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This site is for family and friends to keep up to date and to share my passions for RVing and genealogy.

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This page has the ‘News’ entries for the past year or so. Its here to let you catch up if you like.

4 December 2017

Here we are nearing the end of another adventure filled year. We are both still alive and kicking so that’s good. Mark and Isla are well and healthy which is also good.

We spent a lot of time this year doing the things we love:

Islaing - we are so lucky to see our granddaughter Isla once or twice a week. She is such a joy to be around. Check out her latest photos here.

Rving - 65 nights out and 6,900 kms in Alberta and British Columbia this year.

Fishing - we tried for rainbow trout, salmon, halibut, dungeness crab, rock cod, and even caught a skate. We landed and ate everything except halibut.

 My cardiac rehab is going fine and I have been able to increase the duration and difficulty of my exercise routine. I haven’t lost much weight yet (maybe 10 lbs) but the conditioning and fitness are far more important than a bunch of extra lbs.

Tess is also doing OK although she continues to suffer the side effects of the surgery she had and the cancer medications she must take. She is a very strong woman.

My membership in Ancestry has expired and eventually I expect they will offer me a renewal at a price I am willing to pay.

In the meantime, I am busy cleaning up all the data - I have about 10,000 documents and photos to properly name and file, 4,000 place names and 1,000 groups of source names to review. It will take a while!

I discovered I’m related to the first President of the USA. Surprise!

George Washington is my 16th cousin, 7x removed. Our common ancestor was Edward I, King of England in the late 1200s. That’s a pretty distant relation!

We had some snow a couple of weeks ago and it is still on the ground so it looks like winter is here. Not too cold yet with overnight lows staying above -18C / 0F and daytime highs sometimes reaching the freezing (melting?) Point.

Christmas is too quickly approaching, only 3 weeks as I type this. That means only 20 days left until I have to start my shopping. At least I have the lights up on the house and trees. Our street is looking quite Christmassy.

To all my readers, Merry Christmas to you and yours and may 2018 bring you health and happiness.

Greg, Tess & Camper

17 January 2018

Another year gone and several more aches and pains. Don’t like this pattern!

We had a very busy December starting with a trip to Winnipeg to meet up with a small slice of Tess’ family.

Her sister Carling and her 3 kids Estela, Vangie and Jojo and niece Ailene and the two of us all had a great visit. I finally got to meet Estela in person after so many years of emails and texts.

We were hosted by the birthday boy and Carling’s only son, Jojo (who turned the big 50) and family. There was an amazing feast including a whole roasted pig in typical Filipino fashion. What a great weekend!

We drove because the flight for us and the dog would have been pretty expensive, especially when adding in a car rental and the surcharges for the dog. The weather and roads cooperated and the trip took about 15 hours each way.


The next big event was Christmas and another chance to spoil Isla. She, Mark, Kim, and their room mate Mattie,came for Christmas dinner on the 24th. Aside from eating too much, we did the tree and sock thing. You can see pix here.

Isla was very happy with her ladybug earrings but since her piercings are too recent to put them in, she decided to play with the cotton balls they were packed in. We were still finding cotton balls a week later!

So Isla had Christmas dinner and presents here on the 24th and went home with her Daddy waking up on the 25th to another tree and then when Mom woke up after working all night, Isla went home to yet another tree! She made out like a bandit.

Isla is a New Year’s baby so the party and presents just kept coming. Her party was on December 30th and lots of family and friends were there. Lots. It was a zoo, but the good kind! There are a couple of photos here.

Tess and I went out for New Years to the Yellowhead Casino where we pigged out on a buffet with seafood, beef, pork, chicken and more. The entertainment was a great Neil Diamond cover band called Nearly Neil Diamond

I’ve been complaining about my little Chev Tracker SUV for a while now - the seats are uncomfortable, it is noisy, I’m tired of driving a manual (!), the seats aren’t heated and so on.

I was casually looking on Auto Trader and to make a short story even shorter, we bought a very clean, low mileage, fully loaded 2010 Honda CR-V EX-L. It is factory approved for being towed behind the motorhome and has the automatic transmission and heated seats I wanted. Its quiet too.

It will take a little effort to get it ready to tow - the steel bits that bolt to the frame for towing and wiring the lights - but that’s pretty straightforward. It is about 1,000 lbs heavier than the Tracker but still within the motorhome’s tow limits and probably won’t impact gas mileage. So far I’m very happy with it.

