Skeeters

Something wicked this way comes when the warm weather in Canada arrives. Mosquitoes. Not just your run of the mill mosquito mind you.

No. Canadian mosquitoes are killer mosquitoes.

The smaller ones look like this. They will swarm you in seconds.

There are bigger ones of course. A species of mosquito called Psorophora ciliata. They have a cute nickname: Gallinippers. So called because when they bite you, they take a gallon of your blood. These giant mosquitoes are roughly twenty times the size of most mosquitoes. To quote a senior program specialist at Public Health Ontario:

Because of their size they are definitely a little more potent in their bite, you can feel them quite readily.

They are not exclusive to Canada. They also hang out in many other parts of the world including Florida.

Our coach was littered with mosquitoes last night. I killed about 20 of them this morning. Lots of blood throughout the interior of the coach. It looked like a war zone.

So difficult to keep them out with a dog. She takes time to get in and out of the coach and, during the evening hours when the mosquitoes are milling about in large numbers, they attach to her coat and they take advantage of the open door to rush inside.

Rough night trying to sleep with the sounds of mosquito whines. I woke up covered with bites.

We had the same issue with our house in the country. We wound up staying indoors at dusk and using the garage door for walking the dog at night.

With a coach, our options to keep the mosquitoes outside are limited.

Might be time to check out a few patio repellants for the front entrance area. Perhaps a Thermacell?

The Homestead

Settling in. The jacks are down and we will stay planted in Ontario for the six months that we are in Canada. We’ll still do a bit of travelling while we are in the province. Ontario is, after all, a pretty big place. How big, you ask? Well, you have come to the right website for the answer to that question.

For my American friends, Ontario is about the same size as Texas and Montana, combined.

Ontario is larger than France and Spain, combined. Ontario is 3 times the size of Germany, 4 times the size of the United Kingdom (more than 8 times the size of England) and over 15 times the size of Ireland.

Most of the 13.5 million people in Ontario live within 100 miles or so of the U.S. border. There are vast expanses of Ontario that constitute a wilderness devoid of any human life.

Yes, Ontario is a big place to hang out for six months.

We had a few concerns coming back to Canada in our coach.

The first concern was finding a nice spot to park the coach. We originally planned to store the coach and rent a nice condo near the water somewhere. But it is very challenging to find a nice furnished condo for only six months. There are some really nice options if we were willing to rent for a year. Nothing really for snowbirds.

We could buy something I suppose. We just do not want to be tied down to a house right now.

Nice spots for coaches in Canada? Let’s just say that things are a bit rustic here in the Great White North compared to the United States.

We have found a pretty nice spot just north of Toronto and we think it will work out just fine for the six months that we are here.

The second concern, which might sound a bit trivial, was Internet access.

We are both quite active on the Internet and having a reliable, high-speed connection is important. Although not really high-speed, I have been able to jury-rig a setup where we get a consistent 5 Mbps service for our devices in the coach. Although I would prefer a higher download speed, say 10 Mbps or more, we can make do. I have been able to make it work fine under load when the park is at full capacity due, in part, to me using the 5G band and some VPN bonding when required.

The third concern was tranquility.

We are older and we are not partiers. I’m generally to sleep by 10pm. We prefer a calm environment. In Canada, most parks are family parks. And I have no issue with family parks. I just prefer to be in a calmer location. Where we are is limited to two adults only per site. This offers us a spot that is really quite nice and peaceful. We just came out of a busy long week-end and we really did not notice it in this area of the park.

Once the weather improves, I will take a few shots and a video of our location. We have a nice spot, far nicer than we expected. We are very happy to be here and, of course, very happy to reconnect with our family and friends after our time away down south.

Ozarks RV Resort

1,678 miles travelled since we left Desert Shores Motorcoach Resort on April 14th. Only 1,133 miles to go and then we will be setting up our coach on Canadian soil. We are currently at Ozarks RV Resort on Table Rock Lake for two nights. We have had wonderful weather all the way so far. Sunny days.

It has been a bit of a challenge staying connected online. The quality of the WiFi service at all of the parks we have visited since leaving Desert Shores has ranged from poor to really awful. I’m going to have to beef up the mobile Internet over cellular for the coach on our next trip south. Our Canadian data plan is woefully inadequate when travelling in the United States. And slow.

I had done up a video for one of the resorts and the owners wanted to use it on their website. It took over 4 hours to upload the roughly 400 MB file off my smartphone’s hotspot.

I’m doing a seminar at a motorhome show in Canada on May 4th. I use a lot of graphics when preparing presentations like this one and that takes a lot of bandwidth as I source many of the graphics online. Trying to do that work while on the road is proving to be darn near impossible.

I’m hoping that when we stop at Newmar later this week I will have access to high-speed Internet so that I can get the seminar finished up.

Lesson learned. At least I will have a few months to research options stateside before heading south again in November. I’ve been a member of the Mobile Internet Resource Center for the past couple of years. I’ll leverage their guidance in terms of a better mobile Internet infrastructure for the coach.

It has been three days since we left the beautiful Ruidoso Motorcoach Ranch in New Mexico. We sure loved that place. Definitely has earned a spot in our top ten list of the nicest parks we have visited.

