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Old 02-04-2011, 05:52 PM   #1
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1973 31' Sovereign
San Antonio , Texas
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 5
From Texas to Vancouver, B.C.

This is my first posting to AirForum, though I have been studying this site for over a year while preparing for, buying, fixing up an airstream, and taking an extended trip from San Antonio to Vancouver, Canada. We have been RVerís for many years starting with a motor home, then 5th wheel. Due to our busy jobs most of our traveling has been weekend trips and summer vacations I am sure all of you know the feeling of freedom when your week was really stressful, you can get in your RV and leave all your troubles behind. We wanted to downsize to our RV and fell in love with the airstreams. We are now the proud owners of a 1973 airstream Sovereign with center bath and twin beds (plan to change that). We looked at many airstreams from individuals but there were too many unknowns. We selected a consignment from Camperís World. We had them check out all the major systems with the anticipation of only doing cosmetic types of fix up. We rolled out of there paying $8,800. They replaced the gas lines and water lines, some we paid and some they covered. However, there were lots of surprises to come, such as when we pulled up the carpet and found rotten sub floor and rusted frame. I am posting before and after pictures.

We are now in Olympia, Washington, after just leaving the Oregon coast. We got a late start leaving San Antonio, but the weather has been remarkably lucky. At this moment, my family has snow in South Texas but we have been enjoying weather in the 40-50s. Still on our way to Vancouver and have been repairing all along the way. My husband likes to read adventure explorer books and says that most of the ancient explorers time was spent fixing their stuff.

For those that qualify, retired or 100% military disabled, we were able to stay in lots of military campgrounds, the rates are great $17-24.00 a night. The cost has no relation to the amenities. You can pay $17.00 at Nellis in Las Vegas and have all facilities, WiFi and cable, on the other hand, in San Luis Obispo, CA, it could be $ 24.00 and be a mud field with W/E/S. You can use the commissary, PX with NO TAX, but it is a hassle for security checks going in and out of the base.

Please let me hear from you about places to see, eat at, or RV park especially Seattle, Vancouver, or Victoria, Canada.

Best Wishes and Happy Airstreaming,

Ann and Randy Hardee
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:15 PM   #2
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2008 25' Safari SS SE
Colleyville , Texas
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Happy trails Randini. We are sitting here in DFW snowbound! Go figure!
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:36 PM   #3
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North Vancouver , British Columbia
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When coming to Vancouver, I'd not recommend Capilano RV park despite it being closest to the city centre. They're going through ownership problems right now and I'm not sure if the service is going to be very reliable.

My parents stayed at Burnaby Cariboo RV and said it was very good. Very close to the skytrain which brings you right downtown to see the sites. No need to drive your car!

BCRV: Camping, tenting at BC RV Park for travel in Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Hope you enjoy your trip.
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Old 02-05-2011, 05:16 PM   #4
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1973 31' Sovereign
San Antonio , Texas
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Vancouver

Thanks so much for the info. It is just what we needed, about where to stay.
Last time we were there, we really liked the market at Granville Island.
Do you have any suggestions about where to stay on Victoria Island?
Thanks, again
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Old 02-05-2011, 07:40 PM   #5
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2005 19' Safari
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Randini, hope you planned ahead and left any firearms in Texas (or have someplace to store them when you get to the border), as they are not allowed in Canada.

We took the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria; then, after a few days on the island, on over to Vancouver. Lots of little islands on that leg (San Juan Islands, I think). And, we saw deer swimming from island to island in the ocean, a real surprise as it's a long way from the mainland.

In Victoria, don't miss Bouchart Gardens. I am not a garden person, but this place is beautiful. I figured I'd sit on a bench for an hour or two an let my wife look at the flowers, but we stayed all day. What a unique collection of unusual plants from all over the world in a beautifully landscaped, serene old quarry.

Unless it has been expanded in recent years, you can skip Sea-Land. It's OK if you haven't been to Sea World or other similar parks. However, it's small with limited displays. Also, the undersea attactions in the bay area are very touristy and not up to par with places like the Monterey Bay Aquarium. If you are interested in aquariums, sea mammels, museums, etc., I'd make the run down the California coast through San Francisco, Monterey Bay, and Highway 1 to San Diego for these.

Victoria is like being in Europe, but everyone speaks English. We were there in the summer, and it's great to sit outdoors, sipping a glass of wine with a little cheese and bread, watching the tourists.

If you go through Vancouver, checkout Chinatown. I'm not sure, but I think it is bigger than Chinatown in San Francisco. Also, a lot of the Chinese sausage and other ethnic foods in oriental markets in the USA come from Vancouver.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randini View Post
Thanks so much for the info. It is just what we needed, about where to stay.
Last time we were there, we really liked the market at Granville Island.
Do you have any suggestions about where to stay on Victoria Island?
Thanks, again
Victoria is the city on Vancouver Island. Just had to mention that so you don't get puzzled looks when you're up here asking for directions!

