A week ago, we loaded up the vehicle and did a trial run to see how prepared we were for the cross-Canada leg of our trip. We had not had the chance to “field test” some of our gear and wanted to try it out during a three-day camping trip at a nearby provincial park.
I borrowed my dad’s Jeep, installed the roof carrier and attached the bikes onto the back. I struggled with the roof carrier as it took me a while to figure out that I was blocking the locking mechanisms which was preventing it from closing. Once I figured that out, I spent a couple hours loading up the vehicle to determine the best packing configuration. I had two main goals: I wanted to have an unobstructed view out the rear window and the kids needed to have an unencumbered ride (i.e. nothing at their feet or beside them). We managed to achieve both of those goals. In the future, I’m hoping I can do better than two hours.
We have started getting some of our ducks in a row for our cross-Canada leg of the trip. The first concrete decision is we’ve made the choice not to bring our electric car. This was a tough one as I was pretty confident we could have made the route work from a charging/mileage standpoint. In the end, it was the cargo space that led us to this decision. It is just too small and will not hold the gear we plan on bringing. Essentially we want the kids to have some comfort and we don’t want stuff piled on the children as we drive a few thousand kilometres. We haven’t yet made a decision as to what we will do with the car but I will either have to sell it, loan it out or take it off the road. That is a decision for another day.
We are under a year to go now. It is far more exciting as there are actually “real” things to do. It is fun to see hotel and flight dates begin to be available for booking. Just to recap, we plan to take off on our round the world trip in July 2022. The first three months will be spent driving across Canada. With that in mind, I am super excited that we took our first steps towards getting organized for that part of the trip. This past weekend we bought ourselves a Parks Canada Pass.
We drove to our closest MEC store and bought a Parks Canada Discovery Pass. It cost us $139.40 for the “family” version. The pass essentially gives us access to the national park system and free access to the national sites here in Canada.
Next week we will be under 400 days to go. Even though we are still planning and dreaming, we have not done a good job writing about it. The good news is that we have checked off a couple more boxes.
This year we bought a bike with training wheels for Julie. She loves it. Isabella also jumps on her bike any chance she gets. Paige fondly remembers the days she used to bike to work. We decided the trip might be more fun for the kids if we brought our bikes on the trip. Bicycles at campsites just seem to go together. So have been on the lookout for a bike rack to mount on the car for the cross Canada segment of our Journey. Finding bike-related gear in Toronto in the current environment is not that simple. Fortunately, we had been scouring online ads for people looking to sell their used ones. A couple of weeks ago we scored a Thule hitch mounted-rack that can accommodate four bicycles. It was practically new and we had it delivered to the house by the seller. It was not cheap but got it for about 10% less than retail with no tax. That price worked for me. Plus we actually got it since buying things in stores in Toronto right now is not seamless. As a final bonus, we get to use it throughout this year and plan to try it out this weekend.
I like to hedge my bets. I hope for the best but plan for the worst. I imagine on our trip we will bring a camera, a phone, an iPad and a small laptop. I do not doubt for a second that we are going to lose one of these things. It will happen. Losing the device itself will be an inconvenience but it will not be that big of a problem. The files and photos on a lost device would probably be more regrettable. For that reason, I cracked and got myself some cloud storage this year.
I spend a lot of time at my kitchen table streaming music on youtube while working. Occasionally I come upon some gems that remind me of good times from travel long ago. Hearing the first couple of chords make me long for a travel adventure. Whenever I come across these songs, I begin to jot them down in my notebook. I hope when we finally take off we’ll have a great youtube playlist assembled that will keep us motivated. Our children generally drive our youtube viewing, and as a result, an inordinate amount of Disney soundtracks that pop up throughout the day.
Michael is the one who is passionate to blog about this trip. I read it and agree with most things —really not sure about the electric vehicle across Canada and into the Yukon part though!
But I am passionate about figuring out how to bike on our trip.
Our daughter Isabella is currently 5, the exact age that Julie, our youngest will be when we plan to take this trip. Isabella learned to ride a 2-wheeler this year and I cringe at the thought of Julie missing this while we travel. Watching Isabella make it around the block has been a joy for me during our family’s COVID-19 isolation.
Last year we became a ONE car family. The reasons were threefold. First, I was not working. Second, we moved to a house that was within shouting distance of the subway. Finally, our second car had a major malfunction that we decided not to get fixed. Giving up that second car was a blessing in disguise.
We had always thought we would end up getting a new car when I went back to work. It would be that new car that we would drive across Canada in two years time. Now we do not see that happening. The question now is if our current car can handle the task.
While out on our morning walk I suggested to Paige that we keep our eyes out for a good deal on camping gear. Our current tent is in some rough shape and definitely needs to be replaced. We decided whatever tent we look at buying should also be the one we want to take across Canada in two years time. It got us thinking what else will we actually need for the camping leg of our trip. When we delved deeper we quickly realized that a decent amount of the gear we currently have is more than adequate. Yes there are a couple pieces that will need to be replaced but now we have two years to take advantage of sales and promotions to get the best possible deals. I am also hopeful some of these can become well received gifts for upcoming birthdays and holidays.