Island Time

Our RV neighbors that moved in beside us in Brownsville just happened to be the neighbors that we spent a few days on the beach with in Port Aransas.

Mona and Eduard from Quebec decided to join us as for a day on South Padre Island.

We had a great time visiting the island.

We all payed the $5 which was the day use fee for the Isabela Blanca municipal Park at the south end of South Padre Island and took a tour of the camping and Park area.

We did have thoughts about the possibility of camping down there, however after checking out the campground we decided that it wasn’t a good fit for us.

There was a great Christ the Redeemer statue erected in the island Blanca Park area to honor those fishermen who had given their lives to their craft.

We stopped at the second municipal park entrance at gate 6. It was a bit too close to the water for us to consider in an RV.

We felt driving through the ocean to get a beach camping spot. This picture really doesn’t show how unconfortably close the waves were to the RVs.

We then drove north on South San Padre Island as far as we could drive.

With the road closing in on us from sand blowing across the highway we drove right to the end.
It was just a beautiful sight to see!

This National Park with mounds of sand overlooking the Gulf of Mexico only 30 miles from the Mexican border was beautiful.

On our return drive we checked out the Adventue Park run by the Wells family.

The Wells family has served South Padre Island for 5 generations!

Their Adventure Park is located at near the end of Park Road 100 with forty acres of land spanning from the Gulf of Mexico to the Laguna Madre Bay.

Horseback rides are along the beach in a remote area of the Island that few people get to experience. No crowds here!

They don’t limit your number of Zip-A-Thon. With their unique quick zip-line transition system you are able to zip around the zip-line circuit as fast, or, slow as you want.

The Petting Barn is filled with birds and animals they have rescued or have been donated to us for a forever home.

We had Christmas cards to mail, so on our way south we stopped in at the post office to send our cards. It’s a big Post Office for such a small island but had excellent service.

Additionally I asked for recommendations for lunch… Customers and staff were happy to help!

Cafe Karma was a great choice… Just across the street.
Will Everett, of Brownsville, and Roin Khurami, from Kabul, Afghanistan, are serving coffee and lattes to beachgoers on the Island they have a unique story of how Will, an aid worker brought his friend Roin to the USA. It was Roin who served us.

We had great toasted sandwiches and lattes.

We continued south and were really surprised with the few number of people that were on the island. There seem to be many many buildings and homes that were vacant. Apparently we had just visited the island during the slow time. we were told that in the next two weeks people would be filling things up.

We discovered that the municipality had completed great planning and left spaces between each of the buildings along the shore with access points to walk to the beach.
This included free parking. here’s a picture of our friends on the mats that they put on the beach for those that are physically challenged to get out and enjoy the beach in a wheelchair.

Mona and Eduard enjoyed the dunes and the day with us.

We returned to our campsite but not without visiting Port Isabella.

The Point Isabel Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located in Port Isabel, Texas, United States that was built in 1852 to guide ships through the Brazos Santiago Pass to Port Isabel. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 30, 1976

A pelican pair peruse the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The GICW is an an improved navigable waterway along the Gulf Coast of the United States, extending from Apalachee Bay, Florida, westward to the Mexican border at Port Isabella, a distance of more than 1,100 miles (1,770 km). In part artificial, the waterway consists of a channel paralleling the coast behind barrier beaches, the channel being linked by a series of canals. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is an important route for barges, and several sections of it furnish access to major gulf ports for oceangoing vessels. it’s a great waterway refuge for recreational boats in rough weather.

Pelican landing along the shoes of Grand Padre bay.

Pirate’s Landing Restaurant in Historic Port Isabel, TX.

Well we had a great adventure in this coast of Texas. It’s not the last time we visit… We need to see the Turtle sanctuary. For now we are off to Brownsville and next time we settle in Donna Texas for the holidays. Sea ya!

All points south.

We had a great time on Port Aransas beach (Port A) but it was time for us to move on. We’ve talked before about towing our 2019 Toyota Corolla which we have affectionately named Lily but I don’t think we’ve ever shared any pictures or videos how we do this feat.

So here goes we’re hooking up Lily to Harvey and turning it around on the Port A beach. This will give you an idea of how wide the roadway is at the North end of this island. Kathy drives the rig 99% of the time because she is capable and loves doing it.

