Accounting time

Now that we’re back home and totally recovered, it’s time to calculate at what our Canada caper covered and cost.

From start to finish, we traveled a total of 13,525.3 miles, with about 12,000 of those miles pulling the trailer.  Average fuel cost per mile was just over 20 cents.  We had the Nissan oil changed three times in route, and other than a mouse eating away at the engine air filter, we experienced no mechanical problems.

We lost a handful of screws on the trailer, all of which were easily replaced.  The only trailer repair needed was to replace the starboard stern stabilizer jack, which was damaged in a back-up turnaround on loose ground.  Tires on the trailer (replaced just before we left) held up fine.

In all, we spent $12,199.14 (U.S. dollars) on the trip, broken down as follows:

Campground fees            $3,197.44

Laundry                                    88.21

Showers                                    20.54

Propane                                    53. 32

Motel (one night)                     94.98

Camping              $3,454.49

 

Gasoline                               $2,716.35

Oil chgs. and air filter             188.08

Trailer stabilizer                        77.91

Parking                                          8.54

Bus and shuttles                         39.72

Toll roads and bridges              59.71

Ferries                                      1,075.58

Transportation  $4,165.89

 

Groceries                                $1,476.76

Beer & wine                                674.49

Dining out                                1,634.44

Supplies                                         58.84

Food                       $3,844.53

 

Admission fee                          $    99.75

Tours                                              207.38

Guide/busker tips                           17.05

Fees                        $  324.18

 

Med evacuation insurance       $  404.98

Mail forwarding                             216.00

Cell phone/data                               318.09

Ins/data                $  939.07

 

Souvenirs                                     $   101.01

Home goodies                                     60.45

Personal                   161.46

 

Lost                                               $         0.19

Canadian cash leftover                      27.33

Unspent               $     27.52

 

Cable TV turned off                     $  (620.84)

No trash collection                             (97.18)

Savings                 $  (718.02)

That figures out to about $122 per day, or about the cost of one night at a decent motel somewhere (without food or transportation).  That’s not bad for a 100 delightful days on the road.

Notes:

We brought neither a generator nor solar panels with us, so every night but one was in a campground with electrical hookups, which are commonplace in Canadian national and provincial parks.

Most of the ferry fares were for the trip to and from Newfoundland.

We paid for one night in a motel when we drove without the trailer to the northern tip of Newfoundland.

The souvenirs and home goodies were totally optional, but hey, you can’t spend three months in a foreign land and not come back with a t-shirt or two.

Blitzing Across America

When it comes time for trips to end, Dianne and I see things differently.  I almost always look forward to returning to reality.  She, on the other hand, normally wants to stay gone forever.  But not this time.

“I’m eager to get home,” she confessed.

Our original return plan was to take a week to meander from Vermont to Colorado, covering a maximum of 300 miles a day mostly on two-lane roads.  With both of us ready to return, we decided to hit the freeways.

We dropped down to Pennsylvania our first night, crossed into Ohio for our second night, cruise-controlled off to Illinois on the third and spent our final night at a Corps of Engineers site in Kansas on our fourth.  We saw nothing of interest along the way but miles of divided highway and a myriad of trucks.

Finally back home, we unloaded the vitals, showered in our own bathroom and set out to do the one thing we hadn’t been able to do for the 3+ months we were gone.

We went out for real Mexican food.

On to New England

The very first thing we did after reentering the United States was to find the closest washrooms.  (Oops make that restrooms.  We’re back in America now.)

The next thing was to get some good ol’ American food.  And by good ol’ American food, of course I mean burritos and margaritas.  We found a Mexican restaurant in a small Maine town and ordered away.

What a mistake.  The margaritas tasted like Kool-Aid and my burrito was about as tasteless as hospital food.

“We should have learned by now not to order Mexican food anywhere east of Texas,” my all-knowing wife reminded me.

It was then on to visit my brother and his wife at their camp in Maine.  What they call a “camp” is what we out West would call a “cabin.”  The two-bedroom structure sits on a peninsula jutting out into a “pond,” which is what we out West would call a “lake.”  For three nights, we drank bottled, not boxed, wine, listened to the loons and slept in a bed that didn’t require one to crawl over her partner to get to the bathroom.

