Dude, The Rockies Man!

29 Nov

Dude, how about those Rockies mannnn…

The drive along the Trans Canada into the Rockies from Calgary is always a trip. There is something mesmerizing about driving into a rock wall topped with snowy peaks, really makes you feel small. Kayley was speechless as it was her first time experiencing that drive let alone the Rocky Mountains.

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As we arrived in Banff, it’s hard not to get excited, the town looks like it came out of some fairytale, and that night we were able to witness their annual Christmas parade which Kayley had been planning since we left Ontario! After the show we grabbed a bite at the St. James Pub, a classic pub with classic pub food/beer.

The typical downtown Banff shot.

The typical downtown Banff shot.

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The following day we decided to bum around town, I was excited to show Kayley all Banff had to offer and take in all the surrounding views. From the multitude of shops (check out ULTD Skate Shop, very rad place!) and cool cafes, you can kill time just doing that! But there was more to see! We hiked up to Bow falls, and along the Bow River, which provide a variety of view points of the mountain range and landscapes, it’s hard to go to Banff and not want to venture around. Later that night we grabbed some wifi at a cafe and called it a night, we had a big day of snowboarding the following morning.

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View from Bow Falls

View from Bow Falls


We arose before sunrise, and made our way to Sunshine Valley (a mountain included in our Mountain Collective Pass). We had been scoping the conditions the whole way through Canada and had been told by a number of locals in Banff that the conditions were looking prime for early season so it was a must to get our legs on snow. To our favour, the locals were right! Sunshine is a good spot, the gondola ride to the resort reveals views that are absolutely insane, huge peaks at every angle, giving you a sore neck before the day even begins. The runs are versatile, everything from groomers, park jibs, heavy steep laps and mellow tree runs! For an early season session, it was easily the best first day of the year we’ve ever had.

Early Morning Gondola Views

Early Morning Gondola Views

Kayley was stoked to be on snow!

Kayley was stoked to be on snow!


To our benefit, Banff has a hot springs (it’s more like a public pool but still worth it), so once we arrived back in town, we headed up there and soaked the aching bones. Dinner was had at a local Mexican joint, Magpie & Stump, to celebrate Kayley’s 26th birthday. It had a great selection of Beers, Tequilas, Burritos, and Tacos. I have a high standard when it comes to Mexican food and this place is now easily in my top 3.

The next morning we arose to sore bones, and decided to head towards Revelstoke to meet up with my buddie Jay! On the way, we stopped over at Lake Louise, so Kayley could take in the beautiful winter scene on the morning of her birthday! She was stoked! And we were lucky enough to score a sweet spot for breakfast and coffee. The rest of the drive through Banff NP and Yoho NP was nuts, the amount of mountains and snowy peaks you wind between is uncountable, it’s not the safest feeling road but your mind is focused on other things. We witnessed some Big Horn Sheep (I admittedly yelled “WTF are those” when we drove by them), and Elk! It felt like the whole way through we were following the same CP Train, made me contemplate about being a train conductor in this part of the country and how it would be coolest job, I would never get tired of the views, but I mean, you have be wary of avalanches mid-winter which seems a little gnarly.

A Happy Birthday Girl!

A Happy Birthday Girl!

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Breakfast at Lake Louise

Breakfast at Lake Louise


The van pulled into Revelstoke early afternoon, and made our way over to meet up with Jay! Jay has been a Revy local for some time now! We initially met in Ottawa, through our similar passion of snowboarding and drinking haha. He was nice enough to invite us in for dinner and give us a place to hang for a bit. Later that night we met up with him at the bar he tends at, Traverse, where a beer or two was had to celebrate my lady’s big day. The next day was a lazy one, Kayley feeling the effects of late night beers needed a day to relax and recoup. We bummed around town, hung out by the river, cooked some food, found wifi, took a shower at the local Rec centre and walked around town. Before Jay arrived back home from a day of sledding and shredding, we checked out an Avalanche Info Event, which gave us a bunch of great info into backcountry safety and knowledge. Once meeting up with Jay and some of his good buddies, we hit up the Big Eddy Pub for wing night, bowled at The Cabin (A bar/bowling ally/snowboard shop all in one, possibly the raddest place I’ve stepped into) and checked out The Last Drop for more beer and fun! Thanks again Jay for the hospitality!!

Revelstoke!

Revelstoke!

Rain cook

Rain cook

The Revy Flats!

The Revy Flats!


We moved onto Kelowna the next morning. My good buddy Mitch calls this town home for the time being and it will be rad to see him and hang! The drive here was again super sweet, all of BC so far has been unreal, no complaints. The only difference was this part of the province reminds me of Vermont or Quebec, lots of farm land and rolling hills. Currently, we’re spending the next week here, getting used to the area, visiting with a friend of Kayley’s, Ian, who took us on a great hike of Carrot Mountain. The next little bit we’ll be skating, hiking and relaxing in Kelowna! Getting ready for opening day at Revelstoke which should be insane!

Vehicle/Home/Gear Locker

Vehicle/Home/Gear Locker

Hiking up Carrot Mountain

Hiking up Carrot Mountain

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Peak of Carrot Mtn

Peak of Carrot Mtn

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Fixing up some Chilli and Pasta!

Fixing up some Chilli and Pasta!

 

Making our way up Knox Mtn!

Making our way up Knox Mtn!

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Kelowna!

