Sunday, August 12, 2018

Beautiful Blue Skies, Packing for a New Adventure. Free Camping, A Bad Start Gets Better, Still a Day Behind

It was 6:30 when Bill and I got up this morning, Friday, Aug. 10th. There was a little excitement in the air and a little anxiety. The sky was blue and the sun was just popping over the eastern horizon when I joined Bill outside. Clemson didn’t budge out of his comfy warm spot until around 8, first time up for his piddle. This little ole guy has a strong bladder! Today was going to be a brand-new experience for us, hence my apprehension.

Clemson is ready for anything
If he only knew................
We had our tea and coffee together and I caught up on some blog posts. Bill couldn’t sit still and went out to start loading things into Black Beauty. This meant 2 folding tables, Weber Q, folding chairs, generator for starters and then he hooked up his cargo trailer. Yup, we were going on an adventure! If you know our routine at all, you’ll know that we hardly go anywhere in the summer. Other than Bill going to CanAm and back for work.

The day awaits us
Bill still belongs to the model airplane club in London, Forest City Flyers, and they are having their annual Fun Flys this weekend. The big day is Saturday and our initial plan was to leave in the morning, go down for the day and drive home. When a close friend messaged me and said “hey! Why don’t you bring your rv and come for the weekend?” That got our minds buzzing and we tossed a few thoughts around.

First, we could pull our Suite out, just as he suggested, stay the weekend and come home. Neither of us likes the idea of triple towing and we are bringing the Suite to London on the following weekend. Two trips would be costly unless we stayed the whole week and then my garden and the grass would suffer. So, we ix-nayed that idea. We could also borrow an rv from CanAm, if there was one available but that would mean taking a BIG step back in our camping lifestyle.

We stopped in Harrison Ford
I waited in Black Beauty and painted my fingernails
I’m sure the rv would be lovely but we would literally have to pack everything but the kitchen sink. Dishes, pots, silverware, food, bedding, linens……….you get the picture and that is without even mentioning clothes and ALL of Clemson’s ‘stuff’. As it turned out. That 2nd option is what we’re doing. It was around 11:30  when Black Beauty was loaded as full as she could be and we pulled out of the lane. We made a brief stop in Harriston with a ‘recall’ question at the Ford dealership.

Stratford was a bustling tourist town
There is usually a beautiful swan along the river
today was no exception
Visions of Stratford
I love the bottom right picture
If I were a young single lady, this would be a lovely place to live
with a balcony

As we took the ramp onto Hwy 401, the traffic was crazy going in the opposite direction (T.G.)
We arrived at the field on the southwest corner of the city around 2:15 and dropped the cargo trailer in beside the only other trailer here. Bob from Kitchener had arrived before us and had his fifth wheel Cedar Creek set up along the tree-lined property line. When Clemson got out of the truck, his legs were shaky and he kept falling over as he tried to walk and shake some feeling into his body. Oh-oh, this looked sad so I kept a close eye on him as Bill set up his table at his station.

something wasn't right with our little guy
As Bill backed his cargo trailer in, this was our view
Bob from Kitchener had his Cedar Creek already settled in place
but he wasn't around
We got into the truck and drove the 5 km down the road to CanAm and picked up the ‘readied’ Heartland 33’ Mallard. Thank you so much, Nicole, for your efforts to get us set up for this weekend on short notice. You are terrific! John also lent a hand when it came to finding the correct receiver for us to tow and we appreciated that very much. These guys are not only great CanAm employees, they are wonderful friends too.
Nicole on the left in this picture was making things happen for us
even on her lunch break
Back at the field, Bill cautiously made the awkward swing into the gate from the west and pulled the Mallard along the trees in front of Bob. This would be a nice spot for a couple of days. Things are different, for sure. 
Clemson is still walking off kilter but at least he is walking
this is our weekend setup
No solar panels other than our portable one to charge batteries and certainly not as much water in the tank. I’ll have to use it sparingly.

We backed his cargo trailer beside Bob's
this picture was taken AFTER we picked up the borrowed travel trailer
The day was hot, really hot and two hours later, we were both dripping with sweat when we finished setting up stuff. The bed is made and we can now relax. With the back of the rv to the west, Clemson, who is still walking and even running with frequent tumbles, and I sit in the shade. He is asleep right now on his stool beside me as I sit in my chair typing this.

