Monday, 28 December 2015

December 27, 2015

 Arrived in Medicine Hat early last evening.  Temperature  hovering around minus 18 – pulled into a Casino parking lot and we were able to run the generator all night – we literally had frost on the inside cabinets around our beds, so we wondered around the casino just long enough to take the edge off in our trailer.  Furnace ran all night!
Woke up and started our drive – we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise and a fiery sky.  
Driving was good, roads were clear.  As we grew closer to Calgary the sky was painted pale blue and we got our first  peek at the Canadian Rockies – they stand tall and proud with rugged sharp peaks.
We had a quick stop at MEC to pick up Bill’s brakes he ordered for his new skis.  It felt good to walk around and stretch our legs.  It wasn’t long before we had a few texts from Payton and Ethan asking how long we were going to be as we were meeting them in Kananaskis –
We had a warm welcome as we arrived in the parking lot at the Delta Lodge Resort.  I would turn around and drive another 3400km for those hugs.  Steph told us when Ethan woke up this morning he asked “is there a 2 and a 7 on the calander?”  and she answered “yes Ethan why do you ask?” and he replied “because this is going to be the best day ever – Uncle Billy and Auntie are coming.”   For some reason he has decided he wants to shorten my name to Auntie and I am ok with that – and I couldn’t agree with him more this is the best day ever – until tomorrow….

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Woke up this morning to the full moon and minus 24 temperature.
Sorry we were unable to call anyone yesterday, but we didn’t have any cell service.
The furnace ran the entire night – few challenges with the cold – our fridge isn’t working properly and everything is frozen – our smoke detector chirped all night and our batteries don’t seem to be charging while we are driving – we have been running our generator every chance we get so our new batteries won’t get damaged.  We will have to take some time once we get to Calgary to figure things out.   Just part of Winter camping…
We decided to cross back into Canada and get onto some bigger highways.  We have enjoyed the single highway driving with no traffic or trucks, but we thought we might make up some time if we could get on some major highways.  We crossed in North Portal Saskatchewan  – easy border crossing – we were the only vehicle there.
The driving has been good today – passed some oil rigs & lots of grain silos.
The temperature remains cold, but we were treated to an incredible sun dog and the air is sparkling with ice diamonds. 
Glad I am seeing a little more of my Country – the plains are pretty and peaceful.
(Bill’s description @$&*# huge)
Spectacular sunset –
Made it to Medicine Hat – Alberta – one more sleep and we will be with Steph, Lou & the kids!

Merry Christmas!

Hope you had a magical day and that Santa was good to everyone.
The drive today was pretty incredible – we saw a bald eagle, deer and had a healthy looking coyote running alongside our van in the farmer’s fields.
I love the wide open spaces – the feel of the sun on my face – the crisp white snow – the big sky and its amazing colors – I can’t see where things begin or where they end.
The snow is marked with fresh snowmobile tracks – the air is crisp and clear and it makes me feel so alive.
As we chased trains the temperature continued to drop to minus 25.
We crossed the geographical center of America – thank you North Dakota – I enjoyed my visit.
I asked Bill to take some notes while I drove for today’s blog – I was curious to know what he was seeing so I asked him and he answered “a whole lot of nothing is good when you are not looking for something.”  I thought that was pretty good, so I asked him to write down a few more things he saw and when I checked my book later that evening he had written 2 more things – messy hair & stinky pits – so much for deep thought, but at least it got me to a truck stop for a hot shower!
Thank you to Nancy & Steve for our homemade meat pie for Christmas dinner – it was delicious.   Thank you mom R for the shortbread that was in Steph’s Christmas parcel – I am sure she won’t notice the few missing!

Love to all!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Overall, a pretty good driving day today.  We had a few sketchy hours of icy driving.
Border crossing was super quick and easy.
We crossed in Sault Ste Marie and took highway 28 & 2 thru the Upper Peninsula.  Things started to get a little icy when our elevation climbed around Marquette Michigan.
Wisconsin had quite a bit of snow – very white and extremely pretty.  Looking a lot like Christmas!
We actually drove thru a town called Christmas which was pretty cool!
We literally drove miles today without seeing a sole and many of the small towns were completely shut down for Winter and it actually got a little worrisome when gas stations were few and far between and many of them closed for the season.   It was kind of eerie how everything looked abandoned – I think we have been watching too many episodes of the walking dead…
The closer we got to Duluth Minnesota the more civilized things became – we passed many well decorated houses and I could catch a quick glimpse inside as we passed by of families gathered together and feel the warmth of Christmas Eve. 
Even though we are not having a traditional Christmas – we are happy and excited to be that much closer to seeing Steph, Lou, Payton & Ethan and we think of you all back home and wish you a good night!!

Phew!!  Finally we hit the road….
Bill and I agree that the best part is that we are finally done running around and there is a sense of relief knowing all we have to think about is the drive now!  Weather is out of our control however.

We have spent the last 6 weeks completing our trailer repairs both inside and out – we have re-attached our awning in hopes that it doesn’t blow off on a freeway, had a new rear bumper put on and then we painted it, we have re-enforced our cupboards, sanded down our stove and repainted it, re-did all the caulking in the inside of the trailer, macgyvered our drawers so they stay shut when we drive, replaced some of our cracked vent covers. 
We had some van work done and got some new tires to hit the road.
We had our bikes tuned up and they are ready to go.  We hand sanded and waxed our skis – fussed with organizing all our bins according to season and sport with a couple of practice packs!
Glad to say we have all our toys – if you watched out packing video you might not have caught everything we brought with us, so here is a run down:  6 pairs of skis & 7 pairs of ski boots, 3 sets of ski polls, 2 sets of avalanche gear, 3 stand up paddle boards, 3 surfboards, 2 windsurfing boards, 5 sails, 2 booms, 5 masts, 4 wet suits, 2 kiteboards, 1 kite, 2 bikes, 4 backpacks, winter tent & bags, summer tent & bags and all our backcountry camping gear.
I also tried to cook and freeze as many meals as we could fit in our freezer.
A little different temperature leaving home this time 10 degrees. 
Our first day was pretty easy driving – a bit of a late start since we didn’t actually finish winterizing our house and draining our pipes until around noon. 
We made it to Sault Ste Marie at which point we were stopped by 80km winds and thick fog. We were rocked to  sleep-- very much like being in Hatteras!