Kelowna!

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Also, check out the new Donation Page! Unfortunately, Free Wifi isn’t actually free, it costs a coffee, pizza, burger, etc… So, if you want to see more consistent posting, help us feed our addiction and need for ‘Free Wifi’. Thanks for the support everyone, you’re all radical humans!

-Chris

The First Week of Living on Four Wheels

21 Nov

It’s officially been one week of being on the road! We’ve covered a lot of ground and seen a lot of amazing sights so far.

The first leg of our week brought us from Huntsville down to Orilla (had some added Leaf Springs to help with the additional weight) then off to Sault Ste Marie. The drive along Highway 17 towards Marathon was unreal, the views of Northern Ontario are beautiful, providing tons of opportunities to see the powerful Lake Superior and surrounding landscapes.

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First Dinner in Blind River, Ont

Lake Superior Provincial Park

Lake Superior Provincial Park

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Nokomis Trail – Old Woman Bay

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Neys Provincial Park – Early Morning


After stopping in small town Marathon for the night, we trekked our way over to Thunder Bay, experiencing more radical views, especially at Ouimet Canyon, just north of the city. It features a short trail which brings you to a massive canyon that features the only Arctic Plants south of the Arctic Circle. Another piece of proof of how insane nature can be.

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Ouimet Canyon

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Ouimet Canyon

Views From Thunder Bay

Views of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park From Thunder Bay

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Kakabeka Falls (North of Thunder Bay)

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Sunrise Vibes


You never really realize how big Ontario is, I mean on a map you can see the size difference between it and all the other provinces but it’s not till you drive through the province until you fully grasp its magnitude.

We arrived in Winnipeg late afternoon, found a Walmart, posted up, grabbed some free Wifi, hit up a local pub for dinner and a beer and called it a night. The next morning, we decided to take a tour around the city, stopped by the local community centre for a shower, gave the van a very needed oil change and drove towards Brandon, MB.

The Prairies were not as flat as expected, it seemed before we left for the trip that everyone kept saying the classic “You are going to be soooo bored driving through the prairies, there is nothing too see, it’s so flat.” Well they couldn’t have been more wrong. Before arriving in Regina, we took a detour towards the Qu’appelle Valley (located North East of Regina), which paints a different picture of Saskatchewan, a valley of vast hills and unique terrain.

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Qu’Appelle Valley

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Lunch Break…

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Found a Skatepark in Regina to get my legs working.

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On the way towards Medicine Hat, we decided to have lunch at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, another section of the Qu’Appelle Valley.

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Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park

img_0191Medicine Hat was a sweet town, we found a nice park (Strathcona Park) located in the city centre along the South Saskatchewan River to park up, stretch our legs, make dinner and breakfast the following morning.

Qu'Appelle Valley

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Strathcona Park

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Drumheller, Alberta (Hour north up Highway 56 from the Trans Canada Highway) was our next destination, our old roommate from Ottawa, Cisco now lives there and it was a must to pay him a visit! Cisco and his partner Caitlin provided us with awesome hospitality; home cooked meals, a place to shower, and relax. Cisco gave us the pro tour the following morning around the area which is filled with tons of natural history.

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Horse Thief Canyon

HooDoos

HooDoos

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Wayne Saloon c. 1913

Wayne Saloon c. 1913


From the HooDoos to the multiple canyon views to the historical Wayne Saloon Pub, Drumheller is a hidden gem, worth checking out if you’re ever in the Calgary area. Thanks again to Cisco and Caitlin for the amazing hospitality!

The first week on the road has been an awesome experience. It still doesn’t necessarily feel that we are living town to town on four wheels. Since this week has been more travel based, we haven’t had much time to settle in and get our routines in order but that will come eventually. But we’re stoked for all the adventures ahead! As I write this we are sitting in a coffee shop, downtown Banff! A place Kayley has never witnessed before. Being here and travelling across the country really makes you appreciate being Canadian and having the freedom to witness what the country has to offer.

A couple things we have learned in Week 1:

  • Walmarts are an excellent place to park: safe, free wifi if you park close enough, lots of available spots, clean washrooms, usually in a plaza with tons of amenities and almost every city has one.
  • Don’t expect to cook all the time, when it’s cold and dark it’s hard to find spots to lay out all the necessities and cook a full meal.
  • Eat lots of snacks and meals that don’t involve cooking/heat: Nuts, Energy Bars, Wraps, Vegetables, Fruits, Hummus, Canned Tuna, Cold Cuts, Salads, Dips, Cheese, etc…
  • You have to get used to kneeling and squatting real quick: since we don’t have a popup top or raised roof you spend a lot of time not being able to stand.
  • Community Centres offer cheap showers.
  • Having a portable toilet comes in handy when you have to pee at 2am.
  • Podcasts!!! Don’t get me wrong I like music, but engaging podcasts can really kill time on a long drive.
  • Being organized is key: knowing where everything is makes life a lot easier, even more true for things like toiletry items, cooking items, and clothing.
  • AllStays Camp and RV App has been very useful: helps locate Walmarts (with reviews of past experiences of other users), gas stations, rest stops, mechanics, truck stops! Well worth the $10 so far!
  • Go to bed early and get up early.
  • Enjoy the ride!!

This coming week we are in Banff for a couple days checking out this legendary area, getting on our Snowboards which I’m very amped out and driving towards British Columbia to see more friends!

-Chris