Weather conditions here in Alberta were much wetter than usual for most of the Summer giving us some much needed relief after three years of drought conditions. Unfortunately weather extremes are normal in this part of the world and much of Alberta was flooded at times. We still managed quite a few camping trips between rainstorms but did bring out Herman the plastic duck at Athabasca and Red Deer.
Photo credits are due to Lorraine and Sylvia for pictures in the first four items below after Roy discovered that both of his 35mm cameras had been loaded improperly resulting in blank rolls.
Our rig was parked along the North fence where the dog got a bit excited when that scene stealer Whiskey the horse looked in the rear trailer window. Roy also toured around a bit with his folding bike.
Below: Lucy finds that Whiskey doesn't like peppermints and Les tries to feed Toby to the horse but doesn't know the horse is used to having a Yorkie on his back!
Roy on his folding bike. Lorraine dared him to put this here
Whiskey the horse with Lucy
Les with Toby the dog and Whiskey
We had fourteen rigs here and enjoyed the museum, the collection of old tractors, and our usual potluck supper. Rides in the rumble seat of the campground operator's beautifully restored model A Ford roadster were a bonus.
Below: Here we are between two rows of vintage machinery that includes the yellow Mack truck, a 1926 Field Marshall, and assorted other farm tractors. Roy tries "barrel racing" with the 1958 Cockshutt row crop tractor. Oops! Better back up and try to turn that thing! All of this went on after the campground operater gave us a demonstration of the Field Marshall one cylinder diesel starting technique that included lighting paper and a very large hand crank.
This one almost became the 'Murphy's Law Samboree'. Seventeen rigs from our chapter arrived for 'Early Bird' registration on Wednesday where almost everyone was parked on the golf driving range near the community centre. The Peace Hills Sams from Wetaskiwin brought portable horshoe tournament equipment and organized a tournament which almost didn't finish due to a thunderstorm.
Thursday morning we toured Rimbey stopping at Pask-Ka-Poo Park and the International Truck Museum where the operator served us coffee. He was impressed with Roy's story of his brother's "Flame thrower and stovepipe" winter starting system on a beater International truck!
Later that day an ammonia leak in the community centre caused cancellation of opening ceremonies to Friday morning as we had to evacuate. Entertainers Brent Kissell (15) and Leah Durrell (13) with accompanist Mark Picker set up outside and did well under the circumstances. Brent and Leah both have web pages and also autographed the CD's that we bought.
The mandatory Parkland Jays group picture is below and yes thats us at the excellent banquet on the very rainy Saturday.
There were a few problems with all the rain but almost everyone in our group waited a for things to dry up a bit on Sunday and made it out unassisted. The Alberta Good Sams paid for around two thousand dollars in repairs to the driving range that we had camped on.
We stayed at the pleasant little municipal campground in Rimbey to unwind for a couple of days. Its on the Town of Rimbey web page.
Only three rigs went to Athabasca this year since most of the others were going to the Redmond, Oregon Great North American RV Rally. We went to the Magnificent River Rats Festival instead.
It rained heavily on July 1st so the little duck was in the front of our campsite. We also won second prize in Blueberry hill's site decoration contest and took in the historical wagon ride tour, a pancake breakfast, and lumberjack sized portions of strawberry shortcake in the basement of the United church (below). The building is the largest wood framed Gothic Revival structure in Western Canada.
Janet to the nice lady pouring tea: "We were looking for you at the Leisure Centre Conference. We were stewards there."
" I was the M.C.!"
People just don't look the same on a Jumbotron!
Herman the duck in our campsite.
Maria's "cleaning lady" doll equipped with GST Repellant, Mad Cow Eliminator, Political Cleanser, etc.
Janet's Alberta Centennial Moose
Historic Athabasca United Church
Four rigs from our Parkland Jays stayed at the Westerner Centre campground for the Red Deer fair. We were at the Pony Chuckwagon races when Tracy Stott lost a wheel but made it around the track on three wheels. The Donkey Extravaganza was also interesting.