Port Aransas is a city on Mustang Island, on the Texas coast. It’s known for its Gulf of Mexico beaches and fish-filled waterways. As Port Aransas is on an island we drive South until we get to the Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge that will take us into the city of Corpus Christi.

Our trip has been primarily about smaller towns and villages, that’s what we really like, not the bigger cities and centers. On our trip South we actually bypass Corpus Christi and head south on State highway 77.

The land is extremely flat and from time to time we’ll see the border patrol doing checks on vehicles heading in the north direction. We love change in vegetation as it’s really beginning to look desert.

It isn’t until January that we will actually be stopped out of order station and that will be on the west side of Texas.

We’re heading to Harlingen, Texas and to the FedEx Depot to pick up a previously arranged shipment of a new Sailrite sewing machine. We’ve had our eye on this for some time and aren’t disappointed when we pick it up as planned.

Our plan is to use it for several of the projects that we have in mind including curtains and bike covers. Maybe some future boat projects as well.

We headed off to Winterhaven RV park, which is towards South Padre Island in Brownsville. The area that we were going to be going to is the southernmost area of the United States along the Mexican border, the intercoastal waterway and South Padre island. We stayed two nights in Winter Haven RV resort.

We got to enjoy a very simple RV Park. We also enjoyed seeing prickly pear cactus up close in person for the first time.

All along the road we are continue to be blessed by the changing dynamics of the scenery. Texas has been very flat along the gulf coast and we can see how hurricanes can do so much damage.

We are also quite surprised that we were not met with any of the uprisings that were being reported by national news agencies of the illegal aliens trying to infiltrate the border.

We decided even though we arrived mid-afternoon that we would take a drive and go down to South Padre Island.

… about 45 minutes away from our RV park.

We definitely weren’t disappointed as we went there’s a little town of Port Isabella.

It just happened to be that Port Isabella was celebrating their Christmas parade and the arrival of Santa Claus.

We took a quick trip over the bridge to South Padre island…

and came back to enjoy the parade.

The Point (Port) Isabel Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse located in Port Isabel, Texas, United States that was built in 1852 to guide ships through the Brazos Santiago Pass to Port Isabel. Of the 16 lighthouses originally constructed along the Texas coast, Port Isabel is the only one open to the public. With a perch 50 feet above the ground, it is popular with photographers and other visitors, because they can enjoy great views of South Padre Island and the beaches. In fact, a number of couples have climbed the 75 winding stairs, including three short ladders, to exchange wedding vows at the top of the tower.

this is a beautiful lighthouse that you see when you come back from South Padre island and just before you go across the bridge that joins the mainland to South Padre island.


The two-mile-long Queen Isabella Causeway, located in southern Cameron County, Texas, is the only road connecting South Padre Island, Texas to the mainland. The Causeway was opened in 1974 and replaced the previous bridge, which had also been named Queen Isabella Causeway. This bridge also spans the end of the Gulf ICW.

Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway collapsed on the night of Sept. 15, 2001, killing eight people when they plunged from the roadway 80-feet below into the bay after a tugboat and tug slammed into the base.

Let’s say we looked differently at the bridge causeway after learning of its history. The bridge which is totally safe now with new navigation lanes had pelicans flying along the side of the road as we travel across.

The sunset was amazing over the water and up to the town of Port Isabella as we settled in for the towns Christmas parade.

It was amazing the number of kids and families gathered who almost all spoke Spanish which of course is no surprise as we’re only a few miles from the Mexican border and of no surprise as this part of Texas was once part of Mexico.

Next trip we take a look at San Padre Island.

Texas!

We arrived in Texas and stopped at the welcome centre.

The staff gave us Winter Texans a very warm welcome. “You’re ours until you leave” they said. We received lots of tips maps and hints for our travel.

After a free but noisy stop at the Texas Rest Stop…

… we returned to Winnie Texas and headed to the Gulf Coast.

This was our first sight and drive along the Gulf of Mexico coast. Isn’t she beautiful? And the coast is wonderful too!

Our campsite was next at the Galveston Island State Park on the beach. We met new friends from Louisiana. Little did we know that 3 campsites over folks from Germany who had ship there RV to Baltimore would be in the next campsite on Magnolia Beach. We loved the water and sand and our time at this park. Unfortunately there was no space to stay however we did find out later that there were lots of empty campsites that evening.

