Settling for Now

It's no secret that Zach and I fell in love with Victoria very shortly after arriving here. The first few days were stressful, what with having nowhere to stay and all, but once that was all sorted out, we got comfortable right away, and here we are, more than a month later.

Zach has been working insane hours this past month on a project, so we haven't gotten out as much as I would have hoped. We did put in an effort to get out and have a new adventure every day when I first quit smoking ( over 2 weeks now, people!), just to distract me, but apparently, you can't party all the time, no matter what Eddie Murphy may have told you. You have to tighten your belt, or your boot straps, or whatever the hell the saying is, and work so you can save, so you can have fun.

Anyways, what I'm trying to get at here is that Zach has been working a lot, so that means I have been spending a lot of time hanging out and talking with the dogs. If I know me, and I think that I do, this is not good. When I spend too much time alone, my imagination takes over, and I start to live in a land that exists only in my head, where everything is lovely, and is full of imaginary friends and scenarios as to how my life will play out. It's a super fun place to be, but it just isn't the healthiest place to spend too much time, and apparently isn't even real. In order to keep myself from falling too far down the rabbit hole, I have decided to take a job at a private group home in Langford, which is just down the road. It will only be two to three days a week, and the pay is not great, but it will give me some of my own spending money and I'll be able to socialize a bit more often with humans instead of dogs. This housewife thing just isn't for me right now, even though it has been a nice break.

So yah. I got a job, Zach's working, we like our RV park and the island, and we will be staying here until mid-April or so, when we head to the mainland...not sure if that mainland will be Canadian or American yet. This will give us more time to see the north part of the island, and get some day/weekend trips done to see what else this area has to offer us.

On that note, I've got some Jamaican Rum sausages cooking, and they're starting to smell lovely so I'm going to end this here. Hope y'all are doing well, and you have a great New Year's Eve, if you're heading out to party. We'll be heading to Salt Spring Island for a few days on the 31st, and I'll be thinking of all our Regina friends, as I sit in a hot tub and get drunk off my ass on Yellow Tail Shiraz.

Wordless Wednesday - Xmas Edition


Xmas Plans

This year, instead of working at a group home on Xmas Eve, I am working in our camper, sewing summer tops and tidying up so I don't have to do it tomorrow. Zach is working as well, he's on a deadline.

I threw a pork roast, potatoes and carrots in the slow cooker, so at least we'll be eating well tonight, if nothing else.

Tomorrow we will be heading to Clinton's for the afternoon to have a big, bad ass Xmas dinner and some egg nog. I'm a little nervous about leaving the puppies alone all day, but I plan on getting up early and having a long Xmas morning hike before we head into the city, so that should help them relax a bit.

We're going to try and get together with Bink and Ryan this week as well, before we head to Salt Spring Island for a few days to ring in the New Year.

We hope you all are enjoying your Xmas holidays, and for those who have to work, I hope you don't have to work too hard.

Merry Squidmas, and all the best in 2011.


Doin' the Tourist Thing

Ever since I decided to try and quit smoking, Zach and I have been busier than ever. I think he's trying to help me keep my mind off of the nicotine I heart so much, and it's working for the most part. We have been getting out daily to do tourist-like activities, and have been really enjoying ourselves.

We even went out last night on a ghost walk in downtown Victoria without the dogs. We even got hot chocolates and walked around a bit after our ghost tour before coming home to continue our nightly ritual of watching House before bed. It was wonderful, although Daddy Zach did worry about them most of the evening. I'm guessing this is how parents feel when they get to go out without their offspring.

On top of the historic ghost walk last night, we've checked out Craigdarroch Castle, some new trails around Goldstream and Victoria's small but lovely Chinatown. Zach's Uncle Bruce came for a surprise visit bearing gifts yesterday too...our first visitor!

I still want to smoke 4000 cigarettes all at once, but all the fun we've been having is making it much more bearable. Thanks, Zach. You're the best.


