After buying a van and making a plan, this couple has launched a yearlong trip from Mexico up to Alaska

“We’ve always loved to travel,” said my friend Robin Sullivan.

I know that to be true about Robin. Although she and I grew up in Oregon, we stayed in touch as she made her way around Alaska. That included a lengthy teaching career in Fairbanks.

“I was up in Arctic Village when I applied to the Peace Corps,” she said. “I actually was accepted, but then my sister convinced me to travel to Bend, Oregon.”

So instead of a Peace Corps assignment, she opted for a remote teaching job in the middle of the South Pacific in the Marshall Islands.

Robin’s new sweetheart, Bruce Sullivan, decided he wanted to go along. After a two-year assignment in the South Pacific, Robin and Bruce got married and moved back to Bend.

But Robin still had the travel bug. So she and Bruce decided on a strategy to accommodate what Robin calls “slow travel.”

The first two things on the list were to buy a van and make a plan.

“We bought a Mercedes Sprinter van in 2017,” Bruce said. “That required me to work for three more years to build it out.”

[Traveling during the pandemic has many variables. Here’s how Alaskans are navigating the rules to reach their destinations.]

Bruce was an energy consultant in Bend, convincing people to be more energy-efficient in their housing. He and Robin built a home in downtown Bend that is super-efficient. So he wanted to replicate that efficiency with the van.

“It took about two years to build out the van and another year to pay it off,” said Bruce. “It’s essentially a dry cabin on wheels. We’ve got a porta-potty, a boat pump for water and a deep sink so we can do laundry.”

Bruce used recycled wood from their home for the counter tops, “We wanted more a little more insulation, though,” he said. “So we used solid cork and wool.”

There are solar panels on top of the van, along with two large lithium batteries. “This gives us about three days’ worth of power,” he said.

Of course, the van has a name: “Rufous.”

Bruce and Robin both are avid birders and “rufous” refers to a certain color of bird. There’s a rufous hummingbird, sparrow and robin. The paint job on their van is very rufous-esque, but Robin likes that it connotes a “roof over us.” “We love it,” she said.

Once they had the van fixed up, it was time to make the plan.

In keeping with their “slow travel” directive, Robin and Bruce started planning out their yearlong journey.

“Our starting point was on Vancouver Island in Nanaimo,” said Robin. Nanaimo is about 70 miles north of Victoria, where the ferries land from Vancouver.

“From there, we stopped in Seattle to visit family and then went to Utah,” said Robin. “We went to Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. I think we covered every trail in Bryce!”

Robin and Bruce left their bikes at home, even though Utah is known as a mountain-bike mecca. “We love our bodies and the last thing we want to do is hurt ourselves,” said Robin. “We keep it simple and just walk.”

Once they find a place to camp, the Sullivans move in for a while. “We try and stay four, five or six days,” said Robin.

After about six weeks in Utah, they made their way to the Tucson area after a stop at the Grand Canyon.

When I caught up with Robin and Bruce on the phone last week, they had their sights set for Patagonia Lake State Park south of Tucson.

Although they left their bikes at home, they did pack a foldable kayak on the top of Rufous. Their plan right now is to stay in the area for about a month.

Bruce still does some consulting work. He outfitted Rufous with a signal booster so he can use his cellphone to get online for the occasional Zoom call.

The Sullivans have plans to go west and south into Mexico. Just south of the border is a popular beach town, Puerto Peñasco. “We’ll take the one-hour drive south of the border and stay for a week,” said Robin. “And we’ll put our boat in the water!”

There’s another detour east to Texas to see Big Bend National Park.

“But we like to go to wilderness areas that are not so well-known,” said Robin. So, they’ll probably set up camp in nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park, which is just northwest of the national park. Robin’s son Marshall lives in Texas and plans to join them in Big Bend with his new kayak.

Although they haven’t mapped out a route yet, the Sullivans’ winter plan is to spend three months at the southern tip of Baja California.

Starting May 1, they plan to point Rufous north and head up the Alaska Highway for a summer sojourn throughout Alaska.

“Fairbanks became my home,” said Robin. “That’s where my roots are.”

Even now, Robin is mapping out some state park cabin rentals across Kachemak Bay. They’re making plans to visit Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in McCarthy.

The Sullivans promised they would honk when they’re passing through Anchorage. It will be fun to catch up with my friends “in real life.”

