That's what I'm driving now

taking pictures for trucking and RV magazines.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Awesome Parade

I usually post here about our travels but now I just have to share a few pictures. For the last 6 years we have been shooting the annual Christmas Light Truck Parade in Victoria. Drivers & companies are working for days decorating the trucks, then on the first Saturday in December it's showtime. This year 85 decorated trucks drove trough town very slow, a huge crowd watching the show while a few trucks were collecting donations for a food bank.

I work for them now.
                                Thousands of lights, lot of work.
Local truck driving school teamed up with a local farm.
Lined up just before the trucks left for the parade
Awesome mixer

Friday, November 11, 2011

Made it Home

After a really good time in South Dakota we crossed the Montana border and stopped at the Wheat Montana Deli in Three Forks. Had lunch, picked up some home made jams, honey and bread for the road, it's a nice place and it seems to be always crowded. They also have a gas station and the office with the cashier is made out of a grain silo. Later we just enjoyed "Big Sky Country" but hit the pedal because we wanted to enter BC at Grand Forks to visit friends in Greenwood BC. After spending a half a day with them the next morning we left for Osoyoos. We like it there so much we always stop at the lake and spend some time fishing. Mostly my wife and I have to help her when she catches a bigger fish. So far that's the only lake I know in BC where you can fish for carp.
Wheat Montana gas station, the office in the grain silo.
Last mile in Montana....
...on the other side of the hill is Idaho
Lake Osoyoos. We stopped here 3 weeks ago too heading east.
She had a good time fishing for carp. We got home after spending 22 days 9200 km-s (5716 miles) on the road. Even though we drove a lot in windy weather our fuel mileage turned out pretty good: 15mpg. That's the good news. The bad news is: 4 days after I started working again I got the pink slip. No surprise, it was in the air for a while. The next good news is: found a new job literally in about 30-35 minutes but it's another story, more about it later.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homebound 2

Sorry about the long wait, I have a very simple explanation for it: I also wrote about the trip in a magazine and it wouldn't have been ethical to publish the same story on the blog before the magazine comes out. So: After the Badlands we drove to Mt. Rushmore, it's about an hour drive, more if you stop on the way to enjoy the scenery. The whole place is very well organized, parking is plenty for 12 bucks even for the biggest RV-s. Spent a half a day there and headed for Wyoming.

Still in Badlands we've seen this RV shipped over from Germany, driven by a nice couple. On the back of the motor home a big map of North America with a lot of red dots on it; places they've visited.

Leaving Badlands

A couple of hours later at MT. Rushmore

We crossed the border later to Wyoming, had a nice and easy day, weather was really nice.

The next day was Montana Day, Big Sky Country and it is indeed. The border line in the picture is where the color of the pavement changes.

After crossing into Montana we went to see a Cabelas store, have planned it for a long time but never did. Pleasant surprise and a big congratulation to Cabelas for the huge indoor wildlife display. It was good to see little kids in front of the exhibit eyes wide open. Another nice thing about Cabelas: they provide free RV dump in the parking lot.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


It would've been nice to stay a bit longer but I had to head home to work. We've never seen the Mid West so we wanted to come home this way to see it. Crossed the border again on the Ambassador bridge and headed for Chicago. I have been traveling a lot and seen a big part of the world. Thought I've seen the worst big cities traffic wise. My favorite tune for a long time was: Sweet home Chicago, from now on I'll remember that song in a very different way. We did 4 miles in 5 hours, the weather was an ugly mix of rain and smog, my wife started to feel sick and made me worried a lot. Finally we had Chicago behind us and had to find a spot to watch one of the Canucks games (Stanley Cup). Pulled over at a big mall, turned on the Tv just in time, they just started the game. (Canucks lost) A cop told us that we can't stay there for the night, so after the hockey game we moved to a MacDonald's. Next day we finally had very nice weather, 28-30 C°, it was good to see the very well kept farmlands in Wisconsin and Minnesota, it reminded me on the rolling hills in the Swiss Alps. When we crossed the Mississippi river on I 94 to Minnesota it was so beautiful we had to pull over and spent a couple of hours right down at the water. Lot of locals were fishing, it was one of those "picture perfect" fishing spots. Later we checked out an Aldi Market, we used to by our groceries in those stores in Germany but there is none on the west coast. We stocked up the fridge with good German stuff, although good German beer is a bit expensive there. We spent the night just before the turn off to Badlands South Dakota at a truck stop. Badlands was the same as the Grand Canyon when you see it the first time: jaw dropping. You expect something and when you see it all you can say: whooooooa! In the middle of the flat land all of a sudden it feels like being on the Moon. But it can't be the Moon because wildlife is walking around, stops in the middle of the road and stares at you. The park also has a nice campground, 99 sites and very friendly rangers. Then we headed to see Mt. Rushmore, same story: yes we have seen lot of pictures but did you think it's that big?

