Tag: Exploring

Boondocking in a Van

VanLife Boondocking in the Niagara Region

Boondocking in a Van
VanLife Boondocking

As Easter weekend in coming to a close, Michelle and I took Freddy out for a shake done cruise around the area.  We specifically were looking for experience in the area for VanLife Boondocking.  From our research, Ontario is not the place to boondock.  We started slowly, wanting to feel things out.  Friday had us head off to the local Walmart to purchase some of the much-needed items to make Freddy our comfortable home.  We found some great deals on bedding, pots and pans, and other items we felt were important.

VanLife Boondocking

After the shopping excursion, the rest of the day was spent setting things up.  Michelle had such a big smile on her face as we worked to bring our new home together.  Putting away things in places we feel would work, and to organise our tiny home on wheels.  We headed over to the Lowe’s parking lot right near the Starbucks Michelle works at, because she needed to go to work in the early evening.

Michelle wanted to nap before her shift, so we opened the roof vent, closed the curtains and crawled into bed.  No one seemed to notice us at the back of the parking lot.  Our first boondocking seemed to be working well!

Michelle’s shift was until 22:30, and it just so happened our home was just outside her work door.  It was perfect, out she came, climbed into Freddy and we drove off.  My first thought was to head down to the old Tallship near Jordan River to enjoy a sunrise over Lake Ontario.  It was late, and Michelle had to work in the morning so we thought better of it.  Instead, we headed down the QEW towards Fort Erie and decided to stay at the Flying J at exit 5.

Flying J Truck Stop – Boondocking Heaven!

VanLife Boondocking

Ok, I know a Truck stop is not really boondocking, but for a couple of newbies, it’s a great place to start.  Flying J’s have showers, laundries, Sani dumps ($10.00) as well as a restaurant if you’re tired of cooking. Oh, and they make a mean pizza!!

Once we arrived, the first words out of Michelle’s mouth was “Pizza Hun”, so we went in, used the Comfort Room, and I got Michelle and couple of slices of pizza.  Afterwards, we headed off to the parking lot to find our place to spend the night.  With it being a long weekend, there were so many good open spots for us. I decided to head way down to the back of the lot, near the Oil and Lube place and backed into the parking spot with our bedroom facing the highway.  We crawled into bed, and off to sleep, we went!  How I know Michelle had a good time, take a look at the smile on this ladies face!  Is there any doubt she loved the weekend of firsts!


On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

It’s been a long few weeks, I’ve been on the hunt for a class B motorhome.  Not just any Class B, but the one that Michelle and I can enter into our time to explore living in a van.   We have searched and searched but we have not had a lot of luck.  We have a modest budget which certainly does not help our search, but here are some of the examples available.

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome
Sun’N Fun RV Centre; On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

The first class B we wanted to inspect was a 1987 van with about 90K KM on the engine.  Very very over priced and was for sale at an RV Center.  I was shocked on the poor customer service at the centre.  Having a 10 years experience in sales, I would have been spoken to by the shops’ owner if I handled any customers in the manner in which we were handled.  Though in the end, it really made no difference, as the van was not worth the $15,200.00 dollars they were asking for it, and there was no room to reduce that price.

The second Class B we looked at was the Diamond in the Rough.  For more detailed information about this van check out the post “The Diamond Certainly was Rough“.  Just a small review, the dry rot, water damage, spongy floor, and the leaking oil pan was the final straw.

1996 Leisure Travel Wide Body

We went today to inspect a 1996 Leisure Travel Wide Body class B in the Belleville area.  It is kind of ironic since I lived in Belleville for a few years when I was a teenager, and I always loved the area.  Last summer my friend Pat and I were down in this area shooting pictures for a weekend and actually drove past this gentleman’s house.   Bryn, my niece’s husband came along with me to help check this old girl out.  As soon we approached the driveway, I was almost 100 percent sure this was out girl.  She was looking great from the street.  She had great lines and a beautiful shape to her.  Not a speck of rust anywhere that I could find, which was very important.  Glenn, the current owner was very helpful giving me a tour of the all the compartments, and Bryn checked out the mechanics of the motorhome.

We took our time checking out each appliance, opened the awning, and took her for a test drive.  She ran so well, and the old Dodge van feeling was fantastic.  Once we returned to Glenn’s place, we headed down to the lake, so we could discuss what we were going to offer.  Glenn was asking $15,000.00 E-tested, but with no safety.  The tires would pass the safety but need replacing, so Bryn and I set a price we wanted, and I followed his lead.  My task was to sit there and just be quiet.  After some small talk, Bryn came in and offered $11,000.   Glenn thought for a minute and came back with $11,500.  I was happy to pay the $11.5 but to my amazement, Bryn stood his ground with $11 and that is where it stayed!