Walk at Beacon Hill Park

It has been raining cats and dogs here for about 5 days, which has put a bit of a kibosh on any outdoor activities. Yesterday, we decided enough was enough and we needed to get out. Another camper had told me a few days ago about a great off-leash dog park on Dallas Road, and we had been wanting to check it out. After a quick Google search, I realized he was talking about Beacon Hill Park, also known as Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway and home to one of the largest totem poles in the world. We grabbed an umbrella, I put on my new ugly but practical rubber boots, and we headed into town in search of that darn totem pole.

Although it was raining, we had a great time exploring beaches, getting some exercise and seeing something new. I don't know what it is about the ocean, but it just makes me feel calm and happy, and closer to the earth.

As we walked, we couldn't help but imagine how wonderful it must be here in the spring and summer. If it is gorgeous on a cold, foggy and rainy day in December, it must be amazing when it's sunny and everything is bloomed. We have decided we need to stick around to check it out, so I think we'll be in Victoria for a bit longer than originally planned. Then again, we hadn't even planned on coming here in the first place. The universe makes things happen for a reason, I guess.

We'll keep you posted.


Things and Stuff

" We have too much stuff!"

" There are too many things laying around!"

" There isn't enough room to fit all our stuff in here!"

" This stuff is driving me crazy!"

These are very common phrases spoken by Zach and myself. It seems silly sometimes, considering all the things that we don't have with us on the road, and the insane amount of things we sold, or ended up giving away, or hauling to the dumpster before we left. In actuality, we don't really have that many belongings, but we do have very little space. We spend hours each week re-organizing, tidying, shuffling and throwing out even more belongings. It boggles my mind each time we part with yet another "thing".

When we first decided to do this trip, we immediately planned an apartment sale, and went through all of our stuff. We put a price tag on almost everything, except for the items that were deemed important enough to keep. We parted with our 52" television and accessories, our just-paid-off furniture, kitchen table and chairs, cameras, clothing, craft supplies and tools, picture frames, art, appliances and most of my collection of hundreds of books. It was scary, and rejuvenating all at the same time.

We spent the past couple years acquiring material possessions, because we wanted them, and we were making enough money that we could afford them. We were living the high life - double income, no kids. We took an apartment that had mostly been lived in by bachelors and students over the years, and turned it into a home. We painted and decorated and bought more and more stuff to fill it with. I loved our stuff, I really did. But it just wasn't feasible to keep it all in storage for when we wanted it back. We came to the decision that if we wanted it again, we could just buy new. And I'm sure we will one day.

Once all the big ticket items were sold and moved out, it felt like we had nothing. But somehow, the topic came up every day about what we need, what we could store at The House of Pain, what we could part with. When you're looking at living in only a few square feet of space, you really have to be realistic, and only pack what you will need to survive. We are still discussing things after more than 2 months, and still getting rid of things. It's crazy.

We did store some items. ( Thank you a million times over, Kevin and Paige) We kept anything sentimental like photo albums, family heirloom type stuff, kitchen ware that I knew I would use again given the chance, books, backpacks and some camping gear that we didn't need on the road. What we did bring were the necessities, clothing for all types of weather, extra bedding, a few books, a few board games, 2 computers, my craft supplies and finished product, Zach's tools and kitchen stuff, among other things. These things keep us entertained and connected to the world.

My friend Laurie asked me the other day if there was anything that I missed. I couldn't think of anything. After some discussion, it was decided that I missed having a bath tub, but only on those cold days when you would normally have a soak. We don't have television, but we have many series' and movies on the hard drive. We don't have running water, but I'm okay with hauling drinking water, and we have the best showers I have ever seen at a campground, which I also use for hauling hot water for dishes. There's a laundromat at the campground, and in every town in the North America, so we're covered there. The coffee pot can boil water for more things than just coffee. We only have a small porta-potty in the camper, but we've learned to be comfortable with our waste, and use the public washrooms whenever possible. We have the internet, which gives us TV, games, blogs to read and everything else that we used it for at home. We don't have propane yet, but the slow cooker and the charcoal grill cook all our food for us, and we just have to plan our meals in advance. We have all the necessities at our disposal, it's just a little bit different.