After next summer, Robin and Bruce plan to drive back to Bend via the Cassiar Highway in Canada. Tentatively, they’re set to arrive back home at the end of August.

“We might decide to keep going, though,” muses Robin. “I’d sure like to see Newfoundland.”

It’s impressive how far you can go with a van, a plan and a love of travel, even if you’re committed to slow travel like Bruce and Robin.

Although Bruce spent two years tricking out the van to his energy-saving specifications, there’s one big change he’d like to make: “I wish Rufous was electric,” he said.

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DIY couple transform damp-ridden caravan into stunning travel home for just £800

Bex Ambler, 29, and her boyfriend Tom were quoted £2,000 to fix just the damp in their new caravan – but they decided to save themselves cash by taking on the project themselves

Bex Ambler and Tom with their rescue dogs
Bex Ambler and Tom with their rescue dogs

A couple who purchased a second-hand caravan that was riddled with damp have managed to totally transform it for just £800.

Bex Ambler, 29, and her boyfriend Tom had no idea the vehicle had any issues when they handed over £3,000 for it.

After being quoted £2,000 just to fix the damp, the pair decided to renovate the caravan themselves – and now it has been completely overhauled into a chic space.

It took them five weeks to complete the project and used budget supplies including DC Fix, stick-on tiles and No More Nails glue to fix it up.

Bex, who works as a marketing and events manager for a toy distributor in Yorkshire, and Tom, wanted to be able to take their two dogs on holiday.

The caravan turned out to be riddled with damp


Bex Ambler)

She told : “We started looking for a van at the end of the summer and it was so hard to find one we liked within our budget that hadn’t sold within a couple of hours of it going online.

“In the end, we had to up the budget and loaned a bit of extra money from the bank of mum and dad to buy it.

“We thought it was in perfect condition but unfortunately due to us being absolute amateurs, we didn’t take a damp metre which is my number one recommendation.

“Unfortunately we found loads of damp as soon as we started painting and taking things down.”

Bex and Tom had to strip it out and start again


Bex Ambler)

The pair started by using a multi-tool from B&Q – which cost £50 – to chop away at all the damp and strip the caravan back to its shell.

Bex and Tom then replaced the polystyrene, plyboard and batons using No More Nails, which cost around £250 for the supplies, also from B&Q.

The couple then repapered the walls using lining paper and painted on top of that using Frenchic Alfresco paint.

They used about five tubs at £20 each as the wood was so orange it took four or five coats.

Here is how the caravan looked before


Bex Ambler)

Bex then jazzed up the caravan with gold handles, which cost £25 for 20 handles from Amazon.

After this, the couple recovered the sofas and dining seats using throws from The Range and rugs from IKEA – which cost them around £60 in total.

These needed to be cut to size and stapled on.

“I was worried about it being uncomfy to sleep on but invest in a gel mattress topper and you can’t feel a thing, super comfy,” said Bex.

Have you managed to transform your home on the cheap? Share how you did it: [email protected]

It now looks chic and modern with a Scandinavian twist


Bex Ambler)

“The dining seats, I did the same thing again but I put the buttons through before I stapled them.

“I found a guy on eBay who recovers buttons. I got 24 buttons for £6 and you just send your fabric off to him.”

For the worktops, the couple used DC Fix which is a type of self-adhesive covering and cost £16 for two rolls.

The door was also done in DC Fix white gloss, then Bex and Tom added some decals from Etsy on the top, at a total cost of £14.

Similarly, the flooring was vinyl lino from eBay that cost £95. Next up came the kitchen.

The pair spent around £800 doing it up


Bex Ambler)

Bex explained: “For the kitchen, the tap is a standard household tap from Amazon and was £60.

“We had to get some special pipes from ebay to make it suitable for a caravan which were £17.

“The tiles are stick-on from One Below and were £1 a pack. We used about 10 packs as it was a super awkward shape.

“We used extra PVA to make sure that they stay stuck, and the same with the wallpaper on the back wall which is from Dunelm at £10.

“As I said before my biggest tip is to purchase a damp metre when looking for your caravan. You can get them on Amazon for about £15.

They’ll now be able to travel in comfort when going on holidays with their dogs


Bex Ambler)

“On reflection, we paid too much for ours when we realised the amount of damp it had.”

