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OUR TRIP SO FAR

Days on the Road:

Miles Travelled:

655

11,351

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Stop #55:  Radium Hot Springs, BC

Location Type

Townhouse

Connections

Nights

Full

108 (so far)

The Details

We had originally hoped to start construction of our home in the fall of 2022. But with inflation driving the price of everything through the roof and a longer than expected planning/budgeting process we didn't get into the ground last year. Which meant we were facing the very real possibility of spending another winter in the rig.

We talked about heading south - maybe to Arizona again or even Palm Springs - but when Jeff's parents decided that they'd be spending the winter in the southwest we graciously offered to look after their home in Radium Hot Springs for them for the winter.

Spending the winter in Radium has been incredible. The wildlife here offers us something new every day. Bighorn sheep in the back yard. Fresh wolf kills on the hiking trails in the park. Deer licking the salt off the side of our trucks. And peacocks roosting in the trees just off the back deck.

And on top of the wildlife, the town offers a whole bunch of amazing day trips. We've driven to Calgary almost a dozen times this winter, which means a trip through the Rockies just to get to Costco. And the list of national parks and other world-class destinations nearby is top-notch. Banff. Lake Louise. Emerald Lake. Yoho National Park. Golden. The Bugaboos. The list goes on.

We cannot wait to get back to our property to spend another spring and summer establishing our new hobby farm. And hopefully we'll get the house built this year! But in the meantime, our winter in Radium Hot Springs is one we'll always remember.

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Stop #54:  Fairmont Hot Springs, BC

Location Type

Our land

Connections

Nights

Electric

214

The Details

We were super excited to move our rig onto the 5+ acres that will eventually be our permanent home. So on a nice Saturday morning we packed up the rig yet again to make the short drive from our son's home to our plot of land in Fairmont Hot Springs - at the base of the Rocky Mountains. We have a ton of work ahead of us as we plan the home of our dreams.

 

We expected that we'd miss being on the road, but over the summer we settled in and got an incredible amount of work done on the property. We put in a 700-foot driveway, built an elk fence around a massive garden, got our land serviced with electricity and water, and built a bar and several other outbuildings. 

We also got to work planning our future home and meeting with builders to handle the construction. We expect to break ground in March, 2023.

At the beginning of winter we were able to take advantage of the fact that Jeff's parents were heading south for a few months, so we moved into their townhouse in Radium Hot Springs to avoid freezing to death in the rig. Given that the temperatures dropped to below -40 within our first few weeks after winterizing the rig we're pretty confident we made the right choice.

We'll be back on our land (and living in the rig again) in March, but in the meantime we'll enjoy the luxury of having a roof over our heads and a washer/dryer at our disposal!

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Stop #53:  Fairmont Hot Springs, BC

Location Type

Family

Connections

Nights

Electric/Water

6

The Details

After almost six full months south of the border we crossed back into Canada at the Roosville port of entry with little fanfare and no issues. We were the only vehicle in line, and the border guard chatted with us for a few minutes purely out of boredom.

We spent a fantastic week 'moochdocking' at our son's home in Fairmont Hot Springs. Veronica had made a trip back to BC in December to visit both boys, but aside from a very short visit with our eldest (Iain) in late August I hadn't seen either of them in almost an entire year. It was fantastic to see everyone and get caught up - and we're looking forward to being close to family in the Columbia Valley for a little while.

During our week there we received a double-dose of fantastic news: (1) Iain and his fiancé , Deanna, got married while we were gone; and (2) we're going to be grandparents! Their baby is due in September and we are incredibly happy for both of them. And we're selfishly happy for ourselves that we'll be grandparents later this year.

And, as if that weren't enough exciting news, we're also beginning to plan the home we'll be building here in the Columbia Valley. Until it's built, we'll still be full-time RV'ers - so our 'journey' will continue even while our rig is stationary.

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Stop #52:  Whitefish, MT

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

1

The Details

Our final night in the United States on the first leg of our journey was spent in a no-frills RV resort in Whitefish. One of the longest travel days of our entire journey took us from Pocatello, Idaho all the way to Whitefish.

Despite the long day things went about as smoothly as possible, with one exception. We still required Covid tests before crossing the border - and the pharmacy at which we booked our tests only offered them at the drive thru. So we had to unhook the rig and ditch it in a nearby bank parking lot to have our Covid tests done. Hooking and unhooking the rig took longer than the actual tests!

Whitefish is said to be a very cool little town. We didn't have much time to explore it during our quick one-night fly-by this time around, but it is just as close to our new home as Calgary is so we expect to see it plenty in the future.

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Stop #51:  Pocatello, ID

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Electric

1

The Details

We had originally planned to depart Virgin on Saturday, but with a favourable weather forecast and a light work schedule on Friday we decided to leave a day early. We left our resort too late to receive a refund for the final night of our stay, but it was a price we were willing to pay to begin our journey north towards the Canadian border.

 

We booked a site in Salt Lake City, but after a few hours on the road we felt we could easily continue on for a few more hours so we flew right through SLC and made it as far as Pocatello, Idaho before calling it a day. But by the time we decided to breeze through Salt Lake it was too late to cancel that reservation.

So in addition to the fee for the site in Pocatello that we actually we used, we were also paying for two other RV sites that night! Probably not the best financial decision, but it was worth it in order to get closer to the border than we had expected.

 

We got Covid tests booked for ourselves in Whitefish, Montana the following afternoon - with plans to cross the border the day after that.

 

We were so close to BC we could almost taste it at this point, and despite the beauty of Montana we had no desire to stick around any longer than necessary.

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Stop #50: Virgin, Utah  (Zion)

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

13

The Details

An incredibly beautiful drive from Sedona along Highway 89A got us to our next stop: Zion River RV Resort in Virgin, Utah. Being at Zion after spending three weeks in Sedona meant that we were able to enjoy two of the United States' most beautiful places back-to-back. It's hard to pick a favourite between Sedona and Zion... they are both simply spectacular.

Our two weeks in Virgin got off to an unexpected start, when I had to make some last-minute plans for a business trip to New York. So after one night near Zion we headed to Las Vegas for a night there so that I could catch a flight to JFK. We had a great night in Las Vegas - including an amazing meal at the Aria - before settling in for our stay near Zion.

There were some public lands near our RV resort that were perfect for hiking and walking the dogs - and it turned out that there was a 'back entrance' to Zion National Park not far from our site. And we got a year's worth of use out of National Parks pass, with several trips into the park on weeknights after work.

 

There is no way to accurately capture Zion's beauty with a camera, but I sure tried. I managed to take a ton of photos and videos of the park with the drone, and we also had a few nice hikes and walks - including a walk to the famous 'Narrows' in Zion Canyon.

It was incredible to be in the park during the winter, with empty roads and empty parking lots. And we managed to hit Zion during one of the only periods of the year where private vehicles are allowed to explore the canyon. Zion Canyon can only be accessed by shuttle bus for most of the year due to the number of visitors and the chaos their cars cause on the narrow road.

No doubt about it: we'll be back to Zion again soon!

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Stop #49: Sedona, AZ

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

20

The Details

After two nights of fairly extreme boondocking (at least by fifth-wheel standards) it was nice to arrive at our RV park near Sedona - complete with electricity and water!

