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Old 06-06-2011, 05:08 PM   #1
The Sunflowers
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Clearwater
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Readying for our 5,000 mile round trip

Every year for the past few years we leave our home in Florida in early June to drive up to the B&B we own in Cap Pele, NB Canada. My wife stays for 3 months to run the place but I'm only there a week before I fly back to my job in Florida.

Near Labor Day I fly up again to drive back to bring my DW back to Florida. We only live together about 9 months each year.

This year the drive will be poignant. Our son (also a Canadian) is about to turn 21 and falls out from under my work visa (no Green Card yet). He's been living in Florida since he was 7 but now has to move back to Canada. When I bring Willemina back in September she will be coming alone, leaving Tristan behind. At least he will have somewhere to stay (our B&B) and family - our daughter who moved back a few years ago.

However our daughter is flying down the day before we leave to drive back with us. This will probably be the last family road trip we ever make all together. We are looking at stopping at Stone Mountain, GA or Hershey, PA. Which one depends on whether we do a hospital visit to a friend of our son outside of Atlanta; that will determine our route.

Also our return trip in September is planned to go via Toronto to visit my aging parents and brothers and sisters (in-laws for me). So it will be a 5,000 mile round trip with an almost 3 month pause in the middle.

I think we have everything organized; I've been making a list for weeks including such esoterica as my wife's and son's chefs jackets and his chef's knives. I think the Monty is ready except for the final packing and I'm confident that the TV is ready. Actually the truck is running better and with better fuel economy than when we bought it a few weeks ago!

I'm excited looking forward to this trip, and sad because of what it represents, all at the same time.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:02 AM   #2
bob n pam
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It may be bittersweet, but what a wonderful time with family you will have.
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Old 06-07-2011, 07:42 AM   #3
The Sunflowers
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Thanks Pam. It'll be 4 people, 3 dogs, two trucks, one trailer, 2,000 miles (one way). Sounds like the makings of a movie!

I'll be sure to have my wife take lots of pictures to help remember this trip.

When we moved from Canada to Florida in '97, as we crossed the border my daughter (then 10) had us play "Coming To America" by Neil Diamond. I wonder what our theme song should be for this trip? Maybe "North Country" by The Ranking Family?

"I'm heading back to the north country
With the cold wind in my eye"

Of course, next Fall when it is just my wife and I for the first time in almost a quarter century, with our children not even living in the same country as us, I'll probably listen to "Borders and Time" by the same group:

"I think of you all the time
I'll pay for my sins
The hearthache begins
I can't free you from my mind
It seems so these days
I've tried every way
You have drifted so far from me
The winds of change
Have swept you away
Night and day
It seems like eternity
Borders and time have kept you from me"
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Old 06-08-2011, 02:32 PM   #4
The Sunflowers
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Plans are firming up.

Leaving Friday morning (yikes! that's only 36 hours from now) to be in Hershey, PA (1080 miles) Saturday night. Sunday morning we will do the Hershey tour and stock up on chocolate, then head over to Amish country near Lancaster and Strasburg area; one of our favorite parts of the country.

Monday we hit the road again for the final 2-day 900 mile push. We have to be at the B&B Tuesday night because our daughter has to go back to work the next day.

Lots of driving, and I wish we could do a slower pace, but schedules demand otherwise.

In September, for the return trip (via Toronto) I plan to do a more leisurely trip. More stops and shorter days. At least, that's the plan right now.
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Old 06-09-2011, 06:49 AM   #5
The Sunflowers
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Just remembered I hadn't subscribed for ERS, so I headed over to the Good Sam site.

What else have I forgotten to do?
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:36 PM   #6
The Sunflowers
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I'd hoped to leave at 8am (hah!) or even by 9 (hah, hah!). When I saw that the trailer loading hadn't happened while I was at the office Thursday as planned, I knew we wouldn't be leaving on time.

We finally pulled out at noon!

You'd think that after all these years I'd know better than to make such optimistic plans.

And we had to stop at the Russell Stover chocolate outlet to buy enough blooper candy (must be 8 lbs of it) to last SWMBO for 3 months. Then we had to stop where we bought the TV to pick up the registration. Neither of those stops were what I'd call "quick".

So my plan to get to Charlotte, NC tonight never happened either. Instead we are Point South KOA in Yemasee, SC. No problem, we have room in our schedule to cope with such things.

On our first fillup of the trip we managed 9.6mpg. The tank started with about 30 miles of city driving, no towing, and all the rest was towing. I haven't yet got the Scangauge calibrated to give the correct reading, but it is getting closer!

Not sure where we will be tomorrow. Somewhere along I95 I guess. It is too far to get to Lancaster (11+ hours driving) in one day.

We will use the WiFi hotspot capability of my 3G phone to let my laptop access the Internet to figure out where to stop as we go, based on when we leave, how fast traffic is flowing, and how we feel.
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Old 06-12-2011, 02:47 PM   #7
The Sunflowers
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Saturday we spent 14 hours on the road (!) going from Yemasee SC to Bird-In-Hand PA. The last couple of hours through the rolling hills of PA were in driving rain. NO FUN AT ALL! We were all tired and cranky and I'd driven 12 of the 14 hours without my afternoon nap. WAH!

OK, now I've got that out of my system ... today we had a wonderful "down" day not doing much of anything. Sure, we drove to the Hershey (former) factory just to say we did it, and had too much to eat at Millers Smorgasborg (being Sunday our favorite place, Good N Plenty, was closed). But other than that we sat around with our feet up, sipping good coffee that I made. (It is biblical: He Brews)

Fuel economy (hand calculated) from 500 miles towing Saturday and about 75 miles today without the trailer was 10.3 mpg. Given the hills we climbed yesterday with the trailer and the conditions, I'm not unhappy. Filled up at a Hess for $3.959 when most other places here were $4.119!

Even the dog pack (Sammy, Teddy Bear and our son's Corry) enjoyed being left in the trailer today (AC running for cool and white noise, and stereo playing to drown out exterior sounds). We got back after 4 hours and they were all sleeping.

Tomorrow we begin the final 2-day push to our B&B in Cap Pele, NB.

I just hope they let my son back into Canada (he is Canadian with a Floria drivers license and an Ontario birth certificate); his passport was forgotten in Florida!
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