Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Must-Have" purchase for within the month - Internet

So this is what happens when it's 9pm, and apparently everyone in the park is online.

TengoInternet at 9pm on Monday

For anyone not familiar with this, a "ping" is sending a piece of information to a server that's basically saying, "Hey, are you there?", and the server responds. Anything above about 30ms is not good, so imagine how terrible it must be at 235ms... The longer the ping, the slower the connection. This can be for a variety of reasons. In the case of the screenshot above, TengoInternet only has so much bandwidth to provide (I presume), and just about everyone is online, soaking up all of it, and putting strain on the system.

Here is the same ping to (A Google server), but using ShawOpen. ShawOpen is only useable by those with a Shaw account, or at least know someone who can add their MAC address to the account. This means that very few people in the park are able to use it.

ShawOpen at 9pm on Monday
See the difference? In computer terms, this is the difference between the Pony Express (TengoInternet) getting you a letter, and email (ShawOpen). TengoInternet might as well currently just mail you a picture of the webpage you want to see, because it's about that slow.

Now, I understand that there can be bandwidth limitations. It's all in the package that you get from whatever ISP you subscribe to. However, I'm a little surprised that TengoInternet, which is apparently in nearly every campground out there, is this slow. Seriously. Wow.

Then there is the whole partnership with Boingo. I'm a Boingo customer, I pay for unlimited internet access anywhere that Boingo is. This includes anywhere that TengoInternet is. the complete inability to use the internet is not what I pay for.

Good thing I can connect to ShawOpen.

So, my next big purchase will be the WifiRanger Elite pack. A few trusted Full Time RVers all recommend it, and even a few that I don't know much about do as well. I was originally thinking about getting the SkyRanger, but for an extra $100, I can make sure to get above the big RV's that might be in my line of sight to an access point.

If I can boost a ShawOpen signal, I won't need TengoInternet or Boingo anymore. Boingo is a great price, and I would use them if travelling outside of ShawOpen areas, but i'm locked to the Vancouver area for now, and Shaw is everywhere.

So, now to come up with $600 and all my wifi issues vanish. (I hope)

Making an RV of any sort, "Home"

I follow Tinyhouse Talk on Facebook, and there are so many great stories on there. More often than not, they're about the stickbuilt tiny homes that typically cost around $60,000 to build. I just came across a post about a family of four living in a renovated Airstream travel trailer, and boy, does it ever look amazing. I'd love to learn more about this family, and how they manage as my goal is to get something a little larger as soon as I can, and have my family with me.

I'm hoping to get something beautiful out of the work I am going to be doing on my RV. Beautiful enough to garner the attention of websites such as these.

Here's the article: http://tinyhousetalk.com/womans-anthropologie-airstream-renovation/

Finances, electrical, and renovations

Let me tell you, it's been pretty cheap living in an RV, but I'm still assisting with bills back home, which is making this saving to find a place a lot harder, and take a lot longer than I hoped. I was hoping to have a few hundred saved up by now, and I have exactly zero dollars saved up.

I also need to continue with the upgrades to the RV, and the first and most important change is swapping out the 15amp plug on the outside of the RV for a 30amp. As it turns out, I'm fully wired for 30amp and for some reason, someone tossed a 15amp plug on the end of the cord. This makes for a really dangerous situation as I could potentially pull more power in the RV, and not trip my breakers, but instead, melt the plug and start a fire.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Some exploration

A two minute walk from my RV is a walk path along a creek. It's really quite beautiful. I was going to take a walk today along the path as I typically do, but it was nice out. Sun was shining, and no rain.

I saw a path along the side, and decided to have a look. It brought me to one of the streams that feeds the creek. Quite a lovely spot, and lots of beauty. Even though I could see the RV park through the trees, it didn't feel like I was anywhere near the park.

The water is amazingly clear for being in the city. Back in Alberta, you were hard pressed to find a clear body of flowing water. usually the silt is kicked up so much that all the rivers and such just look brown.

I decided to follow the water back towards the RV park since I didn't know that it went so close. I came upon a clearing that looked like it may have been lived in by squatters at some point. good location though, right on the stream, but high enough to not be too concerned about water levels. Close to the road, but out of sight. The downside is that the train tracks are right on the other side of the stream and VERY loud. A train was rolling by as i took these pictures and I couldn't think.

