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2016 trips start close to home in Alberta: our traditional first trip of the year to Whitecourt, then Wabamun, back to Whitecourt, back to Wabamun and ending up in Victoria BC for our second snowbird adventure.

May 1 - 7 Edmonton, Whitecourt

We are back at the Yellowhead Casino, close by RV parts supply shops if anything had broken over the winter. All was fine and we headed north-west to Whitecourt the next morning.

We arrived at the Lions RV park in Whitecourt in time for a late lunch. There is a fire ban in place for the foreseeable future and it was 30C so we didn’t do anything too strenuous the first day.

On Tuesday we packed up our gear and went fishing. It was a good trip and we wound up with 9 fish, one short of our limit. For a change, I caught more fish than Tess.

Wednesday was more of the same. All the fish were in the 1½ to 2 lb range and very firm and tasty as the water is still pretty cold.

There was a fellow beside us fishing but he didn’t keep his trout; he tossed them back into the lake. Of course most of them went belly up soon after.

One of his mortally wounded fish was flopping around in the water right in front of us, about 50’ out.

A bald eagle dropped from the sky and snatched it out of the water with is talons. That’s the closest we have been to an eagle strike. Wow!

At one point we had a double header and Tess was so excited to set her hook after netting my fish that she took several quick steps backwards and landed on her butt, then on down to wind up flat on her back. Her eyes were huge and it was hilarious! She kept the rod tip up and the line taut though and landed another nice trout.

Since we have our possession limit in the freezer and couldn’t fish any more, and there really isn’t much else to see or do in Whitecourt, on Friday I dropped Tess off at the local casino and Camper and I went down to the river to watch the pike fishermen get skunked. Since we were all tired out from that, we went home and had a nap.

Around 7:30 I returned to the casino and took Tess to her mothers day / birthday steak and lobster dinner. With all the discount coupons, the total bill was only $35. What a deal. After dinner I played Spanish 21 and slowly lost my stake while Tess played the slots and slowly doubled her money. We have a good system.

We hope to get out again before the end of May.

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May 24 - 27 Wabamun Lake Provincial Park

We decided to get out for a few days to recharge our internal batteries from all the stress of being retired. The closest Provincial Park is about a 45 minute drive west to Wabamun. Heavily treed, large sites, lots to see and do in the area; we try to get out here at least once a year.

It was raining off and on all three days we were here but we did manage to get a nice campfire going one evening. Happily, the fire ban was lifted a couple of days before we arrived.

This has been a catch and release lake for 8 years now. They say it is to let fish stocks recover so I hope to see it opened back up to catch and eat within a few years.

There are certainly lots of fish in the lake, at least Pike. I caught 5 nice ones in an hour and saw a monster 3 footer slowly swimming by in the clear water. I couldn’t persuade him to bite my spoon. Too bad.

I was using barbless hooks and I am sure all the fish I released will grow up to be monsters one day.

We took the car into town and stopped at the grocery store to buy chocolate chip cookie dough and to tour the sites. Later, we had fresh, hot cookies with a cup of hot chocolate and watched a movie while the rain came down outside.

This is how to camp!

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August 9 - 15 Carson-Pegasus Provincial Park

We left home at noon and arrived before 2:00 pm. They have changed the reservation rules again and now all powered sites are reservation only.

We decided to stay here without power to be close to the lake. Besides, it isn’t hot enough to need the air conditioner and we can run the genny for coffee and toast in the mornings.

Fishing was poor all week. Actually, it was worse than poor - we landed exactly one trout in 6 days. And it wasn’t just us; almost nobody caught anything. This is why we don’t normally come here except in the spring and fall.

Friday night was crab buffet night at the local casino and while waiting for the restaurant to open I won $600.30 on a penny slot machine. Woo Hoo! Free dinner, free camping, free gas to get here. And dinner was good too.

On Sunday we went to nearby Little Carson Lake. I wanted to try fishing from shore since the water is unusually high and there is now a wharf sticking out into the lake. There are pike and whitefish in there. On the third cast I caught a little pike and suddenly had high hopes that today would be different! Wrong.

That was the only fish I caught in this lake and I had to toss him back.

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September 13 - Wabamun Provincial Park

We decided to come out here for a few days for some mental therapy: we’d have a fire, go catch some fish, maybe treasure hunt on the beach or playgrounds. We settled in and had a nap after the rigours of setting up camp. We had a fire too after our traditional first night BBQ of dogs and burgers. We went in around 9 and to bed around 10:30.

We had to return home the following day but it was good to get one last night in before we head to Vancouver Island in December.

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September 22 - Merritt, BC

I am by myself on the way to Agassiz to put 7 into storage so we can pick it up and go straight to Victoria on December 1st.

Uneventful trip so far. There are 7 other rigs here in the Walmart RV park. Early to bed as there is nothing to do here in the parking lot.

After an early start, the rest of the trip was again uneventful and I put 7 to bed for the next couple of months and returned home in Toad.

Walmart in Merritt BC

Storage lot in Agassiz BC

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November 30 - Tsawassen, BC

The plan was to drive to Hope, BC today. Hope is about a 30 minute drive to Agassiz where the motorhome is in storage. We got there at 3:00pm so figured we’d go and unload the car and find a hotel room nearby so we could get an early start.

Then we realized that since everything is loaded into the RV, we could save some money by spending the night at

 the RV park beside the ferry terminal. It is expensive at $42 but still much cheaper than a hotel and eating out so that’s what we did.

The week of minor problems started when we were leaving the storage yard. The tow bar that connects the car to the motorhome refused to properly lock in place so we struggled with it for about an hour, in the rain, to get it to lock in place.

The next morning there was a discount fare on the ferry so we took an uneventful 90 minute trip to Victoria.

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December 1 - 31 - Victoria, BC

We arrived at our site in West Bay Marine RV Park and spent the next couple of hours getting set up for an extended stay. Outside hookups include a heating element and insulation for our fresh water line so it doesn't freeze if it dips below freezing.

Looking south from our site.

I spent a couple of days chasing down and repairing water leaks, 3 in the roof and one blown water line to the shower.

As usual, the park is full of friendly RVers, including a couple we met in the lineup to get on the ferry.

We aren’t beside the ocean but it is a small park and we can see the water on 3 sides. The bright side is that we are warmer because the RVs beside the water are blocking the wind for us.

Sadly, the park’s lease was not renewed and they will close at the end of February, 2017. If we are going to return to Victoria in the future, we will need to find a new home base.

There is lots to do here in Victoria and we are keeping busy. Museums, Butchart Gardens, the waterfront, markets, Historic Sites and more.

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