the best rv laundry hack

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.

linen hanging on clothesline on grassy seacoast
Photo by Olga Lioncat on Pexels.com

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.

I love my x-hose expandable drinking water hose

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?).

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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.

All done! Photo credit Lynne Fedorick

Wherever the heart takes us

rpod Adventure

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?

Until 2 days ago, I had acreage with a house that I worked on and made into a beautiful home. That house taught me all about all about good carpentry, plumbing, and developing patience for extensive electrical work. On one hand I can say it wasn’t easy leaving such a mentor. On the other hand although I’d like to say the house taught me that that consistent hard work was always rewarded with good things, I can’t.

The more I worked on that house, the more money I had to borrow. The more money I borrowed, the more I had to work to pay the interest on the loan payments I needed. One day I realized that the primary reason I had the old house was to store stuff I had no particular attachment to that would never bring me happiness. I was ready to let go. I was done with living a dream that included a life servitude to a bank.

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.

January 2022

old dodge truck tailgating old car with two passengers

January 2022

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.

photo: courtesy Amazon.ca

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.

Drifting…

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.

dodge truck following car on bumper

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.

person holding world globe facing mountain
SIgn There is No Planet B climate road landscape people
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

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

Photo Courtesy of Toronto Star

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.

Highways wiped out

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.

Propane Blues

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
Ford Lightning Pickup Truck towing Airstream travel trailer
Ford F-150 Truck-photo courtesy of Ford Motors Canada

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

Ford F-150 Lightning

The

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?

The futuristic looking Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup truck is slated for production in 2022

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.

Will this be My Last Post?

Dear Readers,

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!

brown mushrooms in stainless steel bowl
chanterelle mushrooms in stainless steel bowl
Chanterelle mushrooms by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

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-Mushroom sauce and Pasta

Chanterelle Pasta Sauce

Rpodyssey
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.
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 appealling.
.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Canadian
Servings 4

Equipment

  • instant pot for sauteeing

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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
Keyword becel vegan butter, chanterelle, chanterelle recipe, chanterelles, garlic, grilled mushroom recipe, instant pot, Italian spice mix, mushroom, mushrooms, oat milk, olive oil, onion, pasta, rigatoni, vegan butter, vegan main course, vegan recipe, west coast recipe, wine
Borden Bridge Regional Park, Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan is probably the last province you think of when it comes to truly great RV camping. This is probably thanks to the flat, endless, boring views afforded from the main routes across the province. Saskatchewan actually has some of the most amazing campgrounds I have stayed at. A lot of these are regional campgrounds, run by the towns they are near. As far as I’m concerned, Saskatchewan camping is one of Canada’s best-kept secrets, whether you are looking for an RV campsite for destination camping or for a nice spot to stay overnight on a road trip.

Why you need to get off the beaten track (a bit)

Lynne and a Red River Cart
Lynne and a Red River Cart- the preferred method of prairie transportation before 1900.

Saskatchewan is not an endless expanse of vast, empty spaces. But you’ll need to get off of Trans-canada Highway 1 and Highway 16 to really see the province in all it’s undulating glory. Don’t worry, the condition of the lesser travelled highways that I drove this year was nothing short of excellent. In the last few years, Saskatchewan has poured money into it”s highway system. The less frequented highways were in better condition than Transcanada Highway 1 or Highway 16. From what I saw on my travels this year, Saskatchewan highways are the best in Western Canada, with many wonderful little campgrounds in the Regional parks.

If you are crossing through Saskatchewan, I highly recommend trying a route that includes Highway 4, Highway 44, Highway 15 or Highway 11 for the often jaw-dropping scenery and friendly small towns along the way. After all, life is all about adventure.

4 RV Campgrounds in Saskatchewan You’ll Love

It was really hard to narrow it down to just 3. I should add that regional campgrounds are all around $30-$35 per night with water and 30 amp power. Saskatchewan Provincial campgrounds are around $40 per night with power only. Here are the criteria I used when I finally decided on which 3 campgrounds to include:

  • Proximity to main highways
  • Scenery including wildlife viewing
  • Amazing night skies
  • Friendliness
  • Clean
  • Dog Friendly
  • SIte set up and general vibe
  • Activities that include dogs

Without further ado, here are the 3 campgrounds we loved in Saskatchewan (not in any particular order).

Saskatchewan RV Campground #1: Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park

Drive between Swift Current Saskatchewan and Battleford on scenic Saskatchewan Highway 4 and you will find historic Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park. Driving North from Swift Current, you will see a huge mansion built from river rocks on the left just as you come into the park. It’s worth stopping and exploring this unique, beautifully constructed building. Cross the bridge and turn right, and you will come upon an expansive campground, with campsites near the water, and up the side of the valley the campground nestles in. There are plenty of trees throughout the property, but they become more sparse on the hillside, which offers trails through prickly pear cactus, and overlooking ancient Red River Wagon ruts.

There is river access in the treed campsite area close to the water.