Bex is over the moon with the look of her finished caravan and can’t wait to take it on the road after all her hard work.

The whole process took around five weeks as the pair both work full-time so have done most things in the dark on an evening.

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COVID testing at fairgrounds appreciated by couple with travel plans | News

WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP — The opportunity to get COVID-19 tests quickly and locally Tuesday was something Melvin and Sheila Lehman of Guys Mills wanted to have.

The Lehmans were among those who went to the fairgrounds in West Mead Township for a free coronavirus test offered through the Pennsylvania Department of Health and its testing contractor, AMI Expeditionary Healthcare of Reston, Virginia.

“We’re fully vaccinated and planning to travel to Canada Friday, but you need (COVID-19) clearance to enter the country,” said Melvin, who is scheduled to speak at a seminar this weekend in Canada.

To travel into Canada, a person must have at least two doses of a Government of Canada-accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a mix of two accepted vaccines; upload proof of vaccination to ArriveCAN, the Government of Canada’s mandatory travel information application; and have no signs or symptoms of the coronavirus.

In addition, Canada requires a pre-entry COVID-19 test for all travelers age 5 or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status. To enter Canada, a person must have proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result with the test taken within 72 hours of a scheduled flight, or arrival at a land border crossing to enter Canada.

An acceptable test is a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, test, which is the type of COVID-19 test done at the fairgrounds. It involves a nasal swab being taken with the material analyzed to determine if SARSCoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, is present.

Having testing available at the fairgrounds was stroke of luck for the Lehmans’ planned trip, according to Melvin.

“We called (area) pharmacies like CVS and they’re all booked out,” he said as he and Sheila filled out test authorization forms in their van. “We’re so happy this test is available because the window (to get a test result) for us is so small.”

The Department of Health is offering free COVID-19 testing at the fairgrounds through Wednesday of next week.

“We want to provide convenient testing where it might be needed and rotate the testing sites around the state,” Barry Ciccocioppo, the department’s communications director, said in an email to the Tribune.

The Lehmans were among 86 to get a COVID-19 test Tuesday, according to Aicha Monoyajo, a registered nurse leading AMI’s 12-person testing team at the fairgrounds. The site has the capability to test up to 450 people each day, she said.

This is the second time the Crawford County Fairgrounds has been used as a COVID-19 testing site by the health department. In early January, it held free testing there for a five-day period. There were 192 tests performed the first day and a total of 935 during the five-day period.

Tuesday’s free tests took place on a day when 40 new cases were reported in the county. 

Regionally, Erie County added 205 cases Tuesday, Mercer County added 68 cases, Venango County added 47 and Warren County added 50. Allegheny College’s COVID dashboard lists 16 active student cases and five active cases among employees.

All 67 Pennsylvania counties reported high levels of community transmission of COVID on Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means they were all seeing at least 100 new cases per 100,000 residents over the previous seven days.

There were 2,948 patients hospitalized statewide with COVID-19 infections Tuesday, up 154 from Monday and more than 200 over the past two days. It is the highest number of hospitalizations statewide since 2,900 were hospitalized on Oct. 22. Of those hospitalized statewide, 631 were being treated in intensive care units (ICUs), up 17, and 349 were being treated on ventilators, up six.

There were 53 people hospitalized with the virus in the county, 13 individuals in an ICU and eight ventilators in use, all the same as Monday. The state said there was one adult ICU bed available, also the same as Monday.

The number of Pennsylvanians fully vaccinated is 6.54 million, including 36,383 in Crawford County. A total of 9,521 people have had an additional dose of vaccine since Aug. 13.

Keith Gushard can be reached at (814) 724-6370 or by email at [email protected].


Free testing for COVID-19 is available at the Crawford County Fairgrounds, just east of Meadville in West Mead Township, through Nov. 24, through the Pennsylvania Department of Health and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare of Reston, Virginia.

Testing is on a first-come, first-serve basis with no appointment required, according to the department.

Anyone age 3 or older can be tested. Individuals are not required to show symptoms of COVID-19 to be tested. Patients are asked to take photo identification with them, but ID is not required to be tested.

Testing hours at the fairgrounds, located at 13921 Dickson Road, are today through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free testing continues next week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday and from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday. Vehicles are to enter the fairgrounds’ Gate 1 off Dickson Road.

