You have found the family website for Greg & Tess Harrison. Glad you are here!

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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Home News Camping Links Genealogy News Archive

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

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

October 14 2018

First is congratulations on surviving being married to me and thank you to my wife of 39 years (and a few years of ‘practice’ before that). Tess, you are my best friend and I would be lost without you. We celebrated by going our for dinner at our favourite Vietnamese restaurant, Thanh Thanh Oriental Noodle House in Edmonton.

I mentioned last time that we were going on a cruise to Hawaii. We did just that and had a great time.

Cruise Photos are here.

We flew from snowy Edmonton to rainy Vancouver where we stayed one night at the Sutton Place Hotel. Nice hotel, great location near Robson Street on the edge of downtown.

We walked down Robson Steet looking at the shops, restaurants, people and the cars cruising by. I didn’t care about the shops but was interested in the cars. German cars like Porsche and M-B were so commonplace that nobody noticed them. The Ferraris and Lambos drew a few glances but it wasn’t until the Bugatti Veyron rumbled by that everyone stopped to stare. You don’t see cars costing a couple of million (!) dollars often. I had never seen one before. Odd sound too from the 1,500 horsepower, quad turbo, 16 cylinder engine. Very cool!

The next morning we shared a cab with another couple and headed for the good ship Noordam. We did the usual security and immigration thing and settled into our balcony cabin. There were three ships in port with two of them taking on thousands of passengers each. They really know how to move people efficiently.

 This is only our second cruise, the first being some 16 or so years ago. But it didn’t take us long to get into the swing of things and within an hour of boarding we had unpacked and were sitting in a restaurant eating like the little piggies we would be all week!

We set sail around 4:00pm and soon went under the Lion’s Gate bridge where they blew the ship’s horn - I loved the sound echoing off the bridge and the rocks of Stanley Park. We sailed past West Vancouver where I grew up then around the southern tip of Vancouver Island and out into the open Pacific Ocean.

Our previous cruise was on Carnival, this one was on Holland America. They cater to very different customers with Carnival being the better choice for families and the younger crowd. There were only two families with kids on our ship which had nearly 2,000 passengers. There was an ocean of grey hair on board. Yes, just like us.

We met interesting folks from Canada, USA, UK, Australia, and more. Most of the crew were from Indonesia with a few from the Philippines. Great service, amazing food, lots to do on the ship. We had a great time.

We got to Honolulu Hawaii at 7:00am as scheduled. We disembarked after a nice breakfast and again shared a cab with another couple and soon arrived at the Waikiki Hilton. Since we couldn’t check into the hotel at 10:00am, we left our luggage with the desk and went exploring.

Since we arrived in Hawaii well rested and well fed, we were ready to go. Cruising is a very civilized way to travel. We only changed one time zone every second day so there’s no jet-lag. There’s not even a temperature shock as it had been getting warmer each day we were at sea.

We roamed all over the Waikiki area. It is very busy, crowded with tourists, and traffic is terrible. Nice beach though. In the afternoon we returned to the hotel to check in. For a reasonable $20 per night I upgraded the room for more space and a King size bed. I booked a full day tour of Pearl Harbor the the city for the next day and a rental car for the day after.

On day 2 I did the Pearl Harbor tour while Tess roamed around the city shopping and sampling sushi and other goodies.

On day 3 I went to Enterprise to pick up the rental Kia and they gave me a free upgrade to a Mustang GT convertible. Woo Hoo! The one with the 460 horsepower V-8! Yes, it is thirsty but who cares - its a GT ragtop! Very fun car that goes like stink and makes wonderful noises.

We went towards the north shore of the island with our first stop at the Dole plantation. We took a train ride out into the fields and learned a lot. Tess’ father first came to Oahu in 1927 to work on the plantations so it is possible he once worked the very fields we were looking at!

We continued our drive along the north shore at a leisurely pace. Traffic was heavy but we weren’t in a hurry. We stopped at a shrimp truck for lunch (great!) and at many turn-outs and roadside parks. There are beautiful sandy beaches everywhere and lots of places where the waves are pretty big, always with surfers riding them in.

We saw the blow hole, drove through the tunnel into Diamond Head crater, and many more touristy things. This is the Hawaii we wanted to visit - green everywhere, friendly people, warm and breezy. Great!

It was hot (32C) and humid (85%) but a breeze kept things comfortable today. I still kept the A/C going in the car though. Yes, the top was always down. We returned the car at the airport, checked in and after a light meal we caught our 10:05pm flight home.

It was -3C in Edmonton which was a bit of a shock but hey, it is Alberta in October.

We picked up our very happy dog and got home around 2:00pm. We’ve already visited with our son and granddaughter so things will quickly settle into the fall routine.

Type to you next month.

Greg, Tess & Camper

December 17, 2018

Here we go again - another year has flown by and Christmas is quickly approaching. There is snow on the ground and the outside of the house and the trees have hundreds of lights. We even have a couple of brightly lit deer (reindeer?) In the back yard.

We had a house guest for a week in October. Siony (and her husband Greg who didn’t make the trip) is responsible for Tess and I meeting 40 odd years ago when we were all living in Prince George, BC. She and Tess worked together.

It is the one year anniversary of my latest angioplasty and I went back to my specialist for a checkup. All is fine although I do need to keep to untreated 60% blockage in mind. They don’t stent the 60% ones, only 70% and worse. You know the lecture: lose weight, exercise, and all that.

Still on the health topic, I went in for a colonoscopy too. The preparation sucks but the procedure itself was easy. I asked for a minimal dose of drugs and watched the whole thing on the monitor. You don’t often get the chance to see your own insides. Happily everything is good and I don’t need another one for 10 years.

Halloween was fun with the trick-or-treaters sporting some really great costumes. We had 120 kids, about average for decent weather.

The Western Canadian Armwrestling Championships - Mayhem In The Mall - was held at West Edmonton Mall on November 10th. Mark competed in both arms and took the title in both. He had to work hard to win the left arm but had no trouble winning the right arm. Here’s the video I took if you want to see him in action.

In early November my Mom fell and broke her left arm about two thirds up from her elbow. It was a clean, horizontal break and didn’t require a cast. She does have to wear a sling to keep it supported and mobility restricted but it should heal in the usual 6 - 8 weeks.

Since she lives alone, my brother and I went to help her out for a few days then I brought her back home with me for some TLC from Tess. I returned her home around the end of the month.

Then about two weeks later she has come down with pneumonia. My brother Todd has gone to look after her as I am also sick and don’t want to make the situation worse by giving her even more germs to cope with.

Early in the new year it is Tess’ turn to get poked and prodded by her team of medical people. Just routine stuff happily, to extend her warranty for another couple of years.


We are keeping Christmas gifts modest this year. We are pensioners, after all. We did splurge on a season’s ski pass for Isla and she has already been blasting down the slopes. I’ll post a video when I can.

We are still negotiating our 2019 RVing plans. Since gasoline prices are the lowest they have been in years (88.4 cents/litre yesterday) a longer trip is looking more affordable. 8,400 kms Alaska tour or 4,600 kms to Atlantic Canada perhaps? Or 300 kms to Whitecourt?

Happy birthdays to dear friend Lorrie, ex-daughter-in-law Melissa, and on January 1, 2019 to our granddaughter Isla who turns 5!

To all of our extended family (I know who you are!), friends and acquaintances, Merry Christmas and our best wishes for a safe, healthy and prosperous 2019!

Type to you next month.

Greg, Tess & Camper