Updates to the Route – 144 days to go

Canada Map Driving Route Canada Toronto Kluane

So as the days get closer, the excitement and nervousness builds. We are making progress as we have knocked a bunch of things off the list. All our vaccinations are wrapped up and paid for. We replaced the bikes that were “stolen”. We applied for new credit cards and opened a new bank account. And we have had fun conversations with friends and family about our plans. Recently a friend of mine told me: “You are supposed to be planning a trip around the world, when are you going to tell me something exciting about it”. So I’ve taken her advice and unlike previous posts about logistics, this one is focused solely on the journey. That is to say, no talk about budgeting, insurance or money, just places and things to look forward to.

Paige and I have essentially agreed on our cross-Canada route. We break it down into three distinct parts. The drive from Toronto to the Yukon. The journey down the West coast of Canada to Vancouver. And then the drive back to Toronto (on a more southerly route than the outbound drive). Our first leg (the drive to the Yukon) is pretty much finalized as we have started booking places we believe will be in demand. It runs a little bit against our idea of relaxing and taking things as they come but it seems everyone wants to camp in Canada this summer. So for the last two weeks, I have become that guy who sets an alarm, logs onto a reservation site and crosses his fingers in the hopes of nabbing a “dream campsite”. Not to pat myself too much on the back, but I’ve actually done a good job on that front. So far I have really only made one mistake which involved the checkout process that cost me a prime site in Banff. So today I am going to share a list of all the stops we have planned on our way from Toronto to the Yukon. I honestly do not expect too much deviation from this leg as Paige and I were on the same page and are happy with the itinerary.

Sudbury – My mother’s family is from Sudbury and they all pretty much still live in the area. It will be up to them to give us a proper sendoff as they are the first stop on the journey. Maybe it will be Deluxe Hamburgers or Toppers Pizza but our kids will enjoy seeing their cousins regardless of the food.

Timmins – I have an uncle who lives a “little” further up the road in Timmins. This past year he put in a pool and that was all the incentive we needed. I also plan to coerce my parents into joining us for this segment. As an aside, I haven’t been to Timmins in over a decade. I regret not seeing the Shania Twain Centre when I had the chance.

Sault Ste Marie – My dad grew up in the Sault and my aunt lives there. And she has a pool too! And a garden! And Lake Superior! And did I mention she is a great cook? If all goes to plan we will eat, swim and repeat until she has had enough of us.

Neys Provincial Park – We are looking forward to the drive along the north shore of Lake Superior as this is where we break out on our own. With the family reunions behind us, this is scheduled to be our first day of camping as family “free” accommodation is no longer on the table. The Provincial park seems like a good way to break up the long drive to Thunder Bay.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park – I know it is still outside Thunder Bay but this counts as Thunder Bay in our minds. We have no big plans other than to swim, relax and try to get into a routine. My daughter Isabella picked the campsite herself. Something about it having two levels? I can’t wait to see how that turns out.

Blue Lake Provincial Park – It is a long drive from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg. Hopefully, this swimming hole on the way works for us. I hope we are not tired of camping at this point!

Winnipeg – Paige and I stopped here quickly (4 hours) a few years ago and we wanted to come back for an extended period. We will have just finished a decent stretch of camping and could probably use the break. But the main reason is we are trying to get the children into a summer camp in the city. That way they still don’t miss out on a camp experience (with pandemic the last couple of years, they haven’t really got it). Plus I get to go to the Royal Canadian Mint. I imagine I will be going by myself as the kids just weren’t as interested in it as I was when we visited the one in Ottawa.

Riding Mountain National Park – This will be our first national park on the trip and the first time we have ever camped at one. They have swimming for the kids and bison for me to try and find. Can’t wait to leverage that parks Canada pass I bought earlier

Saskatoon – Paigey wants to stay there and I am guessing it has something to do with Saskatoon berries. We have been there before but it was only for a short time. There’s probably some scheme I don’t know about yet.

Edmonton – Now it is time for us to visit Paige’s side of the family as her Aunt and cousins live in Edmonton. The girls will get to see some new cousins and have some play friends for a few days. Paige and I will get to cook in a house and hopefully “not” watch the kids.

Dawson Creek – The drive from Edmonton to the Yukon is going to be a “beast”. This is mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway.

Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park – This is our second stop point. It has a hot spring and a campsite that is surrounded by an electrified fence. I am going to say 4 hours is the ‘over/under’ for the amount of time we spend in a hot spring.

White Horse – When I worked at Walmart, the stores in Whitehorse and Yellowknife got mentioned a disproportionate amount of time. I figured I should see what this pinnacle of retail execution looks like with my own eyes. Joking aside, Paige’s mom is going to fly in and we’ll use this as our rally point before heading off to the next destination. I selfishly can’t wait to visit the SS Klondike. In case you can’t tell I am just hooked on all the Parks Canada sites.

Kluane National Park – We will have made it and I think it will act as the “litmus test” for the rest of the trip. We got lucky and have booked our accommodation at the national park. We splurged and went with an Otentik to make it even more relaxing. I had better get a picture of me in those red chairs. I am really excited about the outdoor adventure stuff with the kids. Not as excited about swimming in the lake.

That’s it for now, I will update you shortly about the West Coast leg of the Canada trip.

Let us know where you’ll be meeting up with us! Campsites are filling up quick if you want to book the one next door.

Ciao for now

Mike

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