September 18, 2019 – Border Binder

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Autumn is one of my favourite seasons here in Saskatchewan.

Sitting with my morning coffee and watching the trees begin a new transformation in preparation for the upcoming winter. I find it so calming and therapeutic. The leaves magically begin changing colours, and then gracefully fall to the ground.




The morning air is so crisp and fresh, which usually sparks our conversations on our morning walks to include homemade soups, hearty stews and of course, plans for our winter snowbird trip south.

Several of our Canucks On Wheels followers have sent us messages and asked if we would share what makes up our border binder.

Since it is now less than 30 days till we head south, and we are in snowbird prep mode, now would be a good time to share.

A little background for those of you wondering how our border binder started.

Travelling with anxiety can be difficult at the best of time. Now, crossing the border sends me (Becky) into a tailspin of what-ifs!

What if I didn’t have a document that can be requested! What if I lost our credit card or even worse our passports!

This says it all!

Before our first snowbird trip back in 2014, I had all our documents stuffed in a big brown envelope. It held everything that I thought we needed, but I started to get anxious that I didn’t have everything or that I could lose something important. Hence, why we put together this border binder, it contains copies of all our pertinent documents that could be requested by border security officers at the border.

I decided a binder with a zipper would be the most logical, and bright pink would be easy to spot if misplaced.

Get a binder with a zipper

Plastic sheet protectors work great for keeping everything organized.

Plastic sheet dividers

Here is the list of the documents we have in our collection.

Continue reading

September 12, 2019

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Woke up to another wet and cool morning, we had light showers on and off last night. It appears the nights are getting colder and I would prefer not having to run our propane gulping furnace very often. These furnaces are definitely not energy efficient and use a ton of propane. On the plus side, Mother Nature has other options to help keep us warm….. I have been handed the ability to self combust, yup that’s right, these wicked hot flash and night sweat. Seriously does it ever end? I swear I have had these sucks for 10 years now!

Funny, I always wished for a smoking hot body, menopause was not what I was thinking!!!

Last month I started working for our local campground. Staff were heading back to university and were going to be short-staffed till close up. It appears that my temporary fill-in will now be turned into a seasonal position next May 1-Oct 1. Perfect for us RV snowbirds as we head south middle of October, and are back home middle of April.

One month in., and I am enjoying it. Meeting new people from all over the world, I met a couple from Switzerland and a gentleman from Bermuda today. I love listening to their travel stories and hearing about their families.

Today’s project, the factory mounted the spare tire on the rear trailer’s bumper.

When we boondock, there are usually quite a few dips and washes we need to maneuver through. Our trailer is 38 ft, and that darn spare tire has been skidded a few times because it hangs so low. Today Myron relocated it, so now it is mounted just behind our rear trailer axle out of the way.

Spare tire has a new home

Besides truck and trailer maintenance, Myron has been busy this summer with his upholstery work and as a relief semi driver. It’s funny how things work out. He gets a call one day asking if he is interested in doing some relief driving. Lots of businesses don’t want to hire anyone full time as they may not have enough work for a full-time Employee, so hiring on a relief driver works perfectly for their business and us as well.

🍷, have a great one!

Condensation

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We soon discovered being in our Rv for an extended amount of time, the one thing we needed to carefully watch for was condensation. It will cause havoc in a camper.

Our friends Tom and Lori had an issue with condensation, and they strongly recommend we invest in a dehumidifier.

Pro breeze dehumidifier

These things are amazing. We purchased a large unit for our main living and kitchen area that holds 1500 Ml of liquid and then later purchased 2 small ones ( one for our bedroom and one for the basement solar compartment that hold 500ml each.

This past summer the humidity has been 85-99% so these units have done amazing collecting the liquid.

So we did our research, and discovered there are a few other things we could do daily that will help prevent condensation, so we thought we would share them with you.

Eliminate the source of the condensation as fast as possible!

