Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Some story progress and...

Well, I did make a wee breakthrough with my story yesterday while out for my walk. Part of what was bothering me I realized was the way the story opened. I'd already changed it once, but found the first meet still didn't quite seem right. So I came up with another idea that I'm going to try out tomorrow!

Today I checked out one of the gyms in the area and will look into another two soon. Must make up my mind before too much longer though. Especially with a family wedding coming up in just over three weeks.

And, last but not least, I finally finished putting together my Windshield Chronicles and have posted them over on their own blog. I decided to do a separate blog as there are lots of pics and they'd clog this one up for quite a while. Also, I figured not everyone is going to want to wade through all the pics and my pithy commentary *g*. Those of you on dial-up be warned - these will take a while to load.

Now, I must get ready to order pizza for dinner :-)


Link of the Day: The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Just a quick post...

to say thanks to everyone for the advice.

I've spent much of the morning working on my photos of the trip - readying them for the blog, but now have stuff to do, so can't do a regular post as well. Hope y'all have a lovely day :-)

To my friends in Ottawa - talk about a change in weather - wow, one extreme to the other. Watch yourselves in that heat!!


Link of the Day: Happy Cat Haven
Bonus Link of the Day: Word Wenches

Monday, May 29, 2006

It's Monday morning..

and a tad grey here again. But that's ok. I've lots to do and none of it is weather dependent.

First, though, I'm back on DSL!!! Yay. The package arrived the other day and Sean got it up and running on Saturday afternoon. Very cool. Hope to get some pics up soon.

Does anyone here watch Galactica? See the Season 2 finale this weekend? Talk about a plot twist! Can't believe we have to wait till January. Sheesh.

I spent much of yesterday working on rebuilding my website. Hopefully I'll get it back up soon. I've been blogging so much that my html skills have lapsed.

In fact, I spent so much time on my behind, I finally told myself I had to get up and get moving. So I went for a walk. It helped me feel better and got me thinking about my ms. There's something about the story that isn't quite working and I'm still trying to put my finger on it. Very frustrating. Ya know what I mean? When everything seems as though it's been covered, yet you just have that niggling in the back of your mind telling you you're missing a key element? Any suggestions on how to figure it out? Maybe that's why I've been procrastinating about getting back to it. Hmmm.


Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes
Also Currently Reading: Book for review
Link of the Day: Eighteenth Century Women Writers Timeline

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A day in Vancouver...

Don't worry - I didn't disappear again. Just spent yesterday in town with my mother-in-law, which meant leaving at 7:30am for the ferry. That put us in Horseshoe Bay just after 9, to start our day of shopping for dresses to wear to my brother-in-law's wedding (now under 4 weeks away - aack!) We tried a consignment shop first, then headed over to the Oak Ridge Mall to start our quest - an unsuccessful one ultimately. I did try on a few dresses - one was almost right, but not quite and I didn't want to take the chance that alterations wouldn't work.

At 1:15 we left to pick my niece up from school - she hadn't been expecting to see me and was quite surprised! I can't believe how quickly she's growing. A quick snack and a visit with her cats followed, then it was off to her gymnastics class. The time there flew - it was great fun watching all the kids at different stages (at one point there were at least 3 classes going on), but especially cool to see my niece learning a lot of the stuff I did oh, so many years ago. She's a natural athlete and shows lots of promise, but mostly she seems to have fun, which is what's really important.

After dropping one tuckered little gymnast off at her mum's, we tried a couple of more stores in a different area of the city, but still, nothing. Then, on our way to the ferry terminal, we got stuck in a huge traffic jam. Seems 200 cyclists were protesting something (there were no banners saying what) by riding all at once across the Lion's Gate Bridge - just after rush hour. We sat, barely moving, for well over 30 mins. But at last things cleared and we were able to get to Whole Foods for dinner to take to the ferry line - I put together a yummy dish from their salad bar, but also broke down and bought a package of their double-chocolate chunk cookies.

