pod when connected to the camper. I found two brackets in the gate hardware section to fasten to the camper, two plain L shaped corner brackets to the bottom of the shelf and I had a quick connect to the camper.
We always needed a coffee table so a piece of square shelving and a wood burnt checkerboard/chessboard with another quick release and my tripod accomplished this. No matter what terrain we are on I can always level.
The table top, tripod and mono pod store in the basement of our Northern light. I’m sure non photographers can come up with a suitable alternative to my equipment. Just wanted something quick, simple and in a truck camper easy to store. I hope the photos tell a better story.
When travelling and living in a truck camper or small RV everything you pack must have a use and even better many uses. If we encounter a grungy picnic table or none at all this quick set up works great for us, it would only be better if it could be located under the rear awning. Anyway I had many questions about the set up so I hope this answered a few and is just as clear now as mud.
Next Post Wood Mountain Stampede, Canada’s longest running continuous rodeo celebrating 134 years this year. Images and details in the next post, subscribers will be notified by email when they are up…
Thanks to the new subscribers you keep me going. Hope to meet you down the road…. Gerry (RVcowboy) Charlotte (Editor in Chief)
Posting notifications on (Facebook)-Gerry Popplewell-(Instagram) – gerrypopplewell
Well 47 days into our full time travels and my tire problems have not yet been solved, this will make for an interesting read if there is a conclusion to the story. That for another post as for now we have spent more time trying to resolve the issue then really travelling, just part of life on the road. It would really be nice if nothing ever needed replacing or repaired once we purchased it. Around our cabin there was always something that needed attention and no different on the road, except we get to shop in many different communities. It is also a proven fact even new will not guarantee a product that works these days as it appears many in the quality control dept. were laid off.
Enough of a rant and on to some positive, we met many great people so far in this year’s travel several have allowed me to share their story with you. Lynne and Owen from Connecticut USA who are living and travelling full time in their converted van. A van that was partly converted very simply already as a camper van which Owen found once they had decided to sell their house and everything and see the country in the van. It appeared this was possibly Owen’s dream of travel and living in a van, but when asked Lynne admitted she loved the simple lifestyle and we could see she was also 100% committed.
Owen, not a small man, admitted for some time he watched van life living on YouTube and read books on the lifestyle. He said “my health was suffering, I was putting on weight just sitting reading and watching others, I said to Lynne let’s just do it”. He found the van, put their house up for sale, got rid of a lot of stuff and their house sold quicker then expected, but they made it work and moved into the van. After two years in the van they have travelled the US and now were checking out Canada. Ron said he has never felt better and his health is improving now that he has got off the chesterfield and done it. Neither have any regrets on their decision. Lynne was a stay at home mother who was very involved as a video artist working with a public Access network dealing with a lot of local issues in their community. She also did a lot of volunteer work. They raised three children and did a lot of camping and Lynne managed to find time to pursue her artwork. Lynne just recently lost both her parents, who they had spent some time looking after during their health battles.
Owen was a registered nurse by trade and a research medical professional. He spent many years working for a big pharmaceutical company, a very draining job he admitted. He loved the outdoors and camping so travel was in his blood. He saved and when he was laid off due to covid that’s what made the decision to travel easier, he now does some contract work while on the road when he has to he said. He now has turned his attention to collecting herbs and wild plants along the way that have medicinal properties and doing some research into there uses, way over my head.
