Photo by Sheree Zielke
An Alberta sunset shot from near our motorhome in Elk Island Retreat RV park. Still lots of snow at the end of April.

Sheree says:

I admit it…this whole RV water system, lines and pipes, tubes and pump, and holding tanks…in freezing weather is really freaking me out.

We just picked up our newest acquisition, a used 2005 Travelaire in Salmon Arm, BC, where the dealership was storing it for the winter. When we picked it up, the winterizing had been flushed out and we were able to use the unit as per normal. But we live in Alberta and despite it being the end of April, beginning of May, we still are getting snow and freezing weather.

I realized how cold it had gotten and I began to panic. What if? What if? We have water in all the tanks: the black water, the gray water, and the fresh water tanks. What if? My brain is struggling with just how cold -7 Celsius actually is. I know it is below freezing, but we keep hearing that the magic number or disaster number is -10C. Our unit is in such good condition. Were we newbies stupidly wrecking our unit by inviting frozen lines and cracked holding tanks?

We can legally keep the unit on our street for 72 hours, so we had already decided that we will pull it across our driveway, plug into the house electrical, and run some heaters. That should work, but what if the damage is already done?

I am freaking…and that’s when I look out my kitchen window at the bird bath. I watch as the wind and snow blow around outside causing little tidal waves in the bowl. Waves. Waves? Wait a minute…those are waves. The water in the bird bath has not frozen. Oh, thank God for small miracles.

Tonight, we will take precautions in anticipation of tomorrow night’s -17 Celsius temps.

That and prayer should take us into an Alberta spring and milder temps…FINALLY!

You WOULD be able to see me smiling if I could get the images Sheree insisted on making at the RV dealership. Here's a summary:

* We got onto a Greyhound bus sometime after 12:30 a.m. on Sunday. As I was paying the cab driver (since friends get a little scarce when you ask for a ride to the bus depot in the middle of the night) there was a confrontation between a drunk and a couple of security guards.

* We spent 14 hours on a bus or waiting for a bus. (Nuff said...although it was less awful than you'd suspect.)

* We arrived at the bus station and were picked up by the dealership and delivered to our waiting RV.

(A wee digression is appropriate here. I was concerned that my memories of this thing were significantly more wonderful than it actually was. But you know something? We stepped into the RV and fell in love all over again. Great stereo. Solar inverter and a super fan. Total cost $4500. Oi!)

* The dealership made good on their promise to give us "enough training to spend the night" and we crashed, warm and cozy in our motorhome.

* Okay...I slept...Sheree got up at about midnight and watched YouTube videos on RV maintenance -- primarily centered around how to get the poop out of your RV. (It's called "black water" because if they called it "poop water" people would make gagging noises.

* When I got up, Sheree suggested I look at people emptying their black water. So I did. It's not really that hard...or gross. This video
was among the best.

* We spent the next several hours in the company of a young man named Chris who patiently took us through EVERYTHING. The generator...the solar panels...the inverter...what's in all the little to turn on the pumps...pre-trip stuff like turning off the propane. He taught us a lot and then taught certain segments over.

* Sheree marked every panel in pen. We took pictures and notes.

* We practiced putting up and taking down the awning seven and a half million times. I almost understand it now.

* Sheree nested -- which means she moved crap around (not black water) the cabin and cupboards, humming happily the whole time which made it worthwhile.

* We actually pulled off the lot in the early afternoon. And it was BETTER than I thought it would be.

* We got about three blocks when Sheree asked how much gas we had. Answer: about a quarter tank. Solution: Fill it up. Cost: $175 dollars. Yikes.

* We stopped at a couple of tourist attractions and ambled. I've resolved to keep the speed between 80 and 90 kilometers per hour to save gas and to ensure I don't kill us when Sheree says STOP HERE!

* We are currently in a rest stop just outside Revelstoke.  I spent two hours doing business after we lunched on apples and cheese at our table. It was...okay...SERIOUSLY cool. Sheree has been sleeping on our bed the whole time.

That's why I'm smiling...and no picture could do it justice.

We have a lot to share with you. But now...I think I am going to the easy chair to read a magic magazine.

