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We're not lost, we're nomads.
This collection of rants and raves was simply plucked out of our travel reports.  It's in bad need of editing.  But, we present the thoughts for your amusement in their raw form until we get around to producing something of a grander nature.
We think that most people are conditioned to avoid all risk.  We've travelled, lived and worked in countries that some people won't visit. Yet, they will jaywalk across a busy street, one of the more risky things that one can do.  One of our favourite quotes is from the book Wanderer by Sterling Hayden, "{We are} enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine, and before we know it our lives are gone."  One of our friends sent us this quotation, which we like “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand, chocolate in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "Woo-hoo, what a ride!"  This is one of many variations of the original quote from the book Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, by Hunter S. Thompson.  We think it is right up there with another quote that struck us years ago when we were travelling the world aboard our trawler.
Maritime and Newfoundland People
The people of the Atlantic Provinces enjoy the reputation of being among the most friendly in Canada.  This is not without foundation.  The first thing we noticed is that people there, even most of the truckers, don't tailgate.  Neither do most of them speed.  When changing lanes, we have often had vehicles drop back and flash their lights, to let us change lanes.  Wow!  In central Canada flashing lights more often mean, “Get the hell out of my way”.  We also found the people in the service industries, from food stores to gas stations to be more friendly and helpful.  At several of the camp-grounds the owners or their children agreed to walk Molly while we were away touring with the group.  Usually they would accept no remuneration for this.  The pace is a bit faster in most of the larger centres, like Moncton and Halifax, yet still nowhere near the frenetic pace of the big cities of central Canada.  Our U.S. Friends must find the pace so slow as to be nearly at a stand-still!
Canadian Patriotism
Most people know that Quebeckers identify primarily with their province.  Most do not know that Newfoundland is similar.  The difference seems to be that while a large number of Quebeckers are nationalistic to the exclusion of the rest of Canada, many Newfoundlanders are nationalistic but indifferent about the rest of Canada.  Ask a Newfoundlander or a Quebecker abroad, “Where are you from?”, and they will usually respond with the name of their province; the rest of us generally say, “Canada”.  Western Canadians and Newfoundlanders often hold views about confederation that are very similar.  They believe that confederation largely benefits Ontario and Quebec to the exclusion of the others.  They don't like the fact that decisions affecting their daily lives are often made by politicians from the mainland.  We can identify with that.  Most people, even foreigners, know that separatism often rears its ugly head in Canada.  Most are amazed to discover that there is such a thing as a Western or a Newfie separatist.  While not as prevalent as Quebec separatists, they exist.  For the most part, though, they do not constitute a political movement, as they do in Quebec.  We are proud to state that we are not hyphenated Canadians.
We Canadians generally like to think of ourselves as being very friendly and considerate...a nation of Boy Scouts, one of our foreign friends opined.  We are not so sure.  While a aboard a ferry to Newfoundland we saw numerous people stake out the few tables in the bar area, where they just sat, played games and listened to the entertainment without buying anything.  More egregious still, some broke out their own snacks and drinks.  Bar customers were hard pressed to find a seat, nor did we see anyone volunteer to give up theirs. The scenario was repeated in the restaurant, where the head waiter was rushing around like mad trying to find tables for incoming patrons.  All the while, several couples monopolised tables for six.  One couple held down a table for six during the entire trip, as it offered a view of the children’s' play area.  Yes, we took a table for two and left it after we'd finished eating.  In contrast, people often characterise Americans as brash, self-serving.  While one can certainly find such examples, our experience is generally to the contrary.  For example, while queued in a Walmart checkout a new lane opened.  We'd been waiting forages in a nearby stalled lane.  While people did rush in from the aisles, two women with full carts looked over at us and said, "Here jump in ahead of us, you've been waiting longer."