Lynne and Owen have been to the big RV show in Quartzite, Arizona in January every year and the RTR hosted by the well known Bob Wells of Cheap RV living. Both these events are on our bucket list and meeting the grand daddy of RV living would be great. Hopefully as one never knows but the truck camper rally in Quartzite in February is a possibility for us…again see how that goes. Are they planning on owning another home, not really they say. Owen a dual citizen of the US and Canada say perhaps they would purchase a little piece of land in both countrys to park on in between travels. The world is a big place to explore and time is limited. We met Lynne and Owen in northern Saskatchewan and they were impressed with the kindness and friendly people they found along the way, they extended their stop over in the province. See people do notice when you take the time to say hi with a smile, they just pass it on. Safe travels Owen and Lynne and thanks for sharing with us. These along with Ron and Anne from my last post and others we have met share the same feeling of freedom as we do as we travel. None of us make reservations and try to avoid places that require them. Any time we need help someone is there, no problem, and full timers understand this the best. It has been said by many the freedom they feel from “stuff” holding them down and are finding out how little “stuff” one really needs to be truly happy and comfortable. One becomes more aware of our water waste, our power usage and the amount of garbage we produce, all that has been reduced in our tiny homes on wheels. If the general population was aware of the waste perhaps our planet would not be where it is today. Despite some issues we are enjoying all the places we have lived at and will share them as I catch up, sometimes one just has to enjoy the moment. There is never any shortage of experiences or people to write about…just time to get it done. Retirement I found out is not a holiday it’s hard work….stay healthy and safe travels and wherever your are enjoy every sunrise and sunset. Hope to see ya all down the road thanks to the 22,000 people who have checked out the site I am going to try and keep it up, I’m really surprised that many are interested but thank you. I am not monitized and have no intention of earning income off this site, so it’s free to subscribe you will not be contacted with some ad, it just makes it easier to get notified by email. Gerry (RVcowboy) Charlotte (Editor in Chief)
Truck Camper life and road repairs part of RV living.
I, like many others, have watched many YouTube and blog sites on full time RV living. Most sites are intriguing as they feature the most beautiful camp spots, great hikes with great views from the windows of their home. While this is true there is the not so glorified aspect to living on the road. Every home needs maintenance and same goes for our homes on wheels, just sometimes not in the most convenient places.
To continue on with Ron and Anne in their Northern Lite who you met in my last post, they exemplify the resoucefulness one must have to survive on the road. Their truck air conditioning was not working so Ron left the Narrows to Prince Albert to get it looked after. While Ron was gone Anne discovered water in the basement of their NL 10.2. The leak was coming from the grey water tank where a fitting had cracked. The grey water tank was only accessible through the basement crawl space and very hard to get at. This is not the first time a crack has happened on this model as when Ron contacted NL they knew exactly how to repair it.
They would have to cut the drain pipe in two places, screw out the fitting and replace it rejoining the drain pipe with a rubber hose and clamps. Now Ron is a pretty big fella and no way was he going to be able to crawl into that space, he sized me up instantly and I agreed to help with the fix. It’s a good thing all pieces needed for the plumbing fix are standard and parts were available after a drive to Prince albert. When it came time to get the job done, I could not get past my mid-section and if I did we would not have had enough butter to get me out. Poor Anne, she was the only one left that could fit in that basement, but like a trooper she did what had to be done with guidance from Ron and encouragement from the cheering squad.
The fix was almost complete, Ron wanted to support the rubber connector with about a 3 inch foam and none was to be found. Charlotte suggested the canoe seat I had purchased on line and was made of rigid foam and being as it was not one of my better purchases may work. We tore apart that seat, sawed off what was needed and it worked great.
Last account well on their way to Labrador the fix was 100 percent. Thanks Ron and Anne for letting me share your story it is so typical of the things that can go wrong on the road and the imagination required to fix them. This was not their first repair and one would hope but will probably not be the last either on their home on wheels. One must just think it through, if it’s broken it can be fixed. After having spent a month at the Narrows Charlotte and I left to visit with friends on a farm at Smeaton for five wonderful days. My surgery appointment for June which we had waited in Saskatchewan for July 3rd did not happen due to a different procedure needed. It cannot be too serious as the soonest it can be done is if we drive to Humboldt is in October, if I wanted it done in Saskatoon probably 18 months to wait. So we are back on the road again and that story for another post, my next post I would like to introduce Owen and Lynn full time in their van for two years and visiting the Narrows from Conneticut, USA.