The Heartland Mallard
Bill and Bob seemed to hit it off quite well and I could hear Bill relaying stories of our full-time experiences to-date. It sounds like we are living ‘their’ dream and soon there will be another full-timer amongst us. There just isn’t enough we can say about this life-style but the one thing for sure, is that to make it work, you have to want it. Really ‘want’ it. We did. We do. And so do many, many others.

Walking out to the field gate

Walking back in on Friday night

This is a beautiful flying field
Tom Speight just cut it Thursday

they need a new sign, it has been here for years and years
The weeds are blocking the view too

So, of course, I have to do something about that
good thing I didn't have a paintbrush!
 There is a slight breeze coming from the east and it sounds like tomorrow will be a duplicate. That is the perfect forecast for one of these flying events and we have a prime spot here. I can sit at the rv and watch the action. I will be able to smell the wonderful lunchtime aromas tomorrow from here too.

Stretched out beside me was the best place for him
Clemson had his supper at 5 but he doesn’t seem to have much of an appetite. Hopefully, a little later he will eat more of his soft food. He’s at the age where we worry about him. Anything amiss and our hearts skip a beat. We do love our best friends, don’t we? 😊 After Clemson had his supper, we went for a halting, wobbly walk. He wanted to pull and go but I had to restrain him on his leash out to the road. A laneway, just a different one than what we’re used to.

Good burgers and chips on the side
For supper tonight, we had cheeseburgers with bacon. I didn’t bring all the fixins’ but enough to make a filling meal. The fridge in this unit doesn’t seem to be getting cool but the freezer seems to be working fine. I filled the two ice cube trays (thank you for those!) so tomorrow, Bill can have them in his drinks. I sent Bill back to the planes and cleaned up the utensils. We brought paper plates to make life easier here since our water is scarcer.

After supper, I noticed that our buddy Keith had arrived with his cargo trailer. Once I realized it was him, I went over for a big hug. He is such a great guy, how is he still single? It was sad to hear him tell of having to put his best friend down in the last few months. Bear was a figment of these events, wherever Keith was, everyone knew Bear. Keith has retired from his regular job and has started up his own landscaping business. With his maximum of 18 customers, he is living a life of stress-free joy. Picking and choosing when and where he wants to work Nice!

Meet Oreo, 13-week old mutt
Keith said this was the first time she's slept on his lap outside like this
When I met Keith’s new best friend, Oreo, I can see why he fell in love with this little sweetheart. She is a 13-week old Australian Shepherd mix (can’t remember) and although he ‘lovingly’ complains now about wishing she were 2 years old (and settled), he says it was the right thing to do so soon after losing Bear. He doesn’t know how he would’ve gotten past the loss otherwise. She is a live wire, I have to admit that she’d wear me out too!

This is Bill's trailer set up with his new canopy
We sat for a while, until a dark star-spattered blanket covered the sky, with Keith, Bob, Paul and Walt. Clemson and I said goodnight after 10 , I shut the generator off and came inside. Bill joined us soon after. It was painstaking watching our little guy try and find the piddle spot, going in circles. Lifting his leg was not an option tonight as his balance wouldn’t allow it. He took a while to settle down so we’re not sure if he is feeling pain or just numbness.

This was to be a very emotional morning
Today, Saturday, Aug. 11th, the day of the Big Fun Fly, we have to admit that it was one of the toughest nights’ sleep we’ve experienced in a while. Clemson was up at 12:30 wandering the bed and so Bill took him out for a piddle. Then at 3:30, then at 6:30. Each time it took 10 minutes to settle him and usually at the expense of our own comfort. Once he laid down, the person he was snuggled next to couldn’t move, for fear of waking him again.

with his little head on a steady right tilt,
Bill carries him in to the clinic
I cried a lot because of what the seemingly ‘inevitable’ morning would bring. This can’t go on, not for Clemson, nor for us. If he would forever be like this, a decision had to be made. Today. We got up, washed and dressed and were on our way to the Southside Animal Clinic on Commissioners Rd. E. This is where Clemson used to come before we moved and they still had him on file. I was a blubbering mess, and Bill wasn’t holding it together much better, when Bill explained why we were there.

