Thursday, 16 October 2014

...and, We're Back on the Road!

Due to help from family, friends and strangers, we got Cara the Van back, and were able to leave with only a smallish dent in our pockets. These folks were like angels smiling down on us, only wanting the best for us and in return, we can give them some sweet little treats once we get settled in our wintering spot. It was awesome of our friend Kyla, to have taken the time to start up the fundraiser for us, when our souls were down in the dumps and we thought the journey might be over with. Then, this light shines and we can't believe the help we received. Amazing stuff.

We have been traveling at break neck speed since we left escaped Whitehorse. As I write this, we are currently in lovely Swift Current, Saskatchewan. We have returned to the lovely host of a bnb, Stephanie, whom we stayed with on our way up to the Yukon. More on that to later….

On the day we left Whitehorse, Oscar and I turned to each other several times while in the cockpit of Cara the Van and debated if we should just turn around and go back to Whitehorse for another night - the roads were so bad as we headed out on the Alaskan highway But the urge to get out of that town we had been in for close to three weeks, was too strong. We traveled the roads at less than 20 clicks in spots, it was raining in spots, sunshine next, white out next minutes, then rain again. Sometimes the fog was at critical levels, then sunshine again. So we pressed on and we made it. As soon as we got that 5 hour stretch of highway done, we then headed south into B.C. and the weather cleared up. Onto to Dease Lake - the drive is a lonely one, as yet once again there were no dividing lines on the highway and no celluar service. It was nervewracking as you need to pay absolute attention to the pink flags that alert you to severe potholes or large bumps and cracks in the asphalt. Finally after the white knuckled drive, we were safe in our hotel room after 10 hours on the road.

Below, are the photos of the Tahltan elders who have camped at the entry road to the Red Chris Mine since August after the Mount Polley disaster and these good folks are determined not to let this happen to them. Imperial Metals is the company they are effectively blocking. This was a highlight of the trip for me, as I have been following them on Facebook and what they are fighting for, the advances, the setbacks and the small victories. They are costing Imperial Metals lots of money by blocking this one road.

After Dease Lake, we carried on to Prince George. It is a city of sorts, but we felt uneasy about parking our van in a parking lot downtown for the night and to be honest, I knew I still had a few hours of driving left in me and I didn't want to waste them.We also happenned google some really alarming crime rates about this city so we went with my gut feelings on this one. If we add a few highway hours every so often, we can effectively cut out a couple days which means less money spent on accommodations.

Onwards we went, through to a lovely town called McBride. We checked in and saw the light was still good, a pink hue just starting at the mountain tops, so we decided to hustle and go do some fishing! Molly and I piled into the car, and Oscar walked around the fron. I saw him stop, look at me, look down and motion me to pop the hood. Everything in me sank. We had a radiator leak.

We decided two things: we cannot do anything until it's looked at by a mechanic - could be a small fix or could be huge fix but why spend our night thinking the worst. So we didnt worry. We kept blocking it from our brains.

We found a shop willing to squeeze our van in and look Turned out to be a $40 fix. We actually really liked McBride, and had this been another huge expense, well we said we start looking for a place to live there and a couple jobs. Hah! Lucky for us though, we could keep moving. By 3:00pm, we were on our way to Hinton, Alberta at the top of the Rockies. We had an appointment with a Canadian Tire and we decided to keep it, as we felt the transmission was also acting alittle wonky on us. Spent the night in Hinton, and the next morning after topping our floods and doing a diagnostic check on Cara the Van, they said we were fit to hit the road again. By 1030am, we made a decision on the spot and decided to not take the upper route through Edmonton to Saskatachewan, we say, hey, let's drive through Jasper and the mountains again! When you get the chance, do it! This drive should be on your bucket list to see.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Great Minivan Disaster of 2014

We hit a rock! Literally. 

We are working on the story for all to enjoy about the Great Minivan Disaster of 2014.

Short version to build suspense: A 50km desolate road. Big boulder. Van stops dead. Screaming (at each other). Red oil spewing everywhere. Emergency backpacks prepared. Sled for possibly having to walk molly 25 or more kilometers to main road. Machete. Filleting knife. Food. Warm clothes.Bear. Wolves. Rutting moose. Wind. Stranded. RCMP that are upset at having to get our of his chair. Stranded again! Gah!

Now, you are intrigued, aren't you??

Give us a week and the story will be up. Check back later. After all, we are stranded in a motel in Whitehorse, waiting for a new transmission to be put in. But wait, it has to be FLOWN in first. Gah.