Greg, Tess & Camper

1 April 2018

I was talking to my brother the other day and he scolded me for not updating this site since early January. That is too long without an update so here I am back at it - trying to remember what has happened over the past three months that anyone might care about.

To be honest, not much! Life has been chugging along nicely with our health being stable and no unnecessary drama. I am still on the treadmill every other day, or shovelling snow. It has been a long and snowy winter and we are getting very anxious for it to all be over.

Our son Mark and granddaughter Isla come over for dinner once a week or so and occasionally we make the trip to watch her doing something like gymnastics, dance, or her newest passion, downhill skiing. She’s had a lesson and lots of coaching from her Dad and makes beautiful S turns all the way down the green runs. She even handles the chairlift and rope tows like a pro. Pretty impressive for someone who just turned 4 in January!

Check out her latest pix here.

I have been giving the snowblower a real workout this winter. Even though a couple of weeks may go by without a flake of new snow, there are weeks where I am steering it around two or three times. I’d really like to put it away and go camping! We have about 2 feet of snow in the back yard so I guess it won’t be before May, as usual.

I have been spending a lot of time on the family tree which is now over the 10,300 people mark. I had been putting off some housekeeping chores like tracking down duplicate entries, correcting place names and properly naming photos and other documents. I finally got that all done - woo hoo!

The price was right so I renewed my Ancestry subscription and added one at Genes Reunited. Lots of new records to explore and lots of distant cousins to trade information with.

I haven’t found any new family members of note lately. You know, pirates, prime ministers and so on. Maybe tomorrow.

If anyone wants to see either Tess’ tree of mine, send me an email and I’ll give you access to the one posted at Ancestry. I can’t host it here because the trees total 7.5GB and it would simply cost too much.

If there is a birth, marriage, census, or death record you’d like a copy of, just drop me an email and I’ll send it to you.

With Spring officially here we are less than two months from going camping for Tess’ birthday in mid May. I’ll have to spend a bunch of time getting ready to go - de-winterize, service batteries, load everything like food and beer in the RV plus install the connection plate wire up the new Toad.

Can’t wait!  

We’ve been talking about where to go this summer and although British Columbia is usually part of our plans, not this year. One of our biggest expenses is always gasoline and gas prices in BC are already 50% higher there than here in Alberta.

We got a phone call from my step-mom asking for our help after a nasty fall so the next day we drove the 15 hours to Vancouver Island to help out. She will be fine but needs extra hands for a while so here we are.

The drive out was uneventful. It was -24C when we left the house at oh-dark thirty and as we continued west, the temperature dropped to -28C in Edson. At the end of March! It started to warm near Hinton, Alberta and was above freezing a couple of hours later, well into British Columbia. By the time we got to Vancouver Island at 8pm, it was +14.

The cherry trees are in bloom in Parksville and with sunny breaks, it is pretty darn nice here!

That’s it for today. Happy Easter.

Greg, Tess & Camper

May 2018

Only 6 weeks or so since my last update - that’s an improvement. Mostly it has to do with timing. As I type these first few paragraphs we are camped at our favourite Provincial Park near Whitecourt, AB; about a 90 minute drive from home. I woke up early and Tess and Camper are still asleep. We have fresh rainbow trout n the freezer, and a chipmunk and a bunch of blue jays visiting the site nibbling on the seeds I put out. You can read more about this trip here.

Winter was the longest I can remember with something like 168 consecutive days with temperatures below freezing. Often way below freezing. Like 70 degrees Fahrenheit below freezing! Sheesh! Spring has finally sprung and things are turning green, the birds are back, the motorcycles are out of hibernation and camping season has arrived.

I purchased and installed the towing assembly for the front of the new Toad and although I can feel the extra 1,000 lbs difference between the Tracker and the CR-V, we are still well within the limits of the motorhome. No doubt gas mileage will drop a bit more but that’s the way it goes.

Our son Mark and granddaughter Isla were over for their weekly visit the other day. We went for a bike ride around the neighbourhood and Isla declared that she wanted her training wheels removed because they are too noisy. She is 4 years old and a very determined kid so I am sure that in a few hours she will be two wheeling.

And speaking of Isla, she started snow skiing this past winter. She took a lesson (one) in February at the local bunny hill. Later her Dad took her on the bigger bunny hill wearing a harness. Kind of like a leash in case she loses control. (Below)

By the end of the season she was skiing down the green runs at Marmot Basin and Lake Louise in the Rocky Mountains without the leash! Her great grandfather would have been proud.

