I think Florida is so crowded because of where folks are coming from - the heavily populated states north of Florida. Snowbirders seem to head straight south for the most part.
Yes. That's exactly right. From places as far away as Montreal, we can shoot down to north Florida in 2.2 days (if you have a trailer down there, you don't have to haul it, making a snap trip south very doable). Its the only "warm" climate available to the several hundred million east coasters in a last-second or, planned foray. If there is an emergency with a rental property or other issue up north, one can shoot home, remediate, and be back in Florida in under 5 days; costing only a few hundred in gas and a cooler full of food. Try that from the Southwest; it may take 4 days to book a flight on business-class, at several $thousand dollars for last minute return flight.
Even with our truck camper rig, we have driven to north Florida for a 2 week break in April....all the way from Quebec! Try doing that to the Southwest (you need 2 weeks with an RV rig to drive to get to and home from the Southwest). Waaaay too far.
The RGV would be perfect for a Central continent dweller or Tennessee to Colorado latitudinal transect dweller; the Southwest is a perfect and sane distance for a west-coaster. There are statistical outliers who do west coast to Florida; and east coast to Southwest (but this is the fringe cohort of Snowbirders).
We know a lot of Snowbirders that FLY to the Southwest from the East Coast to their condos/winter homes...but not many that drive it with an RV/rig.
This is the Fort McMurray Google Crisis Map, showing the neighborhoods that were destroyed by the fire (see the red polygons in the legend). The overlaid SkySat Terra Bella satellite image (Terra Bella is a Google subsidiary that shoots high-resolution video of Earth and do high resolution imagery from their space-based satellite). The SkySat imagery is very recent, and you can zoom in to your house to see if it is still existing: here-->
This isn't the absolute definitive authority on fire-affected areas, however it is as good as it get at this juncture.
We also have friends in the Daytona area but their weather hasn't been all that much warmer than our's in the past 2-3 years.
We would have loved to winter in Myrtle Beach area, however, friends of ours that have wintered there for ~15 years warned us that it snows fairly regularly (about once every 2 to 3 years). We checked the official records, and yes, since 1940, here are the snow falls on Myrtle Beach:
Myrtle Beach has had 45 snow-days from 1940 to 2014; for a total of 77 inches. The snow-day interval is about every 2.2 years; the standard deviation per snow-day event is 3 inches. They had 9 inches in Feb 1973; 7 inches in March 1983; a whopping 14 inch blizzard in December 1989. The mean number of snow events per year since 1940 is 0.25 (frequency). Unfortunately, all the snow events since 1940 have been surrounded by some pretty brutal cold snaps lasting several months. For us, the most miserable thing that could happen to us as snowbirds, is ice storms. Unfortunately, South Carolina (the Myrtle to Wilmington areas) have as many ice storms as snowfalls (a surprising number catastrophic ice storms it appears), to fill in the years when it isn't snowing: 46 ice storms. The frequency of severe ice storms is 1 every 9.7 years; the frequency of moderate ice storms is 1 every 2.1 years.
Lets compare this to the closest "snowbird destination" in North Florida (on the Atlantic coast):
It has snowed only twice; once in 1917 (2 inches), and once in 1951. Tampa even got a dusting in 1917. So, the chance of snow in St Augustine (let alone a Carolinas blizzard) is infinitesimally small compared with Myrtle Beach (Myrtle once every ~2.2 years). This being said, the continuous snows that do happen in Myrtle are only from 1 day to 4 days long. So, if you balance this with any compelling personal reasons to winter in Myrle (like majority of friends wintering there; etc; etc), some will take this chance.
I haven't done the statistics for temperatures in Myrtle to plunge below freezing from December till end of March yet...
For us, it is north Florida (St Augustine).
This is truly a a catastrophe on a human and environmental scale only approaching the level of a direct hit by a hurricane; the difference is that almost the entire city has been destroyed, along with the electric infrastructure, and natural gas feeds to all the houses, businesses, hospital, schools and government offices.
