I’ve wanted to try this idea I had for an easy, affordable RV laundry hack for ages. Since it works while you travel, I decided to try this hack on my RV adventure across Saskatchewan this week. I have to admit I have never been this excited to do laundry. The initial experiment resulted in a load of dirty laundry getting clean, with hardly any effort on my part, no electricity, no laundromat, and no laundry machines.
RV laundry just got really easy
RV laundry has always been a bit of a hassle. An active life of travelling, dog life, and camping make dirty laundry add up fast. Many RV manufactures and RV parks have come up with solutions like laundry centres in larger RVs and laundromats at RV parks. Those of us with smaller RV’s and tow vehicles can now choose from a few different RV washing machines, but these take up precious space and add significant weight to our rigs.
This RV laundry solution is simple, energy efficient and very effective for cleaning clothes. Dirty laundry, laundry detergent and water are added to an ordinary 5 gallon bucket. The lid is sealed tight and the bucket is secured at the back of the vehicle where there is more vibration from the road. Every bump in the road acts as agitation for this simple laundry machine, working the dirt and bad smells out of your clothes just as well as any really good washing machine. When you get to your destination, all you need to do is rinse, wring and hang your spotlessly clean clothes up to dry. I love this, because it is so environmentally friendly!
RV Laundry Hack Step #1: Gather your suppies
All you’ll need is a 5 gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid, a little laundry detergent, water and a good stretch of highway. I used a Tide pod, but you could use a small amount of any laundry detergent you like. Put a few items of dirty laundry in the bucket and add your choice of detergent. My small load had yoga pants, a t-shirt, a small towel and a really filthy dog bed cover.
RV Laundry Hack Step #2 : Just add water
Next, cover your laundry laundry with water, plus a good few inches. As a guide, I used about 2.5 gallons of water for my small load..
RV Laundry Hack Step #3: Seal and Secure
Seal the bucket tight with a 5 gallon bucket lid. You could probably choose to leave it unsecured, and it will “probably” stay put because of its weight. I didn’t want to risk it tipping and rolling around so just in case, I tied it into the back of my XTerra, Luckily, I have lots of spots in my vehicle to secure my bucket with bungies, so it seemed to be the best option for me.
RV Laundry Hack Step #4: Drive for a few hours
Every little bump in the road, railway track or speed bump you drive over will agitate your laundry. The agitation with help of the laundry soap will make it super clean. Saskatchewan Highways used to be better for this, but this year, but the province has done a great job resurfacing them. Alberta’s highways seem to be the roughest I’ve seen anywhere (Premier Jason Kenney are you reading this?).
Today I drove for 4 hours from Rosetown, Saskatchewan to Craik Saskatchewan, where I set up camp. I set up my laundry bucket and drove. When I got my new campsite set up at Craik Regional Park, it was time to rinse and hang my load of laundry. I was really happy with the results. Even the dog bedding looks and smells fresh and clean.
It began like this…
“Wild women are an unexplainable spark of life. They ooze freedom and seek awareness, they belong to nobody but themselves yet give a piece of who they are to everyone they meet.
If you have met one, hold on to her, she’ll allow you into her chaos but she’ll also show you her magic.”
― Nikki Rowe
It began like this:
I have trained thousands of dogs on the West Coast of British Columbia for the past 25 amazing and wonderful years. There is absolutely nothing in the world I would have rather done for those years. I was a firefighter and first responder on our local fire department for nearly 7 years. I have a performing trick dog team, and until this last summer we performed at events on Vancouver Island. I played and I worked and I found myself surrounded with the best of the best people. There was nothing not to love about my life.
Last year I bought myself a little travel trailer, a Forest River R-Pod 180. My travel trailer is just 20 feet long. It’s tiny but perfectly well appointed for a single woman and her 4 canine compadres. Full bathroom, full kitchen, a bed a table, a couch, heat, air-conditioning, an amazing sound system, lots of storage and a very nice awning. I quickly christened my Pod “The ArfPod”.
For the first year I had it, the Arfpod rarely left my farm. Mostly because steeply rising costs of everything in BC, not the least of which is fuel, made it impossible to take time off work to go anywhere, let alone take a camping or road trip. So I made do, like we do in BC. I went “glamping” on my own beautiful property with my 4 dogs, just to see if I could do it and retain a modicum of sanity. “Why ever leave this beautiful place anyway?”, I thought.
Well then the reason to leave such a beautiful place landed. Approximately in the middle of Alberta. His name is George, and he is my grandson and George is the apple of my eye. Like his father before him, George makes my heart absolutely sing. So that was it. That was the only reason I needed to leave the magic of the rainforests. After all, real magic is carried in our hearts and exists exactly wherever we choose to believe it exists. Am I right?
So I packed up, sold the farm, and now I am headed back to a province I swore I would never return to. Not directly though. It’s winter time. Winter in Alberta is something I would like to have the opportunity to adjust to slowly, as I watch the maples and poplar trees change their colours and shed their leaves. I really don’t want to be suddenly plunged into winter’s hard frozen whiteness. And the Mid November timing of my farm sale was not conducive to finding a perfect property to live on, where my dogs and I could run, train and play because everything is under ice in Central Alberta in Mid November. And besides travelling through the mountain passes towing the Arfpod seemed…well…possibly suicidal. So what would I do?
Through my work I meet amazing people, one is my friend, an accomplished senior Dr. who invited my to camp in the Arfpod on her property on the ocean. I could stay in the Arfpod, and look after her dogs when she needed. It was a perfect opportunity and I graciously accepted her invite last week. I arrived here yesterday and this is the beginning of surely the greatest journey of my life. I hope you enjoy the tales of my Podyssey.
Travels in Canada: Friendly Winnipeg Is All About Fun And Great Food
Summer seems to go by faster each year. The trees in Drayton Valley are quickly changing color and for the first time in my R-pod adventure, the furnace is warming definitely chilly air before October. It’s time to head back to the island this week, and we’ll be on our way this week. In this post, I’ll sum up my amazing summer travels in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The next few posts will hopefully give you inspiration to explore great Canadian destinations in your own travels.