I had no idea just how flexible we would have to be when I posted that article, at the time of this writing we are at the Wood Mountain Rodeo down south near the Montana border. Did we plan this not a chance but here we are. More on that and the story of our on the road repairs and the rodeo in upcoming posts. Until then stay safe, enjoy your summer and if travelling may the wind be at your back, we really hope to meet you down the road. Look for the studiowest.ca Northern Lite. Gerry (RVcowboy) Charlotte (Editor in Chief)
Fires in the north country creating a smokey haze here at the Narrows.
Writing from the Narrows campground in Prince Albert National Park today this seems to be our go to place to start our travels. After a great visit with my cousin Brent and Wendy we started discovering all truck camper people are very similar in their thinking. Brent and I would consider putting a wood burning stove in the campers, Wendy and Charlotte not so much. I think they are concerned about the hole in the roof or something like that. They are now wandering following the good weather in BC and so far staying out of the snow (yes snow in Alberta and BC June 19th).
Truck campers in Saskatchewan are not very common, a lot of people like their big fivers as they call them and tow behinds. So we were kinda impressed when as Brent and Wendy were leaving in pulls another truck camper and a Northern Lite no less. Being true to my nature, they say it runs in the family, I just had to introduce myself and Charlotte to these newcomers to the campground. I had hoped I could get a little information on their travels for my blog, Ron indicated at the time it was just a quick stop on their journey. Little did we know at the time the little information I hoped to get would turn into a whole blog on its own. That quick stop for them basically an overnighter would turn into a week stay.
This worked out great as I would like to keep up my blog but our lives here were getting very repetitive as far as something to write about that would keep ya all spellbound and reading. Well it is almost scary to think how much these two were like Charlotte and myself. Let me introduce you to Ron and Anne Baker with their dog Auzzie from Powell River, BC, with their permission of course. PS:It took awhile to get their permission as Ron later said upon our first meeting, “this guy wearing a western hat, scarf and a front tactical bag that looks like he is packing walks up to me. I thought perhaps we ended up in the deep south of Texas or something”. I was of course packing but as he found out it was my camera, far more dangerous. Note Anne was hiding in the camper that first meeting, we eventually got to meet her as well. My notes from June 6th/23 Today we met Anne and Ron Baker and their dog Auzzie from Powell River, BC and spent the entire afternoon comparing our Northern Lite campers and upgrades we have made to them. We found we have much in common as we all have that nomatic desire to travel experience and see new parts of this fantastic world we live in. Like us they have a stick and brick home just newly constructed and have rented it out for what they said would be for a year and a half and hit the road in their truck camper which is now home. They are heading across Canada to Newfoundland and Labrador spending time on the East Coast of Canada. When asked why Labrador Ron replied “because there is a road there, and we have not met anyone who has been to Labrador, so we are going”. They plan on wintering perhaps in rented accommodations somewhere on the east coast and will retun travelling a different route in the spring. Anne and Ron are not new to camping and travelling.They have been to Mexico and have also spent time off dry land on the water in their 25 foot boat they lived on for periods of time. Not sure I will live long enough but that also was on my bucket list. This is their 2nd Northern Lite truck camper as they sold their first one to help finance building their new house, Ron said. Once the house was done they got the travel bug again and purchased their present 10.2 NL and loaded it on their Dodge 3500 Ram dually. Anne and Ron have done an amazing job with upgrades and changes to create a comfortable living and storage spaces to suit their lifestyle on the road. I am now inspired to look for more hidden spaces we can use. I really should have documented them, perhaps Ron will share them on line. Before truck campers they tented and backpacked and even spent their honeymoon travelling in a rented van. Now retired and having sold their printing shop they owned for 20 years, they are looking forward to travelling while they can. Like us they have left their home, theirs overlooking the ocean, ours overlooking Pike lake to be enjoyed by someone else while they live in their home on wheels. Another thing we have in common we do not like on line reservations and feel it is just a money grab and not at all convenient for travellers. They also avoid the popular Provincial campgrounds in favour of small center campgrounds, gravel pits and Rec sites along the road. I’m sure there is a large group of RV nomads that do not want to have to be anywhere at a set date, time or even month, that want to plan how long we stay or when we leave in advance. Anne and Ron enjoy the freedom to follow their hearts to move and stay at will with the flexibility to change plans. We have found in the past RV travellers and especially those full timers are willing to help each other along the way. This was the case here as we all know that own Northern Lite truck campers they have a problem with water getting into the generator compartments. Ron just finished applying a drip channel around his. This is something I have been wanting to do, Ron generously gave me enough of his left over channel to do around mine.
