On My Own

Guarding the fort for a few days as Lorraine travels across southern Ontario tackling a few tasks that we need to clear off before we head south.

One of them we should have looked after while our youngest son was still at home.

I posted about our experience updating our Nexus records online here. Nexus is a trusted traveller program that we highly value and we wanted to make sure that my change of employment status to retired was registered with them. Lorraine and I went in, updated all of the relevant information required by the two governments, interviewed again with the border officials from both countries and all is well with our Nexus membership.

Our youngest son has to go through the same process only this time at Pearson Airport. Could take the better part of a day I suspect. Pearson is a very, very busy place.

Lorraine will make the three-hour drive out to Toronto, stay overnight with family, and then take Matthew out to get his Nexus records updated tomorrow. Matthew will be joining us in Florida over Christmas and the Nexus card will make his travel a bit easier.

Yours truly gets to safeguard the coach along with our trusty golden retriever.

I have yet to find a better guard dog.

Drive to Sherkston Shores

We left the dealer on Saturday and made our way down to Sherkston Shores. We had originally booked this site for six weeks.

We will wind up staying here for ten or twelve days due to some issues that we had at our dealer.

Last week our timeline for the replacement parts for the damaged forward awning was set to October 26th. Our decision was to sit and wait for the parts to arrive or to head down to Sherkston Shores and circle back.

A bit of an expensive decision. We use toll roads to get down to Sherkston Shores and the downward leg is $80. As we now have to go back and forth to get the awning issue resolved, this will add an extra $160 in tolls. The extra fuel costs to make that trip? About $350. All in our short stay at Sherkston Shores will add an extra $500 in costs. And that was one reason why we debated waiting at the dealer. Unlike a car, travelling even relatively short distances in our coach can be expensive.

But the lure of full hookups and being in a tourist area — Niagra Falls — will make the next week or so more enjoyable than hanging out at the dealer’s parking lot.

Our trip down offered a bit of excitement. Our planned exit was closed due to construction and we almost wound up at the U.S. border.

Aside from that little bit of excitement, the drive was fine. Our toad tracked perfectly and we had no issues navigating our new length. Coach plus car puts us about 60 feet in length.

Here is a video summary of the drive down and a brief overview of Sherkston Shores.

Haven’t Seen This Before

We picked up our jacks and made our way down to Sherkston Shores. I’ll have more to share about our journey tomorrow.

Today we have been enjoying a leisurely Sunday. Went to a church in St. Catherines this morning. A little bit of grocery shopping after the church service. And then a nice lunch in our coach.

While eating said lunch, from out the window of our coach, I see a Porsche Cayenne pull up. A family walks out of the car and they proceed to walk right up to our site.

And then they started taking pictures of themselves in front of our coach. Not just one or two mind you. They were there for about ten minutes taking all sorts of photos.

Naturally, I went outside to introduce myself.

“Is it okay if we have some pictures with your bus?” the father asked.

Since they had been doing so already, I was hard pressed to respond negatively to his request.

“Certainly.” I replied.

“Nice bus!” he proclaimed.

And then they took another dozen or so photos of themselves in front of our coach, hopped into their Porsche and went on their way.

Stranded

We arrived at the dealer last Tuesday to get our towbar installed on our Lincoln MKX. They had told us that they would need two days to get the baseplate installed on our car. We had arranged to stay at the dealer’s campsite Tuesday night and Wednesday night expecting to leave on the Thursday.

It is now Monday.

We may not get out of here before the end of this week.

Turns out the installation was a bit more involved with the Lincoln and, as part of the process, there was some damage to the car: broken chrome trim on the front grill and a punctured oil pan. Not sure how the oil pan got damaged in the process.

Parts to repair the damage won’t arrive until tomorrow (maybe). Then a day or two to make good the repairs and to finish the installation.

Lorraine and I have been on a hybrid boondock since last Tuesday. We have 50 amp power and water but no sewage. We’ve already made one trip to the local KOA to dump our tanks as the dealer does not have any dump facilities.

We weren’t really following water restriction protocols because we had only planned to be here for two nights as opposed to 10 or 12 nights.

I had arrived to the dealer a wee bit low on fuel. They did some servicing work on the coach which included a bit of driving around and the tank had reached a level where the Low Fuel Alarm was buzzing.

Before dumping our tanks, we had to refuel.

There is a gas station next to the dealership. The clearance is 4.1 metres or about 161 inches. We are about 154 inches at ride height however we had a cellular booster installed and an antenna now extends above our roofline by what appears to be about 6 inches or so.

I wasn’t sure we would get the coach underneath the overhang.

We would not have had enough fuel to get to the local KOA to dump our tanks, return back to the dealership and perhaps go to the local KOA a second time before a refuelling stop at a truck centre.

I gave the gas station a try. We were able to fit. Pumped about $450 of diesel into the tank. We were probably down to about 50 litres of fuel or about 150 kms of driving distance. Way too low for our rig.

The dealer has been great though. They provided us with a car and the site itself is very nice and private.

I’ve been able to get out on the bike and train although the after workout shower is not much fun. We are rationing the water until we get to a full hook-up site.

Showers, to quote Hobbes, are nasty, brutish and short.

It is very cold at night now. Lows are hitting about 5 Celsius or 41 Fahrenheit. Radiant floor heating is on during the evening and our furnace has also kicked in a few times overnight.

5 more weeks before we head south. Hopefully we beat the onset of the winter weather!

Travel Plans

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.

And then Florida. Myakka River Motorcoach Resort for one month, Riverbend Motorcoach Resort for one month and Everglades Isle Motorcoach Resort for one month.

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.

  1. Our starting point from Desert Shores in California.
  2. Eagle View RV Resort in Arizona for one night.
  3. Route 66 RV Resort in New Mexico for two nights.
  4. Oasis RV Resort in Texas for one night.
  5. Twin Fountains RV Resort in Oklahoma for one night.
  6. Ozark RV Resort in Arkansas for two nights.
  7. Sundermeiner RV Park in Missouri for one night.
  8. 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.