Packing It In

Time to make a decision. In another ten weeks, we will have to leave our current site. Unless the border to the United States reopens for land crossings, we have no place to go.

The probability of the border reopening? The Canada-U.S. border could be closed for months.

Canada and the U.S. review their border closure agreement every 30 days. Several experts in different fields have told CBC News that they predict the border won’t reopen until sometime next year…

Given public opinion, economist Moshe Lander said it would be “political suicide” for Canadian politicians to contemplate reopening the border right now.

The overwhelming majority of Canadians, scared to death of COVID-19, want the border to remain closed. As of now, I see nothing in the short-term that will change the minds of Canadians and, by extension, the politicians that have imposed these measures to reduce or limit mobility rights.

For some bizarre reason, we can cross into the United States by air. Just not by coach. That is a problem for us as we live full-time in our coach. Canadian winters are not particularly conducive to the RV lifestyle. We would not willingly choose to live in our coach during an Ontario winter. It was bad enough in April and May of this year. There is a reason why so many Canadians choose to be snowbirds when they retire.

This is what things looked like in May:

Lorraine and I spent several hours yesterday going through our scenarios for the fall. We considered four potential scenarios:

  1. Continue with our original plan to head south to Florida end of October
  2. Head west to British Columbia
  3. Put the coach into storage and fly south or fly to Europe for six months
  4. Put the coach into storage and stay in the same area of Ontario for the winter

We weighed the pros and cons of each scenario. Underlying each option is something that we cannot know: the impact of COVID-19 in the fall.

It isn’t just the border closure to the south. Provinces have been putting up barriers to interprovincial travel. Other countries have imposed restrictions on travellers. We could be out of our home province and some public health official could make an order that would have significant implications on our ability to travel.

For example, we could plan to head out to British Columbia in the fall and, just as we make our way, a surge in COVID-19 cases causes the provincial government to shut down its borders to out-of-province travellers.

That specific example has already happened across several Canadian provinces. Our mobility rights were overturned in the interest of a public health emergency.

Restrictions vary across Canada even though the country is now open, for the most part, to domestic tourism. Each province has made it clear that the rules around domestic travel are subject to change at a moment’s notice.

Our best option while this pandemic runs it course is to stay in our home province.

We’ll put the coach into storage in October and rent a nice home, hopefully on a month-to-month basis. If things should change, we’ll pull the coach out of storage and resume our travels. Otherwise the coach will remain in storage until May 1st when we are able to return to our current site here in Ontario.

Being locked up in Ontario because of COVID-19 was not a consideration when we first began planning the lifestyle. Hopefully this pandemic will pass in another year and we can resume our lifestyle.

We will really miss our friends and our church in Florida.

And the sun and warmth.

6 replies
  1. Mark Hamilton
    Mark Hamilton says:

    What a dilemma! I bet you never, ever dreamed you would encounter this situation while you were planning this lifestyle!!
    Gig Harbor, WA

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      We never envisioned such a situation in our retirement. I suspect a large number of Snowbirds will be forced to stay in Canada this winter.

  2. Sandy Dick
    Sandy Dick says:

    Hi Richard & Lorraine,
    What a difficult decision! Praying that you find a suitable living space for the winter, and that you find the silver lining in all of this!

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Thanks Sandy. We’ll be fine. We already have a spot for our coach and we won’t have an issue finding a nice place to hunker down for the winter. Not happy to put our beautiful home on wheels in storage but hopefully it is just for this winter.

  3. Marg
    Marg says:

    Hi Richard – I understand how you and Lorraine feel, we have also made the decision to stay in Canada for winter. It will be the first time in over 10 years that we have spent an entire winter here – we are trying to take in all the summer sunshine to carry us through.
    Good luck in the rental market – I am sure you will find something suitable to tide you over until you can return to the full-time RV lifestyle that you and Lorraine enjoy to much.
    All the best and continue stay safe.

    • Richard
      Richard says:

      Thanks Marg. Not really much more we can do right now. Without any indication from government as to what a reopening plan for the border would look like, it is almost impossible to make any firm plans. Since we are currently “home free” we have to make our arrangements now so that we are not stranded in a couple of months. We have several options and we will be fine. We will be cold mind you. Not looking forward to a Canadian winter 🙂


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