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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Elk Crossing Highway #1 in Banff Alberta.

Elk Have Their Own Highway Crossing in Banff, Alberta


I received this email today and although there are a numerous wildlife roaming in this location, I doubted this image.

Email caption reads as follows.....

This is the actual turnoff from Banff to the # 1 highway to Calgary. Great picture isn't it? They had to build the animals (especially the elk) their own crossing because that was where the natural crossing was and after the highway was built there were far too many accidents. I understand it didn’t take the animals long to learn that this was their "road ."
I checked this story out on www.snopes.com This informative site relayed that although Parks Canada have built many fenced paths alongside the highways to keep wildlife safe - according to local residents, these elk are using an overpass built for the Canadian Pacific Railroad Track.
Peggi McDonald is the author of RV Travel to Canada E-Book and webhost of RVLiving.net - see RV Bookstore for details.

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Must-see INTERNATIONAL PEACE GARDENS

A ‘GEM’ IN THE NEAR GEOGRAPHIC CENTRE OF NORTH AMERICA

Every RVer should include a visit to the combined 7-mile utopia (2339.3 acres) situated on the border of Manitoba and North Dakota – it is indeed a joint USA/Canada community. I am still in awe that at the dedication ceremony in July 1932, over 50,000 people – either on foot or driving in numerous cars, gravitated to this isolated area for a day of games and dedication of the Cairn. This Garden is truly a combined labour of love to guarantee USA/Canada will never take up arms against one another.



A massive blanket of 150,000 colourful flowers created in a wide variety of impressive displays set the scene for the Peace Chapel; Bell Tower, 120-foot 4-sphere Peace Tower; Floral Clock; Steel girders from the World Trade Center from New York City and numerous more features highlight this one-of-a-kind attraction. Flowers peak July to August, but these Gardens are a popular destination year-round.


Photos from Peace Garden website




Camping is available on a ‘first-come; first-served’ basis – a few sites have electric and water ($22.00) but a large overflow area is also available ($14.00). Entry cost is $10.00 for every vehicle (RV or car). Additional campgrounds are located in North Dakota and Manitoba.

Travellers from the USA and/or from Canada go through a customs gate and if you return through the same gate you never left your country of origin. More details http://www.peacegarden.com/ or call 1-888-432-6732.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

ARE RESERVATIONS REQUIRED IN CANADIAN CAMPGROUNDS?


From Sunday to Thursday, it is not generally necessary to confirm a spot at the majority of Canadian campgrounds – unless of course a festival or special event is taking place. However it is wise to reserve a site for all weekends; most definitely for long weekends.

Photo taken Cozy Cabins Campground in Woodstock, New Brunswick (A member of several discount camping clubs).

Canada celebrates several long weekends between May to October. During these weekends ALL campgrounds will be very busy so reservations are a must. The months of July and August are high season - when the most RVers are on the move.


Summer holiday dates during 2007
May - The 24th May long weekend will be celebrated on the 21st May – the Monday closest to the actual 24th.
June – No long weekend
July – Canada Day - July 1st - is on a Sunday in 2007, so Monday the 2nd is considered a legal holiday. However most celebrations will take place on the Sunday.
August – The civic holiday will be Monday 7 Aug
September – Labour Day – the first Monday in Sept (3 Sep 07)
October – Cdn Thanksgiving – not a busy camping weekend but the 2nd Monday is the official holiday.

Peggi McDonald is the author of RV Travel to Canada E-Book and webhost of RVLiving.net - see RV Bookstore for details.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Heading to Newfoundland?

ENJOY AN UNHURRIED LIFE

Every RVer should include a tour of this laid-back quaint hospitable province in their travels. Years of traditions, rich history, down home culture, tasty food and mega hospitality plus scenery second to none awaits. Sights around every bend appear more picturesque than the outstanding vista you just passed.












The Vikings from Norway called the 'Rock' home for 3-4 decades in 1000 AD
Many more 'Pics' Here











Full service campgrounds are plentiful - but because there are numerous caravans enjoying the sites of the Island – it is wise to make reservations. A trip of several weeks may not be long enough.

Many RVers take the short ferry (5-6 hours) to Port aux Basque and return to North Sydney, Nova Scotia from Argenetia (14 hours). Prices are determined by number of passengers and length of the RV and if you are taking the short or long ferry.

NOTE: If at first look, the price of the Ferry seems costly, just associate it as the cost of a gas/fuel fill-up to drive for the same length of time.

