Ask the Blonde Coyote: Where in the World Are You?

Good Morning, Bay of Fundy

Good Morning, Bay of Fundy. Cape Split, Nova Scotia

Dear Ms. Caperton, Because of the long time since your last post, I’ve concluded that you have taken a turn off the open road life toward something else. So, I wanted to thank you for sharing your adventures, and for letting us (me) learn about your remarkable family.

I had hoped (I’m an accomplished procrastinator) to trade trail-craft with you and learn more about your kit and kaboodle e.g.
why do you use a trailer rather than a van (one less axle)? –do your dogs sleep in the trailer or outside? –what’s your experience with mosquitoes? –what are your absolute travel necessaries? (mine are back scratcher, kept within reach esp. while driving; flyswatter; night-time water bottle).  I was also going to plague you with questions about your electrics.
But onward. Happy trails.
New Roads, new Watersheds

New Wheels, New Roads, New Watersheds

Several of you have written me emails over the past six months, wishing me well and wondering what I’m up to these days. I’m still at it, living the dream, all day, every day. I have been taking a break from blogging, but I’m still living the life. I’m just focusing my time and creative energy elsewhere, on other endeavors. Right now, my copilots and I are in New England, having driven a Volkswagen Eurovan from Montana to Nova Scotia on the Trans-Canadian Highway.
Nova Scotia D.O.G.

Nova Scotia D.O.G.

I’m still learning new lessons every day too: the road is all fun and games until your ride decides to break down in Nova Scotia and you’re 4,000 miles from home with two dogs and a borrowed van with a dying transmission. It seems my good car karma has run out, temporarily. There’s no easy way home, no easy way out, no easy way down, but we’re figuring it out one decision at a time. Van or no van, we’re moving forward, enjoying the hell out of life on the open road.
Bay of Funday, Alma Harbor at low tide

Bay of Funday, Alma Harbor at low tide

High tide, 6 hours later

High tide, 6 hours later

 To answer your questions: I bought a trailer because I had a good tow vehicle at the time (my 2004 Subaru Impreza, the Raven) and I wanted to stick with it. Right now I’m traveling in a borrowed van because we’re on the east coast, visiting friends and families in major cities and we don’t want to be towing or parking a trailer in east coast traffic. We can sleep in the van anywhere – on our 3 week journey across Canada we didn’t pay for a single night. We stayed in the van every night and had no trouble finding places to park safely and legally for free.
Our VW van

Our VW van “Stella Jo” parked in a free campsite in the blueberry bushes on Cape Breton.

 The dogs sleep inside, always, of course. Bowie’s 12 now and one of his favorite hobbies is being comfortable. He’s all about the memory foam, sleeping bags and pillows. He’s earned every feather. Dio usually sleeps on the floor in the trailer or under the bed. We all fit just fine in the van too.
Part-newfie King Bowie getting a glimpse of Newfoundland in the distance from Cape Breton

Part-newfie King Bowie getting a glimpse of Newfoundland in the distance from Cape Breton

 Mosquitoes are only bad in certain places at certain times of the year. So I don’t go there then. Or when I do, I keep on the move – those suckers can only fly around 2 mph so I hike at 3 and they can’t keep up.
No mosquitoes here now.

No mosquitoes here now.

Not a one.

Not a one.

 My absolute travel necessities can be boiled down to a good pair of shoes. And I’m no longer in need of Ruby slippers. My Ruby ride didn’t make the cut. After a summer of check engine lights and mysterious overheating, we parted ways. My next pair of shoes will need to be a bit wilder! Happy trails to you all, too!
Why Not?

Another Rover? Why Not!

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
This entry was posted in Appalachian Trail, Bowie & D.O.G., Hiking!, Photography, Road tripping!, Sustainable Living, Teardrop Trailer, Vagabonding 101. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Ask the Blonde Coyote: Where in the World Are You?

  1. Barneysday says:

    Its great to hear from you again. I’m happy that things continue to go well, and you are continuing on your free-wheeling, exploring of this side of the world. Thanks for the update, I always enjoy hearing of your adventures.

  2. Lavinia Ross says:

    Good to hear from you again! Sorry your Ruby didn’t make it. My old 1993 Impreza is still going at 428,000+ miles.

