Enjoying Winter, & Planning a Summer RV Adventure

We’re having a very easy winter this year, and I’m lovin’ it. The days are getting longer now and everybody is starting to comment on how good it feels – today, January 31st, the sun will rise at 09:22 and set at 17:06. The temperature only dropped to -7°C (+19°F) last night (the average low for this day is -21C/-6F), and will go up to -5°C (+23F) this afternoon (the average high for this day is -11C/+12F).

The biggest news in our life is about our old husky, Monty. He was diagnosed with nasal cancer last summer, was supposed to die in November, and was so sick by late September when I was on a month-long RV trip that I wondered if he’d just not wake up some morning. And yet he still loved life, and would get excited about going for the walks that had to get shorter and shorter.

On October 11th, I rescued a puppy from the Watson Lake shelter (we named him Tucker), for a few reasons. First, because Cathy and I both got “the message” that this was the right puppy to add to our family. Also, though, Monty had done such an amazing job teaching our last puppy, Bella, that we wanted to give him another go at it, even if only for the few weeks he had left. We also wanted to make it easier for Bella (and us) when Monty died.

We were in for a huge surprise, though. Five days after Tucker arrived, Monty suddenly woke up a new dog. He ate normally for the first time in 5 months, had good energy, and was clearly back as leader of his newly-enlarged pack. About 2 weeks ago, he suddenly improved even further for no apparent reason. This is Monty playing ball with Bella 2 weeks ago.

My husky Monty and border collie cross Bella

Monty still bleeds from his nose, though. Last weekend, a series of sneezes triggered an extremely bad one – the house and back yard looked like a multiple-murder scene. I took him to our vet the next day. There’s no explanation for what has happened over the past months, but the very short summary of a long discussion is that he doesn’t have cancer, he doesn’t have any infections, he’s simply not sick. He must have something stuck far up his nose, and a dog’s nose is so complex that there’s no way to find it much less retrieve it, with the equipment we have in Whitehorse.

After 8 months watching the most incredible dog I’ve ever had dying, I’m still in a bit of a daze, but I wash bloody bed-sheets pretty much every day, and thank Dog that he’s still with us.

My pack loves their collective life, and they keep me believing that I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world. A couple of times a day, we take a walk around the property, and it often turns into something like this 🙂

My husky Monty and border collie cross Bella
Bella may be the one who has benefitted the most from Tucker’s arrival. She immediately turned into the most wonderful mommy-dog we could have hoped for. Watching Bella teach and protect Tucker is very special. Her play-time with him is always gauged to his abilities.

My border collie crosses Bella and Tucker
They are pretty much inseparable, and Tucker’s energy has worn off the extra pounds that Bella had put on. In this photo shot a couple of days ago, they were hunting mice in the corral (so was Monty, a few feet away).

My border collie crosses Bella and Tucker
My life isn’t totally about dogs, though. There’s lots more to do, including quality relaxation. And I’m still heavy into working though my collection of old documents and putting material such as my database of Northern films online.

Enjoying a Yukon winter with wine and a hot tub
My biggest project for the final weeks of winter is planning and getting ready for a major trip in the motorhome this summer. I’ll be on the road as soon as the road conditions allow, probably mid April, and will be gone for about 3 months. The huge figure-8 will take us to at least Ottawa, perhaps Quebec City. Cathy is going to be flying to Winnipeg in late May to join me for 4, possibly 5 weeks, and then will fly back to her job in Whitehorse. Because of the crashed Canadian dollar, we’ll be spending very little time in the States – down through Michigan’s UP, and back across the tops of Wisconsin and Minnesota to make the figure-8 work.

I answered a question about the map in the comments, but will add it here as well. I’ve used a few mapping sites, but this one is from Good Sam – you have to be a member to use it. Limitations on the number of waypoints are the biggest challenge for me. I used to use Mapquest, then went to Google Maps, but when Google reduced their waypoint limit to 9 I went searching again. Good Sam’s limit is 25, and I’ve already broken this trip into 3 sections to make it work – 2 sections eastbound and 1 westbound – and it may get broken further yet. The map here is from the first draft of the trip when it all fit in one. The only major change since then is that the route down Michigan’s Upper Peninsula now runs down the west coast.


