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

 

Livin’ The Grotto Life.

1 Jul

Bruce Peninsula National Park was the one place on my list this summer I wanted to check out. Kayley or myself had never experienced the area previously and when we we’re living in Ottawa, the trip always seemed so damn far to travel for a couple days of camping. But now being only 4 hours away, we didn’t have any excuses this time.

We chose to hike out and camp at the Stormhaven Backcountry sites for a quick 3 day trip, the hike in was about 3.5kms North from the Emmett Lake, on what I would say is a fairly labour intensive trail, we we’re feeling pretty worked half way through the hike, most likely due to the fact that we went from siting still for 4hrs in the car to having to carry 65lbs for the next 2hrs. The lookouts and high-bearing cliffs along the way made for some stellar places to have a sip of water and recharge the batteries.

Off we go.

Off we go.

The first real look at the Bay!

The first real look at the Bay.

She isn't sure what to do with her hands here.

She isn’t sure what to do with her hands here.

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Kay’s idea of a break


The site location was well laid out, featuring upper sites above the beach and lower sites which are located just inside the tree-line, essentially on the beach itself. The Park supplies a well-maintained solar-powered washroom and food hangs. Not having to find trees to hang your barrel along with having a nice place to do your business made this camping excursion feel luxurious haha. Our site was the furtherest north (Site 9), the tent pad was perfect for our 2 man tent, giving you enough space to lay out your stuff, to sit, cook food, and to do whatever really.

I had never seen a beach that purely consisted of white, smooth stone, it wasn’t easy on the feet but we found so many damn good skipping rocks!

The remainder of the day was enjoyed stuffing our faces with camp-style pasta, exploring the area, taking pictures and just relaxing.

Our campsite is hiding in there somewhere

Our campsite is hiding in there somewhere

Bringing that body temp down with a quick dip in Bay!

Bringing that body temp down with a quick dip in the Bay!

Homebase views

Homebase views

Dinner Prep

Dinner Prep

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Post-Dinner Exploration

Designated Food Hang Area, pretty key...

Designated Food Hang Area, pretty key!

Goodnight!


Our morning came early, we fuelled up, filled the pack and made our way over to the natural attraction that brings many people to this park, the Grotto. The weather swung in our favour, giving us the perfect weather to enjoy the day ahead.

The Grotto was located about an hour hike from our spot and when we arrived, at first glance, it was fair to say it lived up to its reputation, a real powerful piece of landscape. As we took sight at everything around us, a local informed us of a secret passage, shimmied between two rocks, where a small opening brought us down to the cave. It’s easily the best swimming hole I’ve come across. The water being as cold as it was prevented the thought of jumping in and swimming down to the underwater passage way, but either way it was well worth it to see it up close. We had a few minutes of peace to enjoy this natural wonder before the masses followed us down and took over the area, a signal for us to continue on our way. For the remainder of the afternoon, we hiked to lookouts further north, chilled out at the beach, munched on your typical hikers lunch and took more than enough photos.

Once arriving back at camp, we took off our sweaty shoes, found a good sitting rock, rested our sore legs, grabbed the flask, enjoyed some swigs, gazed upon the blue abyss and took a quiet moment to relax. By the time we had finished our dinner, and cleaned up camp, the sun was beginning to make it’s way down which meant it time to hit the hay. I was able to make it through 3 pages of my book before I was KO’d.

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View from the Grotto.

Too bad the water was arctic cold or else we'd be swimming in there, livin' the grotto life..haha.

Too bad the water was arctic cold or else we’d be swimming in there, livin’ the grotto life..haha.

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Looking out onto the bay from the secret passage way 😉

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“hey babe go stand over there.”

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Kay playing with the local crustaceans

Playing with the local crustaceans

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Trying not laugh while I take this photo while eating, not an easy task.


The following morning, we we’re yet again lucky to experience another rad day, perfect for the hike out. We threw together a quick breakfast, packed up the goods and off we went. The hike out always goes quicker and smoother than the hike in, we only stopped I think once or twice and they we’re for photo purposes haha.

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A beautiful sight!

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Freaking out on the thought of how high I am.

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Mac N' Cheesin' it for lunch

Mac N’ Cheesin’ it for lunch somewhere in central Ontario.


I feel that most of the places we’ve been I would recommend to anyone to go and explore but I really mean it this time. The Bruce Peninsula is surreal, unlike anywhere I’ve explored before, it was hard to believe this was a region within Ontario’s boundary. There is something about getting yourself out in the middle of nowhere and gazing out into what seems to be an endless water body that allows you to truly relax and forget the busyness of everyday life. Between the white rocky beaches, the tourist attraction that is the Grotto and the available views, we’d go back tomorrow if we could. Not only is the park worth seeing but the Peninsula is a wonder within itself, worth the drive from wherever you’re coming from! You just gotta Get Out There!

-Chris