Mosquitos, Mosquitos and MORE Mosquitos!

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 30 ~Day #51
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$5100
$62.24
$6068
$118.98
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
6924+00
3826
000
69
11427.4

Current Location: Green Haven Sun Club, Balgonie, Saskatchewan

Today’s Total Expenses: $62.24

Accommodation: $24.00
Food: $38.24

Mosquitos Everywhere

We knew we were in trouble when we set up the tent last night and a hungry hoard of mosquitos descended on us.

Lots & Lots of Rain Followed by Sunny Weather

That’s what happened here in Saskatchewan. There was so much rain that a portion of the Trans Canada Highway collapsed near Saskatchewan’s boarded with Alberta.

So now there is a lot of standing water and hot, sunny weather – a perfect environment for mosquitos to breed.

No Rest At All

If either of us got any sleep at all last night, I’m sure it wasn’t much.

I guess we expected to be bitten while we were setting up the tent, although the sheer number of mosquitos was totally unexpected.

What we weren’t prepared for was the second onslaught as we tried to settle down for the night.

Lurking in every corner of our tent and Jeep (don’t forget that we actually sleep in the Jeep) were hundreds, if not thousands, of bloodthirsty mosquitos.

We both got up several times through the night to try and kill as many as we could. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Many of them had already bitten us, so when we squished them they spurted blood – OUR BLOOD! There are now blood stains on the tent walls and even on the ceiling of the Jeep. I have no idea how I’m going to clean that up.

But it didn’t matter how many we killed, they just kept coming – wave after wave.

We even tried to bait them. We would each take turns just laying there and letting mosquitos land on us while the other one killed as many as possible.

Nothing worked. Nothing stopped them from biting us, buzzing in our ears or even trying to fly up our noses!

In despair, the only thing we could do was to cover ourselves completely with our sheets and blankets and try to get some fitful sleep while being dive-bombed all night. If an errant piece of flesh poked out, rest assured, a mosquito was on it.

Without a doubt, last night was the worst night we’ve had on this trip. I’d happily put up with freezing water pouring on me again or frosty nights. They’re a piece of cake compared with last night.

Taking Action

From what I saw, I do believe that Geoff suffered more bites than I did. And, that’s unusual. Any biting insects just seem to love me.

The main difference between us, though, is how our bodies react to the such bites.

Geoff says his bites are no longer itchy. I sure wish I could say the same. Mine are horribly itchy, red and welted. I really do try not to scratch. I know it will only make things worse. But, sometimes it is nearly impossible not to give in.

We both decided that we can’t possibly go through another night like that. We may even have to leave this campground.

In an effort to try to control the situation and salvage the days we had planned to spend here, we headed into Regina in search of an anti-itch cream, some insect repellant to prevent more bites and an insect spray, like RAID, to kill the ones still hiding in our tent and car.

Our first stop was Costco, who was totally sold out of both repellant and insecticide spray.

Looks like were weren’t the only ones to be experiencing this problem.

Next stop was Wal-Mart who was ALMOST sold out but we did manage to get a can of RAID and a bottle of Muskol lotion but their shelves were pretty bare.

Wish Us Luck

We have now liberally sprayed both the Jeep and the tent and plan to do so again a couple of hours before bedtime.

I have applied my anti-itch cream, which is helping a bit. We have both slathered ourselves with the Muskol lotion, yes, we even put some in our hair as the little buggers (pun intended) even bite us on the scalp. And, we will do that again before bedtime as well.

Stay or Go?

If we are able to get the situation under control and get a good night’s sleep then we will probably stay a few more days. If not, then we will have no choice but to move on to somewhere with less of a mosquito problem.

Canada Day

Finding an alternate place to stay may be a problem in itself as tomorrow is Canada Day.

Mosquito Post

I’ll bet you weren’t expecting a post all about mosquitos, were you.

I’ll let Geoff tell you tomorrow about how things go tonight.

Dinosaurs and Hoodoos

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 29 ~Day #50
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$5000
$197.54
$6005.76
$120.11
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
6406+518=6924
3826
000
69
11427.4

Current Location: Green Haven Sun Club, Balgonie, Saskatchewan

Rosedale Suspension Bridge
The 11 bridges road to Wayne, AB starts in Rosedale which is where you can find the Rosedale Suspension Bridge. This is a foot bridge across the Red Deer River that was used to transport the coal from the Star Coal Mine.

The Dinosaur Trail
The Tyrrell Museum is the must see highlight of Drumheller but there are many other natural attractions in the area. The information center provides a map with a circular route around the area called “The Dinosaur Trail” with all the attractions marked.

Horse Thief Canyon
The Dinosaur Trail takes you past the Tyrrell Museum and up to the top of the cliffs overlooking the Bad Lands. From the lookout you can see the Red Deer River valley where many dinosaur bones have been found.

