10 Provinces, 48 States + DC, 4 years + return to favourites in 5th year

So here’s the plan:  Starting Dec. 27/17 we hope to leave snow-covered Manitoba for the trip of a lifetime.  Over a 4 year period we want to visit all 10 Canadian provinces and 48 contiguous States + the District of Columbia.  We have already visited Alaska and Yukon twice, so they are off our list, and we can’t find big enough pontoons to get our motorhome to Hawaii, so we’ll have to leave that for another adventure!

Our guidelines are fairly simple: If we find ourselves somewhere where we can’t wear flip-flops, we’ll go somewhere we can: That’s our Rule of

Thumb… or foot… or thong between the toes… or whatever!  Generally, we are moving up and down, and back and forth across the continent, aiming for temperatures no colder than 10 celsius, and no hotter than 35 celsius, with 21 celsius as our daily target.  Changes in direction will be based on weather and whim.

On most travel days, we hope to break camp by 11:00 am, stop for lunch from noon to 1:30 pm, and arrive at that day’s destination by 3:30 – 4:00 pm, in order to put down our levellers, extend our slide outs, and explore our new location.  We know, it’s a gruelling schedule, but some of us have to do it!

We will follow the rules to maintain Manitoba Health status; avoid the IRS by not overstaying our welcome in the U.S.; and we’ll plan to be home with our kids and grandkids for Christmas and special events.  But other than that, you’ll have to find us On The Road through this blog.

PROVINCES & STATES IN ORDER OF VISIT

  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Iowa
  4. Nebraska
  5. Kansas
  6. Oklahoma
  7. Texas
  8. New Mexico
  9. Arizona
  10. Maine
  11. New Hampshire
  12. Vermont
  13. Massachusetts
  14. Rhode Island
  15. Connecticut
  16. New York
  17. Pennsylvania
  18. New Jersey
  19. Maryland
  20. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
  21. Delaware
  22. Virginia
  23. North Carolina
  24. Tennessee
  25. Alabama
  26. Arkansas
  27. Missouri
  28. Louisiana
  29. Mississippi
  30. Florida
  31. Georgia
  32. South Carolina
  33. West Virginia
  34. Kentucky
  35. Ohio
  36. Indiana
  37. Michigan
  38. Illinois
  39. Wisconsin
  40. Minnesota
  41. Washington
  42. Oregon
  43. California
  44. Nevada
  45. Utah
  46. Wyoming
  47. Colorado
  48. Idaho
  49. Montana – District of Columbia = 48 (+ Alaska & Hawaii not included)

PROVINCES

  1. Manitoba
  2. Ontario
  3. Quebec
  4. New Brunswick
  5. Prince Edward Island
  6. Nova Scotia
  7. Newfoundland
  8. Saskatchewan
  9. Alberta
  10. British Columbia

The itinerary on the map is colour coded:

Red is our trip to South Padre Island, Texas & Phoenix, Arizona, returning home via the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe & Roswell, New Mexico, and Oklahoma City, among other ports of call.

Green is to the east coast of Canada, visiting friends & relatives in Ontario before heading to Ottawa, Montreal & Quebec City, up the Gaspe Peninsula and down to Graham’s old home of Douglastown (Mirimichi) New Brunswick, PEI, Nova Scotia & Newfoundland. Then we cross to the U.S. New England States in time for the fall colours, down to North Carolina, returning home via Muscle Shoals, Nashville, Memphis & Branson, Missouri, in order to get our music fix.

Blue is to the Florida Keys, and up the coast to Cape Hatteras, across to the Great Smoky Mountains, and up the Blue Ridge Parkway, before heading home.

Orange is to the west coast of Canada, visiting our old friends in Calgary and British Columbia along the way (well some of us are old…) & down the Pacific coast to San Diego, returning via Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Mt. Rushmore.

Black is to the mid-west, following Route 66 to eastern California, up through eastern Oregon & Washington, then across to Yellowstone, & home.