    Being from the east coast originally, I can relate to traffic concerns. Much better out here in the west… 🙂 All the best to you and the dogs in your travels.

  3. chris339 says:

    So good to hear from you again. I’m also in the process of a camper-vehicle, having had as much as I can stand of setting up and breaking down tents. Still trying to decide between a small 4×4 truck or an AWD van. Have you thought about traveling by boat for awhile?

  4. meags says:

    Next time you’re in cape breton, i hope that you’ll keep going to Newfoundland, and make sure to get in touch if you do!

  5. Hi Mary, I was about ready to send you an email to see if you had settled down somewhere and given up blogging! So good to hear from you again. Clifford and I have spent much of the last 7 months on the road in our little pop-up. We have been to so many places we had never seen before and loved almost every minute of it. (Did not love driving through Portland on our way to Olympic National Park!) You have been a great inspiration, as well as a source of information. Glad to hear that you are still road-tripping; best of luck getting the van back on the road. Best to you, and now I’ll get back to my blog-writing, thoroughly enjoying reviewing all the photos from our trips! Carol (once from New Mexico, now temporarily from Idaho)

  6. Deborah LaPierre says:

    Hi Mary,

    Sorry to have missed yours and Dan’s party when you were here on the East coast. Dave had a good time and was feeling it on Saturday. At least he made it to the airport to pick me up!

    Let us know how the trip back goes, we have had to do repairs on the road as well so I know how it is.

    Hopefully we will see you on the flip-flop. Or maybe we will get to Montana.. Have Ireland and Bora-Bora on the calendar this year and we will meet somewhere on this earth for sure.


    Deborah LaPierre


  7. Donna says:

    So happy when I saw your post in my email today! Glad you are out there enjoying life. Hope you can find the time to post maybe once a month? We all love hearing your wonderful tales of life on the road. My partner, our border collie lab mix, and I begin our journey next month in a micro mini winnie. We have sold everything and will live our dream on the road too. We plan to go to many of your destinations out west. Thanks always for the updates and ideas!

  8. Beth Handley says:

    I have never read your travel blog, however I will start now. My father follows you religiously and you bring him a lot of joy. For that I thank you. He is the one that wrote you with all the questions about mosquitoes, where your dogs sleep and your ruby slippers. Thanks for answering him, he was over for dinner the other night and thought you had moved on from traveling. I’m glad to see you’re still living the life! Take care of yourself, your doggies and I hope your van makes it wherever you go. 🙂

  9. mvschulze says:

    Good to see you back, always enjoyed your adventures. With the link to “your last post,” I noted an image of Mono Lake. In my first year of blogging, I posted a multi-post series chronicling our cross-country MGB adventure that my friend and I took in 1967.
    It included the mysterious, and totally unknown (to us) Mono Lake, approached by an un-inhabited primitive road from CA. Rt. 120. The link to that day, including this particularly unforgetable moment, is here:
    In early November, I’m taking my two grown kids, and one 7 yr. old grandchild on a 4 day whirlwind “Adventures Club” trip to eastern Utah (SLC to Moab area, Bullfrog, Monument Valley and back to he Watsch Mts area) to explore what we can in only a short time window affordable from work restrictions (kids, not me anymore!) I’m expecting a lot of adventure for all of us with canyons, arches; lots of driving and dark, dark, stary skies – never seen here in New Jersey. We expect all our hiking shoes and cameras to be busy M 🙂

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  11. Tiffani says:

    so glad to hear from you again. I must selfishly admit , I really miss your blogging. Please try to keep us all updated. Glad you are all three well and healthy. Wishing you better car days and much adventure ahead.

  12. rick says:

    the rover looks like something out of the tv series DAKTARI

  13. Andrew Seal says:

    Great to see you again Mary and to see you are enjoying our “home and native land” Best wishes 🙂

  14. Steve Le Carpentier says:

    It’s great to see you blogging again.. All the very best from your followers in Europe

  15. Su Harrigan says:

    Mary, I’m glad to see you’re still rockin the nomad life! I hope to hear of your more recent adventuring.
    I have joined the nomad pack, though not so minimalistally (?), pulling a 5er. Living and loving my bit of the adventure now- not just reading of it! 🙂
    Life is good.

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