1st day of the trip - we left Barrie later than expected, less prepared than we had planned, and more stressed than we had hoped…easy sailing from here :)
Birthday dinner for Oscar at Wacky Wings. We meet with Bobbie and Henry to drop off Milo for his 6 week stay at the Dacosta residence. He seemed indifferent when saying goodbye and quite excited to lay down and sleep for the trip to Timmins.
Leaving the Dukovac’s place for our trip to Sault Ste Marie. It’s always good to see and spend time with them! They are great friends and amazing hosts. Happy 18th wedding anniversary Mate and Jen.
Quick stop in North Bay before we leave to pick up Riley and Jacksen and to say goodbye to the Larouche’s before our adventure! Always good to see them :)
Made it to Pancake Bay! Beach was beautiful but the mosquitoes were horrendous. We packed up early to continue the adventure but not before running into the Pouliot family from Kapuskasing.
It was a long drive from the Soo to Thunder Bay but we made it in safely and set up quickly. The campsite was nice, the falls was really beautiful. We had planned to stay for two nights but between our camper fridge needing service and the sever thunderstorm we decided to pack up early and head west.
Drove all day through torrential downpour. The skies finally cleared up near Winnipeg. We took a chance and went to the park that we had reserved for the next night. Luckily it was available and we were able to setup. Another big drive…8 hours in the truck -__-
Spent the day at the beach at Birds Hill Provincial Park then travelled to Winnipeg to check out The Forks Market. This is the kind of permanent market that we are trying to bring to Barrie. Very cool spot :)
Almost missed our stop at Indian Head Campground (Thanks Google maps). It’s a privately owned campground with a lot of pride of ownership. The campground is really clean, well kept, and there’s an old renovated grain elevator that was transformed into bathroom, laundry and a games room.
It was another long day on the road but we made it in safely and just in time to Tillebrooke Provincial Park before another thunderstorm hit our campground.
The drive from Saskatchewan to Alberta was beautiful. I wasn’t looking forward to the drive through the prairies based on my first experience in my early 20’s, but this time was different. I guess I’ve learned to see and understand the beauty in the prairies as of I’ve gotten older… or Yellowstone has turned me into a city cowboy :)
Woke up early to catch F1 qualifying with the kids. We had a little visitor come by the campsite before we headed to Dinosaur park.
Our GPS took us off-road on the way to Dinosaur Park. We finally turned back after 3 km of muddy back roads. Spent $40 at the car wash and it’s still full of mud 😒 Thankfully I had just washed it the day before!
Visited Dinosaur Provincial park today. We did a short 3 km walk. The views were spectacular! I don't think that any of us were expecting or prepared for the breath taking landscape
Arrived at Bow RiversEdge Campgroud in Cochrane, Alberta. It’s a nice site with we'll kept grounds and great staff. There was a threat of rain so I took Jacksen and Riley to watch a movie, Thor Love and Thunder, while Karine and Ava went shopping.
We took a drive into the city to explore the Calgary Zoo and the downtown. The kids really enjoyed the zoo and walking Stephens Ave downtown...maybe not the walking part so much 😄
Walking downtown Calgary - Cowboy Space Needle
Jacksen’s goal is to visit NHL arenas. Here’s the saddledome :)
We took a short drive to Canmore to visit the town and take a hike up Pigeon Mt. - 8km hike.
We stopped by Blake restaurant to buy some Blake merchandise (represent Blake Street) . While we were parking one of the employees recognized the Ontario plates and asked where we were from….turns out he’s from Barrie as well (Barrie Central Grad).
The hike was tough, no real sights to be seen but a good workout all the same. The bugs were brutal and the kids weren’t ready for a hike up the mountain so we turned back before the peak.
Banff National park - Tunnel Mountain Set up camp in Banff today. We had tickets for the Gondola in the afternoon. Spent the rest of the day walking around the village shopping and finishing with a bite to eat at the Crown and Rose.
The heat was a little unbearable so we took the kids for a dip rather than a hike. Cascade pond is glacier feed lake…it was cold! The kids needed some incentive (besides the heat) to completely jump in. We bet them $2 each that they couldn’t dunk their heads under water. Karine and I are down $6 -__-
We took a ride up to Lake Louise. The amount of tourists was quite surprising. Parking was unavailable and needed to be pre paid and booked so a shuttle could take tourists from the Ski Hill to Lake Louise. Thankfully we found a parking spot heading to the Fairmount. It was a short enough walk up to the lake. We walked the base as it was too hot and busy to hike the mountain trails. The views were spectacular! I would suggest booking at the Fairmount to really make the most of it.
