Jun 20, 2008 -

More Officialisms

I’m houseless (but not homeless) as of 1 September. My landlords were happy to accommodate my request to break my lease a month early (yaaaaaaay).

Then, I’ll be jobless as of 4 September. My supervisor signed the first batch of papers today.

I now have just about all of September to get out west. The beauty of having your home with you and boondocking most of the way (ie. not paying for a campsite) is that it doesn’t cost any more to take four weeks to cross the country than to take one week. You’d have had to eat during those four weeks anyway and you would have done the same amount of mileage in one week or four. I just need to learn to slow down and not put in insane driving days, something I suspect will come naturally to me when the time comes.

Excited, so very excited.

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Finances, Itineraries, Preparations for Departure, Travel, Work    No Comments
Jun 19, 2008 -


While I don’t want to make myself a set itinerary for my cross-country trip, I am researching my various route options for a couple of legs, namely that from Gatineau to Winnipeg and Calgary to the British Columbia interior. I’m mostly focusing on the former right now and just gathering information to be reviewed in Saskatchewan (!) for the latter.

Until today, I thought I was getting to Winnipeg the way I came back from there in 2005, on the 17 via North Bay, Sudbury, the Sault, Thunder Bay, and Kenora. I didn’t think that the more northern route through Kapuskasing was a viable alternative. Then, I began to read several trip blogs and forum posts describing the 11, a more northern route, as being superior to the 17 for RVers because it’s less mountainous (better gas mileage, less wear and tear on the brakes) and that it’s the exact same mileage. I liked the idea of taking a new route for part of the trip to Winnipeg and adding more towns and sights to my ‘been there!’ list.

So, I pulled out my trusty Michelin road atlas and looked at the 11 more closely. Suddenly, a third route opened up. I called up Google maps to test a theory. A nice feature of Google maps is that you can chart routes of your own choice by specifying that you want to from a to z by way of c and y. By altering my search parameters, I figured out the mileage between Gatineau and Winnipeg by each of the three routes. The 11 and 17 routes are indeed exactly the same mileage. My route adds only 30 kilometres more.

Therefore, unless further research makes me feel this plan is ill advised at the time of year during which I’m leaving, I plan to get to Winnipeg by way of l’Abitibi-Temiscamingue, with Vérendrye Park for my first night. This is my favourite place to camp and it would be lovely to say goodbye to it. Then, off to Val D’Or, a city I’ve been meaning to visit ever since I came to this region. After, Rouyn-Noranda, Kirkland Lake, Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing, Hearst, and on past Geraldton and Rocky Bay to rejoin the 17 at Nipigon. From there, it’d be two short days to Winnipeg. If I plan on averaging 5 hours of driving per day at an average of 90km per hour, I’d be in Winnipeg in 5 to 7 days.

Originally, I planned to leave on September 15th. But I had a talk with my supervisor about this and she strongly suggested that I leave at the end of a pay period, so either September 3rd or 17th. The 17th is too late for me. We agreed on the 3rd, but didn’t sign papers because she had a few more questions for me to ask HR. Papers should be signed tomorrow. Then it’ll really be official. I’m so scared to let go of that steady pay cheque, but I know I need to do this.

Obviously, if I’m done with work on the 3rd, there’s no way I’ll hang out here for two weeks before taking off. 🙂

Next on my list of things to do is ask my landlord if he’d be willing to advertise my house as being free for September 1st. I’ve already given him notice that I’m not renewing my lease, and I’m hoping to not have to pay rent for September. I have a feeling he’ll be open to discussion on this matter.

So much to do and arrange and plan and research, but how good it feels to be so free.

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Jun 19, 2008 -

Managing Mail When On the Road

I went to pick up my repaired glasses this afternoon (YAAAAAY!!!) and realised that there’s a UPS store in the same building. So, I killed the proverbial two birds and took care of my mail needs for the next year! Wow, this is really starting to feel official!

Before I researched the issue, I figured that mail was going to be a hassle when on the road. I couldn’t just get a box at the post office because the government requires a street address for things like tax documents and license renewals. Same thing for package deliveries, a PO box isn’t good enough. So, the obvious choice at the time was to ask someone I know if I could use their address and to forward my mail to me. I really didn’t like the idea of imposing on someone like that, plus it took away some of my independence and autonomy.

After doing research, I discovered that the UPS store offers a fantastic service: you can rent a mailbox for a length of time, but also have a civic number (ie. the store address with a unit number being your box number). Moreover, they can hold packages and you can contact the store periodically and they will take whatever is in your box, package it up, and send it off to you wherever you are. According to the brochure, the cost for this service for a ‘small’ box for 12 months is only 130$, plus tax, plus shipping fees. My 130$ bought me the service from today until November 30, 2009! I meant for the service to start on September 1st, but didn’t realise that it starts from the moment you pay. So the clerk confessed that most of his boxes are empty and it doesn’t matter if mine isn’t available for rent for two months before I start to get mail in it. Then, my 130$ gives me 15 mos of service instead of 12. A bargain.

I don’t get that much mail and plan to tell my various ‘official’ mailers, like the government and utilities, that I’d prefer e-correspondence, so I doubt I’ll actually have much mail for the UPS store to worry about, but, at least, I have a safe place to send my mail to, a street address, and my independence.

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Law and Government, Mail    No Comments