2021 started out looking pretty bleak travel wise. January brought us another lockdown and more restrictions. The US border was still closed to land travel and was not looking at opening anytime soon. There was travel restrictions between provinces and you pretty much could go nowhere. We did not know for how long or what was going to happen in the coming months, it was pretty unsettling. Retiring to be a travel writer was a real challenge. Even getting author copies of my books was challenging because I published through Amazon I cannot get them delivered to Canada. With a little help from my friend I managed to get a few. It was just over a year that I had published and online sales were going well but it was nice to have a few in my hands. They slid across my hands pretty quickly as people requested signed copies.
One of my proudest accomplishments is my book From Housewife to Vanlife that I self published in 2020. If you have a copy I so hope you enjoyed my journey and was inspired to start your own. If you have not, click the link at the bottom of the blog to order on Amazon or send me a message and I will mail you a signed copy. 🙂 To top off 2021 as far as my writing career goes my first magazine article was published by Passion Passport Magazine. What a great experience and accomplishment. Click the link! Check it out!
Since travelling was not really an option I decided to make some changes in the van. I loved my king size bed but it was not a comfortable place to sit and write. I needed a workspace as well as a little more room. Removing the bed and making a couch with a single bed opened up the back space as well as giving me a nice living area.
The outside also needed an update and a colour change. The brown was nice but the purple is better. Thanks to my friends Tom and Mike, and Derek for the decals she looks like a whole new home!
The spring and early summer I explored the Niagara Region with a visit to the screaming tunnel in Thorold, a walk through the beautiful town of Niagara-on-the-Lake as well as a visit to Fort George and the Brock monument. My itch for traveling was getting strong. I was wiggling!!! Lol!
Summer is usually a time filled with Custom Van shows for me. Between the US and Canada I will usually do about 10-12 shows during the summer. With not being able to cross the land border and our show Vanfest which is usually held in June was cancelled, the summer was looking bleak for me and my girl.
Come July the guys in eastern Ontario decided to do a get together. Roadtrip!!! Yea! Off to Tweed Ontario for some fun and hugs and to play with my friends. When she (my 69 econoline) hit the highway I could almost feel her purr with glee. C’old School Van Club is a great bunch of people and they put on a wonderful event. A wonderful, well needed time with friends!
July also was when they opened the provinces. One of the places on my bucket list was Newfoundland so in August with my girlfriend Kim in the passenger seat we took a six week tour of the east coast. Starting in Quebec, with a gathering of friends, we ventured to Labrador. What a beautiful place. I do not think I will ever forget the welcome of Happy Valley- Goose Bay or the deep heritage of Red Bay with their preservation of a 16th century whaling community. It was a dream traveling the Labrador Coastal highway. The rugged beauty of this province is one to be experienced. I loved every mile of it and cannot wait to go back and explore some more. Never been to Labrador? Check out my YouTube video. You will love it!
Off to the “rock” of Newfoundland and my bucket list item. I would not be disappointed. From our first stop at the Genevieve Bay Inn to our exploration of the Viking Village, to say our first week on the island was fabulous is an understatement. The warmth of the inn and the wonder of a real Viking Village I was just in ahh.
Everything about L’anse aux Meadow seemed magical even the entrance way. There were even little fairy houses along the path. It is a special part of the trip for me and I carry the magic with me still.
Traveling through Newfoundland we visited many Provincial parks. They were beautiful and a spot with water and hydro was only $27.00. You cannot beat that. A beautiful spot with all the amenities including a warm shower with lake water. Not to mention the good mornings from the moose! That all goes great with coffee.
From the touching the earth’s mantle at Gros Morne, to the beautiful sunsets at Bonavista, experiencing the remarkable history of the explorers as well as the fishing villages to the beauty and color of the city of St John’s is something I will never forget. Equally memorable is our trip to Dildo. What a very fun place that was. For all the juicy details check out my blog Exploring Newfoundland.
Saying goodbye to Newfoundland and hello to Nova Scotia and a roadtrip down the Infamous Cabot Trail. What a great experience and a few scary moments. At some points we were pretty high up with only a small guardrails between us and wayyyy down. Coming down from those heights the brakes were smoking so bad we had to pull off. What a ride. The views spectatacular and the people warm and friendly. It was a roadtrip I will never forget.
Following the southern coast of Nova Scotia with a visit to Lunenburg which is not only a beautiful town but also holds a piece of the Berlin wall. A stop at Peggy’s Cove is always and a moment at the Swiss Air Memorial. A beautiful tribute to a tragic event. A visit to Oak Island as the remnants of Huricane Ida blew through it was an eventful journey.