From Ruidoso, we stopped at Oasis RV Resort in Amarillo, Texas, literally a parking lot for coaches on the way to somewhere else. All paved, easy access to I-40, clean, quiet, level sites. More than fine for an overnight stay. Our next stop was Mustang Run RV Park near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Similar to Oasis RV Resort. A decent spot for an overnight stay.

Then the Ozarks Luxury RV Resort in Arkansas for a two-night stay. The drive into the resort was filled with twists and turns. At least two hours or so of pretty serious motorcoach handling on very tight country roads. At one point, we came very close to a collision with a distracted driver. I have that one on dash cam and I will post the video whenever we get to a spot with decent Internet service.

This is our spot at the park.

Most of the sites are unoccupied. Although originally started as a Class A ownership park, that development failed and Ozarks became a mixed resort with all classes of RVs. They do emphasize that they are an ownership park however you can rent here without any difficulty.

We have a wonderful view of the lake and we are enjoying some downtime on this peaceful and upscale property. One more stop before our three-day service call at Newmar. And, from there, back to Canada for six months.

Ruidoso Motorcoach Ranch

We went out of our way to stop at Ruidoso Motorcoach Ranch. And thank heavens we did. What a stunning park!

We drove from Distant Drums RV Resort, near Sedona, Arizona, to Ruidoso Motorcoach Ranch. Eleven hours behind the wheel. Plus one hour due to a time zone change.

We left at 6:00am and did not arrive to Ruidoso until roughly 6:00pm local time.

The drive into the resort is a bit challenging. You will travel along some very scenic roads on your way and you will be navigating quite a few curves and climbing quite a few mountains. Ruidoso is situated at an elevation of about 7,000 feet.

As you drive through the gates, you will see this welcome sign.

“For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” — Romans 11:36

The owners, Lisa and Jimmy, will likely be waiting for you when you register at the clubhouse.

You won’t find a swimming pool or a fitness facility here. You will, however, find an absolutely stunning location for your Class A motorcoach.

Jimmy brought us out to our site, number 16. This was our view out the window from inside our coach.

And here is our coach at site 16.

And our front patio.

Here is a shot from the back of the park looking out to the clubhouse.

I made the following video of this special and unique property. If you have a Class A motorcoach and you are wanting to spend time in New Mexico, then you must come here. Highly recommended.

Sedona

Desert Shores is now but a distant memory. We left this beautiful resort in Southern California on Sunday with our first stop at Distant Drums RV Resort in Camp Verde, Arizona, only a gentle 5-hour drive, for two nights.

Our plan was to spend the afternoon, evening and the following day hiking in the Sedona area.

We left Indio, California later than planned. I was a bit rusty on getting the coach all set and ready to go. And, stiff. Physically stiff. I found the drive much tougher than I expected. The driving conditions were fine, clear weather, light winds, not much in the way of traffic, but I was definitely tense behind the wheel.

When we arrived into Distant Drums, I was pretty much spent. No hiking that day. In fact, I went to bed at 8pm and slept through to 6am. Very unusual for me.

Distant Drums RV Resort was a pleasant enough place to stay. The park is paved with concrete pads at each site. Well maintained, quiet and clean.

Sites are tight though. You need to be careful about where you get placed if you are coming in with a large coach. We had site 40. Fairly wide and a nice view out the front window.

The camp WiFi here is totally unusable. Campgrounds should provide a usable service or provide an honest assessment of the service: “We offer free WiFi but you really can’t use it for anything whatsoever.”

We used our hotspot for the two days we stopped here. Canadian data plans are amongst the worst and most expensive in the industrialized world. Our plan includes 15GB of data per month which is shared between Lorraine and myself. All that data for only $284 CAD per month.

We will be using a U.S. data plan when we return next year.

At just under 41 feet, our coach barely fit on the concrete pad and there was little room to squeeze our toad in beside the coach. This park was designed for much smaller rigs. Something to keep in mind if you come here with a large motorcoach.

The real attraction of this resort? Proximity to places like Sedona.

A 30 to 40 minute drive found us at the trailhead for Little Horse Trail, an easy hike out to Chicken Point Overlook.

We arrived to the trailhead before the crowds. After 9am or so, the parking lot becomes overwhelmed and you won’t find a spot for your car.

There is a unique beauty to Sedona. We have been here many times and every time we come back we are inspired by the majestic surroundings.

Although out in nature, the civilized world is never too far away. Contrails made shooting the trail challenging. The unparalleled Arizona skies were littered with them.

We spent a couple of hours hiking towards Chicken Point Overlook keeping in mind that we often diverge from the main trails that the tourists follow and that I am also taking a lot of photos along the way.

There are a constant flow of jeep tours that come out to the Chicken Point Overlook. You can make out a few of the tourists in the photo below.

Once we reached the overlook, there were 40 or 50 people from the various jeep tour companies. I was able to find a willing volunteer to snap this shot.

At least I can prove that I made it to the overlook.

The view from up here is really nice. I can see why the jeep tours make this stop.

But, if you hike on foot, away from the crowded jeep tourists, you can get a different perspective.

We spent most of the day hiking around this area. And, as the afternoon passed, we reluctantly said good-bye to Sedona.

When we left Distant Drums on the Tuesday morning, we had our longest driving day of the trip back to Canada. I am writing this entry from Ruidoso Motorcoach Ranch in New Mexico. More on the drive to New Mexico and this stunning park in our next post.

Last shot of the hike. Such an amazing day with my beautiful wife.