Saskatchewan Campground #2: Craik Regional Park

Craik Regional Park is located close to the very scenic Louis Riel Trail Highway 11. Like Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, this little campground is located in a valley. But this little valley is lush with Native Prairie grass, instead of the arid topography of Saskatchewan Landing. The park itself is well treed, and campsites are spacious, each with the usual firepit and picnic table. For $5 the friendly crew that runs the park will deliver a generous supply of nice, dry firewood, including kindling and even birch bark to get your fire started,

There are kilometers of trails to explore as you observe Cranes, Hawks and other wildlife. At night the sky is covered in an amazing blanket of stars and you can listen to the yips and howls of the local coyotes singing to each other. There is even a small dugout cabin and barn at the top of a hill overlooking the campground that you can go into and explore. Be sure to look for the ancient wagon ruts made across the prairie by the wheels Red River carts as homesteaders moved across the west. Across the road from the campground, you can find more trails, and a botanical garden.

Craik Regional campground is a unique spot, not to be missed on a journey across Canada

Saskatchewan Campground #3-Fieldstone Campground and RV Park

Fieldstone Campground and RV Park is situated along Trans-Canada Highway 1 near the town of Moosomin. The town of Moosomin has it’s own amazing regional park right on Moosomin lake. However, it is about 15 minutes drive down gravel roads. The regional park has a lot of activities for families. I was put off of camping there by signs that warned that any barking by the dogs would result in them having to leave. While the Arfpod gang is quiet generally, I can’t expect any of them to never bark. So, with that we were off to Fieldstone Campground and RV park, where we spent the night.

Fieldstone Campground and RV Park is a really nice campground, that is about 5 minutes from the Highway, so no matter what, there is noise from Highway 1. The park has enough amenities to make it a pleasant stay for anyone looking for a super private campsite.

First off, every one of this campground’s spacious, fully serviced campsites are pull-alongside, which means no backing in! Plus, the campsites are designed so the RV provides privacy by being parked across the front of the campsite. By the time we arrived from our jaunt out to Moosomin Regional Park, it was dark, so this ingenious campsite design was way more than welcome. Nobody really likes backing a trailer at night.

Now for the amenities: There were some nice trails cut through a pretty meadow. They made for a nice meander with the doggies. For those who travel with children, there is a decent playground, and a dugout swimming pond, complete with water features that make it into a fun water-park.

Grilled Mushrooms Recipe:

marinated grilled veggies

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

marinated grilled mushrooms
Photo credit Lynne Fedorick

I’m excited ’cause it’s almost mushroom season on the coast. This is another amazing vegan recipe that anyone will love, even if you don’t do plant based. This delicious grilled mushroom recipe is made with portobello mushrooms, but trying it with bolete mushrooms is on my culinary bucket list. The secret is in the marinade, made with Bragg sauce, available at most grocery stores in the spice aisle. While you’re there, look for liquid smoke, it’s a staple in vegan kitchens and adds a nice smoked flavour to stews and chili too.

A Great Campfire Recipe

I love cooking food in my grill basket over a wood campfire. I don’t do propane barbequing, because wood is so handy and I really like the smoky flavour it gives to barbecued food. However, there’s no reason you can’t try this marinated mushroom recipe on a propane barbecue. I would even try it in the oven under the broiler for a late fall treat on a rainy day.

Grilled Vegetables Make This Recipe Perfect

The grilled veggies in this recipe make it more than just grilled portobello mushrooms. Grilled Tomatoes, onions, and peppers add nutrients add flavour. If you like, try adding a few Italian Beyond Sausages to add protein and make a complete and satisfying meal.

marinated grilled veggies

Marinated Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

This is a simple but delicious vegan recipe that goes great in a grill basket over a campfire, but it's equally yummy done under the broiler of your oven.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Barbecue or campfire grill basket

Ingredients
  

  • 4 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 thick sliced onion I like red, but use what you have
  • 12 Grape tomatoes
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 2 Beyond meat sausages cut in 1 inch pieces

Marinade

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Brag Sauce
  • 2 tbsp HP Sauce you can also use vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 cloves garlic crushed and chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp liquid smoke

Instructions
 

Prepare the Veggies

  • Wash and dry all of your veggies
  • cut the peppers into bite sized bits
  • slice the onion into 1/4 thick slices
  • Put the mushrooms and veggies into a marinating tray or baking pan. Be sure the mushrooms are gill side up.

Make the marinade

  • Whisk all of the marinade ingredients together until they are one beautiful, aromatic marinade.
  • Pour the marinade over the mushrooms, veggies, allowing it to sink into the mushrooms, especially.
  • Allow the mushrooms and veggies to marinate for 10- 20 minutes or even more, if you can.
  • put the veggies and mushrooms into a flat grill basket and slowly grill over a fire until they are somewhat soft and the onions are translucent.
  • Enjoy

Notes

You can add Beyond Meat sausages to your vegetables to make an easy complete meal, but this is entirely up to you,
Keyword alberta, balsamic vinegar, barbecue, bc, bragg, campfire, comox valley, grilled, grilled mushroom recipe, grilled recipe, lemon juice, liquid smoke, mushrooms, plant based, portobello, recipe, rpod adventure, vegan recipe, vegan sidedish, vegetables
bannock

Bannock: Easy, Versatile, Deliciousness

Are you ready to have something better than bread for breakfast or a sandwich?   When you are camping do you want to feed your kids something more nutritious than a hotdog or marshmallow, that can be roasted on a stick or even in a pie iron over a campfire?  Well, don’t panic, there’s bannock! 

