We rented a fully equipped motorhome RV camper to drive for 5 days (2000 km / 1200 Miles) from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The medium sized “Class C” motorhome – sort of like the Winnebago of yesteryear, was a perfect fit for the two of us, and could actually accommodate extra people if you wanted to.
I have a love for finding interesting places and sights in off the beaten paths. I think this originated from an 8 week cross country family trip we took back in the ’70s when I was a teenager, with my parents in a VW camper van, and my 3 siblings! I still have dreams of doing some or all of route 66 in the USA. The rig that we rented had everything you might need for on the road life, except a washer and dryer, which some of the full sized rigs actually offer.
Sadly, you need to abandon the notion that it is a cheap way to travel. By the time you pay for the fuel which averaged 25L/100km (10 miles per US gallon) and campgrounds that are C$75 or more per night, you need to really enjoy the “on the road lifestyle”. The main reason I enjoy a RV road trip is the TOTAL freedom to forget about booking hotel rooms ahead and just sleep where ever you end up as you follow a meandering road. Plus, its easy to stop for a coffee break / nap, or meal on the fly. If you want “fancy campgrounds” that have many popular amenities, then you may need to book well in advance; especially if its a weekend or summer season. However, most campgrounds offer campsites with NO hookups, so as long as your rig can run stand alone with onboard water and toilet handling, that can be an option. Or you can resort to camping for free in Walmart parking lots, which they allow in most of their stores! We prefer more natural treed provincial or municipal parks, to the often crowded commercial campgrounds, but some people like the social dimension of the crowded places.
My one previous experience camping for free in the Walmart parking lot was not so enjoyable, because there were many semi trucks coming and going all night long with their loud engines running. On this trip we decided to try one in Quebec City that turned out to be an excellent choice. There were only a half dozen other campers there, and no night time noise. As luck would have it, there was even a free public municipal dump station for the onboard tanks, just a few blocks away.
We prefer driving for about 4 hours per day. This trip can be done in 20 hours if you stay on the main highway, so with two drivers could be done in a day or two. We prefer to avoid the high speed highways and enjoy the more interesting slower drive through the many small towns along the way, so the 5 days were about right for us. It also allowed time for us to stop and visit some relatives along the way, as well as chocolate and coffee shops, and other tourist attractions.
In Quebec, the old route #132 along the St. Lawrence river is a lovely way to experience old Quebec towns, including cheese curds, wood carvings and art.
In Ontario, we enjoyed a diversion at Ottawa through the rolling woodland hills towards the Kiwartha Highlands and Lakes district up towards the Algonquin Provincial Park. We were able to avoid travel along the #401 super highway.
We used the RoadTrippers website and app to assist with our planning. Its a great tool for mapping your route, with various stops, and automatically calculates the driving time between each point, per day, and includes a budgeting feature that includes fuel considerations. The app is better suited to the USA attractions than the Canadian ones. Another useful site is to help locate RV sewage dump stations, both free and fee:
The Motorhome Features
The vehicle has everything you might need for camping with 30Amp site services and water / sewage hookups, or stand alone “dry camping” aka “boondocking”. There is a microwave oven, that includes a convection oven heating element for pizza and food browning. The thermostat controls both the heating furnace for cool evenings, as well as an Air Conditioning unit for the hot / humid days. The refrigerator / freezer runs on all three power sources (Regular 120V, 12V battery, propane) and automatically selects the best choice. Propane stove top is great for brewing a fresh cup of coffee.
For boondocking there is a solar panel that charges the battery, and also quiet onboard generator that is powered from the vehicle gas tank. The onboard water tank and sewage tanks are ample for a full day on the road away from a dump station, and includes gauges to monitor their respective levels.
You do need to be careful planning your trip with regards to the extra height and width of the vehicle. The 24 foot length was not a problem, since it had a great backup camera. A few of the road construction sites were narrowed to 3 Meters, which left me about 1/2 Meter on each side. Overhead railway bridges seemed to be worst for the low overhead clearances. We had to do a sudden re-route for one of them.
RV camping is not for everybody, but if you love it like Rob, this is a great way to experience it.
Some photos from our trip:
New Brunswick: Mactoquac power dam. Provincial Campground beach with a Sailboat in the distance.
Quebec: The scenic route following the St. Lawrence River, meanders past many farms and the curved roof French architecture. In some towns the homes are fronted right at the edge of the roadway, with no curb or sidewalk.
Delicious Chocolate factory in Ontario.
Quebec: Municipal Park, stopped to cook supper.
Ontario: Peterborough Canal Lift Locks
Quebec City, free municipal sewage dump station, and fresh water fill-up.
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