Relaxing at a picnic area rest stop near Carrizo Springs, Texas.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Hill Country State Natural Area, Bandera, Texas.

Where are they going next? Not sure!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Year in Review, and 2020 Preview

Wow, what a year we had!

We were on 21 different airplanes and we were in 7 different countries... bringing our total countries visited to 38.

We began 2019 in Mexico leading an RV Caravan group. We were with them for the months of January, February, and March.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Whiskey's tree, and Mazamitla for lunch

Yesterday was a bit of a cool, overcast day with a high of only 17C (63F). Things look back to normal today though with sunshine and 22C (72F) in the forecast.

In the morning, a bunch of us walked over to the old Hacienda Contreras campground. It's only just down the road from where we are staying now. We spent a lot of time there between our first visit in March of 2009, and our last stay there in March 2016.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Market day in Valle de Juarez

Saturday is market day here in Valle de Juarez, so around 9:00am yesterday we all headed into town. We were still early enough that some stalls weren't yet finished setting up... but they were quite happy to sell to you anyhow. Besides, we wanted the best selection of fruits and veggies, which is why we were going in the first place.

I've mentioned this before... market stalls in Canada and the U.S. tend to be overpriced artsy fartsy "organic" events. But here in Mexico, the local weekly market is where you go to get the best produce, and at the best prices.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

We were due for some exercise!

Absolutely perfect day for a hike yesterday. Lots of blue sky and sunshine, with a high temperature of about 22C (72F).

On the other side of the small lake here at Valle de Juarez there is a hill with a cross on the top. The locals call it "Picachu". Ruth and I have been to the top two or three times in the past, but we had always gone with the group from Hacienda Contreras when it was open, and every time we had got a drive about half way up and hiked from there.

This time, we decided to hike from the campground, a one way distance of about 8.5 kms (5.3 miles).

Friday, December 27, 2019

Shrimp tacos and a view

We can't seem to get enough of the shrimp taco place near here. Yesterday was another lunch visit... our third time since we arrived here 5 days ago! And I just know that we will be going again. Yesterday, I tried their shrimp and cheese empanada... and I found it even better than the shrimp tacos!

Mona and Roger have two of their kids visiting, so they have taken off to another town for a few days to do some exploring on their own. So our group is down to 12, however friends Heinz and Uli are spending some time with us so we are usually back up to 14 anyhow!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Perfect Christmas Day weather...

We had a nice relaxing Christmas Day. And the weather was perfect... highs of around 22C (72F). The day started off sunny with cloudy periods, but by mid afternoon, it had changed to cloudy with sunny periods. Still, it was perfect Christmas Day weather in our opinion.

The group planned a Christmas Day brunch starting at 11:00am. That gave everybody some time to do their own thing for the morning.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas from Mexico!

We had a great Christmas Eve yesterday!

It started off with a stop at the shrimp taco place again where everybody enjoyed an early lunch. Then we did a long walk through the town of Mazamitla to the waterfall. Ruth and I have been there five or six times before, but it's always fun to show it off to new people.

Then in the evening, we had a party!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Off to the dentist!

We haven't been to a dentist in Canada for over 12 years. We've had a fair bit of work done in Mexico though... and have saved thousands of dollars as a result. We found one dentist that we're really happy with, and she is located here in the farming town of Valle de Juarez.

And because her English is quite good, we recommended her to our caravan group. So a few months ago I made appointments for most of us.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day- Etzatlan to Valle de Juarez

We got an early start on Sunday and left Delia's Trailer Park in Etzatlan at 8:00am. We only had to drive 210 kms (130 miles), but we know how long it takes to get anywhere in Mexico, and especially when we would be taking the back roads the whole way.

And, we wanted to arrive before 2:00pm. Our friends Barb and Sal had told us that the church was doing a fundraiser and there would be a fiesta going on with lots of inexpensive homemade local food.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas in Etzatlan

 Saturday was a dull day with a few showers. Most of the group went into town, but Ruth was doing some baking so we stayed behind to look after the fort. I managed to get the balance of the Texas grime washed off of Sherman.

When we had arrived in Texas in November, Sherman had been sitting since April. It's amazing the accumulation of dirt on the exterior. I had got the windows and the passenger side done early on, but had never got to doing the driver side and the back end.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Afternoon entertainment, followed by steaks for dinner

Friday started off overcast, and we had a few light showers throughout the day. So we didn't plan anything other than going into town to the butcher. Everybody wanted to cook steaks over the fire, so we put in a big order at the local butcher and a few of us walked over to pick it up.

Most of us wanted rib eye. It's not normal in Mexico to cut them thick... thin is much more common here. So if you want them thick, you pretty much have to specifically ask for that.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Saw some interesting things yesterday!

We took the group for a hike up to the big cross overlooking the town of Etzatlan yesterday.

We were up there last March when we were here, but back then we hiked past the cross another couple of kilometers. This time, some of us decided to go further than that. Then, we came back to town and met up with the rest of the group for lunch.

We saw some interesting things along the way!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Tequila!

We are located only 45 kms (28 miles) from the town of Tequila... made famous by the drink of the same name. But the town of Tequila is a bit touristy and most of the distilleries there charge a hefty fee for their tours. We prefer the group to see something a little more authentic.

There is a long bike path on the other side of the highway from the RV Park. Many of the group have bicycles with them, so we hopped on the bikes and rode the 10 kms (6 miles) or so over to the Destiladora Agave Azul Tequila Distillery.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Tepic to Etzatlan

On Tuesday, we did the drive from Tepic to Etzatlan.

We planned to leave Los Pinos RV Park in Tepic right at 9:00am, but before we could do that we had to pay the bill. Normally, we pay when we arrive. But at that time, there was only a cleaning lady there and she said she had called the manager. But he never arrived, only the maintenance caretaker guy. He had come over and gave us the wifi password, but he never asked us to pay, and I didn't think he was the guy we were supposed to pay.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The city Of Tepic, Nayarit... and a minor repair job!

Yesterday was a day off for the group. We are here in the city of Tepic (pop around 500,000). The city itself is nothing special, but we are just taking a rest day on our way to Etzatlan.

Most gringos don't visit Tepic, even though it's the capital of the state of Nayarit. Located only 170 kms (105 miles) or so from the popular beach areas at and around Puerto Vallarta, most tourists from Canada and the U.S. head directly there.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Mazatlan to Tepic

We had an 8:30am start from Isla de la Piedra near Mazatlan yesterday. It was about a 300 km (182 mile) drive, and we planned to take the free road the entire way.

Mexico has a toll highway system, but where there is a toll highway, there is almost always a corresponding free route. Most of the toll highways are very expensive, but they usually save you driving time. The toll highway fees also include break down assistance should you have any trouble.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

I think we need to change our plans

We crossed the border into Mexico 4 weeks ago today.

Time is going by far too quickly! I think we need to change our plans. Maybe we should extend the trip by a month or so!? If we do one of these trips again, we need to make it six months! Especially when we are fortunate enough to have such a great group of people. It's difficult to get 14 people together who all get along without any apparent personality clashes, but it seems that is what we have this year.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

November Expenses

I know, this is a little late! I usually try to post our expenses right after the end of the month but we had bought quite a few things from Amazon before we left Texas and I never got around to converting them to $CAD until now.

November was quite expensive, partly due to travel costs, and partly due to stocking up for four and a half months in Mexico. Of course that will all come out in the wash over that period of time.

We spent $4,152 CAD ($3,150 USD) in November...

Friday, December 13, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Mexiquillo to Mazatlan. The Devil's Backbone highway

In 2014, they opened a new toll highway through the mountains from Durango to Mazatlan. We have done that highway before. But the old narrow curvy road that was built around 1960 is still there. And we have done that one twice before.

We decided to take the group on the old curvy road. It's much slower going than the new road, but the new toll road is very expensive. They both have spectacular views.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Last day in the mountains

Just a relax day for the group yesterday, but "relax" doesn't necessarily mean "do nothing"! And so most of the group got out to get some fresh air and exercise.

Ruth and I set off at just after 10:00am to do some exploring. This place has so much natural beauty, and so many different trails to explore that we could spend a week here.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The light at the end of the tunnel

Another perfect day yesterday. Sunshine, clear blue sky, and a high of about 15C (60F). We are at 8400' altitude, so that's why it's not warmer. But, it's perfect weather for getting out and being active.

So we planned a morning bike ride. Not everybody in the group has bicycles with them, but we still managed to get 6 of us out there on the trail.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Durango to Mexiquillo

We planned on a 9:00am start, but Garth (rig #4) has been having a problem with his automatic park brake. It was decided that he would disconnect the system, which is actually a fairly simple thing to do and we were on the road by 9:30am or so.

We took the periferico (ring road) north of Durango City and avoided any traffic issues. We were soon headed up into the mountains on the free road towards Mazatlan and the western coast.

Monday, December 9, 2019

A good day in the city of Durango, Mexico

On Sunday, we took the group into the city of Durango (pop 700,000).

Our host Eduardo here at the Balneario San Juan (24.054335, 104.545167) has been really helpful, bending over backwards to make sure that we have everything we need. He organized a 14 passenger van to take us into the city and back for 1,000 pesos ($69 CAD, $52 USD). Divided by 14 people, that's a good deal for the convenience alone.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A productive day, followed by a soak in the hot pool

We were all due for a day off to do our own thing and we think that everybody enjoyed doing just that!

We have full access to the pools here at Balneario San Juan so quite a few people took advantage of that throughout the day. I saw quite a few of our group getting laundry done at 20 pesos ($1.40 CAD, $1.05 USD) per load to use the washing machine here. Stuff dries so quickly in the sun that you don't need a clothes dryer.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Long travel day with a few encounters with the police

Yesterday was one of the longer travel days on our route... from Canutillo to Durango city, a distance of 342 kms (212 miles) with some road construction. We left Canutillo just after 8:00am, and arrived at Balneario San Juan on the outskirts of the city of Durango at just after 3:00pm.

A long day, but we took a few breaks along the way. A couple of our breaks were forced on us by police and military checks.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Parral to Canutillo

We planned a late start at 10:00am because it was only an 80 km (50 mile) or so drive on relatively straight roads. Everybody in this group is always ready to go ahead of schedule and it seems like it's Ruth and I who are the last ones ready, even though we are also on time!