Bannock: the versatile bread

Bannock is a versatile treat that is super easy to make and even easier to eat. I used to always make bannock Scottish style, in the oven, or else wrapped around a fat stick and roasted slowly and patiently over a campfire.  But then one day, I ran out of burger buns.  What to do? 

Bannock to the rescue

Well, bannock to the rescue!  It was time to try frying my bannock recipe.  I had my little outdoor stove set up on Helen’s old picnic table on the beach.  I heated up my cast iron skillet and melted a generous amount of vegan butter.  When everything was ready, I added my bannocks, fried one side to golden deliciousness, and then flipped then over and did the same on the other side. 

This Bannock Recipe is Best Enjoyed Anywhere

Helen and I assembled our bannock burgers, with all the fixings and ate them in chairs around an oceanside campfire as the seals and sea lions swam by.   There is no going back to baked bannock, especially as I travel.  I wonder at the marvels that could be- Vegan bannock pizza pockets,  bannock pan pies…so much to try…my bannock bucket list could be endless.  

bannock

The Best Bannock Recipe

Rpodyssey
Bannock is a yummy, simple Canadian bread that can be baked, roasted on a stick over a fire, or fried and is best served with plenty of butter (vegan of course!) and jam, or used to wrap a yummy vegan burger.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Canadian, scottish
Servings 4
Calories 220 kcal

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Chafing Pan
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp flax or olive oil *optional if baking or roasting over a campfire

Instructions
 

  • Measure all dry ingredients into a large bowl
  • Mix well
  • Add water and mix to form a soft, very slightly sticky, dough
  • Divide dough into 4 equal parts.
  • Roll each part into a ball with your hands
  • Pat each ball to into a circle, 1/2 inch thick
  • Heat 2 tbsp vegan butter or oil over medium heat in a large skillet.
  • When the vegan butter has melted, add as many bannocks as will fit comfortably in the pan.
  • Cook each side until golden brown on side, flipping as necessary. Cooking time per side will be 5 to 7 minutes. When bannocks are nice and puffy they are ready and delicious.

Notes

Are you ready to have something better than bread for breakfast or a sandwich?   When you are camping do you want to feed your kids something more nutritious than a hotdog or marshmallow, that can be roasted on a stick or even in a pie iron over a campfire?  Well, don’t panic, there’s bannock!  This Bannock recipe makes a versatile treat that is super easy to make and even easier to eat. 
I used to always make bannock Scottish style, in the oven, or wrapped around a fat stick and roasted slowly and patiently over a campfire.  But then one day, I ran out of burger buns.  What to do?  Well, bannock to the rescue!  It was time to try fried bannock.  I had my little outdoor stove set up on Helen’s old picnic table on the beach.  I heated up my cast iron skillet and melted a generous amount of vegan butter.  When everything was ready, I added my bannocks, fried one side to golden deliciousness, and then flipped then over and did the same on the other side.  Helen and I assembled our bannok burgers, with all the fixings and ate them in chairs around an oceanside campfire as the seals and sea lions swam by.   There is no going back to baked bannock, especially as I travel.  
I wonder at the marvels that could be- Vegan bannock pizza pockets,  bannock pan pies…so much to try…my bannock bucket list could be endless.  
Keyword baked, bread, campfire, First Nation, fried, grilled, Metis, quick bread, Scottish, vegan sidedish
3 pointers in forest river r-pod
6 Tips for RV Living with Dogs

The Truth about RV Living With Dogs

When I first started on this journey, I was warned “those dogs will wreck your trailer”. I thought “what a ridiculous statement”, as I looked at my 4 amazing dogs who had never before shown any aptitude for destroying anything, except maybe breaking some hearts. I realized I couldn’t just expect them to suddenly plunge into the RV lifestyle. Careful planning and preparation would indeed be necessary.

I eased all my dogs into thinking of the RV as home, wherever we happen to be. I always make sure I meet their mental and physical needs, every day. All day long. And this system seems to have worked. I can’t say without a little damage: Jolene (the lemon pointer) once went through an open window screen, but that was quick and easy to replace. I carry a window screen kit in my rv tool kit. Anyhow, nearly 2 years later, we are now in Alberta once again planning a trip across the Canadian prairies and beyond. Living with dogs in a small RV is entirely doable. You just need to prepare.

If you are planning to RV with your dog, whether full time or just on an occasional jaunt, this blog post is just for you. Here are 7 tips for successful RV living with dogs

Tip #1 for RV Living with dogs: Deal with behaviour issues before you go

white short coated dog
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If your dog is prone to having an anxiety attack when you are out of sight, living in an RV is not going to suddenly make him suddenly become more comfortable when you are gone. If you have a reactive dog who is either frightened in new situations, or who barks at, lunges at or bites people or other animals, life on wheels will not cause him to suddenly become chill. Reactive behaviour, aggression and separation anxiety always get worse with constant changes to the environment. Help your dog to get over them before you begin RV living.