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After nearly a decade of travel, couple settles in Central Texas

Following retirement, one couple decided to spend eight years on the road. After all of that adventure, they decided to moved to Central Texas.

TEMPLE, Texas — After traveling coast-to-coast for eight years, David and Diane Henderson were looking to settle down. What better way to decide where to live than by throwing a dart on a map? Literally.

David Henderson explained to 6 News, “We took a dart and threw it at a map, and it hit Temple! We have kids in McKinney and Fort Worth, Huntsville and League City, so we are three hours away from the kids.”

The couple’s story begins 15 years ago when their children became adults and they sold their house in Conroe, Texas. 

The couple bought a truck and a five-wheel camper and hit the road for what ended up being an eight-year adventure of traveling and volunteering

“We started traveling and I’d call places, national parks, church camps and they’d say ‘yeah stay and help us out,'” David Henderson said. “We volunteered lots of places, four years out west and four years back east. Methodist church camps, Baptist church camps, the Blue Ridge Parkway right out of Ashville, we stayed there one summer. We spent two months in the fall at Cumberland National Park where Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia all touch in the Tri State Peak area.”

David Henderson, who received two degrees from West Texas A&M and a doctorate from Texas Tech, taught for 40 years at Sam Houston State University.

He even made time to teach one course a semester the entire eight years of traveling and continues to this day.

But, it was something about the freedom of traveling, they told 6 News, “To just be able to go where you want to go and to be where you want for eight years, we were very blessed to be able to do that.”

Eventually, after eight years on the road, and two years back in a Conroe apartment, the Henderson’s felt they were done.  

They have been enjoying the last five years in their new hometown of Temple. 

“We’d never been in Temple before and then we saw this house, and it was a new house, and then we said, ‘fine. We’ll take it,” he said. “And it’s been great, the people are friendly and we’re really enjoying Temple and Belton both.”

Does the couple have any more travel plans? David Henderson told us jokingly, “At 78 years old, you don’t plan a lot I guess.”

The Hendersons have now been married 24 years and their family of five sons and 17 grandkids keep them very busy on Texas road trips to visit the four living nearby.

One of their other children is in Florida and they recently got back from visiting the Sunshine State this summer. 

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Michigan couple push limits to see what grapes can grow on Beaver Island

St. James, Beaver Island — Not far from the village of wood-frame buildings that hug the natural harbor of this remote, mostly forested island, Adam Kendall and Kate Leese have planted a couple of acres of red and white wine grapes, with the dream of eventually opening a winery and tasting room here.

On the surface, their dream might seem as far-flung as this island in the northern waters of Lake Michigan, but the couple has planted roots on a 120-acre tract deep in the woods of the island, the third-largest in the state. Their planting of 2,100 vines on a fallow field this past spring came after their own extensive research and consultations with others in Michigan’s flourishing wine industry.

“It feels like a place somewhere along the road where you could stop and have a glass of wine with new friends,” said Kate Leese, 35, who grew up in Charlevoix, a resort town across the lake, about 30 miles away. “Our goal is to have that kind of place that brings people together.” 

Wine grapes have been cultivated by others on the island in the past but not for commercial use, the couple says. They’ll be the first to bottle and sell their wine on the island as well as the mainland.   

It’s not hard to imagine that kind of operation happening here, on the open lawn behind a turn-of-the-century farmhouse the couple is restoring. Beyond the clearing, where the young vines are sprouting from grow tubes, hardwoods frame the horizon. Apple trees, remnants of another farming era, and sugar maples, exploding in fiery colors, dot the bucolic landscape.

“We have wanted to plant a vineyard, but it was something that we thought about doing 20 years from now, in the future,” said Leese, who has a background in biochemistry and who, like her husband, is passionate about wine. “So many things came together for us in the last year.”

Those things included finding a property on Beaver Island after a random stop in fall 2019, in the wake of a boat trip up the northwestern Michigan coastline. They were ready for a more stationary existence after spending three years on the road, pulling a renovated Airstream around the continental United States, working remotely. 

“Almost immediately after we pulled into the marina here, we knew this was the level of quiet we were looking for,” said Kendall, 37, a Jackson native who has a background as an attorney. “At night, there’s almost complete silence here. There’s no light pollution. You can hear every car (if one goes by). It’s the kind of place we had been looking for as our next spot.”

