Editor’s Note: Franklin Beecham is a member of LTV’s sponsored content team, The Leisure Explorers. Do you own a Leisure Travel Van and enjoy writing? Learn more about joining the team.
We are both creative arts people who enjoyed many years of tent camping in the UK, Peru, and Canada. I was a graphic/web designer and partner in a brand development company in Toronto, and Robyn was a freelance photo and literary permissions editor for educational publishers.
With retirement on the horizon, I wanted to enjoy traveling in North America on our terms. No more expensive flights and hotels. In 2016-2017, I was taken in by Bob Wells and his nomad lifestyle. It seemed like a great, bohemian way to live and travel, and got me glossing over a myriad of YouTube channels, looking at like-minded people simplifying their lives. There was many a dream fixated on traveling to Quartzite, Arizona, or to the canyonlands in Utah in my own version of a camper van. As the days and months passed by, the van build morphed into a ready-built product. Retirement was looming, and I had to bring up my travel idea with my family. My research led me ultimately to two Canadian RV manufacturers, both of whom had outstanding design and manufacturing skills. This meant that in-person visits were imperative. You obviously know the end result – when Dean introduced the new Leisure Travel Vans “baby”, the Wonder RTB, I was sold.
Two Years of the RV Life
After buying our Wonder, we realized that we need to use it as much as possible. And why not? We’re both retired. We both love to travel. What could possibly hold us back? Thank you, COVID-19. If anything, COVID has slowed down our off-the-cuff adventures and allowed us to focus on planning.
We’ve done two major (to us) trips in our Wonder RTB. The first, our initial “shakedown” trip, took us from Ontario to Prince Edward Island. The Wonder performed flawlessly. A minor mishap by our dealer’s service techs with the de-winterizing was fixed by an amazing RV rep in Quebec. We got to test everything the Wonder had onboard. What a great product! Our next major trip was limited by COVID-19 lockdowns. Instead of traveling to the west coast as we’d planned, we stayed in Ontario and toured the north shore of Lake Superior, staying at several “bucket list” destinations. Again, our Wonder performed admirably.
2021 has had its ups and downs. However, we have put our Wonder through the hoops by stopping at several Harvest Hosts locations, and once Ontario’s parks were able to open, we were able to camp in provincial parks. Now that the provincial borders are open, we are in planning and booking mode for our big trip out west. Our 2021 westward travels will allow us to park and smell the roses. See the sights, instead of driving by them. Naturally, we have limitations. Campsites have to be booked in advance, as do ferries like those to Vancouver Island. Oh, and we want to travel without masses of summer holiday-goers getting in the way of those scenic photo ops. You get my drift.
A New Kind of Travel
Having our motorhome has opened our minds about travel. Between us, we’ve literally seen the world and suffered through airports, lost luggage, late flights, crowded cruises, and masses of people trying to book the same hotels, motels, and Airbnbs. We live in the second largest landmass in the world. There’s so much to see in Canada and south of the border, and we can do it in our own hotel-on-wheels. No crowds, no delays, no lineups at the breakfast bar. Our coffee is perfect every time! It’s just us on our own schedule. How easy is that?
After retirement and selling our house, the focus for me is using our Wonder and keeping it out of storage, and addingto the RVing experience. That often means adding new “toys” to enhance the fun of camping. Last year, we added a Blackstone grill, this year, a propane fire bowl and e-bike. The Wonder comes with most creature comforts. One recent camping trip included a friend who insisted on tent camping. Gone are those days for me, waking up with a stiff back from sleeping on an air mattress in a leaky tent. Yes, it rained and was extremely humid. I was glad I had shore power and was able to put the air conditioner on.
Being on the road brings new experiences that we can both enjoy, and our LTV Wonder provides all the necessities of home no matter where we are. We like dry camping at Harvest Hosts locations or friends’ homes, but we also enjoy provincial and national park camping. Most trips are 2 days minimum – long trips are great!
We like taking the roads less traveled. Country roads offer more scenery and less traffic. We tend to travel light. If we visit Harvest Hosts, we stock up on the supplies they offer, whether food or beverages. If we want to stop at a restaurant, we can.
I expect by now you realize that we really love our RV. At every campground, our champagne-coloured Wonder turns heads. It’s a great feeling. People stop and tell us how much they like our ‘camper’. We like it, too! And all the other LTV owners will say the same thing.
Favorite RVing Destinations
Killbear Provincial Park
The campground is well-groomed, but the scenery is stunning. People we met there return annually. We could see why.
Rural Rootz Nature Reserve
Rural Rootz is our favourite Harvest Hosts location. We have returned several times. The 100-acre wooded property sits on the Bruce Trail, and the owners, Tom and Dee, have become lifelong friends. A big plus is they have four RV pads with 30-amp posts.
Pukaskwa National Park
We stayed here as part of our epic north shore of Lake Superior trip in 2020. The campground offers private sites within a beautiful forest amid hidden bays of cold Lake Superior water, with trails that lead you through the wilderness.