This massive trunk is split into two parts, and it's been burned at some point by fire. Tough though, it's still standing, and there's plenty of life growing on it.

As I travelled along the stream further, I ended up directly behind the RV park, which had privacy hedges mostly keeping it separated. I was surprised to learn about this path, and just how close to home it was. As I turned another corner on the path, I came to what could be considered the mouth of this section of the stream. All I could think of, was that this was listed as a Salmon spawning stream. my guess was that there had to be something to allow the fish to not only come down, but perhaps move up this drain. It goes directly under the railway, so basically, it was created in order to keep the stream running.

And I was right! The mouth of the drain is designed to cause a spill back, allowing the fish time to adjust and be pushed into this area, which steps down the fall while the majority of the water then goes over the top.

There were two drains, and one barely had any water going through it. It was interesting to see, and you could see that erosion from water had carved the rock over time.

Inside the drain, heading along my path upstream. I thought it was neat, and you can see on the left side of the picture that time eventually destroys all man creates. The drain is starting to break apart, and the rebar is exposed and rusted.

Here's what's holding back the water. My guess is that it keeps the main drain flowing strongly, and only gets going when we have heavy rainfall. I don't know how much longer that wood will last, but it was really sturdy.

One the other side of that drainage pipe, was an old railway bridge. This thing is really cool, and I had no idea it was here. The rails have been removed, and the bridge fenced off on either side of the bridge. i have no idea how long it's been out of service, but the road on the one side doesn't have any rails in it, and there's a walk path on the other.

All in all, it was a great walk, and i got to discover some great spots. I certainly want to get back out to this bridge at some point. I can see some photography in the future using this relic.

As an extra, I am being interviewed tonight for my friends son's podcast. I'll send out the link when I get it after post-production. 

Have a great night!

Small update

It's been about a week since I last posted, and not much has happened. I am settling into the park, and I've been very busy with work.

Last night, I was in bed, and I just couldn't stop thinking. I was trying to plan out some of my renovations I am planning for this RV to update it, and make it more at home. I'm glad that the countertops didn't come in before I left now. It has given me some time to use the space and decide how I want to get things done.

Last weekend, I wanted to convert the fridge door into a chalkboard, and in the Travel Trailer, it was as simple as undoing a couple screws and pulling the wood panel out to be painted. In this RV, that is not the case. There are no screws, and the frame is a single piece that has been wrapped around the entire door. This means I have to paint the door inside.

I need to stop by a Home Depot and find a roll on chalkboard paint now. I did try to use the spray paint, but it makes such a mess. I'm glad I learned this before completing not only the counters, but the floor as well.

One of my thoughts, away from the fridge, is of what I want to do about the stainless steel appliances. Talking it over with my wife, a Brushed Nickel would look great with the new counters. I also need to replace the faucet as it leaks a bit from the tap. So, I am thinking about painting the sink with a Rustoleum paint, and replacing the faucet with a brushed nickel one. I actually found a couple great sites for how to do this, and I hope that it'll work well, and look good. I don't need to rush, but it is a day project. So, if I start in the morning, I could have a new sink by the evening. One day without water isn't too bad.

These are things I can do without the new counters for now, so I'm looking forward to that project. I'm also going to get started on sanding the walls and filling in holes this weekend as prep for painting. I'm going to have to do this in sections when I paint so I can still live in here, and be in one area while another is drying.

My biggest hurdle I think will be Loki, my cat. He may be a little grey in spots if he decides that being close to wet paint is a good idea. Then there is trying to keep his hair off the walls as well.

This should be interesting.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Rain, and beautiful walks

It’s been raining for a day and a half so far, and the sound of the rain on the roof of my RV is so soothing. Taking a walk is more annoying because my shoes have very low rubber soles, so water gets in a lot faster.

Changing my socks more than once a day now. I’m one of those people that can’t wear socks after I’ve taken them off. Now, with the rain, I’m sure I’ll be buying more socks soon. It’s just a thing I have.