Up through Halifax with a stop at the gravestones of the victims of the Titanic as well as a tour of the Halifax Citadel, a quick stop in Truro to see the six pieces of the Berlin Wall we made our way to New Brunswick to walk on the ocean floor at Hopewell Rock. I had been to New Brunswick a few times but never had the opportunity to do that. It was worth the wait. What a very cool experience to walk where in six hours time it would be under many feet of water. I even had the pleasure of running into a roadtrek friend from Ontario, Linda. She has a beautiful roadtrek that just makes me quiver.
Back in Ontario by mid September, by October I was ready to roadtrip again. This time to Northern Ontario for some beautiful colors and a visit to my favorite lodge. Dunlop Lake Lodge in Elliot Lake is my go to place in the north for rest and relaxation. Wonderful people, great scenery and a fun atmosphere all makes for an ahhh moments.
I did find this an oh so cool place called Brent Crater. Just east of Mattawa a meteriorite crashed millions of years ago. There is a campground and a great hike to the bottom of the Crater. It is definitely a place I am going to go back to and explore a little more.
November brought great news of the opening of the land border to the US! Time to go soak up some sun and hugging some friends it has been over 2 years since I have seen and meet some new ones. It was time to go vanning! I headed to Florida by way of Illinois to hug my friend Dave and meet his two beautiful daughters, Molly and Maggie then south to Florida. Stopping in Metropolis Illinois, the official home of Superman was interesting if not a little painful. When touristing always watch where you are walking! Lol! Even in the home of Superman no one is swooping in and keeping you from hitting the ground.
On down south through Kentucky and into Tennesse it was another adventure that I always wanted to experience. Touring the Jack Daniel’s Distillery was an absolute highlight of this road trip. I had so much fun and was another first for me. A tour of someplace by myself. It was intesting to see the process and learn of the history of my favorite whiskey it deserved a blog of its own. Hit the link above and check it out but full warning, it will make you want to make it a stop on your next roadtrip.
Down through Alabama, a stop for the night at Jackson Lake Island. A beautiful little island with an interesting history. For $15.00 a night you can park anywhere on the island where you can wander through the abandoned movie set of Tim Burton’s Big Fish and the fictional town of Spectre.
Do not forget to pet the cute little goats that are all over the island. What a great stay!
On down to Florida where I was told I should watch for alligators but really it’s the birds you have to worry about. Travelling down Highway 98 along the gulf through the fog a drunk pelican decided my lane was the landing strip. Thank goodness I swearve left and he swerved right and I missed him. Pheww! Stopping in Homosassa at the wildlife park I stayed in the campground near there. As I was walking the boardwalk a large black bird decided to take to the air in a tree above me. Well fall through the tree and take to the air. Haha! Scared the bejeezus out of me. Then there were the vultures at the wildlife park. They were everywhere. Kind of felt like I was in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Lol! My favorite movie ever by the way.
Florida was beautiful with their sandy beaches and beautiful fauna. Traveling down the gulf side, which I never done before, was fun and interesting. Even a little history with a visit to Fort Desoto. They have a beautiful campground and a little village to visit along with a rich history and a tour of a fort used to defend the US border during the Spanish Amercan War. I am pretty sure my van was hiding because she knew it would be cold in Canada when we got back! Lol
Into Hudson for the The Vanning Museum Christmas Party and some long time missing hugs with my friends! What a wonderful time. Many laughs and many hugs from people I have known for more than 20 years to people I met that weekend. Vanning as we call it, is gathering of beautiful custom vans and the amazing people that own them. There were people from all over the US and Canada. A couple of Canadians I had not seen for a long time. It was wonderful to catch up.
With a few more hugs and wave goodbye I headed back up north. Taking the warmth from my friends and the sunshine with me. I did not know I would recieve a warm gift when I got back to Illinios and the cold. A heated winter coat my friend friend Cush gave me and a wonderful walk through a Christmas display with him and the girls. As I sit and write this it is -16C (3F) outside I feel the warmth from that wonderful trip and when I goutside I will feel the warmth of that wonderful gift. Thank you all!
My Christmas gift when I returned was my beautiful grandson Cassius. This is number 4 and he did not wait for Grandma to get home. He decided he wanted to be a before Christmas baby and came 4 weeks early. What a wonderful way to end the year!
As I think back on the last year the places I have been and the people I have seen and met it was a wonderful year even in this crazy covid world. Here is hoping 2022 can bring to a few more strikes off my bucket list.
Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure! See you next week.