We were already at the south east corner of Parral, so we didn't have to drive through the city to get out. We were quickly on a nicely paved road heading south towards Durango.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Touring Parral, Chihuahua

On Wednesday, with clear sunny skies and a forecast high of 25C (77F), we walked from the hotel parking lot to the center of Parral, a distance of about 4 kms (2.7 miles) one way. Mostly downhill.

The city of Parral is known best for two things... a silver mine that was discovered in 1630, and the famous Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Guachochi to Parral

On Tuesday, we did another driving day. We originally had two nights penciled in for Guachochi, but we're trying to get back on schedule due to the rain we had in Creel last week. However, if we do this trip again, we need to schedule more time at both Copper Canyon and Guachochi. There is a lot to see there, including another section of the canyon at Guachochi that not many people visit.

We set off at 9:00am, once again under clear blue skies.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Creel to Guachochi

Ruth and I are kind of recreating a route that we did in January of 2015... but in reverse. So while it's all new for the group, it's kind of new for us as well because we're seeing it in the opposite direction!

Monday's route we knew would be special. Hardly anybody goes this way... for whatever reason. But especially not tourists from Canada and the United States. The odd thing is that the route includes amazing scenery. As one of the group said at a rest stop... "you have really outdone yourselves this time!"

Perfect day for a hike in the Copper Canyon

If we do another one of these Mexico trips, we will need to spend a week just at the Copper Canyon. Everyone totally enjoyed it, and of course it makes it all the better when there is perfect weather.

Sunday we took advantage of the perfect weather to do a 10 km (6 mile) hike into the canyon. But we also had to walk to the trail head, and back from the return gondola to the motorhomes. I think in total we probably did 15 kms (9.5 miles).

Sunday, December 1, 2019

How many times can you say "Wow"!?

We used that word a lot yesterday. "Wow"! Not only did we use it, we heard it from the rest of the group too!

Five years ago, Ruth and I did the world's longest zipline here at the Copper Canyon. We've got a pretty adventurous group with us, so we figured some of them might want to try it too! Turns out that eight of our group of fourteen signed their life away and took the plunge!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The best boondocking spot in the world?

On Friday, the sun came out and along with it some strong winds. But that was okay because we wanted things to dry up from that big rainstorm that went through on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ruth planned a morning hike with whoever wanted to go at 9:30am. I was busy catching up on some computer work when Aron came over to say that there had been some kind of power surge overnight and his refrigerator wasn't working.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving in Mexico

Weather was a bit better yesterday, but it still showered on and off occasionally. Our original plan was to head down to Divisadero for a couple of nights, but because of the rain storm that went through on Wednesday we decided to stay put and let things dry out a bit.

Also, this way we could have our Thanksgiving potluck feast with the group indoors using the conference room here at the lodge.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Never say never!

We had a rain day yesterday. A huge storm front went through much of northwestern Mexico yesterday. We woke up to a heavy steady rainfall on Wednesday morning and it continued all day and into the evening. No idea when it stopped but we woke up at about 4:00am and noticed that it was windy, but no more rain.

It had been forecast though, so we knew it was coming. We've adjusted our schedule accordingly.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Copper Canyon Train - day 2

We were all up early because our ride to the train station in El Fuerte was picking us up at 7:30am so we would be there for the 8:15am departure for the return trip to Creel.

It had rained a fair bit overnight, and it was still spitting on and off. Not the best weather for a scenic train ride, but it turned out that the pictures were a little bit dramatic with the clouds as our altitude rose.

Copper Canyon Train... day 1

The Copper Canyon railway line is one of the world's most spectacular train rides. Ruth and I did it back in January of 2015 and so we knew that it was worth showing off to the group.

The train was scheduled to depart Creel Monday at 11:47am and so the group began walking over to the station at about 10:30am to give us lots of time. Better to be early than late!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Exploring Creel

A bunch of us set off around 10:00am for a hike in the hills that overlook Creel. Roger and Larry decided they wanted to go for a bike ride instead, and Sue, Roy and Garth stayed behind to watch the motorhomes.

Temperature was about 16C (61F) but it still gets a little chilly overnight down to about 2C (36F). We have 30 amp electric here though, so it's nice to be able to use our little electric heater through the night.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Mexico RV Caravan Travel Day - Basaseachi to Creel

We planned for a 7:00am start on Saturday. We don't always start that early, but in this case the road leading out to the highway is narrow, and we figured if we left early there would be no oncoming traffic. Also, we wanted to get to Creel at a decent hour to enjoy the day.

The temperature had gone well below freezing overnight Friday night, and Sherman's front windshield was covered in frost... both inside and out!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Another great day of fresh air and exercise

We woke up Friday morning to clear blue sky, and the sun made it's way over the mountain by 7:15am or so. The forecast was for a beautiful day with a high of about 15C (60F) and that's exactly what happened. We took advantage of it by heading off to do a hike at 9:00am.

The main building here at Rancho San Lorenzo was built to be part of a movie set. Not sure what year, but Fernando told us it was a French Western called Blueberry. Fernando said that it was built in three months, mostly by two guys!

To the bottom of the falls... and then to the top!

Larry installed one of his new batteries first thing this morning just to test the system. Everything seems to be working fine, but of course we don't have a spare charge controller for his solar panel so we have a separate battery charger being run off the inverter of another rig. He's got the basics working again so they have power for the fridge and some lights in the evening.

The entire group set off from the ranch at around 9:00am to do a hike. Ten of us who were most ambitious would go right to the bottom of the falls, and then cut across on the way back up to the top of the falls, while the other four would attempt the more direct route to the top of the falls.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

First view of Basaseachi Falls.... and battery problems!

The heavy overnight rain eventually tapered off and the sun peeked through at times on Wednesday. When 10:00am rolled around, it was a looking good enough to do the walk up to the viewing area of the falls and the surrounding canyon. It's only about a 1 km (0.6 miles) walk uphill to the parking area, then there are trails leading to three different viewing platforms.

We are in a beautiful remote mountainous area and our internet has varied from poor to non existant. So I won't be able to add photos to this blog post until we move to Creel, probably on Saturday.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Long drive to Rancho San Lorenzo

(Photos have now been added to this post.)

We planned for a 9:00am start on Tuesday to wait for the traffic to die down a bit, but the security guard came over to say that if we wanted to stay until 9:00am we would need permission from the office. And the office didn't open until 9:00am. He said he would prefer if we left at 8:30am. Strange, but we didn't argue with him and it was fine with everyone to leave at 8:30am.

And it turned out that traffic wasn't too bad. Still, it's difficult getting 8 rigs through a city without getting separated by traffic lights. A bit of excitement as one rig made a wrong turn, but they were only on their own for a couple of kilometers and quickly got back in place with the rest of us.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

We are okay

We are in a beautiful mountainous area, but no cell signal good enough to do a blog post. You  may not hear from us again until Saturday!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Welcome to Chihuahua!

Just couldn't sleep in yesterday morning and we were up before the sun. That's okay though... it gave us more time to enjoy another beautiful day!

We made plans to leave here with the group at 10:00am and walk the 3 kms (1.8 miles) to the historic central area. We wanted to go to the big Telcel customer service center... but we weren't sure that it would be open. Turns out that it was a statutory holiday here in Mexico and a lot of things were closed.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Fantastic first day in Mexico

We were on the road at 7:00am just as the sun was coming up. We won't always start that early on driving days, but we always plan to be at our destination by 2:00pm at the latest. That gives us lots of daylight hours to fix any problems that might arise along the way.

And, we did have a bit of a long drive ahead of us, as well as crossing the border. And you never know how long it will take to cross a border. Yesterday's border crossing turned out to be very interesting!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Meet this year's Mexico RV Caravan group!

Woke up this morning to a spectacular sunrise. I went out to take a couple of photos, but they really don't do it justice.

We had some hot drinks and breakfast, but it wasn't long before we had to get to work. I replaced one of the roof air vent covers, and then there was a steady list of things I had to get done.

The gang is all here!

Woke up to blue sky and sunshine yesterday and that's the way it was all day long. Definitely our best day for weather since we arrived here in Texas.

It was going to be a busy day. Ruth and I both had a lot to do getting Sherman ready for his big adventure. But, you can't let a beautiful day like that go to waste, so the first thing we did was to set off on a hike!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Sherman is raring to go now!

One of the reasons we arrived in Alpine, Texas a little ahead of schedule was to try to get some minor maintenance done on Sherman. We had a bit of a tough time finding someone willing to do the work. They were all either too busy or they couldn't fit Sherman inside their shop.

On Wednesday, I rode my bike over to BAM Complete Auto Care. I explained to the guy what I needed done, and he said "if you show up at 8:15am and can leave it with me, I will get it all done that day".

Thursday, November 14, 2019

What did it cost for our last minute 20 day trip to Peru?

Note, the following prices are in Canadian dollars...

Flight tickets on Air Canada Rouge were $659 return per person. Not a screaming deal, but not bad either considering it was from Ottawa. So we spent $1,318 on airfare.

We flew into Lima and stayed there a couple of days before taking the first class bus to Huaraz. The return trip cost $90 per person, so we spent $180 on transportation in Peru.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wandering around Alpine, Texas.

The Lost Alaskan RV Park is located 1.5 miles (2.4 kms) north of the center of town. The temperature was still below freezing when we set out on a walk to see some of the town.

We were also still looking for a mechanic to do some minor work to Sherman, but we were not having any luck. I had made some phone calls, and so had Garth because he was looking to have some work done as well on his rig.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

We just made it in time!

The weather forecast said that the front was to move in around noon yesterday, bringing high winds and a chilling drop in temperature to southern Texas.

So we got on the road at 7:45am trying to beat the storm to our destination in Alpine, TX.

Monday, November 11, 2019

We are moving along quickly

For several reasons.

We need to be at Alpine, TX to meet up with this year's Mexico RV Caravan group by Friday after lunch. That is actually the latest possible that we would need to be there. We actually had visions of showing up there on Wednesday just to give ourselves some relax time.