Since we do most of our cook in our Rv, we alway use lids on our pots and have our stove exhaust fan running. This helps reduce the moisture in the air. (Remember to open your flap on the outside of your trailer or your stove exhaust will not work properly, ask me how I know, lol)

Showering is another contributor to condensation. We always have our bathroom fan running as this pulls the moisture out of the air. Immediately after our showers we use a shammy cloth to wipe down all our shower walls and use a squeegee to remove any left over water on our shower floor.

Roof vent covers

These install directly over your roof lids and allow you to leave your lid open in various weather conditions. Unless the wind is coming directly into our vents they always stay open, even and inch or so.

Dollar tree disposable moisturizer eliminators.

We place these in our closets, and in our cupboards. They are cheap and work great!

Indoor thermometer with wireless humidity level indicator.

We placed the 3 wireless units strategically in our rig, one in the basement garage near our water pump, one in the solar compartment, and our bedroom. Now we can monitor multiple areas at once.

If you are able, run your AC as this will also help to reduce the humidity level inside.

Cheers!!

Titan Missile Museum

Last winter we toured the Titan Missile Museum

Location: Sahuarita, Arizona

Cost: Adults $10.50, Seniors $ 9.50

What do you get: 1 hour guided tour of the former Titan II Missile Silo

This is a quote from their website

The Titan Missile Museum is the only remaining Titan II site open to the public, allowing you to re-live a time when the threat of nuclear war between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union was a reality.

The Titan II was capable of launching from its underground silo in 58 seconds and could deliver a nine megaton thermonuclear warhead to its target more than 6,000 miles (approximately 10,000 km) away in less than thirty minutes. For more than two decades, 54 Titan II missile complexes across the United States stood “on alert” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, heightening the threat of nuclear war or preventing Armageddon, depending upon your point of view.”

Here are some photos from our tour

A very educational tour, we highly recommend checking out the Titan Missile Museum.

Lippert Error LF Jack

It’s amazing how RVs have changed over the years. Our old Prowler 5th wheel had a manual crank levelling system on it, that drove us nuts trying to get level. Each corner had to be done separately, and this took time and patience, and our fridge was very picky, it had to be completely level to work properly.

With our Cougar we have been spoiled with our Lippert 4 point automatic levelling jacks! Just hit the button and it does everything for you, no guess work involved, just to be on fairly level ground.

Amazing system, until you hear that dreaded beeping noise, and the screen shows ” error LF jack”. Grrr, we tried everything and still that awful beeping and error LF Jack kept appearing on the screen. Thankful we have a manual mode override so we could get back on the road.

We found an article that said we had to reset the computer to clear the error code.

To do this we need the trailer still hooked to our truck, extending all jacks at least 6 inches. Then press and held the retract button until the jacks begin retracting. All of the jacks fully retract and clear the error.

Issue fixed!

Here are a few pictures from boondocking by Chirciaco Summit, California

(33.6738272, -115.7968396)

We sometimes have to do some fancy driving to get our rig to our boondocking spot, yes all the while I usually sit with my eyes covered! 🙈 The best views are sometimes the most awkward getting into.

Tuscan Rodeo Museum

When doing my research for the Tuscan area I accidentally came across this little gem of history.

The Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum is located in the historic Tucson Rodeo Ground.

Cost: $12.00 Adults, $ 9.00 for Seniors

We had the most amazing tour guide by the name of Bob. Bob was a wealth of information that made this tour so great.

A few displays set up of the Tuscan History.

They have quite the collection of saddles.

We even got to tour their tac room.

This Museum has over 100 horse drawn vehicles on display. Even a few that appeared in the Antique Road Show!

Here are a few pictures

This is a working wagon, it spends it winters here at the museum and then on the trails for the summers.

A fully functional mini steam model locomotive track, along with everything you could think of what Tucson would have looked like after the train station arrived.

Here is a little did you know!!!

Corvina Beach, Salton Sea California

Now that we are back in the land of fast internet, I thought It was time to play catch-up with some of our winter adventures.

Friends of ours, Mike & Geri recommended we camp at Corvina Beach in the Salton Sea State Park on our way to the Palm Springs area.

We have passed this place a few times on our travels west, but never stopped. As always, their recommendations were correct, very cool place to spend a few nights.

