"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Little Discussed Gem of the Class C

I've read a lot about Class C RVs. We owners of them are quick to extol their virtues. But there is one feature I've never seen discussed: the view from the overhead cab.

Think about it. Miranda is about 11' tall, not counting the air conditioner and antenna. So, when I'm lying in the cab, right up against the ceiling (since I have a particularly thick mattress), I'm pretty much sleeping at a height that is equivalent to the floor of a second story.

One of my favourite parts of the day is to peek through the curtains up there first thing in the morning and watch the sun rise or the rain fall. I get a long distance view right clear across the park and to the mountains. I've had gorgeous views (middle of nowhere Transcanada, VĂ©rendrye Park), views that were okay (Cochrane, here), and views that sucked (Edmonton, any Walmart). What a treat it is to be able to survey my new home or check out the weather before even getting out of bed!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Snow! (sort of)

We got our first snowfall this morning! Okay, it didn't stick and quickly turned to rain, but the mountains, where it did stick, sure do look pretty!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Winter, Is That You?

November 26th. No sign of snow, although we have plenty of pea-soup fog. Still warm enough out most days to just wear a sweater and fleecy coat (although I do pull out my winter coat when I do the gates at 11PM!). No need for boots. Only the odd bitterly cold wind betrays the fact that we're less than a month away from the official start of winter.

Tonight, we're going to reach the lowest temperature I have yet encountered while living in Miranda: minus five. I've got both heaters running full blast after running the furnace for a couple of hours. The heaters simply don't reach the farthest reaches of the rig, such as the back of the cabinets, but the furnace does. Miranda is now nice and toasty, so I should have a comfortable night.

As for the outside, I've got heat tape on my water hose, so I don't think it will freeze. I'm not worried about the holding tanks since they would need a stretch of several days below zero before freezing. It still rises to well above that during the day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Propane Is No Fun At All

I went back to Osoyoos yesterday afternoon and finally got the proper hose. I returned home, installed it, checked for leaks, then followed the instructions before trying to light my stove. It got a bit of gas, lit, then conked on. I tried this a couple of times, then went back out. My neighbour saw me poking around and asked me if I needed help. I walked him through the steps I had taken and he confirmed that I did everything perfectly. He said that there was probably a lot of air in the hose and to try to light the stove every couple of minutes until the flame took.

A couple of hours later, he came to see if my stove was firing up. Nope. So, he told me to close the valve on the auxiliary tank, turn on the stove to drain the last of the propane from the hose, and then open the tank sloooooowly so as to trick the flow-limiting valve.

That didn't help either.

But the flow-limiting valve was something I didn't know about. It's a safety feature that prevents a huge amount of propane from getting into your systems and becoming a fire hazard. I Googled that last night and found a suggestion that I simply shut off everything, remove the hose, reattach it, then reopen the tank valve sloooooooowly.

I did that and, this morning, I had a lot more propane coming to the stove, but it still wouldn't stay lit. Same thing this afternoon.

I decided to try to reset the system one last time before admitting defeat and conceding that I might have seriously screwed up my propane system. I closed the valve on the tank, unhooked the hose, rehooked, then just nudged the valve. For the first time, I hear a bit of a hiss. I waited until the noise stopped, then I slowly and evenly opened the valve the rest of the way. I could finally hear propane flowing!

My stove lit up fine and stayed lit for a couple of minutes, so the next step was the hot water heater. It fired up in one try. Woohoo!

Shower Snobbery

Having no hot water, I used a resort shower tonight. They're quite nice and very clean, definitely better than any shower I've ever had... except Miranda's!

Miranda's shower has several features that make her particularly luxurious to me:

1) The angled design means more width. I can stretch out and turn comfortably. It seems to be a more efficient use of square footage;

2) It has a door instead of a curtain which tends to flap around. I used to find such doors high maintenance until I discovered the squeegee! Now, I just squeegee the doors when I'm done and the doors stay sparkling clean;

3) Storage space!

The caddy has just enough room for all the things I use in a normal shower and there's even a little shelf for extras. I had never before seen a shower or bath with proper storage!

4) The shower head on a hose is very useful for accessing those difficult to reach parts of the body.

Ah, be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fun With Propane (or Not)

I ran out of propane last night. *rereads that* Okay, that sounds bad. I did run out of propane, but this was calculated. I knew I was on the last dregs of the tank, and wanted to get right to the end so I could better estimate my usage for winter. By my calculations, I would be going through a full tank by February, so I'd need to fill up again. That would mean having to unhook everything twice in order to drive the two blocks round trip to the propane fill up station since no one delivers propane directly to motorhomes in this area! The other option was to rent a large tank, but the cost was insane and there was no way I would use every last drop of propane in that tank. So, I finally decided to use an Extend-A-Stay adapter to hook up an external, BBQ-type, propane tank to the rig.

