Browsing "Boondocking/Dry camping"
May 7, 2013 -

What a Sunny Morning!

There is just something about a sunny morning that is absolutely invigorating. It can be super hot or super cold out, doesn’t matter. I makes me bounce out of bed energized by the possibilities of the day.

Since this is my last chance to be on FHU for a bit, I have a long enough to-do list that I may end up staying a third night. The number one priority for today is laundry, and then getting the black tank emptied and rinsed. Tomorrow could then be a rest day since it’s another really full day to Minot.

My border and arrival plan keeps changing, but I think I finally have it down. The big thing is Canadian internet. I thought I was going to have to go to Medicine Hat to buy the only internet device with a decent bandwidth package, but… things keep improving.

Bell now has several devices with that ginormously generous, won’t hear me bitch about it, bandwidth package, at least one of which, a stick, doesn’t need 120V power the way the Turbo Hub does. Moreover, it’s ZERO down for a 2-year commitment AND I could buy it at a number of points along the Canadian route to my property, including in Estevan, Weyburn, and Assiniboia!

That changes everything as far as my reentry plans. Now that I don’t have to drop the RV and go to Alberta, I’m in no rush to land. So if I pulled out of Hankinson Thursday (three nights here total), I would get to Minot Thursday night and then Friday it would be about an hour and a half to the border at Portal and another 45 minutes or so to the Walmart in Estevan where is a The Source store within walking distance at which I could buy my internet device.

In Estevan, I could make sure both my computers can get online and also stock up on supplies (fresh goods that wouldn’t make it across the border; I’m also getting supplies in Minot). And then Saturday, I would have a leisurely three hourish drive to my property.

When I bought the property last year, there was cell coverage in Assiniboia but not my village. Coverage maps now show full coverage in southern Saskatchewan. So I am hopeful I will have internet at ‘home’ with a device bought in SK.

This route does mean that I will likely have to purchase fuel in Canada for the final leg of the trip. But I did more research on the Scobey/Coronach crossing and really don’t think it’s a good idea to cross there. For one thing, they close early, so I’d be racing the clock to arrive from Minot. For another, 22 cars a day in the height of summer is a big rush for them. So I’m worried that I would be providing them with a bit of ‘entertainment’ if you catch my drift. And I would be automatically suspicious for crossing there with my Alberta-plated vehicles as it is a crossing used mostly by locals. I’ll feel more comfortable using that crossing when I am plated in SK and can declare the village to be my home base.

There is a Saskatchewan snow melt map making the rounds of the internet and it is really impressive. Looks like there is almost no more snow in that province! AND the risk of flooding is just about gone! Woohoo! These warm temps should give my property just enough time to dry out enough to not be a festering marsh by the time I arrive.

Next thing to figure out: how I am going to deal with grass. Hopefully it will be a local teenager (I don’t mind mowing, but I’d rather not have to buy and maintain a mower). And I hope no one gives me flack for not taking care of the lawn last year. Ah, all shall be revealed in just a few days…

Finally, a bit of a semantics lesson. I’m having a hard time coming up with the right word to describe ‘my property.’ It is not and will likely never be ‘home.’ Home is MIRANDA. Full-timers get that, but most other folks don’t. Home is also wherever Miranda is parked. Ergo, while Miranda is parked on my property, my property will be ‘home.’ But I can’t say it enough, I am not ‘going home’ this week.

I have a name chosen for my property, but I won’t reveal it until I land and get a feel for the neighbours. Needless to say, it’s another Firefly reference. 🙂

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Campgrounds, Canada, Communications & Electronics, Countries, Internet, North Dakota, Personal, RV Pad, Saskatchewan, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    8 Comments
Apr 25, 2013 -

Touching Base

I just got off the phone with L in Wichita to confirm that I will be arriving tomorrow. He would like me to arrive mid-afternoon so that I can join him for his dinner plans, so that means I’ll pull out of here around 9:00 or 10:00.

The gas here is super cheap ($3.19) so I’m going to fill up before I leave. The gas station is awkward to get around, so I’ll do that before hooking up. Then, it’s off to a Flying J north of OK City that has propane. I checked it out with Google Streetview (what did we ever do before that?) and it looks like a good in and out even with a long rig. I’d also like to find a place to have air added to my tires. I checked the pressure in Dallas and it was on the low side of okay. I’m hoping that adding a little will help with the gas mileage a bit.

