Browsing "Saskatchewan"
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 16, 2013 -

I Can’t Believe This Weather

I crossed into the United States five months ago yesterday. So I have four weeks left to get back north. From where I’m sitting, I need four solid days of driving to make it to my property. I’m exhausted just thinking about such a cannonball run!

When I saw that the weather this spring was going to suck, I gave up on my plan of a leisurely few weeks of tourism through the plains. Instead, I thought to spend a few days here in Dallas, one night around OK City, two or three nights in Wichita, and then sit at a donation-only campground near Omaha for three days of clear weather to make a dash for the border.

But Wichita is still freezing at night and Omaha is still getting snow. My village is still sitting at well below freezing during the day.

Ms. Cinnamon, gracious host that she is, is in absolutely no hurry to send me on my way, bless her. I am really grateful to be pondering my options in hot sticky weather! But the fact is, I do need to get going and four weeks are going to speed by. And at the rate we’re going, even if the weather warms up a little, I am still going to be heading into frosty nights and then a sodden piece of property that will turn to liquid mud in short order.

What I need to do hit me like a ton of bricks last night: I should be going straight west across the mountains (UGH) and then north into the Okanagan. I need (spoiler alert) to be in Kelowna in late June anyway so if I can find a cheap place to hang out for two months (big IF), this plan doesn’t really set me off course. But Osoyoos, yuck!

The hiccup is that I have the money to get back to Saskatchewan from here ($600ish), but it could cost me upwards of $1,200 to get to BC through Nevada and California, then up into Oregon and Washington. I just don’t have an extra $600 right now. As you might remember, I gave my truck $600 in New Orleans.

I’m also not too keen about doing any mountain driving. Croft and Norma are presently stranded in Las Vegas, but I’ll be watching their route west closely when they get going again.

There is of course the option of extending my US trip by going to Mexico for a month or two. If I was of retirement age, that’s what I’d do. But I don’t want to push my luck with US Customs. While such behaviour would follow the letter of the law, it would be in violation of its spirit. I told customs I was heading back to Canada in April and that’s what I’m doing, with no excuses. I don’t want to jeopardize my fall crossing.

I picked a great winter to go south, but the worst kind of spring. 🙁

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British Columbia, Canada, Countries, Itineraries, Nice Folks, Saskatchewan, Social, Travel, USA, Weather    3 Comments
Apr 14, 2013 -

Mobile Internet Prices in Canada Are Really Improving!

I’m doing some research this afternoon on a new mobile internet solution for when I get back to Canada.

It looks like there is cell service at my property now, which should simply things.  SaskTel holds a monopoly in Saskatchewan and I don’t want to go with them. So my plan at this point is to drop the RV on my property and then drive to Medicine Hat, the nearest large Albertan city, to buy my mobile internet solution. The big question is, will it work on the SaskTel network? According to the Bell website, it won’t. But I’ve had luck using devices in areas where they’re not supposed to work…

Since I have burned my bridges with Telus, my only other Canada-wide option is Bell. Last I checked, their Turbo Hub offered the best deal at about $75 for 10GB, and $55 for each additional GB. For the same amount of money, Telus offered a mere 5GB. In comparison, I pay Verizon $100 for 12 GB, and $10 for each GB beyond that.

So I just about fainted when I saw the new Bell Turbo Hub rates. Get this, they are BETTER than what I am paying in the US! OMG, my country is moving into the 21st century!

bell rate plans

That graphic shows the Turbo Hub flex plan. Of interest is that your commitment is only $10 a month, versus the $35 I had to pay with Telus. And you can get up to FIFTEEN GB for $105, with each additional GB being only $10!

The Turbo Hub is $300, but only $100 if you commit to two years. Why would I pay $300 up front when my commitment is only $10 a month? I just placed a pretend order to make sure there are no other fees and that the hub really is just $100 with a commitment, and the total they asked me to pay really was just $110 plus tax. And there I was thinking it would be $300 + to get back online in Canada!

I won’t be doing a happy dance until the device works in SK, of course…

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Alberta, Canada, Communications & Electronics, Countries, Internet, Saskatchewan, Technical, Travel    2 Comments
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