Sure, there are things that I wish I had with me. I do miss having a bath tub at times, and I've been kicking myself for not bringing the popcorn popper with us. On rainy days like today when I can't be outside and my body is aching, I miss my Wii Fit. ( You can bet your ass I'll be buying another one when it's time.) Really though, I don't miss much, because we have what we need. This lifestyle is not about going without, it's about making due with what you have, and learning to deal with situations that arise that you would never have to deal with in a "real" home.

But hey, so far, so good. I just have to figure out a way to make popcorn.


Travelling With Pets

Anyone who has ever had a dog, knows that they are more like children than any other animal. They need to be fed and watered and exercised on a schedule, they require almost constant supervision, they need to be taught right and wrong, they crave your attention, your love and positive reinforcement. Sometimes they have an attitude problem, and you need to lay down the law, or bribe them with something they desire. Any dog that doesn't appear to need all of the previous things mentioned, has either grown up outside on a farm or acreage, and can mostly fend for itself, or it is being neglected. It's sounds cheesy, but it is true that Patches and Maggie are like children to us, and unless a sperm hits an egg in the next couple years, they will be our only children. Or, our "fur-babies", as we like to call them.

When we decided to give up everything and live in a camper travelling throughout North America, we knew that it would be different than any other travelling we have done in the past. We were lucky enough to have friends to look after the dogs when we went to California and Cuba last year, and even had good ol' Uncle Rod to take care of the pups when we just wanted to have a romantic evening away at the Moose Jaw Spa, or at a hotel in Regina. We were beyond spoiled, and beyond grateful for our dog-sitters, and the reality has sunk in that we just don't have that option to fall back on while we're on the road this time.

In the past when we have traveled together, we did the regular touristy things like checking out museums and galleries, popular restaurants and clubs, shopping and just wandering around taking pictures at the tourist sites. Because of the dogs, we have not been able to do anything touristy "inside" since we left Regina. If dogs aren't allowed, in theory neither are we, at this point. Not that that has stopped us from getting out and about.

We have learned, that when you have dogs, even though some doors are closed to you, be it a museum, night club, or friends home, you can work around it. We try to plan our outings to include the dogs whenever possible, although sometimes that just isn't an option, so we work around it. When going for coffee, we try and find a coffee shop with a patio. When visiting friends or family that aren't keen on dogs, or when dogs just aren't allowed in their building, we make sure they get a walk in first, and then they wait in the truck while we eat/visit/drink. We make sure to always have their food and water in the truck, as well as a couple blankets, and doggie treats, and we check on them regularly. Instead of walking around a museum, we walk around downtown Victoria, or go to Goldstream, or even hunt for hiking trails at our campground in Malahat. Victoria, and Vancouver Island as a whole, is chalk full of things to do outside that are pet-friendly. We are very excited to spend the next couple months checking out all the outdoor adventure it has to offer, and are lucky to have two dogs who like these things as much as we do. They've camped with us before, they have been on boats and gone swimming....so this isn't new to them.

It's true, that the dogs have been having some trouble adapting since we hit the road. Dogs are territorial creatures, and with all the moving around, they aren't quite sure what their territory is, exactly. They were always very attached to us, right from the moment we brought them both into our home, and I'm not a dog shrink or anything, but they have most definitely been afflicted with a severe case of separation anxiety disorder. Due to the fact that they don't know where they are half the time, they become extremely anxious if we are not around.(barking, jumping, scratching at windows for example.) However, over the past week I have noticed that they don't bark as much if left alone in the camper for a few minutes, or even in the truck while we run into a store for groceries or something. It is taking awhile, but I am hopeful that within a few weeks, we will be able to leave them in the camper like we did at home, and it won't stress them out as much. Like a child, our dogs are upset when mommy and daddy aren't there, and we'll just have to be patient while they learn that we will always come back, and that we aren't leaving just to be mean.

