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Category Archives: Travel

Part Two | The California Coast | Road Trip

instagram.com/whitealbum_adorestudio

PART ONE  | ARIZONA DESERT( click here)

#ourboleradventure #littlegreyboler 

28 days.  8838 km.

day 11  we walked to the foot of Flat Iron Mountain, Arizona at our campground then drove towards Yuma, California.  it is insanely hot.  i hate this kind of heat!!  it’s 34°-36° and not much to see here.  we drove till dark, camped at a seniors facility with a campground we drove by near dark and slept with the A/C on.  El Centro $37 power, clean bathrooms + shower.

day 12  it was already 30° when we left El Centro at 10 am.  heading to San Diego. got lost all through the city and finally found a place to stay at Pio Pico. here for three nights.  pretty nice well maintained campground with secured gates since we’ll be leaving the boler here during the day while we are in the city. $60.

note the campground comments which i’ve included for most nights. we learned that when camping in California the cost is a lot higher than we’ve found across Canada and other states, especially when you are in or nearer to a city.  this early in the year it’s cool at nights and we wanted to plug in for heat so we often chose a campground with power available, but some places are worth sacrificing for and there is always a roaring campfire and snuggling under the covers to make up for the small discomforts of “dry camping”.   (dry camping or boondocking, is RV camping no electricity or water).


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day 13  22°.  brunch and a walk at the Gas Lamp Quarter downtown then the beach at La Jolla in the afternoon.  awesome $1.99 tacos for dinner.

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seems we found the quintessential California beach and we decided to make a stop there.  as it turned out it was a dog beach and we were immediately approached by many friendly dogs. we had planned a lunch of leftover pizza but hadn’t really thought it through.  dog beach – pizza – not a good combination.  we ate our lunch in a hurry, then sat and enjoyed the feeling of sand in between our toes and the warmth of the sea air while watching the dogs and their antics.

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ah, the endless miles of beaches!

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day 14  we took the trolley to San Ysidro and walked into Tijuana.  crossing the border there was easy but it took us three hours in a line to cross back. no photos since we didn’t want to carry a camera – it was a fun day visiting with mark’s brother and family.  we got home late exhausted back to our campground at Pio Pico.

day 15  it’s 18°-20° and cool by the beach.  we have a great campground at Encinita and then went to town to see a movie at a vintage theater “La Paloma”.  the theater is amazing – like going back in time and a must see.  camp 50$ night right by the beach.  downfall is the ugly chainlink fence between us and the water.

this trip is turning into quite the adventure for us. yesterday we spent the day in Tijuana with mark’s brother and family who live there. being in the country where i was born, if only for a day, always tugs at my heartstrings. there will always be a part of my heart in Mexico. driving around we saw a lot of poverty which i think is especially true for Tijuana because of being a border town. today as we travel around pretty California towns we found a great ocean side campground and I’m loving the whole experience, but i can’t help seeing the contrasts and thinking how only by some accident of where someone is born, or where they happen to grow up, or the colour of their skin they either have a lot or they have nothing, and the unfairness of it all. and then tonight we went and saw the movie “Lion” which just hammered the realization home even more. there really is no solution to it but i keep thinking there must be some small thing i can do and I don’t want to fall back into my fortunate life and forget and do nothing.

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day 18  drove to LA coast near Malibu.  slept on a windy beach on the way there.  it was a cold night but then there was the sound of the waves all through the night.  it seems always that the uncomfortable experiences turn out to be the unforgettable ones that we will talk about years later.  $33 Thornhill Broom campground by the beach.  no utilities (just outhouses and shared taps for water) but one of our favourite places on this trip.

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day 19  Malibu and Santa Monica.  blue skies and 20°camped at Malibu RV resort $44. clean, great little campground with the cleanest warm showers and bathrooms right near the city.

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a walk on Venice Beach as the sun set.

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day 20  Santa Barbara.  pizza for lunch at Penny Pinchers, Stearns Wharf.  camped at El Churro $35.  it rained but not for long.  we’re not going to complain since we hear at home it has done nothing but rain incessantly since we left home.

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day 21  scenic hwy. 1 is closed due to a bridge that washed out at Ragged Point as we found out from a sign on the counter when we stopped for a coffee.  so we detoured took hwy. 101 to Monterey. and then doubled back south to Big Sur to the point where the road had washed out.  this winding stretch of the drive was hair-raising with big drop-offs and tight curves, one of us might have been digging her fingernails into the seat the whole time. we got to experience and see it’s spectacular views again on our way back!