The ferry was a little late coming in, but that didn't matter as I had my newly-acquired copy of RT's 30th Anniversary issue to read after eating. Of course by this point it was also raining, so we had a wet drive home when we reached Langdale. All in all, though, a fantastic day! But it was nice to get home :-)

My link of the day, for those of you curious about where Sean is working, will take you to a site where you can download the CK FM sign-on from last Saturday. There's an intro from Bob, the president, then his pick for opening song, followed by intros from all the staff (including my own sweetie). It's just over 9 MB, so if you're on dial-up, it will take some time to download. But that first song is definitely worth the wait :-)

Not sure what's on tap for today. Sean is at work right now, but hopes to be home in the afternoon. I do have to get down to the post office before 12:30 and really, really, should also try to get some writing work done. It's a grey morning here (the kitties, after a bit of a romp, are now fast asleep), but the weather shows some promise of improving. Plus there's the all important Game 5 late this afternoon between Edmonton and Anaheim. Still hoping to have DSL up and running soon (waiting on the modem from Telus) - more pics will follow then! Including the latest on the baby llama.

Enjoy your Saturday everyone!


Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes
Also Currently Reading: Book for review.
Link of the Day: CK FM's sign-on (including link to the MP3 download)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Responding to Comments

Rene said: Glad to hear things are settling down. I know it took me months to get back into writing after I moved. But when I did, it seemed to be with renewed verve.
I'm hoping that will happen with me!!

Melissa said: How exciting that your hubby is working at a brand new radio station. That has to be a great feeling.
Where are you guys living right now? Your house isn't yet built, correct?

It is a fantastic feeling. I was at the Open House at the station last night and it was packed. Everyone here is really excited about this.
Right now we're living in the guest cottage at my in-laws'. It's the size of a small apartment and overlooks the lake. Not to tough staying here at all.

Bren said: That's great that things are going so well. You must be relieved to be there so you can get going in your new life. I felt that way a year ago when we arrived in Kamloops. I know you'll love it here in BC. Looking forward to the pictures.
I already DO love it here in BC :-) And it's nice to have finally made the move after talking about it for so long.

Tess said: Glad to see things are moving along pretty smoothly!
Thanks so much!! Let's hope it continues.

Melinda said: Great, you are getting settled and the cats are all right! That had to be a long trip and a big change for everyone.
Will check back to see how you are doing!

Yep, a big change. And the trip really didn't seem as long as I thought it would. The scenery was always changing (well, except for parts of Northern Ontario and Saskatchewan *g*) and the cats were so well-behaved, there wasn't really any stress.

Kelly said: 39 boxes of books! Ooohhh I so want to raid your stash! So...where did you say this locker was going to be...?
LOL. I didn't ;-) But feel free to visit once I have my library back up on shelves (likely a year from now). Many of the research books are already catalogued.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Since arriving, we've been super, super busy. Between settling in to our temporary digs, doing laundry, catching up on business paper work, registering cars and sorting through our belongings, it's been go, go, go. And with Sean starting work last week, it's been crazier than ever. Fortunately the weather was fantastic until just recently.

That turned out to be a true blessing on Friday the 12th when our stuff arrived on the moving truck. We heard from the driver that they expected to make the first ferry in the morning, so by 8 am we were at the storage place, waiting for him to arrive. And there we stood for quite a while, as the older ferry was doing the run that day (and for several to follow), so was late. Turns out, our driver JUST got on the ferry - he was the last truck.

The guys were great - our storage bin is full and there's no way we could have organized things as well as they did. We'll be getting a second, smaller one on June 1, so we'll move the books in there (needless to say, my 39 boxes of books take up a fair amount of room in our locker *g*).

The cats are settling down and seem to quite enjoy the large windows, the many places to climb and the many cuddles they get. They also met their new vet and really like her. I'll post some pics of them later this week or early next. That's when we should have our DSL connection up and running - yay!! Dial-up is great, but for posting photos, it's still pretty slow. Still, I'm not complaining.

Last Saturday we attended the radio station launch. Too cool. At noon, the boss's little grandson (adorable little guy of about 3) pressed the button and made history on the Sunshine Coast by starting its very own radio station. I met the rest of Sean's co-workers, ate too much cake and came home to cook dinner.

As you might expect, I've done NO work on my ms since leaving Ottawa. Hope to rectify that soon, though more errands await me today. Still, Henri and Madeleine's photos are staring at me from just beside my monitor, so I won't be able to ignore them for much longer.

