It’s not small. In fact, it’s a lot bigger than I remember. But when you are in your early 20’s, nothing fazes you. You can drive for 16 hours a day and still party all night. When you are old and have kids, there is no such thing as driving 16 hours in one day. 6 is pushing it and requires a rest day where we don’t go anywhere. Even then, we are dealing with the fall-out on the rest day. Kids are cranky, things need to be fixed. It generally takes three 16-hour days to make it to Seattle. That is 48 hours of driving. It took us two weeks. We did have a side-trip to Haines and Skagway, but still… 14 days!
Canada is also not warm. Ok, I’m sure sometimes it gets above freezing, but in October? The R-pod was toasty warm inside, but the pipes were freezing and plastic was busting on the outside. We kept going south hoping to get warmer, but it wasn’t until we crossed the border that we thawed out.
Campgrounds and RV parks in Canada close down in September. Which is a problem when you are traveling in October. We managed to find a few that were open, but we also had to poach a few spots. When you are 20-something, you just crash out in your car or pitch your tent anywhere… but when you are almost 40 with 2 toddlers, you need to find a place for them to run around which is not on the side of the highway.
To make up for all of these faults, Canadians are the nicest people. The gas station attendants have a huge smile on their face as they genuinely ask how we are doing, give us free coffee, and give us change for our laundry. One super nice family at a campground in Smithers invited us over for s’mores and to stay at their house when we passed by again. It is a noticeably different culture, which made it really odd to see the Ergo baby carriers, chariot strollers, and Patagonia snowsuits at the park. It felt like an invasion of the Stepford wives.
Canada also has the most amazing breathtaking scenery. The forest composition shifts as you go from north to south and over mountain passes. The mountains themselves are completely different variations of soil, rock, height and steepness. We came through wide open expanses and narrow gorges. Steep traverses and mellow farmland.
We were strangely relieved to be back in the states again. Our cell phone worked without wifi, the stores and products were all familiar, and the people seemed human again. Thanks, Canada, for a wonderful 2 weeks, but it is good to be home!