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