Even though it has been challenging, I do not regret our decision to keep them, and bring them on the road. They make all our walks more exciting, they help us meet other dogs and their owners, and all our evenings at home enjoyable, thanks to their playfulness and their willingness to share their body heat and cuddle. They are our family, and no matter how weird that sounds, it is true. When asked what we were going to do with the dogs before we left, I think Zach's sister Rhonda summed it up best when she said "What do you do with your kids? You take them with you!".


The Salmon Dance

Our RV park is located a few minutes from Goldstream Provincial Park. We decided to try and catch the tail-end of the salmon run that occurs here every year. We didn't see the teeming hoards of salmon thrashing madly upstream as my minds eye suggested. We did see lots of salmon carcasses littering the stream and it's shores. If bears and predatory birds had raucous frat parties, this is what I imagine the morning after would look like. It was macabre but kind of interesting to see little eddies forming around their hollow eye sockets. Nature, you are simultaneously ruthless and beautiful, not unlike many females I have known over the years.

Patches and Maggie met several of their furry brethren and for the most part responded with minor conniptions. I wonder if they make a canine counterpart to catnip, if so our dogs should be on it. The old growth trees here are amazing, especially when you try to imagine how old they must be and how many generations of people these trees have outlived. Phew, I came close to sounding a nutty tree-hugger in that last sentence, sorry! All in all it was a relaxing and awe-inspiring afternoon (can you put those words together in the same sentence? Is it possible to be in awe of something in a relaxed fashion? We may never know).

In closing, here is a picture of a tree that looks like a bum-hole.


Photo Walk

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

It's been a fairly quiet week here at Casa Ogilvie. The weather hasn't helped much in the way of giving us energy to do anything. The island received a nice unseasonal dollop of snow and cold temperatures a few days ago, which gave us a good excuse to sleep until noon each day, and do as little as possible in our waking hours. Fortunately, the temperatures have been slowly rising, and it should be warm all weekend, so with any luck the dogs and I can get Zach out to do some errands and walking at Goldstream. He's going a tad batshit stir crazy, if I do say so myself. The dogs and I however are perfectly happy sleeping our lives away, as per usual.

Although we have been spending most of our time in the camper this week, we were lucky enough to get out a couple times to socialize. Our first visit was with The Grand Emperor Clinton, who not only introduced us to a cat with Downs Syndrome, but helped us find a pub that sells $4.75 pints. We had a great visit, and many laughs, and with any luck next time we get together we'll have more than $20 between us, and the weather won't be so Saskatchewan-like.

The next evening, Katherine and Ryan invited us over for supper and a visit, and even let us bring the dogs. Poor pups have had to spend almost every social engagement waiting in the truck since we left Regina. Patches had a nice visit with Rusty, while Maggie spent her evening barking at poor Rusty and at reflections in the window, among other things. It was nice to catch up with Bink and Ryan, and they better be prepared for more visits, 'cause we think they're pretty awesome.

Other than that, not too much to report. We've been eating all our dried and canned goods**, and inventing slow cooker recipes since we don't have propane at the moment, I've been shamelessly self promoting my Etsy shop to try and make some cash, and today we went for a nice walk around the campground when the rain let up a bit. (I'll post some pictures later.)

So sorry folks, life can't be all about sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll all the time. Sometimes it's just about bad weather, eating, and getting very comfortable peeing in front of your spouse.

** Some people were very concerned about our large supply of dried goods, and crossing the border with them. (I'm lookin' at you, Walker.) Not to worry, we are too poor to buy fresh food, so most of them have been going in to soups and stews and casseroles, and should all be gone before we head to the States in January.


The Reason.

Giving up an affordable, three bedroom apartment in downtown Regina that we loved, to live in a sixteen foot camper sounds incredibly stupid and crazy to the majority of people that we have talked to about it in the past few months. There are a small percentage of folks who were totally gung-ho about it, happy for us and wished that they could come with us, but let's be honest, they are the minority.