Since it’s a state park, we had to pay to camp……Still a great price for a great view.

Location: California Hwy 111

COST: $10/night or $8.00 for over age 62

Note: self registration, need cash

A little foggy, but we still enjoyed our morning coffee view!

You can park right along the sea

The beach of the Sea has increased with all the water loss over the years. From a distance, the beach just looks like ordinary sand, until you start getting closer to it.

This was not sand we were see, but a beach made barnacles and bones!

Barnacles and bits of bone

Part of a fish skeletons

I found it very neat to walk down to the water and investigate the beach, Myron on the other hand said ‘No way”!

Since we were on the North East shore, and it was still cool in January there was no smell of decay. I don’t think I would want to stay there when the temp were high!

If you don’t know the history of the Salton Sea you can click here.

We even got to watch a few of these pass by.

Since we were there for a few days, we decided to do a little tour and check out Dos Palmas Reserve not far from our camp.

Location: Dos Palmas Spring Rd, Mecca, CA 92254

A short hike in to see the Palms.

we are getting closer

This one was cut down, very neat trunk system.

The fruits these trees produce

No hike is complete without a selfie!

Time to change our view

This is the coldest winter, and the most rain we have seen since we became snowbirds.

It rained for about 1-1/2 days, and walking the dogs was quite the messy situation, thankfully our friend Amy gave us some Pawz Rubber Boots to try out.

It does take two of us to put them on, but I must say they are amazing and do not fall off, thanks again Amy!

Even with all the rain and wind, we still enjoyed our time near Ajo.

A day trip down to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, with a stop at Why. AZ!

Why you ask? Why not! 😝

Spent a morning in Ajo at their 6th Annual Food Festival and Flea Market. The black bean brownie with mesquite flour was a hit with Myron, and we even came away with a few bargains from a garage sale. 😜

We had a couple of great hikes, and welcomed our daily visits from a group of hummingbirds that always kept us entertained.

It wasn’t always cloudy and rainy, we only had to run our generator 1 day as most days we were pulling in some great solar and were fully charged by 10 Am.

Hey, we even had a few relatives come out for a visit!

A crazy family pic would not be complete without some crazy faces.

North Ajo Peak Hike

What a great day for a hike. We are getting our hiking legs back and today we did the North Ajo Peak Hike 9.2 km, and we even beat the forecasters call for rain!

Baby cactus

Myron is still loving his new binoculars.

Garry taking the led, I had to run to catch up with him to grab this photo!

Desert flower

Came across these jugs of water in the desert.

We took a slight detour and found two little caves.

Crazy selfie time

We made it back to camp just in time for wine time!

March 6, 2019

Being back here in Ajo (pronounced Ah-ho) means hiking time now that the weather has warmed up. Today was a great day to hit the trails and get our legs back.

First hike 5.5 km

Sunny with a slight breeze

Saguaro cactus country

Selfie time

Can you spot our campsite? Hint, zoom in and look for the red Dodge!

Group selfie with our hiking partners Garry and Karen.

Ajo, Arizona

We are back at another one of our favourite places to boondock just outside of Ajo, Arizona, and of course it’s Free to stay here on BLM land for 14 days!

Here is our view for the next couple of weeks!

There is just something about nature and the sounds of the birds chirping that make us love this place.

We are looking forward to some hiking and site seeing!

I think we have these Canadians hooked on snowbirding! 😉

It’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

It’s not always hot and sunny in Arizona

We don’t always bask in the sun when we are south, in fact it gets quite cool as soon as the sun goes down. Off goes the shorts, t-shirt’s and flip flops and on goes the long pants, bunny hugs, socks and shoes.

We have even been known to put on our winter jackets and a toque to watch the Super Bowl outside while we were in California a few years back.

This morning our phones were buzzing away, we have a weather freeze warning here in Yuma.

Guess today would be a good day for a pot of stew and fresh biscuits!

Even with these temps we can’t complain. Holy heck Batman, at least it’s not as cold as back home in Saskatchewan.

