Sunday, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Faster Uncle Billy!

what a day!!!

December 26
We had a great nights sleep last night after a stroll around town checking out the Christmas lights. Nanton is a cute little town.
We got organized late morning and headed to Kananaskis to do some cc skiing. The conditions were pretty good, beautiful blue sky and about minus 5. Payton skiied by herself for a little bit (only 3 year-old that I know that can cc ski) then she went into the chariott and loved the down hill...she kept yelling for Uncle Billy to go faster!!
Then she went for her first skate with real skates and did really well.

We had dinner and some little dancing in the kitchen.

I guess Bill thinks he is a cowboy now.

We are heading out to do some camping and skiing over the next couple of days.

We will get to see Ted in the next week also. I will call him tomorrow.

Nice talking to you tonight J& J...Hope you are enjoying your time with family.


Friday, December 25, 2009

we made it!!

December 25

Finally clear sailing. We got up at 5:00a.m leaving from Helena Montana an arrived here in Nanton Alberta at around 1:45pm It was so great to see Steph, Lou and Payton. Lou had shovelled a nice spot for our rv to be parked. Steph looks so great and healthy pregnant. Payton was excited to see us and certainly remembered us. We had a nice afternoon visit and watched Payton open her gifts. She got some beautiful princess dresses, books and Auntie Debbie brought her some real make-up which she has done a great job of applying on everyone....Bill and I had a big parcel here from Janice and Jerry which was really nice. We enjoyed having something to open and reading the beautiful cards Jan sent us. Thank you so much J& spoil us. We miss you guys and will call you tomorrow.

We took Payton for a walk in the Chariot and sledding. We are just so happy to be here.!

Talked to mom, dad, nancy, carrie ann and grandma. They were all waiting for Charle to get in at 8:00 tonight.

Hope everyone enjoyed their day!

Merry Christmas!


Deb & Bill

Thursday, December 24, 2009

trains, planes & automobiles...will we make it home for Christmas

December 23 (con't)
ok...tired of waiting this out we are going to try and go to the next centre Hardin at least it looks big enough to go for a walk or something. Stayed in Hardin for a couple of hours. We hung out at a pizza hut, had some lunch and charged our laptop and kept checking the weather. Spoke to a UPS guy and decided to be brave and try for Billings. We were told there were a couple of big climbs. Ok.....scary....the hills were very big and very, very icy. I don't know what was scarier the up or the down. Bill says definately the down...Bill says his nerves are shot, so we are staying here for the night and want to just get out and go for a walk. We shopped around, called Steph and told her we were not going to make our Christmas Eve target...darn...Jan you would be so proud of me....I am learning to let it all go...Cold night, pulled our our down bags for the night as we didn't drive far enough to charge our batteries much, so we might run out of juice before morning.

December 24
Happy Christmas Eve!!
Hit the road around 7:30am...very cold, but we managed to stay comfortable during the night. We realized that we only have one side working on our brakes on the trailer...yikes. I think that is why we felt like the roads were extra slippery especially the whole down hill slipping feeling. We decided to drive for a bit and look for an auto part dealer. The temperatures this morning are ranging anywhere between -25 and -9 depending on our elevation. It is so windy and there is lots of blowing snow across the roads. The cold is not helping the icy situation;however, the sun is out and once it gets high enough to hit the pavement I think we will be good. We pulled over and Bill found the parts we needed to do the trailer repair. Bill got under the trailer and put a new brake wire in... the 40 mile an hour winds didn't help...I stood outside just for moral support. I am glad he brought his tool box, it sure is coming in handy. Still haven't found a cover that will work for the parts we lost along the way. Now we know how Uncle Lorne feels when things blow off his truck...never to be found again...Back on the road wanting to make it to Bozeman-things got better as the sun is definately out now. We got out and went for a great walk in Bozeman...the mountains were incredible and we can see why Jon and Maria enjoyed living there. We did some Christmas shopping for each other. We bought avalanche beacons, shovel and probe..god forbid we ever have to use that...

We met the owner of the ski shop and he talked up a storm to Bill about skiing etc....told us about some good back country spots.

While we were waiting in line to pay for our purchases we started talking to the man behind us and he was saying "you two look like you are going to try out that great down sleeping bag tonight" and we laughed and said well actually we are as we are sleeping in our trailer because we didn't make it to Calgary for Christmas Eve and he said "why don't I put you up in one of my houses?" "I have a house I rent out that happens to be vacant right now?" I thought this was so generous of guess it taught me Christmas away from home can still be ok. Earlier in the day I was kind of sad about not being with family and here was this stranger offering me his house. Everyone has been so kind...even the border patrol guys who searched our rig for over an hour while we waited inside the immigration office. I don't know if they didn't believe our story about just travelling around for 6 months, or the fact that we mentioned Baja, or maybe it was because Bill had all our amercian money in a ziplock baggie??? They said well your story checks out. (I still think they unwrapped our burritos that were in the freezer wrapped in foil)....anyway.....

I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas Eve I know we are....We just came back to the trailer from a free swim and hot tub after Bill daring me to go into a few hotels and ask if we could hang out there since we didn't make it home for Christmas Eve and it worked..ok it took me a couple of tries, but it worked....Bill dared me to say to the kid on the way out "that is the biggest bathtub I have ever been in.....Does that count for a bath? because if it doesn't I have only had 1 this week?

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I know the first 3 are Larry, Curly and Mo, but who is the dude with the glasses

We had a nice day at Mt. Rushmore... or did GWB have it changed to Mt. Bushmore back in '04?
December 23

Hit the road at around 8:30 after treating myself to a starbucks...yummy..