On edit: with the recent Terra Bella initiative satellite imagery available, preliminary assessments are showing that appx 80% of Fort McMurray structures are still standing. Appx 2200 ~~ 2400 buildings have been severely burned or destroyed; these numbers will change as more survey data comes in. The drinking water infrastructure appears to have been saved relatively intact (valiant efforts of employees during the fire). The gas availability to all buildings appears to be severely affected, and fluid situation continues as to gas feed availability to all structures.
Imagine if you will a city about the sized of Fort Collins, CO being nearly completely destroyed by a wildfire. And this thing is not even close to being over-- the wildfire(s) rage on; perhaps for weeks or months.
Quebec just sent over 4 water bombers, and a wildfire ground crew, however, I think a massive and much more comprehensive plan needs to be done (like an army of Canadian, and US firefighters and water bombers to be deployed). The problem seems to be that wildfires are springing up over BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and now, western Ontario. I have access to and monitor the VIIRS geostationary satellite several times a day, and I can' hardly comprehend how this (and other) wildfires are growing, by the hour. I think the damage is now up to 4, 5, or 7 $billion, and with the oil companies shutting down production, and the city destroyed, the unemployment situation is incomprehensible.
See edits above
We're always on the look-out for your trip reports.
What a different landscape you guys landed in! Stunning!
I really like the color, then black and white photos of the same landscape. Nice touch.
I'm typing this from the Outfitter (my office in the "forest"), on finally, a sunny day here in the Northeast :B
Thanks for putting together another "great one", with the two "Kidz" !!
Sand & Dunes
With all the Canadian snowbirds, isn't there a way for the Canadian government (and not RVnet readers) to provide a definitive answer once and for all so we can avoid this question every year.
....we're talking government immigration here. The "laws" may seem "clear", however, they are in reality, as clear as mud when border authorities are permitted to interpret said laws "as they see appropriate for the situation".
Actually, no laws anywhere on earth are clear. There are always fuzzy areas of interpretation. Take a look at the quantity of lawyers practicing, the court system clog ups, and immigration decisions (on both sides); you'll be amazed at how unclear the laws are....in practice.
The only thing I can say is: every time you get through a border (ANY border), just thank your lucky stars you were allowed to enter. Don't assume anything. Your "lucky clock" gets reset back to zero at every crossing you make, no matter what country.
....even if you exceed the absence limits your health care privileges are only suspended for three months once you return. You can purchase a bridge policy to cover that.
...that's my understanding, too.
...the guys were great and they all agreed on two things, the tank was doing what it was supposed to do and that kid at the gas station over filled it.
....same thing happened to me at a local gas station after the attendant filled the BBQ tank. Got the tank home, and as the day heated up, the tank started spewing white clouds. I immediately called the fire dept (located just down our street); thankfully, the tank hadn't been connected to BBQ, so I walked it to our large open lawn, and let it off-gas for ~~3 hours. We have the newer tanks.
The fire station asked what gas station I had it filled at. He said my complaint was the 23rd complaint from that station since summer started.
Now, I have the gas company itself (about 5 miles from us) fill our tanks. They have a very sophisticated computerized system, with digital read-out and commercial digital scale; and, they know what they are doing.
That's a pretty scary thought if that were to happen in a campground.
That could be a potential nightmare scenario: propane (large house-sized tank seen at numerous sites attached to seasonals) at campground explodes, setting off a fire that consumes a campground with units very close together...
If you feel a bit nevous take the jacks off and chuck them inside when you cross.
Truck camper owner here.
Even if you remove the jacks, the tie-down are so onerous (imposing), that anyone inspecting the rig could readily see that the camper isn't part of the truck.
I hear that some owners get in by using the on-line application for the TIP and it isn't checked when they cross the border.
...this would really worry me; banking only on the inspector/issuer not looking at the rig when you show up....playing the odds?
Following this closely as truck camper owners and future MX crossers...
Polyurethanes are interesting, however, also have a look at XPS grades in the 600 type VII to 1000 psi type V strength grade (no kidding; these panels are nearly like plywood). I think the Formular brand (Owens Corning?) are readily available. Do your due diligence with all the products out there.
