Moving Day

We move tomorrow. Even though our house is on wheels there is still a fair amount of work to get ready to go. Certainly not as involved as moving from one house to another. But not as simple as just turning the key and hitting the open road. Even less so when you have been planted for almost six months.

Let’s call it the creeping root syndrome. Because we were in one place for the past six months, we began to plant. We were able to spend time with family. We became very involved in our church. We made many new friends and really connected with our community. We even bought a complete outdoor sitting area for our site.

In a surprising way, it makes this moving day somewhat bittersweet. I am sad to go.

Winding up in Florida and bypassing the harsh and bitter cold of a Canadian winter is not a hardship. This is our site in Florida.

We are connected to the community down in Florida as well with family, friends and church. It’s hard to explain but there is a bit of a split life between living in Canada for six months and living in the United States for six months. There is an adjustment that takes place when you are saying good-bye to one place and hello to another.

Perhaps some of you can relate.

Almost ready to go.

We had to pack up the outdoor furnishings on our site. Because we are returning here next May, we can leave all of our outdoor furnishings on the site. To prepare them for the winter months, we needed to remove all of the soft material — cushions, umbrella, decorative elements — and put those items into storage. We needed to bring all of the furniture into a corner of the site, cover it with a large tarp and shrink wrap the contents to protect them from the elements.

There were numerous tasks to get the coach ready to move. Backwashing and regenerating the portable water softener before capping the inlets and the outlets. Now safely stored in a basement bay, ready for transport. Checking inflation. Inspecting all of the various systems of the coach. Re-organizing the basement bays for transport. Re-organizing the coach interior storage areas for transport. Updating the GPS system. Charging the tire pressure management system. Performing maintenance on the tow bar and car guard system.

You get the idea. Lots of things we had to do before embarking on a major trip with our motorhome.

The only system failure was yet another Oasis pump failure. I am really ticked off with the folks at ITR. They have wonderful people on the support desk but, in my view, they supplied defective pumps in their product and, rather than making it right, they let their units fail and they let their customers bear the cost and the inconvenience of resolving the issue.

We have three pumps in our Oasis system. Two of the three have been replaced. A few nights back, the temperatures dipped well below freezing. Our heat pumps cannot produce heat when the air gets that cold. The third pump failed when we called for the coach to provide hydronic heat. Fortunately it only impacted one zone in our coach. And fortunately we have in-floor radiant heat. We could get by.

But I am not changing out the pump here in Canada. I’ll wait until we get stateside and do it then. I’d rather do that job where it is warm.

The forecast for the rest of the month we are in Canada is looking fine. No sub-zero temperatures in the forecast.

The jacks go up tomorrow morning. By the afternoon we will be setting up camp near the border. We will cross into the United States on November 1st.

Thanksgiving

Plus 2. Or 36 Fahrenheit for my American friends. That was the temperature when we woke up this Thanksgiving weekend. Canadian Thanksgiving. A different date than American Thanksgiving. And why is that? Apparently the farther north you go, the earlier the harvest.

We are definitely farther north. Much colder now.

Turned out to be a beautiful day. My youngest son joined us for the Thanksgiving weekend and the two of us decided to take a photowalk through Copeland Forest.

Copeland Forest is roughly 4,400 acres. The forest is just a bit north from where our coach is located.

Huge area and we barely covered a small portion of the northeast part of the forest.

My son and I both shoot with Nikon cameras although I also carry Leica and Olympus gear. But for this photowalk, I grabbed my Nikon D800, my 14-24mm F2.8 lens and a tripod. My son had his Nikon D600 and his 24-120mm F4 VR lens. We both left with some great frames.

Wonderful afternoon in a beautiful setting.

Fall colours were out in force. The trees easily reach 40 feet or higher. Look up. Way up.

As we started down one of the trails, it was easy to follow the path.

A little farther along and the leaves began to hide parts of the trail.

Until finally all of the trail was covered.

We came across this memorial for someone’s son. He was only 22 years old when his life ended in 2013. The inscription below the cross reads: Forever in our hearts.

I do not know the story behind this memorial. It did cause me to reflect on the many blessings in my life. It caused me to be thankful.

A final shot to share from Copeland Forest. Being out in nature, enjoying the fall weather, makes life a wonderful thing.

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving.

Almost Time To Go

Fall. In Canada, fall and winter can share very similar weather patterns. Come to think of it, so can spring. Our weather takes a predictable turn towards the end of September. You can feel it. The nights are colder. You can see it. The days get shorter. And, when you have to take out a winter coat to walk the dog, it hits you.

Almost time to go.

This is the weather forecast for the week:

Friday evening looks like a winner. We will drop from 26 Celsius (roughly 80 Fahrenheit) today to 1 Celsius (roughly 34 Fahrenheit) in a matter of a few days.

