California, January 2024

Having completed Route 66 we hightailed it out of Los Angeles as quickly as possible and headed back into nature – California does have the most diverse landscapes. 

Wild camping at
The Trona Pinnacles

We went from the snow covered mountains of the Sierra Nevada to below sea level in Death Valley (one place we keep returning to!).  

We visited the huge redwoods in Sequoia National Park and hiked out to Moro Rock where unfortunately the cloud cover gave us pretty much zero visibility.  

Not much of a view but still worth the hike up Moro Rock

As well as the largest trees we also tried to visit the 4,000 year old trees in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest but were sadly defeated by snow (there will be an amusing/nail biting video of us trying to turn the van around on a narrow, snow covered mountain road on YouTube in due course).

Retreating from the deep snow

Manzanar National Historic Site is the site of a former internment camp which held US citizens of Japanese heritage during WWII following the attack on Pearl Harbour.  Some of the buildings have been restored and descendants of the camp residents plus volunteers are working in the grounds to bring the gardens back to life.  A fascinating place to visit.

Manzanar National Historic Site
Manzanar National Historic Site

Our second visit to Death Valley this month took us to the northern section and we managed to get in some hiking.  We walked around the Ubehebe Crater and into Mosaic and Titus Canyons.  This was definitely a good time to visit before temperatures start to become unbearable.

Ubehebe Crater
Great hikes in Death Valley


Driving an RV in the southwestern US outside the big cities is so easy.  The roads are wide (even the “narrow” roads are 2 lanes) and the choice of overnight spots is beyond words.  We’re using iOverlander on a daily basis to find park ups, water, grocery stores and laundromats.  

Many of the campgrounds in the national and state parks have service points outside their entrances and therefore accessible to everyone, so we’ve had no problems finding water.

We have paid for a couple of campsites in the national parks but these were very basic with no facilities (as above the service points were outside the actual campgrounds).  Many campgrounds are currently closed but we used Potwisha Campground in Sequoia NP, USD32 a night, and Mesquite Spring Campground in Death Valley, USD14 per night.

Fuel has remained cheap right up until the California border where it immediately increases by a couple of dollars a gallon, if not more especially in the more remote places – the most we paid was $8.50 whereas back in Arizona it had been around $3.90!

LPG, or propane, is easy to get and prices are pretty much as they are at home.

Into the USA – 4 to 9 Nov 2023

Five states in as many days from New York to Illinois via Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana!

The border crossing at the Peace Bridge

The border crossing at the Peace Bridge from Fort Erie to Buffalo was easier than we expected and took us just over an hour. At the first checkpoint we were asked if we were carrying any alcohol, tobacco and uncooked or fresh meat, fruit or vegetables, which we weren’t. There are several official websites which occasionally seem to contradict each other on what is permitted food wise, so we erred on the side of caution and emptied the fridge!

We were then pointed towards immigration where we were asked a few questions on why we were entering America and for how long we would be staying.  We had previously obtained a B2 Tourist Visa in the UK which allows, subject to the immigration officer’s approval, stays of up to 180 days as opposed to the 90 days allowed on an ESTA.

We were granted leave to stay for the full six months and after paying $6 each immigration fee, we were free to go on our way.

Very agricultural

Our first mistake was getting on to the interstate out of Buffalo! It’s a toll road and we, incorrectly, assumed there would be toll booths to pay but it’s all automated based on your number plate and when trying to pay online the only option is for US and Canadian registered cars. After a conversation with a very helpful lady on the helpline, we were assured that we’d be OK with not paying provided we don’t use a New York State toll road again. We had no option to pay despite trying so let’s hope she’s right!

After that little hiccup we ticked off the states on our way to Chicago from where we were going to start Route 66. Much of the drive was rolling agricultural land and we passed through a couple of Amish townships.

We loved the river cruise

We spent a couple of days in Chicago, walking miles and taking a boat tour to see the city from the river. Two days really wasn’t long enough but it gave us a feel for the city and it’s definitely worth a visit.

The start of Route 66. We would drive past this a day or so later. Now complete with one of our stickers.


We joined Harvest Hosts (US$84.15 for the year) as they offer non-campsite park ups and are found all across the country. Typically stays are free and in exchange you are encouraged to purchase something (lots of these are on farms, vineyards or breweries) or leave a donation. Our first stay was at a Law Enforcement Dog Training Centre where the owner had installed hook up points and provided fresh water.