 

Our three weeks in Sedona may have been some of our most enjoyable times since the beginning of our journey. The weather was exceptional - with hot and sunny days for the first couple of weeks and then a gorgeous blanket of snow during our final few days in the area.

There were countless miles of hiking for Veronica during our time in Arizona. She got out for treks every day of our stay - and the two of us often went exploring or hiking after work, as well. But the highlight was a special visitor: Vee's dear friend Deanna visited from BC for a week while I went to New Carlisle to watch the Super Bowl with my Ohio family.

It's hard to capture the beauty of this area - either in words or in photographs. Places like Boynton Canyon and the Grand Canyon left us in awe - as did Bell Rock, the Courthouse, and Devil's Bridge. And the drive to Jerome was so pretty that we did it several times. Our RV resort also had a nice pool and hot tub, which we enjoyed on the hot sunny days and even on the cold, snowy evenings.

Sedona is definitely a place that will be on the list of places that we'll be sure to come back to. 

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Stop #48: Coconino Nat'l Forest

Location Type

Boondock

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

As had been the case on our previous travel day, we had no specific destination in mind as we pulled out of (chilly) Datil to continue our trek to Sedona. Our RV park reservations didn't start til Sunday, and instead of asking for an early arrival date we decided to boondock for another night along the way.

What we hadn't considered before hitting the road was that the area where there appeared to be tons of boondocking available outside Sedona was actually over 6,500 feet in elevation - and therefore well above the snow line. Every single forest service road that we had planned to explore in our 'target area' was still closed for the season.

So we passed through the mountain passes and made it to the Coconino National Forest just outside Sedona. The area was beautiful, with large open spaces and a bunch of entry gates leading from the highway to the backcountry. We opened one of the gates and drove through - onto a rugged road that had probably never seen a fifth-wheel trailer before. Frankly, I am amazed that we made it over the jagged rocks and rough terrain without breaking anything. But we did, and we were rewarded with a fantastic spot in the middle of a large clearing with gigantic blue skies and majestic mountain views. It was an awesome place to spend the night.

In the morning we took the dogs (and the cat) for a walk and then we decided to check out some of the other nearby forest services roads and do some 4x4'ing. We found a nice trail that kept us busy for a few hours and gave the truck a chance to flex its muscles again on some rough, rocky climbs and descents.

Then we returned to the rig, hooked up, and very slowly made our way back to the highway to finish our weekend adventure to Sedona. 

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Stop #47: Datil, NM

Location Type

Boondock

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

We had no specific destination in mind when we left Alamogordo, so we decided to keep our eyes open for a nice place to boondock for the night about half-way to Sedona. The drive through New Mexico was spectacular, with vast golden plains, snow-capped mountains, and lots of interesting things to see along the way (such as the VLA = Very Large Array).

When we got to the tiny 'town' of Datil (population: 50) we saw a sign for a state recreation area nearby so we decided to check it out. It was perfect! There were approximately 40 rough campsites and not a single other person in the area. So we found the most scenic site we could find and set up shop. This may have been one of our great finds! The scenery in the area was amazing, and the silence and peace and quiet was just as impressive as we had experienced in Big Bend.

We had been having issues with our batteries not holding a charge very well, so we were a bit concerned about the cold weather that was forecast overnight. Our propane furnace works great and we had just topped up our propane to full capacity (110lbs), but when the batteries die the furnace fan doesn't work - which can make for a chilly night. I gassed up the generator to run it for the first time in 9 months and it worked like a charm, so we charged the batteries fully before bed.

Overnight, the temperature dropped to around -21C (around -5F). I had set our thermostat very low (40F) to make sure that the temperature indoors didn't drop below freezing but also to make sure that the furnace wasn't running all night and draining the batteries too quickly. We slept fine (it was actually quite cozy) but the rig was extremely cold when we woke up in the morning. Having made it through the night, the first thing I did was go outside to start the generator so that we could crank up the heat indoors. But there was no way the generator wanted to start having spent the night at -21C. It was a balmy -16C when we woke up, and it wasn't until we brought the generator inside to 'thaw out' for a few hours that I was actually able to take it back outside and get it to start. 

After running the generator for a while the rig warmed up and the batteries were charged up enough to pull the slides in, retract the landing gear, and hit the road. But not before a few laughs and eye-rolls.

Before we left we went for a lovely hike overlooking the San Augustin Plains and the Datil Mountains.

(Oh... and on the way out of the rec area after a cold night and freezing morning we passed three campsites which had recently been upgraded to include 50A electrical hookups. lol)

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Stop #46: Alamogordo, NM

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

6

The Details

A major recurring theme of our entire journey has been how incredibly impressed we have been by the beauty of places we had never heard of before. Add southern New Mexico to the list! Our home for the week was a fairly bland RV park - but it was clean and had nice big sites so we knew we'd be happy there.

After a 400 mile drive from Big Bend we were tempted to take it easy on our first afternoon in New Mexico. But since the amount of exploring I can do on weekdays is limited to short after-work trips we're always reluctant to waste a Saturday or Sunday relaxing. We'll have plenty of time to relax when we're dead. So we decided to go for a short drive to the nearby Lincoln National Forest to look for a nice spot to watch the sun set. That short drive turned into about 5 hours of really cool finds that included a ski town at an elevation of around 9,000 feet, an old railway trestle, a beautiful canyon and viewpoint, and some nice shops and a great BBQ restaurant. And in the end we still got to see an incredible sunset as we drove off the mountain towards our rig at the end of the day.

One of the more unique things we had seen was White Sands National Park. The park itself is small, but the area covered by New Mexico's white sand dunes is absolutely massive. The setting is so peaceful and beautiful and quiet. But not always! The park borders the White Sands Missile Range, where more than 42,000 missile and rocket tests have been conducted. And the tests still happen several times per week, closing the park and the nearby highway.

 

No visit to Alamogordo would have been complete without a trip to Pistachioland - a huge pistachio plantation that included the world's largest pistachio. The New Mexico Space Museum is also in Alamogordo, and while I didn't bother to explore the inside of the museum there were some cool things to see outside.

 

We also got our first taste of winter while in Alamogordo. Our final two nights were well below freezing ands included 2-3" of snow. But departure day was warm and sunny for us and we made our way down the road to Datil - where we really got hit with some winter weather!

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Stop #45: La Cuesta - BBRSP

Location Type

State Park

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

We had been so impressed with the beauty of Big Bend Ranch State Park during our time in Lajitas that we decided to leave our cushy RV resort one day early and spend a night boondocking in the state park. This got us way out into the wilderness on the shore of the Rio Grande and also got us a 45-minute head start on our long drive day to New Mexico.

We got all hooked up on Friday afternoon and pulled out of our site at Maverick Ranch RV Resort as soon as my last work meeting ended. A short drive along FR170 had us playing fetch with the dogs in the Rio Grande an hour later.

Our site wasn't level and we didn't even bother unhooking. We met another full-timer (Ohio) and a couple of other RV'ers (Michigan and Austin, TX). It was absolutely pitch black and absolutely silent at this campground, and after an early night and a good night's sleep we were on the road by 715am Saturday.

