Our Unplanned Route

March 19, 2013

This trip has been an ambition of mine for a while.  Although not officially on my Dreams List, it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for several years, and it will provide an opportunity to fulfill other dreams that are on my list.  Initially, I had only the vaguest of ideas.

Map of Canada and the United States with an red oval surrounding most states and provinces with the words "See This" in the center

Initial Concept

We left home with only the vaguest of routes in mind.  Head south to the warm weather as quickly as possible.  Turn left in Southern California.  Visit family and friends in Arizona.  Continue East until Florida.  Turn left again.  Drive North until we cross the Canadian border.  Turn left somewhere in the Maritimes.  Drive West until we return home.  Along the way, stop as appropriate.  That was it.

Map of Canada and the United States with lred lines around the perimiter of the Unisted States and going through the Canadian provinces

Version 1 of Route Plan

Our only constraints are:

  1. Canadians can stay for a maximum of 6 months less a day in the United States for immigration and taxation reasons
  2. we want to be home in British Columbia before the Canadian winter makes travel difficult.

The basic idea is to follow the sun while circling and seeing as much of Canada and the United States as possible.

Before leaving home, I made a list of the things that I wanted to see, those that I could think of off the top of my head.  I also searched the Internet for ideas of places to visit (e.g. “top travel destinations United States”).  I combined several of these Internet lists into a spreadsheet.  I also added in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites from both Canada (16) and the United States (21).  I sorted my list by state and province, and hoped that I might get to as many of these places as possible.

Now that we’ve been on the road for a while, we’ve had some time to think and some excellent advice that has allowed us to refine our route further.  The overall plan hasn’t changed, but now we have an expanded list of places to visit, attractions to see, and even some places to stay.  The details remain to be worked out.  We try to roughly plan a route as we enter each state, but not the day-by-day details.  We’d rather take it one day at a time.  And of course, everything is subject to change.

We have also gained a few contacts in various parts of North America, people who can give us their local suggestions.  We would really like your input also.  Please leave a comment with your North American travel recommendations — places to visit, routes to drive, ‘must-see’ attractions, favourite restaurants, places to stay, etc.   If you have a friend who can provide us with recommendations on any of these, please forward this post to him or her. We would be very grateful.  I look forward to blogging about some of your favourite places!

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Europe Phase 2 Update

June 22, 2012

We’ve reached the point in our journey where we are about as distant as we’re going to get from London, our starting place for Phase 2.

The blue lines on the map below show our route for Phase 2 so far.  Phase 1 is in Red.

Colour map of Europe with a blue line showing our route from London through France, Germany, and South through Easter Europe to Greece

Our European Journey. Blue = Phase 2. Red = Phase 1.

This may look like the random walk of a drunken sailor, but there is considerable planning behind it.  The only places we’ve re-visited so far are in eastern Germany, but we expect that we’ll cross our tracks several times before we’re done.  Despite my best efforts to proceed in an orderly and efficient manner, there are a lot of factors that have influenced our route including desirable locations, weather, meetings with other people, special events/festivals, etc.  We’ll be heading through Italy next then continuing West.

So far, Phase 2 of our European journey is going well.  The S&M Motel is running great, and we’ve gotten back into the swing of free camping after a lot of campgrounds in Eastern Europe.  The weather has finally improved after raining almost every day in April and May. We’ve learned how much nicer it is to be traveling by motorhome when it’s warm and dry.  We sit outside to eat and read.  We can shower without heating the water first.  Now we’re wishing we had air-conditioning!


The Intermezzo

April 23, 2012

Our first trip to Europe last fall was a great success.  We travelled by motorhome through Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain, little Andorra, and even smaller Gibraltar.  The map below shows our approximate route for Europe Phase 1.

Map of Europe marked with red lines showing route during Europe Phase 1

Europe Phase 1 Route

My musings about this period are available in the Archives from September 2011 to December 2011 (remember that to read them chronologically, you need to read them from the bottom up).

We returned home to Vancouver just before Christmas.  It was great to be with friends and family for the holidays, and to get caught up on the many things that needed to be done.  We left Europe with a to-do list of 120 items and battled it down to 12 items before we departed.  I never understood why retired people claimed they were so busy, but there appears to be something to it!

Because our home is rented, we were graciously hosted by our friends Werner and Henny for most of our time in Canada.  We did take a short trip down to Arizona to visit family (read about it in an upcoming blog) and to escape the rain.  We also ‘house sat’ for a couple of weeks for our friends Joanie and Henry who were also traveling.

We had previously decided to stay in Vancouver until the wedding of our niece Bailey and her husband Keenan.  It was a small and thoroughly enjoyable wedding and provided us a great last-minute opportunity to see Diane’s family before we departed.


If it’s Tuesday, we must be in Florence

October 26, 2011

With the eclectic variety (and occasional delay) of our blog postings, you may be wondering where we are currently and where we’ve been to-date. Here is a graphical update on our progress.

Europe map marked up with our journey (read on for text synopsis)

Synopsis – We flew in to Vienna (Austria) and traveled W via Salzburg to Munich (Germany). We headed N to Berlin to drop our friends S&M at the airport, then spent a week in the central German Province of Thuringia. We returned to Berlin to run the marathon, the headed S to Munich again for Oktoberfest. From there, we headed NE to Schwarznausslitz, a small German village near the Czech and Polish borders where we were the guests of our friend’s gracious cousin and his family. From there we made a cold swing down through the capitals of Eastern Europe – Prague (Czech Republic), Bratislava (Slovakia), Zagreb (Croatia), and Ljubljana (Slovenia). Recently, we’ve toured in an arc across Italy from the NE, swinging down and across the center, and are now starting N again up the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

All is well, and we’re hoping for warmer weather!