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Author Topic: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012  (Read 4224 times)

Dougie Brown

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Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« on: September 26, 2010, 08:12:26 AM »
Hi folks,

I've spent some time reading through previous threads related to this subject, but I'm asking for people's input anyway.  :)  We have an A-class Rexhall here in the UK, and initially planned to ship it to Canada for a year-long road trip in that country & the US starting in May 2011, continuing down to the USA in due course.

Plan A has changed to Plan B inasmuch as we are flying out to FL/CA/AZ in May, buying a second RV + toad, driving to the Canadian start point, and commencing the trip as per Plan A.  We're fixed with the administrative framework (LLC/insurance/visas etc.) so would like some input on our proposed route.  There's method to our madness (we've based it around seasons & temperatures), and the attached documap shows an outline of the first leg.  The second leg is not yet in the planning stage (so comments on this would be good too).

The basic infrastructure is:-
* fly out mid-May 2011 & buy a second RV and toad
* drive to Halifax NS (via Boston MA - relatives) and start the trip as per the attached documap
* store the vehicles in Phoenix at end October & fly back to UK
* fly back early Feb 2012 & continue second leg eastwards, ending in either Texas or Florida (second leg not yet in planning stage)

At the end of the second leg - around May/June 2012 - we will have the option to either sell the vehicles if we decide we're not doing it again, or store them if we decide we are. This gives us all sorts of options.

What I'd like some input on then, is the general "ok-ness" of the first leg.  I've already been advised to drop down to the lower 48 and miss out sections 7-9 on the map, e.g. do Minnesota & the Dakotas (Mount Rushmore) instead.  I'm also completely in the dark about the Rockies (well, they're mountains, right...) and what to see.  Being Scottish, we love remoteness; we do though want to take in places of interest too.

Please note the picture at the bottom of this post - click on it to enlarge

Thanks!

Dougie.

First leg

Halifax Prince Edward Island Gaspe Peninsular Quebec Toronto Thunder Bay Winnipeg Calgary Banff Icefields Parkway Jasper Prince George - Stewart/Hyder Prince Rupert 100 Mile House Whistler Vancouver - Banff Cranbrook Glacier NP - Yellowstone NP Cody Reno San Francisco Los Angeles Las Vegas Grand Canyon (South Rim) Page Lake Powell Sedona Phoenix
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 08:15:19 AM by asprn »
2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G (F53 chassis, Ford 6.8 V10 gas)
1999 Ford Escort SE (2.0L 4cyl gas)
Brits spending half each year in the US and/or Canada
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Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2010, 09:19:18 AM »
   Hi, welcome to the forum, and you have picked a good place to start.  There is a lot to answer in your post, and it likely will take many posts by many forum members, but let me say that Halifax/Nova Scotia is a nice place to start.  In case you didn't know it, Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland, and it is so named as the Highlands of Cape Breton are supposed to be very similar to Scotland.  I'll try to get it started:
1)   You don't say where you plan to source you RV, but they are much more expensive the further north you come, and in particular in Canada.
2)   The weather in Nova Scotia or anywhere in the Atlantic regions of Canada or the north east of the US is a "crap shoot" in May.  In other words, you might hit beautiful sunny, plu 20 to 30 C or you just as likely could hit snow.
3)   You don't mention Newfoundland, one of the best liked RV locations in almost everyone's wish list.
4)   You must travel through New Brunswick to get from NS/PEI to Quebec, including the Gaspe.  Look at going along the coast, or up the Saint John River Valley.  Plus, the Bay of Fundy is ranked in the top 10 natural wonders of the world due in part to it 50+ swing in tides, and attractions those create.
5)   The drive along the south shore of the St Lawrence (Laurent) River has many scenic diversions, and in May/June you may well see the snow geese migration, plus some very unique farm or artisan areas (St Jean Port Jolie for example).
6)   Quebec City is one of the busiest tourist locations in Canada, and is worth a look.

     And that just the start of you trip.  Is this the type of information that you are looking for?  Have you checked our library and their trip reports?

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

rhmahoney

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2010, 10:44:27 AM »
Sounds like a grand tour.

Newfoundland, a reason to keep the RV for another year. Requires at least one month, we loved it in July 2008.

NS The big bay 30 minutes S of Halifax has great spots. I stay at King Noptune CG near Peggy's Cove. Lunenberg is extra special. Truro has dead tree sculptures. Try to catch a tidal bore at full moon.