Winnipeg Has Amazing Vegan Food
As you know, I travelled out to Winnipeg where I did some serious explorations of the people, places, culture, and oh-so-plentiful and delicious vegan food with my daughter and sometimes the Arfpodlians (Annie and Jolene). Winnipeg has a wealth of dog-friendly patios where my dogs could lie on their portable Ruffwear sleeping pads and enjoy a drink of ice water followed by some tasty, vegan beyond poutine at Leopold’s Tavern or other tasty fare at Fion MacCool’s. We also enjoyed a lovely, creative, outdoor meal on the tree shaded patio at Roughage Eatery. Of course vegan pizza from Santa Lucia’s will be forever on my list of Winnipeg deliciousness.
Winnipeg Has The Best Dog Parks!
Absolutely amazing Oh! Doughnuts is conveniently located close to Brenda Leipsic Dog park, a 15 hectare, fenced dog park where the Arfpodlians could run and play and find and point birds in a secure environment. Winnipeg’s dog park designers have embraced the reality that having a lot of dogs together in one place safely requires lots of space and trails to keep owners walking. We didn’t see people bunched up in a group watching their dogs. Instead we saw dogs and people relaxing. There were no conflicts between dogs or people. Members of each species had space to get far enough away from each other when they needed to. Oh yeah, and the donuts were out of this world too. Certainly among the best I have ever had.
At the Winnipeg Tattoo Convention, we got tattooed by some of the best artists in Canada. I had settled on a tattoo I wanted and an artist months before. My first tattoo would be on my hand. My tattoo artist was Cheyenne Marie from CoyoteRose Studios in Calgary. I have to say, the pain was excruciating when Cheyenne started. But when you’re getting a tattoo, you can’t just say stop, or I need numbing. You have to just embrace the pain, which is predictable and becomes not bad after a while. As she kept going, I am sure I went into shock because I was wobbly and nauseous by the time she was done. Anyway, the tattoo turned out well. It’s like having pretty jewelry that I don’t have to take off (and this girl must have her pearls)
Great Campsite and Great Family Get-togethers
I decided to stay in Winnipeg longer than originally planned, partly due to being enamoured with the place and getting a great deal on my spot. Most RVers will know that It costs a lot more to travel than it does to stay in one spot. I have to say, my Aunt’s family get-togethers were part of my decision making process too. While it was great seeing all my cousins and their kids, the ambiance was always perfected by the presences of 6 or 8 poodles and one little doodle. Plus my pointers. I always brought along a lot of dog treats too. It all added up to an awful lot of fun.
Seeing The Sights Of Winnipeg
I readily admit that I am a sucker for a nice dog park. The girls and I have done a tour of the dog parks in Western Canada. There is no doubt that Winnipeg’s dog parks are the best we’ve seen anywhere. The ones we tried out (Maple Grove Park and Brenda Leipsic Dog Park) are completely fenced playground with many kilometers of beautiful trails to keep people and off leash dogs exercising together. Maple Grove Dog Park was dreamy with woodlands to explore and river frontage for hot dogs to take a dip in hot days.
By the way: The whole time we were there, we saw very few mosquitos, so the City of Winnipeg must be getting its mosquito control measures right. There are however, a lot of stable flies. These look like innocuous house flies. And then they bite you. Painfully. I discovered using my screen house and slathering on DEET insect repellent on my and citronella on the dogs kept the little demons at bay.
The Canadian Museum Of Human Rights
The Canadian Museum Of Human Rights is house in one of the most unique public buildings I have ever seen. The whole museum is so completely full of the way we humans violate each other and our rights, that it would take a few visits to see it all. Parts of it are heartbreaking and depressing. But other exhibits show the success we have had being decent to each other, and make you feel there’s hope. There are plenty of interactive activities that provoke thought and discussion. After a few hours here, I really felt inspired to be the change the world needs to see. After all, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love!” Be kind to every kind.
Assiniboine Park Is A Jewel In Winnipeg’s Crown
We spent an hour watching the Royal Winnipeg Ballet perform at Assiniboine Park in the heart of Winnipeg. The dancers did a Western themed show and we enjoyed a stroll through the gorgeous English garden as well as the many amazing lost wax sculptures in the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden.
We headed to Gimli to see the Viking festival where Viking culture was berserking everywhere. Modern Vikings celebrating their ancient heritage by dressing up in authentic period costumes. There were displays of Viking battles, and a museum that explained the important role the Icelandic people played in Canada’s history.
Manitobans generally are really friendly. As I stayed longer at the campground, I met many new friends. Some were staying for the season. Others were on there way some distant location in North America. Surprisingly, Winnipeg is located in the absolute center of North America. All the friendly people I met there made it easy to stay in WInnipeg longer.
And then one day it was time to go back to the island. I had a few stops to make along the way.
The Winnipeg Tattoo Convention
Last night I went to the Winnipeg Tattoo Convention. This place is an obvious mecca for hardcore tattoo enthusiasts. It has the air of a carnival. As we enter through a huge tent that serves as the entrance to the actual tattooers booths, the air is scented with the greasy smell of overpriced french fries and cotton candy. More than 275 tattoo artists have booths set up in an adjacent building that looks like it spends time as a high school gymnasium or something.
Each tattooer has a booth for their studio artists with 1 or 2 tables. Each temporary studio features a cloth covered merch table that profers items like t-shirts and stickers to wandering patrons, while acting as a barrier to the masses holding worship. I walk through the alleyways between the booths among heavily tattooed women and men, and moms taking their girls for their first tattoo. The zoo of people ranges between utterly freaky people and stylish trendsetters wanting to add art and and colour to the skin they were born with. The artists themselves have the most colourful and amazing tattoos.
Tattoos and More!
I am waiting for my daughter, wandering between the aisles. As I wander, I’m collecting free, but very cool stickers art stickers that some of the tattoo studios offer for my grandchildren. The swag reminds me of the vendors booths at a dog show (that’s a good thing). I happily go on my wandering way. I am checking out a booth and am amazed to see a tattooed young guy, naked and stretched belly down on a table being worked on by two tattoo artists.. As I pass, trying not to stare in surprise, the tattoo artists continue to work on some intricate design on the man’s buttocks. As far as I can tell. But really, I have to wonder how the guy’s going to sit or drive home. Oh well…
This could have ended badly
Finally, my daughter arrives. Her artist is running late, so we get some Jamaican chickpea rotis drinks and wander around more together. I have to admit they’re delicious and an amazing way to fill an empty belly. We wander back through the maze of temporary tattoo parlours. We try not to gawk in awe in the crowd of tattooed and otherwise modified clients as well as tattoo curious.