Some of you may have noticed, I'm starting to make the rounds in the blogosphere again - hopefully I'll get to everyone's blogs pretty soon. But for now, I have to get going :-) See y'all again soon!


Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes
Also Currently Reading: Book for review.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Teresa's Windshield Chronicles, cont...

Ok - we're back online here! Dial-up for now, but possibly DSL by next week. Please keep your fingers crossed.

Anyway, here's more from our trip. I'm slowly getting caught up on the blogosphere - so much to read, so little time *g*. And I'll add some pics to my posts as I have time to upload them to photobucket (a slower process on dial-up).

Days 4-6 - Saskatoon
Our greeting last night was full of enthusiasm. We were met first by my brother-in-law and our little niece, who is 3½. She was thrilled to meet the cats. Beer was consumed and pizza ordered, so that by the time my sis got home with the boys (they'd been at a Scout meeting) we were rather relaxed. The boys rushed in to see us, gave us big hugs, then asked to see a) the cats and b) the camper! Chloe and Cleo were a tad overwhelmed, as they're really not used to children, but they recovered quickly enough to let themselve be petted, at least for a couple of minutes.

The camper was a huge hit, as we knew it would be. Unfortunately the weather really didn't allow for the children to sleep in it as they'd hoped. That will have to wait for another trip.

For the rest of our stay in Saskatoon we did family stuff - walking the boys to and from school, hanging out with our little niece, going to Liam's soccer game (though it was so cold, the other team didn't show so the kids played against their parents), bbquing dinner, shopping and going to the zoo. I'm pretty sure I mentioned before about the Saskatoon zoo. Friday turned out to be gorgeous, so we spent the afternoon there. My favourite part was seeing the tiger on loan from another zoo. It was just beautiful and seemed pretty much at home. Sean took a photo of me with it before it retired for a midday nap. We also saw elk, moose, bison (very cool), swans, a lynx, wolf and some very cute prairie dogs.

The cats, meanwhile, had fun in my sister's basement - they found a lot of the children's toys much to their taste *g*. Interestingly enough, the other feline inhabitants of the house showed little interest in the interlopers. Only Solomon seemed to clue at all and as Chloe and Cleo weren't attempting to eat his food, he didn't particularly care that they were around.

All in all, it was a great vist, though, as always, too short. But we know we'll definitely see them again next summer, if not before.

Day 7 - Saskatoon to Jasper
We set out bright and early - pulling out of my sister's driveway at 6am on the nose. After a brief stop at Tim Horton's, we hit the highway and were on the road again. The first major city we saw was North Battleford and from there we went to Lloydminster, a town that straddles the Saskatchewan and Alberta border. They make the most of this phenomenon, with prominent red markers in the middle of town. I managed to take a photo of them. That's the advantage of travelling in a truck camper with Ontario license plates - it's obvious we're tourists, so me sitting in the front seat snapping photos is probably deemed normal.

As with every other day, the cats fussed a bit for the first while, then settled down to sleep as we travelled through Alberta. At Vegerville, we turned off the highway so I could see the World's Largest Pysanka (Easter Egg). This part of Alberta was settled by many Eastern Europeans, including Ukranians, whose culture flourished even in a foreign land. I had to take a photo of the Pysanka, of course. It's yet another of those Trans Canada landmarks we Canadians always hear about.

Back out on the highway we ran into high wind and rain around Edmonton - not pleasant for the trip through the north end of the city. However, once past there, things did improve after a little more rain.

After a quick stop for lunch, we completed the last leg of our route for the day, arriving in Jasper at around 3pm. The town itself is very picturesque, with mountain goats grazing at its outskirts and a variety of shops and hotels "downtown". We stopped there for groceries and gas then went in search of our campsite at The Whistlers.

The park attendant warned us there had been bear sightings and I noticed a sign about aggressive elk in the area. Despite all this, we drove round to our designated spot and pulled in.

The view from our site was specatcular - up the side of a mountain, still covered with snow. Once the cats were settled, we took a little stroll, stopping at the bear warning sign. Sean insisted on getting a picture of me with it. I'm famously known for my ability to repel bears - it took 16 years of visiting the Coast for me to see one, when most people see them frequently.

