How To Research Your Travel Destination

Bruce Cave, Ontario

How do you research your travel destination? You know where you want to go, now how to get there, what to see, and where to stay? How do you find all those cool attractions everyone is talking about and a few that are not so well known?

Come along as I share some of the apps and websites I use to ensure I have the best travel experience possible.

How Do You Like to Travel?

Traveling is a very personal experience. Some like to get to their destination as quickly as they can. Some travelers like to dipsey doodle their way there and see what is along the way.

Some people prefer an itinerary to follow as they travel. A list of stops and sights that are laid out in a timely fashion. Some travelers will make it up as they go along. Getting a map of the sights and going day by day.

No matter which way you like to travel, getting to know the area you are traveling to makes the trip that much more enjoyable. Knowing your must-see sights that you absolutely do not want to miss. Knowing the best times to go visit or if guided tours are available. Researching your destination takes a little time, but it is a fun way to prepare for an excellent adventure.

How To Get There

Your way of traveling and time restraits, if any, have a fundamental impact on the rest of your travel research. How you are going to get there requires different research for each transportation mode.

By Plane, Train or Bus

Various modes of travel

When traveling with these modes of transportation, it is all about schedules. Make sure that if you have to catch a connecting plane, train, or bus, there is not a significant wait anywhere in the schedule.

There are many booking sites that can package travel requirements together. Get your airfare, hotel, and car rental in one shot with or, for example. There are also discount sites such as and that can give you great deals on vacations as well. Booking with a travel agent is also a great resource for your travel requirements.

You can also book your own transportation through the carrier and find your own accommodations. Airlines, passenger trains, and bus lines all have user-friendly websites that can give you the time and schedule you are looking for. Make sure to find the rules of these passenger carriers and know what you need to do to have a seemless trip. Having an overweight bag at the airport is time-consuming and could be costly. When traveling by train, small bedrooms are available for longer trips. Doing some research on different transportation methods will give you all the information you need and  sometimes will reveal something you would like to try.

Traveling by RV, Campervan, or Automobiles

My Roadtrek

Mapping your way to your destination is a little more difficult in the way of time management. You do not know if you will run into a slow-down on the roads, and the weather now becomes more of a factor. Looking at the map, are there things you would like to see along the way? Busy cities you would like to avoid going through? Do you want to take the highway all the way or branch off to the backroads? These are all things to consider while mapping your route.

I find Google Maps to be the most reliable source for up to date mapping of roads and congestion. Input your idea of where your first stop will be. Google will give you time and traffic flow. Tap on the three dots of your search and find the option of setting the date and time of departure. This will give you a more accurate reading of your timeline for traveling. There are also route planning apps such as Roadtripper that can help you plan the perfect route to your destination.

Google Maps screen

I can not stress enough when following any kind of mapping program, whether it is a GPS, Google maps, or paper maps. Make sure the road you are traveling on is safe to do so. All of us who travel the roadways and byways have heard horror stories of people who got in and could not get out. I have come close to this happening myself. With no cell service, it is a particularly scary situation. Always make sure you can turn around or back out. Getting to your destination is always the result we want no matter which road we take to get there.

Where To Stay

Hotels and Motels

Hotel Room

How do you find the best accommodations for your travel? Deciding what kind of accommodation you are looking for is the first step. Are you looking for points hotels like the Marriot or Hilton? B&B’s and AirB&B’s are also wonderful ways to travel. Motels, lodges, and resorts can also make a wonderful stay. 

There is a plethora of ways you can stay at your travel destination. From Hostels to five-star resorts and everything in between. You can find many accommodations on most cities’ tourism websites. Most hotel brands have very good websites to reserve your stay. Some accommodations have their own search sites such AirB&B’s that you can search cities to find top rated accommodations. Be sure to check Google reviews when choosing your accommodations. I find it the best way to get a true sense of the place where you will be laying your head at night. 

Camping and Boondocking

Jackson Lake Island, Alabama

When traveling by road with your RV, Campervan, or camping equipment, there are various ways to find your perfect campsite. Provincial and State Parks are an excellent way to spend your nights on the road and when you reach your destination. Both have excellent reservation websites and great amenities. Peruse their individual websites to get an insight on what is available at the different parks. RV Parks and private campgrounds can be found on websites like The Dyrt and apps like Google Play’s RV Parks and Campgrounds. Using Google maps to search the area you are in can also give you some great finds. There are also membership websites like Harvest Hosts that offer places like wineries and golf courses to stay at.

Boondocking and free overnight parking sites can be a great way to stop and go and save you a little money. Parking for the night at Walmarts, Cracker Barrel, or some interstate and provincial rest areas can be a quick and easy stop over for the night. Dispersed camping on public land is also a wonderful way to get back to nature. Check for time limitations on stays and make sure you are not on private property. Most provinces and states have public land maps that can be accessed through their websites. Phone apps such as Ioverlander and are also great resources for finding some free overnight parking spots. Travel Apps are an excellent resource for your road trip. Find all my favorite travel Apps here.

What To See and Do

Niagara Falls, Canada

Finding attractions and points of interest can be a daunting task. If you are like me and want to see it all, some research will be required.  Travel guides by travel blogs like Travelling King are a wonderful way to find exciting attractions to visit as well as accommodation options. Google Maps is also a great resource. Choose your area and Google attractions. Works great for restaurants and other interests as well. Googling odd and interesting places help me find my favorite campsite. Jackson Lake Island, with its cute little goats, abondonded movie set, and beautiful river views, was a gem of a find.

Depending on what kind of tourist attractions you want to do, there are different websites that can help you find the most popular and the most obscure. Your travel destination city’s tourism website will usually have things to do or see as well as websites like Atlas Obscura to find those attractions that are a little more, well obscure. 

Another great way to find attractions and places of interest is to follow the signs. On the highways and byways, small signs of places of interest are placed for you to find the hidden treasures in the communities. Sign following can be a fun adventure to discover places that you never knew existed. Sometimes, it will even lead you to a laugh or two.

Plaque in Gay Michigan

Travelling can be an exciting and memorable experience. Doing some research on your travel and your travel destinations can make your vacation a memory that will last a lifetime.

What are your favorite travel research methods and resources? Let me know in the comments.

See you next time.


10 Must See Places in Newfoundland

Gros Morne, Newfoundland

Newfoundland, the land of beautiful places and even more beautiful people. On the extreme eastcoast of Canada is “The Rock.” An island that when you get on, you do not want to get off. The land amid the seas holds so many treasures. Home to the Viking settlement of Lief Erikson, the only known Viking settlement in North America. The colorful city of St. John’s and the beautiful wonderful people within it will keep you smiling. The beauty of Gros Morne and one of the few places in the world you can touch the earth’s mantle. No matter where you are on the island, there is a treasure around every corner.

Fun Fact: Newfoundland is pronounced. “Noo fuhnd luhnd.” If you say “New Found Land” someone will correct you. Lol

How To Get There

There are only two ways to get on the island of Newfoundland. By Plane or Ferry.

Arrive by Plane

There are three airports you can fly into on the island.

  • St. John’s International Airport (YYT)
  • Gander International Airport (YQX)
  • Deer Lake Regional Airport (YDF)

Fun Fact: Gander Newfoundland became famous in 2001 for its heartfelt generosity when 38 US planes with 7000 passengers and crew were stranded there during 911. Homes were opened and everlasting friendships made when Gander showed the world how to be kind.

Arrive by Ferry,

Arriving by Ferry gives you the option of three ferries.

  • North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland
    • Crossing Time: 6 -8 hours
  • North Sydney, Nova Scotia to Argentia, Newfoundland
    • Crossing Time: 16 hours
  • Blanc Sablon, Quebec to St. Barbe, Newfoundland
    • Crossing Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

The ferry from North Sydney to Port aux Basque is the most widely used ferry. When crossing on this ferry, make sure to call for reservations before making all your travel plans. There are cancelations all the time, and you can call every 30 minutes to check if there is an opening, so do not be discouraged if the day and time you are looking for are not available. There are also cabins you can rent on both ferries leaving  from North Sydney that will make your crossing more comfortable.

The Ferry from Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe is your ride to Labrador. If you have time, pop on over and explore some of Labrador. You will be glad you did.