But, Sherman needs to get a couple of minor maintenance issues looked after.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

A perfect day in Texas

Well, my comment the other day about not having any luck with Texas weather sure didn't apply yesterday!

We woke up to blue sky and sunshine and it continued that way the whole day. With a high of about 66F (19C) and no wind, it was a perfect day for a hike!

Saturday, November 9, 2019

First day back on the road in Sherman!

Friday started off as overcast, rainy, and breezy. The rain was supposed to stop by 10:30am though so we hung out at Tom's parent's place until around that time. Thanks to Tom, Emily, and family for looking after us so well!

Not the best driving weather, however the wind wasn't bad enough to affect us. Plus, they are calling for a really nice Saturday and Sunday so we didn't want to waste the weekend driving.

We hit the road, headed for Garner State Park.

Friday, November 8, 2019

We don't seem to have much luck with Texas weather

We knew there was rain in the forecast, but it had said "occasional showers throughout the day". So we weren't in a big rush to leave Tom and Emily's property out in the country where Sherman has been stored since April.

But, we were definitely keeping in mind that when it gets really wet here, the entrance road turns to thick, goopy, mud! That's what happened when we arrived here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Back in the motorhome, and that's enough flying for this year!

It might be a couple of days before we get back into our regular routine here, so just bear with us regarding the oddly timed blog posts please.

On Tuesday, we made our way from Ottawa, Ontario to Austin, Texas. There are no direct flights that do that route, so we first had to fly from Ottawa to Philadelphia. We have never been to Philadelphia airport before (and in fact, we have never been to the city itself) so it was a new experience.

Just a quick note

We made it to Austin, Texas and stayed at friends Tom and Emily's place last night. They let us use their car this morning and we went and did a big grocery shop to stock Sherman's empty fridge and shelves.

Gotta go... they're driving us over to meet Sherman now.

Temperature here 74F (23C), but they say there is a cold front coming in towards the weekend.

More later!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

On our way to our motorhome!

We are here at Ottawa International Airport waiting for our flight to Philadelphia.

Our flight is at 6:00am and they tell you to be here three hours before an international flight. And we got here at just after 3:00am. There was nobody at the American Airlines check-in counter, but that's fine... we used the self serve terminal.

They have "pre-clearance" at this airport. So when you have a flight direct to the United States, you actually go through customs and immigration at this airport prior to boarding your plane. So when we arrive in Philadelphia, we don't have to go through it there.

Monday, November 4, 2019

We arrived back in Canada... earlier than expected!

Our flight from Lima to Toronto went fine.

But if you're going to spend eight hours on an airplane, flying with Air Canada Rouge is not the best option if you have long legs like I do. Yes, we always weigh the cost factor, but it really wasn't a very comfortable eight hours for me with my knees jammed into the seat in front of me.

We arrived in Toronto a couple of minutes early at 10:50am. There was no line up at customs and immigration and we were quickly welcomed back to Canada.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

On our way back to Canada

Writing this at Lima airport (Peru), waiting for our flight to Toronto that departs at 3:00am Sunday morning! We are scheduled to arrive Toronto around 11:00am, and then we have a short wait there before heading to... Quebec City! Yes, we often have these convoluted routes because they are cheaper. As we say... we have lots of time, but not lots of money! If it were the other way around, we would take the more expensive direct flights when possible.

Anyhow, then another connection in Quebec City that takes us into Ottawa around 7:00pm.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

October Expenses

October was a bit of an expensive month for us. We bought new hiking boots, we had some car rental expenses, and of course a trip to Peru! I'll do a separate post later that details the total cost of the Peru trip by itself.

We spent a total of $3,306 CAD ($2,520 USD) for the month. Here's how it all broke down...

Friday, November 1, 2019

Day trip to Carhuaz for ice cream!

We had been told about a town around 30 kms (18 miles) north of here that is well known for its ice cream. Also, the town of Carhuaz was supposed to have a nice central plaza and we were looking for a kind of a casual day.

So we hopped on a collectivo and paid the 4 soles ($1.60 CAD, $1.20 USD) each for the 45 minute or so ride.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

New adventures coming up!

Our time in Peru is winding down. Considering this trip was a last minute replacement for what was supposed to be Ecuador/Galapagos, we are sure happy with the way things worked out.

And because it was a last minute thing, we had done absolutely no research into this trip until 48 hours or so before boarding the plane. It was kind of exciting doing it that way!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

How did we manage to do that?!

Up early yesterday to get ready for a big hike up to a lake in the Peruvian Andes near where we are staying here in Huaraz. We had read about this hike, and so we knew that it was going to be a tough one that needed an early start if we were going to complete it.

Our friends Lara and Luca came and met us at our apartment and we took the collectivo van to the village of Wilcahuain about 5 kms (3 miles) away where the trail begins to Laguna Ahuac.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

We love going to the market

We didn't sleep very well Sunday night, so when our friends Luca and Lara invited us to go on a hike with them, we declined. Not like us to do that, but we don't want to get run down.

Instead, we stayed in the apartment, and I had a late morning nap. By lunchtime, we were ready to go out.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Not the best lunch

We made a plan to go for a hike up to a mirador (lookout) overlooking the city of Huaraz. We sent a note to our new friends Luca and Lara and asked if they wanted to join us. We met them at their hostel around 10:00am and set off up the hill.

It was about a 3 km (1.8 mile) hike up the hill. But most of it was through the city itself, so it really didn't start to become scenic until we got quite a lot higher up.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Fantastic road through the mountains to the Chavin Ruins

We had made a plan to (once again) do a group tour through the people at Peruvian Mountain Adventures.

It's not our normal travel style to do group tours. And in fact, if we were to do this particular one again, we would probably chose to do it on our own. Only for the simple fact that we would have loved to stay in the area for longer!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A rare evening out...

Yesterday was a rest day. We didn't leave the apartment until after lunch when we made our way down to the central area to pick up some more supplies.

There is a small archaeological museum at the central plaza, so we paid the 5 soles ($2 CAD, $1.50 USD) entrance fee per person and went to see what there was to see.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Pastoruri Glacier Tour - Peru

We've pretty much figured that we are going to stay here in Huaraz for the balance of our Peru trip. There is simply too much to see and do in this area that we don't see the point of moving somewhere else just for the sake of moving. We love our accommodation, and the area itself is spectacular.

Take yesterday, for example. Once again we booked a day tour with Peruvian Mountain Adventures. The cost of group day tours is usually around 50 soles ($19.50 CAD, $15 USD) each and that is for the full day tour. We've learned that it wouldn't be much less to get to any of these places on your own, so the day tours make a lot of sense.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

What do we do on a day off in Peru?

Here in Peru, a day off is when we don't do any hiking! It's important to take a break after some of the strenuous hiking we've been doing.

So after doing the Laguna 69 hike on Tuesday, we made Wednesday a day of rest.  Of course that doesn't mean we just sit around and watch television all day!

Five Things to Do When You Have Just a Couple of Days at Home

Does it seem like you are constantly travelling? Maybe you have a job that requires you to be on the road at all times, travelling outside the country and even continent. Then again, maybe you just really enjoy travelling and try to book trips as often as possible. While the travelling part may be fun, exciting, and busy, it doesn’t leave you much time at home. When you are at home, that means you need to scramble to fit everything in before you’re off on your next trip.

To help you manage your time a little better, here’s a look at the top five things to do when you have just a couple days at home.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Well, we did pretty good at 15,000 feet...

...for a couple of almost 58 year olds!

We had booked a day tour hike to Laguna 69. It's a fairly popular hike, but the trailhead is located in HuascarĂ¡n National Park and it's a 3 hour ride to get there from the city of Huaraz. Normally, we would try to arrange our own transportation and do the hike on our own, but it makes more sense in these mountains to go with an experienced guide. Plus, the cost isn't much more than you would pay for transportation alone. In this case, we chose Peruvian Mountain Tours as our operator.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Downpour!

By the time you are reading this, we will be somewhere up in the Peruvian Andes. We are being picked up at 4:45am for a 3 hour bus ride to the trailhead for the Laguna 69 hike.

This is a popular hike that leads to a turquoise glacial lake located at 15,000 ft elevation. Are we ready for that? Not sure, but I guess we'll find out today!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Our first day hike in Peru

We are at the beginning of the rainy season here, but that doesn't mean that it rains all day long. In fact yesterday we woke up to sunshine and blue skies. Perfect for our first hike in Peru.

There is a pre-Incan ruins site about 6 kms (3.7 miles) from our residence. And it's an uphill climb of about 1,300 feet in that distance, so it would be good exercise and we would see how our bodies are adjusting to the altitude.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A little bit of excitement last night

We are at the beginning of the rainy season here at the base of HuascarĂ¡n National Park. Prime hiking months are apparently June, July, and August when you get mostly clear blue skies. So while we do get some sunshine through the day, it is mostly cloudy and there is a good chance of a shower every day as well.

We are getting our bodies used to the fact that we are at 10,000 ft altitude. Most of the good hiking is upwards of 12,000 ft, so it is good to take a couple of days to get used to the thinner air.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

We didn't expect this scenery

Most people who have never visited Peru have only a vision of Machu Picchu in their minds when they think of Peru. We were the same, of course, because we had never been here either.

So we were somewhat surprised to learn that the city of Lima and the surrounding area is all desert. That's one of the reasons there are very few trees in the city itself, and it's such a dusty dirty city.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Four dollars well spent!

One thing that we have learned about the city of Lima is that it takes forever to get anywhere. Traffic is horrendous, and while we've enjoyed our three days here, three days was enough for us. We probably could have done one more day in the downtown core, which would have been fine if we were actually staying in the downtown core. But we were not.

Most tourists who come to visit Lima stay in the "Miraflores" neighborhood. But Miraflores is an exclusive residential and upscale shopping neighborhood. It's not really our style, and it's certainly not what we came to Peru for.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

A busy day in Lima, Peru

Yesterday, we made our way to "el centro"... the downtown historical section of Lima. We had originally planned on taking the local bus, but it's not an easy system to figure out and even with our hosts help it seemed confusing.

