Safely Home

We arrived home safely after an almost eleven-hour drive but it was worth it to spend time with our cute, snuggly Edmonton grandchildren 🙂

She is so cute and such a good baby!

Our grandson telling his dog “See Jack grandma and grandpa are leaving to go to Costco, but they will be back soon.” Okay he is only sixteen months so maybe he wasn’t saying that, but he was watching for us to come home 🙂

One afternoon we all went RV browsing and came across this neat retro unit.

It was an early start today, although not as early as the picture below makes it appear!

I was trying to get a picture of the sunrise through the back driver’s side window but the tinting on the window was making it difficult, so hubby pulled over and I quickly jumped out and grabbed a picture.

A slight fog and the sunrise made for some beautiful scenery along Highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary … even after an almost, what would have probably been very serious, collision with a big fat deer! Unlike deer in BC who feed on grass and trees, Alberta and Saskatchewan deer feed on grain so they are very big and fat.

  Almost as soon as we crossed back into BC the smoke from forest fires filled the skies, and the drive through Glacier National Park was filled with smoke so thick, it was hard to see and hard to breath!

It was nice to have almost a week away from smoke filled air. Hopefully the Okanagan gets the rain predicted for this weekend, it will help with the forest fires and knock down the smoke.

We were about an hour from home and I was just thinking I could put the camera away instead of holding it on my lap when we came across this semi accident. I sure hope the driver was okay!

Shortly after the accident we came across a forest fire that had just started along Highway 97A near Larkin Cross Road 😦

At time of posting this fire has grown to 2.5 hectares in size and homes have been placed on evacuation alert.

So now it’s back to our regular routine for the next six weeks and then we start our travels south.

Until next time …

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Snuggle Time In Edmonton, Alberta

We left home early yesterday morning under what I’m pretty sure was clear blue sky, although it was hard to tell with all the smoke in the air.

A pretty sunrise

The smoky skies have provided some very pretty sunrises during my morning walk over the last few days.

 

We were treated to lots of wildlife at the beginning of our trip, three mountain sheep and six deer but I only got a picture of the mountain sheep.

Even though it was the Friday of a long weekend, traffic was pretty light and we were only slowed down a few times for construction.

Just south of Golden, B.C. We drove through a large section of wildfires on both sides of the highway. Hopefully they are under control before we head home next week.

 

The weather was great until we were just south of Edmonton, Alberta and then the skies opened up and we ended up in a torrential downpour. The first rain we have seen since the beginning of June and there was a lot of it, fortunately it didn’t last long.

The blurry shapes you can sort of see is a car in front of us and one in the lane beside us. The windshield wipers were on high and they just couldn’t keep up with the rain!

Fortunately it didn’t last long and ten hours later we arrived at our son’s house, just in time for a great steak dinner and a little time to get reacquainted with our sixteen-month-old grandson before he went to bed. The rest of the evening was spent snuggling with our new granddaughter!

Until next time …

Muttart Conservatory

Our oldest son and daughter-in-law treated us to lunch and a tour through the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, Alberta … pronounced “Mutt” “tart” with the emphasis on the “tart”.

I wasn’t able to get a good picture of the conservatory so I borrowed this one from the internet … I will put it back when you have all read this blog ☺

The conservatory consists of four pyramids, with each pyramid housing a different region of plant life. The temperate, tropical, and arid pyramids remain the same year round. The fourth pyramid holds the featured display, which changes eight times a year.

We were fortunate to see spring flowers in the featured display, and I say fortunate, because the weather has been so crappy at home and I’m not sure we will ever see them other than in a controlled environment!

 

Daffodils are members of the genus Naricissus which also includes garlic, onions, shallots, and chives … I didn’t know that!

This pyramid was home to the Canada 150 tulip, also known as the Maple Leaf tulip. The Canada 150 tulip is the official tulip of the 150th anniversary of Canada, which occurs this year.

Tulips were first planted in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, in 1945 when the Netherlands sent 100,000 tulips as a postwar gift of gratitude to thank Canadian soldiers for the role they played in the liberation of the Netherlands.

Our next pyramid was the temperate region. Temperatures in the temperate regions are relatively moderate, rather than extremely hot or cold, and the changes between summer and winter are usually moderate. We noticed right away that this pyramid was cooler than the last.