In addition to the La Cuesta campground, there are many others in the state park. Two that we'd consider in the future would be Upper and Lower Madera Canyon campgrounds. They look beautiful, as well.

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Stop #44: Lajitas, TX

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

6

The Details

We couldn't wait to get to Big Bend National Park for the wide open spaces and big sky - and we weren't disappointed. A long (but easy) 490 mile travel day got us to our home for the week - a very nice RV park on the Rio Grande overlooking Mexico.

Our home for the week was in the town of Lajitas, about 30 minutes from the park entrance. We opted to stay there instead of inside the park boundaries because I need reliable connectivity for work and with no cell coverage and spotty wifi (at best) within the park it would have likely been a challenging week. Our park was great - and was part of the Lajitas Golf Resort complex which gave us access to a lot of other amenities.

 

Our first full day in the area was super busy and included a hike to Balanced Rock, a drive through the Chisos Basin, and an amazing trip across the Rio Grande in to Borquillas del Carmen, Mexico. During the work week I was able to enjoy evening trips to places such as Terlingua while Veronica was able to hike and explore outdoors all day every day. She discovered a nice trail right at our park that led up to the top of Lajitas Mesa - a 9-mile round trip. We finished our week with a full day in and around the national park. We strolled through Santa Elena Canyon (including another walk across the Rio Grande into Mexico), a cruise along the gorgeous Ross-Maxwell Scenic Drive, a mild 12-mile off-road stint on Old Maverick Road, and topped things off with a sunset horseback ride in Study Butte and a great meal at the Starlight Theater in Terlingua.

Big Bend National Park is an 'IDA dark sky park' meaning that no artificial light is permitted at night - making it an amazing place for stargazing. Adjacent to the national park is a Texas state park - which is also a 'dark sky' zone. These two parks combine to form one of the largest continuous areas under 'dark skies' protection in the United States and feature some of the darkest night skies in North America.

We had a fantastic time in west Texas, and would recommend this somewhat out-of-the-way spot to other travelers.

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Stop #43: New Braunfels, TX

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

6

The Details

We left behind a storm in Louisiana and hit the road at sunrise for a long drive to hill country in Texas. Several accidents forced a detour of about 30 miles soon after we hit the road, but our 42nd 'moving day' was otherwise uneventful. 

We were in New Braunfels for a week, including a move from one RV site to another after a couple of days because we had originally been placed in the 'ghetto' part of the park. There's no particular reason we chose New Braunfels as our home for the week aside from the fact that it was close to I-10 and about halfway between Ponchatoula and Big Bend National Park (one of our many anticipated destinations as we begin moving west).

Veronica continued her Covid battle almost all week, but was able to join me for a trip into Gruene on our last night in hill country. This cute little town is filled with live music, artisans' shops, and gourmet food. We caught some live music at legendary Gruene Hall as well as picked up a whole bunch of great vinegars and oils and various pickled vegetables for later on our journey - as well as some souvenirs and other odds and ends.

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Stop #42: Ponchatoula, LA

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

2

The Details

One of our favourite things about not having a plan is, well, not having a plan! We had originally figured we'd bypass New Orleans altogether since we had been there before and didn't need a late night before a second long day of driving. But when we pulled into the RV park we had booked for a one-night stopover in Ponchatoula it turned out to be a really nice resort. So we decided to change our plans and add a second night at the resort: Reunion Lake RV Resort. The park has a nice lake with a walking path, a couple of pools and a hot tub, a really nice mini golf course and tennis and pickleball courts - and a lazy river! (Lazy rivers are, in my opinion, one of mankind's best inventions).

Adding a second night in Ponchatoula gave us the opportunity to drive across the world's longest bridge (23.8 miles!), spend some time in New Orleans, and visit some plantations along the Mississippi River. It gave us a long drive day to New Braunfels on Sunday but we were willing to pay the price in return for a day in the Big Easy.

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Stop #41: Eastpoint, FL

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

13

The Details

We lucked out and booked a week in a site with an unobstructed view of the Gulf of Mexico in Eastpoint, Florida.  The drive from Jacksonville to Eastpoint was probably one of our easiest drive days of the entire trip, with just a tad over 200 miles of great interstate and state highways.

We will be the first to admit that we had low expectations for our time along the Florida gulf coast. I'm not sure exactly what we were expecting but we definitely weren't expecting the white sand paradise we found in the area around Eastpoint. This may very well end up as one of the best stops we make on our entire journey. We simply can't say enough good things about the beauty of the area. This is a place that we'll be sure to return to someday - maybe more than once!

Our first day here was a nice one, with a dip in the pool and lots of sun. We also drove across the 4-mile long Patton Bridge to St. George Island. The bridge is the third-longest in Florida, but seemed small compared to the Confederation Bridge to PEI. Our first day was topped off with a 'tornado watch' for the area - an exciting experience for newbie full-time RV'ers like us! No tornadoes materialized, but the thunderstorm overnight was extreme as any we have ever experienced. Hattie is always scared by thunder, but the fact that even Dublin was whimpering and shaking is a testament to the severity of the storm. We ended up converting the sofa into a second king bed so that Veronica and both the dogs could cuddle and weather the storm. Sunrise the following morning was incredible, though... with crystal clear blue skies, no humidity, and temperatures about 45 degrees cooler than they had been the night before.

Our second day was my last day to dedicate to exploring since my Christmas break was ending and it was time to return to work. We covered a lot of ground and saw a ton of great stuff: Saint Vincent Island, St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, Port St. Joe, and Mexico Beach. We bought a pound of fresh scallops near the park and ended holidays with a tremendous pasta dish. 

Beachcombing on St. George Island is amazing, with mound after mound of gorgeous seashells. And Hattie was able to enjoy the waves as there wasn't another person anywhere on the beach - even mid-day. Every day here was better than the last, with experiences such as dive bars in Apalachicola, manatees in the Wakulla River, amazing meals using fresh seafood straight from the boat.

In fact, we loved our RV resort - and the entire area - so much that we couldn't bring ourselves to leave after only one week. So we extended our stay by an extra week - and although that meant giving up our waterfront spot it meant a little less wind and a little less road noise. 

The gulf coast of Florida is 'old' Florida at its best and we're so happy we decided to check it out instead of high-tailing it to New Orleans. We'll be back to the Apalachicola area for sure!

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Stop #40: Kingsland, GA

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

1

The Details

A quick one-nighter at the Jacksonville North KOA in Kingsland, GA. We assumed this location would actually be in Florida but it's not. It's actually just across the state line in Georgia. But it would be a completely uneventful campground in any state.

 

We covered over 400 miles on our way out of Wilmington and passed through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. This stay will likely be entirely forgotten a few days from now. It was just a quick stop-over en route to our next destination of East Point, Florida on the Gulf Coast.

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Stop #39: Wilmington, NC

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

38

The Details

Our longest stay in any one place since leaving British Columbia was in Wilmington, North Carolina. Pre-Covid we had traveled to North Carolina every summer for many years, but the pandemic shut us out of the Carolinas through all of 2020 and almost all of 2021. It had been way too long since we had been there.

We have lots of family in the area - including two sets of aunts & uncles as well as several cousins nearby. We celebrated Thanksgiving with them during our visit - which was my first 'American' Thanksgiving in almost forty years and Veronica's first American Thanksgiving ever. We stayed in the area right through the Christmas holidays - and (happily) house-sat my aunt and uncle's gorgeous home for them while they returned to Indiana for Christmas with their daughter's family.

