We are Nico and Marlies Wobben and in February 2008 we moved from the Netherlands to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is an RN at the General Hospital and I (Marlies) work from home, as an administrator at Canada Life and for my own web design business Feel The Fire. And we have 7 cats!
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Motorhoming! – Duck Mountain Provincial Park, SK

» photo album 2010/0728 ~ Motorhoming! Duck Mountain Provincial Park, SK

Duck Mountain was high on our wish list and finally we made it there! There is something so exciting about getting to a park in the boreal forest – the wilderness, the scenery, the wildlife. Even though we didn’t see any bears or moose (not even deer), we were very impressed by the park and the campsites.

Wednesday July 28

On Wednesday we drove to Madge Lake (around 3.5 hrs). I was having a migraine and wasn’t able to get some sleep in the motorhome, but the thought of camping and fresh forest air coming up got me through it 🙂 Also, a nice shopping stop in Yorkton gave some distraction. At the Pickerel Point campground we had site #93, which was close to the general store and the beach. All we did for the rest of the day was relax, eat a really good burger at the concession and have a look at the beach.

Thursday July 29

We spent all day in the campground area. Relax, read, relax, walk around the campground and deserted group camping areas, relax, BBQ, relax and watched the sunset on the beach. When we called to make reservations a week before going, we were only able to get an electric site for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday because of the busy August long weekend. So we were advised to ask the staff in the campground office every day if there was a cancellation for the Saturday night (for an electric site) and today we already got lucky!

Friday July 30

We finally became more active and biked the beautiful bike path to Ministik Beach (parts of the Woodlands trail). WOW!! Wide enough, good quality, through different kinds of forest: sometimes fairly open so you could scan the forest for possible bears, sometimes with high bushes right by the trail so you wouldn’t know what would be around the corner. We regularly rang our bell, called out and sang, and luckily we didn’t bump eh… bike into any bears 🙂 We had an ice cream by the Lakeside Service and went back pretty quick, because there was a storm coming our way. We got back just in time and for hours we had clouds and some light rain, but we could still sit outside underneath our awning.

Saturday July 31

Today we had to switch sites to #39, also a very beautiful and shady site. We took the opportunity to drive into the wilderness before going to our new site, and we were advised to take the well maintained gravel road to Batka Lake and the ski hill (about 12 km one way).  It was truly beautiful, we passed many different sorts of forest, lakes/ponds and bogs until we came to the closed gate by the ski hill. We turned around and stopped at the Batka Lake picnic area for a bit on our way back. We also drove to Kamsack to get some booze for the night 🙂

Once we got settled on our new campsite and listened to the Riders game on (the neighbour’s) radio, we also saw our friends Michelle and Boyd, who had let us know that they were also coming to Madge Lake with family. They were staying 4 sites away from us,  so after our BBQ we ended up spending the evening there! They fed us (Nico mostly) quite a bit of Black Russians, so we had lots of fun until the early hours! Thanks Ryan, Tracy, Michelle, Boyd & kids!

Sunday August 1

We slept in, had a quick breakfast and left around noon… although we didn’t WANT to leave!! Duck Mountain is another park that stole our hearts! We STILL have to see our first Saskatchewanian bear or moose though…

Duck Mountain Provincial Park – Pickerel Point Campground (Birch Campground)

Birch is one part of the Pickerel Point Campground, situated in a beautiful boreal forest setting by Madge Lake. The campgrounds are about 6 km away from the core area, but there’s a store, concession and small beach. Electric site is $22, we had a year pass for the PP. There was a service centre with showers, but also small toilet buildings that had flush toilets (clean enough) or pit toilets (smelly). One of our favourite parks!

Motorhoming! – Cabri Regional Park, SK

» photo album 2010/0716 ~ Motorhoming! Cabri Regional Park, SK

Finally we got away for a weekend with Tim, Cortney and the kids (and Cortney’s mom Charlene – also Smokey’s ‘mom’)! After a lot of calling around (provincial parks were all out of electric reservable sites) I found us two serviced sites at Cabri Regional Park, on the shore of the South Saskatchewan River at the west end of Lake Diefenbaker. The only downside was that they only had the overflow sites left, so no shade in the otherwise well treed campground and park. Oh well, it wasn’t the prettiest site, but we had fun anyway. We didn’t do much but hang, chill, eat, go to the little beach, walk around the small but very nice park, listen to howling coyotes at night and have fun!