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day 22 up early then waited in line for breakfast somewhere along the way.  eggs benedict and mimosas worth the long lineup and wait.  campground at Pacifica just outside the city – San Francisco RV.

some random pics from our phone.  amazing hot sauce i wanted to remember, me under a train trestle, sign at a coffee shop.

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San Francisco was both hot or cold, and with little warning changed from blue skies and heavy rain.  we were prepared and we loved it all.

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Fisherman’s Wharf and crepes at Pier 39.  we only saw Alcatraz from a distance as we couldn’t find a tour at the last minute.  as much as we hate to plan and prefer to just do things as they come, next time we’re here we’ll book a tour to the island in advance.

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strawberry, banana and nutella crepes.

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San Francisco, i fell in love with it’s street cars and old buildings.

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we left the boler at our campground and drove into the city.

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the steep streets are so much more fun to see and experience in person.

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we stopped for a rooftop lunch in chinatown then drove to see one of the steepest road in the city along with dozens of other curious tourists.

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getting our hippie on at Haight Ashbury.

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day 24  leaving San Fran we drove through the Napa Valley, Doran Park and then Sonoma County Regional Park where we spent the windiest night surrounded by sand dunes and beach. 

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our campground here was one of our top spots from this part of the trip. $32 dry camping and beautiful.

knowing we are getting closer to the end of our trip we took every chance to breathe in the air and explore every path we could on the long and winding road as we head further north.

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day 25  lighthouse near Fort Bragg. campground $45.

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day 26  12° – as we get further north it gets progressively colder.   again the road closed due to a washout up ahead so we diverted to hwy. 20 east.

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we are surrounded by the tall trees of the redwood forests. 

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day 27  on our last day in California we drove through a tree.  a good way to say our goodbyes-for-now to beautiful sunfilled California, with it’s pastel blue skies and soft sand beaches.  we will be back again.

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day 28  home after 8838 km!

PART ONE (OUR SNOWY START, ARIZONA AND THE DESERT) – CLICK HERE

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California | Arizona » This is our life. Living simply. - […] part two | the california coast (click HERE) […]

California | Arizona

part one | the desert

instagram.com/whitealbum_adorestudio

#ourboleradventure #littlegreyboler

.

march fifth 2017 start of our roadtrip to Arizona and the California west coast.  28 days.  8838 km.

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day one our first night on the road and in the morning we woke up to snow.

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reason #1 why we are headed south.  it’s been a long winter and spring is nowhere to be found in Chilliwack.

CALIFORNIA-BOLER-TRIP-2017-0019CALIFORNIA-BOLER-TRIP-2017-0006day three drove into California.

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we left the main road and head east towards Nevada, Arizona and the desert.

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day five the desert road winds and curves and stretches like a ribbon before us.

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Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level. the little dots on the bottom photo are cars.  Death Valley is the lowest, hottest, and driest national park in the US.  We were here fifteen years ago, hiked out before first light and photographed the sand dunes.  i’ll have to dig out some of those photos later.

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we stopped for sandwiches at Amargosa Opera House as we headed further east.

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driving the boler through Vegas on the way through.

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weird and interesting things to see along the way.

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hot air balloons over the hwy.

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this “chapel” looks different than ours.

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day nine a short visit in Phoenix. it was great having a break from “roughing it” in various campgrounds.

wine, dinner and a great visit under palm trees with tina.

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tina is a seasoned traveler and she gave us some great travel tips.  these amazing places are not necessarily in the order we saw them.

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day nine  passing through Sedona.

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note to self to come back one day and stay longer and explore this magical place of red rocks and blue skies.

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one of our top three campgrounds (and one of the hottest places yet) was near the Desolation Mountains at Lost Dutchman State Park.

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it is even more beautiful at night.

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we wanted to go see the wild flowers at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve.  we missed the best time for them to bloom but it was still a pretty sight to see.

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on a tip we drove through the backroads in search for “grape-soda” lupins growing in the washes.

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you do want to watch where you step.

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day 16 another favourite campsite at Joshua Tree

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as we usually do at the last minute we had decided that we would camp in the park only to find every single campsite full.   just when we were ready to give up in frustration we met the loveliest family who offered to share their space with us.  a random act of kindness that we feel so grateful to be on the receiving end of.  these are the little things that make traveling more memorable and reinforce our belief that people are generally kind despite what we may hear on the news.

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after dinner we sat under the stars in this magical place.

