Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oh My! Its a Big Motor Home!

Our motor home is on its way to Nova Scotia. Chris, the person we bought it from, sent some pictures and we are thrilled to see that it is in excellent condition and very clean. I think he sent this one of it being filled with gas so Arch will know what is in his future :)
Oh my! It is very large! It is all well and good to talk about 36 feet but it is something else to see it in perspective to the person filling the tank. Arch is busy measuring outside, trying to find a space to park it. In front of the garage I guess. That will mean we can't use the garage any more this year so lets hope winter is nearly over.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Anxiously Waiting

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our new-to-us motorhome. It is a 2001 Damon Intruder with two slides. We purchased it sight unseen so we are, needless to say, a little anxious to see it. We expect it to be mechanically fit but a fixer-upper on the inside and we have lots of plans to personalize our living space.
She will need a name - any suggestions?
She (why are vehicles always “she”?) is from North Carolina. The person we purchased it from specializes in purchasing vehicles and boats in the US and importing them into Canada for resale, usually in Newfoundland. We checked his references and are confident he knows what he is doing and is honest and knowledgeable – as he says “If he ever screwed a Newfoundlander he would never do business in that province again”. We told him what we are looking for, OKed the selection and made a substantial deposit. He is flying down this morning to pick it up and expects to have it ready for delivery in Halifax this Friday. It will be “Canadianized” (daytime running lights, etc.”) and receive its MVI sticker (a Nova Scotia safety certification) before we take possession of it and the seller will stay in NS for the weekend to familiarize us with it. He has a brother in Bedford. Then he is off to Newfoundland and we are on our own.

In the meantime we are anxiously waiting with fingers and toes crossed. Wish us luck!

Welcome to new followers Deborah and Phil of Seemed Like a Good Idea. I see you are fairly new to full-time RVing as well so we will follow your adventures with interest.

Monday, February 20, 2012

30 cm Snow in Nova Scotia??

Under the category "don't believe everything you hear" , this morning our NATIONAL broadcasting network - the CBC - is telling us that Nova Scotia is buried in 30 cm of snow and we are all busy digging out. This is what 30 cm of snow looks like where we are:
St Margaret's Bay, Nova Scotia Feb 20, 2012
I just checked the Nova Scotia Webcams site and Northern Nova Scotia did get a lot of snow but to say that all of Nova Scotia is buried by a blizzard is like saying that all of Southwestern Ontario is snowed in when ski country gets a storm!! Don't you just love the Toronto-centric CBC?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sights to See in Far Away Places

I just learned that, just as there are home exchange sites on the internet, there is now a motor home exchange site. Imagine the possibilities!

Here in Nova Scotia we are fortunate enough to see the Northern Lights on occasion and very high on our bucket list is the Red Aura Australis or Southern Lights. Maybe we will see them sometime soon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

We’ve Changed Our Mind – Now it’s a Motorhome

When we started considering full time RVing we thought we would buy a motorhome.

Then we started talking to dealers and went to the RV show. Everyone was selling 5th wheels and trailers. We still are not sure why but it became obvious that it was going to be a lot easier to find a used 5th wheel in good condition than a motorhome. Also, they have bigger kitchens and more comfortable sitting areas – with Lazy Boy chairs even. So we decided that was the way to go. We looked at many used 5th wheels. Found some great ones. Arch spent days shopping for a suitable truck. Found several. But there were 3 very obvious disadvantages to travelling and living this way:
Firstly, you have two large machines to manoeuver into place every time you stop. A 36‘ trailer and a very large truck.
Secondly, the cost. We would have to buy a trailer and a truck, which would be expensive enough, but then our touring around vehicle would be that big truck. A gas pig. Some people tell us they rent a car when they get where they are going but we plan to move around a lot and do not want to do that.
Thirdly, our pets. Travelling with both of them in the truck would be miserable. Tara would be fine. She is a great traveller who hops in the car, lies down and goes to sleep with a “wake me when we get there” sigh. Princess Kitty is another matter. She hates being in a cat carrier (necessary) & hates being in close proximity to Tara (also necessary).

So we changed our minds again and decided to investigate the motorhome option further. (As was recommended by a friend who has experience doing this type of thing.) And guess what, we found the perfect motorhome. 
It will arrive in a couple of weeks. It is 36’ long with 2 slides, has lots of storage, a not bad kitchen, was a dealer owned and operated vehicle and, most important, there will be lots of room for Princess to be free while we travel and she will find a safe spot to be.
We will tow the Smart car to use when we are not on the move. We will equip it with a golf bag carrier (on the back) and a roof carrier for the bits and pieces necessary when on day trips as Tara goes everywhere with us and will take up all the space in the back.

Now, it is time to think about getting rid of a lot of our possessions. I have been really procrastinating on this one.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Garlic Steamed Broccoli

I love Chef Michael Smith’s style of cooking and the recipes he creates. They are always flexible, simple and not overly “ingredient heavy”. Easy to make in an RV kitchen.
This one, for Garlic Steamed Broccoli, is delicious and takes no time to prepare. You could apply the cooking technique to any vegetable that would go well with a hint of garlic. Asparagus would be delicious prepared this way. The secret is to just coat the bottom of the pan with water, and cook the broccoli until it is tender crisp.

one head of broccoli
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large cloves garlic (sliced thinly)
water to coat the bottom of the pan
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the broccoli into small florets. Trim the stalk bottom and discard, cut the remaining stalk into thin slices. Splash enough water into the bottom of a small pot to cover the bottom about 1/4 inch deep. Add the sliced broccoli stalks, oil, garlic and salt and begin heating over a medium high heat. In a few moments the water will start to simmer, the garlic will loose much of its pungency and perfume the steam. Add the broccoli florets and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid.

