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This month’s blog post is brought to you by Keith Crone, one of our Sales Consultants at Bucars RV. Keith shares his experience RVing as a high-risk person in the midst of a pandemic and why an RV is the safest form of travel.
On March 12, 2020, two things happened: my wife Darlene was laid off from her job with the Calgary Flames, and I received a call from my nurse practitioner at the South Health Campus GI ward.
I am diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and have been on medication designed to slow down my immune system for the last three years. Under my Doctor’s stern recommendation, I need to carefully avoid any exposure to the public as I would be considered high risk if I came in contact with COVID-19.
From March 12th until almost the end of April, we hunkered down in our Cochrane home thinking the news would change and we would all go back to normal. But it never did… By the end of April, we took a bold step and fired up our 32’ Coachmen Mirada class A motorhome isolation vehicle and began our RV trip to our property on Vancouver Island.
The Pandemic RV trip
We left Cochrane at noon on a Saturday and drove to the Costco in Kamloops where I spent $150 bucks to fill our motorhome to the brim. After lathering my hands with lots of hand sanitizer and washing my hands thoroughly on-board our motorhome, we continued on our pandemic RV trip.
It was still light out, so we pushed on to Merrit where we pulled a Walmart overnight stay in our rig. Darlene made us a fresh homemade pizza, cooked to perfection in our gas oven. We followed it up with a DVD from our collection and headed off to bed.
The next morning, I slipped behind the wheel and we made our way over the Coquihalla. We rolled through the Frazier valley on our way to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. Through the window, we paid our fare and drove onto the ferry. The lady in her kiosk was the first person we had contact within the 1000 km since we left Cochrane less than 24 hours earlier.
Luckily, BC ferries relaxed the rule on staying below decks in your automobile when crossing over to the Island. This gave us both a chance for a shower on-board our self-isolation mobile without risking contact with the public.
Upon arrival at the Swarts Bay Terminal, we drove off and headed directly to our own campsite on our own property. I can’t think of any other mode of transportation that can offer the self-isolation characteristics of a class A motorhome. We got all the way from Cochrane to Vancouver Island and only came in contact with one other person! This is all thanks to the many great features in our 32’ Coachmen Mirada that gave us everything we needed for the trip.
Self-Isolating on Vancouver Island
One year ago (pre-COVID), we developed the back of our property on Vancouver Island into a level gravel RV pad. Little did we know at the time that we would be using the pad as our own private COVID hideout. We are now six months into living in our motorhome as full-timers riding out the Pandemic and still both loving our Coachmen Mirada self-isolation vehicle.
Here is a look back:
In April, we arrived on Vancouver Island. In this picture, you can see the motorhome parked way in the back of our property in North Saanich near Sidney B.C.
In May, we were invited to stay with our good friends at Sprout Lake, BC. They have an amazing property with a private two site campground. They are members of a group called BoonDockers. Members of this group can go online and request RV parking at private sites that are situated throughout Canada and the United States. So, we connected the boat behind the motorhome and headed to Sprout lake. They also happened to have a private boat launch and a slip at their dock for our boat.
Here is a photo of our motorhome parked at Sprout Lake on Vancouver Island.
A Detour Back to Calgary
In June, our RV trip was sidelined by my Crohn’s disease. I had been on a waiting list for a bowel resection, and a bed became available at the South Health Campus. So, we left the motorhome on Vancouver Island and returned to Calgary for a short stay in hospital.
We then returned back to the island for eight weeks to recover. No lifting, just taking it easy with lots of walks on lots of beaches on the Saanich Peninsula. There are several beach access points on the Saanich Peninsula, and we visited several, as I recovered from my surgery.
Exploring Vancouver Island
By August, I had recovered from my surgery. Over the course of August, September and October, we used the boat and the motorhome to visit Lake Cowichan, Sprout Lake, Great Central Lake, Barkley Sound and Desolation Sound.
This is the boat parked at Sprout Lake.
This picture is at Lake Cowichan at the Lake Cowichan Marina. It was 30 degrees that day! After a day of boating, we pulled the boat out and set up a BBQ on the shady side of the motorhome to hide from the heat.
A quick stop and a selfie at the top of the Mallihat summit on our way to Port Alberni.
The last week of October, we made a run in the motorhome to Tofino, Ucluelet out on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Here we are parked in Port Alberni at the extra foods stocking up on groceries before heading over the rugged trail to Bella Pacifica RV Campground near Tofino. Darlene masks up and goes in. I take pictures of the motor home with the fall colours.
The view through the windshield of the motorhome for four days on the West Coast.
We really enjoyed watching the hardy surfers on Long Beach.
Even though we experienced marine layer, fog and even a little rain, the scenery on our west coast is amazing.
Unfortunately, this pandemic RV trip was almost cut short. I accidentally overloaded my 300 amp T class Inverter Battery fuse. This little fuse is very critical, and without it, we had no 110-volt power. Bit of a problem when your motorhome has a 110-volt fridge!
We ran an extension cord through the bedroom window and kept the fridge going and then after making countless calls came to the conclusion that this little fuse was nowhere to be found out in this isolated community commonly referred to as the Pacific Rim. One quick call to Peter Brown (the parts man extraordinaire at Bucars RV) was all that it took. I am not sure exactly how Peter was able to pull this off, but in less than 24 hours, my cell phone rang and my replacement fuse was on the counter of a local marine repair shop. Peter saved our trip to the West Coast of the Island. Way to go Peter!
The motorhome performed perfectly as our own travelling cocoon. We were able to prepare our own meals in the motorhome, we never had to visit a public washroom, and we slept in our own bed and showered in our own bathroom. These past six months were trying at times with all of the COVID issues, but self-isolation in a motorhome made it possible for us to enjoy one of the best summers ever.