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RandV

Eastern US/Canada/Texas Trip Advice

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We (wife and I, no pets) will be leaving Florida July 8th for a four month trip in our 27 ft. TT.  We have taken two month and a six month trips within the last few years, so aren't rookies, but haven't RV'd in the eastern part of the US and Canada before.

 

Our itinerary: Florida to Buffalo, NY through Pittsburgh.

                      Niagara Falls to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. 

                      QC to coastal Maine, then ramble around as much of New England as possible.

                      Then to Upstate New York, then  through Cleveland to Chicago (any suggestions for side trips into Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana?)

                      Then to Denver to visit family

                      Then to Carlsbad Caverns NP, Big Bend NP, West Texas, Texas Hill Country, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, then home to Tampa Bay.

 

Obviously we realize we can't see everything along that route! We are in our late 60's, reasonably fit and active, and enjoy both cities and the countryside.  We like to stay in state and national parks when possible, and reasonably priced commercial parks (swimming pools, cable TV aren't important).  We usually stay in one location for 2-5 days.

 

When we went on our long West Coast trip a couple of years ago we posted a question like this and got lots of really great tips, so thought I would try it again, especially since we haven't visited many of these areas, especially not in an RV.

 

So, if you are from or are familiar with the places along our route, please chime in with suggestions, warnings, etc.!

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Riley and Val

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We really enjoyed our time in Quebec City, which is the only walled city in North America and was founded the same year as Jamestown in the US. Plan plenty of time there as there is much to see. Be sure to take the time to visit the Huron First Nations cultural center that is a short trip from the city.

In Maine do not miss Acadia National Park as it is worth several days time. Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, near Calis, has the highest density black bear population in the US. As you travel back to Maine from Quebec City, if you have time, travel east and visit Prince Edward Island and also Nova Scotia. If you get out that far, make a stop in St. Johns on your way back to see the reversing waterfalls and also visit Flower Pot Rocks. A good place to stay in the area of Bangor Maine is Pumpkin Patch RV park.

If you pass through the area of Detroit, be sure to spend time at the Ford Museum Complex and give yourself at least 2 days there. In Wisconsin do not miss the House on the Rock and allow at least 2 days there.  If you pass through Nebraska, be sure to stop at Chadron State Park, one of the most intact forts from the days of the Indian wars and the place where Chief Crazy Horse died. There is also an RV park there.

I'll leave it to others now as I could easily fill at least 6 months of travel with things in the areas that you have listed on your route. 

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We enjoyed the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the CN Tower in Toronto. Gettysburg had a huge impact on me. The RV Museum and Hall of Fame is in Indiana. We enjoyed so many places along the East Coast I would have to go look at our blog to remember them all. But, we traveled a lot slower than you appear to be planing on doing. 

If you let us know what types of places you like to visit we might be able to give you better feedback. For instance, we like nature trails, science museums, and living history sites.

Linda

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Somehow my reply got lost, so I'll try again.

When visiting Chicago a must see is the Museum of Science and Industry, what was most interesting to DW was the German WW II submarine  on display, guided tours through the sub used to be scheduled daily. The also have RV and bus, day parking (it's best to pre-arrange parking).

Come to think about it, I think I replied to your same question on irv2.com

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16 hours ago, Kirk W said:

We really enjoyed our time in Quebec City, which is the only walled city in North America and was founded the same year as Jamestown in the US. Plan plenty of time there as there is much to see. Be sure to take the time to visit the Huron First Nations cultural center that is a short trip from the city.

When we visit Quebec City we always stay in one of the parks on the Levis side of the river.  There's parking near the ferry and seniors can ride for a couple of dollars as pedestrians. On the Quebec side the ferry terminal is in the heart of the old city which is not an easy place to access by car.   We're planning on being there in late June.

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1 hour ago, Ray,IN said:

When visiting Chicago a must see is the Museum of Science and Industry, what was most interesting to DW was the German WW II submarine  on display, guided tours through the sub used to be scheduled daily. 