The cats seemed thrilled to be in the camper again - Cleo ran from window to window, looking out, watching the wildlife and just curious about her surroundings. Chloe was a little more sedate. She seems to have been far more affected by all the changes than Cleo has, though overall she still seems pretty content.

After a yummy dinner we sat around talking, then finally turned in early. Not only were we exhausted from the drive, but my cold tht had been bothering me for a day or so, had taken full hold and I just needed some sleep.

Day 8 - Jasper to Revelstoke
After a bit of a lie-in, we broke camp and turned onto the Icefields Parkway by 7:30 am. Western Alberta's topography was formed by the great glaciers receeding during the last ice age. A couple of the glaciers remain in the area and we decided to stop at the first one, the Columbia Icefield. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate completely - it was cold and blustery with low cloud, so I only saw a bit of the glacier. Still, we ventured into the info centre and took photos from the balcony there. Had it been more pleasant, we might have parked on the opposite side of the highway and hiked up a bit, but because of the very cold wind we were reluctant to a) leave the cats in the truck and b) expose ourselves to the elements.

So it was back to the truck and on to Lake Louise. The Icefields Parkway itself has the most gorgeous scenery. I kept my little camera very busy. One of the things that fascinated me most was the colour of the water in the lakes - it's a beautiful greenish-blue, something to do with the arctic run-off. To our right the whole way was the Athabasca River. Much of the time we could see its bed - Sean said it would fill up more as the melt continued.

Despite many warnings from both the Jasper and Banff officials, we never did see much wildlife - no caribou, sheep or hoary marmots (Sean particularly wanted to see the latter). We did, however, see some elk or cariboo (we weren't quite sure which) just as we were leaving The Whistlers.

Around noon or so we crossed into British Columbia - very cool! At last, we were "home". The scenery remained pretty similar - twisty roads and gorgeous mountains/valleys/rivers. Soon after passing into the Pacific Time Zone we stopped at Roger's Pass for a bite to eat and a look round the museum there. It was fascinating - I can't believe the kind of work and conditions under which they did it performed by the early surveyors. From Roger's Pass, it's "all downhill" and by mid-afternoon we were in Revelstoke where we picked up some dinner items, then gas for the truck and went in search of our campground.

That search proved a little challenging, as the directions we were using were just a tad out of date. However, eventually we figured things out (after several wrong turns *g*) and soon found ourselves in a wonderful little place right beside a lovely lake - the Williamson Lake Campground. Again we had stupendous mountain views and a prime spot for camping. It's definitely somewhere we want to visit again, when we have more time and don't have the cats with us.

The only downside was that the sore throat I'd been experiencing in Saskatoon had morphed into a full-blown cold - and a nasty one at that. After watching Monty Python's "And Now for Something Completely Different" we fell into (or climbed onto, to be precise) bed and soon had drifted off into dreamworld.

Day 9 - Revelstoke to the Sunshine Coast
Before I succumbed to my cold, we'd discussed camping another night along the way - just to take an extra day of relaxation. However, with cold temps predicted over night and me feeling pretty ill, we decided to press on towards the Coast. So instead of taking the fast route through Kelowna, we travelled the scenic 97A, to Kelowna, then the Coquihalla Connector across to Merritt. The former I loved, the latter didn't thrill me so much.

You see, the Connector climbs out of Kelowna and up across the mountains. At several points on the way up, there doesn't appear to be much between the edge of the highway and a very steep drop-off. As someone not so fond of heights, I kept my eyes closed until we reached the plateau. Of course it then decided to snow on us (again) *g*. But after 20+ years in Ontario, Sean is well-accustomed to driving in blowing snow and by the time we reached Merritt, the weather was warmer and sunny.

The Coquihalla itself is a four lane divided highway leading from the Okanagan to the Fraser Valley - a fast route, so to speak (I've been on one of the slower routes - they're not kidding, the Coquihalla is much faster). Despite it's desingation as a sort of expressway, the scenery is still spectacular. Between gazing out the window and reading Sean clues from the BBC History Magazine Crossword puzzle, I spent an enjoyable two hours on our way to Hope.

