Wednesday, June 30, 2010

On the road

We are on our way! Left at 1:40pm and coming up to London now. Kids
Are watching the second round of movies on the new DVD players. They also got Zhu Zhu pets today for their fantastic report cards. It feels a little weird to slow down. This slower pace will take some getting use to. Tom is doing a great job driving.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

24 Hours To Go!

Actually, we hit the road in LESS than 24 hours!  We are both working until noon and hope to be on the highway by 2pm.  We are in quite a packing and preparation frenzy with the primary focus tonight on clothing and camera/computer gear.  Hopefully I don’t forget some critical patch cable or battery.  The non-perishable food is loaded – just need to move the rest of the contents of our fridge out to the RV tonight.  Also we need to neaten the garage a bit since we need to squeeze the car in there yet.  It’ll fit, but it won’t be pretty…


Over the weekend I visited our local WalMart and bought two 7 inch DVD players for the girls – Happily there was a lot of selection and they have come down in price dramatically since last time I shopped for this type of item.  The dual-screen setup I bought from Canadian Tire some 4 years ago is ailing and only one screen works at all.    Now when they want, the girls can each watch a different movie and plug in headphones…so listening to Disney or Barbie will now be optional for us adults!  Since they have their entertainment, we decided yesterday to leave the TV behind completely.  It and the DVD player take up almost 2 complete overhead compartments….and we need the space.  Anyway, we only have analog TV reception in the RV, and with the USA being 100% digital now, there’s nothing to tune into for us anyway.   I suppose it’s time to upgrade sometime soon…but for now, between reading material and two laptops, Sunita and I have plenty to entertain us.


See you on the road…


Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Countdown Continues...Plus New Glasses!

Wow! Our girls have just 3 days of school remaining....and we
are down to 4.5 days of work! Yay! Time's really flying by and we have so many
tasks left to accomplish we hardly know what to do next! Our dining room is
beginning to look like a stockroom, with bedding, towels, clothing and other
items piled high, waiting to be loaded into the RV. We're GOING to forget
something...just hope it's nothing crucial!

New Specs!

Jessica got a new pair of glasses yesterday. Since we both wear glasses, it
was inevitable. She's been so excited to get them, I had to take her right
after dinner last night to go pick them up. She chose a nice practical case
for herself - pink (of course) with a butterfly embroidered on it. She is
one happy kid!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Countdown 9 Days to Go, Father's Day Weekend and Wisdom from a 4 year old

Countdown - T-9d
It's "T minus 9" days to departure. I'm sort of ready from a packing perspective but the devil is in the details. I worry I'm going to forget something important. I need to get Sophia's puffer renewed because it's expired and she might need it on the trip -especially at the high altitudes. This requires a yet unmade appointment with the family doctor and fitting that into a work schedule. I should put together a list of their previous medications in case they need antibiotics while we're away and the doctor want's to know their last prescriptions. I have not given a thought to what meals we need those first few days because I should take enough groceries with us as we're on a pretty heavy driving schedule the first 4 days. The key item to avoid as we know from the last trip through customs is anything citrus. I remembered this last weekend on the QEW, just a few kilometers from the Queenston-Lewiston Bridge at Niagara Falls, and hence a lime went flying out of our RV into the bushes by the roadside. Hopefully no animals were hurt in this process.
Besides food and medicines there is the clothing for 2 months for 4 people, ranging from bathing suits to full-on winter apparel for Yellowstone and all assorted shoe wear.
Lately I went on a great shopping spree at Scholar's Choice buying everything from workbooks to multiplications times table chart (goal is to get Jessica to learn as least the 1x12 to 5x12 tables), to arts and craft stuff. I ended up splurging on a fantastic Princess Playmobil toy set that I can't wait to play with, never mind the girls. These items are hidden away and will appear at opportune times on the drive when I 'm about to lose my mind if they start saying "When are we going to get there" and it's mile 559 out of 14,000.

Father's Day Weekend
We had a great Father's Day weekend up at Cedar Beach this weekend. We started in the morning with breakfast for Tom and then Dad, Mom, Navin and Samantha came up for a day at the beach. Navin and Samantha killed Dad and I at Dominoes. Dad was getting pretty frustrated at me the novice Domino player smiting my Domino skills at one point by saying "You're just like your mother" to which I said thanks - that's a compliment! ;-)

Wisdom from a 4 year old
On this past weekend, we were at Camp and checking that we had sufficient cash to get to George Karpouzis' Coolest Little Ice Cream Shop for ice cream. I mentioned to Sophia that money was important for this. She looked at me and said "Mommy, money is not important. Money is important if you're fine. But if you're not fine then money isn't important". I was utterly blown away by the innate wisdom of these words. It makes me realize even more that Tom and I could not have made a better decision than to make ends meet and made this trip happen this summer ...while we're all still fine.