Now these were the intended notes to post with a few additions about Anne and Rons travels. Like youtubers and travel bloggers we want to try and make RV life just sound like we just discovered a fresh bowl of cherries. This is not always the case so you are just going to have to tune back into the “Rest of the Ron and Anne story” in my next blog, as usual I have gone on far too long. Word Press will send you a notice if you subscribe by email when I put a new post up, this is convenient for me and is not a marketing gimmic. For my time I get the satisfaction someone may get a kick out of my ramblings and I can share my photos and that’s it.
Instagram: gerrypopplewell Facebook: Gerry Popplewell As always Charlotte and I hope to meet you all down the road.
We are now officially living in our 9.6 NL truck camper as we have rented our cabin on the lake to a fantastic couple to enjoy as we travel. My last blog I stated with all the fires burning in Canada we would have to have flexible plans. Little did I realize even before we got started down the road we would be changing plans. I had a call from the surgeons in Saskatoon a minor surgery I have been waiting for was scheduled for July 3. We are now starting our trip to somewhere in Prince Albert National Park just 2.5 hours north of Saskatoon. This is not a hardship and sometimes a change works out for the better.
We are not homeless, a lot of folks out there figure you need a home on a chunk of land, with a building, and these days it seems the bigger the better. I said most and that is just fine, there are some like ourselves where home is where we are whether it be an 800 sq. ft. cabin or our truck camper in the back of our F350. Our enjoyment is being in nature and seeing different places, customs and meeting new people while living modestly on the road. Those in the chattering class talk about climate change and our impact on the environment. Well those living in their RVs are very conscious of our environment. We do not waste water or power as most are on solar and battery, and we do not have a house and a garage full of stuff purchased to fill that space. We have little space and it’s amazing just how little we need to live a full and exciting life and we do without nothing. Yes we burn fuel but when you figure it all out less than the average sticks and bricks dweller. We support many local communities as we visit and drive through and leave a very small foot print.
Our change in direction meant we were able to get together with my cousin Brent and his wife Wendy from Ontario. The last time we would have seen each other we would have been best guess Brent six and myself around 12. Brent and Wendy are travelling Western Canada in their truck camper and we were fortunate enough to spend three days with them camped at the Narrows. Brent is retired from his electrical contracting business and Wendy as a dental assistant and have their home north of Kitchner, Ontario. They also have a fifth wheel located at a lake north of them where they spend a lot of their summers. This year Brent got the travel bug to see all his cousins out west and dug his truck camper out of mothballs to make the trip, (the only way to travel according to me). It’s crazy how so much alike my cousin is in our thinking and taste in RV’s and our method of travelling. Most people need a destination, date and time and pre-booked campsites, not unlike ourselves they will be at home wherever they stop for the night in which ever direction it takes them with no time limit. Safe travels Brent and Wendy perhaps our roads will cross again soon and thanks for the visit.
A nomad lifestyle is absolutely not for everyone, we have breakdowns and maintenance to do on our mobile homes. There are many other challenges along the way as we follow the weather and safe locations to stay. Some spend all summers in their RVs, some a year and some many years but the people we meet living in their RVs have no regrets and are enjoying life to the fullest. We’re not homeless, our condo just has wheels as do many others who in the following blogs we will introduce you to. Great people who have choosen a life on the road, Charlotte and I are just getting a taste of it slowly over the years and can think of no better way to spend retirement.
