Serena, Roz & Manny
We are two adventurers traveling in our Freedom II Serenity RV, and founding members of the Leisure Travel Vans Ambassador Referral Program, a.k.a. ARP.
We’ve got places to see, stories to find, people to meet, experiences to blog, recipes to share, videos to shoot, and photos to take!
We are going to travel around the United States and Canada for the next couple of years. Then, we are planning to ship Serena —our RV— to Europe, and continue our adventures in the old continent.
This web site is the windshield that allows you to watch our adventures from the comfort zone of your own space. The road ahead of us is constantly changing, and so is the content of our web site. Hop aboard, and enjoy the ride!
I never felt my age or worried about it until I turned 60. For the first time in my life I actually thought about my own mortality. I don’t mean to sound morbid —I still haven’t started reading the obituaries— but the question, “How many good years do we have left?” suddenly loomed very large.
My husband Manuel (a.k.a. Manny) and I had always dreamed of a life of travel when we retired. For his sixtieth birthday in 2007, we took a seven-week trip to Europe. We traveled by plane, train and rented car, starting in Amsterdam so we could relive the Seventies and ending in Rome, where we immersed ourselves in exquisite antiquity. What a trip!
While strolling around Quebec City, It was evident that there was a rich history to be discovered. I’ve mentioned my aversion to boring travel guide books, but fortunately, the old city has a unique “live audio tour” not available in most places. We headed to a nearby carriage stop, so we could get an insiders’ look at Quebec straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
As luck would have it, we found the perfect driver for us, a true kindred spirit. Pierre works hard and lives lean; his only worldly possessions all fit in his back pack. The tourist season in Quebec is winding down, and soon Pierre will throw his bag over his shoulder and head for South America, where his Peruvian girlfriend awaits to explore the Amazon jungle with him, then wherever the road takes them. Bon voyage, Pierre! Read more
Manny and old Busker
Walking around old Quebec, you can experience a unique world of art and entertainment without ever stepping inside a museum or entering a dark theatre.
As we meandered through the winding streets, we came upon the Mural of Quebecers, a huge fresco which told the 400 year history of Quebec in the trompe-l’oeil style. A guitar player performing on the street is prominently featured in the Mural of Quebecers.
“Buskerfests” are Festivals of Buskers, and they are popular all over the United States and Canada. Worthy of mention are the Toronto Busker Fest in Toronto, Ontario, the Long Beach Busker Fest in Long Beach, California, the Lawrence Busker Fest in Lawrence, Kansas, the Sault St. Marie Busker Fest in Sault St. Marie, Ontario, the Fort Wayne Busker Fest in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the Downtown Dundas Busker Fest in Dundas, Ontario, the Niagara Falls Busker Fest in Niagara Falls, Ontario and most importantly, the Halifax Busker Fest in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Since eating and drinking are two of our favorite activities, Manny and I knew that the Quebec road trip called La Route des Saveurs de Charlevoix was a must. At the Charlevoix tourist office, we got a beautiful brochure that highlighted 23 of the region’s proud producers and 16 restaurants that serve their products. I rarely get excited about brochures, but this one is so well laid out, enticing and professionally done, it is worthy of mention. We chose several of the most unique places to visit. Read more
For me, the tricky thing about the RV lifestyle is enjoying a variety of tourist locations without spending money like you are on vacation. That can be difficult when there are entrance fees for worthwhile attractions, outdoor cafes that beckon you to enjoy a nice meal and a bottle of wine, and souvenirs you just can’t live without. All of that costs money, and if you’re not careful, can blow your budget very quickly.
One way to offset expenses is to save money by boondocking, or dry camping. For those of you who are not RVers, boondocking simply means spending the night without paying. It is usually in a place where there are no amenities like electric, water, or sewage hookups. Campgrounds can cost anywhere from $20.00 to $50.00 per night, depending on where they are, what they offer and whether they are public or private. Read more
In our loosely planned itinerary, the next stop was going to be the region of Charlevoix. However, Gille and Pierrette, the Quebeçois couple we met at the church with a view, encouraged us to first stop at L’Isle d’Orleans, a small historic island on our way. We’ve learned that suggestions of locals are usually the best advice to follow, so we headed over the 1063 feet suspension bridge, and entered a rural landscape where time had stood still. Read more
Categories: Canada, Cuisine
Manny and I both have our duties. He is the driver, dumper, videographer and webmaster. I am the cook, travel coordinator, photographer and writer. Surprisingly, the job of travel coordinator is the most difficult for me to pull off successfully. It isn’t easy to go into a new city and know where to go, what to see and when to do it all.
Most travel guides, even those provided at the tourist information centers, are painfully boring. I’ve started consulting Trip Advisor and similar travel websites for the opinions and photos of other visitors. Read more
Driving through Montreal the day before to reach our campsite, we had encountered an unpleasant morass of traffic due to miles of road construction. So we opted to take public transportation for our day of sightseeing. Armed with a map, tourist book and subway guide, Manny and I headed for the nearest metro stop, Longueuil, only about 18 miles away. Read more
When we tried to ascertain the amount of alcohol allowed across the border into Canada, we found the answer rather confusing. Is the “1.5 liters of wine, 1.14 liters of liquor, a 24-pack of beer or ale, or 1.14 liters of wine and liquor together” per person or per vehicle? So, rather than risk being accused of smuggling, we decided to enter our northern neighbor dry. Hence, once safely into Quebec, we needed to stock up. Read more
Categories: Canada, Language
Serena watching a freighter
Our decision to return to the US and to travel along the northern coast of New York proved to be an excellent one. New York State Parks were at least 30% less expensive than Ontario provincial parks, not to mention that they gave us a better bang for our buck! The first State Park we stopped at was a true gem. Although it was one of the tiniest parks we’ve ever encountered, with only 50 sites, Golden Hill was thoughtfully planned out, so that every spot had a great view.
We needed to resupply before heading back to the US, so we decided to stop at SuperStore, a top Toronto foodstore chain. Closed?? How can that be? It’s Monday. When we queried a local resident, she replied matter-of-factly, “It’s Labor Day.” Read more