Steam until the broccoli is tender crisp and bright green, no more than five minutes. The water should finish evaporating just as the broccoli finishes cooking. Remove the pan from the heat and give it a good shake tossing the broccoli with the oil and garlic. Serve immediately.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Eagle Viewing

Eagle watching is an annual affair in Nova Scotia. Each year the Sheffield Mills Community Association and the Blomidon Naturalist Society host  Eagle Watch Weekends in the Annapolis Valley in late January early February. This is one such weekend so we gathered the family together to headed out to have some fun. You should get there between 8 and 10 am to see the most eagles as that is when the local chicken farmers feed them, but we are a large family and it is difficult to get everyone organized that early on Saturday morning. So we arrived about 11 and managed to see several of the beautiful birds without the crowds in the official "viewing areas". My pictures are not the best as I have a simple point and shoot Casio Exilim camera - a new SLR camera is on my want list for our great adventure. I plan to go and take lessons and learn a bit about photography after I get the camera.

As we drove by we spotted several bald eagles and red-tailed hawks in these trees, with not a person in sight. Perfect.
The big birds were smart enough to stay high in the trees and were not bothered by our presence.

A little further down the road we spotted eagles having lunch in a farm field. These two did not seem pleased to share.
So the poor fellow stayed to one side as another came to join the group.
They weren't letting him too close to the food either.
The eagles were no longer at the official viewing site but some photographers were still photographing a few flying in the distance.
Then it was off to enjoy the pancake lunch offered by the Sheffield Community Association. Arch is missing from the picture as he stayed home with a cold.
After lunch some of us went shopping at Frenchy's in Coldbrook :). The dads took the kids to the Robot Programming Competition at Acadia University. Jonah, our lego building robot fanatic, is 8, one year short of being able to enter the competition so he contented himself building a robot from the boxes of lego that were at the entrance to the competition floor.
There were a lot of competitors.
We will miss these family outings next winter.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Eating and Food Preperation While Travelling

Meal planning and preparation are generally my responsibility, Arch does have a few specialties that he makes (mostly breads) but I do the everyday stuff, and I am somewhat about how we are going to eat on the road. With a couple of exceptions, we do not eat processed foods, convenience foods, what I call fake food (for example, margarine) or at fast food restaurants. Also, I am a vegetarian, more from a dislike of meat than anything else, but Arch does enjoy meat on occasion. We eat fish now and then. I generally make everything in large batches and store the extra in the freezer. Judging by the size of the freezers that were in the 5th wheels I saw at the RV Show last weekend I do not think I will be doing that any more.
Quinoa Flatbread - we want to eat like this
Not this
I believe that recipes are a guide to ideas for food preparation and not written in stone. Sometimes my ideas and changes work, sometimes they don’t. Such is life.  In the next few months I am going to work with our favourite foods creating recipes for two that are delicious, easy to prepare, use few ingredients and transportable. I am also collecting a selection of recipes on Pinterest that I think I can change to serve two and prepare easily.  As we will have a very small oven, a three burner stove top and a microwave I plan to take our George Forman grill along as well as our blender and food processor (or maybe I will test an immersion blender to see if it will work, they look great when the chefs on the food channels use them). Arch also wants to take the stand mixer :). Somehow I doubt that that will be practical.

I will post successful recipes here and welcome your suggestions and ideas as I embark on my journey to create simple, tasty foods that we can enjoy while avoiding all the fast food traps I am afraid we will fall into while travelling.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Halifax RV Show

The Halifax RV Show was an experience and an education. We went twice, on Saturday and Sunday.

 On Saturday we met our sister-in-law Lesley there with her son, Paul and his partner Sarah at the show. Sarah is going to introduce us to an uncle who is the general sales manager of a couple of RV dealerships in New Brunswick and Paul and Sarah are interested in buying a small trailer. We explored a few 5th wheels together – holy cow, they are large – and a couple of trailers within Paul and Sarah’s budget – oh my, they seemed small, especially as Paul is 6’3” and seems to take up all the space in them. Poor Sarah, she is not going to have much space J
Small, hard top camping trailers. Photo courtesy of Sara Star
Then we went on to meet Sarah’s Uncle Dennis. His booth (area) was very busy with the sales people consulting Dennis constantly about sales they were making, etc. It was hectic, but he kindly spent about 10 minutes with us showing us through a new 5th wheel and discussing what we are looking for. Then we exchanged cards and agreed to meet at his dealership in Moncton, NB to look at used trailers.
Livingroon in a 36' 5th wheel. Photo courtesy of Sara Star
On we went to explore more 5th wheels and were fortunate to meet a representative from Forest River Industries in Indiana. He was extremely helpful, explaining how the 5th wheels are built, what to look for when buying one, etc., etc. He gave us an hour of his time and we are very grateful.

After all that our brains were full for the day so we headed home to digest what we learned.  I think, at our age,  our brains can only hold so much and every time we learn something new we must throw something old out, so you have to be careful how much you put in there at once.

On Sunday we returned with my sister Mary and her husband John. Spent more time exploring the different makes and models of 5th wheels and talking to people about how they live in them.  We met friends of Mary and John there who own a 5th wheel the same size as the one we are planning to buy and they invited us to drop by their home to chat about their experience. Arch is looking forward to that and we will do so soon.

One of my great concerns is how we are going to ensure that we eat healthy, fresh food while on the road and that is the next area of our new life style I plan to expolore.