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.

Walmart

Why are so many motorhomes parked at Walmart?

That is the headline of a recent article in the National Post.

When travelling long distances in a motorhome, some RVers will use Walmart as a layover for one night. They will either call ahead, or talk to a manager, and ask permission to stay the night in a Walmart parking lot. Most have no issue although a number of Walmarts will refuse citing city ordinances or store policy.

Regina seems to be one of the more popular spots but apparently more for cheap storage or longer-term stays.

But the most popular Walmart in Regina might be the east-end location on Victoria Avenue, where more than 20 RVs, campers and motorhomes sit scattered across the pavement. Campers sit in the parking lot of Walmart on east Victoria Avenue. Some are for sale, and many seem to be there semi-permanently. They sit on blocks, with no sign of a truck to tow them.

Kerri Botkin was there on Saturday, unloading her camper after a weekend trip to Rowan’s Ravine Provincial Park.

“Honest to God, Walmart is the most ideal place to store your camper during the week, and off you go on the weekends,” she said.

“I live in an apartment, so there is nowhere for me to park.”

And further down in the article:

“I’ve seen it at the north end,” he said. “I’ve seen it year after year: The same motorhomes show up as soon as the snow disappears, and they sit there all summer until the fall.”

He fears those motorhome owners could ruin a good thing for everyone else.

We don’t layover in Walmarts. We find a reputable campground on our way. That is our preference when we travel. We have friends that will layover in Walmarts. They stop for a night, load up on supplies and then head out in the morning.

I cannot see any scenario where municipalities would tolerate people setting up camp for months at a time at store parking lots. Regardless of how much latitude a store manager might allow, municipalities will eventually step in and ban the practice. It is unhealthy and unsafe.

So yes, those motorhome owners will ruin the ability to layover for an evening at a Walmart parking lot.

Not In My Backyard

An Alberta developer wants to build a large RV park in Big Pond, Cape Breton. After a lengthy proposal process, the development was approved however an appeal was launched by seven people and there is a three-day hearing taking place this week to determine if the development will still go forward.

There is no website for Ceilidh on the Lakes. They do have a Facebook page. And they made this post in May:

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Due to the OVERWHELMING number of inquiries and requests for seasonal sites, we will be releasing the seasonal applications this week!

A few things to note:

– Deposits will be held in trust until opening, with deposit amount deducted from first season’s rate

– If for any reason the development does not proceed, deposits will be returned within a specified time frame

– 170 seasonal sites will be available

– Choose from lot sizes 30 X 45 or 30 X 60

Stay tuned to the page for details and application in the coming days!

No word on pricing or timing. This development might take a year or two before it is open for business which makes it a bit dodgy to request a deposit at this stage.

The population near this proposed RV park is very small, literally a couple of hundred people.

They have raised a lot of concerns. A pretty disgruntled lot if I might be so bold. Here are a few of the comments from the 50 or so people that are participating in the appeal:

“The appellants say that the CBRM planners and the CBRM council did not adequately evaluate the zoning amendment proposal with respect to several provisions of the MPS, including visual compatibility, dust or fumes, traffic and noise. The appellants also say the project runs counter to agricultural land protection.”

“If you have fire pits near a barn full of hay, it wouldn’t take too long to burn a barn down.”

“I enjoy the privacy I have now, and I don’t think I’d enjoy having people watching me all day — I enjoy looking at the trees but I don’t know how many trees will be left after this.”

“I am concerned about pollution coming to our vegetables. I am not an expert, but during the time of the public hearing I submitted some research that I had done that indicated both air pollution, especially particulate matter in the air, can affect the growth of vegetables, which is of great concern to me because our main income generators in the garden are leafy greens such as salad mix, lettuce, Asian greens, spinach and kale.”

“It will change the landscape of our community.”

Obviously I love the RV lifestyle and especially the RV parks that cater to Class A motorhomes — not that we have any of those in Canada but there are more than enough in the United States.

Evidently, this love of RVing is not shared by the community of Big Pond.

WSU RV Passes Sell Out

One of the big differences between the U.S. and Canada?

We don’t have RV parking for college football.

On the Die Hard Cougs Facebook page, Washington State University Cougar fans were enraged when the parking passes for RVs had sold out.

From the Daily Evergreen:

The CAF [Cougar Athletic Fund] switched to selling RV passes for a full season after having them available on a per game basis in previous years.

Ganders said the decision was about rewarding their largest donors for committing to WSU with the ease of purchasing a pass for a whole season.

“We know that RV parking is part of Washington State football culture,” Ganders said. “Unfortunately that’s the inventory we have and we just try to make it as fair and as objective as possible.”

Ganders said they have seen an increase in donations from people looking to increase their chances of getting RV passes. CAF scores for RV pass priority went into effect May 1, a date Ganders said was made clear well in advance.

The CAF separates their zoned RV parking into three donor levels. Zone 1 costs $875 and requires an additional annual donation of $1000. Zone 2 costs $700 and requires an additional annual donation of $750 and Zone 3 costs $700 and requires an additional annual donation of $700.

WSU has a capacity for 330 RVs and campers on home football weekends.

Washington State University even has a webpage dedicated to RV event parking.

The only American football game that I have ever watched live was at the Pontiac Silverdome, former home of the Detroit Lions.

The Silverdome closed in 2006 and the city sold it for about a half million, less than one percent of the cost to build it. It reopened for a few years in 2010 and then it was closed again in 2013. Demolition occurred in 2017. ViralForest has some haunting photos of the Silverdome here.

That football game was the very first time that I had experienced a tailgate party. And yes, there were a lot of RVs and campers strewn about the parking lot. The place was packed.

Not sure that I would take our coach out to a football game.