A second before the camera snapped the photo,
Clemson had his head snuggled in Daddy's neck
The vet, Dr. Anna, took us in right away. The news was better than we expected and what we thought ‘could’ be his last truck ride, turned into just a very important trip to the vet. Yay! He was diagnosed with Vestibular Disease aka Old Dog vestibular syndrome. The vestibular system is responsible for maintaining normal balance. It can happen suddenly but it is unknown exactly why. Now we're wondering has it been coming on for the last month and we just thought his legs were asleep as he tried to move. Jumping on and off the bed and recliners didn't seem to be an issue.

She described all of the symptoms we had witnessed so we had no doubt she was correct. With a sedative and a 4-day pill allotment to prevent nausea (and no appetite) and relieve any pain, we were on our way. Smiling. This should pass in between 5 to 10 days, gradually, and if not, we’ll further investigate at home with blood tests etc. For now, Bill can continue on with his hobby and have some fun without feeling sad. Me, I am content to stick close to Clemson at the trailer.

this is the bunk room where we were able to place his bed
on carpet on the floor and close a door to keep him safe
if we were out of the trailer
Luckily, there is a bunk room in this Mallard with carpeted flooring and a door to close. With the window open, his bed on the floor, he will sleep and be as content as if he were home. When we get home to the Suite, we’ll have to make some adjustments to make sure he doesn’t try jumping on or off the couch. Nancy K, we are living your world for a while now. Don’t you love happy endings? Even if it is temporary, we are feeling some relief and will keep him comfortable.

Clemson spent a good part of the weekend right here, beside Mom
At 9:30 I boiled the kettle and made a pot of Folgers coffee. Wakes everyone up, right? I fried an omelette and toasted some bread over the stove burner. No toaster. I took Bill’s coffee and sandwich over to him and then made my own. We had one bun left from supper last -ight so I ‘burned’ it (not really) on the burner as well. It tasted quite good and hit the spot. Catching up on this post, Clemson seemed to have settled down.
I bought the little pot at Value Village over a year ago.
I used it to make a pot of tea
It was perfect to make coffee when we don't have our Keurig
I took my chair, Kobo, crossword, camera and water over to sit with Bill. He was busy so I wandered down to chit chat with long time fellow flyers and friends, Jack and Mary.  

They were sitting under the shelter with an umbrella from the sun. Bill had given them one of our ‘business’ cards and Jack said he was going to check my blog out. I hope I don’t put him to sleep with my slow-moving summer ramblings.

It was nice to see them both and I soon moseyed back and worked on my crossword. 

Tom brought over his daughter's baby, Lucy

Isn't she adorable?
Sitting with Bill and Clemson
Bill had a lot of help to help him with his Stinson Reliant, still trying to get the engine running. Pure determination proved to be successful. They eventually got her started. Bill won’t try flying it today but hopefully tomorrow, Bob will help him with that.

There was quite a gang around helping Bill
It reminds me of the RV world
The rest of the afternoon went by with lots of flyers in the heat of the day. It was quite humid and very little breeze. I took pictures of Bill flying his Timber plane but missed him flying the Cub. Clemson got lots of loving attention. Most people knew about his problem and even Terry came around and asked to take him for a short walk. 

Terry is another long time flyer, way before I knew Bill
He currently suffers from dementia so couldn't recall us
but is a sweet man who loves dogs
When the lunch meal was ready, Bill ordered a sausage on a bun and I ordered a cheeseburger. They were good.

Bill and I enjoyed lunch together under his awning
Come 4:30 the pilots and their planes had mostly all left with the exception of us ‘over-nighters’. Bill and I weren’t hungry until 7 or 7:30 and even then a sandwich and some popcorn was enough. Clemson couldn’t be convinced to eat……anything. You know he doesn’t feel well when he won’t accept cheese. Hopefully tomorrow he’ll have a bit of an appetite, we were hoping to slip his ½ dose of the pill into the cheddar.
And this is what the day was all about
Beautiful planes and talented pilots
The bottom left pix shows 3 identical flyers
They call these 'Foamies' (like Bill's Timber)

Aerobatics like the real planes are fun to watch

Brian knows how to put on a show
We gathered outside our Mallard with Paul, Keith and Oreo, Bob and Ruth and discussed full-timing, rv’s, travel spots and just life in general. Over a couple glasses of red wine, Bill and I were well done in (Clemson slept on his lap the whole 2 hours) when we packed it in at 11. 

sitting around last night with new and old friends
all we were missing was the campfire
The spattering of rain on the awning pushed everyone a little quicker back to their own trailers. It was a great day after all and a good night. I’m sure happy to be able to say that. It sure didn’t start out that way.

