A little bit about ourselfs:

Two crazy Swiss Immigrants living in Canada since 1996 traveling the Country in a 5th wheel together with their two cats ....
Let's introduce ourselves:

There is the lovely and multi-talented Sue: A Sagittarius that likes travel, cats & dogs, reading good books and rather swings a hammer then using a sawing-needle. She dislikes rude people and getting up early

The other part of the team is André: Born in the sign of Aquarius always looking for something new and exciting to explore. Let's go around this corner - there may be something we haven't seen yet! Likes traveling, cooking and making new friends. Dislikes are changing - they may become acceptable

Please follow us on our journey - and don't be shy, we'll love to hear from you!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Another park, a visit at home and another trip to Florida

Hi everyone

After we left Moab and the great adventures there we were once again on our way back to Ontario for a short time. Along the way we visited Rocky Mountains National Park just before the US government shut down and all the parks were closed. But this had been the last one on our list of parks we wanted to see and so we didn't miss anything, we just made it.

Rocky Mountains National Park is a great park with diverse landscapes, wildlife and a road going up high enough for us to have gotten into snow which was fun because we could see Princess experiencing the white stuff for the first time. We had expected her to go slow and lift her feet with each step but we were wrong. She got all excited and dove right into it, chasing snowballs we threw for her. She even laid down in the snow and didn't seem to mind the cold at all.

Then it was off to Ontario where we took care of some business and appointments. After only a week we were already heading south again on a cold and rainy day. And wouldn't you know it: only about two hours south of North Bay we blew another tire on our fifth wheel. And this of course on a stretch of highway with close to two inches of slush on the shoulders. Great! We managed to take the wheel off and had the spare ready but then our jacks didn't go high enough to mount the spare and we had to wait for roadside assistance anyways. By then we were wet to the bone and freezing of course. If we had realized that we would not be able to mount the spare, we would have let roadside assistance do all of the work and just waited for them in the warmth of the truck.

A couple of hours later we were on the road again and on our way to Smithville, Ontario, for three nights and then on to Bluffton, Ohio for eight more. André had to take care of an important appointment in Windsor on November the 5th and so we were stuck in Ohio until then. On the 6th we were finally able to get going for good and we arrived in Orange City, Florida on the 8th of November. This will be our home for a month before we head over to Crystal River to the same campground we spent the last winter at. We will then stay at Rock Crusher Canyon RV Park for three or maybe four months before heading back to Ontario come spring.

Our stay in Florida will mark the end of our traveling time and we will turn another page and start yet another chapter in our lifes after that. The idea right now is to try and find work during summers somewhere in Ontario and return to the South for the winters. Only time will tell if we will be able to do that.

So, our friends, this is it then. With the end of our traveling time also comes the end of this blog. It's been a lot of fun and we thank you all for coming along for the ride.

Take care, everyone.

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Moab to Idaho Springs (Catching you up Part III)

Moab is also the place we went for another adventure. One early Saturday morning, long before the sun would rise, we drove out to the desert outside of Moab getting ready for a hot-air-balloon flight. The air was crisp but not cold when the ground crew got the balloon ready. With a full moon in front of us, the sun came up behind us and soon we were gliding through the air. As long as the pilot didn’t use the burners to keep us up or gaining some more height, everything was incredibly quiet and peaceful. And Lou, our pilot, sure knows what he is doing. At times it seemed like we were just barely avoiding skimming the ground or were about to crash into a shear wall of rock when he utilised wind, updrafts and the burners to keep us in perfect position. At other times he brought us up to more than 2000 feet above ground. A balloon does not react like a car. Every single move comes with a delay and so piloting it the way Lou did is an art. This was one of our “calmer” and “softer” adventures but nevertheless one we would not want to ever have missed!