Cabri Regional Park

beautiful well treed campsites, except the overflow (where we were), but those did have full services ($25). There is a concession stand but no store. Small beach (there was high water so we think there is usually probably a bit more beach), marina, boat launch. Located on a sheltered bay of the South Saskatchewan River on the west end of Lake Diefenbaker.

Motorhoming! – Saskatoon & Prince Albert National Park (Waskesiu, SK)

» photo album 2010/0628 ~ Motorhoming! Saskatoon, Waskesiu, SK

June 28

Late in the afternoon we left for Saskatoon to stay at the 16 West RV Park for 2 nights, which is close to the Credit Union Centre where we’d be seeing Dream Theater and Iron Maiden the next day. In Chamberlain we stopped for some food, and we arrived in Saskatoon around 8pm. The park is nice, but we ended up on the last row without any trees (but an unobstructed view over the surrounding meadows). Unfortunately wifi isn’t working in this part, because two of the three antennas are down due to the recent storms. Oh well, the Blackberries both work fine 🙂

June 29

During the day we’ve just been relaxing on the campground. Because of the strong wind and the hot sun outside, we stayed indoors a lot, where it was nice and cool with the wind blowing through and soccer on one of the few TV channels we got there.

Around 6.30pm we got a cab to the Credit Union Centre to see Dream Theater and Iron Maiden! After some confusion about what line was for which kind of tickets we got in faster than expected, ran into a few friends and went to our seats. They closed the upper ring we originally had tickets for and got some better ones in the lower ring (also in the back). The arena isn’t so big, so we could see the stage well and we loved our seats. The bands were both awesome, both LaBrie and Dickinson were in great shape and they played our favourite songs 🙂

When we wanted to leave we saw it was pouring down. We waited for a while, also for the parking lot to clear a bit, ran through the rain to find a cab and the driver brought us to our motorhome in the thunderstorm. Our site was already soaked! We got out of our wet clothes and waited for the storm to pass… for hours!! Even for a prairiestorm it was crazy, constant lightning, downpours, hail (pretty scary to hear that on the RV) and wind rocking our RV all night even after the rain stopped after 2am (and left everything around us flooded). Luckily I didn’t know about the tornado watch at that point…

June 30

We woke up very early, around 6am, and saw the flooding around our site wasn’t so bad that we’d be stuck. Since we had no reservations in Waskesiu, we decided to drive there right away. The earlier we’d get there, the better our chances would be to get a spot. While leaving the campground we saw that many sites and roads were completely flooded! Outside of the campground the trout pond was now extended to the roadside and the ditches on the other side were completely filled with water too. On our way to the 11 (we didn’t have to go downtown) we saw some flooded parking lots, fields etc. Later on we heard that it had been the worst storm in 30 years!!

At 10am we arrived at the Waskesiu campground (Red Deer, formerly Trailer Park) and we could get one of the last sites!! We were so afraid we wouldn’t get a serviced spot, but we did, woohoo!! So happy! Esp. since we’re having problems with the house battery at the moment. We got site # H4, one of the bays in the bushy area, which was awesome as they are big enough and more private, which is of course nice when the campground is completely full (when we were there in August last year it was almost empty). We had some breakfast and then went to sleep for a few hours, biked to town, had supper at the Asian House (mmmm!!!), sat outside for a while and had a much needed shower.

July 1

Happy Canada Day!

After we got up, we went straight to town for the pancake breakfast at the community hall. A long line-up, but it was a good deal with pancakes, sausages, juice and coffee for $5. At 12 we watched the parade go by, which was a lot of fun, esp. the obviously mandatory water activities (throwing water and getting hosed down, esp by the fire truck at the end)! We then moved to the visitor centre, where a few artists played and we sang Oh Canada while the flag was being raised. Quite a special feeling for us as newly landed immigrants! After that we went back to the campground to relax and barbecue. In the meantime the Riders were playing their first game of the season and I was trying to keep up with the score by the Facebook updates. It got more and more exciting and the game ended in overtime. Things were happening so fast that updates weren’t able to keep up! But in the middle of confusion it turned out we won, hooray!! Gotta look for a replay of that game on our TV box when we get home!