Telecommunication for Nomads
Communication is a perennial problem for nomads like us.  We need both a cellular phone for voice and some sort of data device for Internet.  Campground Wi-Fi systems, even with the advanced computer system we have to access them, are marginal in most places. Skype rarely works on them.  For our non-Canadian correspondents we should explain that we have two major mobile networks in Canada, Bell (the collective provincial phone companies) and Rogers (the private carrier).  On these two networks we have at least a dozen service providers all claiming to offer better, cheaper or faster service.  Reality is, there are only two flavours, Ma Bell and the other guy.  We've had a Rogers phone for ages.  Thus, we now know from painful experience that it sucks in several regards; what we don't know is whether Bell is any better.  Rogers' customer service at most of their outlets is a negative experience.  Most of their agents seem to know nothing much about their products and services. We went into one of their stores and told them about our upcoming Atlantic Canada trip, looking for a cellular Wi-fi device. They sold us their Mi-fi...It is next to useless.  In most rural areas where there is cellular coverage it is so slow as to be unusable, even for email.  Their coverage outside the big cities and central Canada corridors is awful. In Newfoundland coverage is only the Avalon Peninsula.  When we were on the Yukon-Alaska tour we rarely had coverage.  What makes this more frustrating is that we have often seen cell towers from our camp-grounds; we assume that these belong to Bell.  We don't have these problems in the USA; our Verizon Mi-Fi and our TrakFone cellular seem to work nearly everywhere. Alas, our US devices either do not work in Canada, or they work but the cost is prohibitive.  Conversely, the cost to use our Canadian devices in the USA is expensive.  Telecommunication provision is an oligopoly, subject to government regulation.  Clearly, after all these years of having cellular in Canada the regulator has let us down...badly.  The network operators ought not be allowed to over charge and cream-skim, serving only the lucrative areas.
Pride of Property Ownership, Canada vs. The USA
There are obvious differences between Canada and the USA.  Yet the difference in the upkeep of the properties is striking.  In the USA we often see uncut lawns full of weeds, garbage and derelict cars. In Canada, apart from many Indian reservations, most properties, even the old ones are comparatively neat and clean.  We have no idea why people in rural and poorer areas of Canada keep their property so much neater than their American brethren, but the difference is striking.  Similarly, in the USA we have often taken detours and wrong turns, finding ourselves in nearly abandoned neighbourhoods with boarded up buildings, graffiti and broken infrastructure that resemble bombed out countries shown on CNN.  In Canada it is much more difficult to find such areas.
Meeting and making Friends
Nomads seem to make friends more easily than stick-building dwellers.  When we lived in conventional homes it often took years to meet some of the neighbours and sometimes we never met them.  In contrast, any excuse for a get-together, from a national holiday to the sun setting will often result in a invitation to drop by for drinks or for a pot-luck communal meal. Having a dog seems to about double the chance of making new friends, in either environment.  Moreover, nomads seem more likely to stay in touch, usually by email.  It is not at all uncommon to meet someone in a Marina, anchorage or RV park, then come across them years later and be greeted as if we were long-lost cousins.
The Destination or the Journey
People following our nomadic exploits sometimes opine that we seemingly do not see much of what we set out to see, such as some historic battlefields and famous museums.  For us, missing stuff is not a big deal.  There will be another opportunity, as we will surely continue to travel.  Moreover, there is an important psychological difference between being a nomad and a tourist.  We are living a nomadic lifestyle; we're not perpetually on vacation.  There's a huge difference.  Folks who are still working or those on a planned caravan, have itineraries to follow, usually closely.  We've seen the vacationing boaters and RVers up with the birds, scurrying to take in all the sights, then returning at the end of the day, bone tired, only to repeat the process the next day.  Similarly the caravaners are all off at the appointed time, rain or shine.  Of course, these folks only have to keep that pace up for a few weeks, before going back to their routine.  We, on the other hand, are simply “living”. We rarely set the alarm clock, arising when the spirit moves.  We have our coffee in leisure, whilst catching up with the latest gossip and news on TV and the Internet.  Some days, admittedly, we too are up with the birds, to take in a local attraction, usually something of historic importance or natural beauty.  We try not to work too hard at it.  Similarly, we generally limit ourselves to one RV repair or household duty a day.