But we were not through with Moab just yet or better, André was not: Moab - Canyonlands - Arches have so much outdoor activities to offer that it is almost impossible to choose which ones to do. During our 2 week stay at the OK RV Park (which was really OK, except the internet perhaps) we have seen all kinds of 4x4 vehicles like never before: 4wheelers, side-by-sides, rock-boogies, regular Jeeps, modified Jeeps, upgraded Hummers - you imaging it and it was there. So where the rental places, the adventure operators offering white-water rafting, day-and-night dinner cruises on the Colorado river, speedboat trips on the river, sunrise or sun-down Hummer tours, mountain biking trips and so much more.

We have done the white-water rafting in B.C., the Jeep off-roading here in Moab (yes, about 25 years back - but there was no novelty in it for us at this time) and the mountain biking or hiking where not our cup of tea. This time we did something we had never done before and the area is almost designed for it: we went for a ride in a big pick-nick basket hanging from a big balloon filled with hot air, we went for a flight in a Hot Air Balloon. But Sue already described that outing to you so let me tell you about the other great adventure I had (Sue was too chicken to do it lol) because it got better:

Even today I don't know why I picked up the phone and signed up for ... a tandem parachute jump. Yes, and not a regular one they do all year long, but the special jump they only offer during the Moab Skydiving Festival "The biggest Boogie". This jump is from 17,500 ft or 14,000 feet above ground! Normally they jump from 10,000 feet above ground which makes the jump I took a bit longer. 1 minute of free-fall and about 5 - 7 minutes of gliding. Transport up to the altitude in a twin motor Otter plane that holds 24 jumpers, some of them "crazy newbies" like me. And I went through with it: signing all the legal paperwork, meeting the guy that was going to be strapped to my back for the jump, getting suited up into a harness and up we went ... and down we came, I with big eyes, high on adrenaline and in a mental rush. What a crazy and amazing experience it was! Steven took a lot of pictures and a video (which I will get once they cut it together) and Sue took pictures, too. Check some of them out on our web site.

Moab, Utah - we will remember our time in this area for a long, long time for sure.

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monument Valley to Moab (Catching you up Part II)

Now we were very exciting to go see Mesa Verde for the first time. We knew that one can find the ruins of dwellings built by the Mesa People between about 900 and 1350 there. Built into the sandstone cliffs the houses were actually very sophisticated. They had indoors fireplaces and used big, flat rocks to channel air to feed the fires and vent the smoke. The dwellings were also extremely protected and accessible only by first climbing rocks and then entering them using ladders. The Mesa People lived in clans and built houses with as many as 150 rooms, temples and community buildings. One of those community buildings shows just how advanced the People was. It actually has rain gutters and spouts. Visiting sites like this one or the Viking dwelling in Newfoundland last summer gives a whole new perspective on how knowledgeable people were over a thousand years ago. Getting an idea from books in history class is so difficult. We speak of the stone age, the iron age etc., but never really get a grasp of those times. Even after seeing those sites with our own eyes we can not comprehend 1000 plus years. You see some of the most amazing accomplishments of those Peoples but what was life like then? What were some of the challenges they had to cope with? Wildlife, vegetation, climate, other, maybe hostile Peoples, the landscape in general, how far up did they have to climb to reach their dwellings (how much ground has been washed away since then?)? Maybe their dwellings were only 10 feet above the canyon floor and now that floor is 100 or more feet lower due to erosion. Was there water close by or did they have to go get it from some place hours away on foot? Where did they get their food from and how did they cope with the heat in the summer (how hot was it?) and the cold in the winter (again, how cold was it?)? So many questions, it’s impossible for us to even try and imagine what their lifes must have been like. It makes me look at some things in a different light and I have the outmost respect for those people. They were all but “primitives”.