Walking in the park is also more serene with the rain. Very few people, to interrupt the quiet. The stream is becoming more of a river now, having risen more than a foot in a day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cause of leak located

So, today, I had to get that water leak fixed. I want coffee, and I don't want to be trudging outside to a hose every time I need water.

So I grabbed my screw driver, turned off the propane, burnt off the remaining gas in the range, and started unscrewing the screws that have the range and oven secured to the frame of the RV. I was able to slide the whole thing out a ways and locate my issue almost immediately. It's a pipe to the bathroom, and was very loose.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Disaster Strikes!

Luckily, I was awake, and watching a movie. I started to hear a weird noise, so I got up and listened. It sounded like it was coming from under my kitchen.

Curious, I went outside, and I watched as water was POURING out of my RV in several places. I quickly check the hot water heater and it's not coming from the drainage hole there. The water feels cool, so might not be the heater. I quickly turn off the city water, and go back to the RV, there's water pouring out of my passenger door as well!

I open my door, and where I was sitting not a minute before is flooded with water! What is going on?!?!?!

Now, I'm cleaning up water, rather than enjoying my night. It's too dark to look around, and I really don't want to be pulling my RV apart at 11pm. So, I am without water until I figure this out.

I turned on the water pump to see if the sound came back, and it quickly did, so I've burst a pipe somewhere.

This sucks. I don't have the finances to replace this damage right now.

A victim of theft

Someone actually stole my license plate...

Really? This is a thing?

Well, that was unexpected... WTF Google +?

So, I do not use Google+, in fact, I thought I had deleted it when I was given one after needing to sign up with my email address in order to continue using this blog.

I just got this email, clicked the link and it basically added photos from my trip, along with locations.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cooking: Parmesan Chicken and Rice

Here is another of my favourite's. This is a low carb alternative to Shake 'N' Bake. This list is for cooking four chicken breast.

The list:

  • 4 Chicken breast
  • 2 cups Crushed Almonds (I recently discovered that there's such a thing as 'Almond Flour', it's cheaper than crushing it yourself)
  • 1 1/2 cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Eggs
  • Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Salt, Pepper
  • Minced Garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups Minute Rice
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (I use frozen)
  • Feta Cheese

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Princess having a ball at the Calgary Zoo

I may not get to be there, but I get to live vicariously through my wife. We love going to the Zoo, and Princess loves seeing the Gorillas, and all the other animals. Today, my wife took Princess to the zoo with her family friend we call cousin.

Cousin's son is in love with Princess, he's only a couple years older, but just wants to be around her. Such a girl! She already has the love and protection of a boy! Mylaela sent me some pictures, and I got permission from cousin to use them as well. This is the cutest thing I have seen in a long time!

One week

It's been a week since I drove to BC, and left my beloved family in Alberta. I have to say, it feels like it's been a month.

I can't believe how much I miss my family. hopefully, I will be able to pick up my cat from my cousin in-law tomorrow. I need a snuggler.

Today, I got paid thankfully, so I went out and bought a couple necessities and got my hair cut and highlighted. The nice older lady said it was no longer common for guys to get highlights, and she was excited to do it. I think it has to do with the media beating up on guys a lot in the last few years for taking care of themselves, and "manscaping". Yes, we want to look good too, and no; just because we care what we look like doesn't mean we're gay. Thanks media.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cooking: Mexican Rice

Alright, so I made this last night, and I want to share!

So I am going to start sharing my recipes with you! I'm taking foods i cook in the house, and trying to figure out the best way to make them in an RV. This recipe had to be modified (based on cooking utensils). The whole thing can be done in a deep frying pan, but you can follow it as I have for the RV, where I don't have a deep frying pan.

Feel free to grab my recipes, and modify them for your families! Share your results! I'd love to see them!

Mexican Rice


1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 cup chopped bell peppers (I use red, green, and yellow)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup salsa
1 cup minute rice
3/4 cup water (you need less water because of everything else)
1 tsp chili powder
As much grated cheese as you like!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Playing around with a new template

Have some patience if things look weird! I think I have most the bugs sorted out, but not quite yet!

Let me know if there is anything amiss.