For Ferry details, contact Marine Atlantic Ferry Terminal at 1-800-341-7981 (Press O for assistance). Newfoundland (Nfld) Tourism Info – 1- 800-563-6353



Posted by Peggi McDonald - webhost of RVLiving.net and author of RV Travel to Canada E-Book and - see RV Bookstore for details.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Headed to Banff? Here's campground information


Banff National Park is open year round, but the big crowds show up in July and August. Most campgrounds are on a first come, first serve basis so arriving early will give you the best chance of securing a site. If you plan to visit Canada's first national park this year with your RV, then check in here for the latest news and information about the park's campgrounds including fees for the 2007 season. And don't be too shocked at those prices: A full hookup site at the popular Tunnel Mountain Campground goes for $32.65. Primitive sites are less. Photo: Lake Louise and its famous lodge. If you visit the lake in peak season, arrive early to get a parking spot -- the big lot can be jammed all day.

Getting a passport taking longer than ever


American's flying or cruising in or out of Canada now need a U.S. passport. Beginning in 2008, they will need one to arrive or depart by land. The new rules have caused a flood of applications since late January when the U.S. government started requiring U.S. airline passengers — including children — to show a passport upon their return from Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean. Passport applications filed between October and March are up 44 percent from the same period a year ago, the department told lawmakers this week. In February alone, applications were up 25 percent. Because of the glut, it could take 10 weeks instead of the usual six to process routine applications, according to the department. And expedited requests, which cost an extra $60 on top of the normal $97 fee, could take four weeks instead of two. Need a passport soon? Get your application in pronto!

Updated Websites for Travel in Canada

RV Travel to Canada by Peggi McDonald.

Everything You Need to Know About RV Travel to Canada is on the 'Net someplace, but it takes me a month to pull it all together. And as a Canadian with 22 years of Fulltime RV travel experience, I know what I am looking for.

This E-Book allows your fingers to outline your next trip north of the USA Border. The mega number of websites, phone numbers plus extensive general information in RV Travel to Canada simplifies your planning and adds piece of mind to an RV Adventure in the friendly country to the north.

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Government Websites change frequently - the following are current as of 6 March 2007


Cdn Border Services Agency www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca

Plants and Pets and Food www.inspection.gc.ca

Know Before You Go (USA) www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/travel

Gun Regulations www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca go to ‘Visitors’

RV Road Regulations/towing etc www.rvda.ca/regulations.asp

National Parks www.parkscanada.gc.ca

Federal Tax Rebates www.cra-arc.gc.ca/visitors

Trip Planning Miles/Km www.freetrip.com

Provinces and Cross Border links www.rvliving.net/nalinks.htm

Waiver of Exclusion for Criminal Record DWI (DUI)
www.cic.gc.ca/english/applications/rehabil.html

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Peggi McDonald is webhost of RVLiving.net, the author of RV Travel to Canada E-Book and - see RV Bookstore for details.

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The wonders of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's Capital


OTTAWA CANADA’S CAPITAL

We recently enjoyed our first personal visit with a long time Internet friend Sandra Merrikan and hubby Gordon (a professional photographer). This adventuresome couple have thoroughly enjoyed their three-years of Fulltime travels – they’re still counting.

During our chance meeting we were discussing places to go as a result of an email I just received from RVers in British Columbia. Sandra and Gordon call Ottawa, Ontario – Canada’s Capital, home. Although it was also my childhood home, I joined the Canadian Military at age 18, so my first hand knowledge is minimal.

The RV Parks they use in Ottawa is the ‘Ottawa Municipal’ on Corkstown Road - http://www.ottawacampground.ca/Home.html Another gem is ‘Rideau Heights Campground’ (no website) on Rideau Heights Drive at Hunt Club and Prince of Wales DriveAnd ‘Tranquil Acres’, Appleton Side Road near Carleton Place - http://www.tranquilacrescamping.ca/

Sandra asked me to share the wonders of Ottawa in my answer to the email request..

Visitors to Ottawa during late May should not miss the vast picturesque Tulip Festival. These flowers are simply gorgeous! The Ottawa Municipal Campground opens on May 1st – just off Hwy 417. (Note: John and I have spent many a visit in this unique park – it’s also easy accessible to downtown).

A few additional ‘don’t-miss’ venues – John and I love to spending Canada Day (July 1st) on ‘Parliament Hill’ is simply an awesome experience. A picturesque, pleasant Canal Cruise is so peaceful – what a wonderful way to spend a summer day. Dow's Lake is another hot spot with great restaurants and a memorable area as is Preston Street - the Italian area with numerous Italian eateries. Make time to drive the Ottawa River Parkway - a pretty drive that simplifies travel from the west end of the city to downtown. Upper Canada Village is an excellent place to visit as well if you're into history.