A stop over at the Walmart and laundry the next day to take care of business. We find the grocery section very big in the stores.

We took a couple days rest on our way back to the coast at Farm Road FM 521 River Park.

An awesome boondocking camping site. Got to meet local river fishermen Glen and Dusty from Wadsworth. They were trying to top their friends catch from the day before of a 30 pound catfish.

After a short drive through Port Lavaca we camped only a few feet from the water’s edge on Mangolia Beach. Our first time bringing Harvey and Lilly on to the beach. The roadway is about 60’/20 meters wide and hard packed with shells. Beautiful sunsets and large boats passing along the coast.

We had only one night on the beach and really want to go back here because it was so beautiful.

It was great for us to travel here as little did we know we would meet one of the people that were camping here at our next stop. A couple, Tim and Patty from Wisconsin with their motorhome Betty ended up being right beside us in Goliad State Park and historical site.

Next time we pick up in Goliad…..

Manitoulin Island trip and an Ontario mini-loop

We decided it was a great opportunity to see the fall leaf colours and explore Manitoulin Island.

We felt that this trip would be a good opportunity for a shake down trip for the RV and our new car – “Lilly”.

We had the opportunity to boondock in the Tobermory ferry terminal.

We disconnected Lilly and explored the area around Tobermory before settling in for a sub-zero night.

Its amazing when you look at the world from differing g perspectives. Here a photo of the Chi Cheemaun ferry with the bow open looks very inviting.

The same black and white photo appears uninviting and a bit scary.

We got to board the ferry for the two hour crossing about a 45 minute wait. The crossing was restful and we felt like having a sleep but enjoyed the rocking and rolling.

We enjoyed a lovely trip along highway 542 to Gore Bay. It was our intended stop for the night.

Gore Bay permitted us to Boondock right on the waterfront and we had a great spot looking at the harbor. The leaves are beautiful the water was we had a great time

The leaves were beautiful and made for a great background.

The next day we headed for a two day visit to Sudbury. Home to Science North we had a great day visit to the museum.

We could have had lots more time but got our nickel’s worth.

After a short drive we arrived in beautiful Port Carling. We visited with our friends Joy and Dave.

We had dinner out and visited the local movie set in Bracebridge complete with snow.

We then toired the the local cranberry farms nearby. Downtown Port Carling with the beautiful wall of photos was a highlight. The larger photos on this wall are made of small individual photographs of years gone by.

Timing could not have been better as one of the last boats to transit the canal came through as we visited.

A great visit but dipping temperatures and the threat of snow flurries meant it was time to head to Barrie.

We were treated to dinner by Suzette, Dave and Melissa and had a great visit with Nicole and Paul as well. Barrie was our last stop on our fall tour north .

The next morning before we left our Walmart boondock we had a visit from our Friends Clarence, Sizzette and Nicole’s Mon. It was great way to wrap up our trip.

Next time we wrap up out loose ends and head south!

Sold, Thanksgiving and our new dinghy.

Well we finally have the house sold, closed and legal things wrapped up.

A super great thanksgiving with our family.

And now on to getting are dingy set up to be towed by Harvey.

After a 6 hour day a very profitable day I must say haRVey was ready for its inaugural Towing of its new dinghy. The following photos are not for the faint-hearted automobile buffs….

A great trip to 50 Points Conservation area and our first camp with our dinghy. When you are camping its great to meet tour neighbours. Mary Catherine is a fulltimer and we got to visit her in her Cuckoo’s Nest. Her TT is a beautiful canary yellow with tons of space and great windows. We got to visit in her rig and van.

After returning to Kitchener for a few days if visiting with family we renewed our prescriptions for our winter trip. We then took a day to visit the Toronto RV Show.

Confirmation that we made the correct purchase of our Winnebago Vista 27N class A RV was made after several more hundred steps through the demo vehicles. There are a ton of amazing designs and options. It was a bit disappointing, if like us you were looking for RV optional add-ons in the parts store.

After we had a good overnight in Kitchener we head off for an Autumn Ontario Loop! Next time….

From Scotiabank

Canadian Snowbirds in the U.S.

