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ANSWERING QUESTIONS & COMMENTS FROM YOU

January 12, 2014 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our E-mail Digest or RSS Feed. We will then send you the stories that are posted each day in an e-mail digest. We use a service called Feedburner for delivery of these emails. You will receive an e-mail from Feedburner after you subscribe and you must click on that email to activate your subscription. Thanks for visiting and enjoy all the information! RV.Net Blog AdminBy Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers Yesterday I was macerating.  What’s that, you may ask.  Check out my website at http://ontopoftheworld.bz/category/barrys-travel-blog-3/ for a full explanation with photos.  I first learned about it six years ago in Key West but didn’t try it until this week.  Monique are I are in the throes of preparing for 10 days in the high desert of Arizona, where we will witness an expanse of nothingness blossom, beginning with the huge white canvas tent already up and awaiting us and up to a million folks with interests common to yours.  That cavernous tent will contain endless RV-related booths [look for us behind booth No. 401 next to one of the western entrances].  Outside on the perimeter of the tent will be more service and product vendors including gem and mineral sellers, plus a long RV repair garage.  Beyond that is free parking flanked by hundreds of flea-market-type booths. Me leaving the show a couple of years ago -- OVERLOADED! Across Interstate-10 is the desert town of Quartzsite, which,... Read more



BUSY PLACES: NATURAL SPACES

December 22, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers Monique and I are looking forward to saying “Hello” to fellow RVers at the giant show in Quartzsite, Arizona, January 18-26. I’m going to ask your indulgence for a while.  To keep my often too-long RV.net blogs a bit shorter, I want to give you the gist of my articles and suggest that you log onto my website for the rest of the story.  Today’s edition is a perfect example.  I wrote an article a year ago about the destinations chosen by RV.net readers.  Since it vanished somewhere between Point A and Point B, I’ve republished it on my website:  http://ontopoftheworld.bz/.  And I should add, I’m not trying to sell anything (unless you’re interested in one or more of my photos of North America). BUSY PLACES: Enough pregame chatter, time to get to the good stuff.  Recently I came across two “favorite lists” that I found interesting.  The first lists the “Travelers’ Choice 2013” of favorite cities to visit published by TripAdvisor.  I’m not sure how the “travelers” made their selections, but the number of attractions in the selected areas probably influences it.  For instance, New York, the #1 choice, has dozens of museums, historic sites, entertainment, etc. The sights and sounds of Chinatown in San Francisco make visiting a memorable experience. So now, the Top 10 American cities, from the Big Apple to the Big Easy:  After New York comes San Francisco, then Chicago, Las Vegas... Read more



IS ALASKA IN YOUR PLANS FOR 2014? PART III

November 4, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers Comments from readers about their experiences in Alaska. FROM GEORGETHEFISHERMAN — I wonder if you could elaborate on the comment “you can’t expect Medicare to pick up a share of the costs.”  Why not? Don’t the docs and hospitals there accept Medicare (I understand not in BC, but what about Alaska?)  I really enjoyed the first two installments, can hardly wait for third.  You convinced me that Alaska is definitely somewhere I want to go, and probably will join a caravan to go.  Excellent article! REPLY FROM BARRY – Yes, in Alaska, Medicare is accepted.  It’s an interesting sensation after traveling through British Columbia and the Yukon — upon arrival in Alaska, you soon realize that you’re in the United States with the same healthcare system, same money, same phone service, etc.  And here is a reader’s response about Medicare in western Canada: FROM K. P. McCLANAHAN — You might want to recheck your comment about Medicare services in Canada.  Page 52, “Medicare and You” 2014:  ”Medicare may pay for inpatient hospital, doctor, or ambulance services you get in a foreign country in these rare cases: “You’re traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occurs, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition,... Read more



