Photo: Tim and Janice, about to embark from their home in Kamloops, BC, on a one-year RV adventure.
While the blogs posted here are meant to be a practical guide for those contemplating an extended road trip, they’re also meant to entertain and to serve up a slightly spicier version of what we’ve oftentimes found to be run-of-the-mill RV travel blogs.
There are other excellent RV websites like, www.frugal-rv.com that provide detailed information on boon-docking and living as inexpensively as possible, but we saw a need for a site that reveals expenses and budgeting for what we believe to be more the average RVer. This site was created for people, like us, who are headed in a general direction, but have a slightly roomier budget. Don’t get me wrong, we planned the financial details of our trip pretty well to the penny, correctly estimating the average RV site fee ahead of time.
This site is for those who enjoy wandering down the road without having to do a lot of research ahead of time. We took advantage of free sites when we came across them, for sure, but we liked to be able to stop when we felt like it; when a place simply looked inviting; when our GPS, (Susan) guided us to an RV site near to an attraction that we wanted to take in or; when our travel club membership afforded us half-price on an RV Parks’ going rate.
The blogs’ aim is to provide insight into some of the realities of the road, as we experienced them. We hope readers derive from it some of the feel of how we dealt with all the ups and downs that are bound to be inherent in any extended adventure. The blog entries are free to view and have been organized alphabetically rather than chronologically so that readers can easily find highlights of some of the places they might be planning to visit.
We also wanted to put to rest the question, “What!? A year!? How can you possibly do that!? To which we’d reply, “We’ll let you know when we get back.”
Invariably, the next question out of curious and, by now, slightly incredulous mouths, would be, “Well, do you have a plan?” “Yes, to head east from British Columbia, travel as far as Newfoundland and then follow the weather down the Eastern Seaboard as far as Florida…after that…who knows?”
When quizzed for further details, shrugging, we’d put the same question back to them, “Who knows?” Those two words became our mantra, both leading up to the trip and for the trip itself. Aside from committing to a couple of rendezvous’ with friends and relatives in Eastern Canada, we basically wandered aimlessly, following the weather, and our hearts’ desire.
We invite you to ride along with us. There won’t be much stress involved and, there’ll be a lot to see and do. The e-book, North American RV Adventure, is available from the sidebar to the right and is loaded with indispensable information for RVers, and potential RVers, to make their own RV journey more pleasant and worry-free.
The photos accompanying the blog were chosen to provide a visual appetizer. We hope folks will find the pictures enticing enough to make them want to investigate some of the same areas themselves. A reminder: anyone with a digital SLR: make sure you take a polarizing filter along. You’ll be happier with the results.
The blog identifies, and describes, most of the RV Parks and restaurants that we visited along the way. While many deserve rave revues and should not be missed, others are a sorry waste of both time and money.
A word of warning: If the odd swear word or the occasional mention of ‘herb’ might offend your sensibilities, then some of the blog entries may not be for you. Please go directly to the e-book available for purchase on the right-hand panel of this website.
The e-book offers the nuts and bolts, the how-to of our adventure. Those wishing to get that full meal deal: To see how we budgeted; how much the trip cost – to the penny; the things not to leave home without; the long list of things that can save a lot of money; the other long list of the many necessary things to do in preparation for such an excursion and, lastly: some delectable road recipes from an award-winning cook, who loves to keep things interesting; well, you’re going to have to cough up $9.95 – Canadian, eh!
THE PLAN – ARRIVING AT THE ‘ONE YEAR’ DECISION
By 2009, the Travel Bug had really gotten under Janice’s skin.
She and I had been happily unwedded for twenty-eight years and, as I was rapidly approaching sixty years of age, I’d pretty well figured out that we were in need of a retirement plan. We had no children, no debt, and while both of our mothers were aging, to their credit, they insisted that we couldn’t let that hold us back from the things we wanted to do. We weighed that sentiment against the possibility of our prospective travels and came to the conclusion that, if circumstances demanded, we’d only be a flight or two away from home anyway.
That made it easy to settle on a five-year exit strategy: Quit work and start traveling.
We had no idea how or where we’d travel to at this point, it was simply an agreement that we both could live with. So, a few weeks later when Janice suggested that we just get into an RV and head east on my sixty-fifth birthday, I readily agreed. We decided that the one caveat to that five-year plan was this: If anybody else close to us dies, we knock a year from the time frame. In other words, we’d take off in four years instead of five.
Last year, the day before we left for a trip to Spain, our long-time friend, Dave Jenneson, (Big D) died. While the ravages of cancer had made his death imminent, it affected us deeply. When we returned from our trip, Janice pushed to re-visit The Plan which, as mentioned, called for us to cut one year off the delay of our retirement plan if anyone close to us died.
So what if we might be a couple hundred thousand dollars or so short of retirement? We decided we really didn’t have anything holding us back. We had some money, we were both in good health and because we had recently witnessed some of our friends suffer prolonged, dragged-out deaths from one horrible disease or another, I agreed to seriously revisit The Plan. I suggested that I’d detail a few different Plan scenarios and, one night the next week, we’d crack a bottle of wine, throw some ideas against the wall and see if any stuck.
A few days later, as Janice prepared dinner, I poured wine and then read aloud my first of five suggestions, “We could liquidate and start traveling now.” She questioned, “What do you mean by that?” “Well, we sell everything and start traveling.” Her reaction was immediate, “Oh, I like that one!” “Okay, but let’s look at the other options,” I responded. Excitedly but evenly she replied, “Oh, I like that one.”
I poured more wine and the discussion carried on over dinner and then on to the deck. A a few hours later we settled on the idea that we get into an RV and travel across Canada (we’d only been as far as Saskatchewan), and then meander down the Eastern Seaboard of the United States (hadn’t been there either), basically following the warm weather until we found our way to Mexico, where we could wile away the winter tooling around.
By the time we had finished the second bottle of wine The Plan was to sell the house, sell the rental property, cash in everything but our paltry sum of RRSPs, and then hit the road, September 1st.
The next morning, waking with headaches, we sheepishly started to back off our ambitious departure date. Then we backed off selling the house. Next we backed off selling the rental property. What were we thinking? It was already July and there would be a lot of planning and preparation…
Eventually a more appropriate departure date became June 1 of the following year. That would give us lots of time to plan and to make sure we had time to arrange everything; from prepaying taxes and utilities to buying a travel unit, to consider which vaccinations we should have, to figure out the intricacies of secure online banking while travelling, to screening some property management companies, to negotiating things with our respective bosses as best we could.
We both knew we were valuable employees in our current endeavors. Janice as a cook for a downtown Mexican fusion restaurant and me in commission sales for a business lobby group. We figured we’d be up front and give our bosses lots of notice before requesting a year’s leave of absence – knowing beforehand that we were going regardless…
Photo: The map shows our general route. Newfoundland and all other provinces and state are shown individually in the blogs.
This, our longest-ever road adventure was not nearly as wild as were some of the earlier trips. That’s because, in our advancing years, we’re a slightly milder, more mature couple. For those wishing to take more reckless, irreverent rides, they can check out the tab at the top of the page entitled OTHER TRIPS.
To see a comprehensive collection of Tim’s artwork please see the tab at top: www.timfrancis.ca