We were very surprised to see many different orchids in this pyramid, and we all commented that we thought orchids were tropical plants. I guess others have made this comment since there was a sign that addressed this issue 🙂 Most people assume orchids come from tropical regions, but many orchids flourish in colder climates such as ours. Temperate orchids may thrive in in regions where nighttime temperatures may drop to 10C (55F) or lower but don’t freeze.

  

I was admiring this green and lush ground cover when I saw the face … pretty cool!

Of course we had to visit the arid region where we saw agave and many of the cacti we are familiar with from our winters south. However there were also plants from other areas of the world such as this Easter Rose Cactus from South America.

Our last stop was the tropical region where I fell in love with the Medinilla magnifica which is native to the Philippines.

I also loved the basket this plant was growing in!

In the Philippines, Medinilla magnifica grows in the forks of large trees but does not withdraw its food from the trees, so it will not kill the tree. King Boudewijn of Belgium was a fan of the Medinilla and grew them in the royal conservatories. The plant is shown on the bank note of the 10,000 Belgian francs. I would love to be able to grow these in baskets at home!

One of the main attractions at the conservatory right now is the Corpse Flower, know as Putrella, which is due to bloom within the next seven to ten days.

The Corpse Flower, which is the world’s largest flower, only blooms every two to three years so this is special treat. But it is also one of the smelliest flowering plants, spreading its rotten-meat or warm-diaper stink up to 30 metres to attract flies and beetles that help to spread its pollen … so maybe it was a good thing it hadn’t actually bloomed when we were there!

Putrella will probably grow to over 6 feet (190cm) tall by the time it blooms.

When it blooms, the enormous flower only lasts between two and four days. The smell is strongest when the flower first blooms, usually between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., dissipating throughout the day. Since we didn’t see Putrella in bloom I had to get a picture of the last bloom, in 2015, from the Internet.

There were many other pretty flowers in this pyramid.

Pineapple Plant

Bat Flower

As we left the conservatory the sun had come out and we were treated to a pretty view of downtown Edmonton.

It was a good thing we enjoyed the sunny skies yesterday because more snow is on the way!

Until next time …

Elk Island Park, Alberta – Part Two

We arrived at Elk Island last Wednesday and almost immediately after turning into the park we were greeted by a mama bison nursing her baby.

Pretty cool sight!

Pretty cool sight!

 

Maybe this was daddy bison standing nearby

Maybe this was daddy bison standing nearby

Elk Island is Canada’s largest completely enclosed national park and is second only to the Serengeti in numbers of hoofed wildlife that call it home. I read that bison, elk, moose, white tailed and mule deer freely roam the park but we only saw bison. Interestingly, despite all my research, I couldn’t find any information on elk in the park which I found strange given the park name!

Here is some information I did find interesting …

In the early 1900’s the Canadian government bought one of the last and largest remaining herds of pure bred plains bison from Montana. Elk Island was a temporary home to nearly 400 bison while fencing was completed at Buffalo Park in Wainwright, Alberta. The fencing was completed in 1909 and 325 bison were relocated to Buffalo National Park, the remaining bison evaded capture and are the ancestors of today’s herd in Elk Island National Park. Parks Canada maintains a herd of around 450 bison and when the numbers are over that amount some bison are sold off to help finance the needs of national parks. Apparently there are around 300 moose and over 500 deer but they must be pretty elusive because during our five-night stay we never saw them.

In 1942 beaver were reintroduced to the park and now number around 1000 and we did see many beaver lodges while hiking around the park.

Almost every body of water we came across had a large beaver lodge in it!

Almost every body of water we came across had a large beaver lodge in it!

In 1987 Trumpeter Swans were reintroduced and now mating pair’s return to Elk Island but we didn’t see any of them either 😦

We really enjoyed our time at Elk Island but now we are off to the Prairies for some family time with hubby’s relatives.

Until next time …

Elk Island Park, Alberta

Elk Island is another Parks Canada campground and the price is the same as Wapiti, $25.80 per night for an unserviced site plus the one time reservation fee of $13.50. The reservation fee was a little easier to take this time because we were staying five nights. I was a little shocked when I added up what it would cost someone who wanted to stay in a Parks Canada site for one night. In order to enter a national park you must buy a pass, which costs $19.80 for a vehicle and two people per day and is in addition to the campsite fee, reservation fee, and fire permit of $8.80 per day. So if you reserved ahead and want to enjoy your evening sitting around a campfire, and don’t have an annual Parks Canada pass, it would cost you a whopping $67.90 for an unserviced site!