Alberta Drumheller, 60+ miles NE of Galgary has superb dinosaur museum.

BC Consider ferry from Prince Rupert down to Vancouver Island rather than backtracking. Ripple Rock RV park 20K N of Cambell River has you facing the inland passage as the cruise ships go by.

CA Stinking Rose restaurant in San Francisco for a little food with your garlic!
Monterey has a superb aquarium. Gilroy has a garlic festival in the summer.

I shun Los Angeles.

Southern Utah would take 6 months to properly explore.

Visit RVForum members in Phoenix as you prepare to return home. I and many others arrive in early November.
Green Flash seeker
Country Coach Magna
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Bobandpamlemay

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2010, 11:02:13 AM »
Dougie: Sounds like an absolutely fantastic trip. There is so much of the US to see, one does not know where to begin to advise but let me try anyhow.
I just came back to Chicago after a 6 week trip across the US, a cruise into Alaska and a week in Canada, and I have to say I've never enjoyed a trip so much.
We started in the Badlands in South Dakota and went to Hermosa South Dakota and saw Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park, as well as Mt Rushmore. From there we went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Yellowstone was a bit crowded but we expected that. From Yellowstone we went to Alaska for our cruise and 7 day land trip. Next was Canada. Specifically Banff and Jasper and the Ice Fields Parkway. Absolute beauty....not just mountains. Our favorite was Lake Louise. Took the Trans Canada 1 back home and welcomed a boring road for a change.
We also leave the Chicago area for part of the winter and stay in South Texas not far from South Padre Island. I don't think you can go wrong if you included that area in your plans.

Hope my suggestions help in planning the trip of your lifetime.

Bob
Bob and Pam
Schaumburg, Ill
2008 F250 Diesel 
2009 Komfort 34' fifth wheel

Tony_Alberta

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2010, 02:10:06 PM »
Visiting Stewart/Hyder has fabulous scenery.  Now it's been 30 years since I was there but then there was about 300 kms of gravel road on the last part of the route from Prince George to Stewart/Hyder BC.    Parts of the road were windy with poor visibility due to the trees so you had to take it slow around the corners.    Make sure your spare tire is in good shape and made within the last 7 years.  :)

The glacier near Stewart, Bear Glacier I think , is spectacular.  Best seen at the end of summer when the snow has melted so you can see the spectacular blue ice.

If you can avoid Banff and Jasper in July and August.  Too many tourists.

ArdraF

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2010, 04:27:03 PM »
Welcome to the RV Forum.  Many of us have been to the places you mention and can give good tips.  Agree with all said so far.

Re:  Gaspe Peninsula.  It is gorgeous BUT if fog is predicted don't even think of it because you won't see anything!  It took us three tries and we're glad we waited.  Suggest you follow the northern road of the loop (west to east) and then the southern (east to west) - otherwise your passenger will be looking down some cliffs and not be able to enjoy the scenery.  Also be prepared for lots of up and down as you go down to a community on a bay and then back up again.  But we loved it!  Very picturesque!  The little fishing villages are neat to see.

Re:  Stuart CAN/Hyder AK.  The roads are much improved in those 30 years Tony mentioned.  I recall the road being paved there.

The Trans Canada Highway (TCH or 1) can be slow moving.  We were surprised that it was two-lane across most of Ontario and is only a freeway in and near the large cities.  Thunder Bay is fairly remote - you'll see a lot of forest and maybe not much else.  An alternative for the area west of Ottawa might be to drop down to the U.S. to I-90 (our northernmost interstate freeway) to move across the Great Plains a little faster.  There's a vast flat area that includes Alberta and Saskatchewan that may or may not be interesting.  Lots of wheat fields and such.  I can tell you there's a lot to see on the U.S. side.  Definitely include the Icefields Parkway and the Banff/Lake Louise area!

Sounds like a fabulous trip!

ArdraF
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 04:28:56 PM by ArdraF »
ArdraF
:D :D

Dougie Brown

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2010, 06:25:33 PM »
Huge thanks to everyone who has taken the time to respond so far - thank you!  :D  I'll digest the detail over the next day or so - I now plan to put people's suggestions as pins on a map when they're made, to see how it all pans out.

To answer a couple of points, I mentioned that we plan to buy the RV in FL/CA/AZ for exactly the reason that Hfx_Cdn mentions.  Slightly off my own topic ;), but I've been watching some go by on eBay (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/38fc2ru and http://tinyurl.com/2whuotr).  I would not consider buying privately unless I knew the seller.  The US prices compared to the UK are crazy-cheap (it costs $16000 to ship to & from!) plus we like the idea of keeping an option to return & do it again if we want to.