Depending on how much time you have, I'd encourage you to drive up the island highway and then cut across to the west side along highway 4. This will take you through the Cathedral Grove and through to Tofino and Ucluelet. Long Beach stretches between the two communities and it is beautiful! It's also Canada's surfing capital. There are several camping options with Green Point being in the National park, right on the ocean. Reservations are a must.

Parks Canada - Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada - Camping

There are a lot of private campground options as well, so just do a google search for 'Tofino camping' or 'Ucluelet camping' and you'll get all sorts of information.

Victoria is okay for a day visit, but I'd encourage you spend more time exploring the rest of the island as there are far more interesting things to see and do. Up the island is Roderick Haig-Brown country and has some of the finest fly fishing anywhere.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:01 PM   #7
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I should have mentioned that our trip was quite some time ago, and we were traveling by car and staying in hotels. We plan to do this trip again in the next few years, but with our Airstream; so we welcome advice on camping spots, too.
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Old 02-06-2011, 12:27 PM   #8
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Oh, not all firearms are forbidden, but there are procedures for bringing them with you. Seems more bother than it's worth, so it's probably easiest to just leave them at home.

More information here:

Firearm Users Visiting Canada

Carrying Firearms and Weapons into Canada
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Old 02-06-2011, 02:18 PM   #9
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Special thanks to "cameront120" for the excellent links above, one of which lead to the following, which contains information on passport requirements:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g153339-s602/Canada:Crossing.The.Border.html
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Old 02-09-2011, 01:10 AM   #10
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great camping on vancouver island, BC

Hi--
We have our family's beach house on Vancouver island, in the town of Parksville. I have spent the last 50 years on the island, living there several months each summer. I would start your Canadian adventure heading to Vancouver, on the mainland and then heading over to the island, then back to the US from Victoria.
Parksville is about 90 miles north of Victoria, and it's the gateway to the West Coast (HWY4 goes west accross the island). You shouln't miss going up there, as there is a wonderful campground, right on the beach, and even though it's not tanning season, the beaches there are wonderful, no matter what the season is. The tides go out really far, from our house it's almost 1/3 mile, and the beachcombing is great. The Surfside RV park right in town has campsites that allow you to back up right to the ocean and have incredible views! From there you can park your trailer, and do some smaller day trips north to Qualicum Beach, or Campbell river (if the weather looks clear). You could also camp in the provincial park of Rathtrevor, which is also on the beach, however not as many amenities. You can also go 30 min south to Nanaimo, which is a wonderful harbour city . It's far easier to negotiate the streets of nanimo, without a 31 ft trailer behind you!! From Vancouver, you can take the BC ferries from horshoe bay to Nanaimo's Departure bay. it will be less expensive than going to Victoria (which is Swartz Bay) Also, go online and try to go on the ferry on a fare-saver day. it will be 50% less on those days. (this Saves you a alot of money when you are towing a 31 ft trailer!) From nanaimo you can explore parksville, qualicum and then if you wish drive west accross to Tofino and Uculet. After that, you can head south along the island highway to Victoria. There are some great campsites just north of the city, and once again you can park your trailer and head downtown without your entire rig. Best bet is to just park and walk around the downtown and harbour area. You don't want to miss Butchart gardens, becasue even in the winters they have great gardens. If you want a special treat, tea at the Empress hotel, (but this is spendY!!) Then from Victoria you can take either the US ferry from downtown victoria to Port Angeles (it only operates on a limited schedule) Or take the BC ferry from Sydney to Tswassan (just about 25 min from the peace Arch crossing into the us). the other option might be to check out the Washington State Ferries and cross through the San juan islands (Friday harbour, ending up in Annacortes, just north of Seattle!)
I know this was a long email, but i hope this helps you out! i know if I was headed to Texas in my Airstream, I'd want the info, as well!!!
Maggie (and cody, too!)
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Old 02-12-2011, 12:45 PM   #11
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1973 31' Sovereign
San Antonio , Texas
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appreciate the info about Vancouver

Sorry about the delay in responding but WiFi has been sketchy, especially in the evening, here outside of Seattle. The weather has been warm and sunny, so we have been out the ocean one day and the mountains the next.

The information about Vancouver and The island has been so helpful. Thanks for the details about the Island. I printed out the pages so that Randy and I could read it again in leisure. I am hoping that we can park at an RV spot on the island and ride our bikes to town.

We plan to follow all of your advice, this forum has been so helpful all along the way.

When you visit Texas be sure to visit San Antonio, it is the most beautiful Texas city, with lots of things to do.
Come in the winter, the summers are hellacious.
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