Utah, February/March 2024

Utah – don’t know where to start!  We really had to drag ourselves out of the state even after five weeks of touring.  Utah was a favourite of ours after our previous visit in 2016 and it’s still up there.

Utah, we love you.

The weather pretty much decided our route as we were initially stuck between two storm fronts – snow to the east and torrential rain to the west.  The weather in Utah was pretty perfect though.

Free park ups like this on BLM land.

Southern Utah has some of the most stunning landscapes and we spent most of our time in the National and State Parks hiking and drooling over the sandstone formations.  

Delicate Arch with us for scale 

It’s worth noting that some places control visitor numbers by requiring a permit or pre-registration especially during the busier months.  Arches National Park, for example, requires that from 1st April to 31st October you go to their website to get a timed entry slot.  There is no cost above the usual park entry fee for this.

Just beyond here we started to reverse as the snow got deeper.

Just as an aside, The America The Beautiful Pass costs USD80 for a year and gives you free access to a long list of national parks, monuments and other sites.  If you visit more than two parks then you’ll cover the cost of the annual pass so it’s great value for money.

Gooseneck State Park.

Several sights run lotteries for visitor permits.  The Wave allows 64 visitors a day and the application process is online with a cost to enter the lottery as well as the cost to visit the actual sight.  We tried to get permits for the Wave near Kanab in the daily lottery but after five attempts at a cost of $9 per try we gave up!

Stunning slot canyons

Some places are on Navajo land, eg Antelope Canyon and require guides to visit.  We like to explore on our own and whilst we missed the most well  known, we found plenty of other slot canyons which were free to visit.

Nice little hike to the Calf Creek Falls, just off State Route 12.

One road deserves a special mention – State Route 12, designated a Scenic Byway and is the only All American Road in Utah. Along its 123 mile length it runs through part of Bryce Canyon, Grand Escalante National Monument and Capitol Reef National Park.  The Hogback follows a narrow ridge with steep drop off on either side of the road and to the eastern section rises to a height of 9,600ft through pine forests.  We have now driven this road three times and loved it so much the first time, we have a framed geological cross section of the route hanging at home!

From the Dugway Geode Beds you are allowed to take away a certain amount Geodes

We finally dragged ourselves away to begin our journey north.  We’ve done quite a bit of driving on gravel/mud roads in Utah and we did another 50 miles or so in the centre of the state.  We followed part of the old Pony Express Trail to the Dugway Geode beds where we indulged our rock collecting habit and dug for geodes.  We didn’t find any whole ones but did find some good pieces.

Our last real stop in Utah was Wendover and the Bonneville Salt Flats. We had to visit Wendover here as Bob can trace his ancestors in Wendover UK, through his mum, back to the 1600s.  The two towns couldn’t be more different and we were a little disappointed with the US version.

The Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats were, however, well worth a visit.  The flats are known for the land speed records set at the Bonneville Speedway although at the time of our visit much of the area was underwater so there weren’t too many vehicles out there!

There are quite a few Petroglyphs in Utah.

We did make a quick stop in Salt Lake City but mostly for shopping.  It was pouring with rain when we arrived and when we woke up the next morning with a plan to visit the city, it was snowing so we decided to move on.  That decision was also taken due to the amount of construction going on making getting around a little difficult.

Some routes are easier than others.

Just to say that whilst we post a few photos here, our Facebook page, ClewleysOnTour, is the best place to see photos of our travels and we are currently, slowly, posting the Utah photos, place by place.


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, dumps and laundromats.  

In Southern Utah we used a lot of the first come first served campgrounds in the parks.  As it was winter, no services other than vault toilets were provided but prices were great value for the locations.  Prices ranged from $15 to $25 per night but from the campgrounds we could walk right out onto the trailheads of some amazing hikes.

We found some of the cheapest diesel here at $3.60 per gallon (around 75p a litre) but also paid $4.50 per gallon although that equates to about 95p a litre so still much cheaper than a the UK! 

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

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 (www.parks.novascotia.ca).

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.

Blog: www.bobandjune.com

YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/bobclewley


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…..

Blog: www.bobandjune.com

YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/bobclewley