What a day!
We’ve been at it since 6am and we are calling it a night.
Here is what the move looked like after we had everything packed up and ready to go.
22 boxes. Computers, consoles, guitars, pedals, cameras, a bike and a bike trainer were also part of the move.
When I looked at all of the stuff we were taking with us, I did not think it would all fit.
We had rented a 10-foot box truck to do the move from Kingston to our coach — the coach was being serviced in Barrie, Ontario and we decided to make the move happen there as it was a bit more convenient.
Once the truck was packed, this is what it looked like:
Does not seem like very much stuff at all once everything was in the truck. That stuff should easily fit into a 40-foot coach.
There was enough stuff to keep us busy unboxing and organizing for the past five hours. And we are about halfway done.
I have the truck for another day so we will be using tomorrow to get our basement bays organized and complete the rest of the unboxing and organizing then.
I will definitely sleep well tonight.
Sticks and bricks (house)? Gone for the time being.
Part-time or full-time in the motorcoach? Full-time for the next while. Possibly for the next two years. And we’ll see how much fun we are having. The nice thing about being retired is that we can always change our mind.
Moving day into our coach? Tomorrow.
Packing? Yes. For the past few days. Almost done.
We have been putting items into our storage unit in preparation for moving into our coach tomorrow. The picture above looks like there are not that many items in the unit.
That’s the cool thing about horizontal crops.
The vertical crop below shows a few more odds and ends. I am still staggered by how much stuff we had accumulated over the past forty years. We went from roughly 7,000 square feet of stuff in a house to a 50 square foot storage unit and to a roughly 400 square foot motorcoach.
Much smaller footprint on life. Less stuff overall but after packing for the past few days, a surprisingly large amount of stuff is coming with us.
Hope it all fits in the coach.
We love visiting Upper Canada Village. And, since we likely won’t be back to this area for some time, we decided to make the trip after getting our Nexus records updated at the enrolment centre in Lansdowne, Ontario. Upper Canada Village, located near Morrisburg, Ontario, is a walk back in time to a simpler life in the 19th century. All of the villagers generally stay in character and the overall experience is well worth the visit if you are in this part of Canada.
The shot above was taken at the cabinet maker’s shop where this apprentice was busily shaping dowels for chairs. Difficult exposure with the low interior light, bright outdoor light from the sun and the apprentice moving quickly.
How did it go for us updating our Nexus records?
We had a few surprises although at the end of it all, everything was fine.
The first surprise was the wait. We did not have one. We were the only ones there aside from one Canadian customs officer and one American customs officer.
I explained to the Canadian customs officer that I was there to update my change of employment. And it turned out that there were numerous changes that had not been reflected in both of our memberships, which, as the customs officer sternly reminded me, could have been grounds to cancel the card.
We had renewed our passports in 2017. Canadian passports expire every few years although now we can renew up to 10 years which is what we had done. However, that passport information was not updated in the Nexus records. I thought we had renewed an existing passport. The government views any renewal as a brand new passport.
When we sold our house, we had updated our Nexus records. According to Canada and US customs, only the mailing address had been updated.
Finally, our telephone numbers. When we sold our house back in July of 2017, we cancelled our landline. We only use our mobile phones and we have no need for a landline. Our Nexus records showed only our landline number.
Thankfully we were able to get all of our records updated quickly and without any issues. We were told that we could make all of these changes on the Trusted Traveler Program website without coming into an enrolment centre.
Except we couldn’t.
I did not want to complicate things by asking the customs officers if they had ever tried to use the website.
Best to leave well enough alone.
We are now almost all set to make the border crossing in about six weeks time.
There is a fair amount of documentation that I will be bringing along with me in case it might be needed. I will create a post about the information that both governments expect you to carry when crossing the border. Some of it was surprising to me.
Nexus cards help to speed up the process of travel, particularly air travel.
For a Canadian, the Nexus card provides pre-clearance for customs and can act as a proxy for a passport although we still carry passports with us when we travel.
To keep the Nexus card in good standing, a Nexus member is required to inform of any changes to status such as a change of address or a change of employment. Failure to inform Nexus of a change to status may result in the loss of the Nexus membership.
My address and employment status has changed. And it was remarkably difficult to update my Nexus records. I now have to make a special trip to the enrolment centre to inform them of my change of employment status as there is no mechanism on their new website to enter this change online.
