Monday, September 17, 2007

JUNE 27 to AUGUST 24, 2007

The trip was made by Mel, Willa and Tegan (our granddaughter) Kraft. We traveled in a 31 foot, Class A motorhome. We brought 3 bikes with us which were on a carrier on the back of the motorhome and I had bought covers for the bikes which helped keep the dust and rain off of them. We did not tow a car and we found either there was parking or we used a shuttle from the campsites. We stayed in campsites most of the time, mainly because it was reasonably hot and we wanted the hookups to run the air conditioner. However to save money you can stay in Walmarts, Canadian Tire, Costco parking lots. If you are concerned about safety, then the private or provincial campsites are best. However, you won’t be lonely in the other parking lots. We stayed in one Walmart parking lot and there were about 10 of us. In another we shared it with one other camper. We always asked at the store but they seemed more than happy to have you stay.
The following is a summary of some of the cost of our trip. I’ll add to the list as we get the figures in but as of August 25, 2007.
We traveled 15,600 kilometers = 9,693.84 miles.
We used 4443.693 liters of gas or 977.495 gallons.
Gas cost $4,557.31 which averages at about $1.003 per liter.
We averaged about 10.164 miles per gallon.
Our campsites cost us a total of $1417.06 including taxes.
Based on being away 59 nights the average cost of campsites was $24.00 per night. Out of the 59 nights we stayed with friends and family and several other sites with no charge so that has to be taken into consideration.
The average cost of gas per day was about $75.55 per day. Many of the days we stayed stationary if there were things to do in that area.
So camping and gas cost about $99.55 per day.
We bought about $76.00 worth of propane and we brought back about $20.00 worth still in the tank.
Longest day on the road 965 kilometers or 599.65 miles which was too long of a day.
Shortest day on the road 54.7 kilometers or 34 miles which means we did a lot of sight seeing that day and there were a number of other ones with similar mileage.
Our average moving speed was a low of 34 k/h to high of 87 k/h.
Our highest elevation was in the Rogers Pass in BC at 5300 feet; the next highest was about 3200 feet which was Calgary, Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta was 2335 feet. Once we left the prairies the highest we reached I believe was on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia which was about 1400 feet. The rest of the country was in the 100-300 foot range.
Any other questions just email me. You can use the email That email won’t be checked much from here on but you are welcome to use either my work email, or Willa’s email at

Day 59, August 24, 2007

Day 59, Friday, August 24, 2007.
We left Keith and Lillian’s at about 9:00 am and headed for home. The traffic was a little heavy but moved very well. We did hit a road construction on the Coquihalla Highway past Kamloops but nothing that held us up for long. We did see two mishaps, one was a newer Dodge truck and the whole front end was burnt to a crisp. In Merritt where the #5 crosses over the #1 there was another mishap and we weren’t sure what the problem was, maybe another fire by the looks of it. Well this is the last leg of our journey across Canada. It was with mixed emotions getting home. Nice to be home but sad that the adventure was over. We arrived at home about 3:00 pm after a stop for corn and then to dump the holding tanks in the motorhome. We had someone looking after our home while we were gone and it was sure nice to come home to a spotless house. Hardly know anyone had lived there for 2 months. Once home we unloaded the motorhome and Willa started her laundry, every thing got stripped and ended up in the laundry. WE WILL DO IT AGAIN! But next time when we are retired and maybe take longer and I even thought of doing the trip over 2 years. Spend 4 months one year and leave the motorhome in storage for the winter back East and pick up where we left off the next year. That would save a lot of driving and give you more time to explore the huge country of ours. There is so much more we want to see in Canada but that is for another time.
I hope you enjoyed following the trip with us as we did physically doing it. We had a lot of fun and it brought to home just how big our country is and how beautiful it is and we haven’t seen all of it yet. I’ve had so many people I’ve met that say how beautiful BC is but I would have to say every province we hit had its own beauty only in a different way from BC. We could have spent weeks or months back in PEI. We regret not seeing more of Nova Scotia. However Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, will be high on the agenda for the next trip.