Helicopter tour of the three sisters mountain. Our pilot, Andrew, was an excellent guide and knew the country well. The hot weather made for interesting flying. The helicopter tour was a highlight of the trip for sure!
Woke up early to climb Tunnel Mountain. Riley and Jacksen weren’t up for it so the three of us headed up on our own. It was a beautiful hike and took approximately an hour to climb and descend. Glad we did the hike early as it was already starting to warm up on the way down.
We made it just in time to cross the sky suspension bridge before the thunderstorm. We were last one back before they closed due to the lightning. Riley and I had hoped to do the zip line across the canyon but decide to get back on the road instead.
Whitewater rafting! Spent the morning on the Kanaskasis river with an excellent guide, Rachel from New Zealand. We shared the raft with a lovely couple from Germany. They were here with their kids picking up their one daughter after a 10 month long school exchange.
We worked hard, got soaked, and had a blast! Everyone agreed that whitewater rafting is worth doing again!
Change of plans! We detoured to Revelstoke and stayed at and AirBnB. We took uncle Barry’s advice and stayed within the interior to tour Hwy 1.
We visited the farmers market, caught up on some work, watched Formula 1, did some laundry, the girls took in the hot tub. We enjoyed some of life’s luxuries like doors and indoor plumbing :)
Revy is a great place to place to visit. We meet some great people and had fun taking in some live music (The Heels).
Detour Day 2 - the last minute campsite that we booked was a bust. We drove 5kms up a super sketchy logging road with the trailer (Karine was not impressed). I booked a “glamping” school bus, which turned out to be just a school bus with cots in it. It was hot and gave off a hippie communion vibe so we hiked back down the mountain….truck and trailer are filthy again -__-
We made our way into Kelowna and found a Brewery/Pizza shop (Bad Tattoo) and found another AirBnB! The place was downtown and within walking distance of Bernard Ave., and a ton of beaches. We had fun exploring the city and the kids enjoyed swimming at the waterfront.
BC day! Walked downtown to take in the festivities and shops. It was hot outside, almost 40 but thankfully there was a breeze. By the end of the day the breeze turned into strong wind gusts so the kids had fun in the huge waves at the lake.
Stay highlight - we meet Fernando (tenant below us at the Airbnb) made us some Filipino pork rolls! They were delicious :)
We drove into Kamloops to visit with Barry, Michelle, and Grayson (Uncle, Aunt, & cousin). It was so good to see them, we haven’t been to their place since 2005 when Grayson was 2 weeks old…he’s now 16 and towers over me!
It was so much fun to see them again :) Unfortunately we completely forgot to take a picture!!!
Rock & River - The view is great and if you can’t sleep, you can count trains rather than sheep…they pass by every hour or so.
It was more of a relaxed day. We had intended to go for a hike but the threat of rain persisted all day so we took in some shopping and sights.
We relaxed at the site in the afternoon and had a nice steak dinner indoors.
Back on track again! Pulled into the Rock & River Rustic Resort…emphasis on the rustic part :)
Tammy welcomed us to the park, which we had to ourselves! We had our pick of the lots next to the Thompson river.
Making our way to Abbotsford with a quick stop at Hell’s Gate. Incredibly history and raw power of the Fraser river. The AirTram was a little intimidating at first but worth it. We got to see the salmon on the way back up to the highway.
We booked a one night stay at Sunnyside campground. It was well organized, clean and on beautiful lake. It was a short stay, wish would have booked a couple more nights :)
We had a nice BBQ dinner, including fresh Chilliwack corn on the cob cooked on the BBQ. Karine says it’s the best corn she ever had. We played UNO with the kids and planned a hiking trip for the next morning….so early bedtimes
Hiked an ancient forest with some 500 year old Douglas Firs. It was 7.2km hike with some good elevations. We jogged a part of it (mostly on the way down). Karine brushed up against some rose bushes, which in her words will leave her with “scars for life”. They looked like hives to everyone else :)
We made it to Vancouver! It’s definite city camping here. We’re tucked in under the Lion’s Gate bridge next to the Royal Park mall, right beside the highway…thankfully our camper has a loud and noisy fan/AC that drones out the outside! It’s clean, friendly, has a pool, hot tub and lounge for the kids to keep busy.
Took a short ride over the Lions Gate bridge to downtown Vancouver. We walked the seaside and checked out Canada Place, stopped by the Pacific Rim for some live music. On the way out we hall Ed to see a film set for the TV series Hourglass.
Jacksen got his lick of restaurants, he chose this one because they had the Jays game on. (They lost in the 10th inning). Great food and service…our server was from Hamilton.