Places to See

1. L’Anse aux Meadows

Ruins at L’Anse aux Meadows

On Newfoundland’s far north coast is the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America. Leif Erikson, on an excursion to the west of their homeland of Greenland, landed on the coast of Newfoundland. L’Anse aux Meadows is what is left of this extraordinary journey.

Leif Erikson Statue
Lief Erickson Statue

The remnants of this once vibrant village are a selection of mounds with name plates as to what buildings the village would contain. Cookhouses, blacksmith shops, and lodging cabins sat on this site thousands of years ago.

On the grounds of the original site is a small re-enactment site. See how the Vikings lived in their grass-covered houses. Learn Viking saga and folklore around the fire in the cookhouse at one of their featured events. Meet a Viking as he tells you and shows you life as a Viking. Visit the extensive museum at the entrance and see artifacts found at the archeological site.


Viking actor at L'Anse aux Meadows
A Viking telling the tales of Viking Sagas

A path snakes along the treacherous cliff-lined ocean front. Follow the path and discover the fairy houses arranged throughout the path while you enjoy the incredible views.

Pictures of the coastal path at L'Anse aux Meadows
Fairy houses and the view from L’Anse Meadow

2. Norstead

A viking building replica
Inside a Viking Building

Only two kilometres from L’Anse aux Meadows is Norstead. A replica of a Viking trade of port as it would have been in 790 AD. Various buildings, including a blacksmith shop, boathouse, chieftain hall, and church, that gives you that walk-back-in-time feeling. Actors in the village tell you of days long ago and show you the life of a Viking.

A Viking ship replica
The Snorri

Visit the “Snorri,” a replica of the Viking ship Lief Erikson would have used. Over 1000 years ago, this great explorer left Greenland and travelled over 1500 miles in a wooden boat with canvas sails. In 1997, a replica of the ship and the journey was performed by twelve men. The excursion took three months to complete in this historical recreation. In 1998, the New Vinland Foundation donated the ship to Norstead, and you can view it in the boathouse.

3. Thrombolites

Thrombolites in Northern Newfoundland

Along the north shore of Newfoundland lives a microorganism that is among the first on this planet. Thrombolites or Living Rocks are bun-shaped rocks that are shaped from living organisms made of tiny algae and bacteria. The only form of life 3 billion years ago, these rocks tell a story steeped in history. Looking out over the field of white buns, you would never guess that these were the life forms first on this earth. Living, growing creatures that feel and look like white buns of rocks. There are only two places on earth you can now find these ancient and resilient organisms. Here in Flowers Cove Newfoundland, and Hamlin Pool in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Take the time to see and feel the little creatures that started it all. 

4. The Arches Provincial Park

Arches of Arches Provincial Park
The Arches Provincial Park

Arches Provincial Park, located on the east side of the island, is a beautiful example of Mother Nature’s power. Through years of pounding surf, wind and weather, holes have developed in the cliff of rocks. These “arches” have taken thousands of years to create. The sheer size of the cliffs and the arches within it are staggering. Through the years, water has eroded the rock, producing these beautiful works of nature’s art. There were once four arches. One has fallen, and through the years, as erosion eats away, the others will also fall. The arches are a must-see when visiting Newfoundland. A work of art that will not be here forever.

5. Gros Morne National Park

The Tablelands of Gros Morne
The earth’s mantle

Truly a natural wonder, The Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park has an interesting and ancient beginning. Half a billion years ago, two continents collided. They collided with such a force that the inner part of the earth was thrust through the ground. This spectacular event was responsible for the creation of what we now call the Appalachian Mountain Range. It took 400 million years of erosion for the mantle to show itself. What we see here at Gros Morne is the layer of the earth’s mantle that is normally many miles below the crust. An orange-brown dirt lays beside lush green forests. Take a journey to the center of the earth without going underground at Gros Morne National Park.

6. Dildo Newfoundland

Dildo Sign
Sign in Dildo Newfoundland

You go there for the name but you stay there for the people. Dildo Newfoundland was one of the funnest places I stayed in Newfoundland. This seaside town has a warm-hearted feel as soon as you enter. Driving along the coast, you come to Dildo Harbour. It’s a beautiful spot where you can watch the fishing boats come in with the day’s catch. There is a great restaurant right on the dock, and in Dildo, you can stay in your RV right on the dock. The moon and the lights of the town glimmering on the water is a sight you will never forget.

Dildo harbour at night
It was a perfect night in Dildo Harbor.

Just down the road was Dildo Brewing Company. A great bar and restaurant overlooking the bay. You will have a great time mixing with the locals and sampling some excellent beer. Across the road is the S. U. F Lodge. When you are there on Saturday or Sunday in the summer months (May – September), take a look at the local products that are offered at the Dildo Cove Vendors Market. A fun time is gaurenteed when you are in Dildo.

7. St. John’s and Signal Hill

Colourful streets of St. John's
St. John’s colourful architecture

St. John’s Newfoundland is everything you have heard and so much more. A colourful city filled with warmth and laughter. The houses in St. John’s are brightly coloured, lined along these sometimes steep streets. Within the city of St. John’s is St. John’s harbour. A working industrial harbour. A strategic major hub for ships. The harbour caters to every kind of ship. With services such as container shipping, repair and fueling, and an active fish-handling port, it is a constant buzz of activity. Take a walk down Water Street to visit the many shops and restaurants along this pedestrian street. St. John’s is a major city with a small-town heart.

Signal Hill

Cabot Tower
Cabot Tower at Signal Hill

Signal Hill is located in St. John’s at “the narrows.” This Hill would become a significant place in Canada’s history and the world. From the 1600s until the First World War, it became an important military point of defence of St. John’s Harbour, for what was once British land. The uppermost peak, called Ladies Hill, held battles to keep the French from taking over the land. Men would sit on top with signal flags of any ship that was travelling into St. John’s Harbour. 

The large tower atop Signal Hil, Cabot Tower, was built in 1900 in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee and the 400th anniversary of the arrival of John Cabot. It would become instrumental in both the defence of St. John’s and the development of trans-Atlantic and wireless communication.

Overseas communication began at Signal Hill, with the first cable-transmitted message from Ireland being received in 1909. By 1931, Signal Hill had 8 trans-Atlantic cables running from Ireland and the United States. In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi received the first wireless signal from Cornwall England. It was simply the letter “s.” In 1920, Marconi transmitted the first human voice across the ocean from Cabot Tower.

The history and design of St. John’s and Signal Hill will keep you interested. The people will make you want to come back for more.

Fun Fact: Although the French did not capture Newfoundland as its own, you can still visit France while in Newfoundland. The Islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon are the only land left in North America that is owned by France. They can be reached by plane or Ferry but remember to bring your passport, it is France after all.

8. Bonavista

Sunset at Cape Bonavista
Bonavista sunset

Bonavista Newfoundland has beautiful views, exciting history, and wonderful people. This lovely town sits on the coast with breathtaking views of the cliffs and ocean scenery. Home to the replica ship of Matthew, John Cabot’s historic ship, and beautiful Cape Bonavista, it was named Chevrolet’s Most Roadtrippable Town in Canada. With its multicolored fishing huts dotting the shoreline and the drive to Cape Bonavista to visit the statue of John Cabot and the beautiful lighthouse at the top of the cape, it truly is a most Roadtripplable Town.

9 Dungeon Provincial Park

Erosion of the cliffs
Dungeon Provincial Park

Near the Cape of Bonavista is Dungeon Provincial Park. Offering a spectacular view of nature’s power, these cliffs have become a natural wonder. To say that the caves and cuts into the rock are enormous is an understatement. Standing on the edge of the precipice, looking into the giant hole with its outlets or inlets into the sea, you get the feeling of the kind of power wind and water have. Over 10,000 years of weathering and pounding surf have created this natural wonder. To get an idea of the sheer size of the bridge mother nature has created, the picture below is my girlfriend Kim standing on the bridge.

Cliff Bridge at Dungeon Provincial Park
Kim on the bridge of the cliffs

We can not talk about Dungeon Provincial Park without mentioning the horses. Within the park are horses roaming. These horses are from local area farms and are taken to graze in the park. Newfoundland is a rock, and grazing land is at a premium. The horses add a beautiful, serene ambiance to this magnificent natural wonder.

