Best Canadian Road Trip

British Columbia Travel Blog

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Work ended at 6pm, we packed the night before so we could just throw our food in a cooler and leave. All of our plans were set, we had house sitters and even threw out the garbage so our house wouldn't stink. We were ready and about to dive into another camping road trip which has been a tradition for the decade I have been with my wife, only two years of which have been married.

We get on the road, my wife is driving because I just got off a 12 hour shift. As usual I crank up some Willy Nelson "On The Road Again" as I have done since our very first road trip 10 years ago. Somehow it still makes my wife laugh. On this trip it is my wife, my dog, myself, and a loaded truck. We just purchased a new roof rack to store all of our gear so we could sleep inside of our truck. We even made cardboard cut outs for the windows to add that privacy and darkness so we could sleep in. We were pretty well prepared.

Our first night, three hours after leaving our house we got to Banff just before sunset. We quickly set up our tent to throw some gear in and weren't a minute too soon because immediately it started to rain hard. We decided this would be a perfect night to have a few beers under some blankets while we watched some DVD's on our laptop. The dog was happy with the idea since she had spent the day leading up to the trip in daycare running herself tired.

We eventually fell asleep. Next morning we woke up and hit the road again. We drove to Field where we decided to go on a short hike down the train tracks. Turns out the tracks were busier than we thought so we just took our dog down to the river so she could have a quick swim before carrying on. We then made it to Revelstoke where we sat in a park and made lunch. We only stayed here an hour before continuing the drive. After a couple more hours and passing a few more towns and cities we made it to our destination for the day - Bear Creek Campground in Kelowna.

This campground was one of the nicest spots we've ever camped. A nice large and private site right next to the beach. Bathrooms were brand new and just a few feet away making the dark outdoor pee spot not required. We had taken our dog to the beach and let her swim out to rescue some sticks we threw. She did well for her first time actually swimming. Before this she had just waded in the water.

The next day was a big one for us. We were going to Vancouver which is our favorite city. We were also meeting friends so we had to get there with enough time to tire our dog out before locking her up for the evening. We drove and got there just after noon after a few early stops at wineries along the way. We had to meet our friends at 7pm at Cardero's for drinks before doing a pub crawl with them. So to tire our dog out we went to English Bay where there is an off leash park. Turns out the off leash park was for a bunch of stoned meth addicts doing their drugs. Not really a place we wanted to hang out. We instead decided to just walk English Bay where we ran across two other dog owners who were getting into a fist fight. Weird vibe for this day. We walked back to the hotel on Davies and found another off-leash park a few blocks away. We got her exhausted enough to keep quiet while we were away.

We met our friends and the rest was a blur.

The next morning we went to Granville Island and shopped for a few hours. Stopping in the brewery, the market, and even the pet store where we got our dog a back pack. In the market we purchased a bunch of meats and cheeses for a picnic we had planned for Tofino. We left here and went directly to the Tawassen ferry to Victoria. It got a little intense as the drug sniffing dog circled our truck and started barking. Luckily, my dog threw them off the idea that we had anything. Pot 1 - Drug sniffing dog 0.

We arrived in Victoria thanks to the help of our GPS. We checked into our pet friendly boutique hotel we found online and were given maps to local dog parks, dog treats, and even a letter for our dog explaining what her rules were. We had to read it to her though. This evening we decided to take our pup for a walk near Gregoire park off-leash area which is this amazing ocean front trail where the cruise ships come in. We walked her for hours, playing fetch and just strolling around aimlessly. That is really what traveling is all about. We got back late evening and put our pup to bed before heading out for the night on the town.

We started at an amazing place called Veneto's with the plan of going elsewhere. It didn't happen. This little restaurant located in the Rialto hotel was amazing, both food and drinks were so good we decided to stay and hang out there, it was pretty happening with a DJ and all. After a few hours there we walked outside and decided to catch a bike taxi home. We met this nice German guy who was telling us all about the city and where to go and what to see.

We got home and decided to go on a late night walk with our camera while the parks and tourist spots were empty. Next morning we woke up nice and early and had breakfast at the mansion in the harbour. Delicious!! We then rented some scooters and cruised around town where we were lucky enough to see some whales swimming close to shore. We also managed to get to the Governal Generals house with its amazing gardens. We even made it to the very unimpressive Craigdarroch castle. We seen pictures of this thing and it looked a nice castle on a large acreage but reality was it was a nice castle in a residential neighborhood with barely any land and cars parked the entire way around it ruining and chance of a decent picture. This evening we hit Veritas, a restaurant built in the oldest and most haunted building in Victoria. We found a pub near our hotel this evening to have a few pints before bed.

The next morning we were up nice and early and on the road to Nanaimo with a quick stop in Butchart Gardens. These gardens are very impressive, even for someone like me who hates this type of thing. It was full of tourists and it cost way too much, but still impressive. We managed to learn some macro techniques with our camera while we were there. After leaving our GPS took us the wrong direction which lost about an hour for us. Good job GPS. We got to our oceanfront campground in Nanaimo at about 5pm. Just enough time to start a fire and have dinner before we watched the sun setting over the ocean. We stayed up late around the fire pit here.