X2. I thought about listing this museum and submarine but was sure someone else would. :)

Linda

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I was born in Detroit, so I am a little biased about this great city.  First, best place to stay is Sterling State Park, about 20 miles south of Detroit.  It is directly on Lake Erie, so enjoy the view of the lake, and make this your headquarters for a couple of days.  It has both full hookup sites and electric-water sites.  There is an electric plant on the south end of the park, so the north end, and on the beach at that end, are the best sites because of the noise.  A benefit is a coin-operated car wash big enough for RVs across from the entrance.

In nearby Dearborn, the home of Ford Motor Company, definitely see the Henry Ford Museum for vehicles and memorabilia, including Presidential cars, Henry's first camper, and a ton of other stuff.  Just that will take 3-4 hours.  Plus take the factory tour that leaves from the museum.  It will take you to a nearby plant which has a grass roof and all the most modern assembly methods.  Next door is Greenfield Village, which has a lot of old buildings, including one of Edison's labs.  That is at least a half day, also. 

If you are in Dearborn around lunch or dinner time, ask around for recommendations to one of the terrific middle-eastern restaurants in town.  Or if you want elegant early American ambiance, try the Dearborn Inn, not too far from the Henry Ford Museum.  It is a place you would take your grandmother to for a special dinner!  Not cheap, but very special and built by Henry Ford in 1931 as a hotel for his airport, which is now a small auto test track across the street. Designer was famous Albert Kahn.

Also, in Detroit is one of the best and largest art museums in the country--The Detroit Institute of Arts. (Remember that Detroit was once a very wealthy city, whose auto barons donated a lot of money and art to this place.)  And not too far away is the riverfront area--great place to walk around and watch the Detroit River and very safe during the day.  Also, Belle Isle nearby is now a state park and a great place to watch the big boats go by.  There is a lovely greenhouse and botanical garden, an aquarium, nature center, plus the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on the island.  Stop by the fountain and drive completely around the island--great place and recently revitalized and kept in great condition by thousands of Detroit area volunteers. 

Edited by Solo18

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Now for Michigan--or "Up North" as it is referred to.

A good state park and campground with full hookups is Hartwick Pines State Park, north of Grayling. There is a logging museum, and you can walk among the virgin White Pines. 

Traverse City in the northwest of the lower peninsula has great wineries and breweries and is directly on a huge bay of Lake Michigan.  It is a lovely city to drive and walk around in, plus drive up the Mission Peninsula, which is the long peninsula in the middle of the big bay, and full of vineyards and good restaurants.

And a must is Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island--spelled differently but pronounced the same. Stop in Mackinaw City and find the parking lot under the bridge along the lake--large RV parking spaces and a great place to walk around.  (Do watch for low areas under the bridge in town where you could lose your roof.) 

Mackinac Island is where the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve was filmed. It has a state park on the island and some beautiful old Victorian homes.  You take a passenger ferry from Mackinaw city and can bring bikes, but cars are not allowed on the island.  Highway 185 around the island is 8 miles long and the only state highway in the country where cars and other motor vehicles are not allowed.  So, you ride bikes or rent a horse-drawn carriage to drive around the island.  There are bikes for rent on the island and horse-drawn taxis and tours available there also.  The island was settled by French missionaries in 1670, but the English took over and built Fort Mackinac in 1780.  The French planted lilacs in the early 1700s, and many are still living and are incredible when they are in bloom in June.  

And north of Mackinaw is Sault St Marie, where the Soo Locks between Lake Superior and Lake Huron are located.  You can watch the big freighters go through from an observation deck.  There is also a city park about a mile east of the locks, Aune Osborn, which is right on the St. Mary's river, where the boats go after or before they go through the locks.  The boats are so close you can wave at the workers on deck!!  Get a waterfront site months in advance, if you can, for the best view. https://www.saultcity.com/aune-osborn-campground 

Edited by Solo18

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On 5/22/2019 at 4:55 PM, RandV said:

 

We (wife and I, no pets) will be leaving Florida July 8th for a four month trip in our 27 ft. TT.  We have taken two month and a six month trips within the last few years, so aren't rookies, but haven't RV'd in the eastern part of the US and Canada before.

