A Travellerspoint blog

July 2018

On Serendipity, Transitions, and Cadeau

View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

Those of you that ever had the pleasure to know our Audi A4 Cabrio knew our license plate was SRNDPTY.


the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way,
the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

I have long believed that you find what you are looking for the minute you stop looking, that you find what you need if you are open to receiving it in unlikely places and from unlikely sources, and that if you follow your instincts - your gut - about what to do it almost always results in an agreeable outcome.

In our travels in Montana, all we really knew was we wanted to see the sun, the beach, and to be warm again. We needed to head south. And we wanted to get out of the U.S. So, we changed our plans, as I've detailed in recent posts, and decided to go to Mexico early. This lead to a decision to spend a month in Fort Collins to visit my family and to get things done like doctor appointments and some car stuff. Having made these decisions, we headed on to Calgary and Banff for a great trip. What we didn't know was how much we would need the month in Fort Collins and how ready we would be for Mexico, in more ways than we knew...

If you follow us @Arrradventures, you will know that Cadeau had two seizures while we were in Canmore, Canada. As soon as we got to Fort Collins, we had her fully checked out and found that she had a brain tumor. We had to let her go this past Friday. So needless to say, we are in a major transition now. From our road life with the Boo, to our international life. From life as a family, to life as a couple. From the constraints of loving an older dog (did I mention she made it to 14 1/2 years? Over 100 in people years!), to the freedom of no obligations (except to each other ;-).

While it may seem like chance that we now have this time to mourn, to heal, and to wrap our heads around what it means not to have Cadeau with us anymore, I believe it's more truly serendipity. Though we didn't seek this, per se, we certainly will benefit from it and, other than the agony of losing our best friend, we are finding Fort Collins more than agreeable.

It's sad. It's weird. It's a little scary. It's going to be really different. And, we are so excited. There is a measure of relief in letting Cadeau go. She didn't suffer, as promise I made to her when I adopted her, and for being able to keep my promise I will be eternally grateful.

Sweet, Sweet Cadeau


Gender: Female
Pronunciation: kad-DOH
Meaning of Cadeau: "gift"
Origin of Cadeau: French

The name Cadeau is a girl's name of French origin meaning "gift".
From the experts:
Cadeau puts a decidedly exotic twist on the word name trend, but don't be surprised if you encounter ponies and puppies with the same moniker.

She was a gift from the day I got her...
...to her last.

I wanted to share and remember her life here. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.

She was silly (or maybe patient with my silliness).

She could blend in...

The beach was a favorite...

Second only to Joe and Anne Marie's grass...

But bars were ok...

Outdoor concerts...

Of course our beach house, fire pit, and docks anywhere...

Couches and chairs...

The floor of the Audi and the back of Ruby. She spent so many hours over the last few months happily sleeping as we traveled.

Once in awhile, she woke up to see where we were.

She loved her friends...

...and she loved the beach...

...and she LOVED the snow...

MOM! Let me down! There's a nacho down there!

Got any nachos up there?


She rode on boats...

...paddle boards...
...in convertibles...

...in her backpack...

...and on floats.

But mostly, she was family.

She was ALWAYS with me.

And she will be truly missed. Goodbye, sweet, sweet Cadeau.

Posted by mrb430 11:32 Archived in USA Tagged cadeau Comments (2)

The Canadian Rockies Do Not Disappoint - Part 2

View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

For Part 1, check out https://arrrblog.travellerspoint.com/61/.

After leaving Canmore, we relocated to a chalet halfway between Field and Golden, British Columbia, in Yoho National Park. We were steps from the beautiful Kicking Horse River.

The best part? We finally had a fire pit again! We had our first outdoor fires since Apalachicola! Of course S'mores were in order.