Plus, Lima is a big dirty city of 8 million people, and not all areas are what could be considered safe for tourists. In fact, our Uber driver told us that "Lima is full of bad people".

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Beautiful photos of Peru

I know you are expecting us to show you beautiful photos of Peru. And hopefully we will live up to your expectations one of these days, but it won't be today!

Yesterday was our first full day in Lima. We are staying in a nice place with a very friendly local family who do not speak any English.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Arrived in Lima, Peru... country #38

Lindsey drove us to Ottawa airport at 11:30am yesterday. Lots of time for our 2:00pm flight to Montreal. We find that time passes quickly in airports, and it's always better to arrive at an airport early than late!

Sure enough, we were soon boarding our "puddle jumper" flight to Montreal.

Monday, October 14, 2019

We are off to Peru!

Yesterday, one of our readers asked about our trip cancellation insurance.

We have been using a TD Travel Visa that includes a variety of insurance provided you use that Visa card to book your trip. Now, we have a Scotiabank Passport Travel Visa and it includes the same suite of insurance products. Interestingly, in all of our years of travel, we have never had to use cancellation insurance, and this year we have had to use it twice!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Our trip to Ecuador is cancelled!

We've been closely watching the escalation of problems in Ecuador.

Ecuador does not have their own currency. They use the U.S. dollar. While this provides a level of currency stability, it creates other problems. When a country has its own currency, they simply print more of it. However in this situation, the Ecuador government was running out of money, so they went to the International Monetary Fund and took out a loan of $4.2 billion.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

We head to the airport at 7:00am

We are back at our daughter's place. Busy household right now because our son came for a visit yesterday as well and ended up staying the night. Great to have the family together.

Gave back our rental car yesterday, so we are carless for the rest of our stay here. No plans, although Ruth is going to borrow Lindsey's car to go to her 40th anniversary high school reunion.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

It was time for a change!

We've always been fans of Merrell brand hiking boots. We've probably owned more than five pairs each over the past 12 years or so. But the last pair we each bought did not seem to last as long as the previous pairs.

Especially the last pair that Ruth bought. They began falling apart less than three months after they were bought brand new! Sorry Merrell... that's not acceptable.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Problems in Ecuador

We don't ever talk about politics here unless it directly affects our travels. And in this situation, it might.

There is some civil unrest going on in Ecuador right now. Last week, the President removed the government oil subsidy and almost overnight the price of fuel doubled. So, people are upset... especially the transportation unions.

This has caused riots in the central Quito area and that in turn has caused the Government to move operations from Quito to the city of Guayaquil.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

It's all about the choices you make

Not too many people comment on our blog anymore. Most of the comments are made on our facebook page because for most people it's a lot easier to comment there.

One of yesterday's comments mentioned how "fortunate" we are to be doing all the traveling that we do. And people in the past have said how "lucky" we are. But we do not consider ourselves either fortunate, or lucky.

Monday, October 7, 2019

We have not yet been around the world

When our dog Whiskey was with us, we were pretty much limited to traveling in our motorhome in North America. And we were quite happy with that at the time. But when she passed away in the fall of 2011, we knew that would give us the opportunity to do more international travel.

And we have totally taken advantage of that! While we still love RV travel, we can now do it in other countries. We have RV'd in Africa, Europe, and Australia. And we have also taken many "backpack" style trips.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Off to the hospital...

Busy day with the grandkids yesterday as we had to get them to their swimming lessons right after breakfast, and then after swimming Cameron has his karate lesson in the town of Kemptville, located about 60 kms (36 miles) south of Ottawa.

There's a short gap in between though, and they usually go to a nearby park and play for a half an hour before going to Cameron's karate.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

One week to go!

We've been here in Ottawa area for 5 weeks now. Normally my limit would be 3 weeks, but we've been so busy that time has gone by quickly. Right now we're looking after the grandkids and Chester the dog, but Mom and Dad return home from New York City tomorrow.

This morning we have to take them to swimming lessons, and then Cameron has his karate lesson right after that. Then we are all going to visit my mom.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Ten years ago today...

Well, fall is definitely in the air today. With an overcast high of 10C (50F), it certainly feels like we have turned the corner. Fortunately, our time here is almost done and we will soon be at the equator!

We are at our daughter's house looking after the grandkids and Chester the dog. Of course the kids are in school all day, so we get to take Chester for some walks.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The cheapest way to do an official legal will

Getting lots done during our down time here. But, it's been busy! There's been something going on almost every day, and when there's nothing going on we are doing Ecuador research and planning for the Mexico RV trip this winter!

Life is never boring, that's for sure! We've also been looking after some personal things like changing our banking, credit card, and investing providers. Along that same line of thinking is updating our wills... something that hadn't been done since 1996!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

September Expenses

Well, it was by no means a cheap month, but it did come in pretty much where we expected it to... so there were no real surprises. We always spend more money visiting "home" than we do when we're traveling!

We spent a total of $2,731 CAD ($2,060 USD) for the month.

Here are all the details...

Monday, September 30, 2019

More Ecuador planning

Last day of September! And our Ecuador trip starts in less than two weeks, so I figured I had better get some more planning done.

We are only there for three weeks... not very long in Kevin and Ruth time. And out of our 21 days there, we are a full week in Quito and 8 days in Galapagos, so that only leaves 6 days to see the rest of the country!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Weekend away, day 2

Well, we must be getting older and wiser. It seemed like nobody woke up with a sore head from excessive consumption!

But, we did wake up to rainy skies and it stayed that way until well after lunch. So it was an inside morning.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Away for the weekend

Yesterday, I kissed Ruth goodbye at around noon, and arrived at the "cottage" at around 2:00pm. I took all the back roads and the route was 141 kms (87 miles). One section was pretty curvy, but there has hardly any traffic the whole drive.

No problem finding the place.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Booked for Galapagos!

Yesterday, I finally received my ScotiaBank Passport Visa card with its 0% foreign exchange fee and six free airport lounge passes. For a traveler who is based in Canada, this is by far the best credit card available.

And that essentially completes our transition from TD Bank to ScotiaBank. The bank and investment accounts are all switched over, and direct debit and deposits are changed as well. Glad that's all done!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Home renovations in Ottawa

We are pretty proud of our daughter Lindsey and her husband Justin. They are finally going out on their own in the business world and he is going to work for himself. It's a big step to give up a regular steady income when you've got a mortgage and bills and a young family to support. I remember doing that myself when I was at that stage in life. It's very exciting, but you're a little nervous at the same time!

He's going into partnership with a good friend of his (also named Kevin!) who he has been working with for the past several years at a major Ottawa construction company.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Road trip!

Monday after lunch, we headed out on a road trip. It was about a two hour drive from here to the little town of Ingleside on the St. Lawrence River across from New York State.

We had been invited to visit our friends Bob and Denise and their dog Scarlet! You might remember them from last year's Mexico RV Caravan trip.

Monday, September 23, 2019

If you are not enjoying yourself, then what's the point?

When Ruth and I were out on our 5 km (3 mile) powerwalk this morning, we were discussing the things that people do with the hope of extending their life. Many of these things are related to doctor's visits where they are trying to fix a problem that could have been avoided in the first place.

That's exactly why we exercise and keep active.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A great day to go see the RCMP Musical Ride!

A few weeks back, daughter Lindsey asked if we wanted to join them at the Ottawa Fall Horse Festival where the headline act was to be the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride.

If you've never seen the RCMP Musical Ride, it's quite the special show. Ruth and I have probably seen it two or three times before in our lives, but it's been a long time. Plus, it sounded like a fun way to spend some time with our daughter and her family.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

You deserve to know why we are changing banks

I mentioned earlier this week that we began the transition to a different bank here in Canada. We have been with TD Bank for over 30 years, but their fees were no longer the best deal for our lifestyle.

During this transition though, I became frustrated with the fact that I had to do this at all. It's a pain in the butt changing banks. But my math said that we would save around $700 a year... so it's worth it!

Friday, September 20, 2019

No, we won't be doing any Galapagos cruises!

I spent far too much time yesterday on the internet doing Galapagos research. I read a lot of blog posts from people who have been there, and I researched prices and activities.

Many people say that you must do a Galapagos cruise in order to properly experience the islands. I don't think this is necessarily true. Plus, Galapagos cruises are ridiculously expensive.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Well, it looks like we are going to Galapagos Islands!

When we booked our trip to Ecuador in July, the idea was to visit a relatively inexpensive country for a change. And, we did get a great deal on the airfare, at $535 CAD ($410 USD) each, round trip from Ottawa.

I mentioned at the time that we were thinking of taking an intensive Spanish course while there, but we've decided against that. It would simply take up too much time that could be better spent exploring!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Yeehaw, our camera is back!

On September 9th, we approved the quoted $345 CAD ($260 USD) cost to repair our damaged Nikon P900 camera at the Nikon Service Center in Toronto.

They have an online portal where you can check the status of the repair. I had been checking it regularly, and under "Status" it still said "Shop". Last Friday, the status was changed to "Approved".

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Reflecting on our Australia RV trip

Well, it's already been almost a month since we left Australia! And while it's still fairly fresh in our minds, we wanted to go over the trip with you and tell you what we might have done different if we were to do it again.

So here's the good and the bad... but mostly good!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Thanks for sticking with us!

Back at the beginning of May, we began testing out a new advertising partner for this blog. At the time, most of the response was positive. The ads were kind of overwhelming though... and because you were so used to the clean look that I had given the blog without the advertising it was a bit of a shock at the time.

So now, four months have passed and I thought you deserved an update.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Yesterday, we stopped in to see the house we used to own

September is probably the best time of year to be in eastern Ontario, Canada. Daytime high temperatures tend to hover between 18C to 25C (64F to 77F).

The mosquitoes and black flies that are common in this area during the summer are pretty much gone. And the kids are back in school.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Two years without a car

It has now been two full years since we sold the little blue car. At first, it was odd not to own a car. But with our nomadic lifestyle, it was difficult to work out the logistics of where to store it when we are not in Canada, and of course there was still repair and maintenance and insurance costs to worry about.