In a little while, Sydney arrives. Sydney is a beautifully tattooed young artist named who even has tattooed eyelids and (somehow) has gem bedazzled teeth. I stand in awe as I can’t remember ever meeting anyone so tattooed.. Sydney is ready to get to work on my daughter’s tattoo. Minutes later, Sydney is working with lightning speed on a beautiful wild rose on my daughter’s arm. She is done the intricate multi-colored tattoo in about an hour. We’ll come back tomorrow for more fun, adventure and because a bandage needs changing by a conscientious tattoo artist. And I may or may not have lined up an appointment…
RV Travel On Canada’s Secondary Highways
Well, I admit it: I’ve been a crappy prairie travel blogger this year. I only hope you’ve been keeping too busy with your own summer adventures to notice. Haha.. Anyway, I want to start this post off by telling you why I love travelling the many secondary highways around Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Oops, I almost forgot BC too! The only reason BC gets dicey for RVs when it comes to secondary roads is because of the sometimes steep mountains and too frequent natural disasters. The other Western provinces seem to not suffer as much from fires and floods, although tornados and giant hail storms are very real here. I guess we have to choose our poison when it comes to natural disasters in the West.
Anyhoo, driving primary highway speeds of 110 kmh are hard on my small but mighty XTerra. Even if the Arfpod is a 3000 lb lightweight that tows very nicely. I keep my trailer weight down by only bringing only what I need . When I travel, I now even pack dehydrated food to allow me to pack more water. RV life is all about prioritizing life. Last year I found out when we travel, packing lots of water is a necessity. I found this out after I ran out and there was no potable water anywhere. So now I bring less stuff and put a lot more water in my freshwater tank.
RV life is all about prioritizing and creating an intentional life. You wind up whittling the extraneous bits off of life until you find something very simple and beautiful beneath it. For me of those extraneous bits was the need to get from A to B as fast as possible. Taking secondary highways lets me meander at speeds of around 90 KMH, which is much easier on my xTerra, Blue. It also allows me to stop to explore and enjoy out of the way places, especially, but not always, those with fenced dog parks for my girls to run.
In spite of being a curmudgeon (I guess the correct word is “introvert” but curmudgeon works too), I’ve met lovely and interesting people throughout my journeys that I couldn’t have met if I had hurtled down a bigger highway, trying to keep time with the tractor trailers. I’ve shared campfires and stories with farmers and their families . I’ve chatted with camp hosts like one in Cut knife, Saskatchewan. Cut Knife is a truly multi-cultural town. Like many of Canada’s little prairie towns, Cut Knife tragically lost nearly all of its men in World War 2 after they went oversea to fight for the freedom of people they would never meet. It’s pretty astounding to think about.
These days, it’s a struggle to find enough volunteers in the town to run and maintain the amazing community museum and stocked fishing pond. As a writer, I consider it a duty to stop and explore places like Cutknife, Rosetown, or Lumsden in Saskatchewan. I’ve found great campgrounds, cacti, pronghorn antelope and more by traveling on secondary highways.
Anyway, I wound up in Winnipeg, as far East as I’ll travel. Stay tuned folks, my next post will be about my amazing adventures here.
Camping at Manning Park
I’m writing this from beside a beautiful and boisterous creek, full of last winter’s melted snow in Manning Park along Highway 3. After minimal difficulties, I managed to get the trailer backed into the site. I am finally getting much better at backing the Arfpod into the previously too narrow campsites we visit. The sites have broadened with my backing skills. Besides a babbling creek and lots of fir trees, the campsite at Manning Park has a nice picnic table and a fire ring to burn some of the firewood I brought while I roasted some portabella mushroom caps.
Occasionally I am hearing the sounds of wolves howling on the other side of the creek. Jolene has made it pretty clear howling wolves make her nervous, and would prefer to camp elsewhere. However, a few cuddles within the safety of the Arfpod, and she’s sleeping comfortably beside me as I write this.
I have just 2 English pointers now. Jolene is technically an orange and white lemon pointer who came from Dogwood Pointer Rescue after she made her way up from Utah. Annabelle is my liver and white english pointer. Both of them are solid hunting dogs, and instinctively point birds, making springtime walks very stop and go.
Earlier today, a raven chirped from a tree in our campsite. Annabelle (the white and liver English pointer) fell straight into a full point. Pointers will do that. She pointed up in the tree. The raven sat there, obviously considering his ability steal a bit of leftover tomato that was still on the picnic table after supper. I grabbed the tomato and put it down on the ground, not far from the tree, but out of Annabelle’s reach. To Annabelle’s amazement, the big iridescent bird flew down. After ensuring the pointer and her human weren’t up to something, bravely flew down to tear the red tomato apart and consume it right in front of a stunned pointer and her human.
Pointers: Birder’s Best Friends
One of the best things about having a pointer: Pointers are great to have if you want to birdwatch. On our way off the ferry today, we stopped for a break at the rest stop near Tswaassen. Both pointers immediately pointed a huge (there must have been 50 birds there) colony of Great Blue Herons nesting in the trees nearby. I have never seen so many herons in one place, and it was very cool to see all the babies. I share with you these photos, taken with my iPhone, so not the best but if you squint your eyes and turn your head just the right way you can make out all the herons in the trees. Not bad for a cell phone photo!
Tomorrow we’ll go in search of a cell phone signal so I can post this and contact friends and family who are waiting to hear from me
Grief And Loss: Onwards Without You My Friend:
Grief sucks. I will miss my boy forever. But I can’t stand wallowing in loss. The world is still a magical place. There are so many places and things in the world and I have such a short time to explore and enjoy them. This post is about what worked for me to be able to continue even through grief and loss. Maybe it will help someone similarly devastated by loss.
Death of the physical presence is undoubtable and it is often what we miss when a loved one’s physical body dies. We can no longer hold them, touch them or take joy in watching or engaging with our loved one. However, when someone we cherish passes away, we are left with our memories of them. More than that, the loved one still influences the way we perceive and interact with the world. In this respect, the loved one is not truly gone. When someone we cherish passes away, one of the best, healthiest things we can do is honour their memory.
