Canada! and a minor snafu

Hello, hi, hello!

It’s been a while, I know. I would apologize, but I’ve been working on being present and just enjoying getting to be wherever I am. That means a lot less computer time, and I’m not going to apologize for that.

I’m writing this now from a campground near Acadia National Park, Maine. Yep, the US of A, this time on the East Coast! And almost on-schedule, too, though not without a lot of effort. There were a couple of mishaps, and one big detour. I’ll get to that.

When I left off last, we were in Washington, about to head into Canada. We spent about 5 days in the Vancouver area. For the first 4, we boondocked with a very kind Canadian family a bit outside the city while we explored with Babybug, the Smart car we had been towing. I say had, and I’ll get to that. But first, Vancouver!

It was still quite smokey when we arrived, so we spent the first few days mostly exploring museums and more indoors-ish activities. We loved the Bloedel reserve where there’s tropical birds and plants. From where it sits, you’re supposed to be able to see all of Vancouver. Mostly we saw smoke. We did get a clear day later on, and seized the opportunity to bike around Vancouver and the seawall. That was easily one of my favorite experiences up that point in the trip -- there’s a several mile one-way loop full of beautiful views with a couple adorable beaches. I didn’t take too many photos that day because I really didn’t want to stop and get my phone out. But I tried to be better after that.

Our last evening in Vancouver, our hosts needed their roadside back, so we stayed at Walmart. It’s nice, I promise, there’s showbeds you can sleep on and everything. Ha, no but there were a decent number of other RVs parked there, and there have been at subsequent Walmart stays too. It’s relatively quiet in the parking lots most of the time, there’s space to park, there’s enough other sleepers that there’s a sense of pack safety, and if you’ve forgotten to buy eggs you can get them in the morning from your favorite Capitalist Overlords. All told, sleeping in a Walmart parking lot is not half bad, and it’s free. On the app we use to find campsite and free parking, someone gave one Walmart a one-star review because “it didn’t have showers.” Would you really want to shower in one if there were, though?

On our way to Eastern BC, we stopped for a quick hike over one of the suspension bridges in the area. I don’t remember what it was called but it was really beautiful.

We went east, and we found hostprings. Oh, we found so many hotpsrings. Well, we didn’t find them really. Other people found them first and made them nice and then charged us money and we sat in them. A couple hours drive east of Vancouver, a range of mountains begins, and it stretches almost all the way to the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. In between the ridges, the valleys hold elongated, beautiful lakes. If this drive isn’t on your radar, it should be. Every minute of the 8+ hour drive (if you go directly; we didn’t) is absolutely beautiful.

We began in Harrison Hot Springs and meandered to Nakusp, then Ainsworth, then Fairmont, and finally to Banff. There’s not much that can be told here; it was beautiful, and I wish it could have been that perfect late-summer-in-the-mountains forever. We met some really cool people, some musicians who had retrofit a bus to be a livable RV. Right around then, we realized that Babybug couldn’t start even with a boost from the RV battery. We towed it around, dead, for a while but knew we wouldn’t have answers until it could be examined by a specialist. So we took it to Calgary and left it with a German Car Specialist while we explored Banff.

Mmmm, Banff. It felt like home and it felt new. We stayed several nights in a national campground and took the shuttle to town and to hikes. It was great. I took a lot of photos. It took me til the very last day to find the showers and I was very, very happy when I did.

And now the bit I’ve been avoiding having to talk about. We got some bad news in Calgary and had to make a decision about how to proceed. We had destroyed the tow car’s clutch, and it was going to be an expensive repair. It was almost as expensive to pay to have it shipped home. There was one thing that would be sensible, and that was to tow it ourselves to Isaac’s uncle, who is a car guy and who said he’d be able to fix it for much cheaper.

I’m gonna leave this post there before things get too long and boring. I promise to write again soon. Spoiler: it all worked out. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Aya Maguire