Law Enforcement Dog Training Centre Park up

Walmart is known for allowing overnight stays in its car parks (check though as not all stores do this. Boondock WM is a good app to check this on). We also stayed at a Bass Pro outlet. These are obviously not the quietest of nights but they come in handy for the odd overnighter.

Not the best view from our window but needs must sometimes.

Chicago has a designated RV parking area within a truck car park just to the south of the city. There are no facilities and it costs $38 per night but the city is walkable from there or you can take a Metra Train from a short distance away – the short ride cost us $2 each. Despite it being a fairly open car park (although there is an extra/eit barrier) it felt safe and we were happy to leave the van to explore the city.

Park up in Chicago

Prince Edward Island – 30 September to 7 October 2023

From Pictou, Nova Scotia we took the 75 minute ferry to Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island on a beautiful sunny day. PEI is Canada’s smallest province and is mostly rural with pretty villages interspersed by extensive agricultural land.

Approaching Prince Edward Island

PEI has three main regions and each has its own clearly marked scenic drive; we drove the eastern and central routes which included the capital of Charlottetown. The tourist information centre just after leaving the ferry was a great source of information and maps.

Just one of the amazing overnight park ups we found using IOverlander.

We had some amazing park ups along the coast all of which were very quiet at this time of year. The main tourist season here is very short, just July and August so a lot of places were closed, although the cruise ships still dock in Charlottetown. The capital is a very pretty town and worth a visit. Whilst there we treated ourselves to two local delicacies – lobster and chocolate covered crisps (not at the same time I should add!).


We drove along the Green Gables coast (as in Anne of Green Gables – the book was written here by Lucy Maud Montgomery) but found the area to be overly touristy and think it would probably overrun in the summer. 

We were lucky with wildlife too – watching the seals and a bald eagle from one spot. If there had been a water source nearby it would have been much harder to drag ourselves away.

A bald eagle.

The coast is littered with lighthouses which make for great park ups (although not all allow overnight parking) and the beaches of the north coast were stunning. This was a very relaxing week!

Once the high winds had stopped we were allowed to cross the bridge back to the mainland.




Nova Scotia, Canada – 9th to 29th September 2023

After almost two weeks apart and sleeping in five beds in nine days, we couldn’t wait to get back into the van. Don’t get us wrong, we loved seeing everyone and people’s hospitality has been endless but as they say, there’s no place like home!

Well we had to visit Bass Pro.

After a couple of days of shopping (still trying to get our heads around prices, taxes and conversions back to GBP), it was time to hit the road again and see as much of this region as we could before the winter set in. Whilst fuel is significantly cheaper, about £1.25 per litre, food seems for an average shop more expensive, and alcohol is definitely more expensive and sold only through government stores.

Our view at Nimrod’s Campground

We spent almost three weeks in Nova Scotia exploring the province via a figure of eight route starting in Halifax, then north to Cape Breton, south to Yarmouth and back to Halifax following the coast. There are a number of well signed routes around the province and roads are in reasonable condition but are not always tarmacked.

A recommended stop off for lunch.

As we left Halifax for the first time we were avidly watching the weather keeping an eye of the severity and route of Hurricane Lee (it’s the middle of the hurricane season) as we headed to a campsite to continue sorting the van. We also wanted to be around people should the storm be particularly bad, but luckily for us we escaped with just a lot of rain.

The Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site

There is so much to see and do here taking in the scenery, the history and wildlife. The indigenous people were the Mi’kmaq Indians but the land has been settled by the French, English, Germans and Scots (Nova Scotia means New Scotland) and many of the town names are familiar to anyone from the UK!

So many opportunities for ‘boondocking’ for the night.

We drove in a clockwise direction around the island of Cape Breton from the relatively flat south to the winding roads of the highlands of the Cabot Trail in the north.  Lots of Scottish influence here; some of the road signs are in Scottish Gaelic and the language is still taught in some schools.  It’s also a licence for the tourist shops to sell anything and everything tartan themed!

The beautiful red rocks of The Bay of Fundy.

