This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Sunday 30 December 2018

Hallelujah we are underway

I can’t believe it myself, but we are on the road heading southwest! At the time of this writing, we are parked at a Walmart parking lot right next door to Lowe’s in Texarkana, Texas. 

At my last update I indicated that we were down to one puppy, but that was a bit premature. We still had two puppies, but the person that had made the appointment to come to our house to get one didn’t show up. But then one of the two puppies left went to new parents on Christmas Day and the last puppy was picked up Thursday morning at our house by a mother and daughter who both wanted to bring him to their homes, so I guess they have to share him among themselves. It is a little bit heartbreaking to say goodbye to the puppies as we had grown very affectionate of all of them, but to see the delight and happiness as we hand them over to the new parents helps us to feel better about it and we do get pictures of them as they settle in their new homes.

So on Thursday late morning we found ourselves puppy-less. A very mild day was forecasted for Friday with temps around 12+C but with plunging temperatures for the weekend and even the possibility of some snow. So after digesting this weather forecast, Benno and I went into a packing frenzy so to speak.  All day long I made the trip from the house to the travel trailer and back to bring all the stuff that we think we need for the next few months, including a quick trip into town to get a few more items and to the bank for some US currency.  Boy did our Canadian Dollar ever go down in the exchange rate.  It sure hurts us big time. 
On Friday morning we were both up early to finish packing with the last of the foodstuff, draining our hot water tank and shutting off the water to the house and a few other tasks. By 9:30 a.m. we were rolling out of our driveway.

At the Ambassador Bridge, which is the Canadian Border crossing into the United States in Windsor, we encountered a HUGE backup of cars all wanting to cross over.  I don’t know why there were so many cars, but my guess is there must have been a game on that day.  We were prepared for a waiting time for at least 2 hours, but two border employees came walking up and they directed us to use the commercial trucking lane instead of the car lanes.  So we lined up behind a few big trucks until it was our turn at the border control booth and it only took maybe 5 minutes waiting time. After our passports and dogs vaccination papers were inspected and we were asked where we were headed and how long we were going to be away, we were free to leave.  The big bonus was that there is no tollbooth for the trucks to pay the bridge toll, so we saved some money.

Friday night we spent at a parking lot at a Flying J fuel station off I-69 in Marion, Indiana. It was -3C cold and windy which made it feel even colder.  We crawled under the covers and our propane furnace kept us warm but the noise from the many trucks that came and went all night long didn’t make for a good nights rest.  On top of it, our two dogs needed to go out in the middle of the night. Next day driving the road of the downtown bypass in Indianapolis, Indiana was so bad that the truck and camper shook and rattled so much that the brackets that hold our full length mirror on our bathroom door had broken off and Benno was greeted when opening the bathroom door by a broken mirror laying on the floor.  Overall there were quite a lot of potholes on the highways and the winter has not even yet begun so I wonder what they will be like in the springtime.

From Saturday to Sunday we stayed overnight at a Walmart parking lot in Sikeston, Missouri where the I-57 meets the I-55. The parking lot was ok and it was a big Walmart.  At around 2 a.m. a pick-up truck with a sweeper attachment started cleaning the surface of the parking lot and that noise woke both of us up.  He kept sweeping around our camper and vicinity for a long time but eventually we drifted back to sleep.

We left Canada with only some propane in one tank and one full 30 pound one.  Here in Texarkana we made a detour trip to a TSC store to fill the empty tank with propane only to be told that they are totally out of propane. Hopefully we will find another store tomorrow as the temps are still on the cool side.

I don’t know if I can post tomorrow, but Benno and I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year.  

Monday 17 December 2018

Puppies for all you Dachshund lovers

Today it’s just a week short of Christmas and we are wondering what became of our winter travel plans.  Have they gone to the dogs?  I hope not, but the travel budget had been shot to pieces by my emergency trips to Germany. 

The arrival of the 7 puppies at the beginning of October was perhaps not well planned on our side, but then who can see into the future. Anyway, those little pups were a delight to watch growing up in front of our eyes. More so in Benno’s than mine because I had to take the above indicated two not planed in emergency trips to Germany caused of the passing of my Dad and then again because of Mom’s difficulties adjusting her life and coping with the bureaucratic stuff.  

At 10 weeks of age the puppies were starting to be ready to go to new homes.  As of today, we have two pups left of which one is going to be picked up on Saturday.  The last one I’m not sure if the person that inquired is really serious about it.

Here are some of the pictures I posted on the Internet to find forever homes for them.  All of the puppies have touched our hearts and the longer they are with us the harder it is to say goodbye when they leave. Heartbreaking, really!