Get Expert Help

If you aren’t an accredited dog behaviour expert, the easiest route will be through working with a CPDT-KA or KSA dog trainer or IAABC Dog behaviour consultant. For helpful dog training and behaviour tips, check out my dog training blog here: https://mydoggeek.com/category/dog-training-tips/

Tip #2 for RV Living With Dogs: Check ahead that your campground is dog friendly

4 paws kingdom agility park
4 Paws Kindom RV Park is in the Blueridge Mountains of North Carolina. Photo courtesy of 4 Paws Kingdom Agility Park

Do some research online and if you are booking into a private campground, be sure to let your host know you are bringing a dog or three. They like to know these things. There are some great campgrounds for camping with dogs out there. Some even have amenities such as fenced dog parks, pools for dogs, and dog activities such as training and agility courses (ok, these ones are in the US, not in Canada yet)

Don’t get gouged:

Always be careful where you stay: We got gouged on an overnight stop in the South Okanagan when we were charged $20 for each of the 4 dogs. Some campgrounds charge a “head tax” on dogs.

Ask About Breed Bans

Some private campgrounds have breed specific bans, so If you are travelling with a bully breed, Rottweiller, Boxer, German Shepherd Dog, or other largish dog, ask before you reserve. There is nothing like getting to your campground, travel weary and anticipating a restful stay, only to find out they don’t want your dog there.

Provincial Parks or National Park Campgrounds are a good option

Provincial and National Parks campgrounds and Forest Recreation sites are a good choice for travellers with dogs, regardless of breed. There are no breed restrictions, and although dogs have to be on leash, there are usually a few choices of trails to walk on.

Practice living in the RV
Sadly, last September we lost the eldest member of our travelling troupe, little Alice, after 14 years of awesomeness.
Practice Makes Perfect- Photo Credit: Lynne Fedorick 2018

RV Living with Dogs Tip #3: Practice makes Perfect

Practice camping in your RV with your dog before you leave the driveway. If you practice living in the RV at home with your dog, he’ll regard it as home. I stayed in the Arfpod for months with for months in my dogs while my house was staged for sale. It gave the dogs a chance to learn that the routine was always going to be the same. After a short time (like me) the 4 dogs really prefered the cozy space of the the Arfpod to being in the house.

woman feeding white and black dalmatian puppy
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

RV Living With Dogs Tip # 4: Keep a regular routine

Dogs love a routine. Schedule doesn’t really matter much, but the order and way you do things help a dog to trust the universe. If your dogs routine follows the order: Walk, training, breakfast, relaxing on the couch, play, train, cookies, relax, walk, eat dinner, cookies, relax, then he’ll be happiest if you keep the same basic routine wherever you go.

RV Living With Dogs Tip # 5: Exercise Creativity

You should always leash your dog on walks at campgrounds or in any environment that’s strange for your dog. Your dog will be distracted in a new environment and may not have the same reliability as he does at home. He may even be more reactive than usual to new dogs or people.

That being said, walks on leash force dogs to walk at an unnatural pace. Dogs off leash normally run or trot and only walk after they are good and tired. Leashed walks rarely provide enough exercise for a medium or large sized dog. Dogs need aerobic exercise and a chance to stretch their limbs in a way that builds and sustains muscles.

Luckily there are lots of ways to help your dog to get a good daily workout even when you are travelling. Here is a list of our favourite doggy workouts, that are easy to do anywhere.

Fetch: Many dogs love to play fetch. If you can’t find a safe, off leash area, your dog can play fetch on a long line. Here is a link to my video about training a retreive:

Watch this video to teach your dog to retreive

Dog Parkour: Dog parkour uses objects in the environment as agility obstacles for exercise, mental stimulation and a whole lot of fun! Find out more about dog parkour here: http://www.dogparkour.org

Yoga Ball Balancing: Use Yoga Ball training to help strengthen your dog’s core muscles while providing mental stimulation.

Earl keeps his figure at 13 years old with Yoga Ball Balancing

Acrobatic Tricks. Acrobatic tricks are a fun way for young dogs to burn off a lot of energy while building and maintaining fitness and coordination. Hoop jumps are an easy trick to teach most dogs. Here is a video about how to teach your dog to have fun jumping through a hoop.

How to teach your dog to jump through a hoop
Pointer dog
Annabelle learned about barbed wire the hard way Photo credit: Lynne Fedorick

Tip # 6 for Living With Dogs in an RV: Have a veterinarian handy

It’s really, really important to find out where the nearest veterinarian is, in case there is a veterinary emergency. Last week, young Annabelle the Elhew Pointer had a wrestling match with the neighbour’s barbed wire fence at 10 pm at night. We were glad to know the local veterinarian was Rocky Rapids Veterinary Services. Annabelle had multiple deep wounds on her left front leg and a gaping wound on her chest. I was glad to be able to have a vet meet us and perform emergency surgery at 10:30 pm. Annabelle is on the mend now, thanks to the speed at which were able to get services. Dealing with any emergency is always easier when we are prepared.