Sweet Home Chicago in a new light

Wind power farm in Minnesota.

A picture perfect fishing spot on the Mississippi at the Wisconsin-Minnesota border on I 90

A little Germany in Minnesota: Aldi Market

Finally made it to the Badlands in South Dakota. It's really "jaw dropping"

It's not a roadside but a middle of the road attraction in Badlands National Park

Sunday, August 14, 2011

After 5 and a half days.......

After 5 and a half days of driving (almost) like a mad man we arrived in Windsor. It was interesting to see that big trucks crossing the border in 3 minutes, for us it took 30, probably because of the "gas tourists". Fuel is so much cheaper in the US that they have built a gas station right on the other side of the bridge just for Canadians, you don't even have to cross the border officially to fuel up. It was good to see our 84 year old Oma, she is still living on her own with her companion: Rusty, probably the most spoiled cat on Earth. We usually call her every week and she always said: it would be so nice to see you one more time in my life, how could you say no? It was 8 years ago when we visited, there is so much to talk about, see every body in the family, we had a very nice dinner ( thanks Barb ) and finally time for a family picture. Unfortunately a couple of people could not make it from another part of Ontario, at the time we let them know when we are coming they had something important scheduled. Don't worry John, we catch up but now it's your turn to drive. Or Tammy and Mike will maybe hijack a cruise ship next time and visit us on the Island. We wanted to stay for 3 days only but left after four, had a very good time and left for the border to come home trough the mid western states, more about it in the next post.

The Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit.

Our 84 year old Oma lives in Windsor....

...with Rusty, the most spoiled cat on Earth.

At 84 she had to bake a cake for my wife's birthday.

Birthday kid in Windsor, Detroit in the background.

The picture from 8 years ago.

And the one from 2011. Our Great Granny passed away since and a couple of people could not make it

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Almost there.

Ontario is HUGE, it takes days to cross and there are many nice places to pull over. Some of them even would be a nice overnight spot but there is the famous sign: No Overnight Parking. After about three decades in the trucking business we don't have any problems spending a few nights at Truck Stops. We pull in and ask the staff: is it OK to stay here for the night, our rig is really small? Some of them said 10 bucks, some said 15 we always said thanks and kept going and always found a nice and safe place somewhere. After some bad experience with wildlife the first night we decided not to drive much after dark. So many roadkill on the side of the Trans Canada, if we hit a big deer with our small RV it would mean "game over" for our trip. That's the reason the trucks are equipped with "cow bars", they have to protect the front of the truck and the radiator in a crash with wildlife. If you have a damaged radiator in the winter and help is coming from a hundred miles away you have plenty of time to think about investing in a cow bar. Thanks God we didn't have any problem with wildlife although have seen a lot and around lunch time the next day we crossed the border to Michigan. Since we wanted to go to Windsor we decided to take this shortcut rather then driving around Lake Huron.

Driving around Lake Superior. So many nice places where you would like to spend the night but.......

.....there is the famous sign right behind you.... you carry on on the never ending strip in the bush called the Trans Canada Hwy.....

....and there is a lot of roadside attraction.

Not every body's story with wildlife has a happy ending .

The Agawa trading post is a nice place for a brake.

