Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Camping, travel. Alberta, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC again!

It seems to have been a while since my last blog update!  I guess it's time to get a bit more up to date?

The next tour started pretty much the same as the last one - we headed out west of Rocky Mountain House to a place called Preacher's Point on Abraham lake.  It is more or less free camping, but you do require an annual pass to camp in the east slopes of the Rockies here in Alberta.  It costs about $30, and is available online.  I was glad to see that my last years permit had not yet expired!

Being a week day, we were able to get the very same spot as the last couple of trips - and there were a few more leaves on the trees this time.
We've changed our Starlink service from roam/mobile to 'residential', which is cheaper, and provides supposedly faster service!  The downside is that you have to 'change your address' each time you move.

I'm still learning the ins and outs of that process, and it can be a bit challenging to do when there is no cell service to fall back on.  If you know where you will be camped next, it is easier to change it prior to actually moving.  I also bought adapters for SL that allows me to use shielded Cat6 cable instead of the stock SL cables, which seem apt to fail regularly.  At least this way, I have two separate working cables for redundancy.

Abraham lake is actually a reservoir on the North Saskatchewan River, formed behind the Bighorn dam.  This time of year the water levels are still low, so it's mostly just a river channel at the upper end.
From there we headed up to Jasper, and over to Valemount, BC.  We attended a big get-together of the BC Backcountry Horsemen .  I knew a few of the organizers, who I worked with in the backcountry of Jasper, back in the day.  I used to patrol the north boundary of Jasper National Park for 17 days at a time, alone, with a saddle horse and two pack horses.  Apparently, I didn't take any photos of this occasion!
From BC, we headed back across Alberta, headed for a reunion of Conservation Officers in Saskatchewan - where I also used to work!  Although it is only about a 10 hour drive, I was in no rush and managed to spread the trip out over 4-5 days.

On the second day, I paid an overnight visit with Don & Donna, who were spending some time at home between camping and work trips. Don donated me a 1000w inverter he wasn't using!

Another stop was at a historic railroad trestle near Wainwright, originally built in 1908, and still in use today on the CN mainline, with only a few updates.

And here is a Youtube video I did in the area. 

It was a good get-together with a bunch of old Saskatchewan Conservation Officers - several of which were also college classmates of mine.

Saskatchewan camp spots ...  No mountains to block the view!
After visiting Saskatchewan, I did spend a total of two nights at home - to mow the grass and re-stock.  Unfortunately, a good neighbour had already cut my grass the day I got back.  Good timing, so there was not much to stick around for.  Back to BC we went.

We have a number of favourite, free camp spots along the length of Revelstoke Lake, and we found one of our spots free.

I didn't notice the canoe and tent on the beach, till I reviewed the video later.  Nice spot, on the far side of the lake.

My spot.

  So far, the new 200Ah Lipo battery in the camper has been working well, and the dc-dc charger keeps thing topped up when ever there is driving.  While camped at the lake, we went 4 nights/5 days of fairly substantial use of Starlink, and keeping laptop, phone, tablet, drone, and e-bike batteries all charged up - without the use of solar, and the generator was left at home.  There was excellent sunshine for solar use, but all my panels stayed safely stowed under the mattress as I wanted to give the new battery a good test. After all that time, there was still power to spare. The dc-dc charger had the battery at full capacity again, long before we got home!

The 1000w inverter was used to replace my 400w one.  The smaller inverter was quite sufficient for my needs in this rig, but it's annoying fan ran constantly, while the 1000w is silent, and I left it on constantly, never noticing the minimal draw.  I put in a new 110v plug powered from the inverter, with the addition of a couple of handy usb ports, and an indicator light to show the inverter is on, and the plug is live.  The doorbell switch turns the inverter on and off.

Eventually, the weather crapped out somewhat, so we have returned home to await decent forecasts in any direction before heading out again.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Headed out for some summer travels and camping.

Well, we made it to our home base (staging area) a few weeks ago, and the weather is gradually improving.  Too much improvement in some areas has brought an early start to the fire season.

But around here, it has been damp enough to limit much hazard.  Last time I checked the app, the local forest protection area was the only one in the province of Alberta without an active wildfire!  That will change soon.

Much of the time has been spent indoors, catching up on odds and ends in spite of my expertise at procrastination ;-)    One of these jobs was to figure out why one of my toilets was not functioning properly.  So I, and my always 'helpful' plumbing assistant got busy figuring out the problem, and knocking things onto the floor respectively!

In spite of all the help, the issue was taken care of!

 Bailey got busy, checking out all the interesting places, both indoors and out.

And, meeting one of the neighbours.  He never runs away, but I often keep him on leash when anyone is around, because he is more likely than not to run up to complete strangers, or campers, or dogs, and try to make friends!

One of his duties of course, is checking out all available boxes!

 With the 5th wheel comfortably parked in it's spot for the summer, it was time to load up the 'summer camper' and get it ready for travel and exploration.

Bailey is in charge of mouse control, inspections, approvals, cupboards, and hiding places.

Some days, Starlink has issues getting online!
Finally, it was time to hit the road, for the start of the summer camping season!

This time of year in the foothills and Rockies, there is still a lot of snow and cooler temperatures.  So, typically we head for Abraham Lake (North Saskatchewan River) where lower elevation valleys can be quite pleasant.
The water levels are still low, the grass is still brown, and there are no green leaves yet, but when the sun is out all is good.

I guess I'll have to remember to bring more chairs next time!
The local Bighorn Sheep herd was out, searching for the first blades of green grass.

Still lots of fresh snow on the local mountains.

No bears knocked on my door this time, but I could see where they had gone down to the river for a drink.

A bit surprised to see some substantial snow drifts remaining in shaded, high elevations area along the road.  Ram Falls Provincial Park campground is still closed and lots of snow on the roads!
Saw a few bands of wild horses on my return along the Forestry Trunk road. 

Trying to get around to whip up a blog post, but something is always in the way!