This was our launching point for Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and trail adventures. The road to Golden is one of the most beautiful we drove along and definitely worth a detour if you are ever in the area. Glaciers, jagged peaks, high passes, winding mountain roads, railroad tunnels through the mountains, and the extra-wide Kicking Horse River valley where the river branches constantly creating a flat basin. Not to mention lakes and waterfalls.
Spiral Tunnel Mountain

Lake Louise

We set out for Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. I was last here 10 years ago at the end of August with my mom, dad, brother and his family so I thought I knew what to expect. NOPE! Having planned to do Moraine Lake first, we got to the turn-off and realized it was closed due to the high volume of visitors. Not deterred, we headed on to Lake Louise. After parking in the furthest lot, we made our way through the throngs down to the lake. Here's the crowd in 2008. In 2018 you couldn't see the lakeshore for all of the tourists!

We made the best of it though. Hard not to in such a beautiful place! Scott and the girls hiked the lakeshore trail and Cadeau and I wandered a bit and then sat in the shade.
That's Mount Victoria at the back of the lake with Victoria glacier. Close ups follow here.


Fairmont Hotel - originally built in the 20's.

We headed back to Lake Louise Village for lunch. Note when you stay up to watch it get dark at 12:30 (AM!) you get up at 10:30 and have breakfast at 11:30. That puts lunch at 5:30! After "lunch" we headed back to Moraine Lake and finally got in, it's about 7:00 now, and just as we did they closed it down again! So worth the effort though! The girls decided on a rock scramble and Scott and I hiked the lakeside trail (Cadeau slept peacefully in Ruby).

Moraine Lake

This has to be one of the most beautiful spots in the entire park. It really is more beautiful than the pictures!

After another fire, more S'mores, and a good night's sleep, it was up early for...

Trail Rides!

We split up with Morgan and I doing a beautiful horseback ride in the Blueberry River Valley in the morning and Scott and Courtney doing an ATV adventure in the afternoon. Everyone was happy! In between, we had lunch at an outdoor cafe in Golden and visited their famous covered pedestrian bridge.

Morgan argued that horseback riding was best! (Of course she didn't want to ride an ATV - ha!)
This was the normal state of Morgan's horse!


Here's a short video. Thanks for Mrgan for the Taylor Swift soundtrack ha!

Courtney argued that ATV riding was best! (Of course she didn't want to ride a horse - haha!)
Here's a short clip - you can mostly see over Courtney's handle bars haha!

Scott and I would have preferred to do both! We actually made it home in time to cook dinner at home (thanks Courtney and Scott!) and have a nice fire. We went to bed early because we had planned to drive the Icefields Parkway and had booked the Glacier Adventure for the following day but...


We woke to a text message from the airline inviting the girls to check in for their flight! WHAT?! Oh no, that pesky 12:19 AM Saturday flight. Is that today or tomorrow? Yikes! That's today, well tomorrow, but tonight - well you get it. Rather than needing to get to the airport just after midnight Saturday night, they needed to be at the airport just after midnight Friday night! Phooey!

So, change being the only constant, and relying on our adaptability and resilience, we packed up and headed out to trek back to Calgary. All was not lost however! On the way, we stopped at the natural bridge and Emerald Lake. Being in Yoho, the crowds were substantially less and the views just as beautiful!
Natural Bridge

Emerald Lake

The weather, however, was proving a challenge. Canoe rentals had been on the girls' bucket list but the lines and cost at Lake Louise had been prohibitive. Canoes at Emerald Lake were available and reasonable. The rain was intermittent, though, and they weren't letting canoes out in it. So the girls went on a hike around the lake, Cadeau had a nap, and Scott and I had lunch. By this time we had all settled into our comfort zones! After much patience and pestering of the attendants, the sun came out and they got their paddle in while I FINALLY beat Scott at Cribbage.

I was proud of us all for making the most of a bad situation and so grateful to the Canadian Rockies that missing one adventure is just an opportunity to experience a different one. The trip down to Calgary was beautiful and uneventful and after a nice dinner we dropped them at the airport, said "See you in Mexico!", and closed out a wonderful vacation.

We'll be in Colorado tonight and as I finish this up in Ruby she's saying the temperature is 100 degrees out there in Wyoming. Guess we're definitely going to be warm again!!

Make sure to subscribe for updates and follow us on Instagram @Arrradventures.