We also take the view that the voyage is part of the experience, not just a means to getting to the next attraction.  Thus, we sometimes drive only a few miles a day, and rarely drive more than two hundred.  We never have a deadline and rarely have a specific destination for the day, except when we can't avoid it.  As we travel we sometimes take local highways, and we try to stop in villages, or at least nice travel stops, every few hours.  If the weather is too bad, we simply stop for the day. If we like where we are, we stay, then move on when the spirit moves.

Canadian Economy (2010)
We were astounded at the huge number of properties for sale here and there throughout the USA.  What struck us as unexpected was that there are areas in Canada, where we have not had a housing bust in years.  For example, along the St. Lawrence and in the rural areas of Eastern Ontario there is a lot to choose from.  Everything from shacks to mansions are on the block.  We could not help but wonder if this is the effect of the recent economic troubles on the average Canadian. It is certainly a buyers market.
The recent economic stimulus initiatives have had at least one noticeable benefit, the condition of the highways.  Last year, on the way west, we cursed the poor state of the highways and the crummy repair jobs done thereon, especially in Ontario.  Only a year later, there was an incredible amount of repaved highway.
Most Canadians are rather smug about our economy, especially compared to the USA.  We think that much of this is not due to a real difference, but more likely is due to nearly continuous government and media statements about how well off Canada is compared to the other developed countries.  If one looks at the level of average domestic debt/savings, or of the national budget deficit and the national debt, we may be slightly better off than others, but we too are standing on the edge of an economic precipice.  It would not take much to push Canada over the edge.  Meanwhile, our elected officials prefer to debate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin than tackle the serious issues.
We've become fans of e-book readers, as opposed to reading e-books on our computers or on tablet computers.  After a bit of research we settled on the Kindle 3-wi-fi from Amazon; the Kobo wi-fi was a close second.  The Kindle has, by far, more features than the other e-book readers and a terrific form factor.  It's one downside is that it does not read epub format, not a big deal unless one borrows e-books from libraries.  On the other hand, libraries are now embracing the Kindle format, so this difference will all but disappear.   Moreover, there is a huge amount of material available for free or for a nominal fee.  We've already downloaded a ton of free books, mostly classics, and a few promotion items from Amazon.  It's been said that people who like to read will love e-books, while those who love books will not.  We think this is spot on.
Trucks, Road Rage and the Police
When did truckers become so aggressive, especially in Ontario?  Countless groups of tailgating trucks came past us, each following so close that no car could safely pass them, or even pass one at a time.  We've had semis so hard on our tail that we could see their grills in our backup camera; that puts him at about a car length behind our toad!  Even pulling over to a passing lane can be fraught with danger.  Once when we did this a group of tailgating semis all tried to pass, still tailgating, leaving us no lane to turn back into.  Another time, a speeding semi passed us while we were legally changing lanes in a construction area, forcing us back over into a closed lane, where we had no option but to knock down a dozen plastic barriers before we could get stopped.
Where have all the highway cops gone?  On our trip through the Yukon and Alaska and the trip back east across Canada we rarely saw any highway patrol cars, that is until we hit Ontario. In Ontario they are everywhere. Same thing in the USA, in some States there are cops everywhere and in others we rarely see them.  The thing is, they do not seem to be having any effect. If anything, there is a greater incidence of speeding, tail-gating and aggressive driving in Ontario than anywhere else on the trip, yet that's where we see the most police on the highway.
