Motorhome Experiences of Lyle Dean and Judy Lebsack
5/26/2019 Leaving Michigan
The forecast was stormy, but yesterday was perfect--sunny and warm--so we're hoping our Sunday morning drive around Chicago will be the same. Our first day destination is the Wisconsin Dells. We will try to limit our driving to 4 or 5 hours each day.
Speaking of driving! Judy got behind the wheel of the 43 ft diesel "bus" yesterday, just to get acquainted with the buttons, brakes, etc. She drove around a parking lot (empty), forward and reverse, then finally out onto the local street. She was calm, so was Lyle! Good start.
Photo to the right is our 2010 Newmar Ventana parked in front of our land-based address in St. Joseph ready to roll to Alaska. Hope you can follow along on our voyage.
Our stop tonight is at one of the several Ho Chunk Casinos in Wisconsin. Drive around Chicago on a Sunday morning of a holiday weekend was absolutely great!
An early departure (6:30 a.m.) from Ho Chunk RV lot. That's about the time light rain started and it stayed with us all the way to St. Cloud. Light traffic, though! Once parked in St. Cloud, we spent the rainy afternoon indoors and monitored developing bad weather affecting our friends in Michigan, Illinois and Colorado. An early morning report (5/28) showed 8 tornadoes in Lyle's home area of Northeastern Colorado and severe storms in SW Michigan. Driving in rain seems not worth worrying about!
This was our longest scheduled day--8 hours--from St. Cloud, MN to the International Peace Garden on the North Dakota-Canadian border. If you are curious, Google it. Quite a history. The camp ground is a bit on the rustic side, but we'll tour some of the attractions on our way out of the park in the morning.
An important occasion this morning. Judy took the wheel and drove the motor home on the highway--U.S. 2 in North Dakota. She did great, pushing the rig along at 65 mph for about 45 minutes.. The road was smooth, not much traffic. Perfect for a first time, other than driving around a parking lot. . Tomorrow we hope to post Int Peace Garden photos beside the one to the right.
We got an early start to beat the crowds at the International Peace Garden. Turns out we were about a month early for crowds and blooms. But, it is still a magical place. The 9-11 memorial was a chilling reminder of what thousands (and their families) sacrificed. The Peace Chapel straddles the border between the U.S. and Canada. We were impressed by the conservatory with thousands of plants and cacti from all over the world. After spending several hours touring the Peace Garden, we officially crossed into Canada--staying tonight in Yorkton, SK. We hope you enjoy the photos from the Peace Garden.
Judy did not wash the whole coach by herself, but Lyle was the one with the camera.
Yorkton, SK is in the Mountain Time Zone, so being accustomed to Eastern Time, we awoke much earlier than expected. As we travel today, we are dealing with a cracked windshield. Started small, possibly from twisting of the coach body on some uneven roads. Very warm day expected, but no storms. Heading to North Battleford, SK.
Stopped at several glass shops in Saskatoon. Both agreed the cracked windshield was a problem waiting to get much worse. So one of the shops located a new windshield with 3-4 days shipping and a day to install. They have a shop in Edmonton, where we were planning to spend three days anyway. At most, it seems we will be two days behind the caravan once it leaves Edmonton. Other than that news, it was a beautiful day. Roads in Saskatchewan are in great need of repairs!
Hello from Edmonton, Alberta! We arrived about noon--while still trying to deal with the cracked windshield. Does not appear to be getting worse during the last two days of driving. So after consultation with several glass technicians, we are opting to continue with the cracked windshield, hoping it will allow us to complete the group trip of the Yukon and Alaska. Fingers crossed! Some of our group have already arrived, but the first official event is a reception tomorrow night, followed by dinner, then orientation.
Northern Alberta is experiencing forest fires, so we are getting haze or smoke. Not much chance of rain here--very dry--in contrast to so many flooded parts of the U.S. \
This was the "official" arrival date for the beginning of the caravan. We had the day to rest up, do more cleaning on the exterior of the coach and meet the group for dinner. Everybody stood and introduced themselves, telling about their background, families, etc. Judy and Lyle were impressed by the many accomplishments of these people! We hope to hitch a ride to a grocery store today to stock up, since we're stopping in several small (very) towns for the next week. Those remote outposts may also not have cell phone service, making it difficult to update this blog every day--but we'll try.
Oh, update on the cracked windshield. It still is. But the leader of the caravan had previously used transparent packing tape along and over the crack, so that's what we have. Hope it gets us through the Yukon and Alaska before we have to replace the windshield.
Last day in Edmonton. More get acquainted events last night and tonight. We will travel in groups of four motor homes--so five groups, leaving about one-half hour apart so as not to overwhelm other traffic. Tomorrow's trek to Dawson Creek is expected to take about seven hours--our longest travel day. The first group leaves at 7 a.m.--we're not in it! I think we'll pull out around 8.
Towering cactus field at International Peace Garden Conservatory
Left; Bell Tower at International Peace Garden. Below: Steel girders from World Trade Centers as part of 9-11 Memorial.