Canadian RVers Cut Long-Distance Travel
Gary and Lorraine Gillion of Waterloo, Ontario, used to go camping 300 miles away every summer. But not anymore.
The Gillions estimate they’d pay almost $300 at the pump for their SUV to pull their tent trailer their favorite camping site in Marten River Provincial Park located deep within the province’s interior.
They’ve opted to spend much of their summer at Pinehurst Park, south of Cambridge, a distance of about 20 miles, according to the Waterloo Record.
“If we go up north we can afford three nights, if we stay here we can afford 10 nights,” Gary said. “That’s a big difference. The gas prices will cut the longer trips for sure,” he said. “We started cutting back last year.”
“But we like it here anyway,” Lorraine said.
Dave Schultz is the communications manager at Grand River Conservation Authority, which manages Pinehurst Park. He said they’re already seeing a change in visiting patterns at the parks that may indicate people are driving less.
More people are booking spots for the entire summer, and he’s also seen an increase in the number of recreational vehicles – people who may normally have headed farther afield.
Susan Clift, manager of Kitchener’s Canadian Automobile Association store, said it’s too soon to tell how summer travel plans may change due to high gas prices.
“We’re sort of bracing to see shorter trips,” she said. “We’re bumping up the number of tickets we have for local attractions, like African Lion Safari.”
But Clift said high gas prices are being balanced by a strong Canadian dollar, and points out that when four people can drive to New York City for $180, driving is still an affordable option.
“Unfortunately, travel within Canada may be hurt,” Clift said. “People are still excited about the high dollar.”
Pinehurst campers Carl and Lynda Wood have seen plenty of fuel fluctuations since they started RVing in 1975. This year marks the first time they’ve changed their plans due to high gas prices.
“We’ve grumbled about it before, but we’ve kept traveling,” Carl said. “We like the freedom of driving. I’m a gypsy at heart.”
The retired Prince Edward County couple spend the entire summer traveling with their pickup truck and fifth-wheel trailer, from Quinte Bay to Pinehurst, and from Algonquin Park to Gettysburg, Pa.
Normally, they’d take another three-month road trip in winter, heading for warmer weather in the U.S.
“But we’ll cancel our travel plans,” he said. “As ridiculous as the gas price is now, it’s probably going to get more ridiculous.”