Growing up in Ontario, we both had the opportunity to experience camping road trips with our families instilling in us a love of camping and travel from an early age. In the 1970s, Margot’s Dad built an aluminum trailer, taking the family on trips to favorite provincial parks like Arrowhead in Huntsville.
In 1981, Margot’s parents purchased a new 17’ Taylor Coach travel trailer from a local family manufacturer, enjoying summer camping throughout the 1980s. They even towed it all the way down to Florida one year for the Christmas holidays.
James’ family took road trips around Ontario and farther afield to the Canadian Maritimes and California in small campervans, setting the stage for a life-long passion for long-distance motorcycle travel.
We met at the University of Guelph and discovered a shared love of camping and the outdoors. Soon we were enjoying summer tent camping trips with friends and together embarked on multi-day canoe tripping adventures first with Margot’s sister and then on our own.
We were married shortly after graduating University in 1998 and moved to Markham, Ontario where James had landed a position at a major IT company. Margot worked 5 years at Young Drivers of Canada as a driving instructor and classroom teacher, followed by 10 years in customer service with State Farm Insurance before being laid-off in 2012. During that time, we lived frugally and saved up enough to buy a townhouse for ourselves plus 3 rental properties which we managed and renovated ourselves over the years.
Camping continued to be our primary vacation style with more canoe trips, including an amazing week-long 85 km trip in Temagami, Northern Ontario in 2008. We also enjoyed “car camping” road trips to our favorite provincial parks around Ontario, plus fly-away camping trips (with a car rental) to Newfoundland in 2003 and British Columbia in 2006.
We bought our first motorcycle in 2003, a second in 2004 taking them both out to the east coast of Canada, touring through Quebec, New Brunswick and PEI over 2 weeks.
We sold our starter bike at the end of 2004 and retained just 1 motorcycle for the next 5 years, a 1993 Honda CBR F2. James managed to ride it down to Siesta Key, Florida in May of 2007, where Margot had flown down for 2 weeks vacation with her sister’s family.
Then in 2010 we bought our first RV: a brand new Taylor Coach 15’ travel trailer we named Grace, which we enjoyed on weekends that first summer including 3 weekends trackside at Mosport Racetrack.
After flipping it on the highway, the insurance helped us upgrade to a 2012 Taylor Coach 17’ travel trailer, named Nellie. Taking delivery in the fall of 2011, we set up for winter camping at MacGregor Point Provincial Park, enjoying 20 nights of mild winter camping on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron.
In spring 2012, we moved our trailer Nellie to the lovely New Lowell Conservation Area Campground near Georgian Bay, Ontario where we enjoyed 4 summers of seasonal camping. It was an excellent location, an easy 75 minute drive from home and just 15 minutes to Wasaga Beach!
Then in 2015, we bought the ideal tow vehicle: a 2011 Honda Odyssey minivan we named Eddie. We took Eddie and Nellie on some extended test trips to Washington, DC and Bar Harbor, Maine. James rode his motorcycle, a 2007 Honda CBR1000RR for both trips, while our mini-poodle Sadie enjoyed the ride with Margot in our van Eddie.