The weather is awful.....extremely icy, blowing. We can feel the trailer sliding....oh shit...there is a transport jackniffed across the interstate...time to get off the road....stopped at a gas station on an indian reserve...friendly people..I hope they let us spend the night at their gas station. Looks like we might be here for a day.....
December 22 afternoon

enjoyed the drive through hwy 16 and 385 to Spearfish SD. It was clear for about an hour and a half which was great. The first clear weather driving we have had since we left. Oops spoke too soon here comes the bad fog again...can't see a darn thing.

We are close to Wyoming......when I flipped the map page to Wyoming and looked on it to locate where Greg had lived the sun came out so brilliantly and we could see so far and such beauty.....I was so overcome by emotion and felt Greg's presence so strong that it took my breath and away and I couldn't talk for quite some time. I guess I wondered what it was like for him living here.
It is so strange that we can drive for miles and miles and not see any cars. I feel as though we are out here all by ourselves. Clear for another hour or so which was a real treat. We figure we have only had good driving for about 3 hours since we left last Friday. Thick fog, blowing snow moved in and we stopped for the night in Sheridan Wyoming....discovered that the cover over our propane and batteries blew off somewhere...we will have to do some repairs....also the GPS we bought is not working....yikes.....I guess we should have bought the cheap one instead of the $400 one....oh a light problem too....oh yeah and we lost the brakes to our trailer coming down from Mount Rushmore.....I guess this was a challanging day...goodnight!
PS xmas package still didn't show up...anyone want to help me with that?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The only 2 crazies in the badlands


wow....technical difficulties.....very hard to keep our laptop charged. Finally found a coffee shop with wi-fi.

Dec 20
Hit the road early with a fine dusting of snow. About minus 6. Crossed the Mississipi River. Snowed going accross Minnesota. Stopped at a rest station for about an hour until the plows got out on the road. They don't start plowing until it stops snowing...We got back on the road and counted 12 cars in the ditch in under and hour and decided to pull over and have lunch and see what happens. We had lunch and rested up and decided to drive a little further. It wasn't much better so we stopped at a truck stop and treated ourselves to a $3.00 shower. It felt wonderful!! We spent the night at Wal-mart. Wisconsin was nice.

December 21
Hit the road around 8:00am. A ton of fog today. Stopped at the corn palace in Mitchell South Dakota...Kind of cool. The art work was amazing. I can't believe they did all that with corn and they change it every year. We crossed the Missouri River...I guess we are now considered to be in the West. We were forced to pull over again due to heavy fog. We decided we were going to try and head for the badlands even though the weather was bad. As soon as we entered the Badlands National Park it started freezing rain....we decided we still wanted to go....When we got to the cleared for the first time in the last couple of days. The park ranger said hurry up and go...we did a short hike and took some photos and we had the entire national park to ourselves. We only met 1 car...It was amazing being in there all by ourselves. We saw a ton of deer, coyote and we were totally impressed our trailer made it up the steep hills with the conditions. The park ranger said "oh you are from Canada you will be fine...I think you would have loved this drive dad....Spent the night at Wal-mart. It has been so convient staying there and having access to the groceries as all the wal-marts seem to be super centres. We haven't eaten out once yet.

Dec 22
Left around 8:30am and headed for Mount Rushmore. Totally fogged in again. The locals say the weather is never like this. It is usually warm and dry. Again I can't believe out luck as we entered the Black Hills National Forest the sun came out. We did a little hike at Mount Rushmore. It was very cool to see. The hike was good, nice and sunny and the forest was beautiful and smelled wonderful. You won't believe it.....but we had the entire place to ourselves. I finally figured out who the other 2 presidents were...hehe....For the kids on our Street that are reading this good history question for you....who are the 4 presidents???
The drive through Hwy 16 and 385 was beautiful. I love the Black Hills National Park. I definately would like to see more of South Dakota another time when it is less foggy. Great place to drive dad...We saw 2 huge bald eagles (made me think of Greg) We are just stopped long enough to charge the battery for our camera and laptop and we are going to high tail it out of here as they are expecting a huge storm. We are very close to the Montana border. As long as the weather holds out for us we should be at Steph's early afternoon Christmas Eve. We figure we have another 13 hours. Hope everything is going good for everyone and I miss you all..

Saturday, December 19, 2009

-20C is the best reason to hit the road.
Racked, Packed, and Stacked it took us a little longer to pack than we anticipated...6 days to be exact. I think it was all worth it as we are feeling very organized and know exactly where everything is. We also decided to prepare a weeks worth of food which was a great idea.

I have to say the good-byes were harder than I thought they would be. Both with my co-workers and family.....I think Shannon and I did our good-byes 4 times and it got harder each time...Happy 2nd Birthday to Nico tomorrow!!

Yesterday when we left North Bay it was minus 20 and beautiful sunshine. It started clouding over around Sudbury and then the temperature started climbing. We reached Sault Ste Marie around 2:30 and it was zero. The driving was good, but slow. We pulled over at a Casino in Northern Michigan which was funny. We asked if we could park there for the night and the manager said sure and gave us each $10.00 worth of tokens to spend. Bill's first gambling experience...we walked out of there with $ place to stay and we made $12.50.

Today we hit the road around 8:00 and drove pretty much accross Wisconsin. It was slow single lane highway, but very pretty. Bill wanted to mention we saw a lady doing groceries in Wal-mart and buying a gun case at the same time...only in Amercia!!!

We haven't been cold during the night at all.....blankets are working great Josie.

The weather looks good again tomorrow...must be my lucky Saint Christoper medal.

We are heading towards Mount Rushmore tomorrow.

Talk to you soon!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

One more day of work.....and the adventure begins!!!