Horses at Dungeon Provincial Park
The horses at Dungeon Provincial Park

10. Elliston and The Puffins

Root cellar in Elliston
Root cellar in Elliston

Elliston and its coastline community have an intriguing title and some beautiful sights. Elliston is known as the “Root Cellar Capital of the World” with several hundred root cellars in use today. The oldest root celar was built in 1839 and is still in use. Neighbours would get together and build the root cellars into the rock and hillsides to keep their fruits and vegetables that were grown in the summer for winter use. Communities working together to keep their families fed for the long winter months.

The Puffins

Puffins on Newfoundlands coast
Puffins in Elliston

These sweet, beautiful-looking birds are a rare find on land. The Puffin Viewing Center in Elliston gives you the chance to see these small but mighty birds in the wild. These seabirds dive into the water to catch their prey. They nest on coastal cliffs during May – September and then fly out to sea as winter comes. When you look at the small stature of the puffins, they look so delicate and yet can survive winter on the ocean. A must-see when visiting Newfoundland

Where to Stay

RVer’s and Campers

Newfoundland is an RVer’s and Campers dream come true. Boondocking is actively encouraged in Newfoundland. As long as it is not a Provincial Park or National Park with no camping rules or private property with no overnight parking signs on it, you can pull up a spot. Places like Cape Bonavista have 3 nights minimum, and if you see a bluff overlooking the ocean, go ahead and enjoy the stars. There are camping provincial parks on the island that all have great facilities at prices you can afford.

By Plane and Car

There are a host of ways to stay on the island. Hotels with major brands such as The MarriotHampton, and Holiday Inn can be found in major centers. Small inns such as Genevieve Bay Inn on the north side of the island, or AirB&B’s like Olive’s Garden in Comfort Cove, will guarantee you a great stay every time. Check out the selection on their website for all your options.

When you visit Newfoundland you will find that it’s more than the spectacular views and ancient geology. You immediately feel the community and warmth of the people. That mixture will give you everlasting memories of a wonderful travel destination.

Have you had a favourite experience in Newfoundland or know of other great places to visit? Tell me about it in the comments.

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure. See you next time.


How to Keep the Bugs Out of Your RV

Spring has sprung! As we celebrate in the warmth the sun brings, we swat and slap at the bugs. What a beautiful world it would be without them. Some bugs are pretty and nice, like lady bugs and some not so nice and a little ugly like ticks! Ohhhh, ticks, give me the shivers.  There are bugs that can do damage to me and do damage to my van. They all need to live in nature, where we are both most comfortable. Here are a few tips and tricks on how I keep the bugs out of my RV.


Some bugs I did not even think of when I first moved into my Roadtrek. I have lived in the country all my life, and my last house was near the lake, so I am familiar with spiders of all sizes. They do not really bother me until I roll on one and it bites me or it touches the control panel of my furnace and fries itself and shorts out the panel in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter, and in the middle of nowhere. Ohh that was a costly repair and required some out of the box thinking to make it work.

Did you know spiders love propane? I had no idea. Yes they were all over the propane BBQ in the backyard but they were every where else as well. Did you know they do not like the smell of peppermint? In the spring and in the fall when they are looking for homes I will mix a small amount of peppermint extract in a small spray water bottle. I fill the bottle with water until I have a good scent of peppermint. Spraying peppermint in and around my propane openings. Near the fridge vent, near my furnace and at the back by the fill pipe keep the spiders at bay and a nice smell that lasts for a little while.


Flies are gross little creatures out to make you crazy. Growing up in farm country flies are something you just get used to. They are everywhere. They are dirty as well as can be quite nasty. The saying goes, ” If the flies are biting, rain is coming.” Which seems to be true, but those bites hurt! I can read the weather report, so biting is not necessary. There is really nothing you can do to keep them out except keep the windows closed, but that really is not an option in the summer unless you could turn on your air conditioning. Raid or other bug killing aerosols are definitely out. I do not like smell or everything covered in the mist that is left behind. Not to mention, where do all the dead bodies go? I think that is one of those universe questions that does not have an answer! Lol!

The old wives tale about the penny in the bag may be old but is definitely not a tale. It works well at keeping the flies away. Good thing I have a few American pennies. We have not had them for quite a few years here in Canada. There are always a few that want to come in though.

Penny in a bag

Remember those paper fly strips that you would have hanging in your house? Oh, I hated those just because they were ugly, and at one point, I would walk into it and get that sticky yucky stuff in my hair. Unfortunately, they worked really well. I really can not have that hanging in my RV. I found these little tube shaped fly catchers. They are only 10″ long and have little cups at the end of the tube, so if you touch it, you touch that first, not the sticky stuff, because still, eww! I hang it from the shower rod when I am parked, and because I am so short, I can walk under it. They also slide back in the box for easy non-sticky transport. Combined with a handy fly swatter, it is the best way I have found to keep them under control.


As you read in my blog, 5 Must Haves when Camping. I have a thermocell to help combat the mosquitoes outside, but I will also use it inside. I do not recommend you use it while you are in your RV, but I will put the portable one in the van, close up the van while I am outside at the fire. About 20 minutes before I am ready to get in the van for the night, I will turn it off and let it sit, and the vapors evaporate. I find it gives off such a fine vapor that it will dispel but kill or drive the mosquitoes out before I climb in.

I have also seen an advertisement for a window netting that would let the air flow through but stop the bugs from getting in. I am thinking of trying it. It expands to wrap the window part of the door but still allows you to close and lock it. It looks like it may work on any type of vehicle.


Those blood sucking little varments really need to stay outside. Not only are they ugly and nasty, but they also carry a dreadful disease known as Lyme Disease.  Prevention really is the best medicine here. In the last few years ticks have been very bad and plentiful. I have had two on me so far this year, and ohhhh, did that give me tickitis for the rest of the night. Ticks are mostly found in long grass areas along trails and walkways. Knowing what you are walking into is your best defense. Long pants with your socks pulled over the bottom of your pants to keep them off your ankles. Do a thorough tick check before getting into the RV. They can sit and wait until you walk by again. They do not die easily. The two I had were put in the sink and set on fire with my stove lighter and flushed down the drain. Lol!


Now mice are not bugs but are pests so I am going to include them here. I often see full time RV’ers post about mice problems. I have never had them as an issue as I am very mobile but I do have a custom van that I store in the winter that is prone to mice invasions. The best thing I have found for keeping them out is whole cloves. I get a small bag from the bulk food store and sprinkle them all over the van. I have never had a mouse problem since and the van smells nice when I open it in the spring. Almost makes me want to eat ham! 🙂

I hope some of the things I do help you to keep the bugs in nature and out of your RV. 

What is your most hated bug intruder? What is your favorite hack you use to keep them out? Let me know in the comments?

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure

See you next time


Chicago Travel Guide: Things To Do in the Windy City

Chicago Skyline

As Frank Sinatra sang it, “Chicago is my Kind of Town.” Chicago is known as “the windy city.” Sitting on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, it can be a little windy and also a whole lot of fun. In this Chicago Travel Guide, come along as I share some of my favourite places to visit while in Chicago. Hold onto your hat. Let’s explore the diversity and beauty Chicago has to offer.

Chicago Waterfront

Willis Tower

Willis Tower on Chicago's waterfront
Willis Tower

The first city to build skyscrapers in 1885, the city continues to not disappoint. Buildings that have over 100 floors can be seen along Chicago’s downtown. For a real thrill, you can go to Willis Tower and stand on the glass floor on the 103rd floor. Take in the beauty of the city from above, right under your feet. There is a fee to do that, but if you just want to get a good view and a good drink, go to the 95th floor and stop in at the Signature Lounge. Sit, have a drink and take in the beautiful view of Chicago. A great time with a great view.

Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium

Adler Planetarium on Chicago’s waterfront is America’s first Planetarium. An interesting and interactive peek at the world among the stars. As you walk inside the big double doors, a whole new universe lays out before you. Touch a meteorite or see a show in the domed theatre. Planets hang from the ceiling as you walk through the museum and you travel through space. Exhibits of planet rovers such as the Mars Rover Perseverance and make a meteorite hit the earth with such force it will make you jump. I so enjoyed my time at the Adler Planetarium. Check out my visit when I Roadtripped to the USA. Adler Planetarium will give you an exciting trip through space. It is a must-see when visiting Chicago.

Chicago River Walk

Adler Planetarium Chicago travel guide
Shops on the Chicago River                           *photo credit John Benitez

The best way to drink in the rich culture of Chicago is to take a walk along the Chicago River Walk. The walk offers great restaurants like the Chicago Brewhouse and interesting museums like the McCormick Bridgehouse, as well as events on the river itself. The Chicago Duck Derby is fundraiser for Special Olympics where they dump 60,000 little yellow rubber ducks into the river and you can watch them race to the finish line. If you happen to be in the area around St. Patrick’s Day, you can enjoy a wonderful parade and watch as they turn of the Chicago River green. Whatever time you go, make sure you check out their special events calendar.

Navy Pier

Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier                             *photo credit Gabrel Tovar

Navy Pier is a great place to go for both a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan but also for its fair-type atmosphere. Stroll down the pier and take a ride on the Centennial Ferris Wheel and get a 360-degree view of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Ride the carousel or swing on the Wave Swinger. Play a game like Chicago’s Time Freak Game or get through the Maze and Chicago’s Funhouse Maze. A fun afternoon on the pier is not complete without a falafel or some Gelato that is offered along the pier. At the end of the evening stand on the pier and watch the sunset over Lake Michigan. You are guaranteed a fun-filled day at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Free and Fun in Chicago

Oz Park

I love fun and unusual, and if it is free, all the better. A trip to the land of Oz is just around the corner. The author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Frank Baim, settled in Chicago in 1891. At Oz Park, you can take a trip down the yellow brook road to Dorthy’s Playlot, where the kids can play and run or stroll through the emerald garden among the beautiful flowers. All the while greeting statues of the characters we have all grown to love as you walk through the park.

Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural Center is also a great place to visit and entrance is free. See the world’s largest Tiffany Glass Dome while taking in the spectacular architecture of this historic building. Shop local artisans that showcase and sell their art in the Buddy space. Take in an art exhibit or listen to a live concert. Make sure you check out their events calendar for the many concerts and events held in this spectacular 1897 building.

Lincoln Park Zoo

A trip to the zoo is always a fun time no matter how old you are. Since its conception in 1868, Lincoln Park Zoo has been inspiring the love of animals and teaching its visitors about the diversity nature has to offer for free. It is the only privately managed free zoo in the country and well worth the visit. Spend the day with the animals, you will love it.

Food and Sports

Baseball at Wrigley Field


I am and have always been a big baseball fan. If I am in a city and the opportunity rises, I will go to a baseball game. The chances in Chicago are higher since they have two teams, the Sox and the Cubs. Wrigley Field is one of the oldest baseball fields still left. Its iconic ivy wall covering the outfield walls is famous. On one trip to Wrigley Field, I happened to be chatting with the security guard and mentioned I was from Canada and was thrilled to be in Wrigley Field and see the ivy wall. He asked if I wanted to see it up close, but we would have to keep it our little secret as it was not really allowed. As I crept out onto the empty field, the wall was just a few steps away. I turned my back against the ivy, stepped back into the wall, and disappeared. It was an experience I will never forget standing in the ivy of Wrigley’s field. While you’re at the baseball park, do not forget to try a Chicago Dog. You will be so glad you did.

Pizzeria Uno

Chicago is a sports town and where there are sports there is food. Most famous is their Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. Truly, where the word pie comes from in “pizza pie.” Pizzeria Uno is the first restaurant to make deep-dish pizza in Chicago. Opening in 1943, they are still in operation today in Chicago’s River North Neighborhood. Experience the original deep-dish pizza. Make sure you bring a fork and a good appetite you will need it.


Chicago is not only known for its deep-dish pizza but also for its hotdogs. The best place to get authentic Chicago hotdogs is Portello’s. Started in 1963 by Dick Portillo, “The Dog House” was a small trailer and a man with a dream. By 1967, they had moved into their first building, and they have been serving the best hotdogs and sandwiches you can find in Chicago ever since. Try their Italian beef sandwiches and top it off with a chocolate cake shake. A trip to Chicago is not complete without a trip to Portillo’s.

Chicago has all different flavours of both food and attractions. From the beautiful Skyline to the best food in the Midwest. Chicago is a travel destination you will want to go to back to again and again.

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure. See you next week.


RV Life: Sights and Sounds of the Animals of Nature

Living this RV Life makes it easier to spend time within the arms of nature. The towering trees, the aroma of the flowers and the animals that it nurtures, give such a calm and tranquil feeling. I truly believe that you find your soul there. I believe the sounds, the sights and the smells are filled with good energy. Nature is so amazing in its fight for survival. The way it creates beauty in chaos. The resilience of rising from the ashes and building and flourishing. It is inspiring!

The Birds

Have you ever seen a flock of sparrows fly in swarms in a beautiful dance in the sky or use that grace to defend themselves against a predator? I have sat and watched a flock of sparrows force a large hawk to the ground. The power of the dance. It is an Ahhhh moment. The picture is off Google. The moment is in my soul!

Birds dancing in the sky
Birds dancing in the sky *Not my photo
The dinosaurs are coming!

Not all creatures give you that warm and fuzzy feeling. My favourite place to go when in Elliot Lake is Dunlop Lake Lodge. One day while sitting on the dock by the lake, I believed I heard Tyradacles coming! What is that? One minute all you could hear was the water rolling softly to the shore, the next, I was expecting a Dinosaur to land at any minute. Looking above, I notice these giant birds coming in for a landing. What a noise they make! Making sure everyone knows they are coming.

Living an RV Life at Dunlop Lake Lodge
Lakeside at Dunlop Lake Lodge

I could sit and watch birds for hours. When they seem to float in the air and soar through the sky with the grace and freedom I could only wish to have. There are the ones that I actually have got up close and personal. Like Peanut the Peacock. What an awesome experience that was. Stopping at friends in Georgia and the campground they were staying adopted a peacock. Well, they tell me he adopted them!

Feeding Peanut the Peacock
Feeding Peanut the Peacock

The Little Creatures

My favourite place is in a forest. Coming into contact with nature’s little creatures. The Chipmunks, the beavers, and even the Pine Martin’s that greeted me at Mew Lake Campground! Oh, my stars they were cute! I thought they were ferrets. We had ferrets when my kids were growing up. Cute, but sneaky little buggers!

Little creatures I have met along the way

The Larger Animals

Let’s not forget about the bigger animals of nature! The Moose, the Bears, the wolves. Nature earns and deserves your respect. When I am there, I am aware of both the beauty and the danger. For the most part, they really do not want anything to do with man. Their intelligence shows through! I will never forget sitting at my campsite in northern Ontario and looking up and seeing a bear looking at me. He was meandering down the road. I looked up as he stopped and looked into my campsite. I said, “Well hello there neighbour!” He continued on his way. Not to worry, I have bear bells!! They were in the van along with my phone, but I have them. Lol!

Bear and Bear bells
Bear and my bear bells

Moose are magnificent, majestic animals. I am always amazed when I look at the density of the forest and how they can move through the throng of trees. These peaceful animals are better seen in the woods than at the side of the road and like all wild animals, they can be dangerous. The closest I ever came to a moose was in Newfoundland. My friend Kim and I did a tour of Newfoundland while staying at Pistolet Bay Provincial Park, we encountered a few moose with our morning coffee. So close you could almost touch them, but Noooo. As cute as they are, we always have to remember they are still wild animals. Best to be revered from a distance.

Baby moose
Moose in Newfoundland

As you may know, I love wolves. I will never forget my trip back from Thunder Bay in my ’69 Econoline. Driving along Hwy 17, which by the way, is a breathtaking drive, I began to notice wolves at the side of the highway. I had to keep slowing, afraid I was going to hit one. I had never seen that many wolves before. I had gotten a glimpse a few times deep in the forest and heard them a few times, but nothing like this. It went on for at least 20-30 km. As I rounded a corner, I came into a dense fog. I could not see 2′ in front of my van. That highway is filled with twists and turns and steep dropoffs. This just got dangerous! As I continued slowly a dim light came into view on the left. It was a small gas station. I went in to ask if I could park until the fog clears or for the night, as it was getting late anyway. He told me I better. He advised me that he was closing soon and would turn the lights out. After that, do not get out of my van. The wolves have been restless this past time. Better to be safe.