Posted by mrb430 19:58 Archived in Canada Tagged mountains canada off-roading Comments (0)

The Canadian Rockies Do Not Disappoint - Part 1

View 2018 on mrb430's travel map.

I have been delinquent in updating you all on our Arrradventures. Been having too much fun in the Canadian Rockies and focused on planning activities for us and the girls to stop and write. And truth be told I've been avoiding thinking too much since our little one has been suffering neurological issues but we're gonna ignore that for now and focus on the positive - a wonderful week vacation with Morgan and Courtney.

As I write this, we are on the road again, headed to Fort Collins. Two long days of driving ahead of us to reposition and then we settle down in Colorado for a month. Plenty of time to catch you up.

Canmore and Canada Day

After picking the girls up in Calgary, we headed to Canmore, Alberta. About a half hour south of Banff, it's also set right in the heart of the Rockies in the Bow River Valley. We had a beautiful condo with amazing views of the mountains up and down the valley.

This is a view of the Three Sisters from town - loved these mountains.

The best part was we were there for Canada Day! We went into town and watched the parade. They had pipers! and Mounties! and Stampede princesses! And it didn't rain on our parade!

And to cap it off we even had an awesome fireworks show that we were able to watch from our rooftop hot tub!

The girls were definitely in the spirit!

Canmore is just outside Banff National Park but it is surrounded by beautiful Provincial Parks. The girls got in a hike up to the Grassi Lakes and Scott, Cadeau and I did our form of hiking - we hit the dirt roads.

We took the 60+ km loop through Spray Valley Provincial Park and Kananaskis Country that passed by the Grassi Lakes, the Spray Lakes Reservoir, and wound it's way between snow covered mountain ranges. While the clouds were hanging low, the scenery was beautiful.

We even saw some elk. Wildlife viewings have been rare up here so we felt lucky.

Playing Chicken with the Weather in Banff

We had watched the weather forecast for our vacation closely and it looked like we were going to be totally rained out for the entire trip. As it turned out, we had more sunny/partly cloudy days than rainy ones but almost every day felt like playing chicken with the rain as almost everyday at least one shower would come through. I don't think we've used raincoats so much since Bocas del Toro! The days we spent in Banff felt especially touch and go. When you're trying to time going up in the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain, not a cheap endeavor, you don't want to get up there and be socked inn by clouds. We thought we had it timed just right but as it turned out not 10 minutes after Scott and the girls got to the top, they were in the middle of a thunderstorm.
What a difference a half hour can make!

Luckily it was lunch time so they grabbed some food and waited it out and were rewarded with awesome sunny pictures and views.

We also had beautiful weather to grab a cocktail on the deck of the Fairmont Chateau...

...to walk along the Bow River Falls... large_IMG_1033.JPGlarge_IMG_1037.JPGlarge_DSC_0123.JPG

...and vist the Cascade Gardens.

Courtney and Morgan

I would be remiss if I didn't include some thoughts on our daughters, yes I have finally accepted the term "stepmother" into my life. We are constantly amazed by both the inner and outer beauty of these young women (who I invariably refer to as "the girls"). Each time we see them - either in person or on FaceTime - their humor and intelligence, and their growing maturity strike us and make us glad they are a part of our lives. Our ability to participate in their activities this trip, especially mine, was limited by Cadeau's troubles but we all really enjoyed the time we had together.

We did hike the Fenland Trail along the Bow River...

...and drove to the Vermillion Lakes for a great view of my favorite mountain, Mount Rundle.

And they were troopers in pursuing activities other own like rafting, hiking, swimming in the hot springs, and shopping in Banff. They even took advantage of Canada's public transportation to do what they wanted when we couldn't be available or make the truck available. Here are some of my favorite pics of them from the trip.
Being silly...

Being Beautiful...

Being Sisters

Part 2 tomorrow takes us to Upper Banff, Field, Golden, and Yoho National Park. Stay Tuned. And don't forget to follow us on InstaGram at Arrradventures.

Posted by mrb430 19:54 Archived in Canada Tagged mountains banff off-roading the_girls Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 3 of 3) Page [1]