 

Our entire visit to North Carolina was fantastic, with weather in the upper 70's and even into the 80's for a good portion of our time there. Veronica made a trip back to BC to visit our boys during our time in Wilmington, and while she was gone I got the dogs out to the beaches in Carolina Beach or Wrightsville every day to tire them out before work. During these beach mornings we managed to get a $250 ticket (dogs off leash) as well as a nasty stomach bug for Hattie that brought about a couple of visits to the vet. 

We're already planning our next trip to the area - likely in June/July of 2022 - and we can't wait!

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Stop #38: Charleston, SC

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

7

The Details

We were planning on stopping about half-way between Knoxville and Charleston on the assumption that we would be really tired - and likely hungover - after the Eric Church concert on our last night in Knoxville. But when we woke up after a few short hours of sleep we decided we'd prefer to just cram the entire drive all in one day so we'd have all day Sunday to enjoy Charleston. 

Our 300+ mile drive pushed us over the 7,000-mile mark for our journey! We had an incredible week of warm weather and sun in Charleston. We had been there several times before - but never for more than one night. So it was very nice to be able to take our time and get to know the city better than we had in the past.

Our RV park wasn't super nice in Charleston. It had potential... but the owners didn't do a great job of keeping it clean so we didn't spend much time outdoors while at the park. But we did get downtown or to the beach (or both) every day during our stay. And I even booked a Regus office for a few days so that I could work efficiently and get outside to walk and explore at lunchtime.

We started our week in Charleston with a trip to Kiawah Island - and Veronica and the dogs also made it to James Island and Folly Beach a couple of times. We enjoyed a lot of good food and wine during our week in South Carolina - including a great rooftop wine bar, a couple of great restaurants, and three visits to a really great King Street wine bar that we had visited on our last trip here.

We also connected with a colleague of mine from work who splits her time between Pittsburgh and Charleston. She took us out for an amazing dinner at one of her favourite restaurants, and then we topped off the week with dessert at a late-night place that we never would have found without some local knowledge.

We had a great time in Charleston - as we always do - but we were also really looking forward to heading north to Wilmington, North Carolina. We have lots of family there and will be spending more than a month in Wilmington - likely with daily (or twice-daily) beach trips to Wrightsville Beach or Carolina Beach!

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Stop #37: Knoxville, TN

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

2

The Details

We probably could have made the trip from Nashville to the coast in one (long) day of driving, but we decided to split the journey from Nashville to Charleston into a couple of shorter legs.

 

Our first stop en route to the Atlantic was Knoxville - primarily because Eric Church was playing there on Friday night. And what a great night it was! The concert was - as always - fantastic. And we met a couple of really nice local ladies who made the night at the concert even that much more enjoyable. They gave us a lot of useful local knowledge about the city - and were big college football fans. We didn't know that the University of Tennessee homecoming game was the day after the concert - against #1 ranked Georgia. This was a huge game, and it seemed like the arena was full of fans from both schools. In hindsight, it would have been pretty great to see that game - or at least to do some tailgating beforehand. Next time!

Another highlight of our time in Knoxville was - believe it or not - the taxi driver that we met on the way to the concert. We had planned to Uber from our RV park, but we couldn't get a car. So we drove about half-way downtown and parked in a Hooters parking lot and called a cab. The taxi driver was a super-interesting young man from Gambia - who had a Masters degree and also sold real estate in Knoxville. We had a great conversation with him en route to the concert and asked him if he'd mind picking us up afterwards. He did that, too, and our conversation with him is one we'll remember for a long time. A great guy.

Before the concert we had spent the day exploring just a tiny sliver of Great Smoky Mountain National Park. What incredible scenery - and I think we timed our visit here absolutely perfectly to see the colour of the fall leaves in all their splendour.

 

We had also thought it might be kind of cool to spend some time in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge - but what a disaster those places are! They both seem to be about 10x tackier than Myrtle Beach, which has always seemed to us to be just about the tackiest place we've ever seen. There must be more mini golf, pancake restaurants, and go karts in Pigeon Forge than any other place on earth. 

Our short stay in Knoxville was great - partly because of the Eric Church concert but equally because of the cool people we met that night!

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Stop #36: Nashville, TN

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

7

The Details

With all due respect to Cave City, we kinda felt like we had done everything there was to do there after four nights! So we packed up and hit the road to Nashville a day earlier than expected. We stayed at an RV park that had been recommended to us by a friend we made months ago at our very first RV park in Radium Hot Springs. (Thanks, Alvin!) The location was great, and there were Ubers and shuttle buses and hop-on-hop-off trolleys everywhere to make it easier to explore the city.

We were really excited to be in Nashville - one of the few cities we've visited on this journey that neither of us had seen before. And it didn't disappoint!

 

We did a hop-on-hop-off trolley tour on one of our first days in Nashville. That gave us a good sense of the lay of the land. And then we took full advantage of being there for a full week to squeeze as much out of the city as we could. We saw live music just about every day, and had a late, drunken night downtown on Friday. I don't think I have ever seen a louder city. There is more live music than we've ever seen anywhere. And rooftop bars and cheap drinks all over the place. Party Central, for sure.

 

We also explored the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel a couple of times, which was just a couple of minutes from our RV park. It was incredibly pretty, indoors and out. And we drove Music Row a couple of times, which we assumed would be a collection of more bars and live music but which was, in actual fact, block after block of small homes that had been turned into recording studios, lawyers and agents' offices, and all the other infrastructure to support not only the country music industry but more music in general anywhere other than Los Angeles. At total surprise.

But we saved the best for last, as our final two nights in Music City included an evening at the Bluebird Cafe and then, on our final night, the 55th Annual Country Music Awards (aka the CMA's). This is country music's biggest night, and even though none of the artists performed more than a song or two, it was incredible to see almost ALL of our favourites in one place on one night. You name the artist and they were there: Chris Stapleton, HARDY, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Amanda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Breland, Kane Brown, Blake Shelton, Jimmie Allen, Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan, and others I can't remember right now. A perfect way to wrap up a great stay in Nashville.

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Stop #35: Cave City, KY

Location Type

RV park

Connections

Nights

Full

4

The Details

After an amazing stop in Versailles we were afraid we might be let down a little bit by Cave City and the nearby Mammoth Cave National Park. Nope!

There's not much to the town of Cave City - at least based on what we've seen so far - but our RV park is great and our cave tour was really cool. The wi-fi at the RV park is humming, and it is very nice to have full hookups after close to a month moochdocking in Ohio.

I have a busy work week this week, but the nearby parks will give Veronica and the dogs plenty to explore during the days. And we have a few more minor repairs and fixes to make on the rig before the cold weather arrives. It looks it will get below freezing a couple of nights this week so we'll need to make sure we're ready for that. But the days look to be sunny and we're looking forward to another week of new adventures and explorations!

