Going North to Canada - Prairie SeaShell Sea Stories
After getting Prairie SeaShell all tucked in for a "long summer sleep", we said goodbye to her and hopped on a bus to Los Angeles.
We had hoped to fly home from Phoenix, Arizona and use up some of our Air miles, however, when trying to book flights, we discovered that WestJet stops flying in and out of Phoenix in the summer months. So our only choice was to leave from LA which required an overnight (18hr) bus trip from Guaymas. Fortunately, the Mexican highway buses are very comfortable and we were able to sleep most of the way there.
We did a little sight seeing around the Santa Monica area. We rented bicycles and rode along the waterfront thru Venice Beach, around the famed Marina del Rey which is home to over 5,000 boats and down to the Santa Monica Pier where there a an amusement park built right out on the pier.
Next stop was Calgary where we spent the first two weeks at Pam & Howards'.
We kept very busy visiting with the grandsons Owen & Evan, went to the Zoo with Owen's pre-school class, Stampede Pancake breakfasts, hospital visit for both boys to have their tonsils and adenoids out, and tubes put in their ears.
Then we celebrated both of their birthdays, went to the Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller and did a little camping.
We spent the next week with Shannon at Greg & Julia's while they were away on holidays.
Then it was time to get out of Calgary for a bit, and off to Drumheller. We went to visit with Don's niece Darlene. While we were there we were checking out real estate prices there.
When we were back in Calgary at Christmas time we had looked into the possibility of buying a small townhouse that we could rent out for 6 months of the year, and live in during the summer months.
However, real estate prices in Calgary, and in the neighbouring towns, are still being effected by the boom so this turned out to be financially impossible for us at this time.
We went back to Calgary and stayed with our friend Judy, who fortunately hadn't rented out her spare bedroom, so we were able to park ourselves there for another week or so.
We continued our real estate quest, looking to find something that was in need of renovation, or in a little less desirable area, that might be a little more reasonably priced, but no luck.
We moved on to our next home ,fellow yachties, Stuart & Pip's in Lakeview. They had graciously offered us their home while they were away on vacation.
During this time, we caught up with friends in Calgary, and spent an afternoon with Tom & Ruth in Canmore. We met Tom & Ruth while we were at anchor in Bahia Conception in the Sea of Cortez.
We also went to a couple of auctions, and discovered that the only home we may be able to afford would be on wheels. We checked into the availability of campground spaces around Calgary, and discovered there were a couple that offered monthly rates.
At the end of July, a 30' Travel Trailer with a side pullout came up on the auction block, and we thought we'd try our luck and make a bid. Surprisingly enough, we won the bid, and thus spent the next week or so readying our new "summer home".
It became apparent to us that this trailer had been repossessed by the Bank, and the owner must have had little notice to vacate. There was lots of personal stuff left behind, food still in the cupboards and fridge "UGH!". But no sign of any major damage or repairs required, just lots of elbow grease and TLC.
We rented a truck and pulled the trailer out to a campground at Balzac, which is only about 10 minutes north of Calgary. Very convenient location, and they have winter storage right on site.
So, by the end of August, we moved into our 9th home since leaving the boat. Although we enjoyed the time we spent at all our other homes this summer, I didn't realize how much I really missed having my "own space".
We are finding the trailer quite comfortable, and have had company several times, even had some sleep over company.
Anders & Elizabeth from Vancouver (our crew on our trip to San Francisco) were passing thru Calgary and made some time to stop in and visit us and share their most recent sailing adventure, while we recounted the rest of our voyage after they left us.
We had originally been scheduled to return to Mexico on September 12th, but since we felt we had just got settled into our new digs, we decided to extend our stay for a couple of weeks.
This turned out to be a wise decision, as much of the last two weeks was taken up with doctors appointments. Don had been complaining of stomach issues since we returned to Canada in June.
He had been to the doctor a couple of times, only to be told that nothing was wrong, that his tests all came back normal. He kept insisting that something wasn't right, so they did an ultra-sound. Then one of the doctors he had seen scheduled him for an appointment with her husband, a doctor at the Gastro Intestinal Clinic at the Foothills Hospital.
Low and behold, after he did an Endoscopy ( a tube down the throat to look at the esophagus, stomach and intestines) he discovered that Don has Celiac Disease, and has probably had it for many years.
This was not great news only a week before we were due to leave because this disease requires a huge change in diet. He can no longer have any wheat, rye or barley products, no bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, etc.
This will require careful scrutiny of food product labels, which is difficult enough to do here in English, how will we manage when the labels are all in Spanish?
We spent the next few days learning all we could about the disease, finding recipes and made several trips to specialty food stores and stocked up on gluten free bread flour, muffin & pancake mixes etc.
The good news is that he can have all corn products, and corn tortillas are easy to find in Mexico and they are one of his favorite foods there. I guess he won't starve.
That's about all for now, we'll send a new report after we get back to San Carlos and check out how Prairie SeaShell faired through Hurricane Henrietta that blew thru only about 15 miles away from her.
You can see lots more pictures of our trip on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/prairie_seashell
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