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The adventures of Sully and the TaJ-ma-Haul begins

How we got to this point, where we are going.

May 12, 2017

A bit about us: Jenny and I are retired and live in rural Nova Scotia when we are not on the road. We are experienced travelers and understand that everything does not always run smooth when you travel with a trailer. This is our fifth blog. We do not bang away at 110 kph on expressways as we travel: most of our travel is on secondary roads, and we are not afraid of taking our chances up gravel roads as well.
While we enjoy full service R/V parks, just as often we will boondock, or camp with limited services.

We rarely visit large cities on our explorations...when we worked, we lived in big cities and they hold no particular excitement for us anymore. Places with dark skies where we can see the stars and hike in the wilds are more our cup of tea

We have spent the last 5 years traveling with a 1976 boler 13 foot trailer. We sold the boler in the spring of 2016, thinking we were done with trailer travel. By mid summer of 2016 we had decided that we needed to keep moving, with so much to see and do across North America, and driving with motel stays was just not doing it for us. On a relatively short trip south in June we spent over $3,500 on motels and rental suites.

We longed for the open road with less restrictions on our travel budget. So, we bought ourselves a whole new travel rig.

  • Our tow vehicle is a 2016 Honda Pilot, with a 5000 pound towing capacity. Essentially it is a basic model all wheel drive Pilot, with a factory tow package. We have named the Pilot Sully, after the airline pilot who landed his plane the Hudson River.
  • Our trailer is a 2017 Forest River R-pod model 179, a 20 foot home away from home. We ordered our for delivery in the spring of 2017. The trailer is named the TaJ-ma-Haul, or TaJ. The TaJ is short for our names, Tony and Jenny,


All winter long we planned the route. We leave June 1 for 6 months on the road. We expect to tow the R-pod for 21,000 kilometers, and put another 19,000 kilometers on the Pilot touring around places we visit. Our route takes us across Canada from our home in Nova Scotia.

Part one: On the way west we will visit 3 Canadian National Parks we haven't been to before: Puskawa on Lake Superior, Grasslands in southern Saskatchewan and Wood Buffalo, in the Northwest Territories.

Our ultimate destination on this leg is the Yukon and Alaska. If all goes according to plan, we should arrive in Dawson Creek, British Columbia on July 19 and start our trip up the Alaska Highway on July 22. We will be joined on this leg of the journey by Debra, an old buddy from Duncan, BC who tows a Trillium trailer.

Our loop trip through the Yukon and into Alaska will take 23 days, and about 900 kilometers of this portion will be on gravel roads, so that will be a test for our travel rig. We will cross into the US at the northernmost border crossing on the Top of the World Highway. Most of the campgrounds in both the Yukon and Alaska do not have services so we will be boondocking much of the time. We know there are full service R/V parks along the way, but we prefer the more rugged camping experiences when we have that opportunity.

Coming out of that portion of the trip, we will take the Cassiar Highway, from Watson Lake, down through Jade City, where an intrepid family mines Jade for the Chinese market. We make a side trip to Stewart,BC/Hyder, AK, the most remote border crossing between Canada/US.

We will end this portion of the trip in Prince Rupert, BC, where we will store the trailer and take a 3 day excursion to Haida Gwaii. We'll be staying in a guest house in Masset and will explore the culture and scenery of a wild island 300 kilometers off the western shore of British Columbia. Our travel friends from Texas, George and Karmen Reid, with their Airstream will meet us in Prince Rupert for this portion of the trip.

Part two: Beginning in late August we will head south through British Columbia and on into the United States. We plan to pick up several National Parks on the way: Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Death Valley, Joshua Tree as well as the south side of the Grand Canyon. By the end of September we should be in Arizona.

Part three: Through October we will begin heading east picking up two more National Parks: Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Big Bend in Texas. We will be meeting up with George and Karmen in Mission TX and spending a bit of time at South Padre Island before heading on to New Orleans.

Part four: The long trip home, through the Florida panhandle and up the east coast of the US. As we get farther north, camping opportunities will become few and far between. We expect once we get past North Carolina in late November it will just be a 3-4 day run home to Nova Scotia.

We expect to visit 8 Canadian Provinces, and 2 Territories, as well as 22 US states. We will visit 13 National Parks in Canada and the US that we have not been to, plus several more will get a second visit. We will post ratings of campgrounds as we go as well as to assess the performance of our tow vehicle and the R-pod.

Summary: We took delivery of our Honda Pilot on December 1, 2016 and have spent the winter getting used to it. It is the largest vehicle either of us have ever driven on a regular basis.

We took delivery of our R-pod 179 on April 25 and spent three weeks looking over its features. However, until you actually put it to the test in a realistic camping situation, it is all just speculation on how things work.

Entry #2 of the blog will take us through the test weekend and our discoveries as well as the final preparations for our upcoming journey. If you bookmark the blog location on your computer you can check in on a regular basis for our reports from the road.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 04:31 Archived in Canada Tagged parks alaska national yukon r-pods

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Great plan, enjoy and looking forward to hearing bout your adventure....

by DoreenL

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