Next Blog I will introduce you to Ron and Anne Baker living in their Northern Lite 10.2. Until then safe travels, subscribe for posting notices if so inclined and we hope to meet you down the road. Gerry (RVcowboy) Charlotte (Editor in Chief)
As we prepare to move into our truck camper, we realize this is the season we must be flexible in our plans. As forest fires rage through much of northern Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC and Northwest Territories our plans for travel may be changing. As of May 31st we will be living in our truck camper as we have rented out our cabin at the lake. For a minium of four months we are looking forward to experiencing new roads and areas of our beautiful north. That may be spending time in northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba, BC, Yukon or NWT this year, that depends on the fires burning across much of our north.
There are many areas we would like to spend more time in but already it appears unless we get a week of rain we cannot make definite plans. Who knows this may be the year we make it to the Arctic Ocean or travel east. It’s really good we don’t get hung up on having to have set plans, wherever we park it we are home and can and will enjoy wherever that happens to be. This is why we never plan our life a year or six months in advance by booking sites on line. Life is constanlty changing and we must change with it, yes we have plans…subject to change. Wherever we end up travelling to we will not be disappointed as we know it will be a summer of flexibility.
As we clean out our cabin of personal (stuff) and prepare to move from 800 sq. ft into approximately 120 sq. feet we realize just how little we really need. The Northern Lite camper the 9.6 model is totally self contained and has every comfort our cabin has in just a little less space to mess up and load up with stuff that never gets used. We live a life in our cabin that requires us to be aware of our water usage, sewer pump outs, electrical and heating. We have natural gas but prefer wood heat and I hate sending Sask Power more money then I have to. Really we are only two people how much do we need. RV living has shown us we can be completely comfortable and spend more time enjoying and experiencing life rather than being a slave to our stuff or the utility companies. The bigger the fire the more you have to work hauling wood to keep it going, and end up moving further away from it to be comfortable. So what I’m driving at is those who think we are going to be doing without, yes we will and will enjoy the simplicity and comfort of our truck camper. The beauty of our truck camper is we can park wherever the truck fits, we set up in minutes and can break camp and be on the road just as fast, no muss no fuss. We use to haul a truck load of extra camping gear, toys, screen tents, kitchen sink and more. One day we were watching a couple down the road from us, they pulled into their campsite in their truck camper, brought out two folding chairs and were enjoying their fire in under five minutes. At the end of the weekend they were able to enjoy their surroundings right up until the moment they left, packed and gone in less than five minutes. We had spent most our weekend setting up camp and taking it down…Char and I looked at each other and agreed the next garage sale had a lot of camping stuff.
I could ramble on but the reality of it is we are looking forward to the freedom and simplicity of life we find in nature in the far north…wherever that may be during this summer of flexibility. We will be heading into northern Saskatchewan for the month of June from there who knows. We are also happy we have a great couple who will enjoy our little cabin at the lake while we are gone.
You’re all welcome to follow along as I would like to share my photographs and our experiences along the road. Will try and keep it posted on a more consistent basis this year when we have internet, so if your inclined subscribe to get a notice by email when I do post and I sure like to hear your questions and comments. It makes it a lot more fun when over 21,000 folks have checked out our site.
Safe travels, take your time, stay flexible and enjoy your travels. Hope to meet you down the road. Gerry and Charlotte
Hitting the road for three months in 2022 with soaring fuel prices will come as no surprise as to what our highest cost was for our 10,000 kms (6214 miles) journey. Starting from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to northern B.C. on to Dawson City in the Yukon back down and across to the end of the road north of Whitehorse, Northwest Territories and home.
First Tip: Keep a daily journal, those of you who have been following our trip know I would have been lost if I had not recorded our travels, places visited, campsites, mileage and costs. I spent the summer enjoying our truck camping travels and as you know all winter getting it posted to my blog. So, without those daily journals I would have forgotten lots as there was just too much to take in during a short three-month trip.