I located one of these adapters in Osoyoos, about twenty-minutes south of Oliver. I finish at noon now at the nursery, so the plan was to drive down there, pick up the part, pick up a tank of propane, and then spend at most an hour installing everything. At the RV parts store, I asked the clerk if I had the right hose and he said I did. So, I went on to get propane. I found out that there is a taller, skinnier tank for motorhome use that holds 30lbs of propane.

By the time I got home, I'd already spend 210$.

I examined my tank and the instructions and suspected that I might not need to Extend-a-Stay, but that, either way, I didn't have the right hose.

So, back to Osoyoos I went where the clerk confirmed that I did need the Extend-a-Stay, but had the wrong hose. He sold me another one. 45$ more.

Got home and spent a brutally cold half hour installing the Extend-a-Stay. It was very hard because the fittings on the tank had never been taken apart, but I finally got it installed and then I went to install the hose.

It's still the wrong hose.

So, now I have to go all the way back to Osoyoos to get yet another hose, and I have no hot water or stove. Some people in my life will tell me that serves me right for waiting till the last minute to get my propane, but if the guy had sold me the correct hose, I would have been done by 2:30 this afternoon!!!

Tomorrow, I'm going to speak with a manager if there is one on site and see if they would be willing to give me the hose since my research tells me it should have been included in the cost the Extend-a-Stay anyway.

Oh, well, it was a good excuse to treat myself to dinner for the first time since I can remember (very unusual for me as I'm a restaurant fiend!) and now I get to try the resort's very nice (but not nearly as nice as Miranda's) shower. :)

So, What's a Grey Cup and Why Have a Party For It?

Today, I hosted a Grey Cup party in our new clubhouse. I had purchased English muffins and pizza sauce and invited guests to bring their favourite toppings. With everything that's been going on, I clean forgot to get my own toppings! Well, I needn't have worried as the guests were all insistent that I partake of whatever goodies they brought from pastries to mozzarella to some wine that could just about convert me from beer (just about).

I'm not into football at all. The closest I've ever really come to the sport was playing rugby on snowshoes in high school. So, I really dreaded spending three or four hours hosting this party, but the conversation was good, and the handful of guests who showed up really got in the spirit of things making me feel much more appreciated than I have in the past couple of weeks. One guest in particular was very chilly the first time I met her and now she has just about adopted me, much to my amusement.

So, Calgary 22, Montreal 14. BOO.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I've always enjoyed writing. There was even a time when I would have considered the hobby a passion. After years of writing huge papers on topics that didn't interest me, I forgot about how much fun it is to write about something that does interest me, like RVing. Which is when I finally clued in to what I want to be when I don't grow up: a full-time RVer earning a living through her writings! Others do it, why not me? Lightbulb on!

I also realised that I'm in the perfect place to actually focus on going about this--rent is taken care of, but I've got the other bills to pay and jobs are scarce. It's good motivation to take a few risks and pen a few words.

I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm already making money from my RV writings. The amounts are jokes (I'll admit to averaging 2 cents per day with one revenue source, LOL!), but they don't have to be. It's time that I be a bit more open about my intentions for this blog and how my readers can help me realise my dream, and this without spending any money.

While Travels With Miranda, both the blog and the website, will always offer free content, I'm no longer going to shy away from pointing out ways in which readers can support Travels so that I can continue to provide new and interesting reading material. I'm pretty sure that tales of travel to such exotic locations as the Walmarts of northern Ontario are much more interesting to read about than complaints about work (they're definitely much more interesting to write about!).

The easiest way to help support this blog is to click on an ad in the sidebar each time you visit, but if you want to outlay some money, directly or not, I've detailed other ways of offering support on the website.

Many thanks to 50 or so unique visitors to this blog every single day. This number grows each week, and makes me believe that I'm not writing to the wind and that my dream is achievable!

and Kabooms

Making tea this evening, I was presented with a reason why some people could be put off from cooking on an RV stove. I face this reason regularly, but tonight it was particularly spectacular.

When I light a burner, I turn on the gas to lite/hi and then turn the sparker. Said sparker has been acting up again as the knob is loose. After three tries, I gave up and reached for the lighter.

Of course, a bit of propane had accumulated by this time, so there was an impressive explosion when I lit the burner. This happens occasionally and it doesn't faze me as I'm used to cooking with propane.

I wasn't ten years ago, however, and as I made tea tonight, I was transported back to Aviemore, Scotland, on June 15th, 1998. It was a cold and wet Monday night and I was craving soup. As I was doing the youth hostel circuit, I'd been lugging groceries and making my meals, but this was my first time encountering a gas stove that needed to be lit with matches. I put on quite a show for my fellow hostelers, what with my startled scream and falling on my butt. Ah, my first KABOOM. It was unforgettable.


