As most of you either know or can safely assume Solar (while conceptually simple) is a technical minefield with so many components required to get it working properly. Once you have your Solar needs calculated you then need to find all the necessary components and not all components are compatible with each other. Having spent a fair bit of time sodding about trying to piece together all the different components I finally said 'to hell with it' and began searching for a kit which has everything in it. Sure I could probably piece it together cheaper but whats the point if one or more of them are not compatible in the end and being a layman means I don't know that until I do which would be at the wrong time, of course.
The Go Power Extreme 480w Solar Kit is our saving grace. It has all the components in one very convenient package. So with that resolved I then needed to find an Installer with time available to get it put on. Fortunately, the website lists all the Dealers by province/state with a map making it very easy to find what your looking for and just as well as it turns out.
As we were planning to go south through Windsor I began by searching this route and spoke to a few dealers in the Toronto/London area, but as happens all the time around here the route changed to crossing in Maine and heading south as quickly as possible so my Dealer map focus changed to accommodate this new crossing. However, with family needs brought to our attention on the west coast of Canada, the plan shifted once more to a complete Canada crossing.
You might ask why we wouldn't go across in the U.S. and the answer is simple, because every day spent south counts not only towards the maximum number of days we can be in the U.S this year but also counts as a half of a day next year and a quarter of a day the year after that, essentially shortening the number of days we can donate our coffers to the building of the infamous wall. But thats another story that has no place on this particular Blog.
So with this new information I set about looking for quotes and availability along our path across Canada and I have found 2 (there are likely others but this works for us). One is in Ontario and the other in BC. I have received a formal quote from BC and am still awaiting (likely Tuesday) the other from ON.
The other detail I have been working on is Health Coverage. Canada, as most know, has full Health Coverage for all Canadians (well, mostly full) paid for by the Province in which you reside using your exorbitant tax dollars. However, when a Canadian goes to the U.S where there is no such coverage you have to buy exorbitant Health Coverage over and above paying your exorbitant tax dollars.
This Coverage is NOT CHEAP (almost $200CAD/ Month each, at least for us). But it is certainly cheaper than paying a hospital bill in the U.S. So it is necessary. As an example, Brad's 20something niece was south recently and had a situation for which she required minor day surgery while down there. When the bill arrived (covered by the Insurance) it had been $90,000 CAD. Which could have ruined her life had she not had the Coverage.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I have been to the U.S many many many times and have never bought Insurance and fortunately have never had a problem, but if you did.... Yowsers! Frankly, as a Canadian this is not a topic that even comes to mind, its just always been there and so is not something I think about - Like when you flip the light switch.
We are going prepared for this trip, well I am doing everything possible to ensure that we are covered 3 ways to Sunday on everything from RV Repairs, Road Side Assistance, Health Care, etc. Trying anyway.
One RoadSide Assistance Plan
About the mail... As we will be away for a fair while, we obviously will not be able to get our mail at home. Escapees offers mail services to RVers whereby they provide you with a U.S mailing address and upon request will send your mail anywhere you may be passing through or stopping as you travel along. You simply advise them that you will be at Aunt Mable's RV Park on Tuesday and they send everything they have to you. Fantastic Service! When you put in a temporary mail forward with Canada Post they send your mail to your new location as it comes in. Great!
Problem for us is we will be in Canada for an unknown time before going south. Solution: Put a hold on the mail for a couple of weeks prior to the forwarding start. If your mail is held prior then upon the beginning of the forward Canada Post will forward everything currently held as well as new mail. Without the hold any mail prior to the forward will be stuck in the mailbox until we return in May.
And so it goes...