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there are no services (other than outhouses) at the park.  there is no power and you bring your own water and supplies.  i was pretty proud of breakfast we cooked on our propane stove  (for simplicity we used disposable or burnable dishes and cups which we try not to do often when we’re on the road).

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we spent a couple of days feeling humbled by the depths and heights of the Grand Canyon.CALIFORNIA-BOLER-TRIP-2017-00602017-03-10 128CALIFORNIA-BOLER-TRIP-2017-0063CALIFORNIA-BOLER-TRIP-2017-0072CALIFORNIA-BOLER-TRIP-2017-0075

part two | the california coast (click HERE)

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Wendy McConnell - Looks amazing Elizabeth& Mark and I love your little retro trailer!! So jealous. This is how I want to see Canada.

admin - Thanks Wendy! We love our little grey boler too!

Road Trips | Part 2 | Yellowstone

Last summer, with a couple of weeks between non-stop weddings, we decided to head to Yellowstone since we had missed seeing it last time we drove home on our cross country boler trip – it was too close to winter and the gates to the park were closed due to snow.

The destination was Yellowstone National Park, but what we saw on the way there and back as we crossed through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming ,and Oregon was also worth the long days of driving in with the relatively short time we had to make the trip this time.  I’m sure we’ll be back.

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“Yellowstone, of all the national parks, is the wildest and most universal in its appeal…

Daily new, always strange, ever full of change, it is Nature’s wonder park.

-Yellowstone Park for Your Vacation (circa 1920s)” ― Susan Rugh

0164-yellowstone-boler-road-trip-_webThe entrance to Yellowstone.

As we turned into the only campground where we were able to find last minute camping we came up on our first two bisons of the many we saw during our stay there.

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Grizzly bear with cub tracks above right.

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Old Faithful …  touristy and crowded but a must see.

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Seeing bison everywhere was a highlight of the trip.

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It was summer weather during the day but at nights it got cold.  We woke up our first morning with frost on the inside of the boler windows (no electrical in the campsites) so I warmed up in the car (heated seats!) while Mark got the campfire and coffee going.  One of the reasons we love traveling this way is the people we meet along the way. These are our campsite “next door neighbours” who had flown in from France just a few days earlier.  We shared hot coffee and warm conversation in a fun mix of French and English.

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After leaving Yellowstone we drove towards the Grand Tetons.  There were forest fires not far from our only way through.

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Our view of the Grand Tetons in front of us.

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Then heading west we drove towards home.  Always there is something new to see.

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On the way home we took a short cut and the weather changed from bright and crisp to moody and wet.  Although we had not planned to go this way we are glad we stopped to see this strange and beautiful other-worldly place way in the middle of nowhere.  Some photos we took while exploring Craters of the Moon.

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Road Trips | Part 1 | Bella Coola

 “And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing

what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

…..

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Bella Coola | July

this summer the girls and i took a road trip to Bella Coola where my family lived from the time i was 13 until my mid twenties.  it has been years (25 or 26) since we lived there and i left the valley when my three kids were little.  michelle and audrey had not been back since they were kids.

“This trip was all about the destination, but the journey was just as incredible.” Michelle

we drove to Williams Lake the first day planning to get an early start the next day for the second part of the trip over the Chilcoltin and down into the valley but on the way there we learned a few lessons: one | book ahead if you want to find a place to sleep in Williams Lake on stampede weekend.  every single hotel and b & b in town was booked up and we nearly ended up homeless for the night. two | we learned not to be surprised by the kindness of strangers.  thanks to the kind lady working in one of the hotels that saw our predicament and offered to share her home despite us being complete strangers. three | there is no limit to the kindness of friends.  thanks laureen for your hospitality and for saving our butts and giving us a place to stay the night.  ( check out laureen’s photography website here)

our adventure had started!

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there is something freeing about being on the road (dancing in the wind on the Chilcoltin).

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A whole day spent on the wide open road with the people I love the most, going to the place where my life began.” Michelle

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Nimpo Lake | probably the most traffic we saw on the road since we headed west at Williams Lake.

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The Hill | if you drive to Bella Coola there is no way to avoid it and it drops 5000 ft. from Heckman pass in a steep winding unpaved road, sometimes just a single lane, no guard rails, and on one side the mountain and the other a huge precipice, this picture does not do it justice. it’s beautiful and i’ve never liked it but the destination is worth it so i grit my teeth and say a prayer until we reach the bottom or the top on the way back.

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an old photo from when we first drove it and the right one we drove twice earlier this year.

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yield to oncoming traffic.