We are both aware of how crazy this idea seems to most people. We know that it won't be easy, but as far as I'm concerned, it wasn't always easy in our affordable, three bedroom apartment in downtown Regina that we loved. Life was beginning to get quite dull, what with the financial problems, job stress, friend drama, and then on top of it all we were told we had to move because of our dogs, and learned very quickly that there truly was nowhere we could go that would alleviate any of the stress or make us happy. We could settle into a shitty, over-priced rental house and be poor and grumpy, or we could be creative and figure out another course of action.

We were driving out to Echo Valley to walk the dogs and enjoy the sunshine when we got to talking about retirees and their "snow-birding".

Neither of us are fans of the Saskatchewan winter, for various reasons, and both of us love to camp and travel. Living on the road meant no rent, no utilities, and the freedom to work and live wherever you wanted to. If you got bored, you could just move on. Sounded like a good idea to us, and here we are now. :)

Once we finalized our decision, we immediately began plans for selling our belongings, taking care of debt, and looking for an RV that we could afford, and wouldn't be too horrible to live in. We already knew where we wanted to go, we just needed to take a few months to get there. Compared to other times I just packed up and went somewhere, I think that this time, I was much more responsible when it came to taking care of loose ends. It wasn't easy, but in the end, everything worked out in our favor, even if it didn't go as planned.

And here we are. We've lived in the camper since October 1st, and we've been on the road for two weeks. We're alive and well, and figuring things out as we go.
Life hasn't changed much since we lived in the apartment.
It's still just us and the dogs, we see friends
and family once in a while, and Facebook, email and
Twitter keep us connected with the people at home, just like it did before.

We aren't sure how long we'll be on the road, but we know we'll be back next summer for the annual Canada Day camping trip, and are thinking of staying in Saskatchewan for the summer. We might decide to stay there for good, or maybe we'll have found somewhere else we want to live by then. Or maybe, we'll have saved up enough money for a
better RV, and we'll continue on as we are right now.

Only time will tell.


Not so Wordless Thursday

I had intended on starting a weekly "Wordless Wednesday" post this week, as so many other bloggers do. However, upon learning a few short hours ago that today is, in fact, Thursday and not Wednesday, I realized that I had missed the boat on that one.

"Wordless Thursday" just doesn't have the same ring to it, but I figured better late than never. Maybe next week I'll be more on the ball.

Actually, now that I think about it, most of the people who will be reading this blog live in Saskatchewan, where it is, in fact, now Friday. Sheesh, I'm just not gonna win this one, am I?

Well then, have a good weekend, and keep each other warm, while we attempt to keep dry.


Vancouver and Beyond

After taking our time driving through the mountains, stopping and visiting family and such, we arrived in Vancouver. We've been camped out in a Walmart parking lot in Burnaby until today, when we decided that we needed to park this trailer, so we could be more mobile in the city while we visit friends and wait for Rogers to deal with our Rocket Hub.

We drove out to Tsawwassen this morning and set up camp at the ParkCanada RV park. I don't think either of us expected to find the greatest place on earth, but at the same time, we were not prepared for the mud, the less than stellar facilities, or the folks that live here in their motor homes turned houses. (I will try and sneak some photos in the morning.) The upside was that they had public showers and believe me, we were both getting pretty ripe, since our last shower was in Armstrong a few days ago.

Once we got settled in, I gathered my toiletries and headed off to the shower room. I have honestly never been so paranoid and scared in a shower stall before. I don't know if it's because it's the off-season and no one else is really around, or maybe it was the redneck hunters, and sketchy looking trailer park boys and their dogs that weirded me out, but the whole time I was washing my hair, I kept peeking around the curtain to look for shadows and listen for foot steps. It was a scene that could have started any B-rated horror movie or zombie flick. Needless to say, I got the hell out of there as fast as I could, and I won't be going back unless absolutely necessary.
(Zach was none too impressed with the showers either, he was afraid that some local inbred child would walk in on him.)

Needless to say, we are not sticking around these parts for long. We want to have one more visit with Steve tomorrow, and we have some planning to do for the next leg of our journey, which will take us across the water to the island. This just isn't the right time of year for Vancouver and the Ogilvie's to be together, what with the grey and the rain and such, although it's been great to see Steve, Vince, Nat and Nathan. I'm sure we'll be back over here in a couple months to visit some family and friends, before we mosey on down to the USA.