Our Rig and Route

Our RV is a 28 ft. Triple E Regency, which is built in Winkler, Manitoba on a 2000 Ford E-450 Chassis with a 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel - the best diesel motor ever made! Our TOAD is a 3500 lb. 2009 Honda CR-V, equipped with Blue Ox base plates and a 10,000 lb. rated Aventa LX tow bar.

It’s taken us much of the winter and spring to completely finalize our route for the coming two months. We did some adjustments as late as last week to accommodate a side-trip to SMI Brake near Evansville, Indiana to have their Stay-IN-Play Duo system installed on our Honda. Since the CR-V we tow is right on the weight limit of our RV, we are apprehensive about towing without brakes, particularly as we cross the Rockies twice during our trip. Since we typically take our time and leave plenty of space ahead, we're less concerned about the braking power of our rig as much as we are thinking about the potential legal/liability issues. Towing laws have gotten much more stringent in the past 10 years.

Here’s our approximate planned route:

1. Depart Toronto, crossing into the USA over the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor/Detroit
2. Evansville, Indiana to have the aforementioned brake system installed
3. From southern Indiana, we will drive direct to Keystone, South Dakota to visit Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. (with 1 overnight stop)
4. From there we travel westward down I-90 to spend several days in Cody, Wyoming
5. Next, we enter Yellowstone National Park via the East Entrance, which is said to be the most challenging in terms of the terrain. We traveled the North and South entrances last year, so I guess we'll just plan to take it slow and see...
6. After 5 nights at Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone, we depart via the West entrance and head to Craters of the Moon National Monument (near Arco, Idaho)
7. After two nights at Craters, we then spend a few days driving to Mount St. Helens (Silver Lake, Washington). We've left ourselves plenty of time for this part of the trip, so there should be no need to rush...
8. Next up is Redwood National Forest in northern California, where we will spend 5 nights boondocking.
9. We then plan to spend a week at the San Francisco KOA.
10. Yosemite National Park, California - once again without hookups.
11. Las Vegas, Nevada
12. Santa Fe, New Mexico
13. Amarillo, Texas
14. Home

There are plenty of gaps in our schedule and often we have 2 to 4 days between stops so we have plenty of time to explore and we aren't having to hurry - or have long driving days. The longest driving days will be the two days after we leave Indiana at the start of our trip. We actually have no confirmed plans after Las Vegas, but have about 2.5 weeks to get home, so we'll see where we feel like going on our way northward.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One step closer to departure

11 days ‘til departure…

We have traded sites with our new friends Daryl & Michael, and so today we moved the RV out of our seasonal site and into an RV storage yard near our home. Once they close the sale of their condo, Daryl & Michael will spend the month of July on our site at Cedar Beach. Since it was the last day we would have full hookups, Sunita cleaned the interior from top to bottom in preparation for the start of our trip. I packed up all the exterior compartments and cleaned off all the bugs from last week’s trip to Camping World in Churchville, NY. I’ve also unloaded a LOT of unnecessary “stuff” out of the RV to try and save some weight – there’s no sense in hauling gear to California that we won’t use. Once Sunita was done inside, I dumped the tanks. Will fill the fresh water to the top the day before we leave since we will have 3 nights of boondocking before we arrive in South Dakota, where we will once again have full RV hookups and be able to dump our tanks and recharge our batteries.

Apart from a final exterior wash, the only things left to do are to load clothes and food!

Friday, June 18, 2010

To Blog, Or Not To Blog...

So here we go...

I've been considering blogging our upcoming summer vacation for a while, but a couple things helped convince me. First, after meeting Daryl & Michael at Camping World in Churchville, NY over the May 24 long weekend, I read Daryl's blog from end-to-end in one sitting. Daryl & Michael, who also call Pickering home (at least for now), are in the process of selling their home and many possessions to live on the road in their Triple E Regal. To RV fulltime after retirement is a dream of ours as well. We'll certainly follow their travels.

Tonight I was out for a few pints with Rick, Doug and Paul who figured I should definitely blog an epic vacation like fine...let's give this a whirl and we'll see if I can keep this up....and if anyone reads it...