Bleriot Ferry
You continue along the Dinosaur Trail to the Bleriot Ferry which is a small free ferry service across the river. You drive on, the ferry is cable winched across and you drive off. This is a modern version of the ferries that showed up in some of the old western movies we watched as kids.

Hoodoos
The trail loops back to Drumheller and we took highway 10 towards Rosedale again. Ten miles south of Drumheller is the official site of the Hoodoos. Hoodoos are present all over the area but the official site has a large collection in a small area. Unfortunately many moronic tourists crawling all over the area have managed to destroy in just a few years what took millions of years to form.

Believe it or not one particularly thoughtless cretin named “Dave” carved his name on the side of one just four weeks before we arrived. Because the Hoodoos are sandstone there is no way to safely repair the damage.

To prevent any further vandalism the area is be roped off and no one will be able to get too close. Thanks Dave you ruined it for everyone.

Atlas Coal Mine
A little further south on highway 10 is the Atlas Coal Mine where you can take an hour and a half guided tour. Unfortunately we were running late and still had quite a long drive to Regina which is our next stop.

Flooded Trans Canada Hwy
The Alberta Saskatchewan border area has had a lot of rain this season, far more than normal. Many towns were flooded and a portion of the Trans Canada Highway collapsed. We had heard about it on the news and were worried that we may not be able to get through. Fortunately the highway was reopened to single lane traffic just before we got there.

Green Haven Sun Club
It was getting dark when we arrived at the Green Haven Sun Club and the mosquitos were out in force. Getting the tent up while slapping away the little buggers was a miserable experience – but there was much worse to come …

Sundre to Drumheller, Alberta

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 28 ~Day #49
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$4900
$64.44
$5808.22
$118.53
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
6253+153=6406
3826
000
69
10909.4

Current Location: Drumheller, Alberta

Today’s Total Expenses: $64.44

Accommodation: $15.00 (tenting at Last Chance Saloon)
Food: $33.44 ($4.09 for lunch at Wal-Mart and $29.35 for dinner at Last Chance Saloon)
Entertainment: $16.00

Heading Out to Drumheller

Packing up went fairly smoothly and we were back on the road again well before noon.

It wasn’t a very long drive as Drumheller isn’t that far away from Sundre.

Drumheller Info Center

Our first stop was the info center in downtown Drumheller to find out exactly what was in the area and what we should see.

You can’t miss the info center. It boasts a larger-than-life dinosaur right at its entrance.

Speaking of dinosaurs – the area is positively littered with variously coloured dinosaur recreations. They seem to be everywhere you look.

Drumheller is REALLY into dinosaurs!

Finding a Campground

One of the first things we wanted to do was find a place to pitch our tent for the night.

The info center gave us several suggestions and we began to check them out.

Most places seemed rather expensive – almost $30 for an unserviced tent lot that was squeezed in wherever they could find room.

Last Chance Saloon ~ Wayne, Alberta

Last Chance Saloon – Wayne, Alberta

We started to look farther afield when we stumbled upon the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alberta. It’s a little off the beaten path and considered a ghost town – current population of Wayne – 27.

We stopped into the saloon because a sign at the road said “Camping – $15” and that suited our budget.

The price was indeed $15.00 for an unserviced lot, but there were flush toilets and showers ($1 each). We paid for our camping, checked out the menu at the saloon and decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the Last Chance Saloon when we returned for the night.

They also have rooms at the Rose Deer Hotel which is attached to the saloon.

Even if you don’t plan to stay here, it’s worth a visit, particularly on Wednesday nights when they have quart beer specials and frequently have live music as well.

Tyrrell Museum

With our accommodations secured for the evening we felt we had enough time to visit the Tyrrell museum, leaving all the other attractions we might want to see until tomorrow.

The Tyrrell Museum is a MUST SEE. The exhibits are extremely well done, logically laid out and well explained.

There are various videos you can stop to watch that are both informative and humorous.

We should, actually, have set aside the major part of a day to visit this museum. Yes – it’s that good!

Admission is reasonable for such an amazing museum. Check their website for current pricing.

Dinner at the Last Chance Saloon

This establishment is located between the 9th and 10th bridge of the 11 Bridges Park. There are actually 11 bridges in a very short distance. Almost all of them are a single lane – so be careful and yield when you need to.

We were really looking forward to dinner as we had checked out the menu earlier and thought their prices seemed reasonable.

We opted for the homemade meat pies. I had chicken and Geoff had beef. Now, when they say “homemade” they actually mean it. They were quite large with a flaky pastry and plenty of tasty filling. We had one pie each and shared a basket of fries. We also splurged and had a beer each.

Geoff and I both like dark beers so we inquired about that. What they had was a Traditional Ale from a small brewery called Big Rock. The beer was a lovely dark amber colour and went down really well.