That night as I lay in the thickness of the fog and the darkness of the night the wolves began to howl. A sound so clear it was as if they were right beside the van! A sound so piercing it cut through the fog and into my soul. Were they celebrating my safety? Were they surrounding me with their power and giving me a great gift that day? Or were they just ringing the dinner bell!! Hahaha! I guess we will never know!

My back wall covering

The animals in nature leave us in ahh of their size and power. From the strength and determination of a small sparrow to the brute power and size of a bear, each are beautiful in their own way. Make sure you stop to enjoy the sounds and sights of nature along the way.

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure!

See you next time!


RV Travel: The Roads Less Travelled!

Driving a backroad on my RV Travel
Driving the backroads

Feeling the road under your rolling tires is an excitement that is hard to explain. The roads less travelled are my favourite. It is one of the reasons why I picked a Roadtrek to live and travel in. My van size, Class B RV fits down most roads. I have taken her down some pretty rough roads, but in the end it was worth it. The sights and sounds that backroads provide enrich my RV travel life. Travelling the backroads does have its perils. There are times I have had to back out of those roads. It is amazing what you will find at the end of the road. Come along as I take you on some Chipmunk Adventures on the roads less travelled.

Queen Elizabeth Wildlands Park

Driving in Queen Elizabeth Wildlands Park

One of my favourite trips was to Queen Elizabeth Wildlands Park in central Ontario. It is a non-serviced provincial park that has access roads leading in. Well, it started as an access road, then turned to an ATV trail quickly. It looked as if it had been maintained at some point, but had fallen in disrepair over the season.

The road was getting rough, and now it was a single lane with rocks and trees on either side. Maybe this was not a good idea. There was nowhere to turn around, I had to just keep on going. That is kind of scary because of the rockiness of it I also could not back out. I always like to be able to at least back out. I can back her up for miles. Yes, yes, I have done that. The rockiness of the path made it feel like I was rock climbing not driving. I did bottom out a couple of times, the basement took a couple of good hits, but she took it like a trooper. It was starting to get dark, there was no way I wanted to try to navigate down this rocky road at night. Nothing I could do but just keep going and keep my eye out for a place to park for the night.

As I drove or rather bounced, I noticed a large flat rock to the left. My van could fit on that rock. Getting on the rock would be the challenge. Let’s just say by the time I got parked, she and I were pretty much done with rock climbing. It was coffee time. The nighttime deep in the forest was awesome! I was parked in a clearing, and there were a billion stars. As I lay in my van and looked out of my top windows at the stars, I could hear the night critters and the wolves howl. I think that a wolf howl is my favourite sound! I have travelled to many places just to hear that sound!

As I was having my morning coffee with my side door open, I hear the sound of ATVs coming up the trail. I lean out the door and wave. The look on their faces as they see this 19′ camper van perched on this rock was priceless!

On the way back down, I met a conservation officer in a 4X4. He wondered how I got up there from this side, as I guess there was an easier route on the other side! Of course, there was! He asked if I had stayed in the parking lot. There is a parking lot? No, I just found a rock. If I had gone 10 min farther I would have come to a waterfall. He suggested I should turn back and go back up. I think I heard Chipmunk groan at that statement. No, I think we had done enough rock climbing for now, we are on our way out. 10 min in his 4X4 and 10 min in Chipmunk are not the same things! It was an awesome adventure and one neither of us will forget!

That Sinking Feeling

Marks left After I was pulled out
Stuck at the campsite

Backroading or going off-road sometimes presents another problem. Even just driving onto a campsite can give you that sinking feeling. There is no pavement in most cases. Dirt or sand roads can be soft, and the reality of getting stuck can be scary. Do not underestimate the weight of the vehicle. When all the tanks are full of water, propane and gas, she is heavy. You add all the house build and piping and wiring that is a lot of weight.

When I first got my Roadtrek, I was out camping with friends on a long weekend in May. I had my 69 Econoline parked there the night before and pulled out with no problem to go switch vans. It had rained during the night, and the ground was soft. Not even considering the weight difference in the vans I did not walk it and drove right in. When I parked, it felt like she had sunk a little. When I went to pull out in the morning, she was not going anywhere. The slight incline in the grass and the soft, slippery ground had me stuck. My friend with a pick-up and a camper attached had to pull me out. I was going to hear about that one for a while.

Friends pulling out my Roadtrek
Getting unstuck

Will She Fit

Back road in Elliot Lake
The path to the picnic tables

Walking the path is sometimes the best thing you can do when exploring the roads less travelled. Making sure the ground is hard enough to hold and making sure she will fit through the trees. My Class B is 19 feet long and 9.5 feet high. A low-hanging branch could be an issue. The turning radius on my Roadtrek is not like a car and she also does not squeeze between trees well.

While up north in Elliot Lake, I found this picnic table sign off the highway and followed. I am a sign follower, I will admit. You could not see the picnic area from the road, but it came out to a large parking lot and boat launch area beside a beautiful lake. No picnic tables though. Then I noticed this small outlet road on the other side of the parking lot. As I pulled up to it and stopped to look, I could see through the trees there are picnic tables.

There looked to be a place you could park a vehicle beside the picnic table. The road to it was narrow and in a few spots had water on both sides. It also went out into the water, and you could not see what kind of curve was up ahead but looked like it had to be a 90-degree turn at the very least. As I got out of the van to walk it, a man walked up to me and said “You are never going to get it down there.” I looked at him and smiled, “We will see.”

There are not many I can’ts, but many more I won’ts, my Daddy used to say. So I took a walk. The ground was more rocky than sandy, and it looked like the tree branches were high enough that I could get under. What about that turn?? It was a little less than 90 degrees, but with a little back and forth, I should be able to maneuver around it. So I got back into my van, and with the guy standing there watching me shaking his head, I headed down the road. I was pretty sure I was going to make it. It was a little tricky on that corner, but the spot was worth it. I looked back through the trees at the gentleman watching, smiled and waved.

Picnic parking spot in Elliot Lake
Beautiful lakeside spot

Backing Out

Curve of the backroad as I backed out
Backing down a curvy back road

When travelling the backroads, you always need an exit plan. If I came that way, I should be able to get back out that way. Not always in the direction I came in though. Coming to a place on the road you cannot get through is one thing. Not being able to turn around is another.

Travelling a backroad in Northern Ontario in search of a picnic area by a set of small rapids turned out to be a skill test of how far I can back up. Directed by a conservation officer, I took a backroad to find a serene little area to have a great afternoon surrounded by nature. Following the road, I came to a fork in the road that led down two different paths. I took the left path. I have been told that when I am lost I turn left. Lol. I am not sure if that is true, but in this instance it was.

A fork in the road
A fork in the road

While the main road was gravel, the path was a single lane with long grass on both sides. You could tell vehicles regularly went down this path, so this must be the way. As I travelled down the path, it was not too bad. The ground was hard and smooth. I just hoped I did not meet anyone coming out.

Then came the puddle, better described as the small pond across the path. Although the ground I was currently on was hard, I had no idea what was under that water or how deep it was. There was no turning around, so my only choice was to back out. Twisting and turning along the path backwards this time. I am glad that I have practiced the skill of backing up. It came in handy that day.

Things to Remember when Backroading

Backroading can be an exciting way to RV Travel, but like anything else a little risky, it can be dangerous. Many times there is no cell service, so calling for help may not be an option. I love being as far out in nature as I can, bringing my home with me. I always want to make sure I make it back out to carry on to my next Chipmunk Adventure.