Normally, I am pretty good at finding a reasonably priced car rental deal for our time in Canada. This time, nothing great ever came along... sometimes the deals just don't exist!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The calendar is filling up!

We've been here for two weeks now, and have just over one month to go. Time is going by quickly though, and the calendar is filling up.

Had an old friend over for dinner last night. My accountant from my collision repair shop days. He's 99% retired now, but we still try to see him every couple of years.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Absolutely no regrets

Yesterday, while I was outside cutting the grass here at Ruth's father's house, I was reminded that I do not for a minute miss owing a house and all the associated work and expense. Some people find it enjoyable... every time Ruth and I see a property with a big lawn, we say "they must really like cutting grass!"

And while it is good exercise... I would rather be out hiking somewhere!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Out for lunch!

Yesterday we were invited for lunch with Kimberly, a friend who lived near Ruth's father's place here in Galetta.

A couple of years ago, we spoke to Kimberly in depth about our RV lifestyle because she thought she might be interested in doing the same thing. But she ended up taking a different path.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Making some progress

Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions regarding what to do with our Nikon camera situation.

For now, we have decided to allow the new camera to be delivered. We have 30 days that we can send it back if we choose to, plus it gives us some time to test the repaired one to make sure that it is working properly. Hopefully the repaired one will show up towards the end of this week. I have read that the Nikon Service Center is fairly efficient, so I guess we will see.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

We're moving up in the world!

By the time we finish 2019, we will have been on 23 different airplanes!

And because we don't do very many direct flights, we spend a lot of time in airports waiting for connecting flights. This year, we will have spent time in 16 different airports.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

So, I heard back from the Nikon service center

Regular readers will remember that I dropped our camera last month while in Australia. It wasn't much of a drop, and it was in it's padded case at the time, but it was messed up anyhow.

And when we returned to Ottawa, I packed it up and shipped it to the Nikon repair facility near Toronto. It cost $38 CAD ($29 USD) just for that.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Wearing out our hiking boots

Well, this week flew right on by! It's Friday already, and we haven't got much done yet!

On Wednesday, we went and picked up Ruth's father at "the villa" and took him for a drive. We stopped at Tom Horton's because he loves their coffee. If he had his way, we would have stopped at Dairy Queen too, because "ice cream is good for you" he says. But, we'll save that for another day.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Planning for Mexico

We are returning to Mexico again this coming winter. And like last year, we are taking seven other RV's with us.

But this time, we're mixing things up a little bit. First of all, the trip will be 136 days from the time we cross the border, so we will be in Mexico about 4 1/2 months.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

We will have no problem keeping busy during our time here

So we are back in the village of Galetta, staying at Ruth's father's house. He is no longer here though... both physically and mentally he is deteriorating and he is now at an assisted living facility in the nearby town of Arnprior.

We are here until October 13th, so a total of six weeks. Normally, we don't come back to the Ottawa area for such a long time. But Ruth's brother who lives nearby needed a break from looking after their father and so he is taking off in his travel trailer for a much needed vacation down to the U.S..

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

August Expenses

Considering all the travel we did, it was not a bad month.

We spent a total of $4,310 CAD ($3,223 USD) during the month of August, however we also recorded a profit of $2,345 ($1,754 USD) on the sale of our Australian RV, bringing our net expenses down to $1,965 ($1,470 USD) for the month.

Monday, September 2, 2019

RPC Day 3... Picnic Lunch in the Pines

Day 3 here at Red Pine Camp. Sadie wasn't feeling well in the morning. Probably a combination of two late nights in a row, plus too much candy from the tuck shop the day before!

After breakfast, Cameron was off to Junior Program and we hardly saw him all day. At 8 years old, and with a few different friends to play with, it's not tough to keep him busy around here.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Archery practice at RPC

It was a little chilly in the morning, but it turned into a nice afternoon... sunny, with a high touching 24C (75F). Pretty much perfect! And, they are calling for the same thing today.

The kids are kept busy here. In fact, they are at the age where we don't really see them very often throughout the day. Really, only at meal time, and even then Cameron is usually off sitting at a table with his friends.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Beautiful start to the day at Red Pine Camp

We left Lindsey's house just after lunch and headed up to Red Pine Camp on Golden Lake, Ontario. It's almost a two hour drive from Lindsey's house... 170 kms (105 miles), plus we had some stops to make along the way.

First stop was a UPS store to drop off my camera and have it shipped to the Nikon service center near Toronto.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Off to Red Pine Camp

So we are off to RPC (Red Pine Camp) today. This is a family camp that my parents brought us to. I first attended in 1964! And I worked up there in the summer of 1978. Ruth and I brought our children up to that camp, and our children brought their children.

Now, Ruth and I are bringing our grandchildren up there for the first time and giving Lindsey and Justin a break.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Visiting with family

Although we love traveling full time, it is always nice to come back to Ottawa once or twice per year.

We purposely made it back here before August 28th because it's granddaughter Sadie's 6th birthday today, and we have never been with her on her birthday!

And school starts next Tuesday with Sadie entering grade 1, and her older brother Cameron (age 8) is starting grade 3.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

That was a lot of flying!

Wow.

That was a lot of flying over the past 9 days. In fact, we were in 7 different airports and on 6 different airplanes!

But, we are now at our daughter's house just south of Ottawa, and looking forward to seeing all of our Ottawa area family and friends over the next six weeks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

What did our Australia RV trip cost?

Yesterday, I received the insurance refund for the original flights that we had booked to Australia. If you remember, back in May Ruth was ill with a painful kidney infection and we ended up cancelling the original flights that we had booked.

So, the cancellation insurance did in fact cover all of our expenses for the part of the trip that we cancelled. It was also processed fairly quickly, but we didn't get the payment until we arrived back in Canada to pick up our mail.

Monday, August 26, 2019

A nice day at the park

We slept in a little bit again. Not letting all that travel and time change stuff affect us though. Other than not getting up until 8:30am, we have kept to our regular schedule and feel no ill effects of jet lag.

Planned on going for a morning hike, but it was almost noon by the time we got out to do it!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Back at Cabri Regional Park

Last blog post we were in Minneapolis airport waiting for our flight to Saskatoon. The two and a half hour flight went fine, and we arrived on schedule at 9:00pm.

Had to be the fastest ever processing through Canadian immigration and customs. I think from the time we left the plane, went through immigration, picked up our bags, and made it to the lobby was maybe ten minutes! Welcome back to Canada!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Heading back to Canada

Our 5 hour overnight flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles went without a hitch. It's funny how, after doing a 17 hour flight from San Francisco to Singapore and a 9 hour flight from Sydney to Honolulu... a 5 hour flight is nothing!

Hardly slept at all though. Sometimes I can nap, but this time I just couldn't doze off. Ended up watching the original American Graffiti movie. 1974, I think it was made?

Waikiki Beach and Honolulu

We had to get on the road by 7:30am this morning in order to return our rental car which was due back by 8:45am.

You would think that an hour and fifteen minutes would be lots of time to drive 20 miles (32 kms), but it almost wasn't.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Exploring Oahu, Hawaii... day 2

Out of the house by 9:30am. We drove over to Diamond Head Crater where there is a popular hike to the top.

Parking was $5.00, so we found a spot right at the bottom for free, and walked up to the main parking area. Good thing too, because it was full. Some people were in line for a spot, and others were turning around to head back down.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Exploring the island of Oahu, Hawaii

Slept like a rock last night!

Whenever we do time zone travel, we always try to put ourselves right into the time zone of our destination as soon as possible. So other than the nap we had when we arrived yesterday, we stayed up until 10:00pm last night which would have been extra late. For the most part, jet lag does not have too much of an impact on us.

Because we were extra tired, we slept right through until 6:30am.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Hawaii... first impressions

We've only been here half a day, so first impressions are exactly that! We realize that we are only here 3 days, so even then we're not giving it much of a chance. And, of course there is more to Hawaii than just the island of Oahu where we are.

Weather... well, maybe it's different at different times of year, but right now, it is hot and humid. Highs of 86F (30C) and lows of 70F (21C). And humid. Did I mention humid??

Monday, August 19, 2019

Goodbye Australia, Hello Hawaii

Hawaii is a special place, because it is truly "the 50th state" for us! Yes, we have now been to all 50 of the United States.

We've also been to all 32 states of Mexico, as well as all 10 Canadian provinces and two of the three northern Canadian territories. (One day we will make it to Nunavut!)

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Last day in Australia

Wow, we've had a great stretch of weather here in Sydney to end our time in Australia. Ever since we arrived here last Tuesday, it's been decently warm with clear and sunny skies! Could not have asked for better.

There is so much to see and do in Sydney. Yes, a lot of it is geared towards expensive touristy things but we found that we had no trouble using up our time just sightseeing the free stuff.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

More views of downtown Sydney

We relaxed for the morning because Ruth wanted to see the sunset from downtown on the other side of the Sydney Opera House. So we didn't leave the cottage until after lunch.

We figured that because it was a Saturday, the train wouldn't be very busy. And it wasn't busy at all... because it wasn't running!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Exploring downtown Sydney, Australia

We left the cottage at about 10:30am. A bit of a late start, but we wanted things to warm up enough that we didn't need to carry sweaters with us.

We walked the 2 minutes up to the Kogarah train station, and stopped in at a news stand to buy two Opal transit cards for the public transportation system here.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Not every day you see six lions...

Another beautiful day here in Sydney, Australia. Sunshine, and a high of 21C (70F). Perfect.

We are staying in the suburb of Kogarah. We are located about 5 kms (3 miles) from the airport, and about 13 kms (8 miles) from the main downtown area.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Saying goodbye to Bundy and Joyce

Yesterday afternoon, Garry flew up here from Melbourne to pick up Bundy and Joyce. He arrived at 4:00pm and brought along a couple of bottles of wine to share!

Ruth made dinner for us all, and we spent the evening chatting and drinking wine.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Last night was in fact our "last night"!

Our last night sleeping in our Australia camper, that is.

Does anybody else think that two and a half months went by really fast?! Man, it's a good thing we always have another adventure around the corner... wouldn't want to get bored or anything!

Today (Tuesday), we had to drive into Sydney.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Big blowholes in Kiama!

