September, 2012

29-08-2012 until 02-09-2012, We are back in Banff and Jasper

Drove some 350km. While driving a stone crashed into the front window of the RV. Luckily the glass didn't brake into peaces but it has to be changed. As it flew on the window side were Iryna was sitting, she was scared of the sound and what has happened quite a bit. At the end of the trip you don't want that kind of surprises but you can't do much about it. On our way to Hinton we passed some great parks: Willmore Wilderness Park and William A. Switzer Provincial Park. It has quite a bit of campgrounds where you can do some backcountry hiking. That's kinda a place you want to explore next time. While in Hinton, we did some washing and tanking. Thanks to the lovely personnel at the gas station Goofy got back his jacket he forgot in the laundry.
Beautiful Moraine Lake OK, here we go, welcome again to Jasper NP! Having some hope for better weather then last time (for Banff) we are looking forward for some nice chilling time in these 2 parks. Because of lots of driving we just want to sit by the fire and do some internetting, in other words catching up with the world. It's funny to see people who rent an RV cutting wood with a tiny little hatchet When we wanted to borrow the neighbors our ax somebody got there first (they also couldn't watch them having a hard time with the hatchet) It's kinda stupid that RV rentals don't supply the RV with a normal ax! Anyways, some good news today, Iryna baked a perfect bread! This time she used butter milk, other kind of flower and some lemon juice. We bake our own bread already for 2 months but it was always quite sturdy (Goofy likes it but Iryna not that much). So this time it turned out to be good for 2 of us haha
On 30-09-2012 we had a lazy day. We had a nice talk with both our parents and Iryna had a long talk with her sister:) It's a shame there is a big gap in time between Canada and Europe, that makes it not easier for telephone communication. Now were are sitting by the camp fire and trying to catch up with making our travel stories. About the camp fires, we are so used to's so nice to have a warm fire going, especially now when the evenings are cold! We think we gonna miss them a lot. As it's even not allowed in Europe to have a camp fire at the camping :(. But for now, we enjoy it a lot!!! By the way, this evening we grilled crab legs on our camp fire grill :) and had it with sweet and normal potato's and broccoli with delicious home made blue cheese-lemon sauce. Ow, something else, this evening is a special one, today we've heard for the first time in the last 10 month of our traveling a thunder in the distance :) haha.

03-09-2012 until 06-09-2012, Driving through Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.

A little obvious that we're in NDWhen we entered North Dakota, the landscape has changed a little bit: we saw some hills and lakes along the hwy. It felt so bad when in ND we passed a sign National Park and we couldn't go there because of lack of time. It's crazy, even a year is not enough to see things u would like to see. That’s an excellent excuse to do a trip like that once more :). On the 5th we arrived at the Wabasha campground. The area around is marvelous! Red Wing city is a beautiful one with some old buildings (red brick). But the whole atmosphere is so cozy! We were driving along Mississippi river, enjoying beautiful views at trees and the river! While driving in this area we were thinking what it looks like, well it reminded us of a couple of countries back home: Ukraine, Luxemburg, Germany and even Asia (because of these dense trees and this special smell). In Minnesota there are quite a few bold eagles, they even have a bald eagle center where u can observe them. But anyway, we arrived quite late at the campground because we got a flat tire (we changed into the spare tire pretty quickly and at the Walmart they fixed it for $10). Along the routeWell at the tank station we had a lovely talk with a women working there, she was so enthusiast about the country and traveling, so as we got out the shop it was already dark. But anyway, we spent 2 nights at the campground, relaxed a bit, packed and washed some stuff we borrowed. Iryna was busy washing the RV from the inside and packing stuff. We also called Kim and Oleg to tell them that we are coming. We really look forward to see them again! Further we spent the 2nd evening near the fire. By the way, this campground has clean and pretty neat showers and it's so nice that we don't have to watch if we run out of water!

07-09-2012 until 13-09-2012, Staying @ Oleg & Kimberly’s place.