Prior to October of 2017, Nexus members would use the Global Online Enrolment System (GOES) to update their information.
I had no idea that GOES had closed down.
There is now a Trusted Traveller Program in its place. I had to create a new account and migrate my data from the old GOES website.
Whoever designed the Trusted Traveller Program website accomplished their mission of making it singularly user-unfriendly. No migration wizard to be found. Rather, a maze of disconnected and rather unhelpful content seemingly engineered to make the whole process as difficult as possible.
I was able to migrate my GOES account over to the TTP account but I could only update two pieces of information: driver’s license and address.
Nowhere to be seen was a place to update employment status.
We head out tomorrow morning to queue up at the enrolment centre to let them know that I have now retired. Technically my official retirement date is October 1st as I had a number of vacation days that I was able to use over the past two months.
We don’t want to lose our Trusted Traveller status particularly as we will be spending our winters south in the United States. Crossing a land border with an RV does not allow you to use the Nexus lines. Those lines are for cars only. Presenting a Nexus card does help even at the regular customs lanes. A customs officer will see all of the relevant data which helps the officer determine the risk level of the traveller in question.
Which, for Lorraine and myself, should continue to be low as members of the Trusted Travellers Program.
We have firmed up our travel plans for our trip south. It begins with the leg from Canada down to Florida.
We are moving down the eastern U.S. at a fairly good clip largely because of weather. We leave Canada on November 1st and we are taking six days to do the drive.
We will be staying at the following properties on our way down:
1. Our starting point.
2. Sherkston Shores RV Resort in Ontario, Canada for 5 weeks.
3. Stonewall Resort in West Virginia for one night
4. Mountain Falls Motorcoach Resort in North Carolina for two nights.
5. Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort in South Carolina for two nights.
We will have a pretty long drive to get us over to California. We will take 11 days to make this crossing.
We will be staying at the following properties on the drive west.
1. Our starting point at Everglades Isle Motorcoach Resort.
2. Bay Lake RV Resort in Florida for one night.
3. Carrabelle Beach RV Resort in Florida for one night.
4. Heritage Motorcoach Resort in Alabama for two nights.
5. Rayford Crossing RV Resort in Texas for two nights.
6. Alsatian RV Resort in Texas for one night.
7. Maverick Ranch RV Park in Texas for one night.
8. Hacienda RV Resort in New Mexico for one night.
9. The Motorcoach Resort in Arizona for two nights
And then we stay at Desert Shores Motorcoach Resort for two months.
We originally planned to take a different route back to Canada but we will run out of time. We need to be back across the border before the 180 day limit. This is our planned route.
- Our starting point from Desert Shores in California.
- Eagle View RV Resort in Arizona for one night.
- Route 66 RV Resort in New Mexico for two nights.
- Oasis RV Resort in Texas for one night.
- Twin Fountains RV Resort in Oklahoma for one night.
- Ozark RV Resort in Arkansas for two nights.
- Sundermeiner RV Park in Missouri for one night.
- Elkhart Campground in Indiana for one night (not at the location shown on this map).
We were a bit stuck after stop 7 because of parks still being closed for the winter — even though we will be travelling through this area late April.
After our layover in Indiana, we will drive straight through to Toronto. It is roughly a 7 hour drive from Elkhart.
All in all, we have the southern leg pretty much all mapped out and confirmed.
This was basically it. Two days before my last day in the office. This was the day of my corporate retirement reception. Lorraine and Tabby walked me to the office and, to my surprise, someone with a camera took photos of the day.
I received a beautiful photo book today. I’ll share a few of the images here.
The event started with speeches. Really, really nice speeches.
What was I thinking about right at this moment? I’m at the wrong event. They must be talking about someone else!
I gave a speech as well. It was a tough one to write. I posted the speech over here.
It was also tough to deliver. So many emotions during this event. I managed to hold it together.
But there was a reward at the end of all the speeches.
And more cake.
You might notice a picture of our coach on the second cake. Somebody found it over here. The inscription reads:
Retirement is not the end of the road… it is the beginning of the open highway.
A final goodbye to my office.
Many, many fond memories from my years with the team at this company.
Since that event back in July, I’ve had a number of colleagues ask me what retirement is like.
I’ve told them that retirement feels a lot like summer vacation did when I was a kid.
So much freedom.
In less than two weeks, Lorraine and I will finally be out on the road in our coach.