Unfortunately, my brother and sister-in-law still have to work for a living at places with real bosses.  When they had to return to their jobs, Dianne and I drove off to Vermont in the hopes of seeing some of its famed fall color.

We were too early.  Most of the leaves were still green and those which had lost their chlorophyll were mostly dried and curled up because of a late-season New England drought.  While too early for the flaming foliage, we did have an enjoyable time exploring the countryside and vowed to return in a future fall.

Nesting Activity

“Looks like a mouse has tried to nest in your air filter,” the service advisor at the Nissan dealer told me.  “Do you want us to replace it?”

I guess this is what happens when you spend 84 nights camping in Canada’s national and provincial parks.

Goodbye Canada

From Fundy, we drove along New Brunswick’s coastline toward St. John.  Our one detour was for the Fundy Trail Parkway, a 12-mile toll-road drive along the coastline.  While things looked good at the entry kiosk where we paid our toll, most of the scenery beyond was cloaked in dense coastal fog.

At least it wasn’t raining.

We spent our last Canadian night at a provincial park along the coastline.  The following morning, we packed up the trailer and drove down the highway to the border crossing at Calais, Maine, for our reentry into the United States.

There were seven vehicles ahead of us in line for the only open entrance station.  The line moved agonizingly slow as the border official checked documents and asked questions.  Automobile trunks were opened and trailer and motor homes entered.

Our turn finally came.  We handed over our passports and answered a barrage of questions about where we’d been and what we were bringing back.  I expected we’d have to open the trailer so he could check the refrigerator for contraband vegies, but with the hint of a smile, he simply handed back our passports and let us go with a “Welcome back to the United States.”

Fun in Fundy

After Caribou-Munroe Provincial Park in Nova Scotia, it was off to New Brunswick for a three-night stay at Fundy National Park.  The park sits along the shores of the famous bay known for its lofty tides.  Activities here vary by whether the tide is in or out.

On our first day, we drove to Hopewell Rocks, a provincial enclave up the coast where 30-foot tides are the norm.  Along with a hoard of others, we took a short walk out to the flowerpot rocks.  This group of vegetation-topped pillars rise beside the coast.  At high water, they’re small rocky islands.  At low water, visitors like us can walk the ocean floor around them.  We hit it at low tide, so we got to “walk the ocean floor.”

Heading back to camp, we drove along the coast, stopping to photograph a covered bridge and small lighthouse.  The Nissan’s windshield wipers happily enjoyed an entire day of rest.

The next morning, we drove into the little town of Alma, which sits just beyond the park’s boundary.  Dianne said she wanted to do a little souvenir shopping before we returned to the United States in a few days.  While she did buy a souvenir or two, she clearly had an ulterior motive.

Our next-door neighbors at the campground told Dianne that they had made a special trip back to Fundy just so they could have another meal at the Alma Lobster Shop, a combination seafood market and restaurant.  They thought it was that good.

“Let’s just take a look,” Dianne suggested as we walked through town at lunchtime.

Within minutes, Dianne was sitting on their outside dining deck with a dead crustacean in front of her.  Fortunately for those of us who don’t want to crack shells to get our food, the Lobster Shop offers pretty good fish ’n’ chips.

After lunch, we drove the park’s coastal road, photographed yet another covered bridge, hiked past a waterfall and down to a rocky bay where the remains of pillars from a long lost pier stick up from the rocky seabed when the tide is out.  Then it was back to camp.

“No, Dianne, we’re not going back to the Lobster Shop for dinner.”

Geezers Only

With the arrival of Labor Day, the occupancy of the Canadian campgrounds completely reversed itself.

Prior to the holiday, the campgrounds were rife with families camping in tents and tent trailers.  With the exception of weekends, the post-Labor Day campers were mostly geezers in bigger rigs.

The result is a more peaceful camping environment, but I’ve got to admit, I sort of miss seeing the little rug rats out having fun.

Dry at Last

We’re as happy as two cats crawling from a swimming pool.

We were in Newfoundland for 11 days and it rained on 10 of them.  Now in Nova Scotia, we’re finally camping dry.

We downed our morning coffee/tea and pastry outside in the morning sun.  We then donned shorts and Tevas for the first time in a week, and we drove all day without once turning on the windshield wipers.

Best of all, the weather forecast is for nothing but sunshine for our remaining six nights in Canada.  Thank you, Al Roker, for finally coming through for us.