[EDIT: The template was a gongshow. I've removed it]

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

First venture into Vancouver

I had a couple meetings today downtown Vancouver, so I finally got to hop on the SkyTrain. I must have looked really perplexed while staring at the ticket machine because a girl came over and asked me if I needed help.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

First full day in Vancouver

So far, things have been good at this new RV park. I do have some complaints, but they're things that I cannot do too much about. We're inside city limits, so there is no possibility of having a fire, which probably wouldn't work out well since the lot sizes are super small. The only thing differentiating this from a parking lot is the privacy hedges, and hookups.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Campground Review - Coquihalla Campground in Hope, BC

As I stay in campgrounds, I'm planning on writing reviews based on my personal experiences. It's difficult to tell if my experiences will be the same as yours, so just take what I write with a grain of salt.

On my journey west from Calgary to Vancouver, I made the extra time to stay in Hope, BC. I have driven through there dozens of times, and have never been able to stay longer than getting gas and maybe a bite to eat. From the first time I drove into Hope, I fell in love with it. The mountains are huge, and the little town of under 6,000 just seems at peace.

So, I did some research. I wanted to camp somewhere close to town. As I am only in my RV, I don't want to drive it everywhere. It is a pig on fuel after all. I wanted nice scenery, and full hookups, all at a decent price.

Enter Coquihalla Campground:

Sunday, March 8, 2015

First Shower - the results

I got the hot water heater up and running about an hour ago, and had my first shower. The results? Fast. Maybe I didn't let it warm up enough, but I figured an hour would suffice. The hot water was hot, and the pressure was awesome. It just didn't last long.

I'm sure this is due to the hot water heater being small, so I'll be looking into an on demand heater for the future. If I'm hooked up to city water, I want to shower as long as I want! I enjoyed the first shower immensely, and it was so awesome to shower in my RV. As you may know, I didn't have a bathroom in my van, so this is the first time that I have done this.

I did buy a new shower head that has a shut off switch built right into it, and I can save on water that way. It also has a bigger head to give more room to bathe in which is awesome.

I'm looking forward to making coffee in the morning, and relaxing a bit before I make the final leg of the journey into Vancouver. Once there, I'll get settled, and get ready to start working on Tuesday!

Previous owner is pretty darn cool

As I try to work things out in the RV, I fire off an email to the previous owner to check on a few things. Anton has been more than helpful in helping me understand the quirks of this old RV. The fridge and hot water heater take a little finesse to get going, but will start.

I have the fridge on electric right now, so I'm not too concerned about it. I just want to have a shower! Heading out shortly to get it lit and bask in a hot shower.

As Anton is also reading this blog, I can give a shoutout to him! Thanks man! You ROCK!


Hope, BC

I've settled into a little town called Hope, for the evening. Stallone fans may recognize this little town from his movie, First Blood. Yep, it was shot here in Hope, BC, Canada. Much like every American movie that needs more than a tree or two, Canada gets top picks. We have 1/10th the population of the USA, and are the second largest country in the world. We're bound to have some nice scenery.

Here's where I am parked for the night. Now that I have gotten permission to give a shoutout, I want everyone who reads this blog to seriously consider camping at the Coquilhalla Campground in Hope if you are ever in the area. Seriously, don't travel through Hope without staying at least a night. Just look at what I had! 


After what was actually a pretty good sleep in Kamloops, it's time for me to hit the road again. I was surprised that spending the night at a travel centre was so peaceful. I'm in between the highway and train tracks, but neither bothered me one bit. it could have something to do with being so tired.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

First day in the RV

Here's a little something I took today. I was driving past Sicamous, BC, and I came to the top of the hill and I had to stop.

Just look at this. This province is so beautiful.

Today, I set off on the new journey to my new home city of Vancouver. I've stopped for the night in Kamloops, and even found a place to plug in. This is where I get to finally fully tinker with everything and see what works and what doesn't.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I'm off this weekend!

It's such a strange mix of excitement, fear, and sadness right now. I leave for Vancouver this weekend, and I'll sadly be going out ahead of my family. I'm going to terribly miss them, but what needs to be done, needs to be done.