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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.

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

27 January 2019

Happy New Year! We made to another new calendar, I hope everyone is doing better than I am at their resolutions.

We went out for a few hours on New Years Eve but the band wasn’t great and since we are both old, we decided to head home in time to watch the fireworks there. We did and y 12:15 were snug in bed. Told you we are old!

Our granddaughter’s birthday was the following day. She turned 5 and went skiing to celebrate.

I put a movie and photos here - she does really well, in complete control. Her great grandfather would be proud.



Life chugs along here without too much drama and no disasters, so far. Our health is stable, which is a good thing at our ages. Mark and family are doing well.

Winter has been relatively mild although it feels to me that we have had a little more snow than usual.

We spend our days pretty quietly. Most of my time is spent on researching the family tree using Ancestry and other collections of records. I bought another research book which I am hopeful will fill in some blanks about my Scottish Sutherland family’s military history.

The local RV Show & Sale is on in a couple of weeks. No, we are not in the market for a new rig (unless we win the lotto) but it is fun to see what’s new, talk to the tourism people and get excited about the upcoming season even if it is the middle of February.

Last month I mentioned we were considering a longer than usual trip since gasoline is so cheap. Gas is still relatively cheap at 88 cents per litre so we are seriously considering going to

 


the lobster festival in Shediac, New Brunswick. That’s 4,625 kms (2,890 miles) east of home!

We were last there in 2005 and love the Maritimes Region.

Birthday greetings this time include brother-in-law Gary Lalwani and niece Lindsay Whiteside.

This month our little town showed more signs of growing up. A new McDonalds opened (I do like their coffee) and they installed new street lights along the previously very dark road leading to the south highway entrance. That’s good, I thought. Then I learned the money to pay for it came from local photo radar fines. I don’t like photo radar (except in school zones) so now I am conflicted.

Type to you next month.

Greg, Tess & Camper

7 April 2019

I’m feeling pretty chipper - the birds are coming back, our brown grass is showing through the rapidly melting snow and the playground behind our house is full of happy kids again. I think Spring may really be here.

I am getting a serious itch to go camping even though the RV is still stuck in the storage lot because the ground is too wet and soft to get it out. Early May for sure! It has to go into the shop for a new axle seal and there is still the issue of the hydraulic jacks not working but I have some ideas on that problem. And if I have to admit defeat on the jacks, I found a shop that should be able to fix them.

Tess’ birthday is in May and we plan to be camping near Whitecourt, Alberta at Carson-Pegasus Prov Park, our traditional first trip each year. Then home for a week to get ready and then off again, heading east until we hit the Atlantic ocean in Nova Scotia.



Our 5 year old granddaughter Isla is getting to be an accomplished skier. She even tackled a black diamond run in Jasper accidentally and made it down. She likes going through the trees too. Pix are here.

Still with athletic type things, our son Mark is still very active in the arm wrestling community and this past weekend competed in a tournament in Cranbrook, BC. He went undefeated in the Super-Heavyweight class to bring home two trophies. Congrats Mark! Short video here and here.

I have a few more weeks to spend on the family trees before I give it a rest for the summer. Being on the road makes reliable internet access spotty so except for some more field work when we get to New Brunswick, I won’t accomplish much until fall.

Went to the local (new) car show the other day with a buddy. Everything from a $12,000 Nissan to a $400,000 Ferrari.


 There were even some pickup trucks for over $100,000! That’s a lot of money for something without a bathroom. Not many vehicles now can be towed 4 wheels down behind the RV. I’ll keep my trusty CR-V.

Spring chores are waiting so that’s it for now. I’ll do another update before we head out on our big trip and try to post stuff while of the road.

Birthday greetings this issue go to my brother Todd, step-mother Annie, son Mark and to my wife Tess.

Type to you next month.

Greg, Tess & Camper