We headed into the town of Kiama this morning. It's a really pretty area, and with the rolling hills and green grass leading down to the sea, we think we could definitely spend more time here.

Unfortunate that we've only got the day, but it is what is is!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Only two more sleeps in the camper!

Well, things are really winding down now... we've only got two more nights sleeping in the camper!

Overall, it's been a good trip. But we will get into a little more detail in a future post, including our overall expenses and how we might do things differently next time.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

I am not impressed...

I dropped the camera today, and yes... it is messed up.

The camera was in the case. It only fell from a height of about a foot and a half, and it only grazed the corner of the dinette seat before landing on my foot. I honestly thought it didn't hit anything hard enough to have caused a problem.

But I was wrong.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Severe, damaging winds

We knew the winds were coming. We had seen the forecast, and they were calling for severe, gale force winds starting Thursday night. But the winds actually picked up earlier than that.

We had been trying to get to a state forest campsite, but the route we took became a private road. So we settled for second best and simply parked in a hydro corridor beside the forest road. Not ideal, but with the winds the way they were we didn't want to drive any longer, and we didn't want to be parked under any trees!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Have never seen so many whales!

What a great day we had.

It started off cloudy and cool, and it kind of deteriorated when the wind picked up as well. But the forecast still called for clearing skies so we drove over to the village of Currarong and the Abrahams Bosom Reserve Park where we planned to go for a hike.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Why are the beaches empty?

We drove into the town of Huskisson, and found a sunny spot to warm up first thing this morning. And it didn't take long... with another day of blue sky and sunshine in the forecast, we were soon ready to open the camper door and let the sun shine in.

After breakfast, we went for a walk to get the blood flowing.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Cute things and funny things

So we're just taking our time exploring the little coves and coastal villages south of Sydney. Not in a real rush to get anywhere, and just relaxing.

We woke up this morning in a little forest area that borders a National Park. I got out of the camper, and looked over to see three kangaroos really close by! They didn't seem bothered by me at all. Further down the dirt road, I could see more of them.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Almost ran out of fuel!

We left the Milton Showgrounds at about 10:30am and headed back to the coast where I had seen a few short coastal walks.

The first one was about 3 kms (1.9 miles) round trip. Just enough to get the blood flowing.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

We went to Dolphin Point... and saw whales!

We're only 200 kms (122 miles) away from Sydney now. But there is still lots to see between now and our arrival there on the 14th.

Quite a few National Parks and State Forests along the way, and we seem to be able to go back and forth between the mountains and the coast with no problem at all... we will probably drive 400 kms in order to do that 200km distance!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

We were due for a good hike!

Our timing wasn't great though, because we ended up doing it on a Saturday. So there were quite a few other people taking advantage of yet another beautiful day who also planned on getting the same great views.

We decided on the Pigeon House Mountain trail. It's a popular hike because the views at the top are spectacular, and getting to the summit involves a series of stairs and ladders.

Friday, August 2, 2019

The coast is nice, but we are continually drawn back to the hills

Once again, we left our campsite upon waking up. It's been easy to find free overnight spots, but the last several have been located where we don't get any morning sun, so we move on right away to find a sunny spot to have breakfast.

And on that note... the sunshine and blue sky continues! Our Australian winter started off cool and wet, but the last few weeks have been nothing but gorgeous sunny skies.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The view from our breakfast table

We've actually been pretty lazy the last couple of days.

We made our way north back to Bateman's Bay, with a stop at the Botanical Gardens. I (Kevin) didn't find the gardens that interesting, but Ruth said she could have spent a longer time there.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

July Expenses

Here in Australia we have finished off the month of July, while most of our readers are in Canada or the United States where they are just starting the last day of the month.

It is interesting for us to be able to show you that the costs to RV full time in Australia aren't much different than Canada or the United States. Our total expenses for the month of July came in at $2,113 CAD ($1,610 USD) and that included buying Ruth a new $752 CAD ($575 USD) laptop.

Beach kangaroos

Once again, we got up and started driving right away. We figure that it easily warms up in the cab, so we might as well do some driving to start the day. Then, by the time we park somewhere sunny, the camper warms up quickly as well.

But, we were out in a state forest area and we wanted to do a short hike and see a lookout before heading back into the town of Narooma.

Innovative ways to use scenes of Australia to decorate your home

New South Wales is a wonderful place. It has stunning wildlife, beautiful scenery and opportunities to enjoy all sorts of activities. In short, everything you can think of. Unsurprisingly, the area attracts a lot of tourists. Last year, they came in huge numbers numbers, over 100 million visitors.

Naturally, most of them took lots of photos. So, today, we thought we would take a look at some of the different ways tourists can use those images to decorate their homes.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Glad that we look after each other so well

Woke up and put the solar panel out right away to collect as much of that free electricity as we could. Gotta make hay when the sun is shining. Or if no hay, at least some electricity!

Across the bay, I was watching some people interested in something on the shore line. This harbor has a resident seal population, and they were watching them work their way up onto the rocks to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

Monday, July 29, 2019

No sunshine today, but we've had a good stretch of fantastic weather!

We didn't hear a single vehicle drive by us all night, just as we expected. We got up at daybreak though, and drove into the town of Tuross Head.

We found a fairly level parking spot, close to a public bathroom. The only thing it was missing was some sunshine, but we had woken up to overcast skies so the shade in our parking area didn't make much difference!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

It's not that easy to find a free overnight spot, but we are pretty good at it!

The first stop of the day was the Congo Campground in Eurobodalla National Park. We had no intention of overnighting there, we just wanted to see if there were any trails to take advantage of.

It turned out that there wasn't much to see at that particular spot. And had we wanted to camp, it was going to cost $8.50 AUD per person. Not unrealistic, but there was no real reason for us to stay.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

What's on the schedule for the rest of 2019?

I mentioned yesterday that it is almost August. That means there is only five months left to the year. But, a lot can be accomplished in five months. So I thought I would tell you what's on our schedule for the rest of this year.

Our Australia trip is coming to a close. We've been here for two months today!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Every nook and cranny along the way.

Hard to believe we are coming up on August and that we have been almost two months already exploring Australia in Bundy and Joyce.

We're getting close to Sydney, which is only 300 kms (180 miles) away now. So now that we're back on the coast, we've slowed right down and will explore every nook and cranny along the way.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

"Dolphins.... there are dolphins in the river!"

It's a great free campsite here at Clyde River National Park, but the two available sites are both in all day shade. So when we woke up in the morning, we decided to head right away to the town of Bateman's Bay, only 8 kms (5 miles) away.

I was busy getting things ready to go, and I heard Ruth yell about something.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

A quick tour of Australia's capital city, then back to the coast!

When we woke up, we hit the road right away. The winds had died down and it was fairly calm for the rest of the day.

We drove to the city of Canberra (pop 400,000), which is Australia's capital city. Many people would think that the capital of Australia is either Melbourne or Sydney, but they would be wrong. The same way that many people think that Toronto is the capital of Canada!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Vigorous, damaging winds.

We had seen the wind warnings this morning, and so with no dire need to go anywhere we figured we were better off to stay put. Anybody who has driven with an RV knows that gusty wind days are no fun for driving... so while we do see other RVs out on the roadway, we have no ambition to put ourselves through that.

And our new friends Ian and Kaye decided the same thing!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Well, that's enough of that!

We had a totally peaceful evening camped beside the river in Numeralla, and we slept well.

It wasn't even that cold when we went to bed, so we were somewhat surprised that we were able to see our breath when we woke up... and there was frost on the ceiling of the camper... yes, on the inside!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

We are certainly not driving up into the snow!

Strange weather. When we went to bed Saturday night, the temperature had dropped like a rock, down to 2C (36F). We had even put our pajamas on! But by the time we woke up, it was 13C (55F). Not exactly warm by any means, but a lot better than when we went to bed.

We got up and did some driving right away. We had to go through a mountain pass area, which brought our elevation from essentially sea level to 1,000 meters (3,200 ft).

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Change of plans... heading inland...

We had such a quiet night in the middle of nowhere! When we got up, our immediate destination was a waterfalls I had read about... it was only 6 kms (3.5 miles) away on a dirt track.

And it only took us a half an hour to do that distance! Yes, driving.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Whale sighting!

We got up and drove right away this morning... just to warm up! They have typically been calling for between 7C and 9C at night, and last night was no different. But when we woke up, it was only 2C (36F) and there was frost on the hood of the truck.

We're okay sleeping like that, but it's kinda chilly getting out of bed.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

One of our first worthwhile Australian sunset photos!

Checkout from the "holiday park" was at 10:00am. FIRM. NO EXCEPTIONS, as we read when we had signed in.

That's a little early. I would have thought 11:00am or even noon made more sense. But, we knew the rules! So we were up at a half decent hour and getting things packed up.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Fortunately, if we were to slip and fall, the water was only about two feet deep!

There is a trail that goes around the lake here at Eden. Most of it is maintained, but there is a section of about  a kilometer (0.6 miles) where they haven't been able to negotiate with landowners enough to complete the circular route.

We did the trail the other day in the counterclockwise route, and had to negotiate our way through some private property. But we had seen a trail going in the clockwise direction that perhaps avoided that problem.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

We have decided for sure that we will be selling our Australian RV...

The main reason we are here at the holiday park is because I had some internet work to do. I manage a group RV deals page on facebook, and of course we are in the middle of "Prime Days" with Amazon. So it's a busy time.

And, while I can run this group no matter where we are in the world, it is a little more inconvenient when we are in this part of the world.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Lots of jelly blubber in this area!

It seems we're into a stretch of decent weather. No rain in the forecast to speak of. Plus... we're on holiday, staying at a well equipped holiday RV park for 4 nights in a row.

They have a nice boardwalk that goes part way around the lake. So we went for a walk this morning, hoping to accomplish the entire loop.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

We're on holiday for the next four nights!

We left the free Genoa Campground at around 10:30am and our route finally has us heading north. In Australia in the winter, most RVs are heading north because that's where the warmer weather is.

We didn't have far to travel though... we had our sights set of the town of Eden, and of course the Garden of Eden.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

More beautiful coast photos...