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Stop #34: Versailles, KY

Location Type

Harvest Host

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

What an unexpectedly great stop Versailles was! It was very sad to leave New Carlisle after having such a great visit, but a short drive through Cincinnati and across the Ohio River got us into Kentucky. We had originally planned to go all the way to Mammoth Cave National Park after leaving Ohio, but we decided to stop about half-way to explore a bit of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail - and to visit the distillery for my absolute favourite bourbon: Woodford Reserve.

We had a great tour at Woodford and picked up a few bottles, but our Harvest Host stay was also a blast. There were 7 or 8 other rigs parked in a grassy area at Wildside Winery and the owners were incredibly gracious and helpful. They clearly love having Harvest Host visitors. We did a wine and cheese tasting before our Woodford tour, and then when we got back we got to join the winery's Halloween party - complete with live band, dancing, and a food truck! Definitely the best Harvest Host stay we;ve had yet.

And... wow... the countryside around Versailles is so pretty it's hard to believe. After spending so much time living near the mountains and oceans we've been spoiled, but in all honestly the horse farms and rolling hills around Versailles might be as pretty as anything we've ever seen. We had no idea Kentucky was so beautiful. What a pleasant surprise!

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Stop #33: New Carlisle, Ohio

Location Type

Family

Connections

Nights

Electric, Water

20

The Details

There's no place like home - and it's so nice to be back in Ohio for my longest visit here since childhood. We'll be stationary (in my father's driveway) for a few weeks, and we're really looking forward to spending time with family that we don't see nearly often enough.

It was great to celebrate a birthday here. And it'll also be great to be in one place long enough to get some maintenance taken care of on the rig, get rid of a bunch of useless stuff that we've been hauling with us for over 6000 miles, and get ready for the cold weather we're sure to encounter in the coming months.

There are a few things we'd like to be sure to see and do while we're here, but for the most part we're looking forward to slowing down for a while and being rooted somewhere for the first time since we spent three weeks in Ottawa over the summer.

We're not sure where we'll go from here or when we'll leave, but we're thinking we'll look for an overnight spot somewhere on the bourbon trail in Kentucky before heading to Nashville for a week in November.

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Stop #32: Pittsburgh, PA

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

3

The Details

Our stop in Pittsburgh was the first time since starting our journey that we actually had a specific destination and date in mind. We had purchased tickets to Eric Church's concert here months ago, so we have known for quite some time that we needed to be in Pittsburgh on October 8th. And we made it, following what was certainly our most difficult week of travel.

A long drive from Halifax to Portland triggered horrible neck and back pain for me - likely from the stress of the long drive. A couple of days were completely unbearable and extremely frustrating. Throw in a flat tire and an issue with our trailer brakes and we were more than happy to spend more time in Pittsburgh than expected.

The drive in through Pennsylvania was surprisingly beautiful, with a ton of rolling hills, changing leaves, and other nice scenery. And one of the few positive Covid-related events was the fact that Eric Church's band was unable to perform with him at the concert on Friday - meaning that virtually the entire concert was just him and a guitar. This was a real highlight for us. (Thankfully his band will be okay, as well).

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Stop #31: Portland, Maine

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

2

The Details

The single longest day of our journey thus far got us across the border into Maine. The 555 miles and 11 hours of driving (Jeff) and three flights, four airports, and 13 hours at the mercy of the airlines (Veronica) doesn't even begin to tell the story of how challenging and frustrating the border crossing has been. After waiting month after month for the US land border to open to Canadians we finally gave up and went to plan B. So I drove the rig (and all the animals) from Halifax to Portland while Veronica flew from Halifax to Toronto to New York to Portland. But not until after we had spent weeks researching Covid restrictions and entry requirements - and printing every imaginable document related to us, our pets, our travel plans, financials... you name it! 

Thankfully, everything went about as smoothly as we could have hoped. The dogs were troopers, and the Customs agents we each dealt with were great. After all the planning it was a piece of cake - and it's nice to be in USA for a while where there are so many more places to explore.

We're only booked for one night at the KOA in Saco, Maine - but this is by far the nicest RV park we've stayed in yet and since we're both wiped out from a long day of travel we might consider staying here for an extra night.

We don't have any specific destinations or plans for our travel this week - but I have a busy week at work so we'll probably be doing short 2-3 hour drives each evening after my calls and meetings wrap up. Our next firm destination is a stay in Pittsburgh on Friday night - as we have great seats for the Eric Church concert there before moving on to Ohio to spend time with family for a few weeks.

 

We're both really looking forward to the next few months, which will also include Nashville and Wilmington/Carolina Beach. But we're also going to have to make some plans for winter soon! It'll be here before we know it and we don't have any idea where we'll be spending the winter months.

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Stop #30: Halifax, NS

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

3

The Details

Our final stop - hopefully - on the first Canadian leg of our journey is in Halifax... but it was definitely tough to leave Lunenburg. We loved it there so much, and we're going to continue to keep our eyes open for property on the south shore of Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, there are people from all over the place doing the same thing right now so we'll have to be ready to act quickly. I suppose we'll see what happens.

In the meantime, all our plans are in place for crossing the border this weekend. Covid tests booked. Flight and hotel booked for Veronica. Route planned for me and our zoo on wheels. Sunday figures to be the most challenging day for us since we left Vancouver Island but I think we're about as prepared as we can be.

We're hoping to enjoy our last few days in Nova Scotia prior to heading south. We're at a decent KOA campground for a few nights - close enough to Halifax to allow us to get downtown each night. 

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Stop #29: Lunenburg, NS

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

11

The Details

"Wow" is about the only word we can think of to describe Lunenburg. It has been several years since we've been here and it's every bit as beautiful as we remember it. We've lost count of how many UNESCO World Heritage sites we have seen on our trip across the country - but Lunenburg is another one!

We had a nice easy five-hour drive from Cape Breton today. Easy schmeezy - just the way we like it! The weather was miserable when we hit the road this morning, but by the time we arrived in Lunenburg the skies were clear and blue. And there was even a bagpiper practicing in a park nearby while we were getting set up. A perfect Nova Scotia welcome.

We are booked here for five nights - but we're planning to extend our stay for an extra week. There are a ton of beaches and hikes nearby that Veronica and the dogs would like to check out - and I have a very busy few weeks at work so I'd like to be stationary and as productive as possible.

We also have some 'chores' to do while we're here. We're planning to cross the border into the States soon so we'll have some healthcare research to do and some other plans to make. Due to Covid the logistics of crossing the border with the rig and the animals will be a challenge so it'll take some planning. We're happy to spend an extra week here in Lunenburg to work through it all.

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Stop #28: Cape Breton, NS

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

4

The Details

A First Nations RV park near Saint Ann's will be our home for the next few days. Veronica was born on Cape Breton Island but has not returned in over 25 years - and despite the fact that we have been together for close to 30 years this is my first ever visit to the place of her birth.

We're looking forward to exploring the world famous Cabot Trail, as well as spending time with Veronica's family in North Sydney. I had planned to take a few days off work during our stay here, but it's looking less and less likely that I'll be able to do that - meaning that I'll be largely limited to evening and weekend adventures.

This really is a beautiful part of the world, and as much as everyone enjoys warm sunny days while exploring new places it almost feels like it would be more appropriate to explore the Highlands under grey and rainy skies.

We're really looking forward to our time here!