In the meantime, check out the fundraising campaign our good friend Kyla made for us....

 and share with your friends if you can! Check us out on facebook too! Find us: laguanwiththewind

Take care!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Home, Home on the Range - Drayton Valley, ALberta until September

A long time ago, in Chatham, I met a wonderful gal, Rachel. I met her when we were both two wild single gals. But now, both her & i have new additions in our lives since I last saw her. She and her hubby, Chris,  moved up here from the Chatham area  started their own business, Wolverine Heating & Mechanical and spent the last two years renovating a foreclosed drug house into their little piece of heaven in Drayton. Turns out they needed some extra man-help and luckily enough, I just happened to have a man with me, so we have decided to stick around here for the next few weeks to make some extra loot, until we have to make the big push for theYukon in the first week of September.

Our Uncle Bert from the Tee-Dot-Oh invited us to join him in Calgary as he had to fly there for work. So, we did. We hadnt seen him in three months and swe hadn't seen Calgary yet, so let's kill two birds with one stone!  Funnily enough, our best day in Calgary was spent outside of Calgary. We took a trip out of the city, found a small lake and followed the rural, dusty roads there. We had to stop at one point, because they were driving cattle along the road, there they were : real friggin' cowboys. Molly had been asking where all the cowboys were in Cow-town, so we finally had some to point out to her. AT one point, as they led us through the mess o' cows and because i wasn't paying attention, I forgot to stay close to the rv ahead of us and two cows dodged infront of the van at last minute. Just about had us a steak dinnah.

So, we will live simply for next few weeks, adventures limited to fishing and maybe a Jasper camping trip, get Molly into doing some homework and city splash padding. Not to mention, clearing out Cara the Van, and getting her ready for the next leg of this trip, which will be a doozy.

Staying here and working with Chris, Oscar is learning some new skills, I am finally getting time to work on our blog & plot our next moves by getting copious amounts of emails out there into the great wide interwebz to see what boomerangs back at us. And Molly, well Molly gets a chance to strut around in her boots, play with the ponies, do some school work, watch some cartoons and just be a kid livin' in a house. We are meeting some great people including a real live gold mine owner, Kevin Eliason, partner in a mine up near Dawson City that started the show, Yukon Gold. How great is that. You can check 'em on their show: Yukon Gold.

The Taylors have welcomed us into their home and hearts, so it's a pretty great place to be right now.

We are sad that we are running out of time before winter is upon us here and there isn't an option of heading south, like some full time travellers. We are going to head back to Thunder Bay, we think, to work for the winter then continue on trippin' in the spring... but being that we still have two months left until that point, anything can happen! We still have to make our way to the Yukon and our next workstay along the great Pelly River, then we plan to make our way along the west coast and spend some time on Vancouver Island for some quality ocean time for a few weeks before we head back to Ontario.

Stay tuned folks & thanks for reading! Let us know your thoughts!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Carstairs, just north of Calgary - The Johnson Family

We were received warmly, late at night by the Johnson family. They lived in a small town and we set up our tent in their front yard, steps from the house and the hustle and bustle of this family of seven, plus two other workawayers. It was a great home, filled with laughter, screams of joy and little brothers, great food and great company. We went to Drumheller for the day with the family, then Oscar, Molly and I went to a ghost
town in Wayne, with an old saloon. It took crossing eleven bridges to get to it, nestled in between the sand mountains, in cowboy country. I loved the landscape and scenery of this area, some of my favourite so far.

3 night stay at BNB in Hinton, Alberta, along the Athabasca River

Well, this where we took a wrong turn. After Banff, you have the option to continue up to Jasper or move west along the Trans-Canada and into British Columbia. We missed the option to continue up to Jasper, because well, we missed the turn off. When we finally realised that we were actually in Golden BC, Oscar ran into the tourist info center. We were miffed. Oscar told them what had had happened and the little guy at the counter pulled a huge book from under the counter and said "you should sign this then.". It was a book
entitled "Oops, I can't Believe I missed the turn off to Jasper." It was signed by hundreds and now Laguanwiththewind was now added to the list.

We knew we couldn't drive another 5 or more hours to Jasper and our booked accommodation, so we had to bite the bullet and stay in Golden, and that would come at a fee. A hundy ($100), but that's okay for the place we got. A hostel on the edge of town at the base of the mountains, which some great roads to drive on and explore. You gotta do whatcha gotta do sometimes.

The next day, we drove the last bit through Jasper National Park. We were so happy to finally made it to this part of Canada and see this majestic, magic place. We had a fright when we could smell 'burning' from our engine and we could see a bit of smoke wafting up through the hood. We stopped, did a full check and discovered it was our brakes, smoking from the work they had to do, slowing down on the declines. We let Cara the Van rest for an hour, right in front of an ice field, so that was as good a place as any to let the brakes cool down.

We made it to the bnb and camped out alongside the Athabasca, while horses roamed free on the property, For three days, we relaxed in our hammock and screamed as we dumped icy Athabascan river water on each other to cool down.

We Are Laguan With The Wind...