We can honour a loved one who passes on by making the world a better place. We can pass on all the positive influences they had on our lives. In that way, only the body dies. We may miss the physical presence of the loved one. But he or she is never truly gone as long as they are honoured in this way. Indeed their spirit could live on forever. It will live as long as people are passing around the wonderful things that made them who they were. It’s really a true eternity. The idea is based in Buddhism and it makes a lot of sense. Especially when we are dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one. My self described Janist/Buddhist father passed away in 2012. SInce then, I have tried to spread his wonderful positive energy and compassion to those around me. But the idea also works with dogs too.
Dogs Are All Amazing
Each dog I have ever had the been blessed to share my life with has brought enthusiasm, love and joy in the “small” things in life, like enjoying a sunset on the beach, or playing with children. When a dog is enjoying the moment of finding a bird, or savouring the smells in a field of grass, he isn’t distractedly in a “half world” of things that won’t matter in 2 years. The fact is that In the end, we all only only get a certain number of heartbeats, before our number up. We all decide how we will make those heartbeats matter.
I’m going to honour Earl by taking joy in everything, trying new things (Earl loved to try new foods and eagerly learned tricks like using a paw to point at things he wanted or learning to play a piano), I’m going to be joyful and fun to be around. Earl was always kind and tolerant. Who knows, maybe I’ll inspire people to always be kind and tolerant toward others. I hope I inspired someone to start a performing trick dog team, like Earl did!
The Beginning A Good Dog Story
As a dog trainer, I have shared my life with many dogs. I have had the good fortune to have had one amazing dog who took my life on unanticipated adventures and taught me to embrace life with all of my heart. Fabulous Earl is my German Shorthaired Pointer. The following is his life story, as I know it.
In 2009 I made the move onto my farm property on Vancouver Island. I soon lost my best dog, a german shorthaired pointer named Merlin, to cancer. My friend, Larissa, ran a dog rescue. It wasn’t long after Merlin’s demise that she called me, wondering if I could foster a German Shorthaired Pointer. The dog in question, Earl had been picked up by the Vancouver City Pound 6 times. The owners only came to bail him out 5 times. For Earl, stealing bananas and other delicacies from the open air markets of Commercial Drive in Vancouver was a good way to spend lonely days. At least one Italian shop owner disagreed with his criminal activities.
I agreed to take Earl as a foster only. I would train him up and then we’d work to find him a perfect home. When Earl arrived, he was a gangly, skinny, enthusiastic adolescent dog of about 2 or 3 years. Earl had enthusiasm and zest. He came with a blanket that he would whip about his head until his entire head was completely concealed. He would then run around play biting anyone within reach. Earl would jump up on visitors in a frenzied greeting ritual.
The King Of Thieves
Within days, it became apparent that Earl had a coffee addiction that might have been worse than my own. I had a Ford E350 15 passenger bus in those days. I used it to drive around, picking up dogs between Campbell River and Comox, and taking them on mountain hikes. 15 dogs could play and run off energy at lakes and rivers where we would bother no one.
I typically started the day at the Mcdonald’s drive through in Campbell River, where I would pick up a large coffee. After the first time I did this with Earl, I went to take my coffee from the built in cup holder in the console of the bus. My hand clutched air. I could smell the coffee. Did it spill somehow? I pulled over and looked on the floor. My coffee had clearly vanished, leaving only its wonderful scent. I looked in the rear view mirror and frowned.
There was my large, delicious cup of coffee between Earls front paws as he lay stretched along the plush bench seat. The plastic lid sat on the seat beside him as if he had carefully taken it off before beginning to lap up the still hot coffee out the cup. I had to laugh. I quickly turned the bus around and went back to McDonald’s and ordered another coffee, and after that I always ordered an extra cup to pour a little into for Earl.
For a few years, we did hikes together. Earl stopped jumping up on people, but he was still the worst food thief I ever met. A bunch of bananas carelessly left on the counter would be surreptitiously be taken onto the couch. There they would peeled and devoured, one by one until they were nothing but a neat pile of banana peels. Not only theft but robbery too. Earl would snatch a sandwich held carelessly in hand. Any attempts to hold onto it were met by threatening teeth on one’s wrist and hard eyes. This dog had learned some bad habits, and also did not trust humans on any level.
I found out Earl had been bounced through a series of foster homes. I knew changing his home again would cause him to trust people even less. Like any reactive dog, Earl would respond to change with even more aggression. He was a good dog. He deserved better. I would keep him and we would muddle through together.
One day, trick dog performer, Kyra Sundance invited me to come to her Trick Dog Instructor’s workshop in California. Tricks had always been a passion of mine, so I was eager to attend. I would bring Earl and work him through the program. Over the 3 day course, Earl learn 48 different tricks. He was exhausted at the end of each day. He was finally calm and attentive and interested in working with me. When I came home, I collected equipment and then began teaching trick dog courses. Earl was my demo dog and was my right hand man. Whether it was demonstrating hoop jumps, fetching beverages or playing a toy piano, Earl was happy to work.
Earl became an important part of every aspect of my life. He always liked to sleep with his his head on a pillow and I had to wake him up and tell him to move over at least once in the night. He always responded by getting up and moving over. When you take time to teach a dog the meaning of such words, they appreciate the communication and are happy to comply. Earl even liked to hug people that were special to him, something he learned from watching people greet one another.
Earl came to work with me and helped other dogs learn they didn’t have to react to other dogs. He eventually grew to dislike this work and one day he flat out refused the come with me on a call. So I retired him from helping with this aspect of my work. The other dogs were more patient with it and were happy to come.
Earl enjoyed hiking and running with his many dog friends in the mountains, and playing and swimming at the beach where we now reside in the winter months. He loved children and other animals. He enjoyed travelling and exploring and he especially loved seeing Gavin, Kelsea and Morgan my grandson, George. Earl made every effort to hang out with them and play with them when we visited on our travels. George was one of his favorite people in the world, and he’d follow him around the acreage, a true playmate.
After that first year, I invited my graduate students to form a performing trick dog team. We had all kinds of dogs on the team. There was an Entlebucher, 2 Basset Hounds, a Black Lab, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Dog, and a special reserve mix from Alberta. Alice and Esta made guest appearances. it would clearly demonstrate that force- free dog training could work with any dog. The team performed at events up and down Vancouver Island. Earl worked hard and perform up to 20 tricks in any show.