Cortez, from where we visited Mesa Verde, is a lovely town and we really loved it there. We even extended our stay for another week and took a much needed break from seeing things. Though we had learned from last year’s information overload and planned our trip differently this summer, we still had reached the point where we just wanted to spend some time doing and seeing nothing. Cortez is just the place to do that. We had a great RV park, nice people all around us, a great farmers market, perfect weather and to top it all off, André had found the perfect doggy daycare for Princess. Located behind the animal clinic it offers a whole day of playing with other dogs, learning new things and all the running around a dog can wish for every Wednesday and Friday. Though we didn’t need to give Princess to a daycare because we didn’t have the time to look after her, we decided that she would love to be there and get a lot of exercise at the same time. Sure, we walk her in the morning and at night. But unless there is an off-leash dog run close by she never really gets to run free or play with other dogs until she drops. So we brought her there every Wednesday and Friday during our stay. When we picked her up around 5 p.m. she was done. She would eat her food and go to the bathroom but other than that the only thing she was interested in for the rest of the day was laying down and sleeping. The way she woofed and her paws were running while she was sleeping, she must have been dreaming of her adventures for the next couple of nights each time. She also brought home a Doggy Gram each time, telling us what she’d done, what her favorite thing and the special activity of the day (e.g. playing soccer, agility training, splash dance etc.) had been. Real cute! Anna is doing a great job with the dogs. She is also a trainer and gave us some valuable tips about Princess. If we’re ever going to be in Cortez again, we’ll bring Princess to the daycare again.

From Cortez we drove to Moab for a couple of weeks. If you look at our map you will notice that we are going forth and back between Utah and Colorado. You guessed right if you thought that from Moab we would go visit more national parks. Arches, Canyonlands and Death Horse Point to be exact. And yes, we’ve been to all of them before.

Death Horse Point has its name from a rather cruel and inhuman practice. Some time ago cowboys would drive herds of wild horses to that point and then block their way back by piling brush at the narrowest part of the rocks to trap them. They would then choose and take away the horses they wanted, leaving the reminder of the herd trapped on the point. With no water and the sun beating down on them those horses would soon die an agonizing death from thirst.  It’s a beautiful place with a very sad history.

Arches National Park is always worth the trip. The sandstone formations are breathtaking and one can take countless pictures of them as well as the rock spears with huge rocks precariously balancing on top. The best pictures of course can be made early or late in the day when the interaction between sunlight and shadows really makes the place come alive. With our annual pass ($ 80 for access to all national parks for one year) we went back to the park several times. We also went to Canyonlands twice. Once we saw the stunning landscape from the top and the other time we drove into the canyons at the bottom. Last time we had been here, we went off-roading in a rented Jeep and had a blast. This time we went to see and photograph Indian writings. Though nobody has yet been able to decipher them, they have been dated and thus are authentic. Experts cannot tell if the scenes carved into the sandstone cliffs are actually story telling, hunting stories or simply doodling and unfortunately some people thought it funny to go and ad some symbols and writing of their own before the sites were protected. But when you look at one of the writings and read a name and date beside it, you can pretty much assume that the later has been added by someone in recent times. A shame really. Why can’t some people respect ancient sites and leave them alone?

To be continued.

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Montana to Monument Valley (Catching you up Part I)

I know, guys, I am so behind with our blogs it’s not even funny anymore. We’re having so much fun and so much to see and do that I really rather spend my time doing these things than sitting down and writing about them. But I figured I owe you at least an attempt to catch you up on our travels. So I sat down a couple of days ago and started writing. Unfortunately we had no internet access so I could only upload this post today in a McDonalds. So here it comes:

After our ZIP-lining adventure we continued our trip to Bozeman (still Montana) from where we wanted to visit one of the greatest national parks of the United States, one we had not been to ever before: Yellow Stone which is actually located in Wyoming. And it sure was worth the trip. We saw the famous geysers, rocks covered in the sediments left behind by them, fantastic and diverse landscapes and wildlife including bears and herds of wild buffalo. The animals are so used to people that they hardly pay any attention to them. In fact we came so close to some of the buffalos that we could have reached out the car window and touched them. They walked across a parking lot between cars and people and seemed perfectly comfortable doing it. This is more than can be said for Princess. She decided that those beasts had come close enough and took it upon herself to try and protect us by starting to furiously bark at them. Good girl! We did not see “Old Faithful”. When we arrived there we found out that we had just missed it and would have to wait for over an hour for it to go off again. But we had seen many other geysers and it was getting late after we had stopped so many places to take pictures that we decided to get back to the campground.

