Dogs and Rv’ing

IMG_3240

Cody and the Streamer

We all have the dream of hitting the open road with trailer in tow and the adventure that awaits over the next hill or around the next bend. While this romantic notion of RV adventure is what calls us to the open road we often have to face the reality of who we are travelling with and what this “Actually” means for the upcoming days and weeks.

When we head out on the road we not only have our trailer in tow and all our favorite things packed up for the trip, but our faithful 90 pound Black Lab “Cody” is always eagerly sitting in the back seat.IMG_3136

We spend about 40 -50 nights a year in our trailer which considering our full-time jobs and northern climate is a pretty good number for Alberta. All those days and nights are also spent with our dog. You would never think how many things you cannot do with having a dog in tow when on the road. Now, do not get me wrong, I would not trade his companionship on the road for anything, but I do want to shed some light on the subject of travelling on the road with a dog.

The good and the bad.

First off, it is hard to compete with amount of enthusiasm and eagerness to head out on the road than a dog has. That wagging tail is infectious. I do love that about dogs. They see the simplest truck ride like a grand adventure every time. That simple outlook that comes so easily to them is what part of me strives for everyday. To see each trip as a grand adventure, with excitement and intrigue around every corner and perhaps a few nice spots to stop at and pee. Secondly, a dog gets you out to explore, to slow down and make stops along the way you may not have had planned. They can certainly bring out the spontaneity in us all of us. Dogs want to explore the trail less travelled and you can always count on them finding some water to play in.IMG_3273

Of course at the actual campgrounds there are some things to keep in mind. They must be on leash all the time and even some campgrounds have a 2 meter leash limit so keep that in mind. They have to stay “quiet” as to not disturb the neighbours. I will admit this one is a challenge for us, as Cody likes to be heard. My advice is always have something for the dog to do. If they have not been worn out by the days adventures be sure have some good toys or a fresh new bone to occupy them. Creating a place that they feel is theirs always helps as well. Our guy loves the back seat of the truck so we keep it close to our site and he can hang there quite contently.

IMG_2122IMG_3306

Now given the amount of people with a furry companion in the world you would think they would be allowed in many of the places that we are. Sadly this is not the case. This is why travelling with a dog poses several challenges. They pretty much have to be with you all the time. You cannot leave them in your trailer or in your truck waiting for you as you explore some store or indulge in some local cuisine. Granted there is the odd times with cooler weather that he is fine to hang in his truck for an hour provided we are close and can see what he is up too. Now because he is with us almost all of the time this limits things that we can. Going out for dinner, taking in a museum and or participating in a local adventure are all pretty much off the list. This can be disappointing if you had not anticipated this. There are things you will have to miss out on and perhaps do another time.

One thing that we had not anticipated on one particular trip was that dogs we not even allowed in certain campsites. We were allowed in the campground but any of the sites that faced the water were “Dog Free”. Sadly we were informed of this after we had set up and were so excited to have such a beautiful spot. We ended up having to move sites away from the lake, which was not that awful but still a little disappointing.

We have found though by doing a little homework and asking the right locals you can find some very dog friendly options for you and your furry companion while on the road. There are dog friendly patios, beaches, campgrounds and even wineries if you look in the right places. Finding these K-9 hot spots can be a challenge but so worth it when you do. We have enjoyed dinner while our dog hangs with us on the patio, have had whole beaches to ourselves and tasted some the best wines Canada has to offer all while Cody was in tow.

IMG_1830IMG_3249

 

Camping and Rving is really all about exploring, experiences and keeping it simple. A dog is the perfect teacher and companion to help you do just that.

 

Advertisements

… and Perfect!

IMG_1820

A little more…A little more…and perfect! I hear this familiar phrase from my wife, Anne almost every Friday afternoon as I back up our old Ford truck to our 69’ Airstream. As I feel the weight of the trailer being lowered onto the hitch our Labrador, Cody, paces in the back seat. He knows this routine as well as I do and is eager for the road and the adventures that lay beyond.

As we pull out onto 16th Ave and head west we are surrounded by many other’s seeking the same weekend solitude and adventure that many of Alberta’s parks and campgrounds offer. There are cars loaded with bikes and tents, fifth wheel trailers faithfully following their tow vehicles filled with kids and parents. You can feel the surge of energy as we form this spontaneous convoy exiting the hustle and bustle of city living. It is not a race but you can sense the eagerness of some folks vying to get ahead of the pack to secure the best spot to unwind for the weekend. Lucky for us though we have our favorite site reserved and let the others roll on by.

For anyone who has not driven west out of Calgary towards the mountains, it is a sight to behold. You quickly leave the outer reaches of the city’s grip and you can feel your shoulders lower a little and your mood brighten as the highway signs begin to give hints of what lies ahead. As we tow our Airstream along we certainly receive a lot of looks and waves as the city gets smaller and the mountains begin to rise above the horizon.