Here are a few of the things I have learned to make my backroad travels a little more safe

  • Walk the road if you even think there might be a problem. Make sure the ground will take the weight of your vehicle.
  • Watch for obstacles such as low hanging branches or sharp turns around trees.
  • Always have an escape plan in mind. Make sure there is a way out if an obstacle to big comes across your path.
  • If you are going into an no cell area make sure someone knows where you are and your expected return to cell zone. That way if something does happen, people will have an idea of location and someone will come looking.
  • Have fun and enjoy the experience of going backroading. You will see things that you cannot encounter along the highways.

Thanks for coming on my Chipmunk adventures. I hope some of my lessons I have learned helps you feel a little more comfortable when you roll down the roads less traveled.

See you next week


Reserve, Camp, and Enjoy the Beauty of Ontario Parks

Coffee and Camping

As the sun warms through the windows, are you dreaming of camping? As we move through March, in Ontario, the warmth gives us hints. Summer is coming. When I think of summer, my first thought is camping. Ontario Parks has some of the best natural beauty that the world has to offer. On over five million hectares of land spread through the province, there are over 340 Ontario Provincial Parks with over 100 of them having camping facilities.

Fun Fact: With over 19,000 vehicle campsites and over 8,000 back country campsites there is a piece of nature for everyone.

The art of camping has grown in popularity in the last few years. As reported by Ontario Parks there were 4.3 million campers in 2014 rising to 6.6 million in 2021. They estimate the numbers will keep growing. Due to the rise in visitors, reservations have taken on some changes this year.

Reserve your Campsite

Macleod Provincial Park

Finding the perfect campsite in your favorite park used to be just a phone call or click away. You were sure it would be there just as always. Today, that may not be the case. With so many more people booking campsites the chances of your campsite being already booked is quite possible. If you know the date and the spot, book it early!

Registering an account on the Ontario Parks website is the fastest, easiest way to make sure your campsite is booked. It is a user-friendly site that is easy to navigate.

  • Choose Reservations through the menu tab
  • Choose from the drop-down menu, which park you would like to go to
  • Choose arrival and departure date
  • Choose party size
  • Choose the type of camping you are doing. Eg. Tent or Rv.
  • Click search

The nice feature of this website is when you are looking to pick your campsite, you can search by map or by list. There are amenities, locations, and availability listed. Choose the campsite and finish your reservation.

You are on your way to a most excellent adventure no matter which Ontario Park you choose.

There have been some changes to the rules of reservations and stays at Ontario Provincial Parks.

  • You can reserve your campsites up to 5 months ahead of your expected arrival dates.
  • At some Ontario Provincial Parks, the rules of the number of nights you can stay have been shortened between the dates July 1st until the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.
    • There are 5 parks reduced to a maximum nights stay of 7 nights. 62 parks with a maximum night stay of 14 nights. 16 parks will stay the same at 23 nights. Check the website to see where your favorite park is on the list.

Quick note: the new rules of the number of nights you can stay do not apply to backcountry campers or roofed accommodations.


Winter camping at Silent Lake Provincial Park

There are many ways to camp. Winter camping has become a popular recreation activity. Providing campsites with power and Yurts, Ontario Parks have opened up a new exciting time to camp.

Backpacking has become a popular way to camp. Ontario has many parks for backpackers to enjoy. Carrying everything on your back and hiking to that dream spot to truly enjoy the ruggedness and beauty that is deep in the forest.

Vehicle camping has risen in numbers over the last few years. Vehicle camping includes tents, RVs, and travel trailers. As you walk through the parks today there is a multitude of different ways people choose to vehicle camp. Ontario Parks have a campsite for every size. Pull through campsites for the big Class C RVs and large travel trailers to small campsites reserved for tent camping only.

Camping for most of us means roasting marshmallows over the campfire, watching the fireflies dance in the night air, and enjoying the nature of the area. Ontario Parks provides so much more. Hiking and biking trails, beaches for swimming, and amenities for your everyday comfort. A friendly staff to assist in anything you need compliments these wonderful parks.


The best way for you to get the camping experience you dream of is to experience it. The best way I can help you do that is by giving you my top 5 Ontario Provincial Parks. It was a hard choice, but these 5 parks I would go back to again and again.

Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, Connaught

A Bear comes to visit at Kettle Lakes

Kettle Lakes Provincial Park, located off Hwy 101, 30 minutes north east of Timmins, is a woodland delight. The farthest north you can go in Ontario at a Provincial Park that has hydro sites. Camped in the deep forest in large spacious campsites gives you that back to nature feeling and still be able to turn on the lights. The animals that you see this far north from little chipmunks to bears to moose are exhilarating. Even being woken by a woodpecker that likes the sound of his pecking on a metal sign better than the nearest tree is u ique but wonderful waking experience. Check it out -> A woodpecker who obviously had not had his morning coffee! Lol

Macleod Provincial Park

Beach entrance at the campsite

I discovered this northern gem last year while touring Northern Ontario. On Highway 11, heading east, passed the Beardmore Snowman is Macleod Provincial Park. Nestled amongst the trees against a little lake lies this small provincial park that you will want to go back to again and again. Driving through the park looking at the different campsites, I had many to choose from. Then I saw it. Hydro on a lakeside campsite. Ok, I will admit that it gets my adrenaline pumping. What really got me excited? I had my own entrance to the beach. With easily accessible amenities and a lake side view with coffee, it is a top 5 choice for me.

Rainbow Falls Provincial Park

On the beach at Rainbow Falls

Along Highway 17 on the top of Lake Superior is Rainbow Falls Provincial Park. This park is unique in design and attractions. Highway 11 divides the campgrounds in this park. Rossport Campground sits on the Lake Superior side of the Highway. Here, you can find hydro on the beach. I was planning on only staying one night, but it was so beautiful right on Lake Superior I had to stay on another. My second spot had no hydro but was tucked up in a grove of trees with an entrance to a secluded cove on the lake. What a perfect campsite!

On the other side of Highway 17 is Rainbow Falls and Whitesand Lake campground. A beautiful boardwalk to and along a cascading flow of water turning the rocks a beautiful rainbow of colour. It is a sight to be seen! Enjoy the diversity and the beauty of this norther Provincial Park.

Pinery Provincial Park

Camping at Pinery Provincial Park

Pinery Provincial Park is located just down the road from the beach resort town of Grand Bend. A large woodland park that gives you many walking and biking trails. Spend the day on the beach at Grandbend and a night around the campfire. I have done both summer camping and winter camping at Pinery Provincial Park. A vast park with large sites, you are guaranteed a perfect camping adventure every time.

Restoule Provincial Park

Restoule Provincial Park in the fall

I had the pleasure of staying in Restoule Provincial Park in the fall. The colours of the trees changing, walking in the fallen leaves listening to the crunch under my feet, was magical. The beauty was not to be outdone by the peacefulness of the lake the park sits beside. Walk a trail, sit on the dock, and listen to the sounds of the loons. This park will touch your soul.

Best Backcountry Camping Provincial Parks

Backcountry camping has become more popular within the last few years. There are a number of Ontario Parks that are backcountry camping only. Here are 5 of the top favorites among backcountry campers.

There are many beautiful camping parks in Ontario. Each offers a unique nature experience. Ontario Parks also have many conservation areas under their umbrella where you can have a weekend camping trip or a beautiful day at the park. I have not been to them all, but it is on my list!

What is your favorite Ontario Park? Leave it in the comments and let me know why you loved the experience.

Explore, Enjoy, and Camp Ontario. You will be glad you did.

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure.

Chipmunk 🐿

The Versatility of Living an RV Life

Coffee and Camping

I have lived and owned a “sticks and bricks” home for most of my adult life. It was all I knew before I ventured into the RV Life. There has been a couple of things that have happened good and bad that has made me appreciate the versatility of living this RV lifestyle.

The Appreciation

My first day with my new home

When I moved into my Roadtrek I had some idea of the appreciation I would have that comes with having my home with me where ever I went. No more forgetting anything on business trips or vacations. No more having to come home on weekends and cut grass or shovel snow. Although I must confess that there are times I miss cutting the grass, there are also no times I miss shoveling snow. I love the fact I can travel for 6 weeks, like my adventure with my girlfriend Kim touring Canada’s East Coast including Newfoundland and Labrador without worrying about what is happening at my house. Going South for the Winter? The only pipes I worry about freezing are the ones that are with me.