She carves turns around the slower adults and sings “my name is Isla and I’m going to the Olympics”. She just might!

Mark took a video but at 150MB, it is too big to post here. Drop me a line and Ill share it with you via dropbox.

You can see a new batch of Isla photos here.

The Provincial Armwrestling Championships were held this month in Calgary. Mark won both arms in the 100 kg class. This qualifies him to compete for the National title in Laval, Quebec. A good showing there will qualify him for the World Championship to be held in October in Turkey. Good luck Mark!

A belated happy birthday to my brother Todd (last month) and my sister Carol (this month).

Tess and I are busy planning camping trips over the next few months. Being away more than a few days means arranging for someone to be in the house, water the plants and garden, cut the grass, and all that kind of stuff. Being retired and travelling is hard work!

Type to you next month.

Greg, Tess & Camper

June 2018

I’m improving - only a month since my last update.

We have been busy around here now that camping season is back. We have been out twice for a total of 22 nights and have covered about 1,500 kms. If you are interested in our adventures, you can read about the trips, sights, and critters here.

When we are away from home for more than a few days, we have to hire someone to cut and tend to the lawn, check the house every couple of days (to keep the insurance company happy), water the plants and garden, pick up the mail and on and on. It is a pain to arrange all this, never mind the expense. As we are now senior citizens, we will one day in the not too distant future need these services even when we are home. And the stairs in the house are tough on our knees. Maybe it is time to start thinking about the next stage in our lives?

With the summer weather, I am spending less time working on the family tree. Make that no time. I have a long to-do list but it can wait until the fall or winter.

Tess and I are staying healthy and I am even getting in a little more exercise. I’ve even lost 10 lbs., although that’s a pretty modest start to the depressingly large number I should lose.  

Our granddaughter is a joy to be around although she easily tires us out. We will have her for the weekend in a few days.

Last month I mentioned that Isla wanted to take the training wheels off her bicycle. It took her about an hour of practice to be able to ride without them. Now she can even ride across a bumpy grass field with confidence.

Isla, Mark and I spent fathers day together at Calaway Park near Calgary. A great bonding day.

There are new photos of her here.

Over the past few years, I have written and revised several articles about RVing and the lifestyle and decided to publish them here. If you are curious about it, check them out.

Mark competes for the national armwrestling championship in Laval, Quebec over the Canada Day long weekend. He should do well. I’ll post the results next month. Good luck, Mark!

Type to you next month.

Greg, Tess & Camper

August 19 2018

We have been out a total of 39 nights and have covered about 3,000 kms. If you are interested in our adventures, you can read about the trips, sights, and critters here.

Last month was my 65th birthday so I am now officially an old fart. This week I got a discount from my barber. And my old age pension has started. All of those are good things but the number of aches and pains seems to increase every day. And why do I still feel 25 on the inside? At least the inside parts that don’t hurt.

In addition to camping, we are busy with the usual summer activities and chores. We still get to see Isla every week when she is in town. Her parents make lots of time to spend with her and she is doing very well. She even caught her first fish last month.

The outdoor air quality over the past few days has been very poor. According to the newscast, the Edmonton area has the worst air

 quality of any city in the world! Visibility is about 1 km and it hurts my chest to just walk outside.

It all comes from some 600 forest fires in British Columbia, the nearest to us is some 500 kms away. The sun is blood red in the late afternoon and I can look directly at it without hurting my eyes. Then about 3 hours before sunset, it is completely gone behind the smoke. Its like an apocalypse movie.

In my June update I mentioned that Mark was going to compete in the Canadian National Armwrestling Championship in Laval, Quebec. He came in second in each arm. Congrats, Mark.

Tess and I are going on another cruise next month. We sail from Vancouver, BC to Honolulu, Hawaii then spend 3 days there before flying home. This will be our first time cruising with a balcony - yes, I know there is nothing but ocean to look at for 6 days but

that’s what we want. No new port of call to explore every day; just room service and lazy days doing very little except eat, of course!

As always, there are new photos of Isla here.

That’s it for this update. No big drama in our lives which is as it should be. Since we are saving for pocket money on the cruise, we may not get out camping again so I am going to try and work on the tree. I’m still looking for the connection between the Nartatez and Nartates clans. Please help!

Type to you next month.

Greg, Tess & Camper