Stay warm our friends and family!

RV Mods – Solar

When we purchased our trailer, our intentions where to purchase a 5th wheel that we could head south where we could bask in the sun for the winter months. Staying in campgrounds or rv parks every-night was not on our priority list. We love to travel and see new places, some would say we get itchy feet!  So dry camping only made sense to us. In order to drycamp/boondock for extended period of time, we would need to invest in Solar.  We wanted to be self-sufficient and not rely on rv parks, campgrounds or a generator, so we invested in ourselves.

We did  a lot of research and called everyone we knew with any knowledge on the subject, and Myron and I came up with our present system of: 690 watts of solar and 440 amp hours of battery.

This allows us to use our Instant Pot, Induction cook top, bread maker, coffee pot, basically everything with the exception of our A/C and Microwave (we do not use the microwave, it’s become our bread storage compartment)

Solar Panels

12v 38.14 Amps 690 Watts wired in parallel.

2- 12v 9.37 Amp 170 Watts each

2- 12v 9.7 Amps 175 Watts each

Each panel is wired in parallel with #8 PV- Solar Wire (Sunlight and weather resistant), ran to a junction box.

(Prices have dropped lots since we purchased our first set of panels. You can now purchase high quality 200 watt panels, made in the USA, for $185.00 USD/ $240.00 CAD. So if you open your local weekly flyer and see solar panels from Canadian Tire or Harbour Freight don’t waste your money, they are a ripoff, more than 3x the price per watt and they do not compare.)

Installing roof junction box and drilling hole in our roof for the wire drop. This required precise measuring as we needed to make the drop directly into the wall between the kitchen and bathroom.

Myron had perfect alignment from the roof, directly in the wall, straight down to the electrical panel compartment.

# 4 Pv-Solar Wire was used to run from Junction box to Charge Controller. (Over kill? Maybe, but we didn’t want any voltage loss, and room for expansion)

This required team work, as this #4 PV (Solar) wire was heavy and very tricky to pull. Thanks for the help Tom!

Front storage compartment houses our 40 Amp Blue Sky MPPT charge controller with a 500 Amp Shunt that send a signal back to our Blue Sky IPN Pro-Remote.

Our battery bank is 440 AH, wired in series & parallel with 1/0 cable

4- 6v Golf Cart Batteries

2- Costco Interstate- 210 AH ea

2 – NAPA -230 AH ea

We installed a 1000 Watt pure Sine inverter with a remote and dedicated solar plugs.

I must say, I have one talented husband! Having solar has worked out great for us, as we invested in ourselves instead of the Rv parks and campgrounds!

We will have an update coming this winter, as we will are making a few changes to our system to make it more efficient.

Note:

This is not a how to, this is just how we did it!

Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

After leaving Quartzite, we made our way south about 20 miles to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge to spend a few days taking in the view, and hiking to Palm Canyon.

Location – Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

Cost $- Free 14 days in a 12 month period.

GPS:

Notes: coming from the north (Quartzite) heading south on US 95, turn left just past Mile marker 86 onto Palm Canyon Road.

Our view from our patio

We heard about the California Palm that are growing in the Palm Canyon, so of course we had to hike in to check it out.

2 km/ 1.2 Miles in and out with a 90 meter/301 ft climb in elevation.

Some pictures from our hike.

A few signs posted at the beginning of the trails.

Borders hold rain water from last nights rain.

Hey, we have to do selfies!

You can see the Palms along the canyon wall.

Lots of climbing

Here are a few fun pictures.

It sure was a great day for a hike!

Boondocking- Quartzite, AZ November 27, 2018

On our way south to Yuma we always make a point of stopping to boondock/ dry camp for a few nights 6 miles North of Quartzite, AZ on Hwy 95.

Locations: BLM Land — Plomosa Road

Cost: $ Free — 14 days stay

GPS: 33.7489160, -114.2163560

Notes: stop at the camp host as soon as you turn onto Plomosa Road for a camping permit.

Even have a few visitors show up!

Now that Myron’s knee has healed up from his surgery this past September, we decided it was time to venture out on a short 4 km hike in the desert.