RV Caravans
RV caravans are not for everyone.  There is a certain warm feeling knowing that the 'tail-ender' is following behind looking out for caravan members in trouble; and, there's probably safety in numbers when camping in remote areas.  The organizers have ferreted out the best places to stay and the best attractions.  On the other hand, the caravan moves according to a fixed schedule, come what may.  So, if you see something en route that is not on the itinerary and it would take longer than a quick stop there is not enough time to take it in.  The organisers get group discounts on nearly everything; on the other hand the host (aka, wagon-master) and the tail ender travel for free, their costs being covered by the fee-paying members.  Overall, we would probably have been slightly better off financially travelling on our own, but we would have missed some of the best attractions.  We enjoyed the two caravans in which we've participated, and have met some nice people; overall.  However, for the most part we still see ourselves a solo nomads.
Alaska and the Yukon
The Alaska and Yukon area is fascinating for many reasons, including its mountains, glaciers and other natural wonders.  But, at least part of the lore is fable, the part about the big bugs.  The mosquitoes and other bugs were not as huge and hungry as advertised; we've experienced far worse along the Rideau Canal in Ontario.  And there are some things we were aware of, but don't really think about.  For example, while we all know that there are long hours of sunlight in the summer, many people are unaware of the colossal size that the plants attain.  Cabbages can grow so big that one man can barely lift one of record size.  Sunflower plants routinely grow as high as the eaves of the houses, with huge heads.  Many flower blossoms are twice the size of their southern brethren and at the peak of summer they don't close at all for the night; at solstice there really is no night, just day, dusk and dawn.  The people of the Yukon and Alaska seem to be, on the average, an extremely friendly lot, glad to be living in the north.  Several persons that we talked to said they only went there for a visit and never returned home, except to move.
Stuff and Space
After having lived out of a suitcase for nearly five months while travelling the west coast, and having lived permanently in the small space of a motorboat and a motorhome, we have some lifestyle observations.  The first is, getting home, even to the relatively small confines of our motor home, is great.  There is nothing better than sleeping in ones own bed. Having said that, it is really quite amazing how much fun can be had travelling from hotel to hotel, even in a small vehicle.

Living aboard a boat and a motor home, one does not really need much 'stuff'; there just is not that much room to keep much more than one needs.  Well, when travelling in the car for five months we had far less stuff with us, yet we really did not want for much.  We each carried a suitcase of modest proportions with clothes for about a week, plus one shared 'overflow' suitcase for rain gear, cold weather clothes and such. One more was loaded with kitchen stuff.  We each had our laptop computer and we shared a little printer.  There were lots of wires; it's amazing how many there are, what with the computers, printer, two cell phones, a camera, a couple of hard drives and our WD-TV media player (URLhere), a terrific gadget.  All the electronics filled our largest back pack.  We carried a small 12-volt cooler and a soft-sided cooler bag.  The remaining space in our trunk, which was full, was taken up by food and the few items that we bought along the way.

Moreover, it was surprisingly economical to travel for a prolonged period in a boat, morothome or even a car, providing one can accept budget accommodation.  Some of the hotels we stayed in were right at the bottom of the market; none were above mid-market.  Yet, we did not see one bed bug (or the evidence of same) and only one roach (and that was in one of the newer motels).  By travelling in the off-season, we saved a bundle, or, in some cases, got much nicer accommodation than we might have otherwise sprung for.  We ate a lot of 'free breakfasts', which usually was little more than juice, toast and coffee.  And, we discovered that most supermarkets carry a huge range of nourishing foods that can be prepared with only a microwave.  We ate at restaurants only slightly more than we would have done otherwise, and tried to keep fast food to once a week.

Our belief that most people have way too much stuff is now well embedded in our psyche and lifestyle. Even taking into consideration the fuel that we burn while travelling, we are convinced that we lead a much greener lifestyle than most other land dwellers.
How Green Is My Home?