Day 58, August 23, 2007

Day 58, Thursday, August 23, 2007.
We spent the day with Keith and Lillian Bennett in Salmon Arm, BC. Very relaxing day. Keith is a wood turner and has all the equipment for the hobby. He got Tegan, our 16 year old granddaughter, to make herself a bowl. Keith got a piece of wood in the rough shape she would need and after a few instructions she got started. I think Keith could have turned the bowl out in less than an hour but it took Tegan three hours. She sure enjoyed doing it. She and I were amazed at watching the block of wood slowly taking shape under the tool. Each curve a little different cutting tool was used and as the chips flew the bowl started to magically appear. Once the bowl was shaped then she started the sanding process to get a nice smooth finish. Tegan again was amazed how smooth the bowl got as you used the different sandpapers. I think the thing that amazed her most and still does me is when you have everything ready to start to put the oil finish on the wood. Keith uses either mineral oil or extra virgin oil ( what exactly an extra virgin is I am not sure, I do understand what a virgin is, but extra? Maybe it means two, you know just in case!). You should have seen Tegan’s eyes light up as the oil was applied. The wood grain jumps out at you. The bowl was made out of a burl if I remember correctly and when the oil was applied all the twist, turns and birds eye jumped right out at you. Keith has done several bowls and a potpourri bowl for us. What was fascinating about our bowls was the cherry wood came from a tree in our field after it died. The interesting bit of trivia that goes with this is I knew the old gentleman who planted the trees in our field in 1933. Peter Ioriel, from Italy. He lived on the mountain for quiet a few years and I knew him as a kid in the ‘50s when we first moved to Straiton on Sumas Mountain. He had some wonderful stories to tell of the mountain and especially the school marm who lived in the house above from where we live now. Apparently she had an unusual number of gentlemen callers and the stories went on from there. Mr. Ioriel was a neat old gentleman and I talked to him after we bought the property that we currently live on and he gave me the history on the property. Where we live now is across the road from where I was raised, we moved there in 1951 with my parents. Right next door to the house was the one roomed school that I went to from grade one to grade six. Prior to grade one I would go up and knock on the door and the teacher would let me in and sit me on a chair at the back of one of the rows and let me draw or doodle until I got bored. Six grades, six rows of desks and one teacher. The teacher we had the longest was Mrs. Edith Money and she taught for 5-7 years at the Straiton School. When the weather got bad she would spend the night at our house or maybe a week if the roads were real bad. See how your kids would like that, I take that back at the age I was it would have been a treat but not for a teenager. We had an old orchard in the back of the house, and every fall we would pick the apples and store them in the basement of the house. My Dad would put them into about 40 gallon wooden barrels and they would be shipped off to his brothers and sisters who lived in and around North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Where I wanted to go with this was to say that I would pick one these apples, they were King Apples, and I would polish it up and take it to the teacher most days the apples were available. The King Apple has a wax coating on it and when you polished it, it would shine and in a multitude of red hues. Even then I was impressed by the colour and shine the apples could take on. By the way we were on 80 acres of land with an older two story house with a barn, chicken coop and a few other outbuildings and they paid $2000 for it in 1951. Hard to believe but you have to apply that to the hourly wage then. The lumber the house was built from was cut and milled from the timber on the property. We had about 8-10 huge maple trees around the immediate yard. One tree was getting a little too old and sat too close to the house and Dad decided to cut it down. The stump left over was about 4-6 feet across. One hot summer day just after the tree was cut down I decided to count the rings. There were over two hundred rings to the centre of the rotted out area in the center of the tree and the rotted out area was about a foot across. Sorry kind of got off the original entry, but to suffice to say we enjoyed our time at the Bennett’s and would have stayed longer, but weren’t invited to……………not true, they begged and pleaded for us to stay……which was a little closer to the truth but we were wanting to get home to get two kids ready for school and rearrange sleeping areas for the two girls. We took temporary custody of our 10 year old granddaughter just before we left on holidays……..which is another story. Tomorrow we start our last leg of the cross Canada journey which brings us right back to where we started—HOME.