Their transient life has included picking up and moving every three or four days, seeking out less-traveled parks and locales. During that time on the road, they left their former jobs and created their own company, the Kinetics Company, an emergency management consulting firm. They have lived in more than 220 places and continued to travel even after finding their niche on Beaver Island. It took them another year to secure the former farm property.

Part of an archipelago, Beaver Island is home to about 600 year-round residents. It’s the kind of place where everybody knows everybody, where everybody waves as they pass one another, where neighbors pitch in to help one another and where everyone does what they can to help the community.

Although thousands of visitors arrive by plane and ferry each year, the 56-square-mile island — about twice the size of Manhattan — retains a sense of remoteness. Most businesses cater to the locals and tourists who want a slower-paced vacation. There are small inns and other types of lodging, as well as restaurants, a brewery and small shops. Paved roads are few and so are the amenities most tourists would find on a destination like Mackinac Island — there’s not a single fudge shop. 

“You come to the island to unplug and disconnect,” Leese said.

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Unique challenges

Establishing a winery on an island in Michigan, especially one so far north, is an anomaly in the Great Lakes State. Michigan is home to about 170 wineries, most of them clustered on the peninsulas outside Traverse City or in the southwest corner of the state. The closest designated wine-growing region — Tip of the Mitt — lies across Lake Michigan on the mainland, stretching from just south of Charlevoix to the Straits.

Farther north than other Michigan wine regions, the Tip of the Mitt faces unique challenges, including colder and windier winters. The grape varietals found in other parts of the state — chardonnay, riesling and pinot noir, for example — are generally not grown in the region. More common are cold-hardy grapes like Marquette, Traminette and Frontenac. 

Beaver Island — 30 miles from the mainland — sits in a microclimate, presenting its own set of challenges and advantages. Winter, of course, is long and cold. The hope is the lingering ice around the island in the early spring will keep the vines dormant. The warmer and longer-than-usual fall because of the surrounding warmer water will help grapes ripen. A breeze blows constantly, helping keep mildew and mold at bay. Cloud cover is minimal, offering lots of sunny days throughout the growing season.

“I don’t think Beaver Island would be colder than Petoskey or Minnesota,” said Paolo Sabbatini, an associate professor of horticulture at Michigan State University, referencing the planting of cold-hardy grapes that have fared well in those regions. “If they use super hardy hybrid grapes, I think they will have a good chance to produce grapes on the island.”

Instead, cultivating cold tender vinifera could be problematic because of the bitter winter, he says, noting, however, that there are techniques to protect the vines in the winter, including burying vine canes underground to provide insulation. Extreme and persistent freezes during winter months can damage or destroy vines. In moderate winters, the lake effect snow blankets the vines, protecting them, or they need to be protected by the soil.

“It’s like a blanket to protect the vines. It’s a technique used in a lot of places around the world and also in Michigan, especially in the southwest,” he says. “I wish them the best of luck. It’s a very cool idea in a very beautiful place.”

Experimenting with different root stock and clones, the couple has planted cabernet franc, pinot noir, riesling, Traminette and Noiret, as well as zweigelt, an Austrian grape, and pinotage, a grape from South Africa, to name a few. Their hopes for pinotage — a grape not common in Michigan — are buoyed by an Ohio State University study that showed the grape to have a higher annual freezing tolerance.

There are other elements in their favor. The top of their soil was laden with high levels of organic matter. The property is a mix of clay, sand and limestone. Nitrogen and pH levels are perfect for grape growing, the couple says.

“We are trying to push the boundaries of what might grow here,” said Kendall, who has experimented with making wine and ginger beer, even while on the road.

‘The devil is in the details’

Harvesting, of course, is a few years away. It takes three to four years for vines to mature. The couple clipped the vine flowers in the spring and will continue to do so over the next few years to strengthen the plants’ roots. An unexpected late spring frost did cause some vine damage, but most of the plants are showing promise. 

“The devil is in the details when it comes to wine,” said Douglas Olson, a winemaker and viticulturist who works with wineries on the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas outside Traverse City. “When you taste a great wine, that is a very well calculated process. All the details were covered to their greatest extent.”

He’s referring to such details as soil makeup, weather patterns, historical data and planting the right grapes, “really matching what is best for your site.”