A Fall drive is so colourful on the nearby Gatineau Parkway (across the Ottawa River in Quebec) - but a hike around Pink Lake is also pleasant – it is also beautiful during spring/summer. Chelsea is another pretty little town for lunch and Wakefield has some quaint little breakfast and lunch places as well - both in Ottawa and in Quebec, across a short bridge over the Ottawa river. For shopping, Bayshore and Carlingwood Shopping Centres in the west end offer a variety of shops. Bayshore is very close to the campground.

Read Sandra’s Blog at http://srmerrikinblog.blogspot.com/

Feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below. I will address them soonest. Don’t miss choosing Ottawa, Canada’s Capital as a destination stop – you will be happy you did. Travel safe. P&J

Peggi McDonald is webhost of RVLiving.net, the author of RV Travel to Canada E-Book and - see RV Bookstore for details..

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Quebec Celebrates 400 year Anniversary

400th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDING OF QUEBEC CITY

One of the best parts of RVing is exchanging ideas with all the great people we meet. During a recent week in our Florida campground, it seemed everyday was another wonderful association with new ‘Best’ friends. RVers generally don’t care what profession you worked at or how you lived - the majority are only interested in what you have seen OR where you’re heading.


During an evening walk in our park, Helene and Robert Chauvin from Southwestern Ontario saw our LUXOR and realized we were the writers their good friend Agathe frequently talked about. The four of us enjoyed a fantastic evening of sharing tips, hints and just great conversation.



However my interest really peaked when Helene shared info that Quebec City was hosting a colossal 400th Anniversary Party on the 3rd July 2008 to celebrate the history of thier Great City.



A visit to Quebec City is like taking a vacation in France. Experiencing the unique architecture, the ‘joy of Vive’ (Love of Life), the walled city, tasty French Food, great shopping and so much more is what memories are made of.


Don’t be concerned if French is not a familiar language because in most cities someone nearby will speak a basic level of English, although in the country communication may be a slight challenge. However, by learning how to say ‘Please’ (s'il vous plaît) ‘Thank You’ (merci), ‘Hello’ (bonjour! or salut!) and ‘Goodbye’ (au revoir) - plus add a smile – you will be OK in most areas. Having a pen and paper on hand helps with directions too.



Most campgrounds promote daylong bus tours that include a morning tour along with a drop-off at city centre from noon to 5 PM to explore on your own. A bus returns ticket holders to the park. My favourite RV Park is the ‘KOA’ – owner Charles and his knowledgeable staff speaks English, plus several other languages. If a bus tour is not in your plans, the KOA offer a series of personal driving tours with easy access to downtown. Quebec is proud of their historic French image – why not join in for their celebration ‘Party’.


Good friend Sandra Merrikin recommended their favourite RV Park at Levis, Quebec – ‘Camping Transit’ is a short ferry ride to Quebec City Centre, plus it is a Passport America Park - Details at http://www.quebecweb.com/campingtransit/



Full details on the 400th Anniversary can be found at (www.quebec400.qc.ca/en )


Peggi McDonald is webhost of RVLiving.net, the author of RV Travel to Canada E-Book and - see RV Bookstore for details. If I can be of any assistance or provide more info please leave me a comment

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Ontario Provincial Parks Have YURTS

WHAT IS A YURT?


When I began this research I had no idea what a YURT was and even though I call Ontario home I also had no idea that Ontario has 285 Provincial Parks – although 178 are non-operating without staff and services, 69 parks are rated for full service RECREATIONAL USE with campgrounds and many amenities .


Many parks also have YURTS so your non-RVing friends can join you. A YURT is a permanent canvas structure with beds, table, BBQ etc. but without water or bathroom facilities. Basically they are a cross between tent and a cabin.


Ontario Provincial Parks are extremely popular however in the past they were also over-run with numerous cancellations/no-shows. This meant many campsites stood vacant while those who wanted a space could not enjoy the park. As a result Ontario Provincial Parks now charge a $12.00 registration fee. Their cancellation charge is $9.00 plus 10-50% of the camping fee depending on the length and advance warning of the reservations. RVers can still take their chances hoping to find a site on a 'drive-up' basis, but these parks are exptremly popular during the summer months. Campsites generally only offer 30/15 amp electric only, however water taps and dump stations are close by.