Ah. Every time I get smug about some RVing aspect or another, I make a goof that gives me a good dose of humility!

I've been running two heaters on my 30A without any issue. I can even run the microwave when the two are going.

This morning, I decided to vacuum the coach (I must be coming down with something). Only one heater was plugged in, so I decided that I was okay to run the vacuum. Why bother pulling out the manual to see how many amps it draws. It can't possibly run more amps than a microwave and two space heaters combined, right?

I'm just glad that I blew a breaker, not a fuse.

For the record, I use a Black & Decker HV9010P Retriever Pet-Series Cyclonic-Action Corded Dustbuster and Blower that works very well... and draws 6.25AMPs. Add that to the 12.5A drawn by the space heater we're already at 19, and then add the computer and, waitaminute, we're still nowhere near 30A.

Which brings me to the second thing I learned: the outlet above the bed in the backroom and the outlet above the fridge in the kitchen are on the same circuit, which my 19A apparently overloaded. Hence the kablooey.

There's never a dull day when you're RVing.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


A little work update...

This week at the nursery has been okay so far. Half days there really suits me. Did I mention that I'm on half days there now? Probably not. The reasons have nothing to do with the nursery. More on that below.

Monday and today, I was swamping. Best I can figure, this job was so named because it is cold, wet, and unpleasant. I'd previously done this job, but it was much more acceptable this week. What it entails is bending down to pick up 20lb boxes of trees from slats, passing them to someone down a line, then loading them onto a trailer. Repeat ad nauseum (99 boxes of trees on the slats, 99 boxes of trees! Pick one up, pass it around, 98 boxes of trees on the slats!). I had a really good crew Monday and today, all ladies who go at my pace and have comparable strength, so it was not strenuous like the time I did it with the crew of three men. In fact, if I could have this crew all the time, I would prefer to do this job until my last day. The work is positively mindless and it's easy to zone out, so time flies by.

Yesterday, I was put on the packing line, something I've decided I was just not born to do. I have very little manual dexterity and small hands, which means that I can either work fast or I can work neat, I can't do both. Until 11, I was put on a slower line and was able to keep up fine, but then I was put on a faster one for my last hour. The supervisor only got one chance to get on my case since I told her that I know I have no business being on the line and that if she doesn't like my being there, she should take it up with her supervisor. HMPH.

When I started there, I was told the job would run till about December 15th and now I'm hearing December 22nd. There's no way I'm staying there that long. Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be going back down to the employment office to see if there's anything else I could be doing. I can't believe that on Friday I will have been there for four full weeks!!!

As for The Other Job, if this camp hosting position is typical, then I am never camp hosting again. I've written and rewritten and re-rewritten posts on this subject, but I can't find the right balance between pure emotion and objective reporting. Let's just say when I was hired the manager knew that I'm not retired.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I don't know why people make such a fuss about baking in an RV oven. It's really not that different from baking in an electric oven. Sure, it's a bit more difficult to gauge the temperature with gas than with electric, but you can get pretty close and then use visual and olfactory clues to tell you when the food is done.

Today being Sunday, we're having a social and the theme is 'afternoon tea' (because, as the guest activities coordinator, I said so *g*). I'm bringing fresh baked tea biscuits and jam:

I make two kinds of biscuits. One is a camping recipe that requires a minimal amount of prep work and then there is this one that requires kneading and rolling out, always a fun activity in a tiny kitchen with no counter space. I wound up just using the top of the stove, with the covering board laid on top of it. I suppose I could have used the dinette, but I try to restrict my messy kitchen activities to the kitchen area... which is really quite a farce in an RV. :-)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Better Days I've Known...

It's a good thing that today is a stat and that the nursery is closed, otherwise I would have quit last night.

Yesterday morning was fine. The afternoon, however, was a nightmare. We changed tree types and bundle specifications. I was just getting the hang of making bundles of ten trees and was just about able to keep up the pace. Bundles of fifteen trees require a different pattern and the trees are a lot bigger, so I can't pick them up with one hand. As the afternoon progressed, I got more and more behind and the line supervisor yelled my name more and more, sometimes across the harvest room, and more shrilly every time. It was humiliating. I was obviously doing the best I could, was obviously painfully aware of how inadequate I was, and obviously trying to master in one afternoon a skill the line manager had been working on for years. The 80$ I made yesterday was definitely not worth being belittled like that.

We'll see how things go tomorrow. I suspect I won't be put on a line again. If I am and I get yelled at just one time, I'll be advising the production manager that I won't be back on Thursday.