At the end of our meal we were pleasantly full and passed on dessert.

Total cost? Less than $30!

There’s quite a story that goes along with this saloon and hotel and you’ll be able to read all about it when you stop in.

Off To Bed

As we made our way to our tent we realized we were the only ones camping there that night.

I’m sure that will change as the summer season gets into full swing.

We’re Famous Authors

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 27 ~Day #48
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$4800
$31
$5743.78
$119.66
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
6253
3826
000
69
10756.4

Current Location: Sunny Chinooks

Today’s Total Expenses: $31.00

Accommodation: $31.00

Reading Naturally
This was another relax and do nothing day, lay in the sun, walk down to the river, spend time in the hot tub, lay back in the sun. Sunny Chinooks is building a new pool but they doubt it will be ready for this season.

They have quite a collection of naturist magazines including several back issues of “Naturally”. Vicky and I were passing the time reading some of them and I picked up the Fall 2008 edition.

We’re Famous
To my surprise on page 38 was an article entitled “Escape to Eleuthera” which is the island in the Bahamas we live on. Eleuthera has more than fifty fabulous beaches that you pretty much have all to yourselves. The problem is they are very hard to find and a tourist with only a week’s vacation has no hope of finding them. This is why we wrote “The Elusive Beaches of Eleuthera” which has become a must have purchase for anyone that comes to the island.

Rich and Cindy Thiboutot
Well the authors of the Naturally article, (Rich and Cindy Thiboutot) apparently agreed because they gave our book a terrific plug right in the article.

We are now writing an article for Naturally about how we discovered the Thiboutot piece in a pile of back issues in a naturist camp in Alberta.

Thanks again to the folks at Sunny Chinooks for letting us keep the Fall 2008 copy of Naturally.

Christmas in June

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

June 26 ~Day #47
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$4700
$31
$5712.78
$121.54
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
6253
3826
000
69
10756.4

Current Location: Sunny Chinooks near Sundre, Alberta

Today’s Total Expenses: $31.00

Sunny Chinooks Club House

Cold Evenings, Heavy Dew, Beautiful Days
We are still almost 4000 ft above sea level here, so the nights are pretty cold. The extra blankie we bought yesterday has helped at bit but cuddling through the night seems to help the most. Actually, Geoff is pretty much forced to cuddle as I, apparently, am taking up the lion’s share of the inflatable mattress. But he doesn’t seem to mind.

Each morning brings a heavy dew that usually burns off around 10:00am, or so and then the days have been amazingly sunny and warm. We’ve even had to resort to hats and sunscreen.

Warming in the Hot Tub
It has become our ritual during this stay to warm up in the hot tub each morning and to do the same thing each evening before going to bed.

Camping to save some money is a great idea, but sometimes it can be a little hard to take when the evenings are really cool.

Christmas in June
Our third day camping here brought an unexpected treat – Christmas in June!

It is, apparently, a tradition among the more permanent residents of the camp to celebrate Christmas in June as they are unlikely to see each other much in the winter.

We were invited to join in the festivities and are truly grateful.

Everyone pitched in and created a wonderful turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Two turkeys were cooked to perfection and there were mashed potatoes, gravy, Brussel sprouts (my personal favourite) and more salads and side dishes than you can imagine. Ooops! Almost forgot to mention there was an abundant supply of cranberry sauce – also something I really like.

Then there was the dessert table. Well! It was fully stocked, to say the least, with items ranging from trifle to rhubarb crisp to traditional Christmas fruitcake and even a birthday cake (and I haven’t even come close to mentioning ALL the desserts).

I swear I gained at least 5 lbs just perusing all the selections before I even chose my dessert(s).

Unique Christmas Gift Exchange

Immediately following this fantastic meal that left us all feeling satisfied and happy, there was a unique form of gift exchange. I just hope I can explain it. It was such fun to watch.

We didn’t participate as it was simply serendipity that we arrived for this event, so we didn’t have any gifts to enter into the gift exchange. Also, because we are trying to travel very light, we really didn’t want anything extra added to our traveling load. But all the gifts were certainly lovely.

Here’s how this gift exchange works:
everyone picks a number from a hat – when your number is called, you pick a wrapped gift from the gift table, open it and display it to everyone else. When the next person’s number is called, they have the option of picking a wrapped gift from the gift table or STEALING yours! If yours gets “stolen” then you get to pick another wrapped gift. This goes on until all the gifts have been given out.

There appear to be only two rules – you can’t “steal” back a gift that was taken from you and a gift can only be “stolen” twice. So, if you’re the lucky person that steals it the second time – it’s yours to keep.

It was uproariously funny, with lots of good-natured “stealing” going on and plenty of sarcastic quips as items were stolen and re-stolen.

The evening ended with everyone sitting around a huge campfire until we all slowly headed off to bed when we could no longer keep our eyes open.