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another view of the hill. i found this one online.

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an old photo (right) that we recreated 27 years later at a switchback on the road.  i seem to have shrunk.

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once we arrived down the hill the first place we stopped was in Firvale where i lived in my teens.  a million memories flooded in and overwhelmed me.  our house is now gone.  all that is left is the old shed.

“i’ve been walking around with my heart in my throat from the minute we drove down into Bella Coola. it’s the immense beauty around but it’s more than that, this place is wrapped in memories from the time we moved here when I was 13 until i left 12 years later.”

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“This is where we came from and today we are back. It’s been both beautiful and haunting as an adult returning. There are no words to adequately describe the beauty of the Valley and our descent into it.” Audrey

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Clayton Falls above | a boat tour to Tahlleo’s Cannery below

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Hagensborg

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old memories. the Hagensborg church before and now.

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and we made new memories.

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“if we know where we came from, we may better know where to go. If we know who we came from, we may better understand who we are.” – anonymous
.

.this is the cabin we built when my family first moved to Bella Coola to homestead and the humble home we lived in during our first years there.  it was such a treat to see my friend marisa.  together we pored over her old photo albums from those early days — so many memories that now seem so far removed but played such a great part in who my brothers and sister and i are today.

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this was our home away from home while we were in the valley.  i highly recommend these cute little cabins (rip rap campsite) run by jim and amber.  they come fully equipped with everything we might need and a cozy wood stove that kept us warm on rainy days.

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it was the rodeo weekend so we checked it out.

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the Bella Coola townsite | this is the property where our home was brought by barge from the original Bella Coola townsite across the inlet.  the remains of our garden are still there and the little bridge in front of the house that the kids loved to play when they were small.

“…in Bella Coola, where my memories of white picket fence perfection, childhood freedom at the pedals of my bicycle, the candy store, the co-op, rootbeer floats with my sister … today it’s different with … faded siding on the houses, grown over brush swallowing them up, our own house gone. Not even a shadow in its place – just a space in a lot that seems too small to contain the memories. All of my perfect memories have melted away into this tiny town full of people who almost recognize us. … I love you Bella Coola, despite how sad I feel when I look at you…

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“…All being said, I can’t believe we come from here, this place that most will never know the way we do. It’s special that our memories live here.” Audrey

Tatla Lake | we stayed here on the way home.

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you can get pretty much everything you need in the only store in town.  pop, ice, a mechanic, gas, a bouquet of flowers, a notary public, a tire repaired, mail a letter or send a fax + more!

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the way home.

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Across Canada and Back – The Way Back. Our Boler Adventure (Part Four)

continuednew york and driving home through the states.
.
part one here (bc to ontario), part two here (quebec, gaspe peninsula), part three here  (pei, new brunswick, nova scotia, newfoundland)
.

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new york iphone selfies.

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everyday we walked for hours and hours to see as much as possible in the few days we had here.

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walking across the brooklynn bridge during a rain storm we learned that the umbrellas you can buy at the entrance to the bridge are not worth the five dollars we paid for ours, by the time we got to the middle of the bridge and it began to rain the umbrella instantly fell apart in the wind and we were soaked in a few seconds.  after the storm it was a cold, wet walk home to take the commuter ferry back to our “campground” in jersey city.

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“no day shall erase you from the memory of time” virgil (quote at the 911 site).  we were not prepared for how emotional it would be and the impact seeing the site in person would leave on us.

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central park new york city, and of course a hot dog, or two!

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we drove through maine, connetticut, michigan, wisconsin, south and north dakota, montana and washington on the way home.

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map or canada - boler trip the way back

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a small detour back up to ontario, stopped in toronto to visit family and friends and cross off going to a paul mccartney concert off the bucket list.  as we headed home the fall colour was gorgeous.

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no reds in the fall colour this year but the yellow tones, subtle or intense, are all beautiful.

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day 63 (october 25)  we arrived home late at night after traveling 20,000 kms there and back.  this has been the trip of a lifetime for us but we are so happy to be home.

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  • see part one here (bc to ontario)
  • part two here (quebec, gaspe peninsula)
  • and part three here  (pei, new brunswick, nova scotia, newfoundland)

Across Canada and back – Our Boler Adventure (Part Three) » This is our life. Living simply. - […] here’s this section of our route.  coming next the way back, back through the states and new york (see part four – the way back – here). […]

Tina MacPhail - Gobsmacked… as they say in Australia…. Just loving that last photo!

Angela Bernaldez - I love all your photos!