*scans the 'want ads' hopefully*

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Social

Every Sunday afternoon, we have a 'social' here at the park. Everyone brings in a light(ish) snack and we gab for a few hours. For someone on a tight budget, it's a really good investment: spend about 5$ on a snack and come home stuffed to the gills! :-D

It's a nice way to get to know everyone. Last week, I really did not enjoy myself until the last half hour or so because everyone was talking about retirement and their grand-kids, so there were no conversations to join. Today, I knew a lot more people and they came to talk to me about Quebec, what I do in the park, their jobs, their kids etc. Since I wasn't 'on duty' today, I had planned to pop in for an hour at the most, but ended up staying till the end.

Last week, I brought in a large plate full of brownies (store bought) and went home with most of them. So, today I came with a very small quantity of Nanaimo bars. Lo and behold, it was the favourite dessert of half the people there! I should have known that they're a BC-favourite based on their name! The manager came with BC crab dip and another had a BC salmon dip. Mmm! This really is the promised land!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Similkameen Valley

I thought of spending the day doing the loop from Oliver to Osoyoos to Keremeos to Penticton to Oliver, but the crummy weather and pea soup fog deterred me. I wound up turning towards home soon as I hit Keremeos and taking a shortcut back. You can visit the site for my pics of the gorgeous Similkameen Valley, but let me warn you that this is my most boring travel post ever. Except for the second to last picture of the set....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Not So Trivial... and Trivial

Not So Trivial

Congratulations to the 52% of Americans who voted for change and a president who won't embarrass them. I love the fact that Bush's successor's middle name is... Hussein.

A comparable win in Canada would be by a Native American Neo-Democrat... and we're so far from that in terms of how the Natives are still viewed and treated here that I know that won't happen in my lifetime.

But shame, SHAME on those voters in California that de-legalized gay marriage. Electing a black president and taking a giant step back for gay rights cancel each other out. The US doesn't come off as being any more enlightened than it was before Obama became the president elect. :-(


The nursery job was much better for a couple of days as I was, temporarily, 'promoted' to full-time line worker. Wrapping and bundling are much easier now and I'm now learning how to do sorting, which is my favourite task. Sorting is essentially quality controlling the trees and picking out the ones that should not be sent to the customers. I love doing this and can do it for hours on end without feeling bored. Unfortunately, all line workers need to rotate the jobs, so I can't sort all day. Yesterday I got to sort for the longest shift of the day (2.5 hours straight), so the day went by rather quickly. Today, I was really disappointed when I was sent back to box duty first thing in the morning. I got a bit of a reprieve for an hour or so to haul blocks, but then had to go back to boxes. The morning was interminable! I was so happy this afternoon when I was sent to a line to bundle and wrap.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Still Slavin' Away

I've now started my second week at the nursery. Between that and the park, I really don't have any spare energy for things like blogging or updating my site. :-(

My only day off last week was Saturday. I did my laundry and cleaned the rig, then decided that I'd earned a bit of fun. So, I drove to Penticton for a movie, dinner, and bigger grocery selection. The latter is important when you need to have a lunch every day! And quite the lunch, too. A basic PB and J with juice and an apple isn't enough. I need snacks for both AM and PM and a hearty lunch because this job works up an appetite!

Sunday, we had our first social at the park (potluck) and I got to meet some of the neighbours, including someone who is just ten years older than me. Today, I met another woman who is close to my age. I have a feeling we'll all be seeing each other socially this winter. :-)

The nursery job continues to be mind numbingly dull. On Thursday, I got sent outside for the afternoon in a show of very bad management. I was put on a line with four guys. My job was to accept a 10-12lb box of trees from one guy and pass it to the next guy in the line. I kept up, but barely. On Friday, I was told to report to the fields and I said no. The shift supervisor was a bit taken aback by that, but I don't care. I don't want to completely burn myself out, thank you kindly. So, I got put on the assembly line, learning to bundle trees (tougher than it looks) and wrap the bundles. This was okay, but I really didn't like being rushed. So, by Friday I knew that box making up duty really is the best job there, as the boxing supervisor had confided in me earlier in the week.

And that's what I did today, make up boxes. For eight hours straight, until I couldn't feel my thumbs anymore. I was grateful to be indoors because it has been raining non-stop for days now and will for the foreseeable future (with perhaps a break on Wednesday).

For this year on the road, I'd promised myself one month at a low-paying and physically exerting job. Once I'm through at the nursery, either from finding something else that would take me through to spring, or from being laid off at the end of the contract, I want something that pays more an hour so I can work fewer hours. My current schedule is insane! That said, I'm going to be quite buff again by the time I'm through working there. :-)