The next morning we hit the road to make it to our main destination, the Pacific Rim National Park. Our campsite was the Surf Junction Campground near Ucluelet and close to Tofino. We got there and set up and immediately went to Wikkinish beach where we walked around aimlessly enjoying the views for hours, at least until dark when we went back and lit a fire and stayed up late once again.

Our goal for this day was to do a few small hikes followed by a long hike down long beach. We slept in and had a small breakfast before heading off to the beautiful green rain forest. We walked the boardwalk loops with our dog and took photo's of the amazing greens and thick forest. We tested out our dogs backpack with some water, this really slowed her down which was a nice break. After a few short hikes we made it to Inferno beach which was a nice point near the north end of long beach. We packed our backpacks full of food and drinks and headed off for our hike by about noon.

We made it about 200 meters from the parking lot and decided to have lunch and bottle of wine to lighten the backpack we had packed tight. So we found a nice log against the tree line and set up a nice seat against it where we could have our picnic. We started with some nice bree cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine we picked up in the Okanagan. We eventually decided to crack another bottle of wine and have our buffalo mozzarella wrapped with prosciutto and seasoned with basil, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper. At this point my wife pulled out another party favorite which made us mellow and slightly lazy, but sitting where we were with the view we had made it perfect.

We decided to spend our day in that spot. It was far enough down the beach that people rarely came by, and still close enough to the parking lot that it was only a 10 minute or so walk to get more wine. We played fetch with our dog in the ocean. She loves the waves and we found out she hates ravens. After spending some time in the water and running around the beach she spotted a raven and literally spent a half hour circling around the beach chasing it. Lucky for us the raven stayed pretty close, so we just let her play with the raven.

8 hours and too many bottles of wine later we caught the sunsetting. We forgot an important thing, we needed to drive to our campsite. Lucky for us our SUV was setup as our bed, so it was full of blankets, pillows, window screens, and even our laptop. So we laid in the truck watching movies while chugging water, and eventually took a good nap before driving back to the site at late night / early morning.

Next day was Tofino. After we drove to Tofino and around town we stopped and had lunch at Shelter where they allowed us to have our dog on the patio with us while we ate. As usual our pup got a lot of attention and we met all kinds of people who wanted to pet her. The food was delicious, so delicious that we came back that evening for dinner. This was Canada day so the plan was to go to a beer garden and listen to live music before going to the fireworks. Now that sounds like a good plan, but execution was pretty weak.

We went to the beer garden and it was $15 entrance fee, plus $7 per beer. Affordable, but still more expensive than it should be. We would have went in until we looked in at the beer garden (former tennis court) and noticed one single outhouse with a 50 person line up. We looked at the one beer tub that also had a huge line-up. We then looked at the seating and noticed only 2 tables with 4 chairs each. We also noticed the average age was about 18. Well that was ruled out. The whole point was to listen to music, problem #2.

We walked by the stage and seen what I can only describe as a dirty hippy screeching into the microphone that made it sound like a combination of someone being stabbed and a porno movie. In other words this hippy was tripping out on some drug and some idiot gave her the microphone. This would explain why the only people watching were kids who all looked confused and scared. At this point we said f___ it and went back to Shelter for dinner where the music was good and the food was even better. No line ups for bathrooms, and no hippy overdosing with a microphone. We stayed here having beers till it was time to walk to the fireworks.

The fireworks were impressive. The problem we had here was our dog didn't like them. By "not like them" I am referring to was deathly afraid of them and spazzed like I've never seen her spaz before. It got to the point where I picked her up and my wife did her best to cover her ears. Lesson learned, do not take a dog to fireworks. We got back to our campsite nice and early since we had to skip most of the fireworks, so we had another firepit to end the night.

The next morning our plan was to visit Cox Bay which as it turns out is the most scenic beach there. Beautiful beach with amazing tree line with green mountains surrounding it. The problem is the entrance is not marked and it turns out hotel developers are beginning to overtake it with hotels and are looking at building a large stone wall. The locals have protest stickers everywhere, and I agree. This place is too nice to ruin with man made walls and hotels.

This was another day we chilled on the beach for the entire day watching surfers and playing with our dog. The guys next to us had a guitar and were playing Sublime and it was another perfect day. We went home at sunset and went to bed early so we could get up to go surfing in the morning. The next morning we went to go surfing and found the wind was very strong and waves were massive. Not a good day to learn surfing. We decided to just do the walk we had planned on long beach. 4 hours in each direction, passed the same lady twice and no one else. Our dog was running wild but always managed to stay close enough. The fresh air really bagged us out, so we went to bed early again and left the next morning to head back to Vancouver.

Vancouver was just a mid point on our drive. It took 3-4 hours from Tofino. Then another 11 hour drive home to end the trip. This was my favorite road trip so far.
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