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By this Author: divatmotoros

Springhill RV Park&Storage - BBQ and car maintenance

View Canada Niagara to Calgary on divatmotoros's travel map.

After the fantastic (and mosqiuto-less which is a wonder in itself in Canada!) Cypress Hills we finally got close to Calgary to see our old and new friends! First of all a family from Hungary who I met more than ten years ago, when we both were avid motorbikers. He had the big Honda Varadero and I was riding a Honda VFR800, good fun times! Now we finally meet again as they moved to Calgary several years ago. The other meeting was agreed during this trip as the editors of the Hungarian podcast "Kanadabanda" interviewed me earlier. We agreed to meet once in Calgary so it was time for that meeting as well!

So we decided to first meet at our trailer in the Springhill RV Park and make a nice BBQ, we had chicken, pork and stake on the menu. Everyone brought something and we and our kids were all spoiled with welcome gifts! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


After the BBQ it was also time to do some maintenance work on the car which seemed easier in a large town like Calgary. I checked two car repair shops, one of them was Canadian Tire and the other one a Midas. Both are big chains but somewhat more affordable than a Ford dealership. The spark plugs and the oil/filter was replaced and I updated the technical/maintenance post with this work.

Ready to roll to a nice offgrid camping weekend with our biker friends who took a toyhauler loaded with bikes, quad and kayaks! See you at Burnstick Lake!

Posted by divatmotoros 04:27 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Technical details and maintenance

If you wonder what are the technical specs of our trailer and what kind of maintenance work is necessary during our trip then this post is for you!

We travel in a white Ford Expedition (20l6) and a Salem DBK27 by Forest River (2018). Why I chose this rig? I was thinking a lot about 5th wheelers which are much stable at higher speeds but there is no trunk space for the dog. We also wanted the possibility to easily do excursions or daytrips with the car so a motorhome was excluded for this reason. So we took the car + trailer option. Then I chose the trailer with a big enough size for a bunkbed for the two larger kids, a large enough living room for the baby cot (hence the slideout) and a separate bedroom for us. So I found this layout which is big enough even on a rainy day to survive inside with 3 kids and a dog. The gas grill at the back and the outside kitchen sink comes handy too.

Then I was looking for a towing vehicle with the right specs and the Ford Expedition was shining in this respect with the factory tow package as an extra. 1 out of 10 cars had that feature which includes a larger cooler for the engine, an extra oil cooler for the transmission and the right wiring and controls for the electronic brakes of the trailer.

Buying the car as an European was more difficult than I thought. Many US dealers did not want to do business remotely, some of them did not accept wire transfers so I kept searching and talking to several dealers before finally I found a car in Virginia with the factory tow package and the right internal layout. The buying process was simple, getting the tag was more complicated. If you are in Delaware then it can be easily arranged in person at a DMV but the dealership left us stranded in the process, despite their promise to arrange it.

The detailed technical specifications for the trailer (Sally as the kids call her) is available here.
The detailed technical specifications for the car (Fordy as the kids call her) is available here.

Driving the rig is easier than expected. I guess the weight distribution bars help to keep the trailer stable. The car is very powerful, it accelerates like hell even at higher speeds if needed. Well, it has a 3.5L V6 EcoBoost twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve engine with 365 HP so power is not an issue. It feels safe up until 50-55 miles per hour, above that speed some slow swaying occurs. The big trucks passing us create some movements and stronger wind is also impacting us. Most trailers (especially 5th wheels) are passing us doing 65 or 70 miles but I prefer doing less to be on the safer side.

Fuel consumption is normally 18-19 liters per 100 kms on flat roads at 45 miles an hour. Doing 50 miles per hour means 21-22 liters so it is not worth it. Our daily average distance depends more on how much time we stand still. Some days we are passed 3-4 times by the same vehicles and then they stop more often or longer than we do. Hills bring up fuel consumption to 23-25 liters. My guess is that in the Rocky mountains we will see figures near the 30ies.