Earl also learned to herd goats. I had trained Esta the finer points of goat herding, and I knew Earl could learn this skill too. He was as good at herding as any border collie.
In 2020 Covid Arrived
2020 brought shutdowns of all public events. There was nowhere to perform anymore so the team floundered. Esta and then ALice passed on in old age. Earl was still my stalwart companion, but as the years progressed, he stopped wanting to join in on hikes. He preferred to stay and sleep in the xTerra while everyone else went hiking. He was a senior. So I kind of expected that.
A few years ago Earl developed a strange, retching cough. His huge, loud bark gradually became a hoarse whisper. The vet said it was due to a condition known as laryngeal paralysis which would proceed and get worse. In February this year it did. A short walk ended with Earl gasping for breath. Dr.Topic said Earl would have to stop walking and would change out his collar for a harness. We stopped walking any distances. Then one day Earl gasped for breath and collapsed on the ground. I was relieved when he got his breath back as I comforted him.
Dr Topic recommended a course of Doxepin and gave me some injections for breathing crisis emergencies. Earl did well for a few months until last night. Last night was his last breathing crisis.
The Last Stand
I am still pretty shaken. I gave him some subcutaneous injections to help open his larynx. After an hour and a half, Earl was obviously higher than a kite and exhausted. At least he wasn’t struggling to breathe anymore. We live at the end of a short lane, and we had walked to the beginning of the lane when he suddenly started gasping for breath and looked for me and then collapsed as I comforted him.
I sat with him for a while and comforted him and then ran to get his emergency meds. When I got back I gave him one injection and waited for 15 minutes for it to take effect. When nothing was changing I gave him another one. I sat with him in the lane for another 1/2 an hour comforting him as he gasped for breath. His tongue and gums were blue. It was awful. I finally thought to go and get the xTerra, where he would be more comfortable and not in the middle of the lane. So I got it and I managed to get his 75 lb hulk into it.
Earl struggled to breathe for another 45 minutes before finally succumbing to exhaustion and drugs. The pink colour finally came back to his mouth again. But he is still in the xTerra and I don’t want to move him until he is feeling better. I can’t let him go through that again. It was so horrible. I am going to let him go at 2:45 today. My heart is broken. The only bad part of having a good dog is this. They never live long enough.
Spring 2022- The View From The Arfpod
It’s Spring 2022. I’m writing from my winter roost beside the ocean in early May. This spot is nestled in the fir trees on Helen’s beach where I have the good fortune to winter every year. It is so peaceful and very beautiful. I honestly can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else. All the sounds here are songbirds and robins happily singing to each other, eagles chattering, and the loons calling to each other from the water in front of the beach. This morning I was happy to hear our local sea lion barking away. Later in the afternoon I watched his flippers extend above the water as he napped. It’s a strange sight when sea lions nap in the water. They manage to get their flippers and tails to stand in the air above the ocean, while the rest of them gently floats around under the water on the tides with heads above or below the water.
Spring 2022- Sponsored By Orwell’s Dystopia
Apart from this beautiful sparkling place on the edge of the Strait of Georgia, the rest of the world seems to be in a sort of Orwellian upheaval. Cities and towns everywhere are suffering from drug related crimes and just crimes in general. At the same time housing prices have soared to levels that have made it impossible for many people to consider purchasing a home. Many can’t even afford to rent anymore.
The ongoing pandemic is hitting both the dutifully vaccinated and the unvaccinated while Russians are out to “denazify and demilitarize”the entire planet, starting in the friendly country of Ukraine. To this effort, the Russians have destroyed Ukrainian cities, terrorized/tortured/killed civilians, stolen 1/3 of the grain stores and a lot of farming equipment as well as toilets and socks. Apparently by stealing a good chunk of Europe’s grain stores, President Putin is hoping he can pull off another Homolodor. Except this time Russia will be starving most of Europe, not just Ukraine. Russia is saying that they have liberated the towns they have smashed to smithereens, and the people who lived there. They are also insistent that Jewish people are Nazis. We are living in the very dystopia that Orwell wrote about in his book, 1984.
Covid Bed Ridden
Truth be told, it’s May now and I am cancelling appointments and haven’t done much but binge watch Ozark on Netflix for the last week. It’s about a middle class family guy who gets mixed up with the Mexican drug cartel. I’m having an unpaid Covid vacation. In bed. Maybe thanks to some anti-vaxxer…maybe not. All I know is that Covid is sure a crappy virus either way, with everyday bringing a new and different discomfort. I am still hoping to have the Arfpod ready to go East at the end of this month.
Trip Planning Apps
Crazy fuel prices will have me planning travels a bit differently than in past years, with an eye to keeping under a tighter budget . Two of my favourite trip planning Apps for RVing are RV Trip Wizard and GasBuddy.com. RV Trip Wizard lets me plug in the distances I’ll travel everyday and tells you where you can stay and what there is to do within a budget that I tell it. It also shows where there are gas stations and/or truck stops along the way. So I won’t have to drive along with a low gas light, wondering if this will be the time when I run out of gas.
Gas Buddy is handy for finding the lowest price on fuel in any area. While it doesn’t tell if stations are RV friendly, it’s helpful for finding gas in unfamiliar places
This year I am cutting daily travel times down to 3-4 hours, and I plan to spend more time camping in places, seeing the sights, and enjoying hiking, biking and dog parks with the dogs. Anyhow, this is going to be the end of this post. I have to go see what’s shaking in the creepy but intriguing Hell-scape of Ozark now.
My Favourite Chai Spice Tea Recipe
This chai spice tea recipe is made with anti-inflammatory Ayurvedic ingredients. If you drink it regularly it will help relieve inflammation such as arthritis, or stiffness as it relaxes the mind while you enjoy it’s unique chai flavours. Ginger root has a whole host of proven health benefits that you can read about by clicking here. Turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and black pepper round out the flavour of this chai spice tea. All of these spices have a whole bunch of amazing benefits f or the body and mind.
My Favourite Spice Tea Recipe
- 1 Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
- 20 whole cloves
- 20 whole black peppercorns
- 4 whole cinnamon sticks
- 10 slices fresh ginger root
- 2 tbsp black tea
- 2 tbsp ground cardomom (use 15 whole green pods if you have them)
- 1 tbsp tumeric powder
- 10 cups water
- Put water into the Instant Pot pot and add ginger root slices, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns, and cloves. If you are going to use cardamom pods, you can add them here.