For me, it’s also about being able to be near the ones that I love when I need to be near them. When they need my love and support the most, I can park outside their door and be with them for whatever they need. That is important to me. My family, and my friends, support me as much as I support them. I am blessed with a very beautiful circle and we give to each other to keep us all going.

It really became crystal clear the appreciation that I would have for living in my RV about 3 years ago. My grandson Jensen was born 6 weeks early and right at the beginning of the covid lockdowns. My RV became a place where my daughter could meet with her older children and spend some time with them. It became a place where I could sleep in the hospital parking lot and be there if my daughter needed me. It became a place of sanctuary at that time when we all needed a place to go so we could breathe. Three years later Jensen is a happy, healthy little mover and groover, and his little brother Cassius who came about four weeks early, a year and a 1/2 later is a little joy to be around.

Myself and my grandkids

It was just about that time my brother, Art was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A devastating disease that took my Mom 23 years ago. It took my Mom quickly but my brother was not going to give up the fight. He fought that cancer with determination and a strong faith in God. At one point he was cancer free. I knew I needed to spend as much time as I could. That we are now on limited time. My RV lifestyle gave me the flexibility to go out for dinner once a week and go for a burger. Both my brother and I are very big fans of a good burger. So much so that out on my travels I wouldn’t text him a picture of the landscape, although he loved to travel as well. I would text him a picture of the great burger that I found. Lol.

My brother Art 💜

About 3 weeks ago I was in New Lenox, Illinois visiting a friend and I got a call that my brother had taken a turn for the worse. Until that time he was doing pretty well. Starting my Rv I headed back right away. No trying to find a flight or deal with delays. Just climb into my home and drive.

I parked outside my brother’s house and spent the rest of the time he had with him and his wife helping where I could. As hard as that was to do I am so glad that I have an RV that I live in, that I can pull up to the curb and be there for the people that I love. But also I didn’t have to stay in anybody’s house. I did not have to add to the burden of having someone sleeping over at a very difficult time. It was also comforting to know that my home was only 25 steps away. Sometimes moments are all we have. We have to cherish those. I miss those burger moments already brother.

The Travel

Trout River, Newfoundland

The other benefit of living this RV life is being able to travel. Being able to go from my living room to my driver seat, start the van and go. I love to travel, and I love to drive. Driving for me is like therapy. I am also a very spontaneous person so it makes it quick and easy when i decide it is ime to go. For the last 11 years of my working career, I traveled for a living all across Canada and loved it. We had a schedule that would change where we were going and that was OK with me. I have been and still am a flexible person, about some things. Lol.

Now that I’m retired RV life has taken on a whole new meaning in the way of traveling. The places I have been and the people I have met since retiring are amazing, as I go back through the pictures. Achieving some travel dreams like driving to the farthest north point you can drive in Ontario.

Pickle Lake sign

Pickle Lake was a great experience. A small northern community with a natural charm. I knew it was going to be great when the lady at the municipal office told me that the campground was past the stop sign, right through as if you were going to the hotel, past the airport and the RV sites were on the right. Wait! Past the airport?? The population of Pickle Lake is less than 400. Turns out it is a seaplane airport used to transport workers, hunters, and nature enthusiasts to the non-driveable parts of northern Ontario. It was fun to watch the planes take off and land on the water.

Fun at Pickle Lake

Having my RV and no time limit was truly exhilarating! Stopping at places that normally I would drive by on my way to a new work location. I was so excited to stop at places like Rainbow Falls, Old Woman’s Bay, and exploring an Amethyst mine at Panorama Amythyst Mine near Thunder Bay.

Fun in Northern Ontario

Exploring Northern Ontario is something I love to do. It is so vast and the history is so diverse. From a meteorite crash 450 million years ago at Brent Crater to the development of Nuclear Power in Chalk River or the Polar Bears in Cochrane there is something to see everywhere you go.

Northern Ontario Destinations

My travels have taken me to Palm trees in Florida, little goats at Jackson Lake Island in Alabama and good whiskey at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg Tennessee, taking my home every step of the way.

Southern US Adventures

I haven’t been everywhere but its on my list.

Highway to the next adventure

Stay tuned for many more adventures and the tips and tricks I learn along the way!

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure. See you next week.


RV Travel Apps for Your Travel Needs

RV Travel Apps

Remember the days of pulling out the paper maps, then trying to fold them back up? When I started traveling my best traveling friend was my large road atlas. I still have one but my first go-to when planning a trip or while traveling is my phone. I am pretty sure the tide turned when my daughter looked at me and said “Mom, there’s an app for that.” She was right. I started looking at RV trip-planning apps, RV Parking apps, and boondocking apps. There are many but I would like to share a few of my favorites that make my RV living and traveling that much easier. Whether you are traveling by RV, van, car, or bus these helpful apps can make your journey a little smoother. Let’s get started!

RV Trip Planning

Roadtripping in Newfoundland

Google Maps

Google Maps is a free and easy-to-use route planner. Set your starting location and RV travel destination and press start. A sweet voice will tell you where and when to turn with no worries about going off your planned route. Different settings in your route options will guide the app to your destination the way you want to drive.

In your route options, you can avoid, toll roads, ferries, and motorways (highways) for those backroads road trips. Be careful it does not take you on a road that is not travelable. Always make sure that your RV can travel safely down the roads it is directing you on. You can add a stop that is on your way and find gas stations, restaurants, or picnic areas by pushing the microphone and asking Google for “gas stations on my route.” I like the fact that it will also notify me if there is an accident ahead or a large slowdown. If there is an alternative route that will save you time the app will find it and suggest it automatically. Google Maps is my go-to RV travel app simply for the ease of using it and the fact that is free.

Google Maps route options screen


The Roadtrippers App is a favorite of many RV travel enthusiasts. It has collected hundreds of historical sites, roadside attractions, and natural landmarks that you can see along the way. Roadtrippers also allows you to search for campgrounds and RV services. Not sure what to see or do when you get there? Check out the travel guide section of the app. Giving you lists of attractions to see, places to eat, and exciting venues to visit, you are guaranteed a safe and fun RV travel adventure. Roadtrippers is free to use but you can also upgrade to Roadtrippers Plus ($29.99 per year) for more services such as saving your map offline and avoiding ads, among other features.

Roadtrippers App screen


Traveling these days is a penny-watching exercise. Getting a great deal where ever you can, allows you to go a little farther or maybe see one more exhibit. With gas prices being what they are and fluctuating in price from place to place allows you to check gas prices in any given area. Need gas now? Search the area you are in. Need gas but not yet? Search gas prices along your route. With over 140,000 gas stations listed across Canada and the United States, you can be sure you are finding the cheapest fuel in the area.

GasBuddy App screen

Other travel apps include:

RV Parking Apps

Macleod Provincial Park campground

Whether you are looking for a campground, an RV park, a boondocking spot for a night, or a free camping spot for a few days there is an app for that. Making sure I am parked where I am legally able to do so is so important to me. No one likes those 3 am knocks. Here are a few of my favorites.


Ioverlander is an easy-to-use free app that gives a wide range of options for free parking. Created by Sam Christiansen of Song of the Road and Jessica Mans of Life Remotely, this non-profit app gives you parking locations, places of interest, dumping stations, and propane availability. It is updated regularly by the people who use it on different parking locations. I find it extremely helpful in finding a safe place to grab a night’s sleep where ever I am or using the map, where I am going.

Ioverlander Map

This handy app gives you locations, prices, and reviews of campgrounds in the area you are in or going to. has an easy-to-understand legend tells you if it is free or if there is a fee to camp there. Click on the site and prices, amenities, and reviews by users will come up. Like that campground? Click “get directions” in the details screen and it will take you to Google Maps and a direct route to the campground. They also provide a trip planner which includes campsites along the way. A great go-to app for travelers. map

RV Parky

The RV Parky App has been created by RVers, for RVers. Really though anybody that camps would find it useful. With a compressive listing of RV parks, public and private campgrounds, and stopovers like Walmart, you will find what you are looking for. Find your spot on the map, zoom in, and choose an icon. An information box will come up for a glance or click the information box for more details. There is also a list button of what is in the area you have chosen if you would rather search that way. There is also a trip planner available on the app. Check it out. I think you find it useful. I know I do.