Meanwhile, we have been working at updating our home security at little bit. Has it crossed your mind that when you are away for the wintertime traveling somewhere south what is going on back home while you are away?  I mean if you still own a house there might be concerns about deep-freezing temperatures and ice rain causing power outages or even security issues. During my trip to Germany it was on my mind because of an incident I’ll tell you about.

Wherever I am, my iPad is usually not far from me.  I find it a handy tool and especially to keep in touch with my family and friends and it works wherever there is wifi.  Mom has wifi at her house and when I heard a ding tone in my iPad I opened it to check out the source. A notification from our “Nest” home security system informed me that the Nest smoke alarm had been activated back home but “that it was waved off.”  A “waved off” message means that the smoke alarm had come on but was deactivated by waving the smoke away from the unit.  I wondered what Benno had been cooking, so I fired off an email to him asking: “Schatz, what did you burn?”  When Benno read my mail he thought, “Shit, now I have to explain!”  Turns out he had attempted to bake one of those packaged dinners I had purchased.  The instruction said to place the food onto a tray lined with parchment paper and then bake it for 20 minutes on 450F.  Benno didn’t find any parchment paper in our drawer but thought that the wax paper would do the same job. After turning on the countertop toaster oven and placing the food inside he then went to see the puppies in the garage.  Somehow the time got away from him and he realized that the dinner must be finished cooking. When he came to the entrance door the glass was fogged up on the inside and he heard the smoke alarm (screaming) loudly complaining that there was smoke coming from the kitchen.  In panic he opened the oven and much more smoke came out, he ripped open the patio doors to let the smoke out and be able to see and grab the next dishtowel, to give the dishtowel a good workout at the smoke detector and wave the smoke away.  As to the wax paper, it had melted all the wax and then burned it off, creating a lovely mess. The dinner was bone dry and crunchy, but he ate it anyway! It was no Chef Ramsey quality.

I now think in the future we might be a little more at ease when we are traveling as long as all the technic gadgets do their job.

This litte pup is still hoping to be adopted

Thanks for dropping in again and please do the next time I'm posting. Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday 5 December 2018

My trip to Germany

Last weekend I returned home from Germany. It is a long flight, as a matter of fact three flights for me. I flew from Windsor Ontario to Montreal, Quebec, then on a Boing 777 plane onto Zurich, Switzerland and from there on to Hamburg, Germany. The Transatlantic flight is 7,200 kilometers (4500 miles) and lasts 7 to 8 hours depending which direction the flight is. From Hamburg Airport I took two train rides and for the final stretch a taxi ride to my Mom’s house.  The time difference is 6 hours ahead in Germany. If you are wondering, yes, I was jetlagged both ways for several days until my body adjusted. My return flight I had booked from Hamburg to Munich, Germany and again on a Boing 777 plane to Toronto, Canada. For my flight to Windsor I had to wait at the Toronto airport 4-1/2 hours for the Puddle Jumper, as there were no other flights available. Once everyone was onboard the plane sat on the tarmac for 30 minutes before we got the ok for takeoff.  I guess the Airports are over capacity at certain times.  Needless to say I was so happy when Benno picked me up in Windsor and very tired when I finally got home.

The month of November is usually very wet and overcast in Northern Germany so I knew already what to expect. The sun peaked out so very little that I mostly missed its appearance, but we had a lot of the liquid kind. My Mom (91 years young) needed some assistance with bureaucratic paperwork, appointments and general runaround arrangements of various sorts that kept us busy. Mom doesn’t drive anymore so even getting groceries or other shopping becomes difficult for her. She uses a walker when outside and there are no stores close by her home which is located in a very nice subdivision with beautiful parks. She made arrangements to have a hot meal delivered once a day after my departure so she doesn’t have to cook a dinner for herself, with the exception if the feels like eating something else than what was brought. 

Mom lives in a small town close to the city of Hansestadt Stade.  A few days before my departure to Canada, the Christkindle Bazaar in Stade set up its booths and displays. Some snow and lit Christmas lights would have enhanced the ambiance, but when we went in the morning to have a look, it drizzled with a temperature of about 2+C. There were not too many people out in the pedestrian zone and the ones we encountered hurried on to warmer and drier places. Nevertheless, here are some pictures I took with my iPad.

The inner harbour downtown

There is a lot I have to catch up to back home. You won’t believe how much the puppies have grown up since I last wrote in this blog.  Next update will be pictures of them for all the Dachshund lovers out there. So stay tuned.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

More Travel

Sometimes it’s not easy to write about ones life happenings and all that goes on. This is one of those times. First off, I’m flying back to Germany on Sunday. Mom is not coping very well with her new situation and this time I am staying a bit longer than I did on my last trip.