The beanWell, we did the last stretch of the trip to Oleg & Kimberley, it was some 500 km so not to bad. We arrived around 17:00, unpacked part of the RV & than relaxed some. Kimberley & Iryna did some preparing the next day for the little get to together with Iryna's uncle, Oleg & Govert did some shopping & the rest of the day we relaxed a bit. In the evening we went to Iryna's uncle were we talked a bit & had a good time. We drove with the truck of Oleg as it's a bit easier to handle in the city then the big RV.
The next day we all prepared some more food. Iryna made her by now famous home made pizza and some nice salads. Needless to say that the food was abundant...
On Monday we went together with Kimberley to Chicago where we visited the Sears tower, it got a new name but we didn't like it so it's still Sears tower for us :-). We also walked around a bit & looked at the big bean, it's a big statue of a bean, duhhhhh. But it's made of shiny metal. When you walk underneath it it's surreal. Tuesday we finally started to clean the RV from the outside, waxed it and in the evening we had diner with Kim & Oleg. After that we hit the highway on our way to Burlington, ON, Canada.

14-09-2012 until 17-09-2012, Back from where we started...

We arrived in the early evening at Pete & Karon's place. Fortunately Karon made enough food for us as well. We slept as usual in our RV. The next day we went to a couple of RV places to see how much they're willing to give for our RV. Unfortunately it's not as much as we would like to see but such is life. If we want to leave it now it's only worth $1000. If we put it on consignment then we can get $3000 for it. It's still less then the $7500 we paid but hey it never let us down so that's worth something as well! And if you look at the overall costs it's roughly $6000 we've lost/paid in total. Considering the fact that if you rent a RV the costs for a week are roughly $1500 !!! So a month's renting and we would have spent as much as now in 6 months. In the evening we talked with Pete about the consignment thing, as it was something we're totally unfamiliar with. Pete & Govert went to the RV place the next day. We filled in all the paper work to deliver the RV on the 17th. The rest of the day we spent in cleaning the RV. We never knew how much stuff we had in there!!!! The Sunday we went to church with Pete & Karon. Afterwards we visited the Locks, uncle Gerard had knee surgery & fortunately he's doing better.
This Monday is a sad day, we said goodbye to our trusty RV. Some memories we had with it!!! But we've got something to look forward to. As we are going to Cuba tomorrow...

18-09-2012 until 25-09-2012, Visiting Cuba.

so tempting...Early this morning we left for Cuba, the taxi picked us up at 03:30. Check in etc went smooth. The plane wasn't completely full so that's nice. As it's a charter, when we landed quite a few people clapped... Then came the Cuban customs... Govert got the extended visitation, fortunately the gloves where spared on him but the interrogated him about the trip we've done so far. Especially the fact that he had been in Thailand, Cambodia etc. And all in the last year. So he had to explain that we were on a long holiday & where we've all been etc. It took some 30 minutes. Then we arrived at the baggage claim. Than a new episode of interrogation started. Because the saw the yoga mats we had with us and a dress from Iryna that looked on the scanner as something from a Muslim we had to remove everything from the suitcase. Of course in the beginning we had no clue what it was all about. In the end it became apparent that they thought we were Muslims... Well, when everything was explained we could continue. If your ever run outa gas...On to our 5 star hotel in Cuba. We've been warned that's it by no means an official 5 star hotel but for Cuba it is. When we arrived we were welcomed and shown to our room. It has an en suite Jacuzzi so that's OK!! The remainder of the day we spent in the pool & in the evening we went to the restaurant & had a nice dinner with some live music. The rest of the days kinda went the same way, we did some yoga in the morning and the remainder of the day was spent either on the beach or in the pool. One day we rented a scooter and drove through the country side of Cuba & that made us realize that we're coming back one day to do Cuba as we did Thailand. On the 25th it was early day as we left for Toronto again. We got through customs without a hitch. The flight was crap. For some reason the pilot found it necessary to have the “keep your seat-belts on” light on all the time so you couldn't go to the toilet... On a moment it was so bad that Govert just went there. As did some other people. We landed in Toronto at 15:48. At 16:44 we were in our rental car on our way to Pete & Karon. Arrival was again round dinner time but this time we had already eaten. The next day we left for Algonquin Provincial Park.

