With the start of summer just around the corner, Canadians like to pack up the car and hit the road. Canada’s a big place so while you’re not at the wheel, dig into a book and read about the places you will fly by on your Canadian road trip.
With packing, I find there is no happy medium. It’s either “Shit I can’t believe I forgot that” or “Why did I bring that”, there’s no middle ground. When I was packing for my Alps road trip, I knew I needed to be strict.
Planning outfits was the easiest way to figure out how much clothing I really needed to bring. Call it what you will (cough – A-type – cough). I know okay. I LOVE planning. Deal with it. I brought the least amount of clothing without feeling dirty, plus I knew most items would be under a coat anyway, so wear something three times in a row was acceptable.
Needless to say, my seventh road trip across Canada has been my greatest adventure for May. Not only did I get to drive across this beautiful country, but I saw amazing places I had never seen before. Of all the adventures we got ourselves into along the trip, my favourite had to be Dinosaur Provincial Park, in Alberta.
The prairies opened up before us and BAM! We were in the middle of the desert badlands! You could see the different prehistoric eras in the rock and almost picture dinosaurs roaming the valley.
Standing at the rim of the valley, feeling the warm prairie wind, was a humbling experience.
Accessories for every traveller – Seriously though, that scarf seems handy!
Paracord – A friend made me a purple and grey paracord bracelet, now I think everything needs to be made from paracord!
Episode calendar – Left for a vacation and forgot what episode you were on when you got back? Handy dandy tool right here.
The Bear – Ha! I made the mistake of starting to read this over my camping trip. Terrifying and beautiful.
Favourite Instagram Photos
In the part one, I talked about the ‘Ice’ portion of Fire and Ice: A Canadian Road Trip. Once we left the mountains, the weather changed, and we delved into the ‘Fire’ part of our journey. From Ice and snow to sand and badlands, this truly was a fire and ice road trip.
No, this won’t be a five-part (so far) novel by George R.R. Martin, but Fire and Ice is the best title to describe our Canadian road trip. One day we were in four feet of snow, the other we were standing atop of a dune. One day we were walking through grasslands, the other we were standing ashore counting icebergs.
So I left a couple of days ago for my third cross Canada trip, but the first one where I drove. Compared to being a kid when your parents make all the decisions, I learned a few things about the long haul that I would like to pass on.
1. Make sure to get your car serviced before you make the trip. My car needed an oil change at 16,000 km and it was going to hit that mark on my trip, so I got it serviced early to avoid the headache. My service person checks everything out for me, they topped up all my fluids, rotated the tires and even changed my wipers.
2. Have a good idea of an itinerary. Knowing where you want to stop for the day, stops along the way, and other breaks will help you stay on track and on time.
3. Don’t be afraid of breaking the itinerary. Our unexpected delay outside of Sudbury, caused us to change our itinerary. It was a great move, as the motel in Wawa was a lot nicer that the one we were going to stay at.
4. Snacks are your best friend. We were able to save money by buying one lump of food and not buying breakfast, lunch and dinner. A cooler with protein shakes, carrots, pepperoni sticks, cheese, and water and a bag full of crackers, bread, wafers, bananas, chocolate almonds, and veggie stix were sufficient for our whole trip.
5. It’s good to stop every 400 kms or so. Stop for the bathroom, for a point of interest, or even just to stretch your legs. It was pretty easy to break up the trip between towns or points on interest
6. When packing your car make sure you are not cramped in the seat and have all your necessities within arms reach.
7. Podcasts. Even music gets boring after a while. Dad and I have a similar interest in history, so I downloaded the Stuff you Missed in History class podcast. It is quite interesting and most of them are only half an hour long.
8. It’s a great idea to stop at the first information kiosk when you pull over. We found ourselves on a new road that was not on the outdated map that we had, or on the garmin. Stopping at information will give you the most update maps and it can give you some ideas of where to stop in the province.