There we stopped to call home to let my in-laws know we were aiming for the 7:30 ferry up to the Coast. As it was just past 4pm, and we faced Vancouver rush-hour on our way to the ferry terminal, we hoped we'd be able to make it. And we did, with about an hour to spare, despite some seemingly (to me anyway) hairy traffic on Hwy 1. Sean assured me it could have been much worse.

Throughout most of this time, the cats had been sleeping. They'd squawked only for a while after leaving Revelsoke, then briefly around Abbotsford before giving up and sleeping till we got to Horseshoe Bay where we offered them food and water. The ferry trip itself proved a new experience for them, but one they didn't mind so much as Sean and I stayed down on the car deck with them (well, Sean fetched us food, but came right back). The last leg of the trip proved remarkably quick and before 9pm we were home!

The girls were soon released into their new surroundings and it didn't take either of them long to figure out how to get into all the high windows. After a chat in the main house, including the showing of photos, Sean and I retired, while the cats, energized by a day spent asleep, continued to explore.


Currently Reading: Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes
Also Currently Reading: A book for review

Monday, May 15, 2006

Just a quick post...

to let y'all know I should be back by the end of this week. We're having a separate phone line installed sometime this Friday :-) Interestingly, while I miss the blogosphere a lot, it's also been kinda nice to take a break from cyberspace for a while. And certainly better for my wrists.

Sean started his new job today and came home very happy with how things went at the Meet 'n Greet (it's a brand new station).

Anyway, I'm working on the second part of Teresa's Windshield Chronicles (so dubbed by Sean) and will hopefully post them sometime Friday or over the weekend.



Thursday, May 04, 2006

More photos...

Glad everyone enjoyed my trip report so far :-) I've grabbed a few minutes to post some more pics:

Cleo in the tunnel b/w the cage and litter box:

Our campsite in Kenora

View from the campsite:

And me outside yet another closed rest stop on the prairie:

More later :-)


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Below are my thoughts from the last few days - I'll add more pics later. Enjoy!!

Leaving the House

We left the house on Friday around 12:30. Very sad – we were both a bit sniffly. Especially as Chloe had given us quite a scare. I’d gone to return our high speed modem, and Sean had stayed behind loading the camper. When I got back I went looking for the cats – Cleo was worshipping the sun on the floor of the spare room, but Chloe was NOWHERE to be found. And losing a 12lb black cat in an empty house is pretty hard! My panic level was rising, wondering if she’d slipped past Sean into the great outdoors. Sean said he’d look for her while I washed out the fridge (he knows distracting me is a good way to keep me calm.) Still, it was hard to concentrate while straining my ears to hear how the search was going. First he tried all the places I’d already looked, then he just started opening closed doors in the basement. And in the storage cupboard under the stairs he found her, just sitting on the shelf recently vacated by cleaning supplies.

He brought her upstairs and put her in the cage, figuring she’d likely sneak off again. Once he told me where he’d found her, I went down there to see how she’d managed to get into that cupboard. While the cupboard was full, we’d never noticed the hole between the laundry room and the storage cupboard where the dryer vent goes through. It’s not a big hole, but obviously big enough for her to sneak through when she caught wind of something big happening. OTOH, she didn’t run from Sean when he found her, so maybe she was just frightened and looking for somewhere that felt safe. For all we know, she’s been sneaking in there from time to time over the last few months!

I still can barely express my relief when I heard Sean talking to her, knowing I wouldn’t have left the house till we found her, new people or not (they took possession at 6pm on Friday). However, that didn’t come to pass and now we’re keeping a close eye on her.

Back to actually leaving the house – it’s funny, though I was sad, I wasn’t as bereft as I thought I’d be. Guess I’ve always known it was a transitional house, so that helped. But still, we made it into a real home for the five years we were there, so I expected to feel far worse than I did. Have to admit, it was hard seeing my garden coming back to life and knowing I wouldn’t be there to tend it this summer, but when we briefly met the new owner on Wednesday (he came for a walk-through with his agent), he said they were looking forward to the garden. That made me feel much better, so I reminded myself of that on Friday.

