Exit Ramp

Enough is enough. That pretty much sums up my frustration with the actions of government. Canada imposed new travel restrictions further limiting our mobility rights. This on top of provincial lockdowns. We have experienced a perpetual state of forced confinement for almost a year now. With no end in sight.

All international air travellers will be required to stay in a supervised government approved quarantine hotel, at their own expense, until their test results come back, which is expected to take approximately 3 days.

The cost to travellers for the mandatory hotel stay and COVID testing will be approximately $2,000 per person.

If you test negative, you complete the remainder of your 14-day quarantine at your place of residence assuming that it meets the requirements of public health officials, under significantly increased surveillance. Enforcement will be conducted by private security firms who have been hired by the Federal government to monitor travellers quarantining at home.

Travellers will also be required to be tested again on Day 10 of their quarantine, regardless of their initial test result.

If the test is positive at that point, you will be required to go to a government run quarantine centre.

These restrictions were introduced for air travel and will soon be in effect for air and land travel.

Although I haven’t checked, I suspect that those of us returning in a motorcoach would have the coach seized and impounded on entry while enduring the mandatory 3-day imprisonment for the lawful act of entering Canada. Presumably the cost of impounding the coach would be added to the $2,000 per person charge. Not sure what would happen to any pets during that part of the process. And not sure whether the isolation period would separate a couple. I suspect it would.

Hard to believe.

What have I learned through this pandemic?

Travelling full-time in a motorcoach in Canada is not sustainable when the borders are closed. Winters are very harsh here.

Being without housing is a much greater risk than I expected.

As a consequence we made a few changes.

We sold the coach two weeks ago.

We bought a beautiful condo in a wonderful waterfront complex last week.

We move there in 5 weeks.

It’s certainly not the dream we expected during this part of our retirement. Travel will come back. Perhaps next year. Or the year after. Possibly this year but it seems doubtful.

When it does, we will resume our travels. But not in a motorcoach.

We loved the time we did have travelling around North America in our Dutch Star. Looking back, I took many of those amazing memories for granted. I never imagined a scenario where our basic freedoms could be taken away.

And so we pivot.

We are still the same couple. Still very much in love and travelling together through this life. Facing the challenges as best we can.

The blog has been quiet over the past two weeks as we had so many things to do in a relatively short period of time. We have tried to reach out to as many of our friends and family as possible to share the news before posting here.

We are not sure what the next chapter looks like and that’s okay.

Life never really follows even the most carefully scripted of plans.

We’ll focus on the many blessings we enjoy. Our faith, our marriage, our family, our friends, our health, our financial independence.

To those still on the road: enjoy the journey!

A Task Force On Border Reopening

We have a new “task force” to determine when and how the Canada/US Border may reopen. Given the ability of the Canadian government to act, we could be another year or two before the border reopens.

Here is a video overview of the task force:

The border between Canada and the United States has been closed to “nonessential, noncommercial” traffic since March in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The task force on border reopening was organized by the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

I’d never heard of the place before.

Here is their mandate:

Bound by common geopolitical interests and strong economic and cultural ties, Canada and the United States enjoy the world’s most successful bilateral relationship. The Wilson Center’s Canada Institute is the only public policy forum in the world dedicated to the full spectrum of Canada-U.S. issues. The Canada Institute is a global leader for policymakers, academics and business leaders to engage in non-partisan, informed dialogue about the current and future state of the relationship.

The task force will engage in non-partisan, informed dialogue about the reopening of the border. It is a small group which includes former Quebec Premier Jean Charest, former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Anne McLellan, former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and former Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington. They will provide recommendations to the US and Canadian governments.

Charest has already gone on record to highlight the major issues and questions for the task force:

  • Will travellers need to be vaccinated to cross the border?
  • Will travellers need to produce a health certificate?
  • Will travellers have to undergo COVID testing at the border?

If a vaccination is required, I highly doubt that we will be crossing into the states in November of 2021. I doubt that a majority of the Canadian population will have received a vaccination by the end of 2021.

To be honest, I’m not all that sure I want to be first in line to get the injections.

The earliest this panel will deliver their recommendations will be March of 2021. Given the capacity of our government to act on the recommendations, I don’t see anything moving too quickly before the fall.

