This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD

THIS WAS OUR 2013 JAYCO FLIGHT SWIFT 198RD, PARKED AT THE TOMBSTONE TERRITORIES RV PARK IN ARIZONA



Where are we?

Back Home on Lake Erie, Leamington, Ontario

Monday, 14 May 2018

That’s a lot of ink

So while the rest of Ontario is seemingly enjoying sunny and dry weather, we here in the southern part are experiencing a lot of the liquid variety. So before I get into much of ho-hum because there is nothing we can do about the weather, we did something we wanted to do for a long time. We printed out our “Diesel Duck” website on our Epson inkjet printer by using tons of ink, purchased discounted at Amazon, shipped in by UPS. Yep, we printed all of it, combined in two 2” binders reflecting 532 pages of memories stuffed into Avery sheet protectors (clear pouches), per two pages each. If you want you can read the stories by clicking the picture of the “Diesel Duck” on the right side bar.


You see before we started cruising with "Diesel Duck" and the now printed out cruising blog, we had an actual website documenting our building of the "Diesel Duck" boat. This webpage had evaporated into thin air over the years. Just recently Benno found an archived link to our (then paid for and maintained website) that we had while building our trawler “Diesel Duck” and we thought we had lost this webpage forever in internet heaven (or hell), when we had stopped posting close to the building finish in 2004. (You can click the link on the right menu bar “Internet Archive Wayback Machine”), but to our dismay many pictures do not come up anymore of this webpage! It is not certain that all our blog posts are around forever and perhaps there is some info you’d like to keep. This is why we had the urge to print our "Diesel Duck" travel blog out before it gets also lost with all the ongoing internet troubles these days. Of course you could put the contents of it on a memory stick, but if you have a printed version like a book to flip through, it is a lot more fun.

Diesel Duck under anchor at Isla Los Roques, Venezuela

Reading through some of our adventures and looking at places we visited brings back so many memories. Here are a few pics from that time.


After hours of snorkelling

Under anchor off Martinique

In the jungle of the Rio Orinoco, South America

San Blas Islands, Panama

Tranquility in the San Blas Islands, Panama

Local Internet cafe at the Kuna Indians, Panama

Trading with the Kuna Indians

Sweet Embera Indian girl trading at the Colombia border, Pacific

Somewhere in Patagonia, Chile

Rowing a mooring line to shore in Patagonia
cannot use the outboard motor because of kelp in the water

tied up with lines to shore at the Glaciers, Patagonia
no villages for thousands of miles around

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Exploring in Uruguay

Meanwhile our hummingbird feeder out next to our deck has been getting a lot of visitors. Rain or not, the little fellas are hungry. There is a male (I think) of the read throated Hummingbirds hanging out on a Rose of Sharon branch above four red Gerbera flowers for days now. He is hunkered there through the pouring rain flying back and forth to the feeder and back to his branch. Not even the dogs, when out on the deck, will discourage him from feeding. We don’t mind him being there and quite enjoy his presence. Occasionally we even see a pair of Hummingbirds flirting around the feeder and I wonder if I am going to see a nest of theirs somewhere in the area, but considering that it would be hard to spot, I’d be very lucky to find it.










For three nights in a row that feeder had been raided by something as I have found it totally empty in the morning and one of its yellow plastic bulbs lying on the ground. Yesterday night I took the feeder inside and this morning we woke up to a bang on the glass sliding door, probably from a bird. Was it telling us that it was time to hang out the feeder, I was wondering? Occasionally there are Orioles drinking from the Hummingbird feeder too, but they clamber around to get to the liquid and I doubt that they were so aggressive to remove the bulb.  Who knows, but I’ll keep an eye on it.



Sunday, 6 May 2018

I gave up

If you have a computer, most likely you too have experienced glitches with software, or had issues with the Internet or perhaps hardware problems on a laptop. We all do from time to time. Usually the issues get fixed in short order and I move on. This time, however, when “Outlook” on my iPad stopped working and I tried to resolve that with the so-called online help, I got the runaround. It seems Microsoft couldn’t care less. Their technical support had no clue to fix it either and after days of frustration I finally gave up. I then had to figure out how to get my email working, changing passwords and routing it to my other mailbox. As much as I like having “Outlook” I decided it was not worth my time to insist on something that no one had been able to fix.

Meanwhile our garden sprang to life and needed my attention pronto.  Every year after the winter the yard needs a cleanup and this year after the flood there was more stuff laying around that needed to go into the yard waste bins.  Our property looks good now but I discovered the frost damaged some of our shrubs that need replacing and because of the heavy snow piles we’ve had some of the tulips did not make it up. They were probably crushed. We bought some pressure treated logs, taking advantage of the special sales at “Lowes” for another project we are planning in the garden, but the ground is still too soggy to start that job, so I tell you about that later.

Benno had been busy with several projects and ran into snags of his own. While we were in the States we had purchased a set of new 13” wheels for our utility trailer to replace the 12” ones that came with it.  Benno thought 12” wheels looked flimsy and the larger ones would be more up to the task. Those he had mounted onto the trailer but the old fenders were now too small and would not fit the new wheels so we ordered a set of larger fenders. When the package finally got here, there was only one fender in the parcel and who knows where its companion ended up. So there was more waiting for the second shipment. 