G'night folks. Drop us a line and let us know what's going on with you in your neck of the woods. scampercampers@gmail.com


Travel Daze

Banff and Lake Louise are all but deserted at this time of the year. It's too cold for most forms of summer recreation and there's no snow yet for skiing and snowboarding. We pulled off the #1 about 7pm Sunday evening and found our way to Tunnel Mountain campground just outside Banff. Leaving Calgary as night fell, our entrance into the mountains was like driving into a black void.

Waking up early I found everything coated with a layer of frost. Sure enough, that black void we drove through had given way to an expansive mountain range. We headed into a sleepy, tourist-less Banff and fueled up with gasoline and coffee. We inhaled some breakfast in Lake Louise and then continued west through the Kicking Horse Pass. Coffee, drive, pee, repeat. On to Rogers Pass where we sprang forward or fell back or whatever it is you're supposed to do with your clocks. One thing I'll miss about Saskatchewan is the lack of daylight savings time!

We hit heavy rain from Revelstoke right up to Armstrong. There was a huge double rainbow that followed us for about a half-hour. The leprechaun is full of beans, there is NO end to a rainbow, it's an optical phenomenon and you'll never find any gold! We pulled into my grandparent's place about 5pm and we're being forced to drink wine, eat tasty food, baking, and mandarin oranges - it's terrible!!


The Feast. The Farts. The Fun.

For Thanksgiving we had sushi, crab dip, spinach dip, crackers, sausage, cheese, pickles, french bread, tortilla chips, cornbread, and pecan caramel cheesecake. I'm still working on the cheeseball.

This is our first meal together in the camper. We were going to eat real food, but then decided that appetizers and dessert were good enough.

It was deeeee-lish.

After dinner we all snuggled in bed, watched Six Feet Under, and farted. Good ol' family fun.

The End.


Thanksgiving and Camper Living

Well, we've officially been living in our Scamper Camper since the 29th of September, and today we are "celebrating" our first holiday in our home on wheels. When I woke up this morning, Zach asked me what I was thankful for, and due to the lack of caffeine,and a liver full of vanilla vodka, all I could think of for an answer was "Pillows, I'm thankful for pillows." He one-upped me by telling me he was thankful for his beautiful wife, his home that can go anywhere and the dogs. He's a smooth operator, that one.

So far, camper living has been both fun, and challenging. Anyone who knows me, knows that I like things to be neat and tidy, and everything needs to be in its place. The last couple weeks, I've been struggling with the fact that everything isn't in its place, because we are still doing work on the camper, and there just isn't anywhere to put it all yet. Hopefully this week it will all get put together. I'm sure the fact that I'm still getting used to not smoking hasn't been helping my attitude, but this morning I feel refreshed and positive, and I know that it can only get better from here. It has been nice to have a yard for the dogs, and the weather has been positively splendid, and I feel like I'm getting to enjoy a few more weeks of summer camping.

Zach has been working his ass off getting everything working, and I've been doing mostly nothing, due to my lack of knowledge in all areas of construction and electronics, so I'm just waiting for my turn to be productive. I'm making curtains, and today I will start making new cushions for our benches, and then it'll be time for us to make this house on wheels a home. I'm starting to get really excited about hitting the open road, even though in the back of my head, I do have a few worries. The unknown can be both exciting and terrifying.

The next couple weeks are going to be insanely busy, trying to get all our affairs in order, getting the camper done, and saying good-bye to all our friends and family. We've got birthdays, a wedding and our official going away party coming up, so with any luck, we'll get a chance to visit with everyone at one of these functions.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I would like to thank everyone who has helped us work on the camper, given us a place to park and live, and has been positive and encouraging and helpful when hearing of our travel plans. We know we're crazy, so it's nice to know that you're all okay with it.

Now go out and enjoy the sunshine and record breaking temperatures.