Travels with Barrie and Val - The Big U Turn, Part 1

Friday, July 20th - Wednesday, August 1st, 2001

Well, retirement came on July 20th and I walked into the office to find a huge brunch going on. What a great bash!! This carried on all morning until we went over to the Hard Rock Cafe (HRC) for my retirement luncheon. It was a great luncheon with Sergine acting as mc and passing out some retirement cards and gifts. One of those gifts was a digital camera!! And you will see below that I have already put that to good use. Thanks to everyone in Server Operations for really making my retirement day a memorable one. One I don't think I'll ever forget. I guess I should mention what my plans are and why I'm sending this "report/story" out. My wife and I have had this idea of selling our house here in Ottawa and buying an rv and spending a year moving out to BC where we have a house on Vancouver Island. Parksville to be specific. We would travel through the East coast of Canada and then down to the States when the weather starts to get a little cool and spend ing the winter in Texas or Arizona or perhaps Florida. But once we leave Canada, our plans would be very flexible. Which is what we find so attractive about the rv lifestyle. I should also mention that we've never done this before, other than a trip down east twenty years ago with a rented tent trailer. But that trip was so enjoyable, that we thought we should try it again some time. Well. It's taken us twenty years and retirement to realize that dream. Our two dogs will also be with us on our trip. Rosie, a 9 1/2 year old miniature poodle and Blossom, a 8 3/4 year old toy poodle. So on with our story.

On August 1st, we moved out of our house and into a motel for the night. But it was the move from hell!! I won't bother you with details, but needless to say, at 6 p.m. we were outside throwing stuff on the front lawn so the purchasers could start moving in!! Only my sons timely arrival saved the day and, we had to sort out our overflow of "stuff" we had put aside to take to London for the rv. What a day!!! Thursday, August 2nd - Wednesday 8th, 2001 The next day, the 2nd, we drove down to Can Am Rv in London to move into the rv. I guess I should describe the trailer before I continue further. It's a 1990 34' Airstream travel trailer with a queen sized bed in it's own bedroom, bathroom with shower, kitchen with microwave, fridge, freezer, 4 burner gas stove with oven. A dinette plus a full size couch which makes into a single bed. The dinette also makes into a bed which could sleep two small children. But there aren't any children on this trip! We also have an amplifier, VCR, DVD, 20" TV and of course the satellite receiver. All this equipment runs through the amp. I can also watch TV through the trailers own regular TV aerial which will come in handy when we're in the States looking for the local TV stations weather forecast. We don't want to get caught by any tornados! But the nice thing about the satellite is that it works as far south as northern Mexico and it allows us to keep in touch with the Canadian news. Also, I'll be able to watch the Olympics from a Canadian perspective next winter.

Our time at Can Am was during the heat and humidity period and it lasted for about a week. Needless-to-say, we had the a/c on in the trailer during the whole time that we were actually at Can Am. Once the long weekend arrived, we were left on our own in the parking area of Can Am. But hooked up to a 30 amp outlet so we could run the air and all the other stuff in the rv.

We also spent some time touring around the Lake Erie area and visited Leamington and Kingsville, which are both just east of Point Peelee Park. This area is on a latitude with Northern California. As a result, they don't get much snow, if any down in that area. Both towns were quite nice and the drive along lake erie was very pleasant as we were going through a lot of farming land. But the drought was having it's affect with corn very low in the fields.

We find the area around London very pleasant and, if BC doesn't work out, there's a good chance we'll return to this area. Ottawa is out. The winters are just to long and cold!!

Wednesday, August 8th - Monday, August 13th, 2001

With the trailer all fixed up, we left Can Am and headed towards Port Severn on Georgian Bay. It's mostly uphill from TO and the Windstar performed very well. We ended up with about 14mpg. Not bad for a 3.8l v6 with the a/c on!

We pulled into the Sunny Lea Golf and Trailer Park about 3:45 p.m. Backed the trailer into it's spot, unhooked and set up the trailer and went for a swim in the pool. And wouldn't you know it, the first people we meet on the start of our journey are a couple from Cumberland!

Whilst in the Georgian Bay area, we visited Midland and took a 2 1/2 hour tour of Georgian Bay. Well worth the trip as the Bay is a beautiful area. St Marie Amongst the Huron's is another interesting place to see. It's a reconstructed Jesuit village from the 1600's and is well worth a visit. It's on the outskirts of Midland.

Barrie's Webshot Photos

We also took a circle tour up to the Muskoka's to Gravenhurst, where the reconstructed Segwun tour boat is based; but it was out when we were there. This boat plied the Muskoka's in the early 1900's. From Gravenhurst we went on to Bracebridge and then back to the campsite. But later on that day, we visited part of the Severn Canal system and saw the Big Chute. It's a rail type system that takes boats from one level of the canal to another level, just like a regular lock system. But this takes the boats rather than the boats doing the moving. I have some pics to send, but my laptop's hard drive is full and I can only get about two pics on this Email. I'll send the pics separately. It's worth a visit if you are ever in the area.