Can miles truly separate you from friends?
If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there….Richard Bach….
As we wrap up our final packing – I struggle to understand why it feels so much harder to leave this time….but as the days wind down I feel the excitement building -

I think the heaviness of leaving is a combination of things – a lot has changed in the past few years for our inner circle of friends – most of us have suffered the death of a loved one, or are caring for an aging parent - we have stood by friends with cancer scares, heart attacks, divorce & job challenges.  We have celebrated marriages, special anniversaries and have enjoyed hearing of the birth of grandchildren and we were even lucky enough to host a wedding at our house the week before we left.

I guess life is forever changing for all of us – some of these changes want to keep us close by our friends to walk thru these challenges together and some of these changes push us forward to make sure our passion for travel and adventure happen while we are healthy and fit enough to enjoy it.

I think it has been a little bit hard for us to leave our new home – as I believe we have finally found our forever home and we are so happy here.  As we sit out back in our hot tub and gaze up at the stars we wonder – how are we going to leave this place? 

Our last departure was a little bit easier as we had always looked at our home as a landing pad between trips or adventures – don’t get me wrong we have very good memories of our close knit group from Tiffany Court.  We loved watching all the neighbourhood kids grow up & celebrate milestones with them, but for some reason the transition seemed easier.
I know when we get in the van and feel the miles pass under us – our passion for travel and adventure will build – we have many great friends on the road we look forward to seeing and spending time with.

We have enjoyed all the parties and time with friends leading up to us leaving – we had a Birthday party for Nico, nice lunches with the girls, delicious dinners out with friends, and finally 2 big family dinners at our home!
We are so very thankful for our health and all the amazing support we have from our family, friends, co-workers & bosses – so in case we haven’t thanked you – thank you for watching our home, covering our jobs and granting us this incredible opportunity – you each played a part in it!

So, I believe the answer to the question is NO miles can’t separate you from your friends – I just need to think about you and you are there…

We look forward to hearing from you, so please keep in touch by adding your comments to our Blog -

Wednesday, 16 December 2015


This Blog is dedicated to Sam Hodgson (Dad) & Bob Young

I feel it is only fitting to dedicate this blog to 2 incredible men who have had such an influence on our lives.

So I will start by just giving a little history of how their passion for travel and adventure influenced us.

Sam was such a big part of our last adventure from helping us with the logistics, to spending many evenings and weekends at the hanger configuring our van - so that getting to our gear was easy and organized in a seasonal fashion.  He encouraged us to travel while we were young, healthy  and physically able to enjoy our bucket list. 

It was very important to Sam that we embark on our 2nd adventure.   So here we are getting ready to pull out and begin our 2nd adventure-- after postponing our departure date --2 years following his death. 

So what some of you might not know about Sam is that he kept a daily journal in his beautiful handwriting. He was a man of few words, so his journals are more like little snapshots of his day --like who he visited with that day, how many fish he caught, if he beat my mom at crib, if she cheated and lastly what the weather was doing – his journals are precious keepsakes for me.   I encourage everyone to sit down and handwrite a letter to the ones you love or someone who has influenced your life.  

One of Sam’s last wishes was that I try to write a book as it was always a dream he had for himself to document his life story, so I am going to attempt to work on his memoirs while we are travelling.

I have been kept awake many nights trying to figure out how we can honor him during our travels – wishing we could share with him all the places he didn’t get to see – or hear about from our excited phone calls home, so I have decided a way I could do that is to write him letters and leave them in special places along the way  – documenting how he helped us get there by the life lessons he instilled in us.

Thank you Dad for teaching us to believe in our dreams..….


Bob Young

Was a dear friend of ours – He passed away last year at the age of 80.

We spent 2 weeks every Spring with Bob& his lovely wife Joan on the Outer Banks of North Carolina since the late 90’s – Some people are in your life for a short period of time, but leave a huge impact.

The first time we met Bob he was picking our dining tent out of a tree in the dark with a headlamp on in a storm that had winds gusting upwards of 100km an hour in our flooded out camp site – we knew from the moment we met Bob he would become a big part of our life!  What we didn’t know was the rest of us one by one would move into more comfortable living quarters by purchasing small trailers or big cargo vans while Bob and Joan continued to tough out the Hatteras storms in their small tent.

Bob was full of adventure and he told the best stories around the campfire.  He was also an outstanding photographer and was so patient to always get just the right surfing shot of Jerry and Bill-- his surrogate sons.

Bob could seriously still rip it up windsurfing right up until the last Spring we spent with him in 2012 – Bob was such a pleasure to watch on the water and always came in with the biggest smile.   We always knew where to find Joan – sitting on the picnic table watching Bob with her binoculars.       

Bob was the glue that held our Hatteras Gang together so much so that we find it difficult to even think of going there without him – the emptiness of his camp site is too much for any of us to bare.

Thank you Bob for the sunsets, campfires, story sharing, discovering lightening rocks together & nestling in the dunes with us to watch the full moon rise and for all the great memories. 

Until we meet again our friend --we will always watch the sunset for the green flash and think of you.