This is simply w
Photo by Sheree Zielke
David waits patiently at the registry for our paperwork

Sheree says...

So, you are thrilled to have purchased your used RV. Nice, but wait...if you bought that new/old motorhome outside of the province you reside in, you will have to jump through a few hoops if you ever want to have it registered in your home province.

How many hoops?

Well, here is my journal of the many steps I took to get the process started:

Where can an Albertan get an out-of-province inspection done on a motorhome?

I called a local RV dealership here in Edmonton and asked a service agent if I could set up an appointment for an inspection with them. Lawrence at Carefree informed me that they don't do inspections there. But he courteously suggested First Truck at 780-413-9422.

The woman at First Truck asked me if my request was personal or commercial, because no personal inspections are done there. She gave me the number for Buses 'R Us at 780-413-6496. They are located at 16750-121 Avenue. Great, thought I. But no...

I called there and hit another wall. Did our unit have air brakes? Buses 'R Us services only rigs with air brakes. Otherwise, motorhomes must be taken to an automotive outlet like Fountain Tire or Canadian Tire. Sigh...

Okay, I had already done some searching around prior and remembered speaking with a friendly fellow at Fountain Tire in Camrose, AB. Since we are picking up our unit in BC, we will come through Camrose, so a stop at a Fountain Tire there seemed like a good plan.

I called...well, I called the wrong outlet first (the Camrose downtown Fountain Tire does not do inspections). The fellow there gave me the number for the outlet on the highway.

I spoke to Dale who confirmed they do out-of-province inspections for motorhomes, but only the smaller ones. Ours is 25-feet, so it was acceptable. Price $225.00 plus tax. We set an appointment for a few days after we pick up the RV from the dealership, giving us time to get to Camrose. I took an 8 AM appointment since the inspection will take 4-5 hours.

The Fountain Tire in Camrose is located on the highway, near the Tim Horton's at 4720- 36 Street.

What will I need before taking my used RV/motorhome for an out-of-province inspection?

Oh boy, another hoop. The RV owner is responsible for picking up an out-of-province inspection form from any licensing/registry agency. Without one, the automotive outlet cannot perform the inspection. Be sure to have your sale papers and your insurance papers when you go.

Great news!
We went to our neighborhood registry and discovered there would be no running around looking for a registry in B.C. because we could get, along with our out-of-province inspection form, the in-transit permit, dated for any day we wished, and good for 7 days from that date.

The process was nearly painless and ended up costing a mere $30.90 for both items: the form and the permit.

Next step? A 13-hour Greyhound bus ride to get us to Salmon Arm, coaching for a day and a half on all the features of the Travelaire, then on to Camrose, and then (if we get the red stamp of approval) we can register the rig.

Hoping there won't be any surprise repairs, although I suspect we may be hearing about shocks needing replacement.

This is proving to be a major monetary undertaking, but we strongly believe the freedom will be worth it. Looking forward to seeing how the new solar panels perform.


Entry from Sheree:

We are getting closer to picking up our motorhome in BC this month. Trying to figure out the logistics of getting us there, and then coming back in a single vehicle, the RV.

The plan is a little costly because the only rental we can get that will go one way is a big 16-foot cargo van. Oh, well...

But that leads to the expense of owning a motorhome, so we are trying to keep other costs in line, like storage fees. We want access to our vehicle at all times; we don't want to have to weed it out from amongst hundreds of other rigs in a farmer's field, but neither do we want to pay the high fees to park it in an RV park. So...I decided to place an ad on Kijiji.

I wrote an ad asking for anyone with an RV pad next to their house that they weren't using. And that we would pay rent. We also indicated that we wanted a place to park on the west side of our city since we live on the west side. In only a few hours, we heard from Don.

We visited him on his acreage this afternoon, and we are now set. We will park in a cleared area on his property just down from his house, and come and go as we please. The rent is so low, it is a joy.

It pays to throw your dilemma out there, and see how the world responds. Saved us worry, and a bundle in cash.

Bonus: He gets lots of wildlife near when he lives, deer and eagles. I am looking forward to photographing them.