Making Travel Plans

We continue to work on our travel plans for our first trip south.

We have two options under consideration in terms of how we will start the journey.

Our first option is to stay in our condo until the end of October and then take three days to get to Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort for our first brief layover of a couple of nights before making the final leg to Myakka River Motorcoach Resort in Florida. We would pick up our coach from Gan 401 Storage and head south crossing the border at the Thousand Islands.

The trip down to Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort would look something like this:

We have been told that if we take this path down we should make a few changes to our route.

Follow I-81 South to Syracuse and take the 481 Bypass around Syracuse. Then continue on the I-81 South through the rest of New York State, and on into Pennsylvania through Maryland, and West Virginia and on into Virginia.

Just south of Middleton Virginia take the I-66 East (the exit will be marked as Front Royal and will be a left-handed exit off the I-81). Drive I-66 until it is intersected by I-17 South. Then follow I-17 until you connect to I-95.

Google Maps and GPS programs will advise you to head towards I-95 sooner on your trip and they’ll take you closer to Washington DC which can be overcome with traffic. So much better to do this bit of detour through Virginia’s very scenic horse country.

By doing this routing, you will have avoided all of the major traffic for the biggest cities on the US Eastern Seaboard. The only time that there is even the slightest issue with traffic in this by-pass around Washington DC is if you happen to hit during rush hour and then only for a short distance down the I-95 towards Richmond Virginia. If you plan your timing right, then here shouldn’t be any issues at all.

The I-95 will lead you south thru the rest of Virginia. Take the 295 By-Pass around Richmond and continue on the I-95 on thru North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia on into Florida.

Take the 295 By-Pass around Jacksonville. If headed to the Gulf Coast area you can take the I-10 Westbound and connect up to the I-75 for places such as Tampa, Clearwater, Fort Meyers or Naples.

Heading to Orlando take the I-4 just south of Daytona Beach.

Heading further south to Fort Lauderdale, Miami or The Keys, stick with I-95 thru Florida.

This was great advice and we modified our route and planned our two overnight stays to break the 17-hour drive to Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort into more manageable 5 to 6-hour daily drives.

And then came option two.

Rather than staying in our condo until the end of October, we stay until mid-September. We then head over to Sherkston Shores RV Resort, which is very close to the US border by Buffalo, New York, and live in our coach until the end of October.

We then would make our way to Hilton Head by following I-77 and I-79. The trip is shorter and we might be able to get to Hilton Head Motorcoach Resort in two longer days. Or, if we keep to three days driving, we would certainly be less than a 5-hour drive each day.

That option looks like this:

I’ll need to do some more research to see if there are any tips for doing this route. Given we are driving in the first week of November, I wouldn’t anticipate any severe winter weather. I do prefer the border crossing at the Thousand Islands as it is usually pretty quiet.

Homeless in Vancouver?

A recent trend in the city of Vancouver: people living out of RVs on the side of the street.

The Globe and Mail had this to say about the situation in Vancouver:

When you talk to people living in motorhomes, and there are dozens already camped on Vancouver streets, they don’t identify as homeless. Most are proud of their homes, many of which are powered by solar panels and fit in with Vancouver’s green city aspirations. What they don’t like is having to hide and move. Some say they would be happy to pay a modest rent for a safe spot in someone’s leafy backyard.

This, of course, is not a perfect fix. Recreational vehicles should never be considered a permanent replacement for housing. But people on the margins, faced with a dearth of other options, have already innovated by moving into them. It wouldn’t hurt to loosen the rules, so they can leave the industrial parks and live in nice neighbourhoods. And if a state of emergency declaration can help make it happen, let’s consider that too.

Vancouver, Canada now ranks as the world’s sixth most expensive city to buy a condo and the eighth most expensive market in the world for a single family home. Just how bad is it in Vancouver?

This is what 2.4 million dollars will buy you:

Can’t you just get a sense of your money having been well spent on this stunning estate?

I found this story about a couple living out of their RV:

And we live in an RV in Vancouver.

For us, it was both a voluntary and involuntary choice. Voluntary because after a string of horrendous landlords, our most recent one sold our house with no notice and then sent a family member to evict us in 30 days. We’d lived there for nearly 2 years, paid almost $50,000 in rent and had nothing to show for it. The involuntary part of the decision came into play when we couldn’t find an affordable, pet-friendly place to live and I refused to part with my dog.

At times it seems like parts of the world have gone utterly and completely mad.

Norway

A little break from all of our planning for the first year of travel in our motorcoach.

With the countdown app on this website now showing three months to go before retirement — it is a touch longer than that but close enough — I should let you know that we have also decided on taking a special cruise to mark this particular transition in our lives.

5 days after retirement, we will be flying out to Hamburg Germany and from there we will board the Norwegian Jade and take a nine-day cruise of Norway. And yes, on one of those days, we will be taking a trip on the world’s most beautiful train journey, the Flam Railway.

This is our itinerary for the cruise:

Initially, we weren’t planning to do anything at all as part of the start of my retirement other than a small family gathering.

Lorraine had other plans. Her view was that after 39 years of working and supporting our family, a special trip was in order.

How could I disagree?

We have thoroughly enjoyed planning this particular trip to a part of the world that we have not seen before. And once we return, we will only have a few weeks to get ourselves ready to begin our travels in our coach.

Everglades Isle Motorcoach Resort

Booking out past January 2019 is proving to be a bit challenging. For our final month in Florida, we are still deciding between three motorcoach resorts: Pelican Lake Motorcoach Resort, MotorCoach Resort St. Lucie West and Everglades Isle Motorcoach Resort.

We are waitlisted at Pelican Lake and MotorCoach Resort St. Lucie West. Not because they are sold out this early. It is because they are not ready to accept any new bookings. We’ve been told that there won’t be any issues booking us into these resorts however we wanted to make sure that we had our first few months in Florida confirmed.

Everglades Isle was able to take a booking and we reserved a site with them from January 5, 2019 to February 1, 2019. A waterfront site, site number 15. We might change our mind however we do like the resort and its location.

Everglades is a Class A restricted resort where coaches need to be ten years or younger and in excellent condition although I suspect that they would allow older coaches provided they are in excellent condition.

Large pads topped with brick pavers. Even the roads in the park are topped with brick pavers. Free cable at site, free WiFi at site, full hookups with 100 amp service. And some nice amenities at the clubhouse.

Andy, the Gadget Guru, did up a full review at his website which you can find here.

This is his short video on a tour of the park:

We now have our first three months planned out although we are still debating the drive down to Florida from Canada. We are intending to take 5 days for the drive down. One approach is to take two long days and hang out at the Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort November 2, 3 and 4th and then leave early on the 5th to arrive at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort. Another approach would be to take a far more leisurely drive and not spend more than 5 hours a day on the road and try our chances at whatever RV park might be handy in that range.

Hilton Head looks nice though.

More to come on the plans for the journey out from Florida over to California.

All this planning does take my mind off the bitter cold temperatures we are still experiencing here in Canada.

Springtime in Canada

In case you might be wondering why we are so excited about booking our motorcoach resorts in Florida and California next winter.