The big question mark tomorrow is the Kansas Turnpike. I checked out their toll calculator and as long as Miranda is a class 2 vehicle (ie. two-axle vehicle) despite her size and that combined with Moya the rig is class 4, I’m all set and will have my $4.25 in cash ready. That amount is not worth trying to detour around the turnpike!

I’ll be parked on the street in Wichita, hence why I want to arrive on a Friday as I’m less likely to be disturbed by The Law over a weekend. L says that there is at least one more rig parked on the street and that he gets along with his neighbors, so I should be fine. I am going to go into more of a stealth mode than I did in Dallas, leaving the curtains down to hopefully mask the fact that I am residing in the RV. I checked the Wichita ordinances and it looks like street parking an RV is okay, but living in one on the street is not okay, so stealth mode is definitely in order.

There are a number of good overnighting options north of Wichita, so I should be able do the ‘spend the day at a rest area, drive a short distance to an overnighting place’ routine for the rest of April until my budget resets itself. I’ve already borrowed way too much into May’s budget, so I really don’t want to put any more gas in the rig until the calendar changes. And with the weather being what it is, it’s good to have a reason to take it slow. May 7th is when I’ll put the pedal to the metal and drive decisively to the border.

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Countries, Finances, Kansas, Law and Government, Preparations for Departure, Travel, USA    No Comments
Apr 23, 2013 -

Pauls Valley to Shawnee, OK

It was a so-so night at Walmart. Because of the lack of parking spots, a reefer parked almost on top of me (not exaggerating; he had to go out his passenger door and I couldn’t open my house door!). I couldn’t fault the driver for that. He ran the engine for a few hours in the evening, then again in the middle of the night before finally taking off around 5:00 or 6:00. So my sleep was interrupted and I gave up around 7:00.

Since I only had about an hour to my destination, I thought of just taking off, but something told me to check my email. There was a comment from Linda Sand warning me that there are two Firelake casinos in Shawnee and that she was parked at the wrong one. Since it was on route to the right one, where I had planned to spend the night, I decided to stop there first and meet her since we keep just missing each other this spring. Onsite, I could check out the RV facilities and determine the best casino to stay at.

I arrived at the first casino, Firelake Casino, around 10AM, after circling around the complex a number of times before finding the RV park. I knew Linda is a late riser, so I sent a message to let her know I was on site instead of banging on her door, then had breakfast and did some online stuff. I called the casino to ask about the RV park and after being bounced around a bit, I was told it is $15 for FHU. Good deal and a nice location, but too much for me right now.

Linda got back to me around 11:30 and I went to check out her swanky digs (WOW, the things you can do with a class B when you custom design the layout!) and we gabbed for a bit. We will be having dinner tonight.

I headed out to the Grand Casino around 2:00 and was settled into a spot and had had lunch by 2:30. Linda had warned me I would have to unhook and back in, so I was prepared. Neither event took any effort. The slots are super narrow, but there is ample room to back in and they are perfectly angled for easy entrance. The view out the back is of a muddy creek, but the view from the desk is half into a bedroom window (I’m keeping that curtain closed!), one quarter onto an RV wall, and one quarter to the big rig parking lot.

In exchange for signing up for the player’s club, I get three nights with power and water and access to a dump station (each additional night is $25). With the player’s club, you get free keno, 10 entries to a draw, and $10 in match play (so you put $10 in the slot machines and they give you 10, but not on progressive machines). I have never played keno, but for the chance to win $100, I will try it out!

Three nights with power will be much appreciated since it is super cold and overcast. I’m running out of propane, so I have to ration until I find a place to fill and am grateful I can run the electric heater.

Gas prices in OK are much cheaper than in TX, to my surprise. Thank goodness for that. My gas mileage the last two days has been the pits and I’ve had to adjust my gas budget from $600 to $900 to get back to Canada from Dallas. *sighs* I’m just glad I’m not paying Canadian prices for fuel!!! Here, fuel is about $3.20 ($0.85/litre) a gallon and average Canadian prices are $4.90 ($1.30/litre) a gallon. So to fill the motorhome here (50 gallons), it’s $160 and to fill it in Canada would be $245!

I wish I could have had just one more month in the US to avoid getting back to Canada in this frigid soupy mess. I’m afraid that that’s what I’ll remember most about my winter, the cold humid last days rather than the hot sunny days walking barefoot along the beach with palm trees rustling in the background. Those days already feel like they belonged to another life. 🙁

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Boondocking/Dry camping, Countries, Electricity, Finances, Nice Folks, Oklahoma, Propane, Social, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    8 Comments
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