Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wild Times in a Winnebago

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wild Times in a Winnebago

Article excerpt


THE parting words of the nice lady who handed us the keys to our giant Winnebago, as we embarked on our Maritime Canada motoring adventure, were a chilling reminder that this region still has parts as wild as ever they were. Especially for drivers.

"Avoid the roads at dusk," she said. "It's when you're most likely to encounter moose or bear, and they do a lot of damage if you hit one."

But a close encounter was what our 12-year-old twins wanted -- the chance to spot some of the more impressive native wildlife on our three-week driving tour.

If you like motoring holidays there's really nothing like taking the wheel of a Winnebago; it's the perfect mix of driving, sight-seeing, family fun and adventure.

Joseph and Anna were smitten as soon as they saw the 30ft monster at CanaDream, resplendent with truck-style door mirrors and brash chromed wheels. "Cool," chimed Joseph and Anna, before scrambling to fight over the bunk beds hidden over the driving cabin.

They needn't have worried; the one thing an RV (recreational vehicle) isn't short on is space. We'd planned a 1,700-mile, three-week tour of rugged Maritime Canada, a region encompassed and shaped by the Atlantic Ocean and comprising Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, and we wanted to be comfortable. At night we luxuriated in a queen-size bed; our private bedroom led to a bathroom with shower and flushing ceramic toilet. No need for urgent pee stops for us, or emptying by hand a toilet "cassette", an unwelcome part of UK camping. In Canada, RV-ers connect directly not just to mains electricity and water but drains too. Job done, as they say.

Tea stops were another joy. The galley kitchen boasted a stove, oven, microwave and fridge, so cuppas in remote beauty-spots were part of the fun.

Our adventure started in Halifax -- the huge motorhome was intimidating at first but Canadian drivers' natural courtesy and well-surfaced roads soon put us at ease.

We struck out on the Lighthouse Route tracing the craggy coastal outline of Nova Scotia, past whitewashed clapboard homesteads and through pretty fishing villages.

First stop was Peggy's Cove, a breathtaking moonscape of white boulders holding back choppy seas and crowned by a child's picture-book lighthouse.

We got our first taste of true wilderness at 147-square-mile Kejimkujik National Park. Home to bear, moose and ancient hemlock forests, it was action holiday heaven.

We explored the mysterious, labyrinthine waterways in wooden canoes to discover lakes and sandy beaches and, at night, huddled around our campfire to gaze at the stars. But, so far, no sightings of bear or moose.

Next came the Bay of Fundy, home to the world's greatest tidal range. …

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