Since we have been here, we have found that the winter overnight temperature in the southeastern Australia area usually goes down to around 7C (45F). But it can vary between 3C to 11C (37F to 52F).

When we are sleeping, we are fine... even if it gets down to the lower end of the scale.

But when it is time to get up... we don't want to!

Friday, July 12, 2019

A bit of a rant, and then a beautiful day!

We were camped Thursday night at Binn Beach Campground... a free, unserviced spot in the middle of nowhere with room for maybe four or five rigs.

After dark, some kind of van arrived. It was dark, so we never saw the people themselves. But they proceeded to set themselves up and they were no problem at all.

Until about 5:00 o'clock in the morning!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Deserted Australian beaches

Yes, we are having to put up with some cooler weather here in the south of Australia. But the benefit is that there is hardly anybody around. People in Canada and the U.S. head south in the winter. But here in Australia, they head north when things get cold!

So we don't find too many other people out exploring like we do.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Booked a trip to Ecuador!

Our travel schedule for the balance of this year had been pretty much full, but we had a gap of about three weeks in October where I was actively looking for something for us to do.

We are going to be in Ottawa for all of September and the first part of October, and our flight back to Austin, Texas to pick up our motorhome isn't until November 5th.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Spoiled with our own bathroom and electric hookup

We slept great at the 36 hour RV rest stop. It was chilly when we woke up though... we didn't want to get out of bed! And even though the sun was coming up, we were in an area shaded by lots of trees. So the most logical decision was to get up and drive.

Bundy the truck warms up quickly though.

Monday, July 8, 2019

$200 fine for camping by the riverside

We woke up at 7:00am, but stayed in bed until 7:30am... just to stay warm! Actually, it was the warmest night we've had for a while, but there was a pitter patter of rain on the roof, and when we did finally decide to get up, we got up and drove.

Not that far though...  to the small city of Bairnsdale (pop 15,000).

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Mexico RV Caravan group is chosen!

Yesterday morning, we spoke to the final couple applying to come with us to Mexico this coming 2019-2020 season.

And yesterday evening, we made the tortuous decisions involved with choosing which of the six parties would occupy the three vacant spots. It was so tough to do because any of them would have been fine for this trip!

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Another great free camping spot, and a colorful sunset...

Another beautiful winter day here in Australia. Sunny blue skies, with a high of 18C (65F). Very comfortable. It's still a little chilly overnight at 3C (38F), but that's almost over with.

We chose to use the brand new shower facilities once again at Heyfield before leaving. Then, we pulled in to top up the fuel tank at the lowest diesel price we've seen yet... $1.36 AUD per liter ($1.25 CAD per liter, $3.60 USD per gallon).

Friday, July 5, 2019

A nice day with some chores accomplished

It's not all fun and games for us RV'ing here in Australia. We still have to get things done... cleaning, maintenance, that sort of thing!

And with another beautiful day in store for us, we decided to stay put and get some of these things done.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

A detour to the town of Heyfield... an RV Friendly Town

We slept fine in the marina parking lot in Sale. Woke up to fog, but it quickly burned off to a nice blue sky morning.

We set the solar panel out to take advantage of the sun. And, we had the door open enjoying the fresh air of the morning.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A new laptop for Ruth

We got up early and drove right away into the small city of Sale (pop 15,000). We found a big, nearly empty parking lot by the marina and set up there. It was a nice sunny morning, so we put out the solar panel and let the battery catch some rays while we did some internet work.

Such a nice morning that we even had the door wide open!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Ruth needs a new laptop

Slept fine at the free RV parking area at Port Albert. We went for a walk around town in the morning, but by the time we were getting ready to leave, the wind was picking up.

And, they were calling for gusty winds all day. Nice bright blue skies, but gusty winds!

Monday, July 1, 2019

We're sure he thought we were lost!

We did the full month of June traveling in the camper here in Australia, and I posted our expense report earlier today. You can read it here...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2019/07/a-month-in-camper-in-australia-june.html

This morning was July the 1st here in Australia. It's Canada Day! Except, it wasn't yet Canada Day in Canada! It won't be July the 1st until tomorrow in Canada.

Isn't it fun trying to wrap your head around all of this time change stuff?

A month in a camper in Australia... June Expenses

Well, we did pretty good. In fact, even though the grand total for the month is slightly higher than planned, our actual day to day living expenses here in Australia are pretty much right as we expected.

We spent a total of $2,175 CAD ($1,660 USD) for the month.

It's interesting, but most people told us prior to this trip to be aware that Australia is very expensive.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Cancelled due to fire...

So in yesterday's blog post, I had mentioned that we had booked a pretty nice Airbnb host for our three night Hawaii trip in August.

Today, I get a message saying that they have had to cancel our reservation... due to fire!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A few things to talk about today...

We said goodbye to our hosts Terrie and Patrick this morning. Really glad we made the detour to accept their invitation. They are about to set off on a big trip out to North America that includes a three week RV rental in Canada's maritime provinces, and we were happy to supply them with some tips.

But, as much as we enjoy visiting with people along the way (and the hot showers provided... thanks guys!), we are also happy to get back on the road with Bundy and Joyce.

Friday, June 28, 2019

This is winter?

Sure, we had a couple of chilly nights over the past week as a cold spell went through the area we are in in south eastern Australia. After all, it is winter here!

But yesterday and today have made up for it.

A great source of emergency internet access for travel

We're only half way through the year and we've already been in six countries. And when you travel as much as we do, one of the most important things is access to the internet. We normally buy a SIM card when we arrive in a country, but there are times when it's either not convenient or we arrive at an oddball hour and it's not possible to get internet access right away.

So a company called Keepgo has come out with a fantastic, convenient product for worldwide travelers to be able to access the internet.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Best weather day yet!

Slept great, but boy was it cold when we woke up! They've had a cold spell here in this area the last couple of days, but it looks like that was the last night of the deep cold.

Deep cold around these parts means that the temperature has gone below freezing!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Camping in the bush

I've been trying to post our daily blogs from Australia in the evening here so that it is waiting for our North American readers when they get up in the morning. But Wednesday night we were parked up in the middle of the bush and didn't have a cell signal. That hasn't happened very often this trip!

On Wednesday morning, our hosts Adam and Mary were off to work at 7:30am, and we were up to see them off. They had said we could stay behind and have showers and do laundry and so that's what we did.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Another RV Caravan to Mexico!

We had said that we would decide and announce one way or the other by the end of June, and so here it is...

Yes, once again we will be leading a group of RV'ers to Mexico!

Some animals and birds you might never see in the wild

It went down to -2C (29F) overnight, which is abnormally cold for this area at this time of year. Fortunately, we were nice and warm staying inside Mary and Adam's house!

They were headed off to work at 7:30am, so they left us on our own. The nearest attraction to us is the Healesville Sanctuary, so we decided to head over there.

Monday, June 24, 2019

First dinner out in Australia

We purposely slept in a little bit this morning. We had been fairly late getting to bed on Sunday night, plus we wanted to wait until after the morning Melbourne traffic had died down a bit

So it was almost 10:00am before we hit the road.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Impressions of Melbourne?

We only allowed for the one day to see some of the sights of Melbourne. We would honestly rather be in the countryside doing some hiking and exploring, but figured we had better see some city life while we're in the area.

So we left Bundy and Joyce at around 9:00am and headed in to the big city of Melbourne (pop 4.5 million).

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Up to the big city of Melbourne

We left Drysdale area after 10:30am. We planned to get on the road earlier, but we were enjoying time with our hosts. Ruth made pancake breakfast for everyone, and of course with real Canadian maple syrup on top!

Once again, we had some showers in the morning, but it did clear up at times. Still, they are calling for "the coldest temperatures of the season" in this area, and the news media is all over that.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Ready to go. Next stop, Melbourne

Once again, we woke up Friday morning to rain. But this time, it stopped around 9:30am and was cloudy with sunny breaks for the rest of the day. Not great, but not bad!

We have been so busy since we got here to Drysdale that we really hadn't had time to go out and explore the area. So we took a couple of hours off to do just that.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

New floor, and another camper modification

Woke up to another on-again, off-again rainy day.

So, with an unlimited supply of internet, I spent much of the morning working on our Mexico RV Caravan trip for next season. It's going to be a very different trip! Details coming next week.

By 11:00am or so, things started to clear up and I went out to finish the floor in the camper.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

New floor for Joyce

Well, it was a pretty good day despite the constantly alternating sunshine and showers.

After breakfast, I went right to work to replace the floor in the camper. It was just a laminate flooring, but it had bubbled in a couple of places and it was a very plastic looking woodgrain.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Taking a break from RV'ing for a couple of days.

As forecast, it started raining around 5:00am. We stayed in bed until 7:00am or so, and when it sounded like the rain was letting up a little, we got up and got on the road.

The idea was to drive to the town of Torquay and sit out the rain in the library there.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Too expensive here to be doing any stocking up!

When we woke up Monday morning, the first thing on our agenda was a short walk. We had bumped into a local who told us that we should hike down the path near where we had parked.

He was right!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Our first koala bear sighting!

When we are parked up in the middle of a rain forest and it's a bit chilly at night, it only makes sense when we wake up first thing in the morning to get up and drive... even if it's just for a little bit. This way, we can at least get into the cab of the truck, and it doesn't take long to warm up once the engine is running.

Then, we can hopefully park up somewhere in the sunshine to have breakfast. It doesn't always work out that way, but at least that's the plan!

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Seashore sights and shipwrecks

We never planned on taking this much time to get from Adelaide to Melbourne. After all, it's only an eight hour drive! But, that's if you stick to the freeway and don't see anything along the way.

If you take the coastal route, it's about a twelve hour drive... again, if you don't stop to see anything along the way.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Day two on Australia's Great Ocean Road

We are doing the Great Ocean Road from west to east, although many people suggest the best way is the other way around. So far, we don't think it's made any difference, however maybe when we get to the other half, it will. I guess we'll see.

We started today just before Port Campbell. There were quite a few attractions to see on a 23 km (14 mile) stretch of roadway, so we got an early start.