IS ALASKA IN YOUR PLANS FOR 2014? PART II

October 31, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers Now let’s consider all those bad things you have or will hear about the journey through Western Canada into Alaska; and to be sure, there are very real negatives, some that you may not have considered. How many times have you heard, “Don’t get your windshield repaired until you get back”?  That’s good advice; however, damage is not a chronic Alaskan malady.  The Zanders were #13 in a caravan, which I’ll discuss later.  Of the 19 rigs in our group, fewer than half suffered windshield dings while on the trip.  Of those, few happened while we were in Canada or Alaska.  Two windshield bull’s-eyes were in Washin From Top, Athabaskan Dancers, Emerald Lake near Skagway, Salmon Catch, An Orca Swims By gton State, another in Oregon.  For us, in our GMC 2500 diesel pulling a 10,000-pound 28-foot Bigfoot trailer, no dings … lots of mud on highways being reconstructed but no damage.  It’s a matter of not being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The trip is an expensive endeavor.  No way around that, but if you’re frugal in traveling the Lower 48, it won’t be much different up there.  Four Canadian liters of fuel – slightly more than a gallon — cost us about $3.75 in 2010 (now about $4.20 p/g).  In dire need of diesel on a very remote stretch, we paid $2.00 a liter – more than $8.00 a gallon, but the fellow pumping the gas assured me that the station pays $1,000 a day for electricity. ... Read more



IS ALASKA IN YOUR PLANS FOR 2014? PART I

October 29, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers FROM TOP: A beautiful Alaskan glacier; Bears Crossing the Road; Fireweed; Downtown Skagway This past summer we made an arduous 17,050-mile trip to the Canadian Maritimes, starting and ending in California.  A wonderful excursion, rivaling our 14,000-mile trip to Alaska (which began in Key West).  While in the Canadian Atlantic Provinces, we were asked several times, “Which was better?  Tough question since we’ve loved all our journeys, and exactly what does “better” mean?  I’ll give the simple answer – Sometime in your RV life, do everything possible to drive up along the Canadian Rockies to Alaska and spend as much time as your schedule and resources allow in the “Land of the Midnight Sun”? It’s daunting, but I don’t think we’ve found any trip in our years on the road as rewarding.  Honestly, the plan to drive up there was a spur-of-the-moment decision. Knowing that with age comes health problems, we realized the formidable trek to Alaska needed to be at the top of our list.  In early 2010 we decided NOW IS THE TIME! Having heard stories from many of those who have RVed through western Canada into Alaska returning with stories of severe road hazards, high prices, long drives and bad weather we could have asked ourselves, “Is it worth it?”   I would answer that by saying that among those who have made the trek, none would say, “Don’t do it.”   It’s not just seeing Denali,... Read more



GETTING TO KNOW THE LOCALS

July 8, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers The famous lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, sitting atop "erratic" rock formations I’m not much for giving you statistics, but here are two about the “Never-Boreds::  1) we have gone more than 10,000 miles since beginning this trip in California on March 19, and 2) we Monique's photo in Lunenburg have stopped for at least one night in 450 places since 2006 – ranging from National Parks and private campgrounds to Walmarts and friends’ driveways. Now for some additional Canadian phenomena. We use diesel in our truck, so I rarely pay much attention to the gas prices, but my recent research indicates that diesel is running 1 cent less per liter than gasoline.  What does that mean to 10-gallon-hat wearing Americans?  3.8 liters equals a gallon, so it means if you buy 3.8 liters of gas or diesel at $1.285 per liter, you’re paying about $4.88 per gallon.  But what the heck, it’s beautiful up here in Nova Scotia.  Oh, incidentally, the Canadian and U.S. dollars are about the same right now. When Monique’s brother from France traveled with us in the American West, he noted how many places flew the Stars & Stripes … “You don’t see that many flags in France,” he told us.  In these Atlantic provinces of Canada, I think we see more red maple leaf flags and symbols fluttering in the breeze than stars and bars in America.  HOWEVER, go to New Orleans and you’ll see Saints emblems... Read more



SOME THOUGHTS ON CARAVANS … AND A CORRECTION AND SUGGESTION

June 13, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers I’ll devote this edition of the blog to a question from a reader and my response to her.  As you know if you’ve been following this series, we are a little over a week away from hooking up with a caravan for a 48-day trip into the Maritime Provinces on the east coast of Canada. Following is the question and my answer: From Lois Thurston, I was sitting here thinking if I want to do an Alaska cruise when I saw your post that you took a caravan tour to Alaska and I thought thats how I want to see Alaska, so thank you!  I have been doing a little research but do you have any advice on picking the right company to use? Thanks for your blogs I really enjoy them and also learn from them. Barry’s Response In answer to your question about choosing a caravan company, I have two quick suggestions — 1) pick a company that has lots of caravans to different places, and 2) ask the company about the wagonmaster’s style. 1)  I don’t know of any caravan companies that have gone out of business, but I think a well-established company is probably safer.  Among other things, the campground owners and others they deal with are more likely to court their business and try hard to keep them happy.  Ask for catalogs from each of the companies, which can be found by an internet search. 2) We had no desire to sign up with a caravan company until I happened to meet a wagonmaster for one of the big companies and set... Read more