We walked around Stanley Park and a part of downtown Vancouver. It was a little over 12kms of walking or 3 1/2hrs of kids complaining in other terms!
Aquarium! The sea lions stole the show today! It was a lot of fun to see all the different exhibits
Quick swim after a long day of walking
Hiked the Tree top adventure at the Capilano suspension bridge. It’s changed since Karine and I were there last in 2005. They now have a cliff hike that takes over the gorge. We booked early before the big rush
Heading to Vancouver Island! Leaving Horseshoe Bay terminal heading to Nanaimo and travelling to Victoria. The ferry was departing at 6:30am so we had to be up 4:30am! Kids were not happy :(
Goats on a roof! Quick detour to Coombs while making our way to Victoria. They have goats on a roof there :)
Malhat skywalk was awesome! Easy walk to the top with some breath taking views. It has a 63’ high slide (173’ - long). The line up was a little too long for the kids so they decided to pass.
Walked around downtown Victoria with Tony (brother) and the kids. We stopped by an old school arcade with a bunch of games from when we were kids. Victoria is a great city to just walk around, plenty of shops and great waterfront.
Early morning hike/walk from Tony and Jen’s place. We saw three deer and some spectacular views! We stopped to check out a couple of Tony’s stone mason jobs.
We went down to Fisherman dwarf with uncle Tony and we had a blast there were so much to see, we got ice cream and we got to meet nice people and nice dogs (pets) as well as some deer on the way there. The ice cream shop is called Jackson’s ice cream. We walked on the docks among the floating houses and were super cool they were all full of colours and life with lots of fish and water taxis. - Ava
Went on a ghost tour walk in downtown Victoria. We learnt about attic haunting in the Empress hotel, the Rodger’s Family (chocolate store from the late 1800’s), prison chain gang, and the well they discovered in 1970’s from the 1800’s.
We took a nice walk around the park with Tony and the kids.
Petting zoo at the park :)
After a great couple days in Victoria we’re off again…heading back to our campsite in Vancouver.
Blast from the past! Sarah, a childhood friend, and her family (Taik, Jet, and Kita) came over for dinner and a visit! It was great to see them and catch up after all these years :)
We’ve started our journey home. We headed south towards Seattle, short drive from Vancouver to Washington (even with the 45 minute wait at the border). Karine and the kids were a little nervous at the border and thought we’d be given a hard time. The border agent was great! She’s only been posted there for 3 weeks, prior to that she was living in Oakville for 6 years. She let us through with no trouble at all.
Walked the boardwalk and took in the Pike Place Place market on the way to the Seattle space needle. We took the elevator up and had a great view of the city; definitely worth the wait.
Took in a unique perspective of Seattle via their Underground tour; City below the city, recommended by Tom and Shannon from Reno Nevada, a couple we met in Vancouver. Glass ceilings which, in time, the glass has turned into various colours over the century due to the UV from the sun. Ava saw a dead rat.
Took in the Famous Pike Place Market. Thousands of people in attendance. It was very impressive to see the throwing of the fish in the fish market. Kids bought bracelets to remember the day. We saw the Infamous gum alley.
Had an early dinner at the Crab Pot Restaurant; a restaurant recommended by Sarah Stenabaugh and her husband Taik.
Stayed overnight at the Wenatchee Campground on our way to Montana
Had a great time at the Walabee Ranch, hosted by the eccentric and somewhat unusual character by the name of Rex. We learned a lot about the Walabees and had a chance to pet and kiss the animals. Rex’s Ranch was showcased on National Geographics a few years ago. The Ranch was recommended to us by Tom and Shannon, a couple we met in Vancouver.
Stayed two nights at the Riverside Park in Spokane, Washington. Took in a hike on our first morning.
Checked out downtown Spokane; Washington’s best kept secret. Very beautiful and clean city.
Stopped in at the Flag Stick Pub in the afternoon to get away from the heat (and find some wi-fi). Played indoor mini-put and FaceTimed the Larouche’s.
Had the best meal of our trip by far at Anthony’s in Spokane. Indulged in great seafood and the mouth-watering artichoke and crab dip which was amazing.
Stayed two nights at the Lewis & Clark Caverns Campground. Got to see a full sky of stars. The drive to the site and the sit itself was beautiful. Kids enjoyed a few hours of play at the campground.
Stopped in for a photo-op at the Dutton Ranch, a Ranch showcase on the Yelllowstone series. Security was stationed at the gate as filming was in progress but we were able to stop at the side of the road and snap a few pictures.