The list of the maintenance items and work (updated after 9500 kms)
New set of tires for Sally
New batteries for Sally
The main slide's mechanics lubrication
Rubber seals lubrication
Locks lubrication
Right taillights not working, replaced the bulb, then fixed the socket. Now I plan to replace the whole lamp (both taillights) to LED lamps
The main fuse of the inverter gone off (100A), most likely at the bridge breaking the AC
New AC (driver error)
City Water connector ripped off (driver error). The water piping was leaking after this episode but fixing a connector under the bathtub solved the problem
The kitchen hood's fan stopped working, replaced the motor. A painful 58 dollar price for a small 12V motor.
The electric cable of the lighter of the outside grill broke, soldered it in 5 minutes.
The lower side of the awning was very dirty so I washed it. Without a ladder we put the camping table underneeth and in six different positions it worked for the whole awning. Some pain in my shoulders and neck the next day.
The latch fixing the main door in an open position was missing so first we used a rubber band with a hook. In strong winds that was not strong enough so later I bought a metal latch and replaced the broken one.
Flat tire of the trailer, replaced the wheel then bought a new tire
Fordi: new spark plugs and oil/filer change at 145.500km
Sali: when at Burnstick Lake we replaced the old spare wheel with the new tire I bought after the flat tire we noticed that the whole wheel is moving far too much sideways. I started to check youtube videos on how to rebuild bearings on trailers but finally decided to take it to a dealership and have it checked. They checked and greased the bearings and adjusted the brakes, no bearings had to be replaced yet. They said it will be fine till next season. When I told them we are heading to Alaska then we agreed to check it again (and grease the bearings) in October! :) Recommended cycle is 8000 km for this greasing.
Kitchen faucet started to drip at the neck, no way to fix it. Replaced (twice, as the first similar faucet I bought was too tall and did not fit under the kitchen cabinet. Returned to Canadian Tire and bought another one, which fits.)
The door on one of the cabinets got loose and it seems it was broken earlier as the screws holding the door were very loose, was not able to tighten them any more. So I filled the holes with liquid wood and waited a day before reinstalling the door.
The doorhandle on the storage room is not always working, the lock gets stuck in an open position. Lubricated, reinstalled, still no good. Not worth to replace it yet.
Mew propane hoses to connect the tanks (the old ones started to leak, I heard the noise of it. The regulator remained the same but the new hoses were required).
Left rear wheel's bearing broke on Denali Highway, unpaved, 130 miles long road. Replaced the bearing and the whole hub.
Replaced the other three wheel's bearings too, but the hubs and breakes looked fine so kept those on.
Replaced the bathroom's doorhandle, as it fell apart just like the pantry's earlier

Posted by divatmotoros 04:46 Archived in Canada Tagged maintenance technical specifications Comments (0)

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Parks

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After leaving Cedar Creek we filled up our pantry again in Regina and I have checked that we can nicely park on 7 normal parking spots if needed. The next 370 km was flat and wide. Views of the prairy made us feel like standing still on the highway.


As we got closer and closer the landscape started to change, hills and forests appeared out of nowhere. We arrived around 6pm to the entrance of the park and were greeted by a cheerful lady. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Parks (CHIP) is located on the border of Saskachewan and Alberta and it was the first interprovincial park in Canada founded in 1951. The Cypress Hills Forest Reserve comprising 18 sections (18 square miles) was established in 1906. History includes a bloody battle which took place when a group of American wolf hunters lost some horses and attacked a nearby camp of Assiniboine in 1873. Afterwards, from 1876 to 1882 Sitting Bull and 3,000-5,000 Lakota Sioux took refuge at Wood Mountain after defeating the U.S Army led by Colonel George Custer in the battle of the Little Big Horn. War was prevented and good relations established by James Walsh of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP).

