Campground of the Year

We stay at KOAs. But only when we don’t have a choice. I find most of them to be too expensive for the experience which is generally very tight sites, gravel pads and, for big rigs like ours, tight access and issues with clearing trees.

Every year, KOA selects a campground of the year. For 2018, the winner is the Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Mountain KOA Holiday.

This would be one of their sites:

If that was the campground of the year, I was curious to see one of the worst KOA campgrounds. I didn’t have to work that hard to find it. Acton/Los Angeles North KOA. A typical review on tripadvisor:

Disgusting rat hole of a campground

This is the worst place ever… with the sewer smell from the septic tank… ants crawling all over the walls and toilets in the bathrooms and the laundry room is a joke and the prices this place charges you can go up to the rv resort on Sierra Highway for the same price you have cell phone service and WiFi and a beautiful view of the valley and a swimming pool that is taken care of properly …. so people if you are passing thru the Acton area this is not the place to stay. Again go to the rv resort on Sierra Highway for top of the line camping experience

Pretty brutal comments all around.

The sites there appear to have no boundaries. They look to be offered on an unpaved parking lot with very little separation.

It makes me appreciate some of the beautiful spots we have found in our travels to date. Especially in the Petoskey, Michigan area.

And I am certain that we will find many more beautiful spots for our coach in the years to come. If that means the occasional stay in a more rustic KOA setting in transit, so be it. All part of the experience.

Goals for 2018

Well, I guess it is important to keep making goals, even into retirement. And I have a few.

The most important goal? Create the future us. As my retirement date quickly approaches, Lorraine and I will be pursuing a new chapter of life, the best time of our lives. We have a chance to follow passions and dreams different from the time we have spent during career and raising family. As I have been reminded time and again, we need to retire to something and not from something.

Lorraine and I have talked about many things related to retirement. More often than not, it has been focused on the financial side. Are we ready? Do we have enough money set aside?

Now that the date has been declared and the time is quickly approaching, we are spending more time talking about the what and the why. Our goals and our key motivations for the next few years.

I have some personal goals — I always have been a bit of a driven person — and I will have a lot more time coming my way to act on them. I have no doubt that I can keep myself busy however it is important to me that Lorraine and I go through this stage of life as we have through our 38 years of marriage: together, continuing to grow and continuing to contribute as a couple. Which means not just me and my goals.

We are obviously looking forward to our travels. Lots of adventures will be coming our way.

Lorraine has already started the new year with a big goal: getting us ready to explore North America in our coach. We have mapped out most of what we want to do in the United States as Canadian snowbirds during our first winter as retirees. We will need to map out the first 12 – 18 months with a bit of structure and yet leave room for spontaneity.

According to my countdown app, I have 6 months, 1 week and 3 days to go before I have a major change in how I have been living life.

Excited.

A bit scared.

But still excited.

And The Winner?

We bought a 2018 Lincoln MKX Reserve as our toad for our coach. Cash deal on the coldest evening of this brutally cold winter. A bit easier to negotiate a good deal on a vehicle at this time of year. Very few people out car shopping immediately after Christmas. And, since most Canadians are locked into their igloos right now, afraid to venture outdoors for fear of immediate frostbite in minus 30 Celsius wind chills, our dealer was more than anxious to close the deal at a fair price.

Why the Lincoln MKX over the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

Styling, features and feel. Ultimately a preference as both vehicles would have worked as a toad for our coach.

First time back to a North American car in several decades for me. This vehicle came out of the Oakville plant here in Canada.

I hope the team at Lincoln built a good car. I guess we will find out.

A New Toad

Getting closer to that time where we need to get our toad. Although many cars can be towed behind a coach with four wheels down, there are a limited number of vehicles where the manufacturer approves flat towing. There are guides published each year by the FMCA and Motorhome Magazine.

We have decided to tow four wheels down as opposed to a dolly or trailer. And that reduces our choice of vehicles.

I am down to two: the Lincoln MKX or the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Both vehicles come with generally favourable reviews. For the Lincoln MKX, they made substantial improvements in recent model years making it a competitive offering in the luxury midsize crossover market. The Jeep Grand Cherokee seems to be a standard toad vehicle for many. We see them all the time behind Class A motorhomes.

I am leaning towards the Lincoln although I will have to make sure that Lorraine is onside.

If we went with the Lincoln, or the Jeep, we would get the following accessories: a Blue Ox baseplate, a Blue Ox KarGard, a Blue Ox Towbar, and a Patriot Braking System.

As the dealers are frozen in arctic temperatures with our current ice age weather, now might be a good time to chip away at the 2017s and make a great deal.

Top 100 RV Blogs

Just in case some of my friends in the United States have never seen a Canadian hundred-dollar note. Canadians generally do not carry large bills. The hundred-dollar note is the highest-valued and least-circulated note in Canada.

Perhaps a Feedspot with the title “Top 100 RV Blogs Every RV or Motorhome Travel Enthusiast Must Follow” is a bit like the Canadian hundred-dollar note. It takes the highest-valued websites using metrics like Facebook fans, Twitter followers and Alexa Rank and evaluates sites to score the top 100 RV blogs. And, perhaps like the Canadian hundred-dollar note, few people make use of this particular Feedspot.

I spend a lot of time following the RV community on the web and I haven’t visited most of the top 100 blogs on this particular list.

The number 1 RV blog according to Feedspot?

RV Travel.

You can take a look through the complete list here. There were a few familiar ones for me like RV Daily Report, Technomedia, Wheelingit, RV Love but most were not. I checked out a few of them. Some Canadians were on the list like the Bayfield Bunch and Full Time Canada. A large number of the sites on the list were nothing more than storefronts for RV dealers.

And no, our blog was not in the top 100.