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Stop #27: Pictou, NS

Location Type

Prov Park

Connections

Nights

Electric, Water

3

The Details

Wow... was it ever sad to leave Prince Edward Island?! We had heard how idyllic and beautiful it was but I don't think either of us were prepared to enjoy it as much as we did. It was tough to say goodbye.

But an early morning wake-up and a one-hour drive to the ferry got us on our way to Nova Scotia. We'll spend the better part of the next month here - but we'll be moving frequently and covering lots of ground. Veronica was born here and still has a ton of family in Nova Scotia - and we're looking forward to seeing them.

Our first stop is a really nice provincial park in Pictou. The sites here are massive and have a view of a huge grassy plateau and the beach and water beyond. The people throughout Atlantic Canada have all been extremely friendly thus far - and it seems like everyone is intrigued by our full-time RV lifestyle and the distance we have travelled to get here. Telecomm coverage here leaves a lot to be desired, though, and the only place I seem to have sufficient coverage for work calls and meetings is at a picnic table in the middle of the public area. The view is great, but privacy is definitely lacking. But it's hard to beat the commute!

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Stop #26: Cornwall, PEI

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

8

The Details

An unplanned trip back to BC mid-week wreaked a bit of havoc on our plans, but we were able to enjoy a few extra days in Quebec City before heading east. An 11-hour travel day (nearly 600 miles) on the Sunday of Labour Day weekend allowed us to take advantage of empty highways, and we were rewarded with a great ocean-view site for the week in Cornwall - near Charlottetown. The highlight of the drive, of course, was the first trip for each of us across the 8-mile-long Confederation Bridge.

 

We're really excited to be near the ocean again! It has been over four months since either of us saw the ocean - which is the longest that either of us has gone without salt air in 40+ years. 

 

We're going to take in as much of this province as we can this week - and we may even decide that we want to stay longer. Time will tell.
 

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Stop #25: Quebec City, QC

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

7

The Details

Without a doubt, our worst travel day yet was the drive from Ottawa to Quebec City. Despite everyone telling us to avoid Montreal traffic and construction at all costs, we got re-routed by Google and ended up in the belly of the beast. Oh man. Wow. Ugh! Hopefully that's not a sign of things to come as we spend more and more time on the east coast. Wow. Just wow!

We did manage to arrive at our RV park, and we think we'll love our week here. We have turned on the TV only twice in 118 days since we left home, and after almost four months on the road this looks like it will be our first RV park with wi-fi! We won't be watching any TV here, but it's a bit embarrassing to admit how excited we are to have wifi for a week!

We had an absolutely amazing time during our three weeks in Ottawa, seeing the sights and visiting with some of our fave family. But we've also really been looking forward to spending a week in Quebec City. We've been here a few times but only in winter, and we're really excited to spend a summertime week checking out such a unique and beautiful city!

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Stop #24: Montreal, QC

Location Type

Hotel

Connections

Nights

n/a

2

The Details

We didn't want to miss the opportunity to spend a weekend in Montreal since we were only a few hours away during our stay in Ottawa. So we spent three great days and a couple of nights in a very nice hotel near the Old Port.

What a city! We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend - with amazing old architecture and absolutely incredible food and wine. We had all our brunches and dinners - as well as drinks - on a succession of beautiful terrasses. It was a hot weekend - with the heat index up at 107 and 109 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. But we covered a lot of ground on foot - as well as on a cool boat cruise around the Old Port on our first day.

We walked around Old Montreal endlessly, enjoyed the walking trails at Mont Royal, and got to explore the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve F1 race course on foot. The F1 track was something we would not have known about without the suggestion from Jeff's cousin - who also joined us (along with his wife) for drinks and dinner one night during our stay.

We have one more week left in Ottawa before heading back into Quebec - with our next destination being Quebec City and then (likely) the Eastern Townships.

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Stop #23: Ottawa, ON

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Water, Electric

21

The Details

A lovely spot in a lovely RV park just outside Ottawa will be home for the next few weeks. We're super excited to be here as we'll be spending time with family (Jeff's cousin, David, and his awesome family) while also exploring the nation's capital. Neither of us have spent any meaningful time in Ottawa before, so we're looking forward to being tourists.

Being rooted in civilization for a while will also give us an opportunity to cross some stuff of the to-do list. Eye exams. Tire rotation. Oil change. Amazon orders. Mundane stuff like that - stuff that just isn't easy to do while traveling almost every day.

 We also expect to take a few day/overnight trips - to places like Montreal, Mont Tremblant, etc. Obviously we won't be able to get the full 'Montreal experience' in one weekend - but it'll be nice to spend some time there regardless. We'll plan for a longer stay on our next pass through this part of the world.

We'll also be spending lots of time planning the next few months of our journey - and trying to figure out exactly where we'll spend the winter. We've booked spots near the beach in North Carolina as well as in Nashville for much of November but we have no plans beyond that - and we're going to need to get started soon. Covid - and the resulting border uncertainty - doesn't help!

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Stop #22: Deep River, ON

Location Type

Farm

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

This was our second 'Harvest Host' stay - and this one brought Veronica to tears. The Forest Cove Farm & Country Market is a cute place on Highway 17 with alpacas and chickens - including two newborn alpacas (crias) on the day of our arrival! So cute! 

 

Seeing and hearing and petting the alpacas brought back so many happy memories for us of our home in Shirley that it brought Veronica to tears. It also reinforced our desire to start another hobby farm someday. The family that runs the farm and market spent some time on Vancouver Island, and their property reminds us of something we would have seen close to home. They are building the business from the ground up and have been here for three years. We wish them a ton of success.

The town of Deep River has a very interesting history. Along with Los Alamos (NM) and Oak Ridge (TN), Deep River was a master-planned community began in 1944 as part of the Manhattan Project. The nearby Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories were the birthplace of Canada's nuclear research. After WW2, Canada continued  work with the atom here and eventually developed the prototype nuclear reactor (the CANDU reactor) that powered much of Canada for generations.

It seems as though every single day on this journey we're learning something new about this country. Even more so than we ever expected that is one of the things that excites us most about this lifestyle we've begun.

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Stop #21: Sturgeon Falls, ON

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Electric, water

4

The Details

The Big Oak RV Park has lots of character... there's no doubt about that! After 8 one-nighters in our last 9 stops we're really happy to be able to set down roots here in Sturgeon Falls for four nights.

It seems likely our rig is the largest 5th wheel they've seen here - and we've had no shortage of visitors. This seems like a cute little town, with a big lake surrounded by summer cottages. There are sooo many lakes in northern Ontario.

This week will consist of a really busy (and productive!) work week, laundry, groceries, rig chores, ongoing organization, and hopefully lots of fresh air. There are canoes and kayaks for rent here super cheap, so maybe a morning paddle or two, as well.

We'll also spend some time planning our upcoming itinerary. We think we've got it figured out for the next month or so, and a decent idea of what September might look like - though we don't have any reservations made anywhere beyond our next two destinations (Ottawa and Quebec City)

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Stop #20: ???

Location Type

Roadside

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

We're not really sure where we stayed last night. It was an amazing pullout on the side of Highway 17 on the shore of Lake Superior - somewhere near Batchawana Bay. It may have (seriously!) been one of the nicest places we've ever woken up that didn't involve heavy backpacks and a long uphill hike the day before!