- Put black tea, ground cardamom, and turmeric, into a tea bag and tie it tighlty so the smaller, finer ingredients can't escape.
- Set Instant Pot to Pressure Cook for 8 Minutes
- After time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Serve hot, pouring into a cup and adding your favorite sweetener and oat milk. I used maple syrup to sweeten mine and it was a perfect balance for the spice mix.
Quitting Facebook (For A Week)
I decided to quit Facebook for a week. My quittance might go longer if I actually succeed. I decided I was up for the challenge after the past month’s absolute onslaught of distressing news from everywhere. My decision to step back from the Meta based social media platform began after traditionally news outlets offered really shady reporting of the ill-fated Freedom Trucker’s convoy.
I began to realize that controversy itself was making many of us addicted. It was also reinforcing our addiction to reading and making Facebook posts. All so the huge Meta corporation could collect algorithmic data to make us more addicted. After analysing our posts and reactions to other user posts, Meta literally sells us to marketing companies.
Too Much Information
Meta tries to keep us feeling that if we miss out on some digital trinket of other people’s lives or censored but constant news updates, our lives will be less. I’ve long known that in spite of it’s purported advantages, Facebook (or any Meta social media platform) is not good for anyone except Meta. The news posts regarding Russia’s attempted annex of Ukraine really kicked me over the edge to not seeing any more from Facebook (for at least a week).
What would the difference in my life be if I missed out on world news and informed opinions of friends? Where could this possibly lead? There are definite benefits to knowing what’s going on in the world. Especially when a megalomaniac murderer like Vladimir Putin is given access to nuclear weapons. There is, however, no benefit in spending the last months, weeks or even days before a potential nuclear holocaust wasting time on Facebook.
Real Life Effects of Quitting Facebook
There is a beautiful world all around us. When we quit social media, we get to go out and enjoy it without feeling compelled to share our experiences. Our interactions with our environment and the people in it become a gift for us, not window dressing for the public eye. There is no reason we need to share our experiences in it on any social media data collection machinery. We can take advantage of modern amenities like email or messaging to send photos, videos or other updates to everyone who would care about them.
I quit Facebook 3 days ago as an experiment to see if I could make it through a week without my digital vice. When I was planning this digital detox, I initially bought into Facebook’s warnings about my friends missing me. I worried about the effect of taking a break from Facebook’ on my busy dog training business. It took me years to step away. But I left the app on my phone, just in case.
My fingertips are the body part that has always sown the seeds of my Facebook addiction for the last 15 years. For 3 days they’ve flown to that Facebook app button more times than I can count. I miss the interaction with people, but there is no part of the superficiality of Facebook interactions that I miss.
I am not going to pretend walking away from Facebook was easy. But here is how it’s affected my life so far:
- I am more present for the world of experiences that surround me
- I have a greater appreciation for the magic of the world
- I get more done in a day
- I am busy with things that are meaningful
- I reconnected with people
- I exercise more than I used to
- I have more energy
- I am happier
How I Quit A Social Media Addiction
- I planned what I would do instead of spending time on Facebook
- I set a date to quit
- I set a doable length of time for me.
- I weighed Facebook’s warnings against my determination to quit
- I knew that keeping me on Facebook was in Facebook’s interests, not mine
I think it’s safe to say many people are beginning 2022 with some trepidation. What a year 2021 was, between what can only be described as pandemonium with an added zest of weird and dangerous climate events. I’m referring to our scorching hot summer replete with wildfires caused by both Nature and humans interacting with her. Then there was the atmospheric river rains that caused massive flooding and landslides that wiped out all the land routes out of BC’s Lower Mainland. This, and sudden hoarding of all kinds of consumer goods by disrupted supply chains and made it impossible to find things like oat milk anywhere. At the end of 2021, we Vancouver Islanders were plunged into an ice-age style freeze-up where temperatures dropped as low as -15.
Ok, Albertans, you can stop sniggering from behind your scarves and balaclavas at that, because -15 (heck, anything sub-zero) really kicks us into a spin, out here on the coast. Especially when there is snow involved.
In Black Creek, the roads were so covered with ice that any trip to the store to refill with propane (a frequent activity for me) felt like an arctic expedition. Even going slow in 4×4 with fantastic snow tires on her, Blue slid very gracefully down the road sideways at a slight left turn.
Fortunately, the only person around was a guy in a big Dodge Ram Truck who was intent on riding my bumper until I drifted. Do Dodge Ram truck drivers take lessons in obnoxious driving before they are allowed to drive one? Anyway, I was luckier than a lot of people who wound up in ditches.
The roads were so bad that we didn’t even have garbage pick-up here in the Creek for a month, and Canada Post put out a notice that mail would be delayed due to weather conditions. No more “Through Rain And Sleet And Snow, The Mail Must Go Through” motto for them.
Warm and cozy in the Arfpod
Our little condo on wheels stayed warm and toasty, thanks in part to skirting I improvised from dog training pedestals, dog exercise pens and plenty of tarps. This helped block the icy winds from gusting under the Arfpod, although nothing could stop the pipes from freezing.
Luckily, I made a batch of stout at the local U-Brew a while back. It’s dark and strong and tastes a bit like brown sugar. I bottle in refillable 1.5 ltre bottles which when empty, are useful for filling with water from the house when the pipes freeze. Not proud of my ability to drink stout but… it was good stout so I had plenty of empty bottles to fill with water when the pipes were frozen.
It was an incredible year and if there weren’t a lot of pictures, no one would believe it happened.
Climate Change 2021 Brought Us New Weather Words
2021 has been a disastrous year for Canadians. Most of us even learned some brand new weather-words including: “Heat dome” and Atmospheric River”. I’ll bet even you hadn’t heard of these word combinations until 2021. But wait: There’s more! Forest fires ravaged BC last year, wiping out the small town of Lytton, destroying many homes nearly everywhere else, and generally being very scary. Oh yeah there is still the pandemic too. What interesting times we all live in.