The Bay of Fundy is home to the world’s largest tides and watching an incoming tide is apparently a sight to behold (I say apparently as we haven’t yet got our timing right to actually see it!).  The tidal bore can be surfed and a couple of companies offer rib trips out to play in the bore and the local red mud – too cold to do this now.  At low tide it’s possible to go out onto the rocky seabed in places with the knowledge that in a few hours the spot will be underwater by up to 16m!

The iconic Peggy’s Cove lighthouse.

The southern coves are home to many small fishing villages and the coastline is dotted with lighthouses, with the most famous being Peggy’s Cove. Being in the van we were able to stay in the carpark overnight and take photos before the place was overwhelmed with tour coaches.

So many lighthouses.

Nova Scotia was a great place to start our tour; friendly people, good food and plenty to keep us busy.  Next stop will be Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island. 

Campsites used:

Note re campsites! Due to power differences, we will not be hooking up on this trip, relying on our solar/inverter/battery set up to keep everything charged and working. Our travel style means no more than two or three days in any one place so even if there is little solar power coming in we will recharge the leisure batteries via the engine. Having swapped from a cassette toilet to a separating one over the summer this also means that we are not looking for black water disposal. This page explains the changes and improvements we have made to the van.

Porters Lake Provincial Park: small lakeside camping area in the park. Grass pitches with some gravel, BBQ pits and picnic benches. Some pitches have power and water. Walking trails and a small boat launch. Booking was via online system (

We paid CAD28.85 p/n without services.

Nimrod’s Campground, Sherbrooke: small lakeside camp with a lot of seasonal trailer pitches. We parked on a small lakeside pitch (we are small by local standards) which was supplied with water and EHU. Pitches are grass and some areas were, not surprisingly, very muddy. Lots of activities available in peak season but our reason for visiting was to sit out a storm!

We paid CAD46 p/n over a weekend.

Other overnight spots:

We find our spots via the iOverlander and Park4night apps with the former having more entries in the Americas. These are usually public car parks where overnight parking is permitted and out of season, there is much more choice. Most are free but not always flat. We always review where we’ve stayed – just check out the app to see if we’ve stayed in a particular place.

Cape Breton – Baxter’s Cove, Pleasant Bay, Donkin and Gabarus Bay.

Mainland Nova Scotia – Fundy Tidal Interpretive Centre, Cape Split Provincial Park, Cape Fonchu, Peggy’s Cove (need to be aware of restrictions in the two car parks), Halifax city centre near Pier 21 (daily rate of CAD12) and Salt Springs car pool carpark.




Canada – the BIG trip. September 2023

Two and a half years later than intended, we have finally realised our motorhoming dream and shipped the van to Canada!

Dropping the van off at Liverpool.

We were originally planning to leave the UK in Spring 2021 but COVID, ongoing shipping delays and finally family commitments meant that we wouldn’t begin the trip until September 2023.

Tracking the van. May have used this app a lot 😄

We travelled up to Liverpool and left the van on the docks, unlocked and with the keys in the cab, on 30th August with a scheduled shipping date of 3rd September. At this point we have to thank our friend Myles who works on the docks and gave up part of his day off to guide us through the checking in process and then drop us back at Lime St Station to catch the train home. Hopefully we’ll see him and his wife Helen on the road at some point!

Even managed a visit to the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park, London. One of our favourite theatres.

After a few days at home saying goodbyes to family and friends whilst watching the MV Atlantic Star carrying our van, start its journey across the Atlantic, we took a flight from London to Toronto (via Dublin) where we were proper tourists in Toronto, enjoying the warm weather, walking miles and visiting the main attractions including the CN Tower. Lots of eating too!

The amazing Graffiti Alley
Toronto by night.

No sooner had we arrived then it was time to leave and we flew a couple of hours back to Halifax, Nova Scotia to await the van’s arrival. We were lucky to be staying with an old work colleague of Bob’s who emigrated from the UK several years ago with his family. We can’t thank Simon, Laura and Rachel enough for their kind hospitality, for their tips for travelling in Canada and for letting us park the van on their drive whist we unpacked everything we had stowed away for shipping.

Thanks folks.

Despite leaving Liverpool a day late, the vessel docked on time and just a few hours later we had picked her up; thankfully all our fears relating to damage and theft were unfounded – nothing was missing nor broken.

Back on the road…just a new continent for the van.

After restocking the food cupboards and refilling all the tanks (fuel, water and LPG) it was time to hit the road properly. Just an incoming hurricane to contend with…..