Day 1 – Ottawa to Sault Sainte Marie
We set out early in the morning, by 6am, just as planned. The weather was perfect and there wasn’t much traffic at all. Chloe and Cleo serenaded us for the first little while, then just Chloe *g*. I did get a tad weepy as we passed the exit to our old house for the last time, but that passed quickly. And pretty soon Chloe settled down as well.
The run up Highway 17 was lovely – with stops in Deep River and Sudbury, as well as a lunch stop somewhere between Sudbury and the Soo. We just pulled into a snowplow turnaround for few minutes. Cleo woke up and had herself some lunch as well, but Chloe neither ate nor drank till we stopped for the day.

I took quite a few pictures of the early morning scenery - still water, blue sky and budding trees.

At some point, though, I had to stop because otherwise I’d have used up all my card space on very similar pics!

We arrived in the Soo around 3pm, stopped for gas then went to find our lodging for the night. I’d booked us a cottage at the Glenview Cottages and Campground (their trailer area isn’t open yet). By that point the cats were more than happy to be released from their cage. For at least the first hour they trotted about, looking at everything, then settled down for dinner and a nap. One they seemed comfortable, Sean and I took a little walk around the campground – out to the pond first, where they have a windmill that appears to be generating electricity for something (Sean thinks it might have been water pump of some sort). We then continued on to inspect where we would have stayed if the trailer section had been open – it looked really nice, but with the trees still not quite in leaf, things were a little bare.

Back in the cottage we found Battlestar Galactica on the tv, poured some wine and began dinner – a pouch dinner that we reconstituted – it was actually pretty good! We’d had them before while camping with the motorcycle, so knew basically what to expect.

By 10, after West Wing and L&O:CI, we were pretty exhausted and more than ready for bed. The cats weren’t quite so ready *g*, but around 11 they came to join us – at least for a while. They got up early and had some playtime, which, considering the long day on Monday, is a good thing. Chloe did, however, bring her red wool ball into bed with her – Sean found it there this morning when he woke up. She uses it half as a toy and half as a teddy bear – it’s quite adorable.

Day 2 – Sault Sainte Marie to Kenora
It’s now Monday morning around 10:10 and we’ve already been on the road for over four hours, with stops in Wawa to see the goose.

And White River to see Winnie the Pooh.

And pick up coffee and doughnuts (not our normal fare, but while on the road, comfort food is essential).

After their active night, the cats haven’t been too bad this morning. Chloe made a fuss for a while after we first set out, and again after our stop in White River, but overall they’ve been doing pretty well.

We’re heading for Kenora today and hope to make it there around 6pm. Of course, if the weather gets bad, we might have to stop earlier, but we’d really like to get this long day out of the way. We want to be in Saskatoon tomorrow night, so getting as close to Manitoba as possible today would be a good thing.

The road is a bit bumpy now, which isn’t making the cats too happy – guess it’s hard to sleep when their cage is bouncing about. We’ve tried to secure it as best we can and have lined it with one of their favourite blankets. Cleo slept much of the day yesterday, but she’s awake now and mewing a bit. It’s funny, cause she’s the one who is meowing the loudest, even though she’s still about 4lbs smaller than Chloe. Of course, maybe it’s the tunes they’re objecting to – Sean has fired up the CD player.

We’re just passing Marathon and now have under three hundred kms before we reach Thunder Bay, the next major centre and where we’ll probably break for lunch before pushing on for Kenora. That’s about another three hours past Thunder Bay. If we get that far, we’ll be camping for the night.

Though it means the girls will have less room to run around, it also means less back and forth from the camper, which made me nervous with the door opening so many times. I’m still a tad worried even in the camper, but I’ll just have to hang onto them when Sean goes out to turn off the propane after we’ve had dinner.

The road has smoothed out again a bit, though we’re now in a very twisty, turny, hilly section of the road. Makes for beautiful scenery!

There are lots of little lakes all along the highway and, despite the wind, some of them were glass still earlier on.

Well, here we are, just outside Ignace – with another two to three hours to go before Kenora. The kitties were getting restless, but after we stopped for a snack and I gave Chloe some Greenie treats, they’ve calmed down. We’ve noticed Cleo gets upset mostly when Chloe does. For most of the afternoon they slept cuddled together – very cute.

Outside Thunder Bay we stopped at the Terry Fox memorial to take pictures and use the facilities there.