Comprehensive details can be found at http://www.ontarioparks.com To reserve or ask questions from a real person (or to listen to recorded voice assistance) call 1888-ONT-PARKS (1-888-668-7275).


For Ontario Travel Tips reference festivals, seasonal info, great get-away ideas, border info, currency and more, dial 1800-ONTARIO or go to www.ontariotravel.net


In this Blog I’ll relay various camping info and other concerns for RVers travelling within Canada. Feel Free to leave any comments or questions below and I will respond soonest. Travel safe. P&J


Peggi McDonald is webhost of RVLiving.net, the author of RV Travel to Canada E-Book and - see RV Bookstore for details.

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Thursday, March 8, 2007

PLAN AHEAD – PASSPORT DELAYS CAN BE LENGTHY

This is the second part of the Passport issue - prices and time frame for processing.

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According to Travel State.gov (US National Passport Information Center: (1-877-487-2778 or 877-4USA-PPT) processing time for an American Passport is 6-weeks – a fast tracked application can be processed in 3 working days for $60.00 more – but postal or courier time could extend this timeframe to two-weeks. However, with the present high demand for new passports, the ‘experts’ suggest applicants apply several months before their trip.

To obtain an American passport for the first time, you need to appear in person to one of over 8,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States. Applications can be Printed On-line Renewals do not have to be in person.

Canadian details to obtain a Passport can be found at Passports.ca (1-800 567 – 6868). Prior to the new US requirements, scheduled processing time was between 10-20 working days from the time it reaches the Passport office – mail and courier excluded. However with the rush for residents trying to comply with the new regulations, Passport offices are under a very heavy workload. Due to the sharp volume increase in applications Passport Canada has added up to 25 business days - maybe longer to the processing period.
In Canada you can also print a Passport Application On-line or pick an application form at any Canada Post outlet or Service Canada Centre.
Full details for filing Passports in either country can be found at Travel State.gov (USA) and Passports.ca (Canada) – follow links.

Costs For Americans
After age 16 the application fee is $67. plus an execution fee is $30 = $97.00. The application fee includes the $12.00 Security Surcharge as of March 8, 2005. Under age 16 application fee drops to $52.00 plus the execution fee of $30.00 = $82.00. This Passport is good for 10 years.
Costs for Canadians
Fees for adults over 16 cost is $87.00 for a 24-page Passport (a 48-page passport can be requested if you collect many visa stamps for $92.00), Children 3-15 is $37.00 (48-page = $39) and under 3 years old $22 (48-page = $24). Canadian Passport expires in 5 years.


NOTE: Plans are underway on both sides of the border to change Passport requirements for children under age 15. The new requirement is expected to be a special Identity card. Time will tell where this leads to.



Peggi McDonald is WebHost of RVLiving.net and author of several RV books including RV Travel to Canada E-Book – next update Spring 2007 see RV Bookstore for details.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Is This Your Summer To Travel North?

For this first post I have decided to get the Passport info out of the way. It's on a lot of people's minds, with many questions. Changes are occuring and with advance warning obtaining a Passport will be a minor bump in the road.

RVers who hope to venture to Canada, should be aware of changes in Passport regulations and begin planning now.

As of January 23, 2007, all AIR passengers must have a valid Passport to ‘fly’ into the USA, however RVers and other land travellers have another year - maybe longer before this form of identification is required. Originally Passport date for land and sea passengers was set for January 1, 2008, but according to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) for Canadians the latest deadline is June 1, 2009.

Read the FACT SHEET covering the new PASS System (People, Access Security Service) and about WHTI for Homeland Security Until the deadline is reached, proof of citizenship and identity such as a Birth Certificate plus a Photo ID (e.g. Drivers Licence) will be accepted.


Several points RVers should be aware of…
▪ Although in 2007, land travellers do NOT require a Passport to drive across the border; however if you had to quickly return to the USA by Air for medical or an emergency of some kind – without a Passport you could not re-enter the USA.
▪ The passport requirement does not apply to U.S. citizens travelling to or returning directly from a U.S. territory.
▪ A Canadian Passport can be replaced if it is lost, stolen, damaged, destroyed or inaccessible on your trip.
▪ Click here to report a lost stolen, damaged, destroyed or inaccessible American passport.


If you have items you would like addressed or comments on this topic feel free to let me know. Travel safe everyone, P&J


Peggi McDonald is WebHost of RVLiving.net and author of several RV books including RV Travel to Canada E-Book – next update Spring 2007 see RV Bookstore for details.

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