Tip #7 for Living With Dogs in An RV: Bring A Dyson Cordless Vacuum Cleaner

Considerable dog hair and bits of the flotsam and jetsam of camp life come into this little Rpod 180 every day. Having a Dyson cordless vacuum to clean it up is essential to not living up to my neck in dog hair and additional stuff. Even with their short coats, the pointers shed their weight in hair. I could probably make a whole other dog every week from it.

I’ll admit I was hesitant at first to buy one of these expensive little vacuum cleaners. They were far more expensive than anything else in the vacuum department at Bestbuy. But I am so glad to be able to thoroughly pick up messes quickly and easily without any hassle. After 3 years the Dyson is still undaunted by the massive amount of dog hair it inhales. As a bonus, the Dyson takes up little room and stores out of site on the wall in the bathroom.

“The robb’d that smiles, steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.”

William Shakespeare, Othello

Photo credit: Lynne Fedorick

Stuff: A paradox in Drayton Valley

When I started this journey a year and a half ago, I did so with the idea that RV living would be a temporary adventure until I found a suitable piece of land and built a small house in Alberta. I had packed up my stuff, all the things that I used to fill up my house, (minus the furniture and larger bits) into boxes and hinged lidded Rubbermaid trunks. There was a lot of stuff I didn’t want to part with: Old Photos, books, carpentry and renovation tools, rapidly becoming obsolete electronics, dinnerware and all the necessities for performing with my trick dogs as part of local events, (should Covid health guidelines ever relax).

Even after I downsized, these were were among the many items that I shipped to a 10×8 foot locker in a storage facility in Drayton Valley, Alberta. The place promised the best security and used a special coded phone app to open the automatic gate. The woman at the front desk promised the site was constantly monitored by security cameras and proudly proclaimed “We’ve had only ever had one theft incident here.”

After living in my RV for a year, I changed my mind about buying land and resurrecting my dog training business in Alberta. I was really happy in my RV. The Arfpod gives me everything I need in a living space, plus I have the ability to be completely mobile, visiting our friends and family year round. The Arfpod is perfect. Except it doesn’t fit all my stuff.

Earl Balanced Photo Credit Lynne Fedorick

Balance

But I can spend winters with friends on the beach, working and helping people with dog behaviour problems on Vancouver Island. I spend summers on the prairies, visiting Georgie, Stella, and the rest of the family. It’s a perfect balance. My stuff could stay in storage in Drayton Valley for the time being. But my 5 year plan is to keep this wonderful mobile lifestyle, so the cost of storage would be over 7000 for that period. Trick dog equipment for trick training classes and West Coast shows at local events and charities would be inaccessible. Payload capacity limits meant it couldn’t all fit in my vehicle when I headed back out to the coast. I would need to get it shipped to a facility in Black Creek. Another $1200. So what to do?

I have to admit, I stressed about all the stuff that was tucked away safely at Drayton Valley Storage. I resolved to give more stuff away, and then get the remainder shipped back to the coast, with the trick dog equipment and have it stored there. Having made this resolution, I went to retrieve a few items, including Earl’s beloved red toy piano from my storage locker.

Earl playing his piano: Credit Lynne Fedorick

I opened the 3/8 inch plywood door to my locker, walked in, and went to turn on the light. The little room remained darkened. “Why?” I wondered. I don’t ever leave lights on, so it seemed odd that the bulb would be burned out. But okay. Whatever. I went to get Earl’s piano out of the trunk. The trunk was not there. I looked and saw the portable PA speaker we use for shows was gone. Along with all my saws and all my tools. Every last box had been opened and rifled through, except those that were labelled “books”. Some entire boxes were missing. I was in shock. Indeed.

Nothing as it seems

I looked at the 3/8 inch sheet metal screws hanging loosely from the hinges on the outside of the locker. Evidently, the thieves had easily taken my door off the hinges and had spent a long time in my locker going through stuff and picking out what they wanted. Why they took trick dog show props is beyond me. I would have to get my remaining stuff out of there. Thieves always return and as I loaded up a few dishevelled boxes I saw the missing chain link fence on right side of the yard. The place was not secure at all. I loaded up what I could with 3 dogs in my vehicle and figured I should inform Candice, at the front desk that someone had removed my door from the hinges and robbed me blind. She would no doubt be concerned.

Candice didn’t look at all surprised when went into the office and I told her. After a few seconds, her eyes shifted up from her computer, and with apparent effort, she stood up from her seat. She says bluntly to me: “You must have been targeted. No one else has reported being broken into” Since no one but me knew where my storage locker was, this was impossible. I tell her about the other lockers in my block that showed signs of either forced entry, or hanging hinges. Maybe other locker owners should be informed. Candice doesn’t blink, and firmly says that there were no other thefts.

