June 12, 2014

Memories of Driving Across Canada

Sometimes in life you are forced to make decisions. They may not always be easy, they may not always be safe – but you have to face your fears and take the plunge. That’s exactly what I did in June of 2012. I was living in Vancouver, BC and was incredibly unhappy. I had made a few friends out West since moving there in August 2010 – but I longed to be home. I missed my family. There was so much going on in my personal life, and I made the decision to drive by myself from Vancouver, BC to Toronto, ON. This wasn't an easy decision to come to, there were a lot of factors to take into consideration, but I knew I had to be home with my family, in Toronto.

I had done my fair share of road trip driving prior to this trip, but never alone. I drove from Toronto to Las Vegas, and then a few months later I did the drive up the West Coast from Las Vegas to Vancouver. So, I wasn't scared or nervous about the driving. I was, however, nervous to be doing it solo this time around. 

Would I get bored? Would I fall asleep? Would a hitchhiker carjack me? Would I get lost? 

So many questions were running through my mind. After a lot of some procrastination – I finally packed up my car, with all of my personal belongings and hit the road. It was just me, my dog Precious and George.

Oh, who’s George? He was just my travel companion along the way. Don’t worry – you’ll be seeing a lot of him! I’ll be bringing him along on all my future road trips as well – he loves travelling as much as I do!
Precious and George, just hanging out in Hope, BC
While driving, I experienced a mix of emotions; from sadness to excitement, liberating to lonely – and everything in between. I couldn't believe I was doing it. I was actually driving across this beautiful country of ours. Before moving to Vancouver, I hadn’t really travelled within Canada that much. I stayed in the GTA for the most part, venturing out to Southern Ontario here and there and Montreal once or twice, but that’s really about it. I was so excited to be able to truly experience and revel in the all the beauty Canada has to offer. Driving through the beautiful National Parks, such as Mount Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park and Yoho National Park to the Provincial Parks such as Obatonga Provincial Park and Lake Superior Provincial ParkCanada is beautiful. Even the small towns and cities I passed through, such as Merritt, BC, Sicamous, BC, Canmore, AB, Swift Current, SK, Indian Head, SK, Terrace Bay, ON, Wawa, ON, and Blind River, ON – there is so much to see and do here in our own country. Of course, there are also the big cities like Kamloops, BC, Calgary, AB, Medicine Hat, AB, Moose Jaw, SK, Winnipeg, MB, Thunder Bay, ON, Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Sudbury, ON, Parry Sound, ON and Barrie, ON.

My route across Canada

It was a surreal feeling driving alone. At times, it felt like it was all a dream. I loved every part of my drive, I couldn't stop pulling over to take pictures and just relish in the beauty. However, I think my favourite part was in Northern Ontario. Once I crossed over from Manitoba a sense of “home” came over me. It all finally felt real. It was really happening – I was going home. I pulled over and onto a dirt road off the highway and found one of the many little lakes in Northern Ontario. The water was clear as glass, and just so still.  I took Precious out of the car, and we sat there and just enjoyed it for awhile. She was drinking from the lake, and I was just embracing all the changes coming my way. It was euphoric. Driving through Lake Superior Provincial Park was another surreal experience. As I was driving through the park, the sun was setting to my left. There weren't many other people on the road or in the park and I saw a driveway to my left. So I pulled in and my breath was taken away. It was the sun setting behind Lake Superior. It was gorgeous. Again I took Precious out of the car, took my sandals off and just walked right into the water. We watched the sun set and a liberating feeling took over me. I was so overcome with emotions!

Nothing could beat the feeling I got though when I was finally driving down the 400, and I saw the Toronto skyline in the distance. 

It was then, and only then – that I truly felt home again.    

Found Dolly in Merritt, BC

A jail for sale in Sicamous, BC

George being George, posing at Glacier National Park

George goofing off in a playground

Nope, I wasn't scared...

Seriously...wasn't scared at all...

Ok, maybe NOW I was a little scared!

Precious was deep in thought before we drove through The Rockies

Apparently hugs are free in Calgary, unfortunately they were closed

I don't care what anyone says, the Prairies are beautiful and not boring

See that white stuff back there? It's salt!

Indian Head, SK where Little Mosque on the Prairie was filmed
I'm coming home...

Drink up, Precious!

Northern Ontario is just beautiful...

A few of the boats at the marina in Thunder Bay, ON

Climbed to the top of this lighthouse in Terrance Bay, ON

Even George got in Lake Superior

Cloudy sky over Lake Superior

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