Guide to Car Camping

Do you love to go outdoors and experience nature? Do you want to light up campfires whenever you can? Well, the adventure spirit in you should be complimented by something else - the right gear!
Camping is one of the few ways that you can escape from the activities of your everyday life. If you are not a regular camper, then you should begin your camping experience by car camping. If you are new to the whole idea of car camping down here is a guide that will help you with your next camping trip.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Beautiful Australian ocean scenery

We started driving early this morning, heading for the Great Ocean Road. We had purposely gone inland for the night because the Great Ocean Road area is pretty busy with tourists, and as such it is difficult to find free camping close to that route. And we are not Caravan Park (RV Park) type of people, and we're not interested in paying those prices.

So for us, it makes sense to spend just a little extra on fuel to find a free spot that we're happy with.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Tomorrow, we begin Australia's Great Ocean Road!

Woke up Wednesday morning to the steady drumming of raindrops on the roof. Just like they said it was going to do. Fortunately, the temperature was comfortable. I don't think it went below 13C (55F) at night, so it was quite nice for sleeping.

With the forecast calling for rain continuing until mid afternoon, we got up and did 50 kms (30 miles) of  driving into the small city of Warrnambool (pop 36,000).

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Pub camping in Australia!

As expected, we slept fine Monday night. We were the only ones there! But, it was a chilly night. With the clear sky, the temperature dropped to 5C (41F), so when we woke up we didn't want to get out of bed!

We don't have a thermometer inside the camper, which is probably a good thing!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Here in Australia, every small town has a free RV dump station.

What a Sunday night we had! They were calling for high winds, and boy were they high! It was hard to get much sleep... there were times we thought the rig was going to take off... or at least fall over!

But, we survived to tell about it. Nothing much out of place in the morning, except a few of the fake flowers from the graveyard were blown around... and our entrance steps were a good 20' away from where they had been when we went to bed.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Parked by the graveyard... all of our neighbors are very quiet!

When we left you last, we were on our way to see the glow in the dark mushrooms. We had read about them in advance, so we had a good idea of what to expect and how best to find them.

The best thing you can do is to show up in the area during daylight hours so that you actually know where they are. Most people show up at dusk or nighttime with flashlights glaring and then they never actually see anything!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Off to see the glow in the dark mushrooms!

Just around the corner from where we had been camped is the Umpherston Sinkhole Garden. We got there around 10:00am, and it was already quite busy! It's free to go down and wander around, and I guess because it was a Saturday of the long weekend (Monday is a National holiday here in Australia) and it was a beautiful sunny morning, people were out and about.

Did you notice I said it was a beautiful sunny morning? Yes, we had blue sky and sunshine!

Friday, June 7, 2019

First paid camping in Australia

And it's not really "camping"... it's just somewhere to park for the night and be able to use some nice hot showers!

Friday morning, we tried to get an earlier start. It was a great spot to overnight in the village of Tantanoola! Still, it was probably 9:30am before we actually got on the road!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Keeping our eyes open for wombats!

Slept fine once again at our free camping spot near Beachport. Quiet as can be.

We need to try and get on the road a little earlier though! If we don't get moving until 10:00am, the day seems to fly by too quickly and before we know it, it's happy hour! Not that there's anything wrong with happy hour of course... we just want to get more done before the next happy hour arrives!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Answering some of your questions...

Woke up at the normal hour of 6:30am Wednesday morning, and looked outside to see drizzle in the air again. Decided that another hour in bed wouldn't hurt! By the time we got up, there was some sunshine breaking through.

One of our readers had asked if there are other campers around. And another reader had asked how we find these free campsites.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Four nights of free camping

In four different locations. And there will be many more.

I know it's only been four nights, but first impressions are that Australia is a free camper's dream. Yes, there will be special times where we know that we will have to pay for our overnight spot (National Parks?), but most of the time we don't see any need to pay to park somewhere overnight.

Monday, June 3, 2019

You can't see everything!

Australia is almost the same size as the lower 48 of the United States... so when people ask "how much of it are you going to see in ten weeks...?" We reply "not very much".

It took us four weeks to explore South Korea... a country half the size of Kansas! So to see everything we want to see in Australia would take us two years... or more... of steady traveling.

So right now, we're not worried about seeing everything. We know that we can't.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Another battery problem, but then another good day!

Up as usual around 6:30am Saturday morning. Slept fine... no other campers, and no other vehicles... it was an absolutely perfect spot to spend the first night in the camper.

Speaking of sleep, a few people have asked! So here it is.... we did sleep really well. The mattress is just a piece of hard foam, maybe 6" thick. Not even memory foam. I was kind of worried that it wouldn't be good enough, but it seems to be fine. Although yes... it's a little short for me.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

First day on the road in Australia

Well, our regular readers do know that we like to travel slowly! So when you see how far we went on our first day, some of you won't be surprised!

But we had a fantastic day anyhow.

We were saying goodbye to our fabulous Aussie hosts Pat and Louise at 9:30am.

Friday, May 31, 2019

May Expenses

Well, hopefully that was our most expensive month of the year done and over with!

We spent $4,967 CAD ($3,680 USD) in the month of May! But, we were also in five different countries and we were on six different airplanes during the month so a big chunk of that was travel and overnight expenses.

Here's how it all broke down...

Next stop... who knows?!

Bundy and Joyce are ready to go! And so are we!

I can't believe it took us about three days to get everything cleaned up and ready to go. We were being pretty fussy though... right down to installing shelf liner (mactac?) on the base of most of the shelves and cupboards!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Almost ready to hit the road!

We're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Spent the morning finishing cleaning up Bundy and Joyce and got the electric systems figured out and working properly. The house battery seems to be fine, and the 160 watt folding solar panel kits works fine as well. Unfortunately, the engine battery did not pass the tests and needed to be replaced.

Our host Pat knows quite a few people in the auto parts and repair business and a few phone calls later got us a brand new battery wholesale for $150 AUD ($140 CAD, $105 USD). I had done some searching and the best I could find was $245 AUD!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Getting Bundy and Joyce ready to go!

Bundy is the truck... a 2008 Ford Ranger 4 wheel drive diesel with 128,000 kms (79,000 miles) on the clock.

Joyce is the camper that sits on Bundy's chassis. She was "home made", but very well made.

Today, we started getting Bundy and Joyce ready to hit the road!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

First full day in Australia... running around!

We made a sort of a rough list of things to do, and our host Louise had taken the day off work to run us around. We'll say it again... it has been so great having them look after us on our first couple of days in the country! Thank you so much Louise and Pat!

So we went out to get some things done. We were gone about five hours and I've already forgotten the order in which we did things, but here it goes...

Monday, May 27, 2019

Finally... arrived in Australia!

Bali airport has got to be the busiest airport we have ever been in. The problem of course is that it's simply too busy for the size of the airport. So they've got all of these flights arriving and departing at all hours of the day and night.

Our flight from Bali to Adelaide, Australia was scheduled for 12:05am... at a gate that had three other flights scheduled to depart within a hour or so time frame. There were people sprawled everywhere.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Our one day in Indonesia

Slept like a rock Saturday night, and up Sunday morning to write an interesting blog post about Singapore. If you missed it, you can read it here...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2019/05/singapore-to-bali-indonesia.html

Then, we went out to get some breakfast.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Singapore to Bali, Indonesia

Saturday morning, we checked out of our AirBnb apartment at 8:30am because Singaporean blog readers Han and Michelle were coming to show us some parts of Singapore that tourists wouldn't normally see.

And besides the tour, they gave us some interesting insight into how Singapore survives and thrives.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Singapore at night

This is the second blog post of the day! If you missed the first one, you can read it here...

https://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2019/05/the-more-natural-singapore-and-we-are.html

Friday evening, we went to the light shows at Marina Bay. There are two of them... one behind the Sands hotel at the "Supertrees", and one in front of the Sands hotel in the bay itself.

The more natural Singapore, and we are going to Hawaii!

This morning, we didn't leave the apartment until after 10:00am... because I was busy booking our return to Canada in August. I had no plans to book it today, I was just doing a random check of the prices and I spotted something.

Normally, one way from Australia to Canada is about $1,000 CAD per person. And I would have been happy to get it for $700 each. But I saw a deal from Sydney, Australia  to Honolulu, Hawaii for $274 CAD each. Then, I saw a deal for three days later from Honolulu to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for $312 each one way. So, $586 per person and we get to spend 3 days in Hawaii to break up the distance!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Singapore - Our feet were done, but it was still a good day.

Singapore is the 20th smallest country in the world, with a population of about 5.6 million. It's located only 112 kms (70 miles) north of the equator.

It's a clean, modern, and very safe city.

It's also a global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population. Almost all of the signage is in English, despite the fact that 75% of the population have a Chinese background. And there are four official languages... Malay, English, Mandarin, and Tamil.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Arrived in Singapore!

Singapore is country #35 for us!

It's the first new country since we were in Barbados is October of 2017.

Let me tell you about the last 24 hours or so...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Next stop, San Francisco, and then Singapore!

We called our Uber driver  from our AirBnb in Calgary at 3:30am yesterday morning. Yes, silly o'clock!

I was a little worried that there wouldn't be many Uber drivers around at that hour of the day (or night!), but it turned out that we only had to wait about 8 minutes and there he was, ready to bring us to Calgary airport for our 6:05am flight to Los Angeles.

Monday, May 20, 2019

First stop, Los Angeles!

Yesterday we returned our car rental to the south end of the city of Calgary. Then, we walked the 5 kms (3 miles) back to downtown and wandered around for a bit.

The weather was still not great, but at least it didn't rain.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Exactly the way you would get them in Mexico!

It would be nice if somebody would tell the weather gods that it's supposed to be springtime. Because there is certainly no global warming happening here in Calgary just now!

Yesterday felt like March in Canada, not May in Canada. Pretty sure it must have been snowing in the nearby mountains.

And so, we were looking for something indoor to do. And apparently so was the rest of the city.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Sometimes I think we must be a little bit crazy...

Just a little bit though!

Yesterday, I spent a good part of the day finalizing our trip plans to eventually end up in Adelaide, Australia where we will now arrive on May 27th... only 10 days later than originally planned.

But it's still a bit of a convoluted route as to how we get there.