July 2

When we woke up we checked the Soccer World Cup news to see how Holland did against Brasil… much to our surprise they had won!  This means Holland will be in the semi final on Tuesday! Nice way to start the day 🙂

We walked to town for a while, but knew we had to keep an eye on the weather, as thundershowers were expected. We thought it would be wise to have an early meal there, so that we didn’t have to barbecue later on anymore. We ended up at the Angry Taco, what used to be the ice shop (next to the grocery store). Well that wasn’t our best idea. It took them so long to get us food, that the rain got there before we were done, it was expensive (ok, Waskesiu IS expensive I guess) and partly cold. Nico never got his refill, even though they said he did. Needless to say we won’t easily go back there and didn’t leave a tip. So we walked back in (fairly light) rain and waited out the storm in the RV. Around 8pm the sun was back and we checked out the sunset at 9.30pm.

July 3

After breakfast we had a nap again – looks like we’re both coming down with a cold! Must’ve been that damn Saskatoon storm! Later in the afternoon we biked around for a bit and went to eat at Asian House again. Nico couldn’t get that awesome Chow Mein (with chicken in black bean sauce, made spicy) out of his head, haha! After we got back we sat outside for a while and took the bike to the beach for the last sunset. I’ve never seen sunsets as pretty as Waskesiu’s, but these few weren’t as spectacular as the ones we saw last year.

July 4

We left around 11am, after dumping our black water tank (toilet) and grey water (dirty water), and unfortunately Nico also wrecked part of his bike on the bike rack by bumping into a tree when backing up by himself! Uh-oh!
As we were both not feeling well, it wasn’t the best trip of all, but we managed to get home. We took the bigger highway (11 via Saskatoon) this time (instead of the 2 or 6) to have better roads. In Dundurn we stopped at Kathy’s motel and restaurant for lunch and the burgers we had were delicious! Around 5.30pm we were finally home. Bummer that we’re feeling sick now, but this week was great!

Saskatoon 16 West RV Park

Fairly open pull through sites, some back in sites, pretty nice with some trees, we had a site in the last row though, without any trees, overlooking the surrounding fields. Full services, didn’t check their washrooms, wifi available but 2 of the 3 antennas were down due to storms and we didn’t have it in our spot. We payed $33.35 for a site with 30amp power and water.

Red Deer (formerly Trailer Park) Campground, Waskesiu, Prince Albert National Park

3/4 of this campground are fairly open pull through sites, 1/4 is in a more forested part with bays, no fire pits. This time we had a site in the more forested area (H4), full hook up, $35.30, NP parks pass is needed. Frequented by deer and occasionally elk and black bears. The Service Centre was modern enough and clean, great! I think it’s about 1 km to town, with shops, few restaurants, hotels etc. One of 2 national parks in SK, and the most beautiful SK park we’ve seen!!

Motorhoming! – Douglas Provincial Park @ Lake Diefenbaker (SK)

» photo album 2010/0618 ~ Motorhoming! Douglas Provincial Park, SK

Time to try out a ‘new’ destination! We had heard good things about Douglas Provincial Park on the shore of the big man-made Lake Diefenbaker. It’s a 2.5 hour drive with the motorhome and it was the first time with our on-and-off foster kitty Smokey, who’s staying with us again for a while. He did great, not too scared when we were driving and loving the camping as much as all of us 🙂

The campsites in the forested area are all private and it was a short walk to the beautiful beaches. There is a concession stand / store with great homemade food (delicious burger!) right by the main beach. And the lake… just wow!