I expect reopening will hinge on the arrival of widely-distributed vaccines.

I expect we will spend at least another winter in Canada.

Myakka River Motorcoach Resort Site 90

Our home away from home. Until COVID came along. And then we were forced to seek out alternative living arrangements for the winter. Depending on the course of this pandemic, we might be forced to seek out alternative living arrangements again next winter.

We have a beautiful waterfront house to enjoy until the spring. November ushered in summer-like conditions. Last week, we had temperatures in the 20s — in the 70s Fahrenheit for my American friends.

The view from our back deck:

Then winter decided to show up yesterday.

The temperatures plummeted to -5 Celsius or in the low 20s Fahrenheit.

Yet it was a beautiful morning when I took that photo. I decided to step outside and take it all in.

Yikes.

Frozen.

In just a few seconds I raced back into the warm house.

I miss Myakka. I miss the sun. The palm trees. The warm weather.

This year I missed the two hurricanes that hit our area in Florida, Eta and Iota. Literally missed them. I was up north enjoying the unseasonably warm weather in Ontario. I hope all of our friends at Myakka made it through those two storms safely.

Yesterday we received a package from one of our friends at Myakka. It included this note:

Richard and Lorraine,

We hope this finds you well. We know you’re unable to travel south this year but wanted to give you a little something that will remind you of Myakka and are able to take it with you wherever your travels may take you.

Take care. God bless. We miss you both and Tabby too.

Rick and Marsha. Izzie too!

Here is a picture of that little something on my desk just to the side of a Canadian coaster:

What a wonderful and thoughtful gift!

At the entrance to each site in Myakka, there is a light and a marker. Shaped just like the carving above.

Site 90.

Our home away from home.

Sigh.

I really do miss Myakka.

And I really do miss all of our amazing friends at Myakka.

COVID-19 And The Canada/US Border

The border closure could extend well into 2021. From the Canadian Snowbirds Association:

As was reported last week, the Canada/U.S. land border will remain closed to all non-essential travel until at least November 21, 2020. Canadian Snowbirds Association representatives continue to discuss the issue of the border closure with government officials and agencies on both sides of the border. Ultimately, based on these discussions, the current travel restrictions at the land border crossings could possibly extend well into 2021. At this time, the only way in which Canadian citizens are permitted to travel to the United States is by air. As many members are inquiring, the reason that this loophole exists is that the U.S. Government only applied the border restrictions to land and ferry crossings while the Canadian Government applied the restriction to all modes of travel.

Based on what I have read and from all of the credible sources I have contacted there is no chance the border reopens this year.

We still had hope that perhaps some form of travel exemption would be considered for Canadian Snowbirds that live full-time in motorhomes. Obviously those hopes are dashed.

Thankfully we had made our plans for storing our coach and finding a nice place to live for the winter months. We did all of that work back in August. We structured our lease agreement such that we could give our notice within 30 days should the border reopen. It turned out to be a good decision on our part to secure storage and housing. Very difficult to find suitable arrangements in this part of Ontario.

Many of our Canadian friends that full-time have elected to remain in Canada either renting a place or heading out west.

Canada is a very hostile place for full-time RVers in the winter. The full-time RV lifestyle up here only makes sense if we can travel south.

Pandemics will pass. Eventually.

But if border closures and lockdowns are going to continue for several years, we may explore different options for how we spend this part of our lives in retirement. We have already been forced off the road this year due to COVID-19. I don’t want to repeat this highly disruptive process again and again.

We will wait and see what happens in the new year before we make any firm decisions.

Time now to go and buy a winter coat, winter gloves, winter boots and a toque. Snow and frigid cold is arriving tomorrow.

The winter apocalypse cometh.

Tabby Is Happy

How has it been so far? Living in a house compared to living in a coach?

So far so good. Helped somewhat by living in a very high-end community by the lake. This is a beautiful spot no doubt.

Living in a quiet area, surrounded by the lake in front and a forest in back, it seems surreal.

I try not to think about the coach.

I have been thinking about buying a house. But that has been true since this pandemic started.

Not sure now is the time.

I am really enjoying this wonderful property. And the space.

Still missing our freedom to travel.

Tabby?

She is having a terrific time.

I’m sure our friends will enjoy this short video of our amazing golden.