We’re gonna have some fun this summer in our new 16′ travel trailer. To make sure it is roadworthy and has no leaks, we spent a weekend nearby at Sasquatch park near Harrison. There are a few tweeks needed but otherwise it is a great trailer. We also spent 5 days at Buntzen Lake in Port Moody in the rain. Comfy cozy! Mom and Andrea spend the day with us – lunch, dinner, walk on the sand beach — very nice despite the rain.
The road trip will begin July 29th and we’ve got all the campsites booked. We’ll see a few friends along the way too.
What a trip! We worked hard and enjoyed time with family and friends. The weather was terrific and gave us an incredible light show one night.
Lorin and I had searched for weeks on Craigslist and the Buy&Sell for an old affordable travel trailer to place on his family farm in Letellier Manitoba. Lorin’s Mom and Uncle Sylvain had been talking about it for years and we finally gave up waiting so we bought one. We found a 28 foot 1974 trailer for cheap (but still a big chunk of change) and bought it without seeing it. Sylvain went to see it and said it would be good enough — and it sure was.
We had to a ton of work to do to make it livable though – starting on the first night with moving it into place on the concrete pad, cleaning it so we could sleep in it comfortably, hooking up power, water etc. Lorin and I were up 22 hours that day. Sylvain had some trades guys on site and the neighbour Phil was helping all evening. The following 5 days were spent mostly on the farm fixing the things in the camper such as plumbing, rebuilding the main bedroom area, painting the interior, more thorough cleaning, rigging up a bbq, setting up a bug tent, and removing the fridge that was leaking a toxic gas. Lorin and Sylvain brought Grandma’s old International Harvester fridge over from the barn, hooked up a hotwater heater, installed a septic tank and built a set of stairs for the entrance. We brought linens from home but shopped for a mattress, pillows, blankets, towels, a stove, bug tent, shower, dishes and paint.
Even though we were on holiday, we worked very hard to get the trailer setup so that we’d be comfortable there on this trip but also for Sylvain and other family members to use for weekends, picnics etc in the future. We figured that if we had a place to stay, we’d likely spend more holidays in Manitoba where Lorin loves to reconnect with the farm that he lived on all summer for 10 years until he finished high school. The whole farm is currently 300+ acres and is made up of 3 pieces each owned by different members of the family but managed collectively. I believe the farm had grown to about 600 acres in its prime but has been whittled down over the years. It is located on the banks of the Red River on some of Canada’s highest-rated agricultural land.
This was a very important project for Lorin and me as the family farm is 125 years old and for most of that time had been full of activity with many generations of the family living there over the years. Today there is no farm house to visit and the farmland is rented out to local farmers. The barn and a huge workshop are in good shape but the giant shed collapsed last winter. Sylvain visits weekly in the summer to mow the 5 acre area the dike protects which also holds the 6 grain bins. We both felt strongly that there should be a place to stay on the farm so family and friends can gather, reconnect with each other and the place that is their family legacy.
Lorin and I are going to Letellier for 2 weeks in July to camp on the family farm. We bought a 1974 26′ trailer to fix up that was towed to the site last weekend. I’ll work on the interior – recovering seats, installing new blinds, and painting the walls. Lorin and his uncle will install new flooring, a new fridge and stove and build a deck with screen room. I bought myself a bug screen to wear over my hat that covers my face, arms and body to my waste. All openings cinch up nice n’ close and there’s a zipper at the neck so I can sip my beer!
While there, I’m going to get information about the history of the farm so that Lorin’s Mom can apply for the century farm status. They’ll get a plaque and ceremony to recognize that the farm has been in the same family for more than 100 years and that it is still operating as a farm.
Part of my search, hopefully, will turn up information about the early Metis in the area. I plan to visit some archives to get more family photos and to confirm who is in the ones I have. I’ll need something to do so I don’t get bored. I may not get bored on the farm but I’m planning just incase or I’ll be like the brat in the car “are we there yet” bugging Lorin to go into town so we can do something fun!! He grew up visiting the farm every year so he’ll fill his time very easily.
I’ll report back what I learn if anything interesting turns up.
In the summer we visited the lakeside cabins of two old friends: Debbie/Don at Okanagan and Kari/Russ at Kalamalka. They are so fortunate to have these wonderful places that allow them to unwind, enjoy the view, have fun on the water, and entertain leisurely.
Well, Bella doesn’t swim so we bought her a special doggy life jacket that has a handle to pick her out of the water – a great thing. Normally dogs aren’t allowed in the boat but since we couldn’t leave her alone at the cabin they made and exception. We put lots of towels in the boat so that when she shook we could catch most of it. Stinky wet dog is not what you want your boat to smell like. He drove us over to the opposite shore and we walked through the provincial park area where a forest fire had occurred just days before. The damage a cigarette can do to a dry forest is devastating. It was heartbreaking. When Russ returned to pick us up he arrived at the end of our hike which didn’t allow him to come very close to shore. So, Bella floated as we dragged her through the water by holding her handle. She swam but wasn’t happy about it. Russ reached down and picked her up out of the water – heavy from being overweight, wet and resistant – he had a tough job but it worked great and nobody got hurt.
Then, we visited Deb/Don’s cabin on Okanagan Lake. They couldn’t be there with us as their daughter was in a fender bender and they had to help arrange a car for her as they were going on a holiday. So, we read a lot and walked the roads in both direction behind the waterfront lots. What a terrific community. Most families are there generation after generation. So, Bella would go in the shallow water but not swim and we caught a photo of her struggling while wet to get up on the dock from the water – her feet kept slipping underneath and she’d fall back. We laughed so hard as she worked away at it – finally getting her big butt up out of the water. Bella made friends with some neighboring dogs and jumped through a barbed wire fence to greet Don’s brother when he came by to say hi.
Lorin and I went camping in early October a few years ago. We had read about the Callaghan Valley in our map book for unserviced forestry service sites. We were astonished by the beauty of the area but he camp ground was just a big ugly gravel parking lot. The lake was otherwise in a natural setting with no trails and only one point to access via the boat launch. It was visited by die-hard fishermen/women who had smokers going all day to preserve the fish as soon as it was caught. It was quiet and beautiful.
We setup camp down a blocked road that led into a deep old forest full of wild blueberry bushes. The blue berries were the largest I had ever seen. I wouldn’t let Lorin eat them because I didn’t know for sure that they weren’t poisonous (I’ll never hear the end of that mistake!). We hiked every day and enjoyed the spectacular setting.
On the drive out we realized there were some x-country ski trails weaving thru the forest. It was probably the most beautiful and pristine ski areas in Canada.
That was until the area was designated for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic ski jump and x-country skiing facilities. I hate to think of what was done there. The locals feared for the bear habitat. As always there is a risk of damage to the precious ecosystems that exist in these ancient forests. That corridor along the coast is home to many species on the risk of extinction lists.