Our Hunt for a Class B Motorhome is Complete!!

On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome
On the Hunt for a Class B Motorhome

Michelle and I are proud owners of a Leisure Travel Freedom Class B motorhome.   We will be taking possession next week.  We hope to be living in it full time by the end of April.  Check back in a couple of weeks and we will have a fantastic Vlog tour of our girl!

Zero Waste

Zero Waste

Have you heard of the Zero Waste movement?  I watched a video interview with Mailyne on the website Exploring Alternatives, and she is living a Zero Waste lifestyle.  Not too many years ago, I would have simply moved on to the next video in line.  However, recently I find that I am more and more inspired by people living an Alternate Lifestyle.  I am tired of the status norm, there must be more to life than what I see on TV,and what has become such and wasteful existence!

Zero Waste

Zero Waste as defined in Wikipedia “is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycle so that all products are reused.  No trash is sent to landfills or incinerators.  The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature.”

The reason I find Mailyne so inspirational is she actually embraces her beliefs and not just preaches them.   I can remember watching Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth” I was on the edge of my seat with each word he spoke.  Sadly this changed when I learned that he was flying around delivering his presentations on a private jet.  As we know the Carbon footprint is huge for this type of travel.   Please do not get me wrong, I still feel and believe in what Al Gore presented was fantastic!

Inspiration Found in Strange Places

Michelle and I have decided to embrace the Zero Waste lifestyle as well thanks mainly to Mailyne!  Since we are attempting to purchase and move into a Class B Motorhome, space will certainly be at a premium, so being Zero Waste will certainly be beneficial!  We use the recycle bags we purchased at Walmart and The Bulk Barn.  Michelle is working on some burlap sacks for veggies and various fresh items.  We will continue to reduce and reuse as the time goes by.  I only hope we can do as great a job as Mailyne!

Be sure to check out the links for Mailyne and Exploring Alternatives Webs site list above.  Check back, I think Michelle and I have found out Motorhome!!  Once we get it, we will do a Tour of the Motorhome on our upcoming YouTube channel.




Adventures to Tobermory

Tobermory, Ontario

Adventures to Tobermory - Lighthouse
Adventures to Tobermory – Lighthouse

This weekend I had some Adventures to Tobermory, Ontario which is located in the Northern Bruce Peninsula. With its turquoise-blue waters and breath-taking views, you can imagine it can get quite busy during the summer season. My Uncle Ken and I started our journey by taking the QEW towards Hamilton then following the 403 to highway 6. During our 4.5-hour drive, we passed through places like Guelph, Fergus, and Owen Sound, thus confirming how far of a drive we were up against. While driving, I also noticed the lack of any Walmart or Starbucks once we got past Owen Sound! Once we got to our destination, we visited the info center to get the layout of the area, grab some maps and ask some questions before starting our adventure.

Crowsnest Pub

Adventures toTobermory - Sunset
Adventures to Tobermory – Sunset

We happened to come across a pub in the main shopping district called Crowsnest. It is surrounded by other little shops, a couple other restaurants, a dive shop, and a grocery store. We decided to give the place a try since we were starving, so we headed on in and found that the place has a very inviting atmosphere, friendly staff and a nice view of the water. They happened to have a great variety of food on the menu as well as a large selection of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Naturally, we decided to go with the nacho platter to share, fried pickles, and a dish of jalapeno poppers. To say in the least, everything was very delicious and we were quite satisfied with our meal and the service that we were provided with. I would definitely recommend the Crowsnest Pub to anyone passing through or going up to visit.

The Grotto

Adventures to Tobermory - Grotto
Adventures to Tobermory – Grotto

Being in Tobermory, there are all kinds of places to explore. I found that there were a number of hiking trails, a few water-front beaches, an assortment of lakes, and some great swimming opportunities. Although I did not swim during my brief adventure, I was able to see some of these areas and was able to admire the beauty of them. I did happen to visit The Grotto, which is mostly known for its clear, turquoise waters and the caves you can swim into. There are two
different parking lots to park in and the hiking time differs as well. We found out parking lot 1 is a 30-minute hike whereas parking lot 2 is a 50-minute hike. Getting up at 4am was a bit of a challenge, but the stars were gorgeous and it allowed us to drive down to the hiking trails. It was about 5am by the time we parked and got our gear together to hike down to the grotto in the pitch dark. We made good timing and were able to set up our gear for the sunrise in order to get some good shots; however, on our way back we did notice quite a few people already heading that way (7:30am) so it is best to get there early since it tends to fill with people fast. Even though the town is quite small, Tobermory has some great places for photography opportunities and it is a nice place to be one with nature.