Editor’s Note: Joel Smith and Sharon Person are members 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.
Sharon and I met at the University of Waterloo when we were taking our Mathematics degrees. We worked in the Information Technology field in Toronto and have now retired to South Bruse Peninsula in Ontario. We retired in our 50’s so we could enjoy traveling while we are healthy. We are avid outdoor people and participate in hiking, mountain biking, scuba diving, and in the winter cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat-tire bike riding. A few years ago, we purchased a Komo bike carrier so that we could take our mountain and fat-tire bikes with us more often.
We are also active volunteers in our local community through a cottage association and through the Women’s Insititute. I am also the chapter head for the Ontario Sunrisers LTV group and write articles as an LTV Explorer. Our information technology skills are very beneficial for these volunteer areas. I have family in Ontario and Sharon has family in Manitoba and Alberta and our LTV is useful for visiting our family.
A Deep Dive Into Our Travels
When Sharon was a kid, her dad bought an old bread truck and converted it into a camper. From an early age, she decided that she would someday own an RV. She jokes that this was the first Wonder built in Manitoba since it was a Wonder bread truck.
When I had graduated from university, I backpacked around Europe for four months. When Sharon graduated, she did the same for two months. After working for a few years, we decided to quit our jobs and go backpacking around the world for an entire year. We spent time in Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Greece, and France. A fair portion of that trip was camping in our 2-person tent which began our love for camping and traveling.
While we were working, our traveling mainly consisted of scuba diving trips. We managed to go to 39 different diving destinations around the world.
After we retired, we started researching RVs and were quickly attracted to the very high quality of the LTV products. On one family visit to Winnipeg, we drove out to Winkler to get a tour of the factory with Dean. We then decided that the LTV quality was exactly what we were looking for and wanted.
At first, we were attracted to the Unity Murphy Bed but eventually decided that we liked the Island Bed better because of the separate living areas and the additional storage. When we ordered, we opted for RV pickup at the factory (when it was still an option) and that turned out to be a great decision since the orientation for first-time RVers was phenomenal.
Our RV Lifestyle
In our six years of ownership, we have put on about 90,000 km (55,923 mi) in our RV. It would be much higher if the pandemic had not occurred. Our primary usage is traveling as snowbirds to the southern United States in the November through April time period. Although we also did a 21,000 km (13,048 mi) to the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Alaska which all was done mostly on gravel roads. We even reached the Arctic Ocean on this trip!
We prefer to stay in National, Provincial, and State Parks whenever possible. Staying in these parks lets us do lots of hiking and enjoy the nature that parks are there to preserve.
I document our trips and photos through a personal travel blog as well as through blog posts as an LTV Explorer.
The majority of our travels have been longer trips and in fact, in 2019-2020, we actually lived in our RV for 11 out of 12 months prior to the pandemic hitting. The second major usage for us has been trips to Winnipeg to visit family and to enjoy the beautiful scenery around Lake Superior.
What we have liked about traveling in an RV is that it’s a comfortable place to stay in spectacular nature locations. It also provides us the ability to go where we want, when we want.
How RVing Has Impacted Our Lives
Our LTV has allowed us to explore a lot more areas across Canada and the United States. It has also facilitated our snowbird lifestyle to warmer climates for the winter months. We do still like winter activities, so during the pandemic time period we took advantage of being home but we are also hoping we can get back to multi-month trips to the southern United States soon.
Owning an LTV also allowed us to become the Ontario Sunrisers chapter heads. This has allowed us to meet a large number of like-minded people at our rallies and to establish new friendships along the way.
Favorite Travel Destinations
The Dempster Highway
The Dempster Highway is a 900 km (559 mi) gravel road that goes through spectacular scenery from the Yukon into the Northwest Territories of Canada and all the way up to the Arctic Ocean. You can read more about this highway in my article called The Dempster Highway.
North Shore of Lake Superior
We have traveled this route many times on our trips to Winnipeg and always find beautiful scenery. The beauty of this route is talked about in my article called Lake Superior Fall Colours.
Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona
We really didn’t know anything about this park but we saw it on our map and decided it was worth stopping there. The area is truly unique and you can see additional pictures in our personal blog article here.