And then there was the trouble with the voltmeter.  You see we had from “Camping World” this 120V digital voltmeter that plugs into any outlet and lets you see what the shore power is.  We had that thing in the camper and we liked it. The trouble was that all our outlets are so low that you have to bend down to see the display. Benno thought it would be nice to have a 120V voltmeter next to the 12V meter at the panel, so he ordered one from Amazon that had a good price.  There was some rerouting of wires involved and I am glad we were not living in the camper while this was going on.

When the meter arrived and Benno installed it, it didn’t show the voltage. A blue light was on and that was it. We shipped it back to Amazon and ordered another one of the same kind.  When that one arrived, it also didn’t work! What a frustration for Benno. He started to search the Internet and found several entries with dissatisfied customers complaining about the product.  Back it went to Amazon.  Thinking that the Voltmeter we had on hand was a good product but had the spades to be plugged into an outlet, that was not a problem for Benno. He opened up the meter, unsoldered the spades, added two wire leads and now the pictures show his handiwork.  It works fine and we should have done it right from the start.








A few other things we wanted to tackle on the camper. One was the wooden support under our queen mattress. It is a raw board and every time we lifted the bed to use the storage underneath we would get a splinter in our hands or my hair got caught on the rough surface. Benno took it all apart and I sanded it and put three coats of varnish on it before it got put back.


One other thing was that I wanted was to create some storage underneath our foldout sofa bed, which is right above the two trailer axles to hold heavy items like cans. The trailer came with several plastic rectangular trays that would fit there, but they needed wooden supports to hold them in place so they don’t slide around while we are on the road. That little job got tackled as well.






We also ran out of cupboard space in the washroom. The hanging mirror cabinet is much smaller than the ones in our previous campers and by adding two small shelves on the side; we have gained some room for larger and heavier items that can be used when we are stationery.  I think Benno did a good job with all those projects.




Aka Lake Erie flood two weeks ago; there are lots of construction machines in the area with various cleanup and improvement works going on. Many boulders have been brought in by tractor-trailers to help in the shoreline preservation by some homeowners. The public areas where the city is responsible however lacks its progress. We shall see what happens.




Thanks for being so patient waiting for my posting. By the way, we are out of power at the moment and I’m typing this on the laptop in the camper while the generator is humming along, because the computer needed charging.  As soon as the power comes back on and I have Internet I’ll post this.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A look at the devastation after the water receded

Today Benno and I went on foot along the Lakeshore Drive and its extension, Cotterie Park, in our neighborhood. It was cold, 2C/35F with occasional snow flurries. A 27km/16 mph wind from the west bit into our faces as we walked. This is a reversal wind from the devastating storm we had from the east that had caused the flood. Actually, it was the combination of the extreme high water level of Lake Erie and the prolonged strong winds from the east that created those damaging waves.

Lake Erie to the left where it broke through the shore

Along the stretch we met up with our friends who live on a raised property across the road overlooking the Lake Erie. They also were spared any damage but we all feel terrible about the destruction we observed in the neighborhood. While looking at the rubble left everywhere, Rich Garton, a News Reporter from CTV Windsor joined us to take pictures and together we climbed the dislocated boulders and rubble to view what an impact the waves had along the shore. Paul, our friend, volunteered to be interviewed about the flood and that footage will be aired tonight at 6 pm and 11 pm on CTV Windsor. 

Our friends and me along Cotterie Park

There used to be a large porch/deck behind this house. There was no trace of it anywhere, only pieces of wood strewn everywhere, and broken windows where the Lake Erie had entered the house and caused major destruction inside and on the roof as well.

Porch and deck are gone, broken windows and flooding inside the house

One property had chickens picking at something on the driveway. These you could call free range chickens, as their coop must have been destroyed as well.

Chicken have to defend for themselves

Backhoes and frontend loaders were at work in various areas to push large amounts of beach sand and rocks off the road, cut down trees that had fallen onto the road and relocating large boulders onto the shore where the lake had broken through.  Our town’s mayor estimated the damage in the millions and it will be a long time for the area to be restored to its former beauty.

At one time we were interested in this property but decided against it

The trailer got damaged and this property had a nice lawn, no rocks there before

Still some standing water and behind on the field

The shed is totally destroyed

The large concrete blocks on the right were in the water not on shore

Sand on the right has been pushed off the road

large puddles and muck everywhere

This house was in the process of getting new vinyl siding
but the water pushed out the wall

Water can't run off and also seen on the field beyond the houses

There is a lot more damage along the shore and on Pulley Rd. toward Wheatley Harbor, but we had seen enough and hope that relief funds will be provided by the various government agencies to the people in need.

On a positive note, the flat screen TV that had fallen off the bedroom wall in the camper while driving home is not a casualty of the I-75 and it is now hanging in Benno’s shop and working fine.