Climate Change is Real in BC
As I write this, BC’s West Coast is being drenched by yet another atmospheric river. So far we have been hit by 2 atmospheric rivers. An atmospheric river is a new, improved term for high winds and an awful lot of water. The first of these rivers hit BC’s lower mainland last week, dumping hundreds of millilitres of water throughout BC. Highways (and travellers on highways) simply vanished under new lakes or landslides. Who knows where the idyllic campsites I found in 2021 are now, or if they exist at all. And we are still at the beginning of storm season.
It’s hard to predict what the roads will be like by the time we leave on our travels next May (or June). All of the major highways in and out of BC were destroyed by mudslides and/or floods during the last storm. Amazing efforts by the BC government’s Transportation Ministry got Highway 3 back in action last week. Large sections of some highways (Like Highway 8) are simply gone, leaving the local residents stranded. Large parts of Highway 5, the major overland shipping route through BC are washed away. This created rumours of supply shortages and caused people from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island to go panic shopping.
Panic At The Costco
In Courtenay, panic stricken shoppers bought up everything from toilet paper to propane and gasoline. It’s kind of a side benefit to having a disaster- people do what they know how to do, and a lot of the time in our modern culture that means buy stuff. Toilet paper is not at the top of any Emergency supplies list.
Amazingly, Costco in Courtenay still has First AId Kits on the shelves, yet toilet paper was so endangered of being hoarded, that they had to make a limit on the number of 48 roll packages shoppers could buy. Across the street at Thrifty’s dog food was in short supply. There is no doubt that disasters are great for the economy, as they stir the masses into buying irrationally huge amounts of many products.
This week, on a regular forray to Costco to fill my 20lb propane cylinder, I witnessed at least 20 people taking home 90lbs to 300lbs of propane. We all know the average family cooking on a gas barbecue every night for a whole month will still have lots of propane in their 20 lb propane cylinder at the end of a month. 300 lbs of propane isn’t safer to store because there is a pandemic/flood/fire/heat dome. I am pretty sure disasters make the masses go quite literally insane.
Climate Change and The Irony of Consumer Panic
Ironically mass consumerism and it’s accompanying pollution is what created our current climate woes. Everything we buy is destined for the landfill anyway. When you think about it, landfill sites are filled with the hours of peoples lives that were exchanged for goods. A person works hard to buy some special thing. He saves (or borrows at some stupid interest rate) money and makes the purchase. He’s pretty proud of it and happy enough.
Can’t Get No Satisfaction
Then one day, a clever marketer plants a seed of discontent in his brain with promises of some novel improvement over the version of the product the person is happy with. Discontent grows until the new item is bought. And not long after that the product that previously brought so much happiness is turfed. All the time spent purchasing that item is now worthless to anybody. It is buried under a garbage bag of disposable diapers at the landfill
What’s a Meaningful Expenditure of Time?
People seem to have forgotten what is meaningful. What truly makes anyone content and even happy? No one would disagree that the things that make our lives meaningful are time spent making and cherishing our connections with other people, with nature, and with the world around us. Nobody will remember what you bought them for Christmas in 10 years but they’ll probably remember the time you enjoyed together over the Christmas season.
In the midst of a racaus symphony of rain beating a crazy rhythm on my roof, while the wild wind howls backed by the rhythm of the surf crashing on the beach outside my door, I just have this one uncomfortable thought: “If the human species is to survive, we’re all going to need to re-prioritize.”
This planet will be here forever. Me? I’m just passing through.Lynne Fedorick
All electric pickup trucks are coming in 2022
Fuel costs have been soaring out of this world. Many RV enthusiasts and full time RV travellers are currently really worried about their ability to continue with the RV lifestyle. A pickup truck towing a travel trailer can use twice as much gasoline as a truck that isn’t towing anything. I can’t even imagine fuel consumption for those towing apartment sized fifth wheel trailers. As much as we love the RV lifestyle, RV groups on Facebook are resounding with questions about how we are going to keep doing it? Particularly those of us who travel great distances with our tiny homes on wheels.
After the work of towing the Arfpod all over Canada, Blue’s capabilities really shine. Blue happily takes my dogs (and their doggy friends) on jaunts to remote locations with ore than adequate 4×4 capabilities. As much as I love my truck, gas prices on cross country RV jaunts have me looking at other vehicles. As much as my Nissan Xterra, “Blue” has been the best vehicle in the world for my lifestyle, I have been doing a bit of research into more economical options. I went online to research electric tow vehicles and I was happily surprised by the number of all-electric pickup trucks slated to come onto the market within the next few years.
The Time is Right for Change
The time is right for some alternatives to gas guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs. Hybrid trucks have been around for a few years now, providing at least a little relief from gas prices. Most of these seem to be Ford Trucks. I’ve owned Ford vehicles in the past and they were nothing to write home about in terms of mechanical finesse. I’m not hating on Ford trucks, but the 3 I’ve had broke down alot, no matter how new they were. So normally I would never consider getting another Ford for even a minute. But Ford is saying they will be selling a revolutionary vehicle that is a real head turner as soon as May 2022. Could the Ford F150 Lightning be the answer to crazy gas prices?
Ford’s All Electric Truck is a Head Turner
When I discovered Ford is planning to introduce The F150 Lightning an all electric truck with built in, standard 4×4 capability, I was intrigued. It wasn’t just the prospect of driving across Canada with no fuel expenses at all- imagine filling up with free electricity every 400 km or so (with the available extended range package). Still, I’m pretty sure my travelling companions would be happy riding around in the crew cab. I wouldn’t ever drive with a dog in the back of a pickup truck and I hate seeing dogs transported this way… But I diverge: The Ford Lightning excited me. There is sure lots to love about this vehicle:
- It just looks like a nice F150 truck- nothing wild and attention grabbing about the design. You could probably drive it around in Alberta, and no one would throw rocks at it.
- The Frunk: The massive storage space where the engine used to be. This space is replete with 11 built in 110 plug ins to plug in…a fridge? An electric kettle? I don’t even know. But it’s pretty cool.
- The engine has been replaced by 2 battery operated electric motors. One at each axle. That’s where the 4×4 driving capability comes from.
- You can plug it in at home, and it will take 8 hours to charge.
- Charging it on the road, you can charge it in 30 minutes, if you happen to be at the right charger.
- If there is a power outage, the F150 Lightning will power your home for up to 3 days.