“Cover those details in the beginning stages of a vineyard, and you’ll be able to reap the reward of that,” he said.

“The story behind this is fascinating. If you were to jump forward, if you could get a product out there and have someone in New York or Chicago taste a pinot noir grown on an island in Lake Michigan, that’s got to be the coolest bottle of wine you could have in your cellar … a lot of people would geek out about that, but it’s got to be a good wine to begin with.”

Kendall and Leese will trellis the vines in the spring and evaluate their success with their initial planting. More vines will be planted — their goal is to cultivate six acres. Production buildings and a tasting room will be built eventually. They already have a name: Antho Vineyards, a reference to the first sign of color change in red varietals.

 “We’re not going to be a big winery. That’s not our goal,” said Kendall, who hopes to produce about 1,200 cases of wine per year and export to the mainland. “We’re focused on quality from this particular piece of land, even if that means lower volume.”

The road ahead is long, but the once-nomadic couple is committed. Their Airstream, transported by barge to the island and equipped with a wood-burning stove, rests not far from the vineyard. It’s their home as they renovate the farmhouse. 

“We’ve been addicted to change for a good part of our lives,” Leese said. “During the pandemic, all our work travel stopped. For the most part, our travels these days are to the outer islands. It means we can be in the vineyards morning and night. It’ll be nice to see the vines change and to watch them grow.”

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NU-Minnesota pregame observations: A couple of early OL injury updates; see the full travel roster | Football

Nebraska vs. Minnesota, 10.16

Nebraska coach Scott Frost (right) talks with Husker offensive coordinator Matt Lubick (left) and Mario Verduzco during pregame warmups before taking on Minnesota on Saturday at Huntington Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s a crystal clear, brisk October morning in Minneapolis. 

When Nebraska players hit the field for early warmups shortly before 9:30 a.m., the temperature sat in the mid-40s. Most of the Huskers got their early work in wearing sleeveless warmups, while others opted for loose sweatshirts. 

Coach Scott Frost and special teams coordinator Mike Dawson strolled around the field and watched the early work. 

Here are some other pregame observations: 

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* It doesn’t appear that redshirt freshman offensive lineman Ethan Piper made the trip. The Norfolk Catholic graduate was not out for early warmups like he usually is. 

The three centers snapping to quarterbacks in early warmups: Cam Jurgens, Trent Hixon and Nouredin Nouili. Typically, Piper is the third. 

Nouili, of course, has stepped into the starting lineup the past two weeks at left guard. 

That makes the Huskers a little bit short on the offensive line, as redshirt freshman Brant Banks also appears to be out again this week. He’s been unavailable the past two weeks with what looks like a right-hand injury. Freshman left tackle Teddy Prochazka, of course, suffered a season-ending knee injury last week against Michigan. 

Hixson, junior Broc Bando and redshirt freshman Ezra Miller would all be candidates to fill in up front if needed today. 

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Expect vaccine passports for travel ‘in the next couple of months’: LeBlanc

It could still be a while before Canadians can access a singular proof-of-vaccination system for international travel, according to Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

In an interview on CTV’s Question Period airing Sunday, LeBlanc said that while Ottawa is still aiming for a “fall” timeline to implement the framework, he expects it to go live “in the next couple of months.”

In August the government announced that it was collaborating with the provinces and territories to develop a “pan-Canadian approach” that would facilitate cross-border travel.

“Using a proof of vaccination will provide foreign border officials with the vaccination history needed to assess whether a traveller meets their public health requirements and provide a trusted and verifiable credential for when they return home,” the Aug. 11 statement read.

At the time, they said they were focusing on making the certification digital but that documentation would be accessible in all forms.

LeBlanc said a vaccine passport of sorts remains top of mind among his colleagues, especially after outlining the details of a new policy that requires all employees and passengers in the federally-regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors to be fully vaccinated as of Oct. 30.

“The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino has been working across the government of Canada but obviously, with the Public Health Agency [of Canada] and provincial partners, because they are the holders of the data in terms of who’s been immunized in their provinces,” he said.

He said that a host of provinces have developed their own provincial passports, Quebec being the first.

The federal equivalent will be a “confirmation of the provincial data,” he said.