Wealth Management Taxation, The Bank of Nova Scotia

To escape from the freezing winters, Canadian “snowbirds” are accustomed to freely spending time in the United States.

However, in September 2012, the U.S. government and the Canadian government implemented the Entry/Exit Information System to track and share entry data, which put snowbirds or frequent visitors at risk of being subjected to the U.S. income tax system by simply staying in the U.S. for too many days.

As a result, it is important to monitor your days in the U.S. and to have a good understanding of the U.S. Substantial Presence Test.

U.S. Substantial Presence Test (“SPT”)

The requirement to file a U.S. Individual Income Tax Return is generally based on citizenship, but can be based on the number of days that an individual is present in the U.S. It is mandatory for U.S. tax residents to file U.S. income tax returns and report their worldwide income. An individual may be considered a U.S. tax resident if they meet the “substantial presence test” for a given calendar year.

To meet this test, an individual must be physically present in the U.S. on at least:

  1. 31 days during the current year, and

  2. 183 days during the 3-year period that includes the current year and the 2 years immediately before, counting:

    • All the days present in the current year, and

    • 1/3 of the days present in the first year before the current year, and

    • 1/6 of the days present in the second year before the current year

Example

Days that an individual was physically present in the U.S.

2016 2015 2014
100 days 150 days 120 days

Total days = 100 + (150 * 1/3) + (120 * 1/6)
= 170 < 183 days.

In this example, the substantial presence test is not met, and the individual should not be considered a U.S. tax resident.

Implications of meeting the SPT

If you have met the SPT, you may be considered a U.S. tax resident and may have a tax filing requirement with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). However, there are two potential methods to exempt you from being considered a U.S. tax resident.

The closer connection exception

This option is only available if time spent in the U.S. less than 183 days in the current year. In these circumstances, an individual will need to file U.S. Form 8840 – “Closer Connection Exception Statement for Aliens” with the IRS, which discloses information indicating a closer connection with Canada. This information includes, but is not limited to, the location of family, home and business activities, as well as the jurisdiction in which a driver’s license is held and in which an individual votes. Form 8840 is due on June 15th in the year after the substantial presence test is met.

The treaty “tie-breaker” rule

This option is applicable if time spent in the U.S. is over 183 days in the current year. An individual will need to refer to the “tie-breaker” rule in the Canada-U.S. Tax Convention (the “Treaty”), which outlines the various tests that must be satisfied in sequence until the individual’s residency can be determined. If the individual meets the tests as a Canadian tax resident, they will need to file U.S. Form 1040NR – “Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return”, along with U.S. Form 8833 – “Treaty-Based Return Position Disclosure”. Additional information is required to be disclosed, and generally, the process is more complicated than under the closer connection exception. Both of the forms are due on June 15th in the year after meeting the substantial presence test.

Summary

We recommend tracking your days in the U.S. closely to avoid any unnecessary tax complications. Even with two exceptions to use to mitigate your U.S. tax obligations, there are possible penalties and implications if the required forms are not filed or the forms are not filed on time.

Speak with your cross-border tax advisor about your own tax situation, and to confirm your U.S. tax obligation.

This document is prepared by The Bank of Nova Scotia for the use of members of Scotia Wealth Management and their clients and may not be redistributed. It is for general information purposes only. Information herein was obtained from various sources believed to be reliable but is not guaranteed for its accuracy.

© Copyright 2016 The Bank of Nova Scotia. All rights reserved. This publication has been prepared by The Bank of Nova Scotia and is intended as a general source of information only and should not be considered as personal and/or specific financial, tax, pension, legal or investment advice. We are not tax or legal advisors and we recommend that individuals consult with their qualified advisors before taking any action based upon the information contained in this publication. Opinions and projections contained in this publication are our own as of the date hereof and are subject to change without notice. While care and attention has been taken to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the material in this publication, neither The Bank of Nova Scotia nor any of its affiliates make any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of such material and disclaim any liability resulting from any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this publication or the information contained herein. This publication and all the information, opinions and conclusions contained herein are protected by copyright. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the prior express consent of The Bank of Nova Scotia.

.

Dave Roberts, AKA Elusive

Weaving Across America

Small Business Dad

Overheads & Wetting the Bed

BakJH's Coding Diary

Love what you do.