We emptied the locker by the end of the day, and I tried to file a police report. It took 4 days before an officer called me to get the full report, and there is probably no hope of ever seeing any of our stuff again.

There is a good possibility this was an inside job with facility staff either being a part of the theft, or turning a blind eye to it. Police don’t receive enough funding here to properly investigate property crimes unless there is a threat to human life involved.

Drayton Valley property crime

But rampant property crimes are so widespread in Drayton Valley that absolutely no one is unscathed by them. A current community project being funded by private donations is the new community aquatic centre. The building is in the process of being framed with tall steel posts and beams triumphantly marking the spot that will house the new aquatic centre. The site is surrounded by a compound of steel construction fence panels. Last week, to no one’s surprise, thieves broke into the compound and robbed it of construction materials and tools.

Poverty pits an entire community of neighbours against one another here in a relentless battle of wits. Everything not nailed down or locked up, including family dogs and livestock gets stolen here. There is so much extreme poverty in Drayton Valley due to job losses, that people perched on the line between honesty and a life of crime is easily pushed over the brink into the latter. Poverty, drug use, a lack of police services has caused the property crime rate here has climb to extreme levels. Criminals have learned there are no police services here between shifts and on weekends. They come from all over Alberta to target this little town that once thrived on oil and gas money.

Anyway…

I didn’t set out to do a dissertation on property crime in Drayton Valley or to write a harsh criticism of the town. Drayton Valley is struggling to do it’s best under the burden of ridiculously hard economic times. In some ways things seem to be improving here since last year. I see many more people here busy working and bustling about. A new painted mural in the business district of Drayton Valley has a bison’s head on either side, each staring at a script that spells out “Strength”. And the little town will sure need strength to draw it through these difficult times.

I’ ve been relieved of anything that had value in any of Alberta’s pawn shops. l still have boxes of old photographs, old books and writing projects that I never finished from back when I had a clackity old Underwood typewriter and some art supplies. I have very little stuff left now. While I am not happy to be involuntarily stripped of my material possessions, It feels kind of good not to have to worry about having them anymore. I actually feel even more free than when I drove into town worrying about what I was going to do with all my stuff. Freedom is kind of frightening when it first arrives and beckons us from the comfort of old habits. But I am getting more than used to it. I am really starting to like it.

Life is good

On today’s schedule are: A bike ride with George and Earl , cuddles with Stella, bikejoring with Annabelle, acrobatic trick practice with Jolene and then preparing a book submission for a publisher. At the end of the day, I will raise a glass or two of excellent scotch with two of my favourite humans on the planet. I really like this life.

Wapiti Campground Jasper National Park

“When even shadows need shadows to cool off, you must know that the weather is incredibly hot!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

Heat Wave

The record heat wave the West was experiencing brought blistering heat here and everywhere else in the Western region of Canada. We had narrowly escaped the 42-degree heat of Blue River, and continued through to the immensely popular Wapiti campground at Jasper National Park. We were lucky to get in without a reservation, but really only spent the night because I needed rest. The Quebecois national park attendant warned me that the female Elk were particularly aggressive this time of year because they were protecting young calves. Of course, there were also the bears that are ubiquitous to Canadian Camping as well. Neither of these seemed as much a threat to me as the dense population of humans camped out in clusters of tents that sprawled throughout the open landscape of the sparsely treed campground.

City of Tents

The sites at this campground are open to neighbouring campsites, but they all seem to have incredible views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Neighbouring campers take care to avoid eye contact with one another, and if some sort of meeting is inevitable at the communal dishwashing sink, a polite and brief exchange of awkward “Hi!”s ensues as dishes are washed and then rinsed and before campers are on their way. It is like a small city of tents nestled in this park in the Rocky mountains.

There is no cell service here. I think that is what makes people greet each other at all instead of craning their necks down at cell phones.

Multiple large piles of firewood stand as rapidly disappearing monuments to recently logged pine and spruce trees. Two girls watched from a neighbouring campsite as I (deftly) backed into my small campsite and carefully lined the trailer up (with precision)against three pines at the back of the campsite. This would be a fine place to settle for the night, even though there were no hook-ups.

The World is a Thirsty Place

Even in this fading sunlight, It was too hot to walk the dogs. So I busied myself filling water bottles at the dishwashing sink, since there hadn’t been potable water at our last few stops in the North Thompson and we’d already used up the 11 gallons that we travel with. The 3 road trip addled dogs accompanied me. A middle aged Malaysian woman stood at the sink and washed dishes until she saw us. Oh myyyy….your dogs are very thirsty. Let me fill your bottles. How can you keep them from having water? That’s so meannnnnn….” She chided (with some glimmer of delight in her dark eyes) as she filled my bottles for me. Yeesh. The dogs were thirsty. I was thirsty. “The world is thirsty right now” I thought. I said “This water is for them. Thank you for your help!” We now had a gallon of water. We would have to conserve it to last through the night. I dropped two ice cubes into a glass and covered them with the Shelter Point Scotch I have for such emergencies.