After we had moved our rig to Tetonia, the other national park we visited in Wyoming was Grand Teton, a park we had never heard of before and don’t know how well known it is. Grand Teton is a nice high plateau with beautiful mountains in the background and a wildlife refuge and it would be very nice for hiking. Unfortunately, though understandably, one is not allowed to take a dog on hiking trails in any of the national parks in the United States. So we were limited to the views from the road and parking areas and didn’t get a chance to go out into the more remote parts. As nice as it is to have a dog and as much as we love Princess, there can be a little downside to dog ownership, too.

Then we were off to see more parks in southern Utah. You might have read about our unintentional stop in North Salt on the way there two blog posts back. We finally made it to a nice looking RV park we had found on the internet and booked for a week. But after just one night we had to leave there because of the altitude which gave André problems with breathing. So we ended up in Hatch which really is ideally located for trips to Brice, Zion, Red Rocks and Grand Canyon National Parks. With so much to see we had a busy week ahead of us. But before we even got to Hatch we came across a kind of a mountain pass and hit some snow. SNOW! In August! In southern Utah! Crazy!!! Who would have expected that? We just took it slow and easy on the road and made it safely to the other side.

The four parks we were going to visit from Hatch are among those we had visited way back during our very first trip to the United States. Like others of the kind we still didn’t want to miss them and are glad we revisited them. Memories from our first trip came alive and we compared them whit what we were seeing now and made new memories, too. Of course a lot had changed over all those years since our first time here. While the parks have always been made to attract tourists and outdoors enthusiasts alike, they are now much better accessible for vehicles which for the reasons I told you about regarding dogs, is important to us. We took it all in and after many more pictures decided that we would come back here anytime again. The one thing we did differently from last time is that this time around we went to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon as opposite to the better known and more visited South Rim. Sue and Princess had quiet the adventure there and learned a valuable lesson. You can read all about that in Hunter’s and Trapper’s blog “Blame it all on Princess?” of September 1, 2013. You won’t believe what they did!

The week was over way too soon and we hit the road again. Our destination this time was Cortez. Along the way we planned to see Monument Valley National Park, again one we had been to before, and then Mesa Verde. This park had not been on our list last time and after discussing the route and detour it would take to get there instead of bypassing Cortez and heading to Moab the quickest possible way, we decided to take the time to visit those two parks. Monument Valley has become much better accessible, too, since we’ve been there over 20 years ago. Then one could only go into the valley on guided tours. Now there is a road which people can drive themselves if they dare. It’s not really bad but comes close enough to off-roading in some parts to make many people prefer a guided tour. Of course we could not drive through the valley with our fifth wheel in tow so we came up with the idea to drop it right there in the parking lot and then drive our truck into the valley. We always find that we find a lot of nice subjects to take pictures of that we would not get to photograph out of a tour bus which stops at certain locations only. And we did find nice angles, views and details.

To be continued.

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Montana adventure

Hi everyone

If you have looked at the pictures on our web site you may have noticed that we had some awesome times after leaving Canada and before our breakdown north of Salt Lake City. There is a gap in our blogs and we want to fill that in for you.

Ever since we came close to the mountains we were talking about outdoors activities we wanted to try. We did some of them, horseback riding and whitewater rafting in British Columbia but still had a big one on our bucket-list: ZIP-lining. Though we have come across some ZIP-lines we never actually did it and in hindsight we are glad about that because none of them would have come even close to the ones we found in Montana!

After crossing the border we found a nice campground in Columbia Falls which we made our home base for a week. It was very conveniently located to go visit Glacier National Park and only a day's drive from Bozeman where we planned to stop again. Bozeman again is perfectly located for yet two more national parks: Yellowstone and Grand Teton. But these would come a little later and we'll tell you about them in another blog.