It will be cool to post my own photos on my Terry Fox page (when it goes back up), instead of linking to them. While there I called my mum to give her an update – the cell service was great at the top of the hill!

The road here is much straighter and less hilly – something for which I’m grateful after the twisty highway up to Thunder Bay. I can’t say for now how much of the Rockies I’ll see as I’m scared of heights *vbg*, but that’s still a few days away.

It’s now started raining again. We had a bit of rain around Thunder Bay, but it had cleared up quite a bit over the last while. Then again, when Sean and my brother-in-law did this drive 8.5 years ago they had a lot more rain, so we’re counting ourself lucky. Now it just has to stay clear for our run through to Saskatoon tomorrow.

The good thing about this evening is that we crossed into the Central Time Zone, thus gaining a much needed hour. Even so, we might not leave quite so early tomorrow, knowing that we definitely have a warm welcome awaiting us no matter what time we get there. With Sean doing all the driving (he and I both prefer it that way), I want to be sure he’s well rested.

Chloe and Cleo are now fast asleep again - how adorable is that?

Aha – we’re now 186 kms out of Kenora! The light at the end of the tunnel!!! What a relief.

Oh, I forgot to mention the one bit of excitement we did have on the way to Thunder Bay. Just outside Terrace Bay, Sean rounded a corner going a tad too quickly – just in time for an OPP officer to clock his speed. Yep, you guessed it, we were pulled over and Sean was issued a ticket.

The officer was very nice about it and even apologized for having to pull him over! As Sean said "You shouldn’t be apologizing to me."

Since then, Sean has kept a closer eye on the speedometer and made use of the cruise control whenever possible.

Well, that’s about it for right now. If I’m feeling up for it, I’ll continue after dinner - but then again, maybe not. Cooking will be an adventure as Cleo is fascinated by the sound of boiling water and the last thing we need is her jumping onto the stove with a live flame. She did it at the house, but there’s far more room there to get her off and even then, she only did it twice. Maybe she’s learned her lesson from how quickly I snatched her up and dispatched her to the floor.

Day 3 – Kenora to Saskatoon

Well, here I am out on the prairie, just approaching Winnipeg. This morning’s start was a little later – we slept till 6 and left our campsite just before 7.

The drive into Kenora was longer than we’d hoped yesterday evening because of the rain. I have to admit, I was really relieved to see the sign for Anicinabe Park. We found a nice sight and set things up. Only catch was there was no A/C power and even though when the manager came round to register us he said he’d switch ours on, something never quite worked. Still we made do.

The girls were fascinated by a flock of gulls on the river bank – that kept them occupied while we cooked dinner. Cleo was on the bunk looking out, while Chloe perched on her cushion on top of the cage.

With dinner done, we settled in with a glass of wine and enjoyed some relaxation time, still hoping that maybe we’d get A/C power. By 9:30 it was clear we wouldn’t so we got ready to go to bed. Not that it was a hardship as we were exhausted after 13 hours on the road.

In the middle of the night we were woken by a) a kitten crawling all over us searching for somewhere to sleep and b) by a driving rain.

I had no idea rain could sound so loud, but when you’re 2 ft from it in metal camper, it’s pretty incredible. Cleo finally settled on me, half on my chest, so I lay awake for a while listening to the rain.

At last I drifted off and woke to see fog outside the camper, but no rain. With no A/C power, we couldn’t make coffee, so decided to just stop at Tim Horton’s on the way out of town. Chloe, being a smart cat, figured out she’d be caged up soon, so she burrowed into the sleeping bag. Despite her hope we’d not notice, we pulled her out, all warm and snuggly. Have to admit it was tempting just to leave her in there. If she stayed in the sleepng bag all day, she’d be pretty safe, but we’ve no way of knowing if she’d get up or not, so we decided just to bring her back into the truck with us.

The first hour or so was really foggy, slightly rainy. Nor did the terrain change much until we crossed the border into Manitoba – very hilly and windy. But the Lake of the Woods area is beautiful no matter the weather. I can understand why people have cottages there, though I’m not sure I could deal with the long drive very often.