Monday, August 13th - Wednesday, August 15th, 2001

On Wednesday, it was time to move up to Ottawa and tie up all those loose ends that we still had to work on. In addition we had to pick up all that stuff that we had to leave with our son David. We hooked-up up the trailer, started the Windstar and started to move out. I didn't get very far as the trailer brakes totally locked up!! Well. I couldn't move. So I adjusted the brake controller and managed to get going and get full brakes back. Once we were on the 400 heading for TO, I called Can Am in London and told them the problem. They asked me to drive back. So back to London.

The next day, the rv was in the garage all day long with the techs working on it. But at the end of the day, all the brakes were find and we headed out to Ottawa on the Wednesday and made good time. No a/c on this time and no cruise on. We arrived at the Hither Hills campground at about 3:45 p.m. 16 mpg. Not bad.

Wednesday, August 15th - Tuesday September 4th, 2001

Back in Ottawa. Feels strange. Kinda missed the place. Maybe we need to leave a place before we learn to fully appreciate it. We had one glitch since we've been here. Gary and Maureen came out to visit, Roly was here on the first night!!. Just before Gary and Maureen arrived, our hot water heater went off. We couldn't re-light it so I called Can Am. They diagnosed the problem as being the circuit board for the starting mechanism as it would not ignite the heater. They UPS'd the part up and it arrived the next morning. I switched the old board with the new and we were back in operation. Good service from Can Am. Before we left Ottawa, we purchased a Bell ExpressVu satelitte dish. Gotta keep in touch!

Tuesday, September 4 - Friday, September 7, 2001

Left Ottawa for Montreal. Stayed at the Camping Amerique in St Phillipe de la Prairie which is on the South shore of Montreal about 20 k east of the Mercier Bridge. Nice small campground amongst the corn fields. Visited my mother and brought her out to the trailer with her husband. They were suitably impressed.

Friday, September 7 - Sunday, September 9, 2001

Left Montreal and arrived in Levis across from Quebec City. Stayed in Camping Transit. A great campground. We visited Quebec City and found it almost like a European town. We had lunch and then went back to the campsite as it was really hot and humid. Moving day on the Sunday.

End of Part One.

Val and Barrie on the move

Travels with Barrie and Val - The Big U Turn, Part 2

Sunday, September 9 - Friday, September 14, 2001

Left Levis heading for Prince Edward Island (PEI). The road up to Riviere du Loup is excellent. More or less straight and very few hills. So I put the cruise on for 95 kph. Better gas mileage at this speed. The route 20 from the Ontario border right up to Riviere du Loup was a very good road. In pretty good condition with rest stops along the road. Something we should have in Ontario! But once we turned right, or south towards New Brunswick (NB), it started to get hilly and it stayed that way more or less all the way to PEI. Once again, the Windstar performed really well. It took the hills with no real problems, although I was down to 70 kph on a couple of really long hills that were a bit steep. We had left Levis at 10:15 am and we finally stopped at 7:30 PM about 40 k east of Fredericton at a camp ground called Casey's. There was only one other camper there, but it was a nice clean campground. We were only there for the night.

On Monday, we continued on towards PEI. We arrived at our Campground just outside of Charlottetown. Nice campground with only about four or fiver campers. The season is ending in September in PEI and most campgrounds are closed. We went for a lobster supper in North Rustico on Tuesday night. I had steak! But Val loved her lobster.

Friday, September 14 - Friday, September 21, 2001

We left PEI on the 14th via the ferry at Wood Island. Cuts out some distance even though it's about $30 more via the ferry but it evened out because I probably would have paid that much in gas for the extra distance. We headed for Baddeck on Cape Breton Island (CBI). We camped at a KOA which was not the greatest but it served it's purpose as a base for touring. We did the Cabot Trail in an anti-clockwise route. Very pretty. Stopped for fish and chips at lunch at Neil's Harbour. Later on we stopped at an Acadian craft shop and restaurant. We were still full from the fish and chips but I managed to get down a blueberry pudding with caramel sauce. I love this diet!!!!

Barrie's Webshot Photos

We also took a cruise on a sail boat on Bras D'or Lake. Val did not throw up! On the Monday, Rosie, my miniature poodle had to go to the vets. She has congested heart failure and was in stress. She is now on medication and is doing fine. She probably has a year or two. But she's comfortable. On the Tuesday, we went to the Fortress of Louisbourg. Highly recommended. Very authentic. Had an 18th century lunch and bought some "soldiers" bread which was very good. No preservatives in that!

On Wednesday, the 19th, we headed for Halifax. We booked at a campsite just north of the City, but it wasn't the greatest. So today, we found a wonderful campsite about 2 k from Peggy's Cover. We're right on the water. We booked for a week and after that we'll see if we move on or stay for another week. It's just great here. The people are very friendly and we keep meeting such nice people in the rv community.

Barrie's Webshot Photos

Visited Halifax, Peggy's Cove, Chester, Mahone Bay and Lunenburg so far. The weather has been foggy and rainy which might force us to stay a little longer past this Friday the 28th and leave for St Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick on Monday the 1st. The fish and chips have been outstanding!!!!!!

End of Part Two

Val and Barrie on the move

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© 2001 George McKeever / Laurenzerberg IceWorks / Last Updated October 1, 2001

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