We plan on visiting many National Parks on our trip across Canada so we purchased an annual pass which will make our stays much cheaper and we also don’t plan on reserving in advance so that will also save us money. Our future sites in one of Canada’s national parks should only cost us $25.80 per night plus an additional $8.80 if we decide we want a fire, and FYI if you carry a propane fire with you and plan on using that, it will still cost you for a fire permit.

We stayed in the Astotin Lake Campground and were fortunate to get one of the only sites, in the main loop, that is suitable for a big rig, most of the campsites are small and more suited toward tents or very small RV’s. There is another loop that is identified for RV’s but, like Wapiti, those sites are more like a parking lot with a picnic table on a small sliver of grass.

2016-08-10 -005- Astotin Lake Campground, Alberta

The cabin behind our site was built in July and didn’t show in the pictures on the web site when I booked our site last May.

The cabin behind our site was built in July and didn’t show in the pictures on the web site when I booked our site last May.

2016-08-10 -007- Astotin Lake Campground, Alberta

What most of the sites look like. The campground emptied out Thursday morning and we were pretty much by ourselves but it filled up on the weekend.

Fortunately our site was big enough to add our son’s tent and unlike BC Parks they did not charges another nightly fee. We enjoyed our weekend camping together and sitting around the campfire sharing lots of laughs. I also made every effort to get in as many baby snuggles as possible because when we return home our youngest grandson will be a year old … thank goodness for Facetime, at least we will be able to see him grow!

Our son and daughter-in-law had pre wedding festivities to attend on Saturday night and the wedding Sunday morning so they left our grandson with us Saturday and we drove him home Sunday afternoon. Saturday afternoon we took him down to the Bison Festival in the beach area near the campground. Since he is only four months old I’m really not sure he got much out of it but he did enjoy his new stuffed baby bison named Tyson 🙂 This park has a lot to offer and we were never bored.

2016-08-10 -003- Astotin Lake, Alberta 2016-08-10 -004- Astotin Lake, Alberta

 

 

 

 

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a Bison looked like?

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a Bison looked like?

Tomorrow I will tell you about the rest of the park which is definitely worth a visit!

Until next time …

And On The Topic Of Laundry

Well I was just discussing laundry yesterday so I thought I would also share this very valuable tip I learned … in a laundry room at an RV Park in California. I would really miss meeting and talking to people if I didn’t have to go to the laundry room to do my laundry!

Anyway here is the awesome tip I was told about in California. In the US supermarkets sell something called Color Catchers in the laundry isle … sadly these are not sold in Canada so I always stock up before we head home for the summer.

If you throw a Color Catcher sheet in with your load of laundry you can wash all colors together and any color that bleeds is picked up by the Color Catcher sheet. These sheets really work, I wash my whites with jeans and have never had a problem … of course you need to make your own decision cause I don’t want to be blamed if something happens to your laundry 🙂  But I find using these sheets allows me to use fewer loads and saves me money.

Color Catcher

Today we are packing up and hopefully leaving the rain and thunderstorms behind! We are now heading to Elk Island National Park for five nights of camping and some of those nights we will be joined by our youngest son and his family.

Until next time …

Thanks For The Invite, Can We Bring Our Laundry?

We are enjoying our time in Edmonton visiting with our two sons’ and their families.

Yesterday we were invited over to our youngest son’s place and I don’t think they were the least bit surprised when the laundry came as well. In fact our oldest son was probably wondering where the laundry was when we all got together at their house for dinner on Friday. I always laugh when hubby’s cousin’s wife, in Palm Desert California, invites us over because she always includes the laundry in her invite 🙂

Aside from getting rid of our garbage when we are in our daughter’s driveway, the biggest challenge I have is laundry. When we were searching for a new RV I really wanted a washer and dryer included but Maxx met all our other needs and we had no plans for travel other than weekends and holidays so I thought I could give up that feature. As it turned out we both retired much sooner than we thought and became full time RVers and now I really wish I had held out for the washer and dryer!

So if we stop by your place on our travels would you mind inviting the laundry in for a visit 🙂

Until next time …