Back in the USA, Nomadiversary and IKEA Shopping

June 22-30, 2019 — The last week of June found us traveling from Ottawa, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec and then south crossing back in the United States in New York and ending in Vermont. We realize that we only touched a minute part of what Canada has to offer but we did highly enjoy the brief time spent there. 

We had the pleasure of staying with three Boondockers Welcome hosts while in Ontario and Quebec, all of which were very gracious and generous. We thoroughly appreciated their willingness to share not only their driveways but also their vast knowledge of the local areas in which they resided.  

While in Canada we did miss the use of both our AT&T and Verizon hotspots as neither were functional. With our Verizon cell phone plan we each had use of 0.5GB of high-speed roaming data each day. This amount was adequate for trip planning and GPS use but not for streaming Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. Since we rely on streaming for much of our evening entertainment we definitely missed it. 

Entry back into the United States was almost as uneventful as the border crossing from the US into Canada. We had less questions to answer but did incur a wait time due to a larger amount of traffic.  We are planning to return to Canada at least one more time (maybe more?) later this summer and look forward to exploring more of our great neighbor to the north. 

All nights during this last period of June were free stays with one night at a Harvest Hosts site, five nights at three different Boondockers Welcome host sites and three nights at a site that is a member of both the Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome programs. 

Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

Three years ago we bought our motorhome and set out on a journey of unknowns. We were complete rookies having no prior knowledge of RVs nor had we ever a camped a day in our lives. Crazy, huh? We spent the first few weeks taking short, local trips while learning the ins and outs of RV life. As winter approached we set out for Arizona and boondocked around the state for four months. We loved the RV life! As spring arrived we returned to our home and began the process of dispersing our belongings and readying our property for sale. That process took a mere 2.5 months and two years ago on 06/23/17 we walked out of our house for the last time. Happy nomadiversary to us! We still love this life and have no regrets. We are excited to continue on this nomadic adventure and look forward to seeing what the future will bring. 

While in Ontario and Quebec, Canada we had the pleasure of meeting wonderful Boondockers Welcome hosts. We especially love learning from the local hosts about the areas they live in as it’s almost like having our own personal guide. 

Fresh fruit and vegetables right at the RV door. How great is that! Rideau Pine Farms in Ottawa, Ontario is an awesome Harvest Hosts site where a quiet night can be enjoyed while overlooking the fields. The farm offers either pre-picked or pick-your-own produce along with eggs, maple syrup and more. We feasted on fresh strawberries and asparagus that were superb. A stop at this family farm when in the area is highly recommended. 

The Gibeau Orange Julep, aka OJ or The Big Orange, is a roadside attraction and fast food restaurant in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The forty foot diameter building is in the shape and color of an orange. The restaurant started in 1932 by Hermas Gibeau as an outlet to serve his trademark Orange Julep, similar to Orange Julius but not identical, drink. The orange sphere was built in 1945 and then rebuilt in 1966 following a road widening project. 

Each June Montreal, Quebec hosts a mural festival where they invite local artists to set up shop on Saint Laurent Boulevard to paint over the previous year’s murals with their own masterpiece for people to enjoy in the coming year. The talent of these artists is amazing!

Habitat 67 is a model community and housing complex in Montreal, Quebec designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie for his master’s thesis in architecture at McGill University. It was then built along the Saint Lawrence River to serve as a pavilion for Expo 67, the world’s fair held in Montreal that drew 50 million people during the six months it was open. Habitat 67 is comprised of 354 identical, prefabricated forms arranged in different patterns while reaching up to 12 stories in height. Each of the 146 residences in the complex are connected to at least one private terrace. What a cool building concept!

Our day in Montreal, Quebec didn’t quite turn out as planned. We had Angrignon Park, Atwater Market and Jean Talon Market on our to-visit list but the unrelenting rains drove us indoors. We saw a billboard for IKEA and decided to wander the store for both exercise and to see what was new in home furnishings. Obviously IKEA is popular among Quebec shoppers as the store was packed and shopping carts were full. Despite the rain we still had a nice day. 

We crossed back into the United States from Canada in Champlain, New York. This border crossing was much busier than the Sault Ste Marie one we went through earlier in the month as there was a forty minute wait. The crossing was smooth with only a few questions to answer for the border agents. 

The Olympic Scenic Byway in Upstate New York spans 170 miles east and west from Lake Champlain to Lake Ontario, passing through the Adirondack Mountains and numerous small towns and villages. We drove a small section on the eastern side and highly enjoyed the stunning mountain, lake and river views. What a beautiful area!

A warm upstate New York evening calls for ice cream and The Happy Pike Ice Cream & Snack Bar in West Chazy fit the bill. Yum!

Evening view of Lake Champlain on the New York side. Beautiful!

We stopped at the Vermont Welcome Center in Alburgh, VT mainly to take a photo of the sign. Forty-five minutes later we waltzed out of the building armed with maps, brochures and loads of knowledge about the history of the state, fun places to visit and a great appreciation for the lovely lady that works at the welcome center. 

Secure bike parking at the Burlington, VT farmer’s market. What a cool concept and one that we had not seen before. We’re fairly sure the bike parking is usually more busy but thunderstorms were in the area all day likely keeping the bikes at home for many. 

Burlington, VT is home to the world’s tallest file cabinet that stands 38 drawers high and is made of real file cabinets welded on top of each other. It was built in 2002 by local artist Bren Alvarez and titled “File Under File Under So. Co., Waiting for…” as a commentary on bureaucratic delays in building the “Southern Connector”, a roadway intended to connect downtown Burlington to Interstate 89. The road proposal began in 1965 and each drawer of the file cabinet represents one year of paperwork Alvarez accumulated while working on the project. Interestingly, construction of the road project, now named the “Champlain Parkway” is slated to begin in late 2019. Maybe…..

It’s strawberry season in Vermont. Sam Mazza’s Farm Market in Colchester, VT, a family owned/operated farm since 1935, offers pre-picked and pick-your-own strawberries, raspberries and blueberries along with a variety of other produce, flowers, gifts, bakery, and petting zoo. In the fall they have a corn maze and hay rides to a pumpkin patch. The farm is a Harvest Hosts site with parking for any size RV. It’s a great stop when in the Burlington, VT area. 

We couldn’t pass through Waterbury, VT without stopping at Ben & Jerry’s. What a busy place! We didn’t take the factory tour as they weren’t making ice cream during our visit and the wait time was over two hours. We did, however, take a stroll through the flavor graveyard. Some of the flavor mixes laid to rest were just plain weird….

Another great week has come and gone in a flash. Stay tuned for next week as we continue our travels east to New Hampshire, Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. See you then!

Thank you for hanging out at Off Our Rocker RV.

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