The gypsy life of living in a “caravan” has now reached five years full time, 80,000 kms, and still going strong...
It was summer, 2006, when we packed up our house in North Vancouver, put a few remaining household possessions and keepsakes into storage and took to the road with our truck and 5th wheel. After that winter in Mexico, we came up to Ontario to visit our kids, and have made Ontario our regular summer home.
Our trusty 06 Chevy Silverado diesel passed a significant mark this summer, as it crossed 160,000 kms (100,000 miles). It has been very reliable, having only needed oil changes and tires. So a couple of weeks ago, I treated her to all new fluids, as in: tranny, differentials, rad, brakes, etc. One of the cooling hoses had a small leak and was replaced, and we should be good to go for many more years. This is our second GM truck, (our first was a 99 GMC 1/2 ton) and I am a great believer in the quality and durability of domestic trucks, especially the GM’s.
As for our Cardinal 5th wheel trailer home, it has served us well. We have adapted to living in 250 sq. ft. A couple of months ago, I was reading an article in the travel section of the Toronto Star where the reporter was bemoaning his experience rv-ing across Canada with his family (which included two teen-agers). I wrote him a letter suggesting that he was missing a few points. I said in part: “Space is relative. We have lived in all sizes of houses, with all kinds of family members. All you need is a little willingness, and, you can accommodate living space to almost any size.
“We have rv-ed, full time, all over North America for 5 years. Just today, sitting under our awning, reading and watching the birds, I asked my wife when she was thinking we'd be moving back to a house. "Not for a while I hope", I was happy to hear.”
This summer I went through a small ledger which I keep a record of our various trips. Driving from Ontario to the Texas/Mexico border is over 3000 kms. On our trips north through the US, we have usually meandered a bit, going along the Gulf Coast states and up the Atlantic. We have been to New Orleans, Charleston, Savannah, and Washington each a couple of times. Our longest drive through the US has been 4600 kms.
Once we cross the border into Mexico, it takes at least 2800 kms to reach our beach home in Paamul. In these five years we have been around much of Mexico - up and down the Pacific coast, the interior, and along the east Gulf coast.
With five years of the north-south, and some trips around Canada, I added up the distances that the Cardinal trailer had traveled and was surprised it added up to 80,000 kms. That is twice around the circumference of the earth! I think that is unusual milage for travel trailers.
So we have decided to give our Cardinal some rest. We have “winterized” it for the first time and put it in storage for our return to Canada in the spring.
We found a second 5th wheel trailer, and now taking it down to Paamul to be installed in our palapa. It is a Prowler, about the same size, a little older but in good shape. So we moved “house” transferring our goods, sorting what we will want to bring that will remain in Mexico and what gets left behind for our summers in Canada. Well, actually, our summer and winter stuff is much the same, shorts and t-shirts with a few pair of jeans and a fleece or two. Which sandals and running shoes are we leaving behind and which go? Tough choices!
I suppose we will continue to drive -- it is a beautiful continent, and there is more we want to explore, but it will be more relaxing to travel without the 12,000 lbs on the hitch. We might put a small camper on the back of the truck, but eventually we will start flying down.
Who knows what the future holds?
As I am finishing this report, we are in Austin Texas, about ready to cross into Mexico. We have met up with Susan’s brother and wife, from BC, and will be showing them our route and our favorite stops along the way. We try to follow the dictum of “Life in the slow lane -- it is not about the destination, but the journey.”