The bridge to Michigan at Sault Ste. Marie. Tomorrow we are in Windsor.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Prairie Privinces to Ontario

As I said: at the time we planned this trip we knew it's not going to be a walk in the park. Lethbridge - Regina 1 day, the next day Regina - Kenora and we are in Ontario. Campground in Kenora is full but we got lucky: a local policeman gave us directions to Wal Mart and we spent the night there with a few other RV-s. I went for a walk in the morning to find a sign: no overnight parking but nobody bothered us. Weather was really ugly, cool at night, rainstorm, haven't seen the sun for 2 days now. We needed a dump so drove to the local campground just to find out: if you just want to dump is 15$. No thanks. We also needed fresh water, tank is almost empty, happy to see a gas station. Friendly young guy is telling me: since the city started metering water all the outside hoses have been capped, sorry but he can't help. At the east end of town a nice RV park, I pulled in and asked at the office if I could get some water?
How much do I need?
20 gallon would do it for now.
20 bucks and she didn't say please.
We said thank you and good by, hope to never see you again.
Only a few miles and we are in Dryden; the first sign shows: Free RV Dump provided by the City 500 m on right; also fresh water fill, thanks Dryden, it is nice to find help thousands of miles from home.

Entering Saskatchewan. Here you really can see that the Earth is round.

Kings of The Road in Saskatchewan. Truckers here are pulling 2X53' trailers, that's a real Road Train.

Lunch in Saskatchewan; life is good. After we left this parking we had nothing but ugly weather for days.

Entering Manitoba

It was the first time I drove in Ontario. There is a lake every 5 minutes, I love it, the scenery is beautiful.

We are fast, already 3 hours ahead of our "home time".

Saturday, July 16, 2011

June 5

If you have only 3 weeks to go to Ontario and back from Vancouver Island then you know you have to drive like a trucker. We even had to push it a bit harder because we wanted to spend some time there and see some sights as well. Hurry was the reason for not having so many pictures and yes, sometimes we drove late in the evening, so it wasn't a leisurely RV trip. If it was I would have given myself a month just to get there and you should too. Back to the trip: Haines Pt. at 30 bucks/night is a bit to much for my taste but if you fish it's well worth it. Next morning we left around 9 am.

In a hurry or not we had to stop at Christina Lake and take a few pictures

In the southeast part of BC....

...the lake is a jewel in the mountains.

The world largest truck in Sparwood, BC. Easy to stop because it's at the visitor center. Just to have a sense of it's size: look at the adult at the front right corner of the rig.

Late afternoon we crossed the Alberta border at Crowsnest Pass; a beautiful part of the cowboy country. We spent the night at the Wal Mart in Lethbridge.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

June 04 The Takeoff

We have been planning this trip for a very long time and just before we left everything was all of a sudden in jeopardy. The place where I worked the last 9 years has been sold, the new owner told us in a meeting: nothing to worry about, everything is going to be the same. The next couple of hours they’ve been talking about what we have to do different. Only 2 months later I’m driving to the Hospital to pick up my wife when I got a call from the “Big Guy”: You know your job is cut soon but I’m making you an offer: you buy one of my trucks and can stay as an owner operator. I said I have to think about it and it was the perfect timing to call me, I’m at the hospital if I get a heart attack I don’t have to go too far. We decided to go to Ontario anyway we are doing to deal with it after we are back. It was kind of a family reunion and an 84 year old lady is waiting for us in Windsor; how could you tell her we are not coming. So we left on the 4th of June, missed the first boat to leave the island out of Nanaimo and had to wait 2 hrs for the next one, beautiful day, smooth sailing and we were on the Trans Canada in Vancouver by 3:00 pm. We are not crossing the border so we wanted to fill up the fridge at the International Sausage House in Burnaby. It’s not even 5 minutes from the freeway and well worth the trip; they even have a deli with hot ribs, pork chops and a lot of those hard to resist goodies. It was so good we had an early dinner right there in the parking lot. An hour later and about 60 $ lighter we were back on the highway and still had enough time to drive to Osoyoos. Haines Pt. is my wife’s favourite fishing spot and in my opinion one of the best campsites in BC. Do you know any other camping in the middle of the lake? It was almost 10: pm when we got there but she still grabbed the rods and went fishing. No fish but a very good peaceful night.

Long line up at the ferry, we had to wait for the next sailing. The motorhome left in the picture came all the way from Germany.

Smooth sailing on a beautiful day.

The view of a little boat from the big boat.

People were enjoying the sunny day and the view.......

.......of Vancouver and Mt. Baker in the background.

We made it to Osoyoos, one of the best campgrounds in BC. You camp right in the middle of the lake.
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