RV Parky Terrain map screen

Other RV Parking Apps include:

Traveling in the digital age has become the norm. Anything you need, as my daughter says “there is an app for that.” These handy apps can make your travels more organized and much safer. For more travel safety tips check out my blog. I hope you find these RV Travel Apps as useful as I do.

Thanks for coming along on my Chipmunk Adventure.

See you next week.


14 Winter RV Travel Destinations

Jackson Lake Island, Alabama

As the temperature dips to minus temperatures in Southern Ontario I think about all the warm places I have been to and would like to go to. Where the sunshine warms your smile and your bones. Come along as I revisit some and dream about going to others.


  • Jackson Lake Island
    • I stopped in Alabama for a few days on my way to Florida and knew instantly I wanted to come back and explore. Alabama is rich in history, modern science, and intense beauty. While I was there I stayed at Jackson Lake Island in Millbrook, Alabama. A beautiful island with some surprising inhabitants. It is also home to the abandoned movie set of Tim Burtons, The Big Fish, where you can explore the town of Spectre and enter the Dark Forest.
The Town of Spectre and the Dark Forest

It was so peaceful and serene there. The only other inhabitants on the island are little goats. Oh, my stars they are so cute.

Goats on Jackson Lake Island

They also have full RV hookups that are not on the island for an all-around great stay.

Here are some other places I would like to see while I am there.

Places to See

  • US Space and Rocket Center Huntsville, Alabama
    • Discover the way to the stars from the beginning at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama. Follow space exploration from NASA’s first steps to what the future has to hold. From virtual reality space expeditions to flying in a flight simulator, there is something for everyone.
  • City of Selma
    • The city of Selma, Alabama sits quietly on the banks of the Alabama River. Rich in history and famous for the start of the Montgomery Marches of the 1960s. Salma is also known as one of the most haunted cities in Alabama. Visit the home of author Kathryn Tucker Windham who told the story of a ghost named Jeffrey who lived with her or Visit her gravesite at Live Oak Cemetary which is listed on Alabama’s Ghost Trail.
  • Majestic Caverns
    • Majestic Caverns is located in Childersburg Alabama. Take a 1-hour tour of the world below. Visit an underground Waterfall, walk into the Onyx Column Room, and experience an underground laser light and water show. The fun is not just underground. With over 15 fun activities and live entertainment above ground to enjoy it is a travel destination you want on your bucket list. After a busy day, they also provide a full-service campground to rest and relax in the comfort of your RV.


The beauty of Florida

Florida is a winter destination for many Canadians. I have been a few times myself. There is so much to see and do. Surrounded by water on three sides, there are many beaches and coastal areas where you can put your feet in the sand. The interior also has its own unique beauty to explore. Here are a few of my favorite places I have stayed.

  • Ocala
    • I must confess that Ocala Florida is one of my favorite Florida travel destinations. The city of Ocala is so friendly no matter where you go. Surrounding this friendly city is the natural beauty of the interior of Florida. Silver Springs State Park gives you a great place to camp as well as some unique experiences such as a cruise on a glass bottom boat.
Silver Spring State Park

Ocala National Forest has a few surprises of its own. Watch for monkeys! Check out the story of how wild monkeys became a residence of Ocala Florida.

Ocala National Forest

Some places I would like to visit while I am there.

  • Canyon Zip Line and Adventure Park
    • Have you ever dreamed of zip lining through the canopies of a forest or over a cliff or taking a horseback ride through the beautiful scenery of Ocala? At Canyon Zip Line and Adventure Park, you can do all of that and a little more. You can even mine for gems the way did it back in the “old days.” This looks like a fun way to spend a few days.
  • Fort King National Historic Site
    • Travel back in time to the 1800s at the Fort King National Historic Site. Originally built in 1827 and then rebuilt in 1837 after a fire, this military site was the military headquarters in the Seminole War. Visit the archeological building to view the artifacts that were found on the site and learn its interesting history.
  • Visit a Horse Farm
    • Did you know that Ocala Florida is known for being the “Horse Capital of the World?” Some of the biggest champions of the sport of Equestrian horseriding are bred here. Here you can visit the farms of some of these champions or attend a horse show and events. There are many opportunities to get on a horse and take a trail ride. If you live horses, be sure to make Ocala one of your Florida travel destinations.

Overseas Highway

In the most southern part of the continental United States, there is a little peace of paradise. Where sunsets take your breath away and you can attend festivals to dance the night away. The trip to the tip also holds adventures to keep you both entertained and inspired by the beauty that surrounds you.

The route to Key West, Florida

Some of the things to do along the way

  • Key Largo
    • Camp at John Pennekamp Coral Reef Park where you can get a peek at what lies under the sea. Known for being the United States’ first undersea park you can scuba dive or snorkel or explore on a glass bottom boat tour the beauty that lies beneath. Take a cruise on the original African Queen Steamboat made famous by Humphry Bogart and Katharine Hepburn located at the Holiday Inn Dock.
  • Robbie’s Marina
    • Have you ever seen a tarpon? I had no idea what that was until I saw the sea churning with them. Mile Marker 77 is the best place to see tarpons. Robbie’s Marina gives you a bird’s eye view of these magnificent large fish. Tarpons grow to be 5-8 feet long and could with up to 150 pounds. This is definitely not a fish tank kind of fish. It is a $2 fee to get onto the dock and $4 for a bucket of fish. The most fun you will find in the keys for $6. Fishing tours for those that want to catch them not feed them. There is a great restaurant to make it a nice stop along the causeways. Watch out for the pelicans though, who also want that bucket of fish.
  • Key West
    • Key West is a travel destination you will want to do over and over again. Attend the Sunset Celebration every night at Mallory Square Dock. Watch the talent of buskers (Street performers), browse through arts and crafts exhibits then grab a snack from the food truck while you watch the most beautiful sunsets. Walk to the end of the continental United States which sits only 90 miles from Cuba. Visit the home of Ernest Hemingway or take a walk down Duval street and visit the many shops, cafes, and bars. There is so much to see and do that you will definitely need a couple or four days to get the complete “vibe.” Be aware that accommodations and campsites need to be booked well in advance. It is a fun but busy place.



View at the Tennesse Welcome Center

The state of Tennessee holds many gems. From the beauty of the Smokey Mountains to the musical city of Nashville, Tennessee has everything you could want to spend a wonderful winter without the winter. Although not as warm as the southern states the temperatures average above freezing and if you feel like enjoying a little snow, you can find that. Come along to a few of my favorites that are on my list to visit again.

  • Lynchburg
    • Lynchburg Tennessee is home to the famous Jack Daniel’s Distillery. I am not much of a drinker but a nice Gentleman Jack in a glass whiskey glass, with 3 ice cubes is always a smooth relaxing drink. I was so impressed with the tour. Check out all the details on my Feature Blog. Jacob, our tour guide was so friendly and welcoming, and oh that Tennessee accent. The town of Lynchburg is a quaint town with shops and eateries to visit. I did not get enough time there. Will I take the tour again? Oh yes! The Angel Share Tour, where maybe just maybe the angels will share.
  • Chattanooga
    • Chattanooga is filled with history and beauty. Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, beauty surrounds this historic city. Home to the renowned Ruby Falls. A series of ungrounded waterfalls inside Lookout Mountain. A truly Ah moment. Take a ride on the Coolidge Park Antique Carousel, built in 1894 this piece of history has traveled in Maine, New York, and Atlanta, finding its home in Chattanooga. A nice city to walk through visiting the shops and cafes.
  • Nashville
    • Nashville Tennessee is home to country music’s legendary artists of country music. Visit the Grand Ole Opry House where country music got its start. Take a tour of the Johnny Cash Museum or a cruise on the General Jackson Showboat Lunch and Dinner Cruise. A paddlewheel Riverboat takes you on a relaxing tour down the Cumberland River. Featuring live entertainment and a wonderful dinner with a view of Nashville’s Skyline, you can get your Riverboat Fantasy.

There are so many places to explore for your Winter travel. These are just a few of my favorites. If you have a few favorites, please leave a comment and tell me all about them.

Thanks for coming on my Chipmunk Adventure! See you next week.