These days the huge park is much more peaceful and offers something to everyone. Wetlands and lakes for fishing and canoeing, forest trails for biking and hiking and plains for horseraiding or just staring into the distance. We booked one of the newly buildt areas and the facilities are very nice. Sites are fairly large with a fire pit (what we did not use due to the fire ban at the moment). There is quite a big distance between sites so it does not feel crowded at all. It is more crowded in the central area where you can play minigolf, grab a pizza for 35-40 dollars or even buy gas and basic supplies at a small shop or enjoy the pool (indoor as well).


We enjoyed hiking in the shady forest as temperature rose quickly to real hot summer ranges (28-30 in celsius).
We have spotted many squirrels.


The best and bravest 3 of our family went for a horseriding tour on trails while I was babysitting and petsitting.


After the horseriding the pool was the perfect place to be at and we enjoyed the late evening view of the park.


The next morning we first visited the lookout point at 1240m. I was thinking that we are at about 4-500 meters above sea level but we were actually higher than the highest peak of Hungary! The view of the endless prairy was breathtaking and the poor photos made by my phone can not tell the full story of 100km visibility.


Later the morning we hiked on the Lynx trail and we have seen several half chrewed deer legs hung on trees as clear evidence of the carnivores in the area.


On a more peaceful note we also picked and ate a lot of wild blueberrries. Yummie!
Then we played minigolf with the two larger kid. After we have stopped at a golf club they fell in love with the game and my son even hit the "free game" jackpot hole at the last attempt. My girl played very well too, hitting her first birdie!

Posted by divatmotoros 04:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Cedar Creek Gardens

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After another longer distance driving on the flat lands of middle Canada we arrived to another "Boondockers Welcome" location near Regina, Saskatchewan. Regina is the capital city of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. The city is the second-largest in the province, after Saskatoon, and is a commercial centre for southern Saskatchewan. Regina had a city population of about 215,000.

We have stopped at Cedar Creek Gardens just outside of the city. The kids favourite was the petting zoo of goats, pigs and ponies.


I was thinking to change our trailer to one these vintage models but finally I decided to keep the slideout version.


There is a lot of development going on at Cedar Creek Garden, the owners are adding new features including minigolf and the two dinosaurs promise a Jurassic themed maze in the near future.


It fits well with the barred tiger salamander who frightened me in the evening when I was about to feed Echo. When I moved his water bowl this thing moved next to it. I did not notice it just when it started to run. Then several other came on the wet ground so I took a photo of it. We keep learning new species by using the "Seek" app which tells the species based on a photo.


Good place to stop on your way East-West. We are now going on, already excited to spend the next 3 days at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

Posted by divatmotoros 01:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Goodwill Farm and Souris

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The long, straight roads of Manitoba are almost endless and the horizon is really stretched out. Quite an unique experience. I really like the messages of the gps in the morning: "After 330 km turn left." Long driving days and we have to be careful with fuel as there are long stretches without filling stations. To reach our stopover for tonight we had to drive on an unpaved road for several miles. Locals do 60-70 km/hour without a blink of their eye and the dry dust after the fast cars looks like the movie Mad Max.

After arriving to Goodwill Farm


we visited the nearby small town of Souris. There is the longest (walk) suspension bridge of Canada (remember, USA and Canada likes the BIGGEST, LONGEST, LARGEST...) The bridge was rebuilt several times and the remains of the old bridge was preserved. Even the wider, new bridge was swinging a lot, I imagine the old one, must have been a frightening walk across the river.


We also found out that the Souris-Glenwood Outdoor Pool & Waterpark is open for public swimming from 19:00-21:00 so we closed the day with some wet sliding fun.


The next morning we had a good chat with the owner, Mr Joe Goodwill about the farm. Very kind couple with Lynn, good meeting them and learning about their farm. He kindly showed the technicals of raising cattle. Abel, our son was vere much interested in the locking systems to keep cows in place why helping them with their calves. He also let to feed the horses by the kids. Great memories for sure.


Posted by divatmotoros 04:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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