Day 57, August 22, 2007

Day 57, Wednesday, August 22, 2007.
We left Calgary at 10:00 am and headed for Salmon Arm, BC. Calgary has grown so much it is unbelievable. When we got closer to Calgary the houses followed the hills for miles and the road construction is amazing. So leaving the campsite I had wondered if there was an easier way to get to the # 1 Highway, which is the Trans Canada Highway, than the way we came. I took our trusty GPS and marked where we were and where we wanted to be on the #1 and it drew me a route and we followed it to the #1. The roads the GPS suggested were roads that connected the subdivisions, not main roads per say. These roads were all 4 lane roads with level cloverleaf intersections. There would be big signs pointing out new communities that are being developed and there would be 3-4 on each of these signs. We think we have growth in Abbotsford this. Would be like starting in Hope and having solid housing to Langley or Surrey and from the USA border to way north of Mission. Well 30-40 minutes later we were on the #1 Highway heading West. The mountains sure looked good. You start with flat prairie, then foothills, then mountains and I have to say after a month away they were beyond impressive and closer to overwhelming. I can see how someone living all their life in the prairies or eastern Canada and then coming to BC, the mountains could be very intimidating. Seeing the mountains was like coming home again and we aren’t even home yet. Considerable amount of highway construction through the Rogers Pass. In one area I think just before Field, BC they are building a new section of road and a new bridge and rather than following the old road they are climbing up into the mountain and have built this bridge which I would say is 700-800 feet above the old road and river. I would like to have gotten a picture but there was just no where to stop. It will be interesting to drive this section of the road when the bridge is finished. I think before they are done it will be four lane on the whole Trans Canada Highway. Just before the foothills we saw a bad accident. A single car went off the road and must have flipped, they were working on getting the driver out when we drove past. The second accident was a big semi that flipped over on a corner, It looked to me like the driver would have been ok if he/she were buckled but I think the passenger would have had some serious road rash if not some serious rock bruises if they survived. You know, to come to thing about it those were the only accidents we saw on the whole trip, I have to say that surprises me. The drive was real good from Calgary to Salmon Arm. The traffic was very heavy, especially with the construction and flag people which would back the traffic up maybe 1-1.5 miles and then you had to contend with that bundle of vehicular moving out all at the same time. Everything seemed to flow well. We pulled into the Bennett’s about 4:30 in the afternoon. We gassed up before heading to the Bennett’s so we would be ready to go on Friday when we head on the final leg of our Cross Canada journey. We all agreed its good to be going home but we also really enjoyed the trip. The longer you are away you get more in the mode of traveling and the sitting doesn’t bother you like it did the first week of leaving home. I was just thinking of an interesting piece of trivia. Once we left the mountains the highest point we reached was in Alberta which was about 3000 feet above sea level. In the eastern provinces the highest point was on the Cabot Trail and I believe, if I remember correctly was around 800 feet. Coming back into the mountains along the Rogers Pass we reached an altitude of over 5300 feet. My GPS gives we a steady readout of the elevation as you move, along with, average moving speed, average over all speed, direction, odometer, daily miles traveled and about 10 other statistics. They are also great for finding your way around strange cities because you can put in an address for anywhere in North America and it will show you how to get there on a turn by turn set of instructions. We used ours on our whole trip. The GPS was turned on in the morning and ran till we stopped in the evening and then we used it to mark out our route for the next day if we were not sure of where we were going. The unit I have is a Garmen handheld with a very small screen so I have tied mine into my laptop which sits between the driver and passenger seats and swivels so we can both look at it. This also gives you a very large screen to view the map and the road ahead. They have new ones out now that talk to you and they are good but I like the way mine works with the laptop. Well two more entries for the trip and we are done. I may start putting our weekend trips into the blog. Let me know what you think of the diary of our trip including what was good and what was poor and how it could be improved for another time. Use the email That email won’t be checked much from here on but you are welcome to use either my work email, or Willa’s email at Both are checked daily and mine at work is done 3-4 times a day. Make sure you have a clear subject line in the email or we may not look at it if we don’t recognize the sender or the reason for the email. My assistant at the office checks my email and if she doesn’t recognize the sender or the reason for the email she will delete it. We get a lot of spam and unwanted solicitations.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Day 56, August 21, 2007