I think we will need to leave Newfoundland for another trip (see, I'm talking "another trip", which is what rhmahoney sneakily suggests....).

Please keep the suggestions coming - much appreciated.

Dougie.
2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G (F53 chassis, Ford 6.8 V10 gas)
1999 Ford Escort SE (2.0L 4cyl gas)
Brits spending half each year in the US and/or Canada
www.rv-and.us

Tom

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2010, 06:47:02 PM »
Hi Dougie,

We're approx 80 miles NE of San Francisco as the crow flies. If/when you make it to this area, give me a bell and we'll have a right royal knees up.

I'm an ex-pat Taff and have some friends/near-neighbours from the homeland or the mainland.

BTW I'm envious of your plan. You'll have a great time everywhere in the USA and Canada; Lots of nice people, but be sure to practice your French before you get to Quebec province  ;)   I was digging deep into my grammar school French when we were there. 'Je ne parlez Francaise' (sp?) didn't work as well as it does in Paris. Old Quebec City is not to be missed.

Will you be online when you're here? It's a whole new subject, but be sure you're able to keep in touch with the great folks on this forum, including both Americans and Candians. If someone offers to meet you, take them up on it; In 17 years of being around here, I haven't met anyone I wouldn't wish to meet again.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 06:50:14 PM by Tom »
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Dougie Brown

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2010, 06:58:10 PM »
Quote from: Tom
Hello laddie
Hello boyo. ;D   Don't you miss the Miners and Pensioners in the Valleys (said in my best Neil Kinnock accent....)?  ;)

Quote from: Tom
We're approx 80 miles NE of San Francisco as the crow flies. If/when you make it to this area, give me a bell and we'll have a right royal knees up
Thanks pretty generous of you, and I'll be sure to do so (truly).  We've also met a lot of nice people over the years during our travels, and have retained a few as close friends.

I speak reasonably fluent French (although Mrs Dougie does not...) and we're used to travelling in France so there are no real worries on that score.

Quote from: Tom
Will you be online when you're here?
Certainly - it's an absolute necessity!  Keeping in close contact with our family and also our support network, is a given.

Dougie.

PS - No idea why you wanted to edit the best bits of your post...?  ???
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 07:02:06 PM by asprn »
2000 Winnebago Adventurer 37G (F53 chassis, Ford 6.8 V10 gas)
1999 Ford Escort SE (2.0L 4cyl gas)
Brits spending half each year in the US and/or Canada
www.rv-and.us

Tom

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2010, 07:36:29 PM »
LOL Dougie, not many people understand the term 'boyo'. Sometimes it's used across the Severn Bridge as a derogatory term, but I think you and I understand the true meaning.

Quote
Don't you miss the Miners and Pensioners in the Valleys (said in my best Neil Kinnock accent....)?

We're way before the Neil Kinnock regime. We left the valleys in 1980, even before Maggie Thatcher. I came from a family of coal miners, and I broke the mold.

Quote
Thanks pretty generous of you...

That's normal for Taffs.

Quote
I speak reasonably fluent French ...

You should do very well in Quebec province then.

Quote
No idea why you wanted to edit the best bits of your post...?  ???

Oops, I wasn't sure if you really were from the the highlands (heelands). Sooorrry.

I had many wonderful (business) trips to Edinburgh and Glasgow. I vividly recall visiting HP near the Firth of Forth Bridge, and Ferranti in Edinburgh. I've also had a number of friendly business associates who visited the valleys.
Tom.  Need help? Click the Help button in the toolbar above.

Tony_Alberta

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2010, 07:40:48 PM »
Re:  Stuart CAN/Hyder AK.  The roads are much improved in those 30 years Tony mentioned.  I recall the road being paved there.
Well, I'll be darned.  According to random shots on Google Earth Streetview that highway is indeed paved.  Wow.    I wouldn't have though there'd be enough traffic on that road to pave it but nice to see I'm wrong.

Tony

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Brits abroad - US & Canada road trip 2011/2012
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2010, 07:51:43 PM »
Stuart/Hyder is one of our favorite spots. We've been there twice and would happily visit again. And yes, it is paved all the way into Stuart, though the main street of Hyder itself is still packed dirt.
Gary
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