WE GET LETTERS … & ‘A CAN OF WORMS’

March 9, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers “WE GET LETTERS” is a line from the 1950s era Perry Como Show, where a bevy of beauties would come out singing the lyrics to “Letters, we get letters, we get stacks and stacks of letters.”  Then Perry sang requested songs from the home audience.  Well, enough trivia for this evening.  Just consider yourself lucky that I won’t sing, but here’s some of the mail received in the past week at neverboredrvers@gmail.com [each letter begins in bold]: You asked for “wrong route” stories.  We’ve found that traveling in our 38-foot motorhome is always an adventure. As we were driving home to Jacksonville, Fla., from a cross-country to Yuma, Ariz., we needed to buy fuel. When I checked GasBuddy, I found that diesel was several cents cheaper at a Chevron station near the Louisiana border just before crossing into Mississippi. We saw the gas station’s sign and pulled off. Jim slowly pulled in front of the station to see if we could access the pumps. By the time he decided we could, it was too late to pull into the station. He said he would turn around up ahead.  We kept following it, until it turned into a Y and climbed a rise. The road narrowed, and we found ourselves on top of a levee, on a narrow one-lane dirt/gravel road, with no turnaround in site. “Garmina” (our GPS) actually knew about this road … sort of. She told us it went straight for a couple of miles, then turned back... Read more



THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

March 6, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers A few days ago, I received a comment via email from Diane Lamirande of Quebec, Canada, that begins:  “I know you are seasoned travellers and you probably have this info already, but I am submitting just in case.  My husband and I travelled from our home city in the province of Quebec, to the Yukon and Alaska.  Our best piece of advice … buy the thick directory ‘The Milepost.’  INDISPENSABLE.” Yes, Diane and all RVers interested in traveling to Alaska, we too strongly recommend having “Milepost” handy when you plan and travel on your trip of a lifetime. BUT, NOW THERE’S ANOTHER INDISPENSABLE REFERENCE!! My website is officially launched, and, while still in the formative stages, it includes all the blogs I did while traveling to Alaska, complete with comments from readers. The site is ontopoftheworld.cc [cc is the new extension for “Cross-Country”] While more items will be added on a weekly basis, the primary entries are photographs taken on our journeys across North America in our recreational vehicle and articles published on the RV.net website that fostered hundreds of comments. ▪.  Richard Gregorie on August 20th, 2010 8:22 am  
Wow! We have just started RVing and your series was terrific. It will be a while before we will make such a venture, but you have given us something to look forward to. Thanks so much for taking the time to bring your great adventure into the homes of... Read more



PLANNING YOUR ROUTE

March 1, 2013 by Barry & Monique Zander · Comments Off 

By Barry Zander, Edited by Monique Zander, the Never-Bored RVers Today I was going to publish some of the comments received from our last blog, but a flash of thought took me in another direction.  I’ll convey your comments in the next article. On yesterday’s trip through several desert communities, we noticed RVs on the move.  We guess that for many snowbirds, the beginning of March is the onset of spring, and maybe our Canadian visitors need to get back across the border so they don’t lose health benefits. For most of us long-term RV touring travelers, taking off on a months-long journey can be done two ways:  planned or unplanned. Monique and I try to be spontaneous, but there are some realities that we have learned to take into consideration. In a couple of weeks we’ll be off on a six-month trip that will take us into 20 states, the District of Columbia and seven Canadian provinces. Having two goals to achieve this year is where the Our Mission: Fill in the Empty Green Spaces planning comes in, and spontaneity is where we expect to find adventure.  The two goals are; 1) filling out the U.S. map on our rig with all the continental states, including Alaska, and 2) experiencing the Canadian Maritimes (Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Labrador and Prince Edwards Island) plus Quebec and Ontario.  An additional goal is filling up on lobster and crab while on the East Coast. For those of you new to RVing or heading out on your first long trip, let me share what... Read more



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