Following the government’s announcement about its mandatory vaccination policy, the National Airlines Council of Canada said it’s in support of the move, but a standardized proof-of-vaccination system needs to be developed quickly.

“Because consultations could not be held during the election campaign concerning mandatory vaccination requirements for air travellers, further to today’s announcement we are urgently looking forward to immediate engagement with officials on the implementation details and proposed regulations, including the responsibilities of government agencies,” a statement reads.

“Timelines are very tight to implement the travel rules. While we are committed to effective implementation it is imperative that the federal government quickly develop a standardized and digital proof of vaccination for air travel.”

The European Union’s Digital COVID Certificate, valid across the continent, has been in place since July.

In a statement to, Isabelle Dubois, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said Canadians can expect a “factual document that shows a traveller has been vaccinated against COVID-19.”

“It is expected to have a common look and include the holder’s COVID-19 vaccination history, such as the number of doses, vaccine type(s), and date and place where doses were administered.”

Dubois said safeguards are being built into the technical systems to protect the privacy of users, and that the federal government won’t have access to the vaccination registries.

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Caravan holidays: Couple recreated ‘ideal’ campervan for £7,000 | Travel News | Travel

The couple explained they tried to leave the UK before the last lockdown, however, they didn’t manage it. Alex explained: “So we decided to get a camper van, and so when the restrictions would end, we would have a campervan ready to keep exploring.”

“We have a solar panel on the top and split charge relay, so the battery when we’re driving the car, the car is charging the battery. As long as we move, we have power.”

So how much did the couple spend on their van?

Emma said: “The van cost around £4,000 and then cost for the most expensive upgrade, getting a pop-up, was almost as much as the campervan. That was around £3,000.”

However, the £3,000 addition is something the pair consider vital to their caravanning exploits.

She said: “It means the van comes up at the top, so you can fit under all the barriers and everything, and then once you’re under you can just pop it up.

“We weren’t sure if we’re going to like it because you have to put it down every morning and weren’t sure it would be fast, but it’s really easy.

“We love it and also we can take off the canvas that basically means that it’s completely open so we can sit on the top and just look out, looking for wildlife for example.

“We can get a coffee, sit up there, find a spot to look out, it is really nice.”

She went on: “The van’s still not 100 percent finished, with the renovation aspects that need to be finished, like curtains.

“But in terms of usability, it is completely usable so we do take it out all the time.

“Anytime we get a free weekend we think, let’s go for this weekend we’ll go somewhere with it again.”

The couple recently detailed items in their caravan packing list

Alex told “One thing that I’ve always loved is the power strip, a power extension.

“It sounds stupid but it’s one of those useful things.”

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Camping holidays: Couple warn against renting van after ‘terrifying’ experience | Travel News | Travel

“One day we decided to spend the night by the top of a cliff. The views were amazing, but at night it was so windy we thought we would fall down the cliff. It was terrifying.

“There was no light, no safe spots to go to, the weather conditions started to be really rough and there were no people to ask for help. We decided to drive to the nearest camping but because of the extremely windy conditions, we couldn’t even drive.

“We had to stay there for the night, but it was the worst experience of my life,” Alba explained.

“I definitely recommend opting for a well-equipped van, even if it is more expensive. I have learned my lesson, for sure.

“I would definitely go camping again, but with a better van and after having researched the camping sites in advance.”

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Unclear COVID-19 travel requirement forces Round Rock couple to cancel trip to Hawaii 1 day before flight

ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — As more begin to travel again, a local couple is warning everyone to look at your destination’s travel requirements closely.

James and his wife Marguerite Ayers said they were supposed to fly out to Hawaii Tuesday morning after months of planning a much-needed vacation.

With the help of a travel agent, Ayers said they followed all COVID-19 pre-travel protocols — or so they thought.

The couple said they got a negative COVID-19 test from a doctor at Austin Regional Clinic within 72 hours prior to traveling, per the State of Hawaii’s policy.

When they went to upload their documents as proof through the Hawaii health department website, their information was rejected. According to the Ayers, they were told they had to get a negative test from a Hawaii-approved partner.

The Ayers said Walgreens and CVS are on the approved list, but they were told neither place could get them the results back sooner than two to three days. That was detrimental for the pair, as they were set to fly out the morning of May 25.

This story will be updated after KXAN News at 9 and 10 p.m. by Reporter Jala Washington.

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