*disclosure: I do not work for, nor own any position in any foam manufacturing industry
Beadboard (usually white, with little beads bound together) is EPS. Extruded polystyrene (blue, pink, etc) is XPS.
You need to do some serious research into using either EPS or XPS as a SIP (in this case, the structure is the wall/camper shell). There are very specific adhesives you can apply (with a paint roller, mop, or, via spray gun) to bond the EPS or XPS...some of the adhesives go on quite thick, and can bridge "bowing" in camper structure shells, but, if you press (roll the SIP assembly with the glue sandwich) or vacuum-bond the structural panel, the adhesive will ooze out along the wall's edge. Some of the adhesive used in making Our Outfitter Mfg XPS-to-FRP structural walls oozed out during the vacuum bonding stage, and dried a 1/4 inch thick (probably much thicker than a silicon bead!).
On the edit: i changed the word "bowling" to "bowing".
With what little I know about Honduras, a bodyguard there is a reality. TAD in Guatemala too. Same for Mexican towns along Guat border in Chiapas.
....I was quite shocked, too, at the rental prices for condos (and, stand-alone houses) in Mexico, from the hits I was getting on VRBO (and similar websites). Having lived in Mexico in the past, I concur with others in the Thread (who live and/or RV in Mexico today), that the best way to go about "finding" either a rental RV or a rental condo, would be to select an area of interest, then fly down, rent a vehicle, and intensively research the 'local" market first-hand.
Chiapas was one of my top 2 regions I loved in Mexico (the other, of course, is the state of Campeche). Its too bad that the areas along the Guatemala/Mexico border are perhaps a bit unstable. I spent a huge amount of time in the "Selva Lacandona".
I hear you. We are trying to cram as much US travel and RVing in as possible, before the hellacious Canadian travel health insurance rates catch us at 65+ !
We've been searching Mexico (fly down, rent condo) extensively over the past ~1.5 years. My fave. place is Campeche. Lots to do there (lots of theater, a huge university, archaeological expeditions, etc, etc, etc). I lived (and worked) in Campeche during the early '90s. Love the walled city.
Anyhow, all this talk of "renting a place" in Central, or Mexico brings back memories. I had the opportunity to rent a very beautiful hacienda (owned by a diplomat) in Honduras (inland, in the mountains), that was about 4500sq ft with 14-foot high+ ceilings, with o.5 hectares of cascading gardens down a terraced landscape and unobstructed view of distant mountains. The house came with live-in chef, house cleaner and gardener, several computers, unlimited internet, and if I wanted, a bodyguard trained by the Honduras Army (the bodyguard was extra). The price (per month) back in the day: $890 US a month (this included all the live-in help, but not personal bodyguard) LOL!
Just one additional item of note:
The I87 from junction of I287 is quite scenic, going through the Catskill Mountain range, however it is very populated with speed traps all the way to Albany...we do this stretch twice a year. The last time was March 1st (not so long ago).
I would suggest doing the "coast", from the I95 Yemassee, SC exit, on the 17 as a start. We stayed at the Point South KOA (in a cabin) on the way to Florida in January. VERY unusual KOA, for adults (there is a nice pub & excellent baked pizza right in the main office; with wine tasting at the in-campground wine bar). This is fairly close to Beaufort.
Then, drive the 17 on through to Charleston (now, you're on the coast), and on to North Santee, and Murrels Inlet, NC. Shoot through Myrtle Beach, heading north to Wilmington, NC, then on through to Jacksonville, NC. Here, you can decide if you want to go to Cedar Island, and onto the Ferry to Ocracoke Island (the Outer Banks); and onto another ferry to Hatteras, and drive the Outer Banks all the way up to Kitty Hawk (where you can pick up the 17 again in Elizabeth City, for Norfolk VA), or, in Jacksonville, NC, continue on the 17 up to Elizabeth City, then on to Norfolk, VA. In Norfolk, we habitually stay at 1st Landing State Park (very large sites, along the inlet/outlet of Chesapeake Bay.
