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Old 05-29-2011, 01:50 AM   #1
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Trip Planning Advice - Ontario to Nova Scotia

We are taking our first big trip this summer, going from Ontario to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. So I would appreciate any tips people have to offer here

The plan is to take 2 - 3 weeks for this trip, which will be somewhere around 2800 - 3000 miles total. The drive itself to the final destination, is a total of about 24 hours. What we are not sure on, is how far we will travel each day. I do not want to feel like we have to rush to get to the next destination/campground. Our preference would be that if we see an area we like, we stop and spend time and then move on.

Do people usually plan each leg of their journey, trying to drive X number of hours each day and book campgrounds ahead of time, or is winging it fairly safe? I would also hate to be in a spot where we get somewhere and cannot find a campground.

Is spending 6 hours a day on the road too much in everyone's experience with 3 little kids?

For those of you that have done a trip out east, if you have any advice or favourite campgrounds, provincial parks, etc., please let us know.

Also, I am not sure if we will go through part of the US or stay strictly in Canada. If we do decide to go part of this journey in the US, should we be aware of any restrictions such as food when crossing the borders?

Best Wishes,
Chuck
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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I do not want to feel like we have to rush to get to the next destination/campground. Our preference would be that if we see an area we like, we stop and spend time and then move on.
Personally, that would be the most important "planning" for the trip for me. Some of the most memorable things I've seen while traveling weren't planned at all.

We carry a Woodalls Campground Guide in the camper and also use the internet to find campgrounds down the road. Weekends could be tough without reservations, but usually during the week there are sites avaliable in most campgrounds.

We don't have any kids, so I can't give any advice there.

I'm sure others will have much more advice than I do. Just have fun and enjoy every minute.

Joe
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Old 05-29-2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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Wing it!!
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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We are doing a trip this summer from Calgary to Boston and back.

Last summer our trip was from Calgary to Disneyland then up the pacific coast when our children were 4, 6, and 6. We will repeat this trip later in the summer.

We're in a motor home so figure that into part of my answer. The parents switched off driving / working with the children tasks on a schedule. This keeps the adults fresh for both those tasks.

We have more room to have projects, worksheets, books, art projects, than you do in the expedition. I would suggest packing those items in plastic bins to rotate into the expedition. The books of the day are slipped into a canvas bag and the handles are through the seat belt - so it can't get away.

Last year I started them journaling on our trips - . It was a two part process. The first part was them each dictating what they wanted to say. I typed it into the laptop and printed it out using comic sans at 16 pt. Then they copied the words into their journals (spiral books they'd chosen at the dollar store). Obviously this is wonderful for literacy skills as well as fine motor. If they are just starting to write like my preschooler last year (kdg this year) have him write just a sentence at a time, and do the activity a couple times during the day so it doesn't get to be too much.

We don't have electronic games of any kind. They read books and play board games. Having the table makes this lots easier. You might try clipboards. I also subscribe to readinga-z.com and vocabularya-z.com and have those books and accompanying lessons/worksheets printed out and ready to go. Those start at pre-preschool age so it might work for you as well. The books/lessons are leveled which means they build on the previous level. If you do this bring glue sticks, scissors, and colored pencils because there are fun manipulatives as well as the reading. I have their current levels in hanging file folders in a rubbermaid file box with the carry handle on top.

Stopping along the way sucks up huge huge amounts of time. Having snack and lunch items ready to go made a huge difference for us. I could open the fridge and pull out food and everyone could eat while we were going. The children have large sippy cups of water - the ones sold for adults that you press the button to make the water flow - that do not leak. I think they are a liter/quart. We put them on a leash to their car seats so they don't drop to the floor and precipitate "Mommy I dropped my water bottle".

Potty breaks for the little ones used to stop us when we traveled in the mini-van until I always brought along a little potty seat (Bjorn). At least we didn't have to find a restaurant or gas station!

The rectangular restaurant cold storage boxes (Sam's Club - Rubbermade) exactly fit into the storage cabinets of our model. They are clear and stack. These work quite well to hold books / craft supplies / other activities, and would be easy to move between the expedition and the trailer. From their website:
Durable and stain-resistant clear polycarbonate allows for easy identification of contents
NSF certified commercial dishwasher safe, freezer safe
Includes tight-fitting snap-on lid to keep food fresh
Box is 18" long x 12" wide x 6" deep



As far as time on the road each day, we had no problem doing 10 hours if there was not a point of interest stop along the way.

I think random restaurants along the road have wasted the most time - two hours elaspes between pulling off the highway and pulling back on and the food is never as good as what you can make yourself.
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:44 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by flumpydog View Post
We are taking our first big trip this summer, going from Ontario to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. So I would appreciate any tips people have to offer here

The plan is to take 2 - 3 weeks for this trip, which will be somewhere around 2800 - 3000 miles total. The drive itself to the final destination, is a total of about 24 hours. What we are not sure on, is how far we will travel each day. I do not want to feel like we have to rush to get to the next destination/campground. Our preference would be that if we see an area we like, we stop and spend time and then move on.

Do people usually plan each leg of their journey, trying to drive X number of hours each day and book campgrounds ahead of time, or is winging it fairly safe? I would also hate to be in a spot where we get somewhere and cannot find a campground.

Is spending 6 hours a day on the road too much in everyone's experience with 3 little kids?

For those of you that have done a trip out east, if you have any advice or favourite campgrounds, provincial parks, etc., please let us know.

Also, I am not sure if we will go through part of the US or stay strictly in Canada. If we do decide to go part of this journey in the US, should we be aware of any restrictions such as food when crossing the borders?

