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Meet a Member | Family Motor Coach Association

Pierre and Sandra Bernier, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

He likes motorcycle racing. She's more of a crafter. But they've been in love with motorhoming — and each other — for more than 20 years.

Motorhomers Sandra and Pierre Bernier, FMCA members from CanadaFMCA membership number:
F165504 (we originally joined around 1992 and rejoined in 2008)

Our current motorhome:
43-foot 2008 Monaco Camelot 42DSQ

Three words that best describe our motorhome:
Dream Come True

The best thing about our motorhome:
Comfort and luxury (not that we really need it, but it is nice to have) allowing us to travel any distance and go anywhere.

Other motorhomes we’ve owned:
Class A 2001 Thor Infinity 35-foot with single slideout – two years
Class C 1990 Travellaire 28-foot with twin bed for the kids – 17 years
Class B 1988 Volkswagon Westfalia – two years

We decided to buy a motorhome because:
I (Pierre) have been camping all my life with my parents and loved it. My lovely wife, Sandra, wasn’t too excited about tent camping and the lack of comfort. Our VW Westfalia was the compromise to give her some basic comfort; we were still in our 20s.

Our occupations:
Pierre: I am a chartered accountant (U.S. equivalent is a CPA) and a business owner. Most of my career has been in real estate development. For the last 10 years, I’ve owned and managed a small custom home building company. We have done very well and have developed a very strong reputation within the Ottawa community. We also built the First Energy Star Home in Canada. More information is available on our web site: http://www.metrichomes.com/. In the Fall of 2009, I semi-retired with the plan to fully retire in five to eight years.

Sandra: She has a university degree in criminology and worked in that field for a few years. She then decided to become a stay-at-home mom when our first child was borne 23 years ago. She did a lot of volunteer work with schools and just retired from a 10-year home business as a consultant/educational specialist with Usborne Books. She sold educational books to individuals and schools for many years and was one of the top consultants in Canada for individual sales.

Children, grandchildren:
We have three children: son, 23; daughter, 21; and son, 18. No grandchildren yet … but there will be some!

We travel in our motorhome approximately:
Three months of the year. When we’re not motorhoming we’re:
Sandra: quilting, knitting, crafting, reading and cooking.
Pierre: In the summer, I participate in EnduroCross motorcycle racing, open lapping auto racing, motorcycle touring and autocross, in which drivers navigate through a course marked by cones. Winter: car snow cross and snowmobiling.

Together: We both enjoy taking walks in nature as well as backyard outdoor gatherings around the pool, hot tub, campfire, BBQ.

Our favorite motorhoming destinations:
We went all over Florida for many years with the kids on March breaks, two-weeks trips. Now that we just started to travel alone, we are still in the exploration mode going all across Canada and the States. We really like Texas, so far.

Our all-time favorite motorhome trip or motorhoming memory:
There are many. Years ago, several trips to Disney World with the kids. Last one: Fall 2009: Canadian Rockies (from Ottawa to Calgary, then the Rockies from Banff (south) to Jasper (north), then back to Ottawa going through Edmonton).

Our dream motorhome trip:
Every trip is a dream for us. We have not yet experienced the West Coast, we we’re looking forward to exploring California. Grand Canyon and Alaska, too.

Our perfect day of motorhome travel:
Five to six hours of driving, a couple of stops in craft/quilt shops (for Sandra, of course) and then stop mid- to late afternoon in a nice scenic area (with or without services) where we can sit outside under the awning and BBQ our diner with a bottle of wine … and maybe a little bit of TV before going to bed.

Our worst motorhoming experience:
None, really. When we are in our coach, nothing is bad. We make it work.

Our motorhoming pet peeve:
The trip is always too short!

FMCA members Sandra and Pierre Bernier enjoy traveling in their Monaco Camelot motorhome.The best addition or alteration we’ve made to our motorhome:
A motorcycle lift allowing us to carry my Goldwing and our toad at the same time.

If we could change one thing about our motorhome, it would be:
The awning. We have an all-electric/automatic Apex awning. It is located on the roof of the coach. Great awning to impress your friends who never saw something like that: remote control operated and all ... but useless as an awning. We like to spend lots of time outside, even if it is raining. The Apex awning has no posts; it is “floating” in the air and is only designed to provide shade at the noon hour, when the weather is nice and not windy.

It has to be retracted (or it will retract automatically by itself) when it gets windy. It is useless in the rain because the rain pools on it and the awning collapses. It is located so high (on the roof) that it often doesn’t provide shade.

Something about motorhoming that we know now but did NOT know when we started:
How friendly all RVers are!

When driving a motorhome, the most important thing to remember is:
Its size (length, height and width) … but you quickly get used to it.

Our advice for other motorhome owners:
Get rid of your Christmas lights around the awning ... sorry, that was a cheap shot!

Favorite restaurant:
My wife’s cooking. She is a GREAT cook. But when she doesn’t feel like cooking, Mexican food, followed by Italian.

Something others would be surprised to know about us:
Sandra and I are very different from one another. I like motorsports, action, adrenaline-pumping activities. Sandra is quiet, happy staying put, doing crafts or reading. But we have been married for over 25 years and are so happy together.

If we were awarded a shopping spree at the store of our choice, the store we’d choose:
Since I don’t care much for shopping, Sandra would probably choose any large craft/quilt shop.

Favorite campground:
We are in an exploring mode right now. We don’t stay twice at the same place. The goal is to discover places that we really enjoy and will want to go back and stay longer. Stay tuned!

When motorhomers visit our province or hometown, they should be sure to see:
If you like museums, reserve at least one week to visit them. We have so many of them. Walk along the Rideau Canal and along the Ottawa River downtown. And of course, a Parliament visit.

Items that we always keep in our motorhome’s refrigerator while traveling:
Lots of food (to accompany the bottles of wine we carry in our bar)!

Our advice to new motorhomers:
It goes around my life moto: “Life is Short ... Enjoy the most of it as soon as you can.” Translated = Enjoy the moment and make the best of it!

FMCA member competes in motorcycle races.Behind our motorhome, we tow:
2001 Honda Goldwing GL1800 motorcycle and a Honda Z50 motorcycle on an Overbilt Lift; two bicycles; and a 2009 Honda CR-V four wheels down with a Roadmaster Sterling All Terrain tow bar and M&G braking system on the CR-V.

We joined FMCA because:
Back then, to get the magazine and more information on my future dream motorhomes. Today: for the association, chapters and friendship networking.

FMCA chapters that we belong to:
Monaco International and Monaco Northeast Explorers

Other comments:
We would like to meet other members with similar interests: a guy who would like to ride his motorcycle (touring or off-road) with me while the ladies stay at the coaches doing their crafts (because Sandra doesn’t like riding the motorcycle that much anymore) … or Jeep off-roading, if not motorcycling.

Other FMCA members may contact us via e-mail:


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