From Norfolk, take the 13 / L. J. Kellam tunnel/bridge (roughly 20 miles long+/-) across the Chesapeake to 13 north. Along the 13 to 113 you can stop/stay at Assateague State Park (on the ocean). Super nice locale. Then, head north again along the 113 up to Cape Henlopen (an excellent and unusual State Park we stay at often). Then, from near-by Lewes town, you may opt for the Cape May ferry over to North Cape May, NJ.
At this point, you have bypassed Richmond, VA, Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, and most of Delaware. From North Cape May, you could head up the Garden State Parkway, to the Atlantic City Expressway, to the New Jersey Turnpike (the NJTP will be your best bet for urban driving to bypass Philadelphia, Trenton, Newark, and New York City, IF you then take the I287 through Bridgewater, Morristown, Mahwah, and onto the I87. The I87 from junction of I287 is quite scenic, going through the Catskill Mountain range. At this point, you are quite far out from any urban areas.
Just before you hit Albany, bear off the I87 at the 912m towards East Chatham (now you're on the I90) but exit onto I90 towards Albany; then almost immediately, take Exit 12 onto Highway 9. Where Highway 9 intersects with Highway 20, take the 20 towards Nassau, and continue all the through to Pittsfield. At the intersection with Route 7, head north on Route 7 into Vermont, towards Bennington, VT. In Bennington, you can take the mountainous route on 9 then 202 over to Concord, NH; or, you can continue on Route 7 north up to Rutland, VT, and in Rutland, take the scenic over-mountain Route 4 through Killington, through Woodstock, VT to White River Junction (NH), and jump on the I91 up towards the very scenic 302 into Bath, then Littleton, then Bethlehem and into the spectacular White Mountain National Forest. There are all kinds of rough camping locales through White Mountain National Forest. Once you exit White Mountain National Forest, you enter Conway, NH, then you cross into Maine at Fryeburg, and into Maine "lake country". Take the 302 across Maine, and you drive under I95 (underpass) to Allen Ave; hang a left, and Allen turns into the 100; take the 100 north but here you need the GPS to get you to Falmouth (lots of turns and stops). Once in Falmouth, get on the coastal Rout 1 up to Freeport, ME. At Freeport, you can take Bow Street to Flying Point Rd out to Recompense Shores Campground. Recompense, IMO, is the most spectacular campground in Maine. Many of its sites are directly on the ocean (Casco Bay). The sites are huge, very private, and the grounds around the facility are spread out over 600 hilly scenic acres.
We've done all the above (numerous times). Your mileage may vary, depending on what time of the summer you tackles several legs of this very back-road expedition, for the most part.
Those who write know that dramatic embellishment is needed to keep the readers awake. A simple story of facts is usually dim and dull. A good story teller can whip up the action for the enjoyment of all. Steinbeck is way beyond the rank of simple story teller!
....very well said, Skip!
Alas, as we get up in life, and are more preoccupied with our affairs, even a holiday is a thing that must be worked for...
....so true! Especially even more so in these modern times...
We enjoyed driving, last October, from within 130 feet of Steinbeck's house (on Long Island-- Sag Harbor) on his route to the New London Ferry (where he crossed the Long Island Sound, from the Orient Point departure, commencing his journey)...we've already driven most of Steinbeck's eastern route; we can tack on now the leg from his driveway to Orient Point :)
The other side...
...say, 1.2 million Canadians vacation and spend long periods of time in Mexico every year, and:
"On average, three Canadians for every 100,000 visiting Mexico are killed or assaulted per year, according to more than a decade's worth of data from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs." (CBC 2012)
...so, what if it were 4 (0.004%) ? Or, 5 (0.005%) ? We're moving there....permanently :B
20 million Americans visited/vacationed/lived in Mexico in 2011...and 120 Americans were killed in Mexico in 2011 (0.0006%) Obtaining an American citizenship before spending long-term in Mexico is good for your well-being :B
...a big fuss about nothing.