Booked a two-hour guided tour of the Lewis and Clark Caves. Descended a total of 600 steps. Saw bats and learned cool facts about cave formations and the unique history of the state park.
Spent the afternoon riding some trails on a couple of side-by-side in the mountains of Whitewall, Montana. Ava got to ride her first ATV. We saw cows and climbed the Ringing Rocks. The whole family had a blast.
Checked out the geysers during our travels through YellowStone State Park. Drove through a hail storm to make our way to our next stop in Cody, Wyoming.
Stayed two nights in Cody, Wyoming. Kids enjoyed the pool and the activities available at the park while mom & dad had a chance to work. We took in the city in the evening and had a bite at one of the brewers in town before heading to the Cody Rodeo.
The family took in their first rodeo. Cody hosts a rodeo daily during the summer months. Saw bull riding, roping, and barrel races.
Took the scenic route to our next campground. The views were absolutely spectacular. Stopped in on the side of the road to check out Shell Falls.
Stayed one night in Buffalo, Wyoming. The site was great with a pool that the kids enjoyed. Met a few families from Quebec. Rick and Karine went for a walk downstown while the kids rested at the campsite. Rick bought a thick wool sweater and we found some candles and a local candle shop.
Drove by Mount Rushmore on the way to our next site in Rapid City. Met up with Sue and Paul Disley, relatives of friends of Rick from Kapuskasing. Sue and Paul currently live in Timmins. Rick and Karine went out for a diner date at Longhorn Steakhouse while the kids played at the pool with some friends, Dylan and Dustin from Massachusetts.
Had an overnight stop in Taillwaters campground in Nebraska. Set up our site and then headed into Yankton, NB. Store are closed but we stopped in at the Riverside restaurant for dinner. Rick pranked the kids and drove into the drive-in Lineup at once cream store and road away without picking up ice cream 😝
Stayed overnight at the KOA in Waterloo, Iowa. Kids helped us with laundry and played at the park. Ava took a dip in the lake and explored the many frogs on the site. After supper, we picked up some snacks at the convenience store and watched Field of Dreams movie.
Visited the Field of dreams movie site. Brought our baseball gear and threw the ball on the baseball diamond and ventured into the corn field adjacent to the baseball diamond. Picked up some memorabilia from the movie. Met a family from Brampton, ON. Definitely a highlight from our trip. The movie came out 33 years ago and over 65,000 visitor still visit the movie site on average per year.
Kept the camper at Camp Bullfrog for three nights, the last two nights we took in downtown Chicago. We met Jen, who was originally from Boston. Jen was in town for a ‘hippie’ festival happening in the area. Jacksen met his first official friend was Hamilton, ON who he played baseball with.
Stayed two nights at the JW Marriot Hotel in downtown Chicago. The room was large and beautiful. The master bathroom was bigger than our trailer! Everyone enjoyed a great night sleep in a dark, quiet room.
Went for lunch at Elephant Castle together. Rick and Karine booked a couples massage while the kids relaxed in the room. Rick and Jacksen took in some of the city while the girls got ready for the concert.
The kid’s first concert! Imagine Dragons, Macklemore and King’s Elliot were amazing to watch. There were over 25k people in attendance. We had a great time!
Had tickets booked for the cruise line on 10am on Saturday morning. Ed, the tour guide, is native to Chicago. He shared information regarding the architecture of the city. Definitely worth the tour. Chicago is a beautiful city and the tour boat was a great way to take it in!
Had lunch at Labriola to try out Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza, also know as ‘four gallons of melted cheese on super thick dough’.
We left with a pizza box full of pizza which we ended up giving to a homeless guy on the street the following morning.
We never made it officially to Millennium Park but we’re able to capture a picture on our walk by. The lineup was too long and we had to make it back to the hotel to get ready for Chicago White Sox’s game that night.
Chicago White Sox’s Game! The Sox’s lost 10-5 to the Arizona Diamondbacks unfortunately but it was a great game to watch. The entertainment was definitely less lively than a Jay’s game. The kids had a sundae in a helmet. We were surprised by the amount of people tailgating I. The parking lot prior to the game.
We stayed in Ann Arbor for our final night of the trip, stopping in the city on our way to the site. We had supper at Jolly Pumpkin with Neil Negafok and his six year old daughter Eliana (Eli). Rick grew up in Kapuskasing with Neil and they hadn’t seen each other for over 20 years! Walked the city after dinner and took some ice cream. Had a great time!
Short stop at the KOA in Ann Arbor. Arrived at 9pm Sunday evening and left by 9am the following day in a rain storm. Everyone was excited to get home and see the family and of course Milo :)