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  • Writer's pictureRandy Reek

GoneCamper Goes On A Scenic East Coast Tour

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

A Minivan Camper is PERFECT for lots of miles and lots of sightseeing.

How would you travel from Wisconsin, through Canada, on rural highways and through the busiest metropolitan areas, economically and comfortably? By minivan - of course!

In the Fall of 2019 we were able to complete a "bucket list" tour of the historic sites and world famous scenery of the east coast of the U.S. Enroute, we added side trips to Quebec and New Brunswick.

Our first stop was Niagara Falls. We arrived after dark and toured the overlooks. Then we went back in the morning for another look in the sunshine. The sheer magnitude of rushing waters must be seen and is still hard to take in, much less capture in photos. The scenery is spectacular, but the tourist traps, casinos, and retail madness on the Canadian side of the Falls were oppressive.

Day 2 continued with a LONG drive the length and width of New York state. We had reserved a campsite in a campground in northern Vermont, not far from the Canadian border. We like to camp in private campgrounds every few days to take advantage of shower and laundry facilities. This campground was closing for the Fall season the next day!

We arrived just as the sun was setting. Quickly set up the GoneCamper bed and hit the showers. The next morning it was back on the road after a fast breakfast of hot oatmeal.

Packing up is a 5-minute process of folding back the foam mattress and rolling up our double sleeping bag.

Day 3 was spent in Quebec City. This was a bustling trade and government center on the St Lawrence river before the American Revolution. We took a guided walking tour of the upper and lower sections of Quebec City.

One interesting sight in Lower Quebec City is the church featured in the last scenes of the movie, "Catch Me If You Can". This old French-Canadian town is so authentic that the scene from France was actually filmed in Quebec City!

We left Quebec City after a full day and drove along the St Lawrence River to our waterfront campsite.

Day 4 took us along the St. Lawrence into New Brunswick. We then traveled across the province to the Atlantic Ocean and enjoyed another seaside campsite, showers and laundry. At this RV park we reserved a less expensive "tent" campsite - that is, without sewer hookups. This is another advantage of minivan camping - you can camp in sites not accessible by motorhome and trailers.

The coastline of New Brunswick sees daily tides of more than 25 feet. In Saint John the tide in the Bay of Fundy rises into the river mouth and actually reverses the current flow, aptly named Reversing Falls.

On Day 5 we meandered south through Maine, meeting friends for the weekend. Saturday we toured Acadia National Park, then ate lobster on the wharf in Bar Harbor.

The next day we drove north along the Kennebec River, then hiked to the top of a low, granite mountain in the middle of Moosehead Lake.

On the road again, Monday morning we made the mandatory stop at L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine. Laurie and I both found new pairs of Bean boots, then we continued south towards Boston.

One of the HUGE advantages of touring in a minivan versus a larger motorhome or towing a camper is that navigating city traffic is easy. We had booked a few days in a waterfront hotel and our GoneCamper never moved from the parking lot while we took public transportation into Boston to tour the historic sites.

In Boston and other historic cities we have found that parking the vehicle and taking guided, narrated tours is the best way to get an overview of the area. Then we go back and walk the areas we want to visit more closely.

Leaving Boston, we headed towards New York City. We had reserved a campsite in an RV park a few hours short of NYC. It was a rainy night, but it gave us another chance to do laundry before heading into the metro area.

This was the end of the camping portion of our vacation. From here it was all driving and hotels in big cities. But, when we plan a long driving vacation, we prefer the Grand Caravan minivan. The long wheelbase makes for a very comfortable highway ride, and we typically realize 30 MPG in highway driving.

The next day, we drove to a secure long-term parking lot across the river at the Newark, NJ airport. We packed what we needed for a few days in carry-on suitcases and then took the train into New York. We spent several days in a downtown hotel, riding the subway, and walking many miles taking in the sights of NYC.

Leaving New York, we took the train back to the Newark airport, then the shuttle bus to the parking lot to reclaim our GoneCamper minivan. From there the next stop was Philadelphia. We had made a reservation for a tour of Independence Hall. Then we did a walking tour of the many other historic buildings that are preserved in the same close neighborhood.

Then we traveled to Washington, D.C. We were meeting up with our Niece, staying with her in an apartment near the Navy Yard and the Washington Nationals stadium (The Nat's were in the middle of the Division playoffs.)

Again, we parked the GoneCamper minivan, this time in the underground parking garage. The van "rested" for a few days while we walked, took the Metro system, and tour buses around D.C. (Like all the historic cities we visited, we took hundreds of photos - I'll only include a few here.)

We spent a few days in Washington and saw many, many sites. We had arranged for a tour of the Capitol with our Senator in advance. We toured the Library of Congress and the National Archives. We did not have time to visit any of the Smithsonian Museums. We simply ran out of time. One of the major disappointments is the airport-level security at EVERY building, and sometimes a second time INSIDE the buildings. All told, we spent hours going through security checks everywhere except the outdoor monuments.

Our final stop on the East Coast tour was Colonial Williamsburg. Once again, we took the narrated bus tour of the area, then got off and walked the small historic town.

Leaving Williamsburg, we first stopped for an oil change at one of the generic "quick lube" franchises. (We use full synthetic oil in the Dodge V6 engine, and change oil every 5,000 miles.) This is another advantage of traveling by minivan. You don't need to search ahead for a commercial dealership that can service a motorhome. Instead of paying hundreds for truck service, we pay the lowest rate and are back on the road in 20 minutes.

Where do YOU want to travel? What is on your bucket list? Would you like to have the flexibility to camp along the way? This trip was easy and economical. All together, we were on the road for three weeks and covered about 4,500 miles. Other than a scheduled oil change, we did nothing but put gas in the GoneCamper Grand Caravan.

Why not join us on the road? The GoneCamper can be customized for your needs with either a full or single bed, with or without a rear kitchen. Contact GoneCamper to schedule the delivery of your minivan camping conversion

Living Frugally, Traveling Efficiently, and

Camping Comfortably

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