On My Own

Guarding the fort for a few days as Lorraine travels across southern Ontario tackling a few tasks that we need to clear off before we head south.

One of them we should have looked after while our youngest son was still at home.

I posted about our experience updating our Nexus records online here. Nexus is a trusted traveller program that we highly value and we wanted to make sure that my change of employment status to retired was registered with them. Lorraine and I went in, updated all of the relevant information required by the two governments, interviewed again with the border officials from both countries and all is well with our Nexus membership.

Our youngest son has to go through the same process only this time at Pearson Airport. Could take the better part of a day I suspect. Pearson is a very, very busy place.

Lorraine will make the three-hour drive out to Toronto, stay overnight with family, and then take Matthew out to get his Nexus records updated tomorrow. Matthew will be joining us in Florida over Christmas and the Nexus card will make his travel a bit easier.

Yours truly gets to safeguard the coach along with our trusty golden retriever.

I have yet to find a better guard dog.

Drive to Sherkston Shores

We left the dealer on Saturday and made our way down to Sherkston Shores. We had originally booked this site for six weeks.

We will wind up staying here for ten or twelve days due to some issues that we had at our dealer.

Last week our timeline for the replacement parts for the damaged forward awning was set to October 26th. Our decision was to sit and wait for the parts to arrive or to head down to Sherkston Shores and circle back.

A bit of an expensive decision. We use toll roads to get down to Sherkston Shores and the downward leg is $80. As we now have to go back and forth to get the awning issue resolved, this will add an extra $160 in tolls. The extra fuel costs to make that trip? About $350. All in our short stay at Sherkston Shores will add an extra $500 in costs. And that was one reason why we debated waiting at the dealer. Unlike a car, travelling even relatively short distances in our coach can be expensive.

But the lure of full hookups and being in a tourist area — Niagra Falls — will make the next week or so more enjoyable than hanging out at the dealer’s parking lot.

Our trip down offered a bit of excitement. Our planned exit was closed due to construction and we almost wound up at the U.S. border.

Aside from that little bit of excitement, the drive was fine. Our toad tracked perfectly and we had no issues navigating our new length. Coach plus car puts us about 60 feet in length.

Here is a video summary of the drive down and a brief overview of Sherkston Shores.

Thanksgiving

Death Valley. In California.

It was the end of February when I took this image. Not quite as hot then. But still a uniquely inhospitable place. No vegetation really. Dry, dusty although water does occasionally find its way into this area.

Being stranded in a place like this would be very challenging especially during the summer months where the temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Being stranded in our coach at a dealership near a major town is not very challenging.

Inconvenient? Yes.

Frustrating? Certainly.

We had much different plans for the Thanksgiving weekend when we first got underway a few weeks back. Those plans obviously changed.

We have family in nearby Toronto and they extended an invitation to Lorraine and myself, along with our son, to a Thanksgiving dinner at their home last night.

These are amazing people and they have played such a big role in our lives over the years and they continue to do so with our children. It was an absolute delight to get together with them and to enjoy a wonderful turkey dinner. It was wonderful to get together with our youngest son.

Important to start each day being thankful.

Thankful for faith, family and good health.

Moved In (Almost)

What a day!

We’ve been at it since 6am and we are calling it a night.

Here is what the move looked like after we had everything packed up and ready to go.

22 boxes. Computers, consoles, guitars, pedals, cameras, a bike and a bike trainer were also part of the move.

When I looked at all of the stuff we were taking with us, I did not think it would all fit.

We had rented a 10-foot box truck to do the move from Kingston to our coach — the coach was being serviced in Barrie, Ontario and we decided to make the move happen there as it was a bit more convenient.

Once the truck was packed, this is what it looked like:

Does not seem like very much stuff at all once everything was in the truck. That stuff should easily fit into a 40-foot coach.

There was enough stuff to keep us busy unboxing and organizing for the past five hours. And we are about halfway done.

I have the truck for another day so we will be using tomorrow to get our basement bays organized and complete the rest of the unboxing and organizing then.

I will definitely sleep well tonight.

Nexus Part 2

We love visiting Upper Canada Village. And, since we likely won’t be back to this area for some time, we decided to make the trip after getting our Nexus records updated at the enrolment centre in Lansdowne, Ontario. Upper Canada Village, located near Morrisburg, Ontario, is a walk back in time to a simpler life in the 19th century. All of the villagers generally stay in character and the overall experience is well worth the visit if you are in this part of Canada.

The shot above was taken at the cabinet maker’s shop where this apprentice was busily shaping dowels for chairs. Difficult exposure with the low interior light, bright outdoor light from the sun and the apprentice moving quickly.

How did it go for us updating our Nexus records?

We had a few surprises although at the end of it all, everything was fine.

The first surprise was the wait. We did not have one. We were the only ones there aside from one Canadian customs officer and one American customs officer.

I explained to the Canadian customs officer that I was there to update my change of employment. And it turned out that there were numerous changes that had not been reflected in both of our memberships, which, as the customs officer sternly reminded me, could have been grounds to cancel the card.

We had renewed our passports in 2017. Canadian passports expire every few years although now we can renew up to 10 years which is what we had done. However, that passport information was not updated in the Nexus records. I thought we had renewed an existing passport. The government views any renewal as a brand new passport.

When we sold our house, we had updated our Nexus records. According to Canada and US customs, only the mailing address had been updated.

Finally, our telephone numbers. When we sold our house back in July of 2017, we cancelled our landline. We only use our mobile phones and we have no need for a landline. Our Nexus records showed only our landline number.

Thankfully we were able to get all of our records updated quickly and without any issues. We were told that we could make all of these changes on the Trusted Traveler Program website without coming into an enrolment centre.

Except we couldn’t.

I did not want to complicate things by asking the customs officers if they had ever tried to use the website.

Best to leave well enough alone.

We are now almost all set to make the border crossing in about six weeks time.

There is a fair amount of documentation that I will be bringing along with me in case it might be needed. I will create a post about the information that both governments expect you to carry when crossing the border. Some of it was surprising to me.