- 10000 lbs towing capacity this is 5000 lbs more than Blue can handle.
- Lower maintenance costs that a gas powered vehicle, since there is no engine oil.
- The price about $60,000 buys a mid range truck with some nice bells and whistles including a back up camera and a trailer backing assistance gizmo .
Is Canada Ready For All Electric Pickup Trucks?
There are a few companies introducing some really interesting electric pickup trucks in the next 3 years, including Tesla. Tesla’s version of an all electric pickup truck looks like it was inspired by Elon Musk’s space travels. It’s pretty wild looking and sure would stand out when driving, or camping somewhere like Alberta. Chevrolet says it will have all electric trucks in production next year, but so far hasn’t been able to get a manufacturing plant set up, so, I don’t think it’s going to happen soon.
The thing is, we Canadians drive long distances. There has to be enough fast charging charging stations available. It’s not like if your battery runs down in the middle of the wilderness, BCAA could run you out some more electricity. Ford answers that by providing a map of all the EV charging stations across Canada. There are sure plenty of them. Some are faster than others, but they will all do the trick. I wondered if it would be feasible to charge a Ford Lightning at one of the local charging stations in Courtenay, especially while pulling my small trailer.
Only one way to find out: I went to check out two EV charging stations near Courtenay. Both were on Ford’s map. I pulled Blue into the one at North Island College, and my smallish SUV barely squeezed into the small-car sized parking spot. It would be difficult to charge a full sized pickup truck there, and there would be no way to charge a truck pulling a trailer there. So the next EV charging station was located in a small parking lot in Comox. It was completely doable with a pickup truck, but not a pickup truck towing a trailer.
Even as fuel costs soar, we still have a long way to go before RVers will embrace all-electric pickup trucks.
All Electric Truck Dealbreakers
There is sure lots to love about the Ford F150 Lightning. I am sure as time goes on, many people will embrace the pricey Tesla pickups too. Here is what will keep me and many other RVers who are considering replacing our gas guzzling tow vehicles with all electric versions.
- Battery range– 500 km range sounds pretty good for driving around town, but not for towing anything. Towing will cut down battery range to around 350. That would make for lo-o-ong road trips with plenty of downtime for charging batteries. And the thought of being stuck on the side of the road somewhere with browned out batteries is kind of scary.
- Battery life– No one seems to be able to honestly answer how long these batteries will stay functional or last. A gas powered car’s battery needs to be replaced every 3-4 years. Will Ford Lightning batteries be the same?
- Charging Stations: Before RVers can embrace all electric tow vehicles, there needs to be certainty that we will be able to charge our vehicles during travel. More accessible charging stations are needed throughout North America. Drivers who want to tow anything need a completely new design for electric vehicle charging stations. One that’s suitable for long vehicles. In an ideal world, there would pull through charging stations for rigs that might have a total length of 30-50 feet. If we don’t have the infrastructure, we aren’t going to buy trucks like the Ford F150 Lightning.
I guess I’ll keep loving and feeding my trusty little workhorse, Blue, until the bitter end. I’ll revisit all-electric truck idea again next year and let you know what I find. It’s sure an interesting technology.
For some reason, WordPress has decided that R-Podyssey is no longer a thing. The platform frustratingly denies that this website exists, even as I write this. So I may be leaving here and moving on to a more functional blog platform. I will be keeping you posted on this as I go.
We are happily nestled back into our seaside spot for the winter. I have lots of great ideas for new posts, and will be exploring lots of new places and ideas in the coming year. I will let you know what is going on soon I hope. Thanks for your support over the last 3 years!
Chanterelle mushroom season is upon us here on Vancouver Island. That means I am taking my travelling companions into the forest to reap this golden chanterelle bounty. If you need help identifying chanterelles, click here for a great article. You should always double check with someone in the know if you aren’t 100% sure. You can always take a few into a mushroom buyer and ask them to confirm for you. Better to be safe than sorry!
Pro mushroom picking tip #1 : Always cut, never pull.
When you pick chanterelle mushroomss, it’s really important to cut the stems carefully, rather than just pulling them up. The chanterelle mushroom is the flowering part of the fungus, and it’s mycelia, the largest part of the mushroom is underground. This is probably why you will nearly always find chanterelle mushrooms in rafts across the forest floor. By cutting the stem instead of pulling the flower part of mushroom out of the ground, you don’t disturb the mycelia at all. This might mean more mushrooms later in the season or next year. Cutting the chanterelles also helps to keep your harvest cleaner, so it’s less work when you are cleaning them.
Pro mushroom picking tip #2: Use a soft brush to clean
No matter how carefully I cut the stems on my mushrooms, they always have some detritus from the forest loam on them. So when I get them home, I dry brush them with a soft brush, and then carefully wash any remaining dirt off.
While I often dry fry Chanterelles before cooking them in vegan butter, I wanted to try something different with the motherload I picked today.
This delicious, vegan Chanterelle Mushroom Pasta was a little experiment I did that turned out to be an amazing sauce that will go with your favourite pasta.
Although I used fresh chanterelle mushrooms, there is probably no reason you couldn’t use dried mushrooms in this recipe instead of fresh chanterelles.Also, if I had white wine on hand, I would have used it instead of Shiraz, and perhaps enjoyed the lovely golden colour that help to make golden chanterelle mushrooms so appealing.
Chanterelle Pasta Sauce
- instant pot for sauteeing
- 1/4 cup Becel vegan butter
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red oinion Medium, quartered and sliced very thin
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1/4 cup red wine SHiraz or whatever you have
- 1 1/2 lbs Fresh Chanterelle Mushrooms
- 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tbsp Italian spice mix Find this in the spice aisle at the grocery store
- 1 tbsp lemon Juice
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1/4 cup oat milk
- Turn your Instant Pot on to the Saute function and wait for the beep to tell you it's hot.
- Melt vegan butter in Instant Pot and add olive oil, stir to mix
- Add onions and cook for 1 minute
- Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute
- Add wine and then chanterelle mushrooms.
- Cook for a few minutes until chanterelle mushrooms soften
- Add oat milk/cream and nutritional yeast and cook lightly until sauce is slightly thickened.
- Mix in Italian spice mix and lemon juice.
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Serve over your favorite Italian pasta. I used rigatoni, but use what you have handy.
- Sprinkle with vegan parmasan to taste