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Old 07-27-2017, 05:44 PM   #1
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Default 7 weeks, 26 campgrounds, 4500 miles in a class B

Back in January, someone posted on this forum that the Canadian National Park Pass was free for 2017, so I ordered one and decided to plan a trip through the Canadian Maritimes. We live in Upstate NY, so we decided to start at La Mauricie NP (northwest of Montreal), and then continue around the Gaspe Peninsula, hugging the coast of Quebec (south of the St. Lawrence), New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia using 7 Canadian National Parks. We added in 6 more campgrounds to finish out the trip and off we went in our class B at the beginning of June.

This post isn't meant to be a detailed itinerary of the trip, but a summary of what a trip like this was like in a class B, and what we found. Maybe it will help someone considering a class B. (We have a Travato 59K)

Simply put, we had a great time.

Living in the Travato (just my wife and I, no pets) for 7 weeks was never a problem, and we had plenty of stuff with us. We (actually me) did almost all our own cooking (either in the Travato or using a Coleman stove/grill at the campgrounds). We shopped at local markets every 2-3 days, and at most ate in restaurants only once or twice per week.

We didn't look for a Walmart or anything similar for overnights. There are lots of scenic overlooks, rest stops, etc. in Quebec and New Brunswick, all marked with No Overnight Parking signs. But we had no trouble finding inexpensive campsites. The astute reader will notice that the headline for this post reads 26 campgrounds, but we started out with 13. Flexibility is the key! We made it to our second night of camping before we started to change our itinerary, and we continued to make changes as we went. Mostly, we cut back on our driving distances; it usually took us 8 hours to cover 120 miles, because of sightseeing. Later in the trip we cut it back further to 75 miles. So if you are driving somewhere, get on the highway and crank out the miles. If not, take your time.

The Canadian National Parks have a nice website, as do the US National Parks and many of the state parks. I found it much easier to use a laptop than the phone apps in making reservations; in some cases we just called the campgrounds. I have all sorts of campground apps on my iPhone; I never used any of them successfully. Our "go to" planning guide was the 2017 Woodall's guidebook. The AAA version is free for AAA members.

Of the 26 campgrounds, 16 were public (national, state/provincial, or town). The advantages of the public campgrounds is that they are generally cheaper, and also on the water, which was important to us.

We stayed in campgrounds with full hookups, no hookups, electric only, and water/electric. The public campgrounds also had this range of hookup options. In case anyone is interested in how well a class B bathroom works, all I can say is that we showered almost every day in the Travato, and my wife used the Travato bathroom almost exclusively for the trip. (I used the campground bathrooms for my more important business.) If we had full hookups we could take long showers; without hookups the showers are shorter. (We managed 3 showers each before we filled the grey tank.) The Truma system on the Travato is nice, because you can use the electric hookups for hot water, or propane if you don't have hookups. We didn't have moisture problems, as we always wiped down the bathroom, and we kept the main Travato exhaust fan running most of the time. Just about all the campgrounds had dump stations.

With no hookups (or driving), I ran the generator about an hour/day. We were almost always in the shade when we had no hookups, so the solar panel didn't help much. Otherwise, I can go at least 2-3 days without the generator. But most of the time we at least had electric.

Some of our campsites were spacious and beautiful; others were "reach out and touch your neighbor", and not very attractive. But we enjoyed all of them and spoke with a lot of other RVers'. We also never met any campground or park employee that wasn't cheerful or helpful.

On our 2 long driving days (the first and last days), we averaged 18.5 mpg with the gas powered Travato. Over the full 4500 miles we averaged 16.9 mpg.

Having done this trip, I would not want anything bigger than a class B. Yes, the vast majority of RV's we saw were 5 wheels or large coaches. But we parked in places and cities that simply could not handle anything larger. Some of the locations we drove to around the Gaspe Peninsula, the Cape Breton Highlands in Nova Scotia and near the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick would have been very difficult with anything bigger (and good luck trying to make a U-turn!). For a great side trip in New Brunswick, drive up to the Cape Enrage Lighthouse near the Bay of Fundy . The final hairpin curve, which is both steep and blind, is a real treat.

On two occasions, we took advantage of public transportation. We camped in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, near Halifax. We were warned that parking was going to be very difficult due to the Canada Day weekend, so we took the bus & ferry into Halifax. (Yes, our campground was on a bus route.) We also took a park and ride into Portland, Maine.

We had our bikes with us, and sometimes used them to ride to a nearby town or village.