So looking forward to this next chapter of our lives.
In my news feed this morning. A motorhome, with three adults and six children, drove off Interstate 90 in Ellensburg killing one of the adults and one of the children.
It looks as though the motorhome chassis separated itself from its outer shell. And it was pulling a very large trailer. Could loss of control been due to an issue with the tires? Or perhaps being overweight? We might never know.
Where were the passengers? Were they in the motorhome? Would they have been wearing seat belts?
A sad and tragic event.
We are always very diligent with our circle checks and ensuring that our tires are in good shape and properly inflated for the weight of our coach.
I remember pulling up to a Class A at a fuel stop a few years back. The owner had a massive trailer that he was towing. I asked him about the weight of his rig and he told me, without any concern, that he was running overweight.
Some owners do take risks.
Our coach has been with the dealer since early August dealing with a number of issues and recalls and a few additional items.
The issue list:
- Side radiator lower grill almost disconnected from body of coach
- Oasis hot water heater pump failure which requires a replacement pump
- Full wall slideout uneven and the slideout floor rises up after it has been deployed
- Front passenger side levelling jack leaking hydraulic fluid
- HWH levelling system not operating correctly
- Full length of Girard Awning Casing on top of passenger side of coach overhangs coach body by about an inch (Girard Awning Casing/Housing is not fully retracted)
- Hole in roof (very front and centre of roof membrane where the front cap angles down and meets the roof line)
The technical service bulletin and recall list:
- 472 TSB: Slideout Motor Mounting Bolts (this is the second TSB related to slideout motor mounting bolts so we need to validate that they are appropriately secured)
- 483 RSB (Recall 17V 420): Driver Passenger Shade may operate with ignition on
- 485 TSB: Freightliner Wiper Control Software Update
- 486 TSB: MCD Remote Shade Motor Replacement
- 488 RSB (Recall 17V 497): Battery Cable May Rub Against Frame (potential fire hazard)
- 493 PIB: Freightliner Lightbar: instrument panel odometer value may reset and not match the engine ECU odometer value
- 512 RSB: Recall 18V 245: Low Beams Do Not Illuminate with High Beams
New items to be installed:
- Tow bar system for the 2018 Lincoln MKX (a Blue Ox baseplate, a Blue Ox KarGard, a Blue Ox Towbar, and a Patriot Braking System)
- WeBoost Cellular Booster
We received the following update from our dealer:
I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know we have received the Oasis pump for your coach. We are still on track with your timeline.
As I may have mentioned before on the phone, most of the tasks have been completed with few exceptions: We are waiting on parts for one of the recall issues (a wiring harness) that has not yet arrived. The issue with the levelling jack is tied with the issue of the slide floor raising, both having to do with a failed solenoid at the hydraulic pump. That has been covered by the extended warranty, with the exception that you will have to cover the shipping on the part along with your deductible. And of course, we now have the Oasis pump which can be installed.
I will continue to keep you informed as we progress with your coach. Have a great weekend!
We had contacted ITR about the issue we had with the Oasis Heating System. Last fall, I had spent several hours in the basement of our coach, on the phone with ITR technical support, attempting to get the pump working so that we could get hot water. No joy. There were known issues with the pumps that ITR had used in our model year and they either changed the design or the supplier or perhaps both. ITR agreed to send us a new pump without charge — thank you ITR — and the only concern was whether the pump would arrive in time for us to get it installed in our coach.
It has arrived so we will have hot water on demand again. We did have hot water after the pump failed but we had to hack the system by changing the loops through a bypass switch. It meant that whenever we needed hot water, we had to exit the coach, open the bay to the Oasis system and turn a hidden switch on the main control unit. Once we were finished using the hot water, we had to go back outside the coach and turn the hidden switch off. Inconvenient.
A failed solenoid is a bit of a surprise to me and hopefully that resolves the slideout issue and the HWH levelling issue. Our extended warranty has a $200 deductible. I’ll be interested to see how much it cost to resolve the issue under extended warranty.
Looks like most of the items have been completed now with about two weeks left to go.
We take our car in to the dealer on September 19th to have the Blue Ox system installation completed. They will walk us through the process of hooking up our toad and making sure that the system is working properly.
Haven’t pulled a toad behind our coach as yet. I will be interested to see what it is like.
September 21st we leave the dealer and make our way to Sherkston Shores for a few weeks before heading south.
The adventures begin.