Here are a few pics from our hike today.

Rv Mods – Drawer Covers

It’s not a matter of if, but when!

This past summer we had an unexpected visitor move into our Rv! We got the surprise one morning when we open up our cutlery drawer and surprise, something left us a turd!!

Yes, you guessed it, a fricken mouse!!

Grrr, now everything has to be completely cleaned and sanitized. These things creep me right out! Ok truth be told, I am scared shitless of them. Yes I know they are smaller than me, but nope not happening. I will scream like a little school girl, and I am not afraid to admit it.

Any plans Myron had that day were now put on the hold, as he now was on a search and destroy mission!

Aha, a section of our underbelly had come lose and allowed for a perfect entry point for the mouse to get in.

With traps set, it didn’t take long and snap…….. we caught the bugger!!!

We always knew it wasn’t a matter of if we would get a mouse, but a matter of when! We thought we had mouse proof our rig, but sometimes they just get in!

Not wanting them to ever get near our cutlery again. Myron came up with these sweet drawer covers.

He already had this clear heavy plastic material similiar to Lexan in his mobile shop, so he figured it would work perfect for the job.

Strong enough to hold my glass of wine!!

He used Velcro to temporarily hold them securely in place until we find the right fasteners.

They work awesome, another fabulous idea!

RV Upgrade – Progressive Dynamics Inteli-Power 9260C RV Converter/Charger with built in Charge Wizard Remote

This past winter we did a few upgrades to our 5th wheel. Once the Shackles were complete it was time to upgrade from the factory installed WFCO converter to the new Inteli-Power 9260 Series by Progressive Dynamics .

The Charge Wizard constantly monitors battery voltage and battery usage then selects one of the following four operating modes to properly charge and maintain the batteries. Since we mostly boondock (Dry Camping), we are able to charge our batteries up faster with the generator on those cloudy days.

to access the converter we had to removed the electrical panel,

then remove the kitchen drawers on the other side of the cabinet.

Not the easiest spot to get to in the Cougar 337FLS, this took team work.

Out with the old, and in with the new!

It also comes with a remote pendant that we can manually control the charger.

Boondocking

We have been pretty low key this last month and half, as we haven’t been doing a lot of traveling or site seeing since Bella’s surgery before Christmas.  Myron has been busy helping friends with their solar, and doing updates to ours.

Our solar updates are now complete (for now). Myron has equipped our 5th wheel with 690 watts of solar, Blue Sky MPPT Charge Controller, 440AH battery bank and a 1000 watt pure sine inverter to run all our electrical devices.  We can’t run our roof AC or microwave (bread storage compartment), but I can run my Instant Pot!!!! Since we have solar we have not been at an RV Park since Bakersfield, CA, which was at the end of November. We have been casino camping or boondocking. Boondocking is basically camping without service in a completely undeveloped area. For us we enjoy boondocking in the desert as we both enjoy being outdoors, the peace and quiet and seeing things in its natural beauty. Boondocking is perfect for us, and for the cost-free or cheap, even better! The best part is, we do not have to pay to stay at RV parks unless we want to!

We spent 4 1/2 weeks down by Yuma, AZ enjoying the warm sun, the breathtaking sunrises, sunsets and the beautiful views.

Cost break down for that time:

Camping fees $ 35.00 (Cocopah Casino)
Fresh Drinking water  $  6.00
Dump fees $ 35.00
Propane fill $ 16.80
Gas – generator  $  7.80
Diesel for Dodge  $ 62.00
Total cost:  $162.60 US/ $202.51 CDN

I did not include costs for food and booze because we all have to eat and drink 😉. But let me say this, the booze is cheap down here and the food is also much cheaper for the most part. Cheap for 4-1/2 weeks, in the sun.We are at Cibola National Wildlife Refuge until tomorrow. We are staying on BLM Land directly across from the visitors centre and the cost is free for 14 days.

Tomorrow we pack up and will head west to Indio, California for a busy week of visiting, site seeing and who knows what’s else!

We love being snowbirds!