Six Tires and a Dog Featured

Published on Tuesday, 26 April 2022 08:12

“You know it’s time to travel when you start to look like the person on your driver’s license…” This is the quote that Minitonas residents Bill and Tanya Oakes use as their mantra when it comes to their travels. They started a travel blog called 6 Tires and a Dog that documents their journey from Minitonas to Aransas, Texas.
“We wanted a place for family and friends to follow along on our adventure and thought the perfect place to do this would be on our Facebook page, but we quickly realized that a lot of our family didn't have access to Facebook, so I did some research and came up with the idea of a blog,” said Tanya Oakes. “Having some sort of platform would keep everyone in the loop on where we were and what we were doing, without having to make multiple phone calls repeating the same stories. I later found out that the two could be tied together with the click of a button so we had a Facebook page and then a web page and people could choose which one they preferred to follow along with.
“We started getting messages from people we didn't know asking if we minded if they followed us so we put a subscribe option in and next thing we knew we had hundreds of people following along. I also got a message from a lady in Nova Scotia who was writing to let me know that she had just lost her husband and they loved to travel together.
The blog reminded her of their adventures and she felt it was helping her deal with the loss of him. It was so nice to hear comments and shares like that.”
The Oakes' made several stops along the way to Aransas. Each stop had an adventure all its own and allowed them to take in the sights and some good food along the way.
“We left Minitonas and headed as far as Minot, N.D., for the first night,” said Oakes. “The next day we headed south to Sioux Falls, S.D., where we spent the night with plans to take in Mount Rushmore the next morning. After we completed touring Mount Rushmore, we headed out to Kansas City, Miss., where we stayed at our first RV resort.
The next day we left Kansas City and headed to Mount Vernon, Ill., where we spent the night at another RV Park. The next morning, we headed to our first planned long stay in Nashville, Tenn. where we spent eight days. From Nashville we travelled to New Orleans, La., where we stayed for four days. From New Orleans we went to Galveston Island, Texas, where we spent 10 days before heading west down the Texas coast to Mustang Island, Texas in the Corpus Christi area. We spent a week there and decided that we really liked Galveston Island, so we headed back and spent the next two months there.”
Their plans were a little altered and the Oakes' found themselves rushing against the clock to get back, only to be met with an unexpected surprise.
“Our original plan was to head up the west coast to Abbotsford, B.C., where Billy does his spring training, but when he received his schedule, we found that we wouldn't have the time we needed to get back in time so we made a quick and direct drive back to Canada,” said Oakes. “After 51 hours, nine states, two nights in truck stops and a whopping six hours total sleep, we made it back to the border only to be told that it had been closed by protestors early that morning.”
Despite the change in plans and rush to get back to Canada, the Oakes' still enjoyed their trip and made many memories along the way. Oakes fell in love with the history and culture in New Orleans, for it wasn’t like anything she had experienced before.
“There were so many memorable things, but some of them include camping right next to the ocean,” said Oakes.
“Then seeing things that you’ve only previously read about or seen in pictures like the 38.5 km long bridge when driving into New Orleans or Mount Rushmore, seeing ZZ top in Nashville, everything about New Orleans in general. The ability to be in shorts and a tank top, sitting outside enjoying a cold beer in +26 weather in December; that is a hard one to top.
“I love listening to stories, especially in regards to a place’s history, therefore my favourite place on the trip was New Orleans. I’ve never seen one place have such a vast variety of history attached to it. Not just history, but the types of things that it actually has going on today is so interesting. An example of this would be the two types of vampires that are known and practicing in New Orleans as we speak. The guided ghost tour of the French quarter at night in New Orleans was my favourite thing on the trip.
“My next favourite place was the ocean and being able to walk across the road outside our RV resort and it was right there,” said Oakes. “Being so close that even at night with the windows closed, you could still hear the sound of the waves hitting the shore. It was so soothing. The RV resort we were at on Galveston Island had a diversion of the ocean right behind our RV, full of fish and crab, so we bought some crab traps and were able to eat as much crab as we liked.”
With the ups of travelling also come the challenges too. Looking back, the Oakes' were met with some challenges during their travels that may seem comical now, but at the time were less than amusing.
“Some of the challenges included driving through major cities in an RV and having it breakdown. Finding out that the range on the electric bikes wasn't as long as told by the manufacturer, that was a hard lesson to learn when you’re 13 kilometres from the RV resort and the battery dies. It made for a long and difficult bike ride without the pedal assist. Then it was trying to find RV resorts that weren't for 55+ or full of people, such as us escaping for the winter. Then there was infamous steel height restriction bar at the entrance to an open-air parking lot at Wal-Mart. The one we never expected, but realised was there when it began to drag on the roof tearing off vent covers, satellite cover, denting the ladder and etc. All we could do was slowly keep going forward cringing at the sounds of the bar dragging and destroying the roof and the things on it.”
“It was so interesting to see the weather, scenery and even people's accents changing every day the further south we went. There’s always something to look at and so much to explore. One of the biggest lessons we learnt this winter was that having a vehicle to travel around to explore is the most important asset to have. We lost out on a lot of sightseeing opportunities because we didn't have access to get to them. There are very few things that can be accessed when you are driving a 40 foot RV and don't have a lot of experience doing it and electric bikes can only get you so far.”
The Oakes' sampled some of the best dining they’ve ever eaten in New Orleans. The food had an abundance of flavour unlike anything in Manitoba.
“Hands down, the best food was New Orleans,” said Oakes. “We tried Muffuletta's, Crawfish Etouffee, Cajun Chicken and Andouille Jambalaya, Gumbo, crab, oysters, and Chicken Andouille Gumbo. They were all amazing. We both agreed that we have never tasted such flavourful food in our lives, to date.”
Along with amazing food, the scenery they took was breathtaking as well. They witnessed a variety of different things from the mountains, ocean, bright lights of the Grand Ole Opry and more.
“For amazing views, Mount Rushmore was definitely a favourite of ours,” said Oakes. “It’s one of those places that takes on a whole new meaning when you are standing right there in its presence. The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; The French Quarter in New Orleans; the ocean at Galveston Island with the beach houses standing on their stilts to allow water to flow under and through without damaging them; crossing to Galveston Island on the Ferry and having Dolphins swimming alongside the ferry are just a few others.”
The Oakes' started their trek on Nov. 14, and arrived home on Feb. 11. This allowed them to spend Christmas away from home. They are already thinking of how they will make next year’s trip different and better.
“It was difficult to be away for the holidays, because I love Christmas and usually have my house fully decorated,” said Oakes. “It was the first time that we had Christmas without our kids and family. It was the quietist and loneliest Christmas ever and we both agreed that we wouldn't do it again. We will be travelling back for Christmas or making arrangements to have family join us for Christmas going forward.
“The way things stand right now, we are thinking we will try Arizona out next winter and make sure that this time we get the west coast tour in. We learnt so much from our travels this past winter, good and bad, that the next one will hopefully go a lot smoother and we will definitely be more prepared.”
To check out the Oakes’ blog, go to www.6tiresandadog.com or follow their page on Facebook.

Read 187 times Last modified on Tuesday, 26 April 2022 08:28