Map of our 2016 cross-Canada RV trip

So, lots going on and lots to do, and over the coming months I’m going to have a lot to tell you about!



Comments

Enjoying Winter, & Planning a Summer RV Adventure — 17 Comments

  1. I am so happy for you about Monty!! My own sweet doggie is 15 1/2 and I treasure each day with her. Tucker was meant to be with you all! Your trip sounds exciting! I will look forward to reading all about it!!We are hoping to get back up there by you again in 2017!

  2. That’s fantastic about Monty!

    If you like lighthouses, and are into living history, take a small detour northeast from where you pass through Duluth and visit Split Rock Lighthouse along Lake Superior’s northern shore. It’s one of the most beautiful lighthouses I’ve ever seen.

  3. Murray,

    The news about Monty is quite a surprise !!
    A wonderful surprise !
    Looking forward to a real travel log….GRIN !

    Dave

  4. Ah!!!!This is great news Murray!!! I am so happy that Monty is going to be okay. What a turn of events for your family. I love your pups and show my kids pics of them when you post them- they want a dog exactly like Bella!
    Looks like you have a great trip in the works and I am looking forward to travelling along digitally. We are enjoying a mild winter in Winnipeg too. Can’t complain about the cold or the now- we will see if we will have a mild mosquito season too- I may or may not be busy this summer at work!
    Welcome back, I have checked your blog often and look forward to you fantastic photos! Janet

  5. I am scared to wonder how many times someone has ask the name of the trip planner you use to produce those maps but I sure would like to know. We live in Ontario and plan on traveling to Alaska for 3 months this summer.

    • I’ve used a few, but this one is from Good Sam – http://www.goodsamclub.com/ – but you have to be a member to use it. Limitations on the number of waypoints are the biggest challenge for me. I used to use Mapquest, then went to Google Maps, but when Google reduced their waypoint limit to 9 I went searching again. Good Sam’s limit is 25, and I’ve already broken this trip into 3 sections to make it work – 2 sections eastbound and 1 wesstbound – and it may get broken further yet. The map here is from the first draft of the trip when it all fit in one.

  6. Murray That is wonderful news about Monty. It looks like you may luck in with the price of gas so low. Great photos of fur kids.

  7. The drive up the west side of Superior from Duluth to Thunder Bay is a midwest highlight. Splitrock lighthouse, Palisades Head, Temperance River, Gooseberry Falls and Pigeon River Falls can all be hit in a day with many opportunities for hiking. At Thunder Bay there are good opportunities to visit historic recreations of the voyageurs and fur trade sights.

  8. Wow, what GREAT NEWS about Monty!!! I have to admit to a certain dread of checking your fall and then winter posts after reading some of those earlier bad disagnosis one’s.

    Looking forward to your future travels in the motorhome as well as on 2 wheels.

  9. Remember Murray, You promised me a visit in Stouffville Ont. when you come through. See you then.

  10. Nice to see that your looking at doing the Hwy 60 run from Huntsville to Renfrew through Algonquin park. It’s a great run and you’ll really enjoy it. Some of my favourite parts would be St. Mary’s church in Wilno (Wilno’s great for the Kashub festival), Lake of Two Rivers and high falls slide(if you want to detour a bit) in Algonquin and Barry’s bay (I’m biased, I have family there!) with Zurkowsji park and one of the last remaining wooden rail water tower’s.
    If you were coming towards fall, I would also suggest taking a detour locals know about – 60 south from Barry’s Bay to the 515 through Palmer Rapids and the south on the 514 towards Schutt and Hardwood Lake – the views from Schutt are postcard like.
    Ottawa’s great too – probably don’t have to showcase that too much. Wasaga Beach is also nice if you can pop in for a day or two.