Little Fires Everywhere

I didn’t avail myself of the Park attendant’s invitation to have a campfire. It was just too hot. As night fell, we took a much-needed stroll around the dirt roads of the campground and saw the campground was dotted with the orange glow of campfires. The kindling on what was once a forest floor crunched under my feet as I cut through an empty campsite on my way home. It was too dry for a campfire.

BC Highway 1-Juniper Beach
Multiple trains are a thing here Photo Credit Lynne Fedorick

The joys of travelling on Highway 1 through BC

This year, I decided to travel an easier highway than the Coquihalla. We traveled through the start of a heat wave on scenic BC Highway 1, through the beautiful Marble Canyon provincial park. I loved this route. It was gorgeous in it’s barren landscapes dotted with pine groves and blue-green sage bushes. The sparsely travelled highway winds it’s way along through sleepy towns and has plenty of pull-outs and rest stops where we could stretch our legs, give the dogs water or get a bite to eat. By now, you’ll know that when I say “we” I am referring to me and the dogs I work and travel with. Travelers with dogs greatly appreciate such accoutrements, which are rarely available on the immensely more popular Coquihalla Highway.

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I like to drive a little slower than many travellers when I am asking my Xterra to tow the weight of the Arfpod. Hills are taxing on a vehicle, whether going up or down them. I want my Xterra to be worry-free for a few more years, so I Indulge it when I can. I really loved that there were big rigs and semis on this highway. Passing lanes are plentiful, something where I find the Coquihalla lacking.

Official Numbered Routes Courtesy Province of BC

The only really tough climb on BC Highway 1 for the Xterra was a long steep hill called Jackass Mountain. It was hot enough through there that when the engine thermometer on the control display climbed, I pulled over to give my Xterra a much-needed break. It was by then too hot to walk the dogs around on the pavement of the pullouts. At least it was great to have plentiful and scenic rest areas. We had some great camping just west of Kamloops at Juniper Beach along the way.

A lovely camp set up at Juniper Beach Phot Credit, Lynne Fedorick

An oasis by the mighty Thompson River

Juniper Beach is a smaller Provincial Park Campground. It has the atmosphere of a gorgeous little oasis planted with Juniper bushes and peacefully shady Tamarac trees right on the edge of the Thompson River. As I was setting up, the aroma of frying trout (hope I’m not going to vegan hell for saying that?) gave me the impression that there was good fishing in the area.

Earl enjoyed the cold Thompson River Water after our hot journey up Highway 1 Photo Credit Lynne Fedorick

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RV Maintenance

RV Maintenance

There are many things I don’t miss about living in a sticks and bricks house. Not the least of these is the endless, never ending list of house maintenance chores. Because of this list, I don’t think I ever sat and just relaxed in my house like I do both in and out of my R-Pod.

Moving into an RV doesn’t get you out of household maintenance chores though. As a matter of fact, with an RV, skipping or even simply delaying maintenance jobs can get you into real trouble. There are just fewer jobs to do, and most of them can be easily completed in a few hours.

Here is a list of jobs I do on the Rpod before every trip:Fix things that broke indoors and tighten up or reseal any loose plumbing

RV Maintenance Job #1: Repair RV Interior items as necessary

repair tools near brick wall
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

The truth is, everytime I tow the R-Pod anywhere, it’s like a miniature, roving earthquake. I have to tie down everything. I alway put spring bars in the kitchen cabinets to keep pantry items from bouncing out of the little kitchen cabinets above the dining area/couch. Plumbing fittings and cabinet hardware loosen and need to be tightened. Plumbing joints all get checked and resealed as necessary. Moisture is the enemy of RVs. After last year’s ramblings the bathroom door managed to re-adjust itself, so it no longer catches on closing. I haven’t figured out an easy fix for this yet.

I like to change my smoke detector battery every 6 months. You might think this is excessive. I justify it because every morning it lets me know that my toast might start burning soon. I don’t know that makes a smoke detector chew batteries faster, but it’s not a chance I want to take. This is also when I turn my fire extinguisher upside down and give it a few shakes to keep it operational.

RV Maintainance Job #2: Clean, polish, protect

Before I leave on my trip, everything has to be cleaned and polished. Laundry has to be done including the amazing area rug I got from Marshalls last year. This area rug is amazing because it fits my floor perfectly, it’s machine washable and fast drying on an awning arm or the spare tire mount. And it looks good too!

The outside of the Arfpod gets a thorough inspection and wash too. I use a special cleaner that’s meant for fiberglass and then follow that up with a gel coat protectant. As I go, I can check for spider cracks or anything else that might let water in. Last year’s ugly and angry winter storms brought down some branches that cracked the gel coat in a couple of places. A bit of a concern, but I am going to get it fixed when I get back in the Fall.

I also like to dress all the rubber seals that keep moisture from seeping through around the doors and the slide twice a year. The product I use is made just for this purpose by Camco.

The stabilizer jacks, and hitch get greased every 6 months so they keep working, even with my amateur-hour backup and parking gaffs.