 

Our itinerary: Florida to Buffalo, NY through Pittsburgh.

                      Niagara Falls to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. 

                      QC to coastal Maine, then ramble around as much of New England as possible.

                      Then to Upstate New York, then  through Cleveland to Chicago (any suggestions for side trips into Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana?)

                      Then to Denver to visit family

                      Then to Carlsbad Caverns NP, Big Bend NP, West Texas, Texas Hill Country, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, then home to Tampa Bay.

 

Obviously we realize we can't see everything along that route! We are in our late 60's, reasonably fit and active, and enjoy both cities and the countryside.  We like to stay in state and national parks when possible, and reasonably priced commercial parks (swimming pools, cable TV aren't important).  We usually stay in one location for 2-5 days.

 

When we went on our long West Coast trip a couple of years ago we posted a question like this and got lots of really great tips, so thought I would try it again, especially since we haven't visited many of these areas, especially not in an RV.

 

So, if you are from or are familiar with the places along our route, please chime in with suggestions, warnings, etc.!

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Riley and Val

I may be a little partial but If you can, I would visit Nova Scotia after leaving Quebec then on to Maine. Nova Scotia is the hidden Gem of Canada I was fortunate to live there for 24 yrs. I am sure that you will not regret the adventure. While in NS you must do the Cabot Trail. Trust me you willnot regret this side trip.

Art

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I agree with Nova Scotia, on the Cabot Trail (we geocached it), watch the river flow backwards, and go to Halifax (love that city) and Peggy's Cove!  

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9 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

I agree with Nova Scotia, on the Cabot Trail (we geocached it), watch the river flow backwards, and go to Halifax (love that city) and Peggy's Cove!  

I agree with the Nova Scotia suggestion (although it's not clear that the OP has time in his family's already busy trip).  One place to see not previously mentioned is Grand Pre, the Canadian national historic site which commemorates the expulsion of the Acadians from Canada.  The Acadia expulsion gave the US the folks we know as Cajuns (and their fabulous food!) and it's a moving story about a sorry episode in human history.  FWIW the Longfellow poem Evangeline was based on the Acadian expulsion and a statue of Evangeline graces the site.  Grand Pre National Historic Site

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OP here. Many great ideas, thanks to all who have taken the time to write.    

We enjoy cities (museums, architecture, casual local restaurants, etc.).  We've had good experiences finding an RV park on the outskirts and commuting in for 2-3 days.  Tips that fit this plan are welcome for the Canadian cities and Chicago.  We are skipping NY, Boston, Philly, DC this trip.  We recently lived in Denver, so are familiar there.

The suggestions for Parks, historical sites, great scenery, interesting small towns, etc. are very welcome.  As I said, no way we can see it all on such a long trip, but love the thoughts of those who have been there to help us decide what to include.

Plan so far is to be in Canada four weeks starting late July and August, New England and Upstate NY for a month late Aug and Sept., then west to Chicago, then arriving in Denver early October for a wedding, leaving there October 14th.  So our trip through Texas and the south will be in hopefully cooler weather.  

Thanks again, and please keep posting!

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15 hours ago, docj said:

I agree with the Nova Scotia suggestion (although it's not clear that the OP has time in his family's already busy trip).  One place to see not previously mentioned is Grand Pre, the Canadian national historic site which commemorates the expulsion of the Acadians from Canada.  The Acadia expulsion gave the US the folks we know as Cajuns (and their fabulous food!) and it's a moving story about a sorry episode in human history.  FWIW the Longfellow poem Evangeline was based on the Acadian expulsion and a statue of Evangeline graces the site.  Grand Pre National Historic Site

Joel, this is somewhat off-topic, but when we were in Riverview NS we saw two men surfing the river, with the inflow/tide incoming, they were riding a 3' wave, in wet suits of course.

Edited by Ray,IN

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