Wednesday, 13 August 2014


Rushing River Provincial Park - 2 days to relax

The most important thing we learnt from this stop was that two nights of camping is not nearly enough. We will, in future, never camp for less than four nights. Nextly, we also learnt that driving for 8 hours, then setting up our tent THEN cooking dinner and making a fire late is NOT ideal. It leads to fighting, bickering, stress and creating an environment where an excited yet over-tired Molly gets treated unfairly by her grumpy parents. Lesson learnt.

Workstay #2 Elma, Manitoba

Welcomed by Lee, Annie and five year old Aurora Sol, we really lucked out by having our paths cross with these folks. We were given our first glimpse of a family starting to be self sufficient, a year out of the city of Winnipeg and what a haven they are creating for their small family. They have around 60 acres, have a small collection of animals, small gardens, a small lake on their property that's all theirs and supplies all their water. They do a lot of murals in and around Winnipeg, as well as Annie gives art classes and Lee does some construction jobs.

We set up our tent in the back yard, near the birch trees that move with the slightest breeze and if anyone really knows me, they know that white noise is my thing , as is a fresh air breeze on my face at night, warm or cold weather. and wind through the birch trees is amazing white noise, so guess who is sleeping well. i mean, besides Molly, who sleeps well through anything really. 

Jobs have been a cleaning up a wood pile ( I love stacking wood, Oscar hates stacking wood, but loves wielding a chainsaw and i used a chainsaw for the first time!), the animal feed rounds every day (the one duck really hates us and pecks-bites our legs), helping them organise their art/mural supplies, possibly building an outhouse (and yes you can google instructions on how to do this).

Things we learnt during this leg of the tour...

1. Always double check that your rooftop carrier is closed. Ours was not, apparently, when we left rushing river provincial park, and we only found out after we were flagged down by a road construction worker who said his work buddies had some of our jackets about 10 kms back. which leads us to the second thing we learnt...

2. Be careful and thoughtful so a 10km journey does not end up in a 30km trip, by having to double-back because you forgot or missed something, or forgot to return house keys, or mail, etc.

3. Don't buy fishing rods from WalMart if you actually want to fish.

4. We learnt from Thunder Bay folks the best way to clean a marshmallow campfire is by sticking it INTO THE GROUND. It cleans right off. Holly sh**, right?

5. Apparently, there is a bug called a 'noseeum' that bites. so bloody small, like the size of a mechanical pencil dot with wings. We lived our whole life in southern Ontario without knowing about these bugs. How does that happen?

6. Kid camping essentials- these will make your kid sleep, which means, you guessed it - YOU will sleep too. and missed sleep in a tent is not something you want. the essentials are: afterbite cream, calamine lotion, a hippie, lavender/eucalyptus non-deet spray for nighttime, Tom's natural toothpaste with baking soda (amazing bite relief), Benydryl allergy liquid for the nights the bites are too intense. And have two or three of each of these because good luck if you run out and it's 4am ad the nearest small town is 40kms away
and closed on Sunday.

7. A $5, dented cooler from the clearance section at Canadian Tire WILL last you about a month.

8. Molly is a croissant fiend. When buying baby croissants, you must hide them or you will find her in the corner, eating croissants, double fisted, furiously trying to eat them before you catch her. Crumbs everywhere, greasy buttered face and anger when you try to take them from her.

9. Time alone is a great thing.

10. We thought after four months, we might be more patient or forgiving. Not necessarily so. It is hard to follow the old adage "don't sweat the small stuff", because the small stuff can really irk you because all you have is small stuff to deal with now. Weird, huh?

Brandon, Manitoba - Boondocking at Audrey & Camille's

We are members of a website, Boondockers Welcome. It has listings of strangers, around the globe,who have one thing in common - rv's or vans, travelling and some space to offer. I contacted a couple near Brandon,as a rest stop for us, where we could set up our tent for two nights. They agreed and we made our way to Brandon. The province was flooding in areas and by the looks of a few bridges along the TransCanada, we barely made it in time before the raging rivers would have cosed the highway in spots, had there been one more rain. One bridge we passed had less than two inches before it could wash out the bridge. When we got To Brandon, a few roads were closed and in areas, all we could see were the tops of street lamps. 

When we arrived at the home of our hosts for the next two nights, we expected they would greet us then just direct us to where to set up our tent. But, nope! They invited us inside, offered us some wine, food and we spent the next hours in their home. But when it came time to think about setting up the tent, Camille, said no, that they would set up their Boler trailer for us to sleep in.We were so thankful, as sometimes it can be such a chore to set up our whole tent. We learnt about Boler trailers, Boler meets, stain glass art and Manitoba.What an amazing welcome. With dinner done, we settled into the Boler for the night - fresh sheets, a gorgeous breeze and an episode of True Detective on our laptop. Molly fell asleep within five minutes.

The next day, they fed us crepes for breakfast and we set out to the Reptile Museum in Brandon for a day trip. Upon our return that night, we were a campfire dinner along with Smores.Molly and I had never had them before. We settled in for another night in the cosy Boler. We left after breakfast the next day and we held held hands and bowed heads while Audrey said a prayer & blessing for us and our adventure.

Audrey and Camille showed us such hospitality and we feel like we've made friends for life now.We intend to stay with them again on our way back through Brandon, maybe do a bit of a workstay with them, help them out with anything they might need done and spend some more time with these amazing folks.


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