26-09-2012 until 29-09-2012, Indian summer in Algonquin Park.

Splendid colorsAfter leaving for Algonquin of course we had to stop at the Walmart for some small things. With that done we continued towards the park. Already on the way the colors of the leaves on the trees have magnificent colors. By 16:00 we reached our campground in the park. This is not cheap, some $42, which includes access to the park ($16). We booked for 3 nights. Bought some wood & made a nice campfire. The temperature drops to freezing in the night. So our sleeping bags are tightly bound around our faces as we fall asleep. Next day we went to the visitor center to do some emailing as Iryna promised her parents to have a chitchat. Afterwards we did a little walk. Drove a bit around & then went back to the campground. There we made some dinner & a campfire. As we ran out of cooking gasoline we were lucky enough to get some from our neighbors who were leaving. When we wanted to tank it in the park we couldn't. You need to have a special can for gasoline, which we obviously didn’t have, so they didn’t allow us to tank there, the buggers! And we refused to pay damn expensive gasoline for cooking from the shop. Som more colorsAt the campfire we started working on the site. Iryna sorted all the pics as Govert did the travel journal. By now it's 21:00 & quite cold so in a bit we're gonna call it a day. Tomorrow we're hoping to go canoeing. There was no canoeing the next day, as we felt kinda lazy and didn't want to push us any further. We decided to do some touring with the car around the park. The colors were magnificent and it looked like with each hour they were changing! Anyways, in the evening we arrived at the campsite. There we enjoyed our home made hamburgers and stayed late by the camp fire. Late in the evening we went for a quick drive to see if there was a northern light, but had no luck. The next morning it didn't rain so we packed in our tent and stuff and left for Burlington. By the way despite the freezing temperature at night we were not cold. Only the first night Govert wasn't warm enough. But as we had 3 sleeping bags, Govert slept in 2 of them and the problem was solved.

29-09-12 until 01-10-12, Coming back to Burlington and flying back home!

Our last visit to Burlington this year, it feels strange that our 1 year adventure comes to 'finito'. We enjoyed it so much, this trip will stay with us for a long long time. We enjoyed the marvelous nature not only in the North America but also in Asia: Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. A lot people are asking what's our favorite place, but there is no favorite place. Each country on it's own is our favorite and we would love to come back and enjoy these countries once more! And we may thank Lord that we are coming back home safe and in good health!
Us with the family in CanadaThe evening of the 29th of September we went for a dinner together with Pete and Karon and uncle Gerard and ant Jannien. We had a nice evening together. The next day we didn't go to the church with Pete and Karon as Iryna had her Bday and she wanted to call her family in Ukraine and Holland. In the kitchen Karon made a nice surprise for Iryna. In the afternoon we went to see the Niagara falls once again. In the early morning we said 'Good Bye' to Dylan and later on to Pete. The rest of the morning/afternoon we were packing in our stuff. By the way we had to buy the 4th suitcase for that! Our bags were extremely heavy, each of the 4 bags weighted 23 kg plus we had 2 hand bags of 10kg each. In the afternoon we said 'Good Bye' to Karon as well and headed for Toronto, Pearson airport. There we left the rental car and went to the gates. The flight went OK, Iryna had a good sleep but Govert didn't sleep that much. Back in Amsterdam on the 2nd of October. There we had to wait for the last suitcase which didn't show up at all. Everything we knew was that our bag is left in Germany, which was our connecting flight to Amsterdam. They would send our bag to Jan and Nel (Govert's parents) Luckily we didn't have there anything we needed right away.