Still the best mode of family travel!

By Karen and M.B. Wilson

It is amazing how many experts come out of the woodwork when the price of gas goes up. The newscasts seem to have no shortage of “experts” to give us the doom and gloom scenarios, and tell us what we should be doing. On one newscast we were watching they interviewed a professor who told us that we all should move out of the suburbs and into the cities, and if we didn’t do it soon, our homes would be worth nothing and we would be left out in the cold.

Back in the ‘70s, we were told we that we would be out of fuel by the year 2000. It is now 2009 and we seem to be supplying more fuel to more parts of the world than ever before. The oil companies seem to be making profits in the millions if not billions and if we understand this correctly, when you say profit, it means everything else is paid for and this is what you make. In the paper the other day, we read an article on how they might have to close our hospital for a couple of weeks to save some money, as they need 1.6 million dollars to keep it open; further on, in the Sports Section of the paper, they reported that there is a team that is going to pay a baseball player $82 million to play for the team. Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

We have read several articles on how RV’s are gas-guzzlers. We have also read articles on the breakdown of the mileage and why RV’ing is still the best way to travel – each article has its’ points, but we feel that many people are missing the real answer.

RV trips
Camping on the Beach at Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

When M.B. was shopping for his first 21-foot motorhome, everyone tried to talk him out of it. His parents wanted him to buy a cottage and stay close to home. He was given all the excuses why he should not buy an RV. These people – who had never owned an RV or even traveled in an RV, seemed to know why M.B. should not buy one. The same goes today; people who have never RV’ed are the ones to tell us that these RV’s are nothing but gas-guzzlers and expensive toys. The truth be known, we use less fuel then the average car that goes back and forth to work five days a week, but that is not a debate that we want to get into, because this has already been covered in many other articles and it is up to you what you want to believe.

North America is loaded with exciting travel destinations. Throughout our 30 years on the road, every trip we took was an adventure. We have seen more and done more in North America, than most people will do in their lifetime – and we did it all in a motor home. It is hard to explain, but every RV’er knows the value of family camping and the companionship of the wonderful people you meet and the relaxation of sitting outside around a campfire or reading the paper or just sitting in the sun. If you want to meet someone new in a campground all you have to do is gaze into your engine if you are a guy, or get out your knitting if you are a gal.  We have met so many people from all over North America this way.

New Mexico
Shape Day, Hot Air Balloons come in all kinds of shapes

Our Motorhome opened up North America to our family and showed us places we would have never seen if we had bought that cottage or stayed in a hotel.  Sit back and imagine being in the Northern British Columbia, parked beside Muncho Lake. Step out of your RV you will behold a turquoise lake surrounded by the Canadian Rockies. Traveling north through some of the most beautiful country you could dream of coming to Dawson City in the Yukon back in the 1800’s because Dawson City has kept this town the way it was in the gold rush era.

From sea to sea we have marveled at the beauty of the Canadian landscape. Some of our fondest memories include camping in St. Anthony, Newfoundland, where you could look out over the Atlantic Ocean and watch the huge icebergs moving slowly along toward the warm southern waters of the Atlantic. Turn inland and you could easily spot a moose casually walking by your campsite. You could visit Louisbourg, Nova Scotia and watch the tall ships sail into the harbour, then feast on fresh crab for dinner and take an evening stroll through the historic streets of the village.

RV Trips
Attending the Family Campers & RVers Campvention in Blyth, Ontario. Over 600 RVers attended.

We always enjoy travelling north on Highway 11, through the small towns of Englehart, Cochrane, Moonbeam, Hearst and Nipigon in Ontario. Stopping and shopping and meeting the people of these communities and hearing the stories of their towns and the many challenges of life in the northern Ontario communities brings a new perspective to your own situation. Did you know that Moonbeam is the Roswell of the north and you can catch the Polar Bear Express in Cochrane and travel up to Moosonee on James Bay?

How would you like to camp in the Badlands of Alberta, or tour the States of North and South Dakota? Several years ago, we traveled to Alaska on the provincial border of Alberta and Saskatchewan for a RV Rally. During the first night there we awoke to the spectacular Northern Lights.  What a show that we saw that night! The sky lit up in all kinds of colours and the Aurora Borealis danced across the horizon in an endless display of celestial splendour. It was a sight we will never forget.

When our children came into our lives, we found more ways to enjoy travelling in the motorhome. The first thing we did was to clean out one of our outside storage compartments and this became “the toy box”. Our children could bring whatever toys they wanted (let me see you do this on a plane or train). When we arrived at a campground our son could play baseball with the other boys and our daughter could play with the other girls and they would both have their favourite toys.  They learned to make friends fast because we were never in any one place for very long.

Grand Canyon
One of several places to take Great pictures of the Grand Canyon

Travelling North America by RV, our family always had their own beds to sleep in. We would cook our own meals and make sure that we are eating nourishing and familiar food. If we did not like the area we landed in, or we grew tired of looking at the same scenery, we could just move on to a new place and new adventure.

Whether you travel on your own or travel with a group, RV’ing can open a whole new world to you. Your playground can be from the Grand Canyon in Arizona to New York City or Montreal or Le Vieux Québec – or you can head west to Calgary, Alberta and take in the sights and sounds of the Stampede. You can drive from St John’s in Newfoundland to the Mojave Desert in California, or visit our family’s favourite campground destination, Fort Wildness in Disney World, Florida.

Sleeping in your own bed, with no restrictions on what you can carry, no timetable dictating what you have to do to catch the airplane, is a wonderful relief compared to the conventional modes of travel – in so many ways, RV’ing is just what the doctor ordered – eat the right foods for your health, relax in your own home on wheels, see the wonders of North America and in the long run, use less energy.

Is RV’ing a lifestyle ideally suited for the average Canadian family? You bet! We would have never done any of this if we had bought a cottage!


Take care & happy RV’ing
M.B. & Karen Wilson
Wagon Masters


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