Year 5 is our wildcard, subject to weather, whim, and continued good health. Without accounting for side trips, this itinerary only covers 36,485 miles: Hope the old Boy holds up!

Some favourite camp sites

As we prepare to hit the road later this month, we remember some of the spots that have inspired us to make this journey.  Listed in no particular order, they reflect the opportunities to camp in and otherwise experience some marvellously diverse geography across our continent.

 

Clearwater Lake Provincial Park Manitoba, as seen through the back window of our motorhome: an idyllic landscape painting, right in our own campsite! Situated between the unique towns of The Pas and Flin Flon in northwestern Manitoba, this pristine lakeside campground is worth the visit.

Destiny Dallas RV Park, Texas is an early destination on winter trips south, as it includes an RV wash — right in the park. All that mucky residue from melted snow on the winter roads must come off!  (Along with sweaters, shoes, socks, etc., etc., etc.: Time to meet the sun.)

Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park, Manitoba could be considered one of the best campgrounds in North America. The large, architecturally designed sites are separated by rose and raspberry bushes, with the scent of lilacs buffering the sewer connections on each site in “New Dipps”. The dog beach, the boardwalk along the main beach, and the town of Winnipeg Beach are all adjacent to the campground.

South Padre Island, Texas is a favourite winter destination, with the ability to drive for miles and miles up and down the fabulous sandy beach on the western shore of the Gulf of Mexico: A most relaxing spot to sit back & listen to the waves roll in and the gulls overhead.

Grand Beach Provincial Park, Manitoba is just an hour’s drive north of the city of Winnipeg, with large secluded sites and a fine grain sand beach, just beyond the sand dunes. Surprisingly, there are no hotels, motels, or restaurant chains in the area, so go prepared to relax in your RV, away from the normal commercialization.

Cypress Hills Provincial Park, Saskatchewan is set among the tall pines. The park is situated in the rolling hills near the U.S. border, with Alberta’s Cypress Hills Provincial Park immediately to the west: a picturesque prairie oasis.

 

Pacific Beach State Park, Washington State is a small park on the west coast. If you’re lucky, as we were, you can pull your motorhome right up to the dunes, set up your table & chairs on top, and enjoy a fine glass of wine as the sun sets over the Pacific.

Boya Lake Provincial Park, British Columbia also rates in our top 5 North American parks. On the isolated Stewart-Cassier Highway, just south of the Yukon border, this pristine park was meticulously manicured by park staff who obviously loved their jobs!

Straits State Park, Michigan was a surprise addition for us, as we took a “wrong” turn on entering the park. It lead us to an unserviced site right on the edge of Lake Michigan, with a marvellous view of the Mackinac Bridge.  All we could do was set out our chairs, open a good bottle of wine, and enjoy our surroundings. The large fire pit on our site accommodated a roaring bonfire later in the evening.

Tunnel Mountain Campground, looking toward Mt. Rundle, Banff National Park, Alberta. This campground is a favourite for many reasons, including the spectacular scenery, access to the historic town of Banff, and proximity to our old friends from Calgary, which is a short drive to the east.

 

Cannon Beach, Oregon, with its famous Haystack Rock, is one of many must-see spots along the scenic Oregon coast. Don’t forget to stop for Tillamook cheese along the way!

Walmart Anywhere North America always reminds us that we are on vacation when we are in a Walmart parking lot. With anticipation of many Walmarts to come over the next 5 years!

 

South Padre Island, Texas has all the ingredients for rejuvenation:  sea, sun, sand, great seafood, and of course the best possible sensational company!

Step one!

The house Is sold and we have moved in with our son and grandson. As we live amongst the boxes and sort out what goes and what stays I am reminded that these things are not who we are. They represent a part of our lives that has influenced us to become who we are now but they are not us. It’s ok to let them go  and be free from the weight and responsibility of them.

I am excited to begin the next chapter of our lives and see what God has in store for us. There are new memories to be made and new friendships to embrace. This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come!