RV Maintenance Job #3: Exterior caulking

Every 2 Years caulking needs to be stripped out and replaced with new caulking. I read the directions to the part about stripping the old caulking, and decided to have the caulking replaced by my local RV dealer. I know many RVers who do this themselves, but it sounds like a horrible job and besides I like to support local business.

RV Maintenance Job #4: Tires and wheels

chrome car wheel with tire
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Because I tow my trailer more than the average camper, I check my tires before every trip and make sure they are inflated to 50lbs PSI. I carry a rechargeable tire inflator/battery charger.

Retorque the wheels before every trip. One of the things I had to learn as a newby RV owner was how to use a torque wrench to make sure my trailer wheels don’t loosen or even fall off.

RV Maintenance Job #5: Tow Vehicle Maintainance

man fixing vehicle engine
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Every time I have ever needed a tow-truck on a road trip, I have been introduced to a new modern day, land-pirate. So, I like to avoid vehicle problems on the road. It’s really important to stay on top of vehicle maintenance tasks like changing out all the vehicle fluids and getting a checkover from my trusty mechanic, Sheldon. I want to give him a plug here, because he is super awesome.

The last Job #6: Lose Weight

rv maintenance weight scale
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My Nissan Xterra tow vehicle is a pretty amazing little truck. I want to keep it that way, so before I make it tow the Arfpod, I shave weight off wherever I can. I always accumulate things I don’t really need or use. Liquids are deceptively heavy. A single gallon of water weighs 10 lbs. So I empty all the tanks, except the freshwater tank, which I leave just 10 gallons in for travelling with. I even try to lose weight myself, but so far my body maintains a little bit of extra me. Perhaps in case of a famine. Who knows…haha!

RV maintenance jobs that you need to do

woman looking at the map
woman looking at the map
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Travel between health districts is banned in BC for now. With Covid cases rocketing across the prairies, and only a handful here on the island, it seems prudent to stay put. Here in the sun. On a beach. On the East coast of Vancouver Island. While I miss little George, wee Stella, and the kids, and an adventurous way of life, exploring the wonders that Nomad life and Canada hold, here is not a bad place to have to stay put. In the meantime, I get to prepare for future journeys when things open up. The first step, travel planning, is the most fun.

Travel Planning

Road Map Western Canada

The first thing I did was order some British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba road maps from BCAA. BCAA and their affiliated Automobile Associations across North America offer free road maps as one of the benefits of membership with them. Other benefits include roadside assistance which can be costly if you break down on the road, especially if the only towing service is Pirate Pete’s Recovery, . I highly recommend anyone setting out on a road trip in their RV get an RV membership and travel medical insurance with their local Automobile Association. It’s just peace of mind so we can enjoy the journey. There are other organizations that offer roadside assistance packages especially for RVs, but after thorough research, I don’t think they have any advantages over BCAA’s RV Roadside Assistance program.

I also ordered a great Roadmap of Western Canada from Amazon.ca, which has rest stops, camping spots and of course, many detailed routes throughout the Western provinces. It has more detail than the BCAA maps, and more knowledge is better, right?

So, why paper road maps, you are (maybe) asking?

Well, the thing is, Google maps and Apple maps can only direct you as long as there is a cell signal. And there are many places (like the Rockies or Rural Manitoba) where there is no cellular service at all, and Wifi may only be available in the public libraries in small towns along the way. Which doesn’t really help at all.

Camp Free in BC

I also got a very cool book called Camp Free in BC from Amazon.ca. It has about 50 different campsites, mainly Forest Service Campsites which are basic enough, but fulfill the need for peaceful boondocking near easily accessed yet amazing lakes (and some rivers) for free, or at least really cheap.

My R-Pod is well equipped for boondocking, with a 60 gallon grey tank, a 60 gallon black tank and a 30 gallon fresh water tank. It is also set up to run things on solar power, so I feel pretty well equipped for boondocking at some of the sites mentioned in the book. But I am not gonna lie. I really like my conveniences, so boondocking is just going to continue to be an option.

Testing the waters of Klaklamaka Lake

On a recent, Saturday trip for work up to Port McNeill, I checked out one of the campsites that Camp Free in BC listed, at Klaklakama Lake. As promised, it was an easy drive to the lakeside campground, with two well-designed sites for two campers. Each site had a picnic table and a firepit. There was even an older-looking, green-painted outhouse. When I got there, there was no one else there. The dogs had a swim and I was about to shuck clothes and walk into the warmish, crystal clear waters from the sandy beach at the lower campsite when the grumble of a big grey Dodge Ram diesel truck with a camper on the back arrived next to where I was parked.

The 50ish male driver and his female companion jumped out and asked me if I was going to be there long, since they wanted my spot. I don’t know if it was normal camper etiquette. I thought it was pretty rude. The pair probably were probably regulars there so I told them I’d take off in half an hour. They stood and stared impatiently at me as I had my picnic lunch and played more with my dogs and then got everyone and everything packed up.

Anyway, it was a nice little spot, and it made me even more interested in checking out some of the other local sites in the little book.

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