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May 8, 2013 -

Not In the Mood to Drive

I just renewed for a third night here at Dakota Magic. If I really just wasn’t in the mood to drive, I would have gone anyway because I know that that’s just an excuse for not wanting to face the border crossing.

But I’m being really productive and making good use of my FHU, so I can justify another night. This morning, I defrosted the freezer and washed it and the fridge, then made an inventory of the food on board. I found bacon! It will be demolished shortly when I go make lunch. 🙂

It looks like it might rain, but if it doesn’t, the next project is the cab.

Besides that, I need to put away yesterday’s laundry (almost dry, YAY), wash out Neelix’s litter box, and then I’ll be good to go. There’s really nothing to do now to prepare for the border besides making sure I don’t have any illegal food on board, have a full alcohol inventory (one Texas beer that I am saving for the first crazy hot summer day), and that I know how much I need to declare.

I hope internet in Saskatchewan will be decent (although I will settle for existent). I get a very low signal in North Dakota, so I keep getting disconnected. I might not have found the connection in San Antonio to be so bad had I remembered my online experience in North Dakota last spring.

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Appliances, Campgrounds, Communications & Electronics, Fridge, Internet, North Dakota, Personal, Preparations for Departure, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    No Comments
May 7, 2013 -

Dining Out

One of the biggest challenges this winter was consistently finding good coffee to make at home. In Canada, my compromise for taste and price is Nabob Full City Metropolis. My coffee choices have been hit or miss all winter, and my latest purchase has been thoroughly a miss. L spoiled me rotten in Wichita, having a fresh pot of really good stuff available to me every morning. My morning coffee has been disappointing since Kansas.

I remembered from last year that the Dakota Magic restaurant has really good coffee. So I planned on having a lunch here, for both the coffee and to use up the rest of my U.S. cash.

I ordered a full pot of coffee (did not get through it) and a club sandwich, which came to $10. I brought half of the meal home for dinner. I’m going to miss this price/portion ratio when I get to Canada.

The coffee was sooooooooooo good. Since I only ate half my meal, I asked for a slice of pie to go with my final sips.

When I came into the restaurant, the server didn’t see me be seated and I was apparently invisible because it took AGES for her to see me. I was actually about to walk out, figuring they were too busy to take on any new customers, when she came to take my order. So when I asked for pie, she pointed to the buffet ($13 for lunch, OUCH), and told me to help myself to whatever looked good, plus ice cream if I wanted it, and that she wouldn’t charge me. That doubled her tip! I enjoyed their pecan pie with just a dollop of chocolate ice cream.

When you live alone in a small space, dining out is practically a survival mechanism. It’s an excuse to get out and do a little socialising. For me, food is food when it comes to my budget. Said budget goes further in the U.S. than in Canada and allows for more meals out, but regardless, so much per month goes to food and I eat very simply at home to cut costs (I so rarely buy desserts and junk food, for example, that saying that I never buy them is barely an exaggeration). Dining out is not a place where my budget needs to be trimmed, contrary to what some readers may think.

Another thing is that this blog is a business. When I post a review of a local restaurant, I keep a copy of the bill and the blog post and claim a partial deduction on my taxes! The logic there is that I keep a travel blog. Part of travel is discovering local cuisines and restaurants. Part of my business is travel writing. To write about travel, I have to write about food. Ergo the deduction.

I’m off to do more laundry. I did three loads this morning and now I have the heavy denim stuff to do, which will take FOREVER to dry since it’s almost impossible to wring out by hand.

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Countries, Finances, Homemaking, Laundry, North Dakota, Personal, Restaurants, Travel, USA    4 Comments
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
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