So we're in Columbia Falls and had seen Glacier National Park. I had expected a little more of it based on the name. There was no ice or even snow to be found anywhere and honestly I'd recommend the Icefield Parkway in British Columbia over Glacier to anyone who is looking for an alpine scenery. All in all it was still worth seeing though. And we did the same thing as we had done last year for Canada, we bought an annual pass valid for all the national parks in the U.S. so we can visit them without spending too much money on admission fees and then asking ourselves: was it worth it?

Montana, as you might know, has some mountainous regions and so we were not surprised to find an outfit offering ZIP-line tours. I called and after talking to them booked both of us on a 7-ZIP-line tour. You could also go for 5 lines only and leave the two longest and fastest ones out. But what would the fun be in that? So two days later we were at the resort, getting geared up and instructed on how things were going to work. A safety video and the comments of our two guides later we were out the door and walked to the first line. It is a short one and kind of a test if one got the different positions you're supposed to use while on the line. You can go "pencil" (lay back and stretch out) to go as fast as possible. You don't actually have to do this if you don't want to (we did of course). The 'Starfish" (sit up and spread-Eagle) and the landing positions are crucial though to slow down and come in for a save landing at the end of the lines. Actually the spread-Eagle gives you maximum air-resistance, the only way to slow down. There are no breaks here.

After the guides decided we all knew what to do, our 14-person group headed out to have some fun. We zipped down a total of 7 lines, 8750 feet / 2669 meters (the longest ones 1900 feet / 580 meters each) in total, at speeds of over 50 miles/hour (80 km/hour) and as high as 300 feet / 91 meters above ground. WOW! What fantastic fun we had! We wouldn't miss this experience for the world. I actually envy the guides for their job. They get to zip those lines every day! Now that's a dream job as far as I'm concerned. See the pictures and watch the video on our web site and you will understand how much fun this was.

Some of you might know the song "Live like you were dying" by Tim McGraw. We kind of put our own spin on the chorus of that song:
We went ZIP-lining
We went horseback riding
We went 3.7 hours on a whitewater raft
And we went farther
And we played harder
And never before has life been this much fun
And we hope
Some day you too will get a chance to do what we have done

With this we say goodbye for now. Please com back for more new.

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"One who takes a journey has stories to tell ... "

There is the saying in German: "Wenn einer eine Reise tut, dann kann er was erzählen" - or freely translated: "one who takes a journey has stories to tell". And we had quiet a few adventures worth telling a story about in the past days. After visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks we started our journey further south without making a reservation first. The main season seems to be winding down and most campgrounds have good spots available.

Our goal of the day was to drive past Salt Lake City towards Cedar City or Hurrican in Utah - all more or less on Interstate 15. We made it to North Salt Lake, where all of a sudden the right back tire of our home on wheels blew out. Looking into the side mirror I first started seeing a little white smoke, then more and then the tire was gone. We were glad that we caught it right then and there. It was only a short distance to the next exit and to the back parking lot of a gas station. We never have changed a wheel on a fifth wheel before so we felt more comfortable to call road side assistance for that and within about 45 minutes they arrived, changed the wheel, gave us information on where to find a Les Schwab tire shop and left again. By then it was a quarter to 6 pm and the shop closes at 6 pm.

The guys at Les Schwab where just great. We arrived at 5 minutes to 6 pm and JP said that he would do the job anyways: changing the good tire from the freshly mounted spare wheel to the still good rim of the blown out tire, putting a new tire on one of the other rims and mounting the used but still good tire he had taken from that rim onto the spar-tire-rim. All in all 45 minutes of work but now we have two good new tires on the back wheels and a used but functional tire in spare. By now it was getting close to 7 pm and we needed Diesel and a place to stay for the night. Again - we were in the right place: gas station just down the road and a nice campground 5 minutes away.

All in all an exciting day on the road. From there we booked a spot that looked promising in Panguitch Lake. Talk about being in the middle of nowhere! The campground is located on a nice mountain lake at close to 9150 feet / 3000 m above sea level with no phone, tv or reliable internet reception, the site on a gravel surface and we had booked for one week! After the first night, André could feel the thinner air atn this altitude affect him and we decided not to push it too far. We cancelled the rest of our stay here and moved on to a new spot lower in the valley.