Once we crossed the border, the weather cleared, the highway opened up into four lanes and the hills pretty much disappeared. Despite this, the kitties were still pretty restless, so we pulled over to get gas and give them some more Feline Greenies and some water. That settled them until the highway conditions worsened – we bumped back and forth as though we were driving on a washboard. Chloe and Cleo were NOT amused and put up quite a fuss till we pulled onto the ring road around Winnipeg. We’ve just now rejoined the main Trans-Canada where Sean tells me to expect the highway conditions to worsen again. Hopefully the kitties are deeply enough asleep at this point that they won’t notice. I believe our next stop will be in Portage la Prairie and from there it’s on to Regina. I’ll sign off for now and pick up again later.

It’s now 4:30 and we’re on the road to Saskatoon – about 2 hours out now. We stopped in Portage for gas, then it was on to Brandon where we had lunch (sandwiches from Tim Horton’s). From there we started the seemingly eternal journey to Regina, where we turned north for Saskatoon. It doesn’t look very far on the map from Brandon to Regina, but apparently it takes longer than one might think. The Yellowhead Highway through Yorkton from Portage was our other option, but we had no idea if it was under construction or not. Also it is a two-lane highway, whereas sticking to Highway 1, we knew it would be a four-lane divided most of the way.

Also, taking the route we did meant Sean could show me Wolsley, Saskatchewan where his car broke down about 20 years ago. He and his travelling companions, friends from university, had to stay in Wolsely for a night while the shop to which he took the car had the part for his old Volvo wagon trucked in from Regina.

Below are photographs of the hotel in which they stayed and the spot where the car actually went kaput.

The weather has been on and off – sometimes sunny and sometimes rainy. All around me now, for as far as I can see, is the prairie under darkish clouds, though the sun is breaking through in a few spots. The road is fairly straight and, at least for now, in pretty good condition.

For the last few hours the cats have been asleep, though they did wake up in Brandon when Sean offered them ham from his sandwich *g*. I think they’ve figured out that the easiest way to get through this is just to drift off to dreamland.

Part of me would like to sleep as well, but I really want to keep Sean proper company AND avoid the inevitable insomnia that would result from me napping during the day. So instead we’ve listened to music, chatted and are now listening to Saskatchewan’s CBC drive-home show.

I have to admit I’ll be glad to get to my sister’s tonight and have a few days break from all the driving. Of course, it’s supposed to be cold here for at least the next couple of days, though we’re hoping it will improve enough for us to go to the zoo (I think I mentioned that in an earlier post). But tomorrow evening we’re going to watch our older nephew play soccer. Following in his grandfather and mother’s footsteps, he’s quite talented at the game. We’ve heard him talk about soccer a lot, so it will be fun to finally see him play.

We just passed the sign saying we’re 182 kms from Saskatoon! Yay!! It’s such a pretty city. The last two times we’ve been there it’s been winter, so I’m looking forward to seeing it green again 

Hmm, well that’s it again for now. Will report more as it happens!

Once again it’s started to rain during the last 1.5 hours of our drive! We’re now passing through Dundurn – not sure yet how much further, though I think it’s about half an hour. Wait, here comes the sign – 41 kms!

My sister won’t be there when we arrive, having taken our nephews to their year end cubs celebration, but our b-i-l will be at home with our niece (she’s three).

One thing I forgot to mention earlier – almost all the rest stops we’ve passed over the last three days have been closed! It’s been very annoying, considering how lovely some of them look. At Broadview, Sean and I pulled right up to the gate of their rest area/campground:

It’s STILL raining. Sheesh. Then again, in the south west corner of the province, it’s snowing, so I shouldn’t complain. Had we not diverted up to Saskatoon we’d have been caught in all the bad weather tomorrow.

We’ve now been on the road for 12 hours today. And the kitties are still being good – fast asleep back there in their cage. We’ll give them a big dinner to make up for all this – but I do realize that if we had given them the drugs, they’d also be going without food and water for hours as well. And there is both in the cage with the. I think Cleo might have had at least one drink and it’s possible Chloe did too.

We’re getting into a slightly hillier section of the prairies now. I remember that from a couple of years ago when we went hiking at Beaver Creek. In fact, I’d forgotten we’d been here in Oct 04, so have seen Saskatoon green *g*.

Anyway, at this point I’m just babbling aimlessly, so I’ll quit before everyones’ eyes start to glaze over *vbg*.