Friday, October 17, 2008

RV - Kayaking Report

Beach camping in Nova Scotia...

I bought my mini-RV last May and so far have made three overnight trips with it. The longest was roughly three weeks when I took it to Nova Scotia and the shortest was a couple of weeks ago when I went down to Maine to paddle for a few days. I thought I would reflect on the investment, both the good and the bad.

... with a view to die for!

To begin with, towing the lightweight trailer has definitely increased my gas consumption somewhat. Interestingly, traveling with the kayak on its roof rack accounts for the major decrease in mileage with the 450 lbs trailer adding only another slight decrease. The total amount is roughly a 17% decrease in mileage per tank full of gas. I feel this is a worthwhile cost given how much longer I'm able to travel in relative comfort and the savings I've gained not having to pay for motel accommodations each night while on the road. Generally my mini-RV has been subject to the same camping fees as my tent set-up had been in the past, so I haven't increased my camping costs to any extent.

The trailer has also allowed me to drive to and park directly on the beach when campgounds were located there. In Maine and Québec, there are many such places and this allows for making multiple day paddles in the same area with little fuss or inconvenience. In Nova Scotia, I was able to do the same thing in three campgrounds, but I ran into a couple of problems as well. Unlike most areas of North America, the province does not permit overnight parking anywhere but at licensed campgounds. In some areas, I discovered there were no campgounds available making it difficult to pull off the road when I got tired. In one case the place was filthy beyond belief, but I had to stay there as there was no other option. While I prefer to stay in convenient campgrounds, I believe Nova Scotia ought to take a more localized approach when banning overnight parking. It has been shown that local regulations tend to result in cleaner campgrounds and increased commerce by RV'ers as they pass through. Their one-rule-fits-all approach is ruining the camping experience which is a great pity given the beauty of the place and the wonderful people who live there.

I'm looking forward to taking my mini-RV south on another paddling trip this winter. I expect to be away for several months (depending on how good the skiing is here at home). So far the RV experience has been very positive and, I feel, has greatly enhanced my kayaking opportunities and enjoyment. I expect to see more RV-kayakers on the road!

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