Boler Tires – Part 1

Every year we start the camping season by doing a once over of the Boler.  We check to make sure we have power (we don’t – more on that once G figures out the problem), we check our tire pressure, we check to make sure all our camping supplies are ready to go, etc.

Clearly, this year we determined that we have a few fixes to take care of before we hit the road and before we tackle the rest of our to-do list.

This is the current state of our Boler:

There’s actually a bit of a storey as to why our Boler currently looks like this.  The other day, my brother was forced to stop in our City for a few hours while they waited for Canadian Tire to fix a tire.  Their trailer (not a Boler) blew a tire.  And in doing so that tire also shredded through their kitchen cupboard, pluming, electrical, etc.  In the end, they have multiple thousands of dollars worth of repairs to do to their trailer.  (I should mention, they bought it second hand just over a week ago.  Needless to say they are not happy).

Anyways, since we got our Boler a few years ago we kept saying we needed to replace the tires as we are pretty sure they are original tires.  And we kept putting it off, simply because we were putting money into other things.  Needless to say, seeing my brother’s family parked in a Canadian Tire Parking lot for hours on a hot summer afternoon, officially motivated us to bite the bullet and replace our tires before we experience their plight.

Taking off the existing tires turned out to be a bit more challenging then expected.  It turns out we we lost the tire wrench for the Boler (or maybe we never had one?).  Both G and I just assumed it was in the Boler, but it turns out it was nowhere to be found.  So, after searching high and low, G improvised.  Given this, we thought it would be wise to buy a new one to store in the Boler just in case we need to use the spare tire and we aren’t parked in our garage.

And once we took off the tires, we saw this:

Needless to say, its a VERY good thing we replaced the tires NOW!

While we hope to never have to use the spare tire, we were pretty quick to realize that we’d prefer to have a working spare tire.  So, we are replacing all 3 tires.  $500 later, 3 new tires are on order, and we are hoping they arrive soon so that we can get out camping in the beautiful weather.

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Our First Boler Camping Adventure – Waterton Lakes National Park

I still have lots to stay about the renovation, but writing about things like plumbing and gas fitting is not always the most enjoyable.  So, in the interest of my sanity, I decided to share our first Boler adventure!

We were pretty motivated to get our new Boler ready for use, and in fact went out on our first weekend trip about 5 weeks after purchase (we bought it on June 28 and our very first trip out was on the August long weekend (August 2-4)).

We went with some friends to Waterton Lakes National Park. Waterton Lakes National Park is part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park which includes Waterton Lakes National Park on the Canadian side and Glacier National Park on the USA side. It was designated a Word Heritage Site in 1995.

We planned to camp on the Canadian side, as we did not have our dog’s paperwork in order to cross the border. And, we did not have a campsite booked so we knew there was a pretty good chance we’d be sleeping on the side of the road somewhere due to the reservation system which makes it virtually impossible to find a last minute camping spot anywhere in Alberta and/or B.C.

G and I left our house on Friday at about 1pm. We simply couldn’t get away earlier due to G’s work commitments.

Hooked-up and leaving the City!

Hooked-up and leaving the City!

After driving for 3 hours, we discovered that we were right – Finding a camping spot was nearly impossible. Every single spot in and around the park was booked or already taken.

We were desperate, and Waterton Springs Campground just outside the national park, helped us out. I explained our situation, including G’s broken ankle (I was hoping for sympathy). It is a family run campground and were awesome. They gave us a spot in an overflow area that was close to the washrooms so my husband could walk to them. And, when another site came available due to a last minute cancelation, they even moved us to a slightly better site. The campground had full amenities – running water, bathrooms, pay-showers, play structures for kids, fire-wood, a small store, etc. Some sites have significantly more tree coverage and therefore privacy, so if you pre-book definitely make sure to get one of the better sites.

We had such a great time with our friends.  We all spent some time wondering around the townsite enjoying the odd meal and wondering into the touristy stores.

Our friends spent some time mountain biking and hiking.  And we spent some time touring around in our 4Runner and enjoying the quaint townsite as G was wearing an airboot and had very limited mobility.  We stopped by the Buffalo Paddock to see the buffalo roaming, and we also saw 2 different bears on the side of the road.

