We Are Home!

Since home is where we park it, and Maxx is parked in Yuma, and now we are in Yuma we must be home.  It was a very fun ten days in Edmonton and Kelowna but it sure was nice to walk out of the airport last night and be greeted by warmth.

The best sunset this year 🙂 Also a great sunset because we watched it from the plane leaving Edmonton, Alberta and we were finally on our way back to Phoenix.

Now I’m off to bed 🙂

Happy New Year, safe travels, and all the best for 2018 …

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What A Trip!

First off … Happy New Year … here is what I had planned on saying today 🙂

As 2018 starts we look forward to many more miles, more beautiful sights to see, family and friends to visit, and fellow bloggers to meet.

So to our family, friends, and fellow bloggers thanks for traveling along with us.  We wish you all the best for 2018 and are so happy you are a part of our lives!

So here is the new part …

First off a little background …

As you probably know we are full time RVers who call Kelowna, B.C. home. We have no sticks and bricks home in Kelowna since we live in Maxx. Right now Maxx is chillin in warm, sunny Yuma, Arizona keeping an eye on our shed and our neighbours … okay lets be fair, our neighbours are actually looking after Maxx and our shed but they have told us they are both behaving, so all is good.

Now I am getting to some confusing parts here so hopefully I give you a good synopsis of life the last week.

On December 23rd we flew from Phoenix to Edmonton to spend Christmas with our son’s. As I mention yesterday on December 29th we had a bonus stop over in Kelowna to see our daughter and family and were to fly back to Phoenix on December 30th. This made Kelowna a connection point on our flight … keep the connection part in mind. Due to weather in Calgary we were unable to get from Kelowna to Phoenix on the 30th.

Now airlines will not cover your accommodations, meals, and taxi if your flight is cancelled because of weather. Most of the people our flight from Kelowna to Phoenix were from Kelowna and could go back to their homes, but of course our house is in Yuma right now. So it occurred to me, as we were standing in line at the airport waiting for WestJet to rebook us, that we were actually at a connection point and in that case the airline does have to pay your costs. Now we knew this may not work since we have a Kelowna address but we thought it was worth a try. We also thought that WestJet would work harder to get us on a flight quickly if they were paying for our stay in Kelowna, and we are now tired of the snow and want to go back to the sun 😀

The other thing that came into play was the fact that our daughter has a bad cold and we knew it would be better for her to rest and get well and that wouldn’t happen if we were at their house. Lucky us we were given a hotel voucher, dinner and breakfast vouchers, and taxi vouchers to the hotel and back to the airport. We were also told that it would probably be better if we phoned into WestJet from the comfort of our hotel room and rebook our flights, so that’s what we did. After an hour and a half on the phone Saturday evening I was able to get us a flight to Vancouver and then onto Phoenix on Tuesday.

Now we only had vouchers for Saturday night so Sunday morning we took our free taxi back to the airport to get vouchers for our next two nights in Kelowna. Our hope was to go back to our daughters for New Years Eve if she was feeling better but since we had to be at the airport at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday morning we figured it would be easier to stay in the hotel Monday night.

Have I lost you yet? Hopefully I’m making sense 🙂

Anyway back to the airport on Sunday morning. Once the WestJet agent realized they were going to have to pay our expenses for two more nights they were all of the sudden able to get us on a flight back to Phoenix on Monday, but here is the kicker … we are going back to Edmonton and then onto Phoenix!

So to sum it up, for the price of a return ticket from Phoenix to Edmonton we were able to spend six days over Christmas with our son’s; four days in Kelowna were we had a great visit with our daughter and family, were able to see my sister and family, and also were able to have lunch with our best friends, all the while being put up at a hotel with meals provided by WestJet; today we will fly back to Edmonton and hopefully spend only two hours in the Edmonton Airport before getting on our return flight to Phoenix. It seems like a really roundabout way to spend Christmas in Edmonton but it really worked out for us … or at least it will if all our flights work out today.

We hope you all had a safe New Years Eve and we wish you nothing but happiness for 2018.

Until next time …

Until next time …

Merry Christmas

Hubby liked the quote from my last year Christmas blog so much that he asked me to post it again, so here it is …

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

I also love that quote because Christmas is so much more than presents and I think you feel that more and more as you get older. We no longer need physical things but we love family time. Yes I do get excited about decorations and Christmas baking but that is because they all bring back memories for me of when our children were young and how much fun Christmas was. Now that they are out on their own they are forming new traditions with their husbands, wives, and little ones and it is so neat to watch that. However the traditions that tug at my heart are the ones that they grew up with and still continue 🙂

I am spending the early hours of Christmas morning snuggling with my five month old granddaughter who is teething and not sleeping well … and I am one happy grandma.

From hubby and I we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Until next time …

Two States and One Province In One Day!

And still 1,000 km from home but that’s okay because we are in Edmonton, Alberta where we will spend Christmas with our two son’s and their families 🙂

So maybe I was a little excited to head home for Christmas, and maybe I had us on the road a little … okay a lot … earlier than we needed to be 😆 But I think hubby was also excited because he didn’t argue and he was awake long before I was!

With our coffee in travel mugs, we loaded our suitcases in the truck and headed to the airport in Phoenix. The quickest route is to head directly to I-8 and that means a very brief visit to California as we crossed over the Colorado River and exited onto the interstate. Our visit in California lasted all of two minutes before we crossed back over the Colorado River into Arizona. We had a quick stop at the Border Patrol station and then it was clear sailing to the parking garage.

This pic is for my Kelowna grandsons who love watching Border Wars … Border Patrol Checkpoint on I-8 near Yuma. The dog took a little sniff and we were sent on our way.

We were treated to a beautiful sunrise!

Driving down I-8 west of Gila Bend, AZ

Washroom stop at McDonalds in Gila Bend, AZ

It looks like the sky is on fire!

By 8:30 a.m. the truck was tucked into its space at Sundance Airport Parking (only $37.00 for the week) and we were on the shuttle to the airport.

Once our bags were checked we cleared security and enjoyed a nice breakfast before boarding our flight. It was nice to fly out earlier in the day and we really enjoyed the view from the plane.

Leaving Phoenix

The Grand Canyon

Sunny skies above the clouds just before Edmonton

And we broke through the clouds to see snow! Yipee, you really need snow for Christmas ☺

After clearing customs in Edmonton, Alberta we headed outside to meet our son and the rest of the evening has been spent visiting and snuggling with little grandbabies 🙂

Until next time …

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 …

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 …