Second Tip: Before I forget…TAKE CASH as we get more dependent on that device we seem to have grafted onto our hand and the tap for paying via card, know this: not every place has internet service therefore CASH is once again KING. As a matter of fact, get used to living without that device as unless you’re in a major community it’s useless…you do get used to that and it feels good to disconnect. Instead of checking the cell constantly one has time to look around and enjoy the beauty found everywhere, so learn to live without it. Without those daily notes of our travels and costs I would really have no idea how much we spent as we paid cash for fuel and campgrounds in many places so no record on the old credit card. That said, here is what we spent on fuel for our Ford F350, 6.2 gasser with our 9.6 Northern Lite Truck camper.
Fuel: $3,898.81 the least expensive was Cold Lake, Alberta at $130.9/litre. The Alberta Government had removed their sales tax on fuel. The most expensive was Muncho Lake, B.C. mile 462 on the Alaskan Highway at $2.50/litre. ($9.46/ US gallon). Prices ranged everywhere in between.
Campgrounds: $741.00 Canadian. We boondocked when possible, from gravel pits, Walmarts, and Travel Centers. Also, we prepaid our Yukon Territorial Campground fees by purchasing a number of camp site passes at local businesses $18 Can. per night, a savings there and very convenient as they can be used at any fantastic UNRESERVED campgrounds over our travels. Yes, no online booking we could stay even over the weekend. Third Tip: Slow down and enjoy. As much as we enjoyed our travels we crammed too much into only three months. We felt the need to move on so we did not spend as much time exploring an area as we could have, some beautiful lakes, rivers and communities with a lot of rich history in its people and their lifestyles in the north. No regrets at all, one just has to realize Dawson City was just not going to dissapear and Yellowknife NWT would still be there whenever we arrived. Fourth Tip: Pack less, save weight and fuel. As always we packed more clothes than we needed to be gone a year or more. It’s surprising how little you need, no one will notice you wore the same clothes yesterday. Food, we again packed enough for a year, we hear and read horror stories about the price of food in the north so we packed up before leaving. The Co-op store in Yellowknife had similar prices to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Some things like paper goods a little more expensive, meat and vegetables very comparable. Dawson City was a little higher priced but the General Store there has a fantastic selection of anything you would want, even product you would find at Costco. So shop local and save fuel hauling you local store with you.
Fifth Tip: Avoid campgrounds with online reservations whenever possible unless you like living by the clock and calendar. We do not! Most time when we find an area, especially in popular areas, that we may want to extend our stay, we get booted out on the weekend for the two day weekenders and sometimes have no place to go. Thank you Walmarts. While travelling many small communities have beautiful small campsites. Our travels are not about the destinations as much as the enjoyment of getting there and we do not need the stress of having to be somewhere at a particular date and check in time. Enjoy, throw away the calendar and the watch and let experiencing where ever you are take over.
Sixth Tip: Go for it! Fuel costs will always be high, it will rain, there are some bugs, forest fires will occur and bumpy roads and highway construction guaranteed. Our days here are not guaranteed so if it feels like the right time…just go for it! I could go on forever, even after doing my research watching other blogs I still had to do it my way, rush, over pack etc. Make it your own experience…Enjoy.
Update: It’s just not fair it’s April 19th and I write this sitting in our cabin wood fire going and a real blizzard happening outside…it should be spring. New shocks on the trusty Ford, a wax job on the Norhern Lite and we are just about ready for the next adventure. We are preparing our cabin for our cabin sitters who will enjoy our little cabin and lake for 4 months while we are gone. We are going to take up residence in our truck camper and live the next four months wherever we park it. If all works and it’s meant to be we may be extending our travels and spending winter south of the border with a truck camper meet up in February and others living the RV lifestyle enjoying their homes on wheels. By the time you reach my age (73) one realizes plans are only ideas and changes in life happen, if your not flexible then you are going to break, sometimes the detour turns out to be the road you are meant to travel.
You can check our past blogs if travelling the Alaska Highway, Yukon Klondike Highway or to Yellowknife NWT for more details of sights, road conditions etc. And feel free to check back on our next travels still in the planning stages, having said that it will end up just being a general direction. See if I follow my own tips this time. Safe travels and we hope to see you down the road watch for the studiowest.ca Northern Lite, may the wind always be in your back. Gerry & Charlotte…