We will sometimes see some warmer weather in October. But generally, October is the month that Canadians begin to pull out their toques (a toque is what Canadians call a knit cap head cover, often the last defence against our freezing weather).

We begin our trek south in three weeks. We will leave our current site on October 23rd and park the coach near the U.S. border until we cross over on November 1st.

The long-range forecast for where we will be staying at the end of October is not all that encouraging:

Snow is always a possibility. When we were there last year, we were surprised at just how cold it was for that time of year. Temperatures were well below historical averages. Perhaps the weather might be a bit milder this time around.

There is always hope.

Plus 1.

Canadian Snowbirds Act

Is it actually going to happen? This has been a long time coming and, even though my hopes are up a little bit, the act might stall and never get signed into law.

For those of us full-timing in Canada, getting an extra two months would be wonderful although restrictions to health care coverage in Ontario would reduce that extra time to just one more month.

Care to see how we are held hostage in our province?

Here are the rules concerning our health care coverage:

You may be out of the province for up to 212 days in any 12-month period and still maintain your Ontario health insurance coverage provided that you continue to make Ontario your primary place of residence.

To maintain eligibility for OHIP coverage you must be an eligible resident of Ontario. This means that you must :

  • have an OHIP-eligible citizenship/immigration status; and
  • be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in any 12-month period; and
  • be physically present in Ontario for at least 153 days of the first 183 days immediately after establishing residency in the province; and
  • make your primary place of residence in Ontario.

If you plan to be outside Canada for more than seven months in any 12-month period you can keep your OHIP coverage for up to two years if you:

  • have a valid health card
  • make Ontario your primary home
  • will be in Ontario for at least 153 days a year in each of the two years immediately before you leave the country

One cannot make this stuff up.

For us, the advantage of the Canadian Snowbirds Act is that it would simplify the tax issues with the U.S. government. Because of U.S. tax laws, Canadian snowbirds could be subject to double taxation even when they stay within the six-month limit. Every year, we need to file a closer connection to Canada form with the IRS to ensure that we are not taxed as resident aliens. This bill would increase the pleasure visa to eight months and include a tax provision which would eliminate any potential U.S. tax implications.

Here is the press release on the U.S. Senate bill:

On September 18, 2019, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced the Canadian Snowbirds Act, S. 2507 in the U.S. Senate. This bill would allow eligible Canadian retirees to spend up to eight months vacationing in the United States annually – two months longer than the current six-month limit.

This legislation is the companion bill to the Canadian Snowbird Visa Act, H.R. 3241 which was introduced in the House of Representatives in June by Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) and Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL-22).

To be eligible for this extension, travellers will need to satisfy the following criteria:

  • Have Canadian citizenship;
  • Be 50 years of age or older;
  • Maintain a residence in Canada;
  • Own a residence in the U.S. or have a rental agreement for the duration of stay;
  • Will not engage in employment in the United States; and
  • Will not seek government assistance or benefits.

Both the House and Senate bill also contain a tax provision which will shield snowbirds from negative tax ramifications in the United States. Despite spending more than six months in the U.S., those who are approved for this extension will be considered non-residents of the U.S. for tax purposes.

Before this extension can be signed into law, it must first be passed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

I’ll keep watching the status of the bill. Perhaps one day it will become law.

 

Test Drive

Everything worked. Except the Internet. Hence being a bit quiet with the blog this week. But don’t worry. Back it at now. Pounding away on the keyboard. Feverishly following all things related to the RV world.

What is this everything I speak of? The everything that was working? You thought I was retired and I had stopped working?

The everything working was the test run of our coach.

We have been parked for over four months now. A bit of a long stretch for the coach to be standing still. We will start our trip south on October 23rd, a mere five weeks away. We thought it wise to take the coach on a bit of a drive for a few reasons. One, to determine if the coach still worked and two, to determine if we still remembered how to work the coach.

We booked a site at a KOA in Kingston, Ontario, very close to our old property in the country. This was our home for a few days:

Not bad. The site was gravel but the size of the site and the finished patio made it a very pleasant place to park. Although busier than expected for this time of year, the park was still very quiet due, I suspect, to the absence of families. Everyone is back to work and back to school. Everyone except us happily retired travellers.

We enjoyed spending time with our oldest son and his wife and with a number of our friends. It was fun to be back in Kingston as everything was so familiar but we both agreed that we are thrilled to be out living on the road.

The coach performed flawlessly and it seems to be ready for the long trip south.

I love driving our coach. It was a thrill to get back on the road and moving again.

Looking forward to starting our trip down to Florida.

Hopefully before the snow.