Technically starting our Cross Canada Journey in Revelstoke BC, we departed with a fully loaded vehicle and Sirius radio ready to go. The next two weeks or so would be spent on the road, seeing Canada as it’s many hay bails roll on and off the horizon, unheard of towns coming into view, uncharted territory explored and making new fellow Canadian friends.
Driving out of BC towards Alberta is always awesome simply because of the beauty of the mountains. Towering over you on every highway stretch and around every corner, they just get more and more awe inspiring as you get closer to the Rockies themselves. I like to picture myself standing on top of one of them and gazing out over the great expanse of rock that seems to go on forever.
Veering off the Trans Canada in most places means you will find a tiny town that you’ve probably never heard of, and there are tons of them. Our first ‘stop’ was Gull Lake, which proved to be pretty unimpressive, and don’t be fooled, there is no lake. Basically we stopped and took a picture with this seagull sign and filled up on gas before getting the hell out of there. Day one woo!
I think that not being from Alberta makes you appreciate it’s flatness. Maybe? At least from the car as you rip by going 150. Being able to see for miles, the land spotted with hay bails, cows and old farmhouses is cool and the views are really quite pretty. I can’t help but think of Little House on the Prairie and how tough it would be to settle here in the winter in a sod house.
Because we were overly ambitious with our distance goals but not that into night driving, our first overnight stop wasn’t Winnipeg as planned but good ol’ Regina Saskatchewan. Our excitement to get into the hotel where we stayed (it’s only day one, remember) is laughable, but let’s not joke, I love hotels. Everything about them. The night was super warm and humid. You could feel it in the air as we entered the province, surrounded by the expansive marshlands that look like something out of a ‘Hinterland’s Who’s Who?’ episode.
We enjoyed a nice swim in the pool and woke up to a classic continental breakfast. It just so happened to be my birthday as well, where I was gifted one of the most beautiful sunrises ever. Standing in the humid Days Inn parking lot watching the intense glowing orb ascend, I felt overwhelmingly grateful for this beautiful life and everyone in it. I proceeded to wash down the breakfast with multiple necessary cups of coffee, and also pocketed some fruit for the road. I love continental breakfast.
One thing driving through the prairies really made me appreciate?
Cruise control. Oh yeah. With a virtually unchanging highway for thousands of kilometres, this feature has become well loved. Cruise controlled it all the way to Winnipeg and right into a Denny’s parking lot. I couldn’t resist! No matter how bad, free birthday food is free birthday food, and guess what? It was actually good! Some syrupy grain pancakes and we hit the road again for our last stretch of the day.
This was the day we crossed into Ontario. Trees! Lakes! A fresh scent in the late summer air. I feel like I had my head out the window like a dog, unable to soak up enough of the terrain’s natural beauty. I now understand how ‘everyone’ in Ontario has a cabin on the lake, there are so many!
As the sky grew dark the landscape became even more enchanting, the glassy lakes reflecting silhouettes of trees and the deep blue sky.
I have never been a fan of night driving, and navigating the rolling roads of western Ontario is no exception. I think we crawled at about 40 through some parts, with both eyes peeled for a moose trying to cross. It wasn’t long before we passed one of the giants laying dead on the road and a small car in the ditch.
Shortly after, we reached out destination, the Trans Canada Motel in Dryden, Ontario, that looked like something straight out of the movie ‘Vacancy’. But it wasn’t bad, the people were nice. It was still my birthday, so we popped a couple bottles of Okanagan wine and enjoyed the night under the stars, and of course the scream/singing husband across the street. You can have fun no matter where you go, enjoying the simple things and soaking in every moment.
Have you driven across Canada? What were your favorite parts?