Almost all the campgrounds, public and private, advertised WiFi. And that usually meant either sitting next to the park office, the bathroom, or in one case the laundromat. It also felt like they were using a single 56K dialup connection to serve the entire park, so you are not going to stream videos, or much of anything. We found surprisingly good cell phone coverage (we have Verizon, and our plan covers Canada), so we used the phone as a hot spot (which is probably safer anyway, especially when paying bills) when we needed coverage. Maybe this will improve over time.

We had no trouble finding laundromats, either in the campgrounds or nearby towns, so we did laundry every few days, rather than wash stuff by hand (even though all our clothes and towels are meant to try quickly).

After 5 weeks in Canada, we spent a week going down the coast of Maine, and then another week in New Hampshire and Vermont. We finished at a campground outside of Burlington, VT, and from there we drove home. But if we didn't have to be home, we would have turned around and headed back to Canada for another 3-4 weeks. After all, we still need to see Newfoundland and Labrador.

That's about it. Enjoy your RV.

Howard
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Old 07-27-2017, 06:02 PM   #2
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Wow! Sounds fantastic! Thanks for posting!
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:36 PM   #3
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Nice story. I'm surprised that you had no trouble finding accommodations as various reports say that some sites booked up months in advance. My father (in Cape Breton NS) has been telling me stories about the great crush of tourism and the unexpected effects it has had. For instance, some local restaurants have run out of food as early as 4 p.m. on week days when they'd normally be expected to be operating until 10 p.m. or midnight.
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:51 PM   #4
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Pleased to read you had such a great trip. My wife and I have just purchased a 2008 Pleasure Way Plateau TS and hope to do similar trips as yours but mainly within the lower 48 states. We have never been RV'ing so everything will be an adventure with I'm sure our fair share of Newbie mistakes, reading reports such as yours makes our future trips more exciting.
Thanks again for posting.
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Old 07-27-2017, 07:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Nice story. I'm surprised that you had no trouble finding accommodations as various reports say that some sites booked up months in advance. My father (in Cape Breton NS) has been telling me stories about the great crush of tourism and the unexpected effects it has had. For instance, some local restaurants have run out of food as early as 4 p.m. on week days when they'd normally be expected to be operating until 10 p.m. or midnight.
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Old 07-27-2017, 08:41 PM   #6
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WOW, Sounds like a great time. If you have a chance could you post some info regarding the Canadian National Park Pass? Glad you had a good time and realized that Class B'in is the place to be!
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Old 07-27-2017, 09:06 PM   #7
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Thanks for the trip report! Glad to know about the Woodall book as I wasn't sure if there was a good guide. I think some folks on the forum use apps, but paper can sometime be easier for me to use.
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Old 07-27-2017, 10:28 PM   #8
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We made that same trip two years ago including the Gaspe Peninsula which was a gem. Plus we did go to Newfoundland all the way to Lanse aux Meadows where the Vikings settled. Gros Morne National Park is the most spectacular in all the east.

Two things you ought to be aware of:

The Maritimes close up around mid September. Meaning the Provincial parks close and many restaurants in the tourist areas close. They also run out of lobster which is disappointing. The weather was warm and perfect. Makes no difference. Leaf peepers stay in New England.

Two: If you don't get the Canadian park pass and then realize there are more opportunities to use it than anticipated to justify it, save all your receipts. They honor them in deducting your cost for pass. Fortunately we did and only, misplaced, trashed or lost one receipt.
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Old 07-27-2017, 11:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Nice story. I'm surprised that you had no trouble finding accommodations as various reports say that some sites booked up months in advance. My father (in Cape Breton NS) has been telling me stories about the great crush of tourism and the unexpected effects it has had. For instance, some local restaurants have run out of food as early as 4 p.m. on week days when they'd normally be expected to be operating until 10 p.m. or midnight.
We made the National Park reservations earlier in the year, and then reduced the length of our stays to fit in everything else. There were no problems making any changes in June, as the Canadian schools don't get out until the end of June. (Some national historic sites were not open until the end of June.) We were in the Cape Breton Highlands NP in July, and there were a few sites available for single nights here and there. But people coming in without reservations where changing sites every day, or just staying one night. It was more difficult to make last minute reservations in July, but we were happy with the way the trip worked out.
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Old 07-28-2017, 01:22 PM   #10
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What a great trip. Thanks for sharing your plan and results.

We have a new 59k and have not used the shower. I'm concerned about the shower curtain. Do you simply leave it up to dry or take it outside? How long did it take to dry in the relatively ideal Northern clime. Did you ever drive with it blocking the back window?

I'll have to multiply your drying time by ten for the (NC) humidity we travel in so far, but the information will really help!
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