Best Wishes,
Chuck
You'll love a trip out east. We did this trip a couple years ago. Our kids were 4 and 6. We left from Toronto or Kingston the first day ( not sure if the trailer was at the inlaws ) and made it to Montreal KOA. The second day was a long trip but the kids insisted on making it to Yogi Bear campground in N.B. We spent several days there, it ended up being over the july 1st holiday and didn't want to chance not finding a spot. We headed to the old KOA on the west side of the Cabot trail ( the new one is actually several miles into the drive around the cabot trail - read huge elevation changes and hard towing ).

Not sure how much time you have but hopewell rocks is a sight to see, P.E.I. is worth every minute also (for us at least). P.E.I. has a KOA and another big campground ( Marco Polo? ) 1 km away. Our kids loved the green gables stuff and being skeptical at first I ended up really enjoying it!

We also went to Lunenburg in Nova Scotia. We had a great trip, the first time you go all you see is stuff that you have to see when you go back!

Did I mention that it rained for 12 of our 14 day trip? SO glad that I didn't have anything to do with a pop up trailer (been there, done that). We would have been home by the third day...

I didn't plan anything ( the wife did book Yogi Bear because of the holiday ). We had no issues getting a site and things were wide open just about everywhere. This was in july of '09, the economy was not the best. Is it now?

We stayed on the Canadian side the whole way, our future trips will be state side if the difference in gas is the same. Last year, on a trip to Rochester N.Y. gas was 30+% less. That's a whole lot of money when you are towing a trailer!

I have some pics and if you need more info let me know,
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Old 05-29-2011, 01:49 PM   #6
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We are doing a trip this summer from Calgary to Boston and back.

Last summer our trip was from Calgary to Disneyland then up the pacific coast when our children were 4, 6, and 6. We will repeat this trip later in the summer.
Wow, you guys' are hard core, looking at your days camped in 2010. We got in 35 nights of camping the first year we got our trailer (picked up june 15). I'm SO jealous.
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Old 05-29-2011, 05:59 PM   #7
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We have taken the trip to CB many times. I pefer going US way. We live in the small village of Mallorytown. Our first stop is at Roger Campground NH. It is near Santa,s village and a western village. Both are great for children. Our next night night is at St. Anderews NB. We stay at the Kiwanas campground. It is right on the water. If you are going to Hopwell Rocks Ponderosa Pines is a nice GC to stay. On CB if you do not want to tow your TT over Kelly,s mountain then Adventurtes East is a nice CG. It is about 5 miles west of Baddeck (across the road from the old KOA). It has a nice pool and clean washrooms. If you do go over Kelly,s mountain then the North Sydney KOA is a great place to stay. Every site has a veiw of the water. You are at a central location to visit the Miner Museum in Glace Bay, Fortress Louisburg, the Cabot Trail. If you like lobster then the Baddeck Lobster supper is a place to go. All the chowder, I found the bore tide in Monton boreing (not worth the wait). There is a CG in Sussex NB that has a drive-in theater as part of the CG. You can sit outside your unit and watch the movie
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:51 PM   #8
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MANY THANKS for all the replies!!!
Sounds like we will be winging it ;-)
Thanks as well for the points of interest to checkout.

Anyone have any info on bringing food across the border? I am not sure how strict they are at the border for this sort of thing. It would make things a lot easier if we could just have the food loaded up in the fridges and such and not have to worry about stopping to purchase fruit and veggies.

Best Wishes,
Chuck
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:47 PM   #9
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easier? dunno certainly much more expensive

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Originally Posted by flumpydog View Post
Anyone have any info on bringing food across the border? I am not sure how strict they are at the border for this sort of thing. It would make things a lot easier if we could just have the food loaded up in the fridges and such and not have to worry about stopping to purchase fruit and veggies.
We go across the border between Alberta and Montana. Yes the border crossings should all be the same but honestly there are differences.

First I will tell you that your groceries are going to be much less expensive on the US side. I'm comparing the Costco in Calgary with the Sam's Club in Great Falls - (apples to apples) not some gas station aisle of groceries. Most things are 20 - 40% less. I also stock up before we head home.

Second don't try and bring fresh fruits, veggies, or meat into the US. Yes there are some things that are allowable - if they were grown in the US, but you don't want to be stopped and try and show that the strawberries were from California and not Mexico. It's not worth the time - particularly because you can buy them less expensively stateside. Also don't try and discuss the finer points of the rules - they seem to change, or perhaps be interpreted in different ways - this is going in either direction but particularly back into Canada.

One of the rules is that you can bring $20 worth of dairy - per person back into Canada. Cheese is a good thing to bring and of course can go into the deep freeze at home. How much total each person can bring back into Canada changes with how long you are gone. We keep our receipts in a little folder all together and take the time to total them before going home. When the border agent asks we can say we have $1,262 worth of merchandise and offer the neat bundle of receipts.

Check the govt website for what is allowable before you try and cross. We've seen RV's being inspected (taken apart) at the border and never want to join that club! One local lady told me about losing her crock pot full of chilli she'd made - the entire contents had to be dumped at the crossing because it had meat in it. We've never been questioned about prepared foods, but you never know.

When you come home, exceeding the limits is not so bad, you simply have to pay duty on the excess amount. Sometimes even with the duty it is still a bargain to bring it home. Two buck chuck comes to mind.
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:52 PM   #10
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Rogers Campground

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I pefer going US way. Our first stop is at Roger Campground NH. It is near Santa,s village and a western village. Both are great for children.
Hi, is Rogers Campground also near Clark's Trading Post - the place with the bears? That was going to be one of our stops along with Storybook Villiage. Any suggestions there? We were there 2 years ago and the children had a great time - I don't think they are too old yet. We weren't camping on that trip so didn't pay attention to the possibilities. Any suggestions are appreciated.
Susan
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