9. Keep your eye out for the roadside information attractions. There are some neat attraction stops along the highway and you get to learn a little bit of history on the way. Some of the ones we passed by are: the halfway point of the TransCanada hwy, the Arctic/Atlantic watershed divide, the longitudinal centre of Canada, the provincial boarders, and the boarder of where Northwest Territories was in 1877.
10. Keep your camera up front. There are so many amazing photo opportunities on the side of a highway, and you never know when you might come across wildlife. They could run away before you get that camera out.
The LAST leg of the journey.
Today is kind of a sad day. Today, I drop my dad off at the airport and continue on to Whitecourt, my new home. I don’t think it has hit me that everything has changed. JKKKKKKKKKOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII (That was my grandma’s cat jumping on my keyboard I just have to keep that also look how cute they are!)
We left Lloydminster early, hoping to sight see on the way to Edmonton Airport. We’d be passing through Elk Island National Park, and we wanted some extra time in case we spotted some wild life.
Our first stop was at the giant egg, also known at the Vegreville Pysanka. It was one of the many centenary projects that happened in Alberta in 1974.
This part of the province has a large Ukrainian population, so we stopped at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village to see the rich history of the county.
Here we learned about the history of the Ukrainians that came to Canada in search for a life. The Village is a recreation of the different time periods from small, crude huts, to the rich towns built by the people. All the workers were in period garb and play acted. All of the building you could go into and explore. (I also spotted a bust of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Go Golden Hawks!) My dad was almost attacked by a pair of Canada Geese, but don’t give him sympathy, he provoked them.
Our next stop was in Elk Island National Park. Here you can see bison, deer, bears, wolves, beavers and more. What did we see? Nothing. Not a single animal. I am thinking I would like to go back when the weather is a little nicer and do some hiking on the trails they have.
We pulled into the airport much earlier than we thought we would. Saying goodbye sucked, but I know they are only a phone call away.
They rest of the trip was to Whitecourt. Whitecourt is in the Woodland County. There are trees and trails everywhere. I can’t wait to start my new job and get to know this little town.
Here ends my road trip across Canada.
Alberta is probably so excited to see me that it cried with happiness. All day.
Rain was the challenge today. It rained off an on for most of the trip through Manitoba and was just cloudy through Saskatchewan. After Portage la Prairie, we wanted to take the Yellowhead Hwy. It was a road that dad and I have never been on.
The Yellowhead Hwy starts at the corner of Portage and Main outside of Winnipeg, MB and continues on through Saskatchewan and Alberta where it forks in British Columbia. At the base of Mt. Robinson, the tallest mountain in Canada, the hwy splits North to Haida Gwaii and South to Hope, BC.
The highway has an interesting history. The Yellowhead Hwy was named after Pierre Bostonais, a Metis fur trader and explorer. He had blonde hair and was nicknamed Tete Jaune which translates to yellow head.
There wasn’t much to see in Manitoba. We saw trains and small lakes, but there were not many towns on the Yellowhead. The towns that were there seemed to have many closed own businesses and run down buildings.
I absolutely love Saskatchewan. It is so flat, the sky is so big, and for the first time, you could feel the enormity of Canada. You could watch two different storm systems pass on either side of you. Towns here seemed to be more prosperous and more plentiful than Manitoba. I realy liked the town of North Battlefords. It was starting to get hilly here and the landscape was stunning. We stopped at the Mountie statue.
Dad and I are stopping in Lloydminster for two days. Lloydminster is a cool town. It is right on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In fact, the main road running North/South is the border. They have these cool red border markers that are a neat photo opportunity. We totally missed the World’s largest Sundial (next time?).
What is interesting to see here is the difference between the Alberta side and the Saskatchewan side of town. It is growing more on the Alberta side even though there is an agreement between the two provinces for the town.
Saskatchewan might be the most difficult to understand when it comes to time. Although Saskatchewan is part of the Central Time Zone (with Manitoba), the province doesn’t recognize daylight savings time. One of the ladies at the information desk in Lloydminster explained that during the summer, Saskatchewan has the same time as Alberta and during the winter they have the same time as Manitoba.
We are almost at the final leg of our journey, then it’s a whole new adventure from there.