Week 13 – Tales of Roomies, new Acquaintances & RV Maintenance

It’s official. Mieke and I once again have room mates that aren’t our children: Moritz and Manuel! They are loud, they smell, they snore, they are mean and they mess up our carefully crafted routines, but we simply love having them around! I was lucky to marry my best friend and while there is no one else I would rather sail to the end of the world with, it’s nice to have company to provide additional intellectual input on route to the horizon. Sadly, a dear friend of ours will not join us on our quest – a circumstance that has rather upset my dear wife. Never make promises unless you itend to keep them, otherwise they will come haunting you… Jakob on the other hand has now confirmed his flights, while my parents have already safely arrived in Calagary and are due to join us at the end of the week. We are looking forward to having them all!

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We have officially hosted our first Friday Dinner, as we were fortunate to make the acquaintance of Catherine and Mattia, a Swiss couple our age living the same crazy adventure (www.northwestbound.com). They would want me to correct myself: a Swiss couple of Mieke’s age, as both have not yet crossed into their thirties ;-). Relishing each other’s company we spent two evenings reminiscing about our adventures, our families and our cravings. We are hopeful to meet again on our way north with Alaska as our joint destination. Thank you, Catherine and Mattia, for your lovely company. Safe travels and until we meet again!

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Gonki’s engine has been on the fritz. This time around the problem has escalated resulting in repeated power loss while driving. An engine check in Invamere revealed active misfires (Fehlzündungen) of cylinder three. Unable to take a look at the engine due to the size of Gonki, I spent several hours finding a Ford dealership that could take care of the problem before embarking on the Alaska Highway. After scheduling an appointment in Edmonton (600 km detour), I was lucky to find a service centre in Canmore, a mere 25 minutes from our campground in Banff National Park. Result: the spark and coil of cylinder three (Zündkerze und Spule) had to be replaced, while we spent a lovely morning in Canmore. Best part: our warranty covered the required work. Alaska here we come!

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Three things worth mentioning:

  • Mieke’s brother Volker has passed his Staatsexamen, giving us a good reason to celebrate and open a large bottle of wine on his behalf!
  • Our niece Polly had to undergo an operation – everything went as planned and she is doing well! We are relieved and proud of this strong little lady!
  • Almost unbelievable: Alex has started to speak. From one day to the next, his vocabulary seems to have been unleashed!

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Our week in bullet points:

  • We spent two suprisingly lovely days in Waterton National Park. Knowing that 80% of the park burned in 2017, we expected little, but were surprised by a cute little village that allowed us to revel in metropolitan comforts that we so dearly miss. We spent the first afternoon eating ourselves through the menu of the Lakside Chophouse Restaurant. In an attempt to work off our culinary orgy, we took the boys for a spin on a bicycle car. A perfect family day that was rounded off by meeting Catherine and Mattia. Other than that, Benni played tag with a Canadian boy on his bike for over an hour, while we also found new hiking boots for him and Mieke.
  • On our way to Kootenai National Park we stopped in Invamere to stock up on food and drink before the arrival of Moritz and Manuel. We ended up spending the day in James Chabot Provincial Park, waiting for the local workshop to check up on our engine. Luckily, both a wonderful playground by the lake and a good sushi place close by kept us occupied. The afternoon was made noteworthy by Benni sitting down on an ant hive. Clothes and ants were suddendly flying everywhere before the whole family brust out laughing once the attack had been thwarted. We spent another wonderful evening with Mattia and Chaterine who happened to have also made their way to Kootenai. Late that same night, Moritz and Manuel finally arrived! We visited the Radium Hot Springs the next day, before taking an Austrian holiday at The Old Salzburg Restaurant. My Schnitzel was rather convincing and Alex and Benni devoured their Spätzle in Pilzrahmsauce. On our way to Banff National Park we made sure to stop at Marble Canyon, a true natural wonder carved into the landscape by two glaciers moving in opposing directions.
  • Our first day at Banff was planned around our service appointment in Canmore. Instead of exploring the natural wonders of the park, we researched hikes in close proximity to town and discovered one of the most beautiful excursions that we have thus was been allowed to enjoy: Grassi Lakes and Falls. A simply perfect day. See for yourself…

We have a full agenda set out for the rest of the week. To be continued…

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