Monday, June 14, 2010

Weekend disconnect

We left Lethbridge fairly early (for us) last Friday and stopped in Fort McLeod after about 35 km of travel.  We very conveniently parked directly in front of the liquor board store which didn’t open until 10:00 – that shows how early our departure was.  I had a little nap while we waited for the store to open and then we stocked up on beer, scotch and wine.

Then we headed into the foothills and turned north at Lundbreck.  I think the Lundbreck/Pincher Creek area is ground zero for wind power in Canada.  I can remember travelling through that area 20 years ago and there were lines of windmills marching across the hills at that time.  Now there’s whole fields covered with them.  

For some reason I have always wanted to drive that stretch of 22 from #3 in the south up through Longview, Turner and Black Diamond but never managed to drive the whole road.  I drove a portion of it last summer but on Friday we went the whole way up and eventually landed in Bragg Creek where we stopped to wait for Alison & Camiel.  When they arrived we followed them into Kananaskis Country and eventually settled in for the weekend.  There’s so many campgrounds out there that I’m not 100% sure which one we were in but I think it was this one.  

It doesn’t really matter which one it was, there’s dozens of spots along 66 highway west of Bragg Creek.  All of them are not much over an hour’s drive out of Calgary and many of them are 1st come spots so all you have to do is get there early to get a site.  Some of the sites along the river were absolutely gorgeous and none of them were too shabby.  No services but that doesn’t really matter just for a weekend and with our solar we didn’t even start the generator until we were ready to leave on Sunday.  The only reason I started it then was to warm up the hot water tank.

Marilyn had a tough weekend.  She did something to her back last week and it slowly tightened up to the point where it was painful to watch her move on Saturday.  I expect she was hurting a lot more than we were but we were hurting just watching her.  It has finally started to mend but it is taking its time.  Last night she soaked it in Alison’s new hot tub/swimming pool.  Its one of those pools with a high power pump that sets up a current for you to swim against.  I’ve heard about them but never seen one – its pretty cool.  And it works as a hot tub too which is the only way I will ever use it.

On Saturday I tried something a little different with a rack of back ribs.  I’ve always boiled them first but I watched a segment on Canada AM where the resident chef told us about slow cooking them over smoke.  Since I don’t have a smoker I had to improvise and I think it worked out damn well, if I do say so myself.  I rubbed them first with some hot dog mustard and then with a dry rub of brown sugar, garlic, paprika and some other secret herbs and spices.  All the mustard does is serve as a binder to stick the dry rub to the ribs.  Then I put them on the top rack in the barbeque and covered the flame disperser (I don’t have tiles or briquets in my BBQ) with thinly split logs.  If you look close in the picture you can see the charred logs under the ribs.

I set the BBQ on its lowest heat and left it to smoke for about 3-1/2 hours.  It wouldn’t have hurt them to go longer but we were getting hungry and they were ready after 3 hours.  The next time I do it I’m going to have some 1 x 8 pine or fir boards cut to the right length for the BBQ and soak them in water overnight.  You need to watch the boards carefully because eventually they catch on fire but its amazing how long that takes.  Once they catch on fire though they will flame up and burn the ribs so you need to change them before that happens.  Beer works well to put the fire out and can be used to extend the life of the lumber but I think soaking the wood overnight would probably work better.  I think with the wet plank I can likely let one side get charred and then turn it over and char the other side before I have to replace them.  And I think two planks will be enough for over 4 hours of slow cooking.  The ribs were pretty damn good but we ate them too late in the day so they kept us both awake that night.  Next time we’ll have them at noon.

All in all it was a glorious weekend.  One night at the campfire Camiel told us a story about hearing some rich dude being interviewed about what was important for success in life.  Apparently his first advice was to make lots of friends early in life.  We are fortunate to have many close friends.  Our nomadic lifestyle lets us spend some wonderful times with those friends.  Its not often that great weather, a great location and great friends come together the way they did this weekend but its pretty special when it does happen.


Wil said...

"some 1 x 8 pine or fir boards"

Make that cedar, if you must use softwood. But, really, maple, hickory, even red oak if that is the only alternative would be preferable to pine, fir or hemlock. The hardwoods' sap is not anywhere near as flammable as the softwoods. Soaking overnight or longer does seem to help impede the conversion to carbon. Good luck. I love reading about your adventures.

Singing Land Cruiser said...

When I grow up, I want to be just like Bob!!!

Jorgito's dad said...

Wil at some level I know that what you say is true but it will never happen. Where I come from oak, maple & hickory are for cabinet making. The thought of burning them is offensive to the way I was raised. So despite knowing that you are likely right I'll be sticking to what was burnable when I was a kid and that is fir and spruce. Maybe I can find some poplar - technically it is a hardwood. Or Siberian elm - technically it is a weed as far as I am concerned.