Our goal this weekend like most weekends is to just simply camp. To simplify our life for a couple of days, to leave the city and it’s stresses behind and reconnect with not just ourselves but each other and world around us. There is a beautiful simplicity to just being out there. You can be in a tent; a trailer or a giant motorhome…the fact that you are out there is part of the magic and the adventure.

As we take our exit off the Trans-Canada Highway and begin our journey down Highway 40 we leave behind our convoy of “highway friends” who are heading further west to other destinations like Canmore, Banff and beyond. Our destination today is Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country. It is a little off the beaten path and offers some of the best that Alberta’s outdoors can offer. Crystal clear lakes, snow capped mountains and rushing rivers. Thankfully leaving the cell reception area we take one last look at the weather forecast, share a post on Facebook for our friends and family and now we disconnect. What a feeling!

Turning into the entrance of Peter Lougheed Provincial Park we are greeted by a herd of Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep and we begin the narrow road that winds it way through the park connecting the many campgrounds and lakes. With our eyes peeled for the signs of more possible animal sightings we close in on our campsite. Pulling into our loop I am reminded of all the memories that we have already made here. Our first camping trip as couple was here in a borrowed van, we towed our very first trailer here know affectionately known as “Skippy” that was also our accommodation for our Honeymoon and now with our vintage can on wheels we are set to make more memories.

Now there are many things that can test the boundaries of any marriage but up there is most certainly trying to back up your trailer under your wife’s supervision. There is a saying that “Pull through sites save marriages” and at times I do believe this could be true. However with Anne’s “expert” navigation I manage to put the trailer in it’s almost impossible position all while staying married. Once I get the “all good signal” it is time to set up. Having done this so many times, camp set up is a breeze. Propane on, solar lights out, campfire ready and the most important…beer in hand. I have a certain “hitch to beer ratio” that I like to maintain but will share that another day.

As we settle into the evening the familiar lights of a friend’s truck greet us with trailer in tow. They are doubling up with us for the weekend. Nothing beats spending time with friends and family around a campfire sharing stories, playing games and leaving the city life behind. As the sun dives behind the mountains and a plan for the next day’s adventures are laid out, a million stars greet us and the game of finding satellites can begin. The sounds of dogs dozing, the fire crackling and the laughter of friends reminds me how lucky we are to be here.

Two days later I am again backing our old Ford truck up the Airstream… A little more…A little more…and perfect! Well perhaps not so perfect this time. The weekend filled with hiking, paddling, laughing and playing games is over. The fire is out, the chairs folded up and a fairly good-sized bag of “recyclables” sits in the bed of the truck. The weekend is coming to a close and we must return to the city and begin another week. With the trailer faithfully following us home I am reminded of a poster I once saw online. It said “Everytime I go camping I come home stronger, wiser and richer.

I could not agree more.

Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 4.54.23 PM.png

What Comes First?

11009957_1436326786679217_3728354534122864222_nLast spring my wife and I decided to take our camping adventures or misadventures for that matter online and begin sharing some of our stories and favourite spots. We have been camping quite regularly for while and thought that we can pass on what we have learned and experienced to others who maybe starting out or thinking about it. So how do we do this? What is the first step? We did some research and found most people start out with this…a Blog. However being who we are we decided to try it backwards. Let’s start with Facebook, then Twitter, then Instagram…blah blah blah. We figured let’s get a few followers who might actually want to read this before we wrote something for no one to read. Made sense to us. So here we are….Our Blog.

Let me share a little about us…

Me (Aka:Dave)- 40 years old, My Wife (Aka:Anne) – 39 years old

We are really just your typical Alberta couple who loves sharing their world with friends and family. We live in Calgary and share our beautiful home with our dog Cody and a feline Clay. We love adventures, travelling, camping, biking, paddling, hiking and do have a mild passion for wine.

We met five years ago and are a happy story of love found online. We both shared a passion for camping and being outside so we started camping by borrowing a friends cargo van. It worked, kept us all dry but we wanted more. We soon bought a truck and then the search for a trailer started. We found this little 1973 Skipper that my wife poured her heart into fixing up and soon “Skippy” was a regular site at many of Alberta’s campgrounds. We towed Skippy for a few years and he even joined us on our honeymoon. It was on that honeymoon that we fell in love again. We saw one up close and personal for the first time. An Airstream. (Keep in mind they are actually quite rare in Alberta). That was it. We wanted, no, needed one of those and so the hunt began. We looked high and low and funny enough found the size and year we were looking for online and it was actually just down the road! SOLD! We dragged that trailer home in all its mess to hopefully restore it to its former glory and make it a part of our family.

After several weeks of renos and problem solving our Airstream was ready and willing. With Skippy sadly off to spend the rest of his days with another family we set forth our summer adventures with our Airstream. It was in this time we were lucky enough to be selected as part of a program that chose us to be Alberta Park’s Ambassadors. This is where the sharing really started and the rest is yours to follow!