The next day we tried to walk the Sunset trail, but we were cut off by some flooding. We went back and took the other trail (we think it was how we would’ve come back, but we’re not sure) and after walking through bushes, grassland and a bit of forest, we ended up on some really gorgeous beaches! Again… wow! We decided to follow the beach back to the campground, but were cut off by a swampy part. We at first went too far to the left and ended up walking on clumps of grass but in more and more water… this was not going to work. We went back and stayed closer to the beach (and most importantly in front of the beaver dam) and found a place with less water to go through.  Later on at the campsite we made a fire again and barbecued on it 🙂

Sunday we had to leave again, we visited the nearby town Elbow. We went to the marina and had a great lunch (high quality and creative, but also big and below $10!) at the Boathouse restaurant in town.  A place to visit again!

Motorhoming! – Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (Centre Block, SK)

» photo album 2010/0602 ~ Motorhoming! Cypress Hills, SK

Since the weather forecasts were the best for the SW part of our province, we decided to go back to Cypress Hills. As we didn’t reserve a site, we ended up at the Terrace Campground, which was just as beautiful as the Rainbow where we stayed last year. The sites were a bit smaller and it was harder to find one that was level enough, but we ended up with #63 on a high spot overlooking all the lower levels (terraces). Gorgeous!

We got there early in the evening last Wednesday (2nd), after having a great supper at MeiMei’s (Chinese) in Swift Current. The next day we walked to the campground office (to register) and to the core area. We spent some time in the patio of the visitor centre overlooking Loch Leven – it was ‘only’ 16°C but it felt wonderful in the sun, true t-shirt weather over here 🙂 After enjoying the weather and the view for a few hours we had some fast food (near the mini golf) for supper on our way back to the campground. The distances weren’t as far as we remembered from the first time. Our whole loop today was little over 4 km (from campsite to lake was 1.3 km)!

On Friday we drove to Maple Creek and the West Block to visit the Fort Walsh National Historic Site and the Conglomerate Cliffs. It was a pretty long drive but beautiful. The Fort Walsh tour with actors was fun and the view from the Cliffs spectacular! On our last day, the Saturday, we had some rain showers, but we also played mini golf and hiked around the campground areas during the sunny periods  in between. Again we didn’t see any moose on this trip, but a lot of deer, antelope, coyotes and a gazillion cows (see pics in the album) 🙂

Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park – Terrace Campground

One of the many campgrounds in the Centre Block, in a gorgeous forest setting. Terrace has 4 levels (terraces), it was 1-1.5 km away from the core area. We had an electric site for $22 and bought a Provincial Parks year pass for $50.  There was a service centre with showers, but also small toilet buildings that had flush toilets and were very clean!Beautiful park, and it was nice to have all the extras open (store, food, visitor centre patio), as our first two visits were outside the season.

Motorhoming! – Buffalo View Campground @ Buffalo Pound, SK

» photo album 2010/0507 ~ Motorhoming! Buffalo View, SK

After we said goodbye to our house guest Mark, who moved back to Lloydminster this morning (see previous post under ‘general’), we started our first camping trip of the season! We wanted to go to Buffalo Pound or Last Mountain Lake and as the parks only had unserviced sites until the May long weekend, we ended up at a private campground at Buffalo Pound, Buffalo View Campground. Not officially open yet (no water, no bathrooms etc), but owner Jim said if power was all we needed we were welcome!

The weather was decent, partly sunny and not windy (until Sunday), so we’ve been outside quite a lot.  We walked around on the campground and chilled out by the water or on our site. The campground has mostly seasonal sites that are more private than the ones in the provincial park, but I missed having more space to walk around by the shore. We did hike up on the hills where you have a splendid view over the lake! And the cats were fascinated by the peacocks that walked around, must’ve been a first! As a bonus our friend Gord from Moose Jaw (who we met on our last camping trip at Buffalo Pound) came by for a visit! Definitely a successful first trip of the season!

Buffalo View Campground

grassy and fairly private sites in the coulees by Buffalo Pound, mostly seasonal sites though. As the campground wasn’t officially open yet, we can say anything about the bathrooms and other amenities, but there is an outdoor entertainment area, horseshoe court, picnic tables, etc. As they weren’t open yet, we paid only $20/night for the site with power.