Everyone attending from our RV club enjoyed their stay at the Freeman river rv park. Web site is freemanriver.com/.
Fort Assiniboine now boasts the world's largest wagon wheel. A buffalo roast, a free stock rodeo, and fireworks display were on that weekend. The dinner organizers were almost overwhelmed by the crowd since the Alberta Masters Games Orienteering event was also going on.
The Fort museum includes some interesting artifacts including a moonshiner's still, a thin little 1941 Edmonton plus all of Northern Alberta telephone book, etc. (P.S. I found Dad's R221 party line telephone number in there!...Roy)
We also drove to the new Wildlands Provincial Park which for now is mainly trees and sandhills.
"We'v got Ukranian, we've got French, we've got everything!"..M.C. George at the wonderful potluck supper.
This was the first time something like this was tried in August and included the usual games, the potluck, and a catered banquet on Saturday night.
Sunday included a catered breakfast and a non denominational church service.
We did get a 2 A.M. Friday surprise when our trailer furnace came on making a terrible noise. Roy shut it off thinking gas explosion but there was no unusual smell. The problem was traced the next day to a small plastic bag that had somehow been sucked in to the furnace fan!
We left the hall on Sunday intending to check out Stony Lake but found their "Outhouse" dump station a bit impractical so went on to Elk Point to dump and fill the fuel tank.
Heading back to St. Paul our tow car started running very roughly so we decided to stay in St. Paul to get things fixed and make a cell 'phone call to friends we had been traveling with.
Talk about getting by with a little help from your friends! I walked over to the tourist information centre in the flying saucer landing pad and obtained telephone numbers for some local garages. On the way back a model A Ford outside the museum caught my eye. Talking to the girl in the museum resulted in a call from her mechanic who made some helpful suggestions. Back at the campground we found some of the St. Paul U.F.O. Sams had camped there for a break and one of them recommended a good independent garage just a few blocks east. Monday morning Paul the mechanic kindly squeezed us in, replaced the distributor cap, poured in some octane booster, and we were on our way. (Credit is also due to friends from our RV club who dropped by as well as the campground operater.) ...Roy.
Westcove has some very nice large campsites, lots of green areas, trails, a tennis court,a store, and a nice beach with the imaginative playground shown in the picture. We joined friends already camped there who told us the only down sides were the lake was too smelly to swim in and there is a very high iron content in the campground water. No big problem as we always carry bottled drinking water anyway.
We played Bocce ball and enjoyed a wonderful al fresco dinner with our friends.
The usual 2005 rainstorm accompanied us home the next day.
Part of Alberta 2005 centennial celebrations included free camping in Alberta Provincial Parks on September first. A couple of us arrived early at the group area and found Morel mushrooms right in the camp site!
A good number of rigs from our RV club as well as the District Governer from Wetaskiwin joined us later. The usual games, potluck suppers, and men cooking breakfast went on.
The weather sunny and windless on the two days that Roy and Rokus crossed the lake in our canoe. They managed to get close to a Bald Eagle having a tiff with an Osprey on the first trip but had forgoten cameras and binoculars. Cameras and binoculars came along on the second trip but nothing more interesting than ducks and wild blueberries on George's Point were seen.
We moved to the main campground late in the day on September fourth after finding the dump station was overflowing due to heavy long week end traffic. Roy had to haul the trailer out of our site and back the next day just to dump the trailer holding tanks. Our friend Bert with the thirty foot trailer told us he had been more creative with a bucket borrowed from the campground staff and a pit toilet.
Apart from that we had an enjoyable time that included Bocce and taking pictures a newly wed couple from Westlock with their disposable camera. Roy also caught a decent sized Northern pike while casting for Perch off the shore.
Denver the dog kept us up all night with a nasty bowel problem so it was off to our vet in Spruce Grove on the eigth. The dog's home treatable case of Pancreatitis kept us home for the next couple of weeks ending the 2005 camping season.