A reward from Bob and Chapman's today

I wish I'd got a picture of all 10 of the grown men with their popsicles
but instead I only got my Sweetie enjoying his
They were good!
Thank you for catching up with us on this ‘different’ adventure. Your comments are always welcome!


  1. Looks like are enjoying a new experience, glad that Clemson is being taken care of hope he will be good for a few years yet.
    Enjoy your time there with the flyers and hope that Bill will get his plane in the air!

    1. That was a new experience for sure and we'd love to do the flying weekend again but with our own Suite next time.
      Bill is very happy!

  2. Awwww, it is so heartbreaking when our fur babies are ill. Glad he got the treatment he needed and hope is right as rain soon. Looks like you had a good time even if you had to "slum" it in a travel trailer. Take care.

    1. It was so sad to see him like that, thinking it was a stroke or something permanent. We had a good time in the travel trailer but I grumbled a bit about things I was missing. Mainly SOLAR!!! :)

  3. Best wishes for Clemson's good health so that he'll be back soon on his four paws. Well, you are roughing it in a beautiful Mallard that must be twice the size of our Jayco trailer ;-)
    Had we known where you were today, we'd stopped by on our way picking up granddaughter #2 in London for her visit with us. Seeing those model planes flying high in the sky would have been awesome for all of us. Enjoy this outing, looks like a lot of fun.

    1. Thank you Marlene. It was a beautiful trailer, just different. The hardest part was not having solar to charge laptops and phones. We didn't want the generator running all day although we should have, looking back now.
      I'm so sorry that I didn't get a post done on Friday, that would have been what you needed. Nothing was going my way as far as posting and then my laptop battery died on Sunday morning. that would have been awesome all around!

  4. Looks like fun flying those planes. Sure glad Clemson got some medicine to help him through the rough time he is having.

    1. Thank you Doug. Fingers crossed and lots of special attention for a few days and hopefully the little bum will be good as new. :)
      The planes are a great hobby for these guys.

  5. Yup - sleeping on the floor. I'm glad you took Clemson to the vet. Those symptoms in my other puppy turned out to be a stroke. I'm am so happy that's not his problem. Hopefully with lots of rest his appetite will return. The planes look like fun!! Hope you have a great time!!!!

    1. That was our fear, a stroke. Hopefully, this too shall pass.
      The planes keep these guys acting like little boys and it is a joy to watch. :)

  6. So sorry Clemson is having a rough spell. Hopefully he will return to his normal self and routine quickly. Enjoy your outing with friends and flying!

    1. Thank you Cheri, we're hoping it isn't too uncomfortable to remain on the floor with no jumping up on the chairs. That is the challenge!

  7. So glad you guys came and spent the weekend at the flying field!!
    It turned out that a bunch of us stayed the weekend, it was great!!
    Next year we will have a camp fire, that would have been the icing on the cake!!
    Glad Bills maiden flight went well!!
    Oreo is a Australian Shepherd / Border Collie mix and yes high energy!! She again behaved better than expected with all that weekend activities going on, she is going to be a good dog I think!!
    Glad your puppy is doing better, let me tell you, it was the hardest thing I had to do putting Bear down....:(, But that's life
    Hope to see everyone at the Kitchener event in September.
    Till then play safe... hugs
    Keith :)

  8. You had me in tears today reading your glad for the ending! That pic of Bill holding Clemson in the clinic :( I'm hoping he starts eating soon and feeling better. He is such a part of your family (and ours from afar)..Looks like it was a beautiful weekend, catching up with old and new friends. Good food on top of it all!

  9. Hopefully Clemson has a quick recovery ... I'm sure that was a real scare!