Each night we enjoyed campfire food, and a few glasses of wine. We had a great time, and even hung out inside the Boler one evening as we waited through a rain storm.

Our friends bought us a Bolerwarming gift (i.e. a housewarming gift), which was just so thoughtful (and necessary as it was something all 4 of us forgot to bring).

Locally Handcrafted Spatula

Locally Handcrafted Spatula

And, on the way home, I made G stop on the side of the highway so that I could take this photo.  I just love the foothills, and wanted to capture this picturesque landscape.

Foothills on Our Way Back to Calgary

Foothills on Our Way Back to Calgary

As for the Boler, she performed admirably on her first weekend out.  We stayed warm and dry (and there was lots of rain, so it was a really good test).  Which meant, we all stayed nice and happy!  After our first weekend away, we were happy we bought our Boler and anticipate many more memorable trips in our future!

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Our Saskatchewan Road Trip

After a few weeks of searching and finally deciding, we hit the road to pick up our vertually untouched 1975 boler. We figured it would be 7 to 8 hours driving each way – or 14-16 hours round trip.

So, we hoped to spend our very first night with our boler sleeping in it. However, considering we had not actually seen the boler in person, this was a bit of a gamble. So we packed our trusty old tent just in case. Along with all the standard camping gear – a change of clothes, campfire food, sleeping bags, ax, etc. And of course, we couldn’t forget the dog and all of her stuff (sometimes I feel like I bring more stuff for her, then for us).

20140918 - Saskatchewan Road Trip1We left at about 7am and started driving east – away from the mountains. I figure it has been at least 20 years since I’ve been in Saskatchewan. And, it turns out, this was the first time G ever stepped foot in Saskatchewan – he had flown over it before, but he had never actually been in it. So, it was a trip of firsts for him.

I think we both expected the super flat topography that we came accustomed to seeing in Corner Gas. You know, the kind where you can see your dog run away for 3 days. It turns out where we were it was definitely predominantly agriculture, but we saw more small rolling hills then we expected.  It was beautiful!

As we drove G and I chatted; I sang horribly to good songs; we stopped for doggy pee breaks and even stopped for lunch in a small town somewhere along the road.

We arrived at the boler seller’s hamlet just outside of Moose Jaw around 3 in the afternoon. We knew we were in the right place because we could see the boler sitting in the driveway. It was exactly as the pictures showed, inside and out.  And the seller and his wife were just as nice as they seemed on the phone and via email.  We had a wonderful time chatting with them and exploring our new boler (and theirs too).

We ended up having a few technical difficulties with the electrical when we hooked the boler up to our 4Runner.  A quick trip into the nearby city, a few parts, and we were on our way home.  The problems weren’t fixed, but we were able to hit the road safely to deal with them when we got home.

After we hit the road, we stopped a few miles later to make sure everything was still hooked up safely.  Everything looked good, and I took the first picture of our boler.

20140918 - Saskatchewan Road Trip3It had been a long day of driving, so we decided to set up camp for our first ever night in our boler at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.  I cannot say too much about the amenities of the campsite – we rolled in late around 7 or 8 pm, and the campsite was packed with tonnes of families having fun.

20140918 - Saskatchewan Road Trip4G took the challenge of starting the campfire -the campsite wood has soaking wet from days of pouring rain, and it was insanely windy.  He eventually got the fire going, just for the rain to start again.  We quickly cooked our gourmet hotdogs over the fire, split a bottle of wine to toast our new adventure, and were thankful for our shelter from the elements – our boler!  And as an added bonus the rain made for a good test to see if there were leaks anywhere – I’m happy to report we stayed dry.

I’m pretty sure our dog was not over impressed at her first night in the boler.  She did eventually settle onto her blanket, when we settled in for the night. None of us slept particularly well, but at least we stayed dry!

20140918 - Saskatchewan Road Trip5We got up bright and early the next morning and finished our drive home.

Up next – we start the renovation/restoration!

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