Next, we moved the pups.
Our litter of 7 Dachshund puppies has now very sharp teeth and they like to test them on (my finger) and their toys. They are now 5 weeks old. Elsa, their mom, still has lots of milk, but nursing the little pups with little sharp teeth is hurting her, so we are starting with puppy kibbles and supplement it with puppy milk powder that I mix up.  The puppies are now very active; wanting to play and run so being only confined to the whelping box became so constricted that we moved them to the garage. Our garage is not like any other garage it is well insulated including the ceiling, doors and thermo paned windows.  The walls are insulated and drywall is painted white. It has two windows to let the sun in and two electric forced air heaters keep the temperature at a comfortable 24C/75F.  Attached to the whelping box we have a wire cage playpen that sits on a neoprene rubber floor so the pups don’t get cold and it is easy to clean up.
Yesterday Benno had the job of relocating the box and installing the box in their new home. I added a radio playing their favorite station :)) for when we are not around so they don’t feel lonely and for our comfort we have chairs to sit and watch, a table for all the essentials and a dog bed for Elsa and Reggy to keep them company.  All in all we try to stimulate the litter when they are awake and with time try to teach them to do their business on the dog pads.

As you noticed on the above picture, the puppies are so cute!

After my return from Germany we didn’t waste any time and used the few dry and still mild days to do some more work on our new lot that we acquired next to our property.  Most of you probably are not aware how difficult it is to purchase Canadian land owned by an American. The closing date was pushed off and off. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of paperwork and time and involves the Federal Government in Ottawa. We finally closed on that transaction last week and are now happy to proceed with our improvements.  There were a lot of misplaced and crooked trees on that property that we wanted cleared out. The final 4 trees that stood in the way of a planned shed got felled last week. Benno did it all by himself with the use of his chainsaw and our truck. To the towing hitch of the truck he attached one end of a braided nylon rope, the other end of the rope he fasten high up onto the trees and tensioned it up with the truck to make sure the trees fell properly onto clear ground of our lot, preventing them from falling onto the neighbors roof and causing some excitement. Afterwards we made short work of some cutting and branch snipping to dispose of the leaves and wood.  In the past months we had to also dispose of several buried tarps on the property. They were underneath dirt and grass and many roots had found their way through them making their removal extra difficult.  It seemed the cleanup was going on forever, but it is looking a lot better now.

Every time we drive by the Hike Metal Company in our neighborhood, we look to see if we can spot any vessel of interest. At the present time there is a new Coast Guard vessel sitting out in the yard that does not have its interior installed yet and a completed Police boat.  If you recall our post from July 27 of last year we can tell you that the then built Search and Rescue Coast Guard Vessel “Pennant Bay”, which was delivered last year from Hike Metal to Halifax, finally got to her new home port St. Anthony, Newfoundland. The Coast Guard had to first renovate the station with wharf and dock for $1.1 million to accommodate the new vessel. The “Pennant Bay” will service the Canadian and US fishing trawlers and the oilrigs on the Newfoundland banks when an emergency arises. The Coast Guard is adding three new vessels to Newfoundland.

Perhaps I will be able to share some pictures with you from Germany after my return. It is not possible to post them directly from my iPad, which I’ll be taking with me, because I need our laptop for that. So there is something to look forward to. Best wishes to all our friends and followers.

Sunday 28 October 2018

I’m back home

First off, thank you everyone for your nice words in regards of my Dad’s passing.  My trip to Germany had been an emotional one and still is because our Mom is now alone in Germany to cope with her new circumstances and it is a difficult time. My sister Christina has been a huge help in support, making arrangements and in her efforts to manage the affairs for our Mom.  She is coming back home to Canada by the end of next week.


While I was in Germany Benno had been running our household that included looking after all our dogs in our house.  As I am now getting over my jetlag it is my turn again to get up at all hours of the night to tend to the needs of our Elsa. I got back from Germany just in time to celebrate with Benno his 75thbirthday. There was no party this time (because he wants to keep his age secret so don't tell anyone) but I made him his favorite foods and I tried to make it a special day.

Benno's BD cake

For all you dachshund lovers or puppy enthusiasts I will now post some pictures of our litter of 7 pups. They grew quite substantially during my absence. The first two pictures were taken on the day I left for comparison and the rest of them I took today. It is easiest to photograph them while they are sleeping because once they are awake they move around so fast that my pictures turn out to be blurred. I need to maybe use my other camera and adjust the shutter speed or post a video clip.

Pups the day I left, eyes still closed and no hearing yet

I hope that all our traveling friends that are already on their way south to warmer climates are having a safe trip. I’ll be catching up on blog posts shortly and will follow along. Have a great time everyone. More news in my next update, so stay tuned.