There was obviously a lot of traffic throughout the afternoon and evening, but after sunset it quieted down to a big truck or two every hour through the night. But it didn't matter... the sounds of the waves on the shore made it genuinely feel like we were next to the ocean. We couldn't believe our luck to find such a cool spot - even if we really shouldn't have camped there for the night!

The sunset was gorgeous - and it meant we had to share our little slice of paradise with a steady stream of other cars pulling over to take pictures. But it was kinda cool to see all of them check out our rig and wonder what the hell we were doing there.

The great spot topped off a really epic day. We stopped at two incredible sandy beaches (also on Lake Superior - who knew?!?) and the dogs got so much exercise that Dublin could hardly stand the morning after. 

We're shocked at how long it has taken us to traverse northern Ontario. The size of the region - and the number and the beauty of the lakes - has come as a real surprise to us.

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Stop #19: White Lake Prov. Park

Location Type

Provincial Park

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

Another 240 miles today after a truly memorable stop at Fort William in Thunder Bay. I'll document that in the 'Day Trips' tab, but it's definitely a history lesson we'll remember.

A torrential rainstorm after passing through Marathon tested our nerves, and after seriously contemplating just pulling over to sleep at the side of the road we soldiered on and snagged the second-to-last spot at White Lake Provincial Park.

Our site was designated for a maximum trailer size of 32 feet, but there was plenty of room for our 37-footer. The only issue was the slope of the site, making it impossible to fully level. It'll do for a one-night stay, and we're happy be here as this looks like a really cool area that we'll be sure to explore before pulling out in the morning.

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Stop #18: Neebing, ON

Location Type

Dairy Farm

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

After a 300-mile drive from Kenora we arrived at the Slate River Dairy, where we spent the night in the parking lot. This was our first 'Harvest Host' stay. Harvest Host is sort of like a free Airbnb for RV'ers. Thousands of businesses across North America have large parking lots that sit empty at night - so they offer them for free to RV'ers who are looking for an easy place to park for the night. In return, they only ask that you visit the business and, ideally, make a purchase of some sort.

In the case of Slate River Dairy, we bought about $70 of super-fresh dairy and meats. The chocolate milk has the cream on top, the super-fresh yogurt is poured rather than spooned, and we got a fresh beef tenderloin we'll barbecue at some point soon.

We will definitely be doing a lot more Harvest Host stays on our journey. The hosts include thousands of farms, breweries, distilleries, and golf courses. I think we could probably manage to find a way to make some purchases at places like that!

After getting settled yesterday evening we took our host's advice for a nice little hike to High Falls on the Pigeon River. High Falls is the largest waterfall in Minnesota, but the Ontario Provincial Park also has a great view of the falls. And Hattie got to go for a swim in Lake Superior... her first Great Lakes swim.

Overall, an easy relaxing night complete with a nice rain shower overnight.

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Stop #17: Kenora, ON

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Electricity

1

The Details

Another one-night stay after another long day of driving. An old Ontario lakefront town with really narrow old streets made for a nerve-wracking final stretch. And a terribly un-level site at the RV park tested the limits of the levelling system in the rig. But everything was smooth and easy.

A quick grocery run and maybe a short walk with the dogs feels like about all the excitement we'll be able to handle tonight.

We genuinely have no idea where we'll go next - or for how long - and since tomorrow is the beginning of a long weekend in Ontario there is a distinct possibility we'll be somewhere even less glamorous than our not-so-glamorous RV park in Kenora.

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Stop #16: Carlyle, SK

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Electricity

1

The Details

After waking up to (very!) unexpected rain while backcountry camping in Grasslands National Park we quickly packed up camp, hiked back to the rig, and decided to move along from Grasslands National Park a few days earlier than expected. We're thinking we can make it to Ontario over the weekend and find a nice comfy place in cottage country to spend a week or two at.

We drove a few hundred miles through southern Saskatchewan and stopped for the night at the Lions Club RV Park in Carlyle. This is a cute little town that clearly loves baseball. There seem to be as many baseball fields as there are houses!

This quick one-nighter was a cheap one, but a nice spot to spend the night.

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Stop #15: Grasslands Nat'l Park

Location Type

National Park

Connections

Nights

Electricity

The Details

The drive from Saskatoon to Grasslands National Park in sourthern Saskatchewan was about 300 miles consisting of approximately: (1) 50 miles of comfortable paved highway; (2) 150 miles of really shitty paved highway; and (3) 100 miles of dirt and gravel - which was a lot nicer than the shitty paved highway!

 

We had never heard of Grasslands NP til a few weeks ago - and neither had many of our friends who live in Saskatchewan. This place is REMOTE! We saw perhaps a half-dozen cars in the final 150 miles of the drive - and none at all in the last 50 miles or so. Needless to say, we're the only fifth-wheel (or trailer of any sort) in the campground.

 

The place is amazing. The only thing we heard after dusk last night were countless coyotes. And the sunset and sunrise were absolutely breathtaking. Thankfully, we are virtually at the Montana border so there is some decent cell coverage. I'll be able to work quite effectively this week, which is pretty incredible considering how remote this place is.

 

We're definitely looking forward to a week here. We've never seen anything like it. 

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Stop #14: Saskatoon, SK

Location Type

Moochdocking

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

Our third straight one-nighter - this one on the street in front of the home of some great friends in Saskatoon. They were tremendous hosts, showing us a bunch of stuff here that we never would have found without their local knowledge.

We had a fantastic brunch at a (really cool!) berry farm - including (we think) our first-ever Saskatoon berries. Then a distillery for some gin tasting and a pretty walk through the flower gardens. Then a walk along the Saskatchewan River. Topped off by another great dinner and a good night's sleep.

Our next destination is Grasslands National Park - a lovely looking place right along the Montana border. We had never even heard of the park until a few weeks ago, but it looks beautiful and vast and unique. We can't wait to see it - and to have a few nights in the rig to get everything re-organized after a hectic few weeks with condo renovations in Panorama.

The first few months of our journey haven't really had any routine. But beginning in Grasslands we expect to settle into a rhythm for a few months as we make our way east to Nova Scotia.

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Stop #13: Saskatoon, SK

Location Type

Parking Lot

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

Another one-nighter, this time in the Cabela's parking lot in Saskatoon. Found a nice cozy spot near the loading bay - right next to a bunch of sea cans. Very classy! Left the rig and the animals in the parking lot while we went to have dinner at the home of some good friends. Our second night in Saskatoon will be spent moochdocking on the street in front of their home.

Got a bit turned around on the way through Saskatoon, so experienced a few stressful moments navigating through a few crowded parking lots in order to get re-routed. Thankfully we made it with no scrapes or bruises. Navigating unfamiliar cities with a fifth-wheel in tow might eventually become something we really enjoy - but at this point it'd be safe to say it's not on our list of 'Top 100 Favourite Things'.

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Stop #12: Drumheller, AB

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Electric/Water

1

The Details

A one-nighter in Drumheller en route to Saskatoon. We visited here ages ago when the kids were tiny. The main attraction in town is the Royal Tyrell Museum - a museum of palaeontology with one of the world's largest collections of dinosaurs and fossils. The museum averages over a half-million visitors per year, so it draws people from all over the world.