We arrived here after about 200 km of driving but not before driving up and down a mountain road and finding snow (yes, snow in August) on top. Cars and RV's where parked on the side waiting for a little melting but we just took our time and kept going. The new place is just beautiful with a nice panorama view of reed rock cliffs (see picture), a small creek with trout in it flowing through it, there are walking ways, a dog run and great hosts.

Now we are planning to visit a few more National Parks in the next few days, beginning with Bryce Canyon National Park, Red Canyon State Park and Zion National Park before continuing our trip. And who knows what else we're going to explore.

You can see, the days on the road can be very exciting!

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rocky Mountains and B.C.

Hi everyone

The first part of our trip through the Rockies led us to Hinton in the Albertan foothills of the mountains. Getting a first glimpse of the mighty mountain-chain was impressive enough and we could only imagine the drive through the passes. But before we started on that, we made a nice KOA our base for a week. From here we went to see Jasper which is really nice. A lot like some of the high alpine towns in Switzerland. Along the way we saw some awesome wildlife, too. The elk in the picture has antlers that easily span 1.8 meters/6 feet or even more. Very impressive.

We also went to the Miette hot springs where we bathed in the 40C/104F water. The water actually comes out of the rocks at 53.9C/129F and is then cooled down for the pools. There are also a couple of pools one can go into to cool off. One is at 15C/59F, which was just too cold for us to go in. The other is a little warmer at 20C/68F and I went into it a few times, alternating with the hot water. André preferred to stay in the hot water and passed on the colder pool.

Another day we went for a 2 1/2 hour trail ride through nature all the way from the river up to a crest, about 200 meters/600 feet above the starting point. It was a gorgeous day and the view from the top was just beautiful. The ride itself was very nice and led us through forests and along steep cliffs. The horses worked up a good sweat and I was so glad to be riding and not on foot on these hills. It would have taken us forever to get up there.

Then it was time to move into the Rocky Mountains and over to Golden, B.C. The drive along the Icefields Parkway alone is worth the trip all the way to the west coast. Along the way one can see more than 30 glaciers and ice-fields.

Golden is a small town nestled on the Kicking Horse River. It also is a major railway hub and one can see freight trains with 4 engines and 150 plus cars go by. Here we went to see the Grizzly bear habitat and took the gondola to the top of Eagle's Eye high above the valley. From 2347 meters / 7700 feet up the view is something to remember for a lifetime!

And then there was our whitewater rafting adventure with Alpine Rafting. We originally booked the 11 km "Afternoon Whitewater" tour but then at the end of the upper canyon decided that we wanted to add the lower canyon as well and ended up doing the "Ultimate Whitewater" tour. The 24 km of Kicking Horse River with countless rapids, many of them class 4s, were so much fun and a true adventure we would not want to have missed. Everybody got wet and some rafts had people go overboard. In our raft everybody managed to stay in although André almost went overboard once and I almost took a dive twice. It was comforting to know that our guides were really experienced and that everybody had gotten instructions on what to do when you fall in and what to do if you have to retrieve somebody who had gone overboard. At the end of the tour everybody arrived save and sound. This was an awesome adventure and we would do it again in a heartbeat.

We have put some pictures of our adventures from both the Alberta and the B.C. sides in our web site for you to check out. Unfortunately the pictures from our whitewater rafting tour are generic ones from the company's web site. Their photographer fell and broke her ankle and her camera the day of our tour and therefor there are no pictures from that day. We wish her a quick and full recovery. There is also a short video from Alpine Rafting on our web site you should watch. It was filmed on the the stretch of the Kicking Horse River we went down and shows what we really did.

Until next time. Have fun and enjoy life!

André and Sue
@ home on the road

PS: Don't forget to read our other blogs (listed on the side) and to follow us on facebook and our Google Map. You can also check our web site for new pictures.