In our motorhome we get about six to eight miles per gallon of diesel, 7.5 on the average.  So we are obviously not very 'green' energy consumers.  Or are we?  When we lived in our last house we had about 600 cubic metres of space to heat and cool year round, apart from a few brief months in the spring and autumn.  This did not come cheap! In the motorhome, even though we have everything we need to live comfortably, we have only about 80 cubic metres of space.  So, we have much less volume to heat and cool. Moreover, our 'primary' climate control in the motorhome entails moving until we are in a climatic zone that we like.  A 150-pound tank of propane lasts us over a year, and this includes cooking.  The cost of the diesel is greatly offset by the amount of energy that we save on climate control. Concerning electricity, we only have a 50-amp, 240-volt electric hook-up; that's the size of the service to a standard clothes dryer (in fact it is the same plug).  Moreover, often have only a 30-amp, 120-volt electrical service available; that's the equivalent of only two standard household circuits.  We don't have a meter on the RV, but we are certain that the amount of electricity we use is minuscule compared to our use in a house. Overall, we suspect that our energy use is greener than that of the average home owner.
Predatory Motel Owners
 Quite a few hotels do not allow pets at all, too bad for us, but we can understand their motivation, and it is their call.  One way or the other, inconsiderate pet owners are ultimately to blame for these policies.  We are astounded how many owners do not 'scoop', refuse to keep rover on a leash, or leave their dogs in their rooms to bark and who-knows-what. At the other extreme, there are a few hotels that permit pets and don't charge anything or not much.  The middle ground is a minefield for pet owners. Motels range from charging a modest fee and providing nothing to charging outrageous fees and still providing absolutely nothing for the pet.  A minuscule few actually provide something for their fee, such as providing stoop-and-scoop bags, dog treats and 'pet blankets', usually culled sheets and towels.  The problem is, unless you phone around before hand, you don't know what you will encounter.  Generally, on their web sites motels simply state “pet friendly”.  In some cases, they reserve the right to limit the size or breed of the pet, leaving the pet owner to wonder if they will be favoured with acceptance or denied admission when they arrive. Some make reference to a charge, but of those most do not provide the amount.  The best charge we have encountered is $10 a night, which on first blush is reasonable, except that they often charge nothing additional for children.  We were astounded when we encountered one hotel that not only charged $25 a night, but also wanted a deposit of $250, which was to be returned if the pet did not mess up the room....we walked. We do our homework and usually have several motels on our list that are 'pet friendly'.  Thus, if we don't like the first one or two that we see, we can move on. We don't have such problems in campgrounds.  While some will not accept pets, most do. Quite a few restrict breed, size or quantity of pets.
Bureaucrats vs. Nomads
One of the biggest impediments to our lifestyle is bureaucracy.  The Governments of the world seem to abhor nomads.  They force us to declare a fixed residence when, clearly, our real residence is our motorhome.  Then they take provincial income tax off us even though we enjoy few of the benefits that a resident would.  For example, our provincial medical insurance, which most Canadians assume is good all across the country, has limitations even within Canada.  Cross the border to the USA, or to Mexico and it is useless.  So, we need supplementary insurance all the time.  Worse still is the vehicle registration and drivers' licence regime.  Even though we have been continuously licensed to drive everywhere we've lived, upon returning to Canada they refused to accept our New Zealand licences in reciprocity.  Maurice had to go through the entire licensing process...that's right, learners, provisional and full licences, with all three written and road tests.  The latest problem is the registration for our car.  Our car licence expires 7 March, Louise-Ann's birthday.  We knew we would be out of the province until way past then, so we tried to renew it before we left.  No dice; since it had longer then six months left to expiry they would not renew it, even though we advised them of our travel plans.  Moreover, even though every province has vehicle testing requirements, Ontario will not accept any testing done outside of the province; so we can't renew from BC.  The best they can do for us is to give us a six-month extension, for which we have to surrender the original of our registration (what will happen if we get stopped without that?), and we have to sign in blood that we understand all the rules and will be good little citizens when we return.  Only then will they allow our daughter to apply to extend our registration on our behalf.