We may visit the museum during our quick stay here. But we will certainly explore the hoodoos - the unique rock formations for which the area is also famous.

After our one-nighter in Drumheller we're off to Saskatoon for a visit with some friends of ours who live there.

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Stop #11: Panorama (again)

Location Type

Our condo

Connections

Nights

n/a

4

The Details

We came back to our condo in Panorama for a few days while the trailer was having some work done. This was also a good opportunity to make a few finishing touches to the condo, say a sad good-bye to our son and his girlfriend, and enjoy a final few nights in British Columbia before heading east (then hopefully south!) for the foreseeable future.

We finally made it up the chairlift for a short stroll in the alpine - and it just so happened that our return to Panorama coincided with a big downhill mountain bike racing event. Watching the downhillers race was another (very cool!) first for us.

It's going to be tough to say 'so long' to BC since we quite honestly don't know where our travels will take us or when we'll return. But after roughly two months here we're also itching to hit the road.

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Stop #10: Calgary, AB

Location Type

Hotel

Connections

Nights

n/a

2

The Details

This was our first hotel stay during our journey. There was a list of minor defects on the rig that we wanted to have addressed under warranty by the dealer - so we towed the fifth-wheel over the Rockies at first light on Saturday and dropped her off outside Calgary. Then we booked a room at a Calgary Marriott so we could do some antique shopping, explore the area a bit - and spend a day at the Calgary Stampede.

The Stampede was great! It was our first 'event' of any type in well over a year - and it was sure nice to feel somewhat normal again by being in a crowded place with thousands and thousands of unmasked people! Who knows how long it will be before we have to start masking up again, so we definitely enjoyed the experience. And we had to show our 'proof of vaccination' cards for the first time - specifically to get wristbands for entry into a concert in the evening. 

We'll be leaving the rig with the dealer until Thursday, July 22nd and heading back to Panorama for a final few nights in the condo. Then we'll be off to Saskatoon, Grasslands, and all points east.

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Stop #9: Panorama, BC

Location Type

Parking Lot

Connections

Nights

None

9

The Details

It was EXTREMELY sad to say goodbye to Radium Hot Springs - and our friends at The Canyon RV Park & Resort. We couldn't have asked for a better place to spend a month (actually closer to six weeks!) while scouting properties in the Columbia Valley and helping our son recover from his leg/ankle surgery. But alas, all good things must come to an end.

We made a short drive to the Panorama ski resort and found space for the rig in the day-use parking lot. We recently bought a condo right in the heart of the village and we're planning to spend a few days freshening the place up and making some upgrades. We're also planning to take the chairlift to the top of the mountain for some hiking while we're here.

But someday soon our journey will resume in earnest. We can't wait!

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Stop #8: Radium Hot Springs, BC

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

37

The Details

After boondocking for almost our entire first month on the road (with full connections only one night) we decided to splurge and book a month at a great RV park in Radium Hot Springs. We had always loosely planned to spend a fair amount of time in the Invermere/Radium Hot Springs area in June, but those plans became more concrete when our son broke his leg (tibia/fibula/ankle) during our visit. Surgery and months of recovery lay ahead, so he'll be happy to have some parental support for a while.

There is a ton to explore in the area. We're close enough to make day trips to Banff National Park for hikes and sightseeing, and we'll continue to look at property for a potential (future) permanent home.

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Stop #7: Panorama, BC

Location Type

Open Range

Connections

Nights

None

3

The Details

We have moved to a far more remote spot a few miles beyond the Panorama ski resort near Invermere.  But we're close enough to the resort to use the hot pools and explore the cute little ski town as skis make way for mountain bikes.

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Stop #6: Invermere, BC

Location Type

Open Range

Connections

Nights

None

9

The Details

A below-freezing snowy drive through Rogers Pass caused a few white knuckles on the way from Revelstoke to Invermere, but overall an easy trip to spend some time in the Invermere area. Our oldest son, Iain, lives and works here and we had been looking forward to getting to know the area. We've also checked out some properties around here, as we're thinking this might be an area where we'd consider settling down after our RV journey ends.

 

We set up 10km or so up a forest service road in a lovely clearing... with views of snowy mountains and free ranging cattle. Our youngest son, Colin, is also joining us for a week here, which is awesome. Iain brought his trailer out to join us, making for a really unique family experience. 

 

An added bonus was a visit by a couple of our sons' best friends (Sean and Lindsay) for the Victoria Day long weekend. Dirtbiking... check. Poker... check. Shooting range... check. Cattle herding... check. Campfires, great drink, great food, and a great time... check, check, check, and check.

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Stop #5: Revelstoke, BC

Location Type

Forest Services

Connections

Nights

None

2

The Details

A short 4-hour drive got us to Revelstoke and the campsite at which we had stayed during our trip through the Rockies last summer: Begbie Falls Rec Site. A spectacular view of Mount Revelstoke, good cell coverage, and a nice quiet site to spend a few nights. The highlight of the drive was a stop for a walk through the ghost town at Three Valley Gap. And the highlight of our short stay in Revelstoke was meeting up with our Aussie friends Alex and Serena - who once upon a time were our farmsitters in Shirley. Thus far every day of our journey has included visits with friends or family - a trend which will continue when we meet up with our eldest son, Iain, for what will be a great time in Invermere.

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Stop #4: Kaleden, BC

Location Type

Friends

Connections

Nights

Electricity

7

The Details

A super easy travel day got us from Kamloops to Kaleden for a visit with some of our dearest friends - friends we haven't seen nearly often enough lately due to Covid. Lots of laughs. Lots of wine. Sun. A ton of fun times. A gorgeous lakefront home. And most importantly a driveway long enough for the rig! True friends! A ton of catching up and a ton of laughs before it was time for us to hook up and move along to our next destination.

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Stop #3: Kamloops, BC 

Location Type

RV Park

Connections

Nights

Full

1

The Details

Our first change of plans. We were hoping to stay at Paul Lake Provincial Park, but the campground was closed for reasons unknown to us. Unfortunately we didn't know that until entering the day-use area and we ended up essentially jack-knifing the rig in a (thankfully) not-too-crowded parking lot. After a few minutes of ad-hoc anger management we were turned around and back on the road. We ended up in an RV park with a whole bunch of Alberta pipeline workers with their dune buggies and muscle cars. (I guess this is RV life). We found a lovely 3km hiking loop and took the dogs for a nice walk to end the day. Tomorrow we'll be taking the rig in for some warranty service. Oh, and we'll be replacing my drone . (Long story... which will make an ideal first blog post someday).

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Stop #2: Lillooet Lake, BC

Location Type

Family

Connections

Nights

Water

8

The Details

A ferry ride, then a trip up the gorgeous Sea-to-Sky highway, then a crazy-steep 20% downhill grade, and finally 8km along a bumpy dirt road. Happy to spend the week with family while settling in to our new routine. Lillooet Lake is one of our favourite places - and we've been away far too long.

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Stop #1: Ladysmith, BC

Location Type

Family

Connections

Nights

None

1

The Details

The first night of our adventure. We stayed at Veronica's sister's property so that we could say good-bye. A bonfire, a great time, and a good night's sleep. Tears were shed. A great way to say goodbye to Vancouver Island.

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