Thursday smile

Phil and Amanda put a landline in the house so that Carlyle, now 5 years old, can call. She loves to answer the phone or pick it up and she’s a naturally chatty and joyful little girl. I was thinking about the kids who will likely never see a landline in the future or will not be aware of the rapid development of communication that has happened over the past 25 years.

I stumbled across this little ad and smiled at the relevance of its day.Screenshot_20180814-060451

And one more image just to let you smile…

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Towing a travel trailer with a mini-van

This is a repost from 2012…. but it is one of the most read posts on my blog!

My friend David sent me a note the other day – he’s got a mini-van and is buying (has bought) a hybrid trailer like ours.  He was getting some contradictory advice on towing.  Will his mini-van tow this trailer safely – is really what he wanted to know.

Camping in Nothern California

So I shared with him our experience in towing our hybrid with two mini-vans.

We had a Chrysler Caravan (’98 I believe) and it had a 3 L 165 hp Mitsubshi motor with a three-speed transmission.  It towed our very small, 1000 lb tent trailer well, not that we had a great deal of get up and go…it was sluggish with just a 3-speed transmission. But it did the job.

The 05 Uplander – Revelstoke BC

In 2005 we were fortunate enough to move up to the Chevy Uplander – not the best mini-van on the market – however that allowed us to purchase our current Surveyor Hybrid and with a four-speed transmission the Uplander pulled the trailer fairly well.   We needed to add the transmission cooler and the class 3 hitch along with the appropriate wiring but we did not touch the suspension or the alternator.  We left them as supplied by GM. We did, of course, add the equalizer bars to the towing arrangement which really kept the van and trailer level.

The Uplander was introduced in 2004/5 and replaced the  Venture.  The Venture had a very reliable 3.4 L 185 hp V6.  The Uplander got a slightly more powerful 3.5L 201 hp V6.  My only complaint was that on inclines it would rev up to 4500 rpm and going through the mountains that meant at times an incline of 17 km.

Camping in Billings Montana

I did check this out with GM who assured me that the engine could do 4500 rpm “all day”.  Really?  All day?  I still didn’t like it.

In 2008 we were able to move up to the 2008 Uplander.  This final version of the Uplander (GM ceased production that year) was given the 3.9L V6 producing a much better 240 hp.

Our experience has been that the additional 40 hp allows the vehicle to pull the trailer without needing to run into such high rpm’s.  In fact, we often call pull our trailer at 100 km/hr running at just over 2000 rpm.

The 2008 also came with a built-in transmission cooler and once again we didn’t touch the suspension.  The equalizer bars continue to do the trick.

I pointed my friend Dave to the canamrv.ca website.  This company has been working with Canadians to set up tow vehicle/trailer combinations for years.  Take a look at some of the combinations that work!

You may wish to look at this article from the RV Lifestyle magazine (Vol. 41 No. 2) Hint: click on the article to enlarge it.  After you’ve read it, I would love to hear what you think?

A week of funerals

05-22-2008-13-47-31-753@a6c49f3a79a743fd853d85d7cec0fdacThis past week we attended the funeral of Aunt Dorothy. She isn’t really my aunt, not a sister to any relative, but has been my Mom’s best friend for over 60 years so she’s been like an aunt.

Pictured here is Uncle Ted and my Dad in a picture from…well the 1950’s! They were stationed together in Winnipeg after Training College and got along so well they were friends until Uncle Ted passed away, just a year before my Dad did. Our paths crossed with the Browns in many ways over the years and strangely enough both of their daughters have worked for me. Their son Ted has been a life long friend though we see little of each other these days.

Attending funerals is an interesting activity. I find myself joyful to see friends and family who we rarely see and reminded of why we are together. Of course, the Christian also rejoices if their friends have been people of faith and we know “they are safe in the arms of Jesus”. That saying seemed so corny to me as a kid, but with age comes the recognition of truth and that is one that really resonates.  The other aspect of funeral attendance is listening to people talk about who has died – in this case, listening to family and friends talk about the impact Aunt Dorothy has had on them.

I think many of us are sitting there asking ourselves, if this was my funeral, what would people say? It’s a time, to be honest with self and before God. Without a doubt living brings about some regret, some reason for rejoicing and some sense of question – how did I do?  That’s why the Scripture is so reassuring with the promise of forgiveness, and eternal welcome – “Well done, good and faithful servant”.

So if I seem more retrospect these days I may be thinking about my own life. What about you?

A few thoughts about us as a family and our interests.