Day 56, Tuesday, August 21, 2007
We got a bit of a late start today but only had a few hours to Calgary so there was no panic to get away. When we left the campsite in Edmonton it was cloudy and windy out of, I thought, the southwest or east. We hit the #2 highway and the wind is out of the northwest which is good because it’s hitting the passenger side rear corner so not too bad but it is a strong wind. This tends to toss us around a little but not too bad and the good news is it does push us also. With a wind at the back, it is a lot quieter up front, less wind noise. As the road bends and twists on the way to Calgary the wind tends to catch us sometimes at the side and sometimes at the rear. From the rear, the vacuum gage goes from about 9-10 inches to 15 plus. If from the front the vacuum has dropped to as low as 3-4 inches. 10 to 12 inches is about normal. The higher the inches of vacuum the better the gas mileage. Now the side wind is good and bad. The good new is that it is not a head wind. The bad news if it is a side wind and throws us around something fierce. Not that you move across the whole road, but you use every bit of your own lane and can give the drivers in the other lanes a bit of a start when suddenly you are right on the line. Also with a side wind you are steering into the wind so when something blocks the wind like a row of trees or a big truck you tend to do the Highway Dance, “The Two Foot.” It’s two feet this way and two feet that way and back to the middle and then two feet back again and two feet to the middle. Well you get the idea. This dance can be done to any tune on the radio or the tune the passenger happens to be screaming when the dance starts. The wind must have been 50-65 k/h and maybe gusting higher. Not for the novice driver and needless to say Tegan was not driving. Closer to Calgary I noticed a 5th wheel on the side of the road dealing with his awning, I think it must have come loose and they were having quite a time putting it back up, if they were even able to. I would think if it had come loose it would have done damage to the arms or the track the awning slides into. He had some help so I didn’t stop and it would have been tricky to try and stop with traffic and the limited space on the shoulder of the road. Speaking of shoulders, a few of the highways have no shoulder at all. I wouldn’t want (knock wood) to have a reason to have to stop on one of those roads. Other than the wind the this segment of the trip was good and we rolled straight to Calgary and found a campsite on the NW corner of Calgary and only $30.00 per night. Met some nice people on either side and across the road. The couple on the passenger side are a younger couple with twin girls 3 years old and they have one of those decorative metal signs hanging in the window that says “Gamblers and loose women may frequent this establishment”. We found it quite humorous. The couple on the other side, he is helping his son in construction for a few months and the couple across the street are from Smithers, BC and they are just finishing their cross Canada trip. They had left in May.
We did get a hold of Jonathan and he came out to the campsite and had supper with us. He was on call but had no calls until later in the evening. Jonathan works for NCR (National Cash Register) Company. He is on loan for a few week hears from the Vancouver office. He has stored his car at our house while he is away. May do some cruising. He bought a 2001 Ford Mustang Cobra, convertible, candy apple red. Very nice car and in real good shape with low mileage. He’s very proud of it and has a right to be. Well it is 7:00 in the morning of the 22nd and we are on the last leg of our Cross Canada Trip. Tonight we stay at Keith and Lillian Bennetts which is in Salmon Arm, BC. We could just see the mountains on the horizon coming into Calgary and after almost 2 months they did look good. Should be well into them by noon if I can get Willa and Tegan moving soon. I just looked over at Tegan sleeping and I find it interesting where people put there arms when sleeping. Tegan has one arm under her head with the hand holding her head and the other in front of her face with the hand holding her forehead. Interesting position. Another time when mom came camping with us to a Kraft reunion about 4 years ago. She was sleeping in the motor home she had her hands under her head in such a way that it reminded me of a little girl sleeping and she was 89 at the time. Bit of Trivia. Ok now to start the day……………………”WILLA, TEGAN GET UP. IT’S TIME TO HIT THE ROAD, WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS IS ANY HOW, YOU ARE WASTING THE DAY AWAY, COME ON GET UP”…………………………………………”yes dear I’ll be quiet, you want to sleep longer, that’s ok dear, yes I am sorry I yelled, I was just trying to impress some people but it was a bad judgment call on my part, you have a nice sleep. Lillian can wait.” (Willa couldn’t get up because Melvin snored all night!!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Day 55, August 20, 2007

Day 55, Monday, August 20, 2007.
Today was a duplicate of what happened yesterday. The differences were 1) the West Edmonton Mall opened at 10:00 am. 2) We had more time to shop, let me rephrase that, “they had more time to shop”. Tegan did well, got a lot of her school clothes. I walked around the Mall. Now I know what the ugliest hooker in town feels like. I found one shop that has a hand gun shooting range in it. It is almost in a bunker but what an idea. You could choose from several hand guns anything from a 22 upward. Prices weren’t too bad I don’t think, $19.00 to enter and about $29.00 for shells which gave you 50 shots of the high caliber and a 100 shots of the 22’s. Another shop I found very interesting was called “The Store of 100 Gift Stores”. This store is franchised out of Ontario and is made up of 100 plus little displays. If you have items you want to sell you rent space from this company and they set up a display of your products. You pay them a percentage and they look after marketing and selling it for you. For a cottage industry who can’t afford a space in The Edmonton Mall this is the answer. I was very impressed with the shop and the idea. Something for everyone. You need a week at the West Edmonton Mall to do everything and a hotel room in the mall would be perfect. We are off to Calgary in the morning and hope to meet up with Jonathan, our son. He is working in Calgary for a few weeks. Apparently they are short handed and he is going to fill in. I imagine lots to see and do in Calgary. The weather has been cloudy and a little rainy the last couple of days but today started off cloudy but no rain and turned sunny in the afternoon, not that I could see the sun from where I was. Can’t think of any thing else unless you want a step by step litany of my walking around the mall …………………………….”I thought not!

Day 54, August 19, 2007

Day 54, Sunday, August 19, 2007.
We left the campsite about 10:00 am and headed for the West Edmonton Mall. We were a little early but we got inside and did a little walking around to orient ourselves to the Mall. It is unbelievable the size of this Mall and I was told they are looking at more than doubling the size of it. Tegan had the run of the Mall. We have walkie/talkies that we are able to keep in touch with one another, she can call when she runs out of money. The process works quite well especially for Tegan. Actually she had her own money to spend but my story sounds better. Willa and I walked around together and later in the day she joined Tegan and I started walking the perimeter of the Mall. In 2 hours I did not cover 1/2 of 1st floor. Now I did stop at some of the stores and looked around but the size is unreal. We had lunch at the Mall, but breakfast at the campsite restaurant. All and all it was a good day. The girls are heading back tomorrow. I will spend a little time with them but may visit a cousin that lives across the street from the Mall. If all else fails I will go out to the motorhome and either read or watch a movie.