Now that we have completed 3 trips across Canada, we are going to venture out to the north of British Columbia, Yukon, Northwest Territories via the Dempster Highway and on to the Arctic Ocean in our camper.
We have mapped out our route, including interesting sites, nice places to camp and even places to fill-up on gas. No, I haven’t packed yet (though the lists of what to bring are all done).
When we start to research, the first places I look for ideas are Atlas Obscura, each province/ territory tourism sites and travel blogs, mostly on wordpress. One blog I really like (eastern provinces) is MaritimeMac.
To find nice campsites, we use the app ‘ioverlander’. This is a very handy app which can be used offline. It displays campsites (wild and established, free and pay, fuel stops, sanidumps, water, propane, tourist attractions and more. Some of the ‘off the beaten track’ campsites listed don’t work well for very large RVs or trailers because there often won’t be room to turn around and may not be flat enough etc.
That was the fun part — now to the more mundane tasks. We have created a ‘to do’ list of those things that we have to take care of before we leave. There are some things that might not immediately come to mind but require some specific planning.
While we didn’t have to worry about where to stop for gas (in our case, diesel) for our trip across Canada, we do have to map out the optimum place to get gas going up north. To make matters worse, our truck requires DEF (Diesel Emissions Fluid) which is even more scarce. Well, maybe not scarce — just not easy to find out what places offer it in bulk at the pump.
One matter, that surfaced just before our last trip, was vehicle insurance renewal. Our insurance was due toward the end of our 3-month trip and this is when we learned that you cannot renew your insurance more than 3 months before it is due. Which means that we couldn’t do it ahead of time neither could be do it on the road since we would need to have an address where stickers could be mailed. Since we were not going to in any one place for more than 2 days and didn’t know in advance where we would be, this was not feasible. The solution was to cancel our current insurance and buy it again. Needless to say, the rates were much higher.
Another item that we luckily thought of just in time, was prescriptions. We could only get prescriptions for 3 months. The solution here, was to ask our doctors to postdate the prescriptions, have our pharmacy upload them to their website and then, when we needed to get them, the pharmacy (in this case, in Nova Scotia) could retrieve the prescriptions information from their system.
Since we are traveling in a truck/camper, we need to check out where we can find sanidumps and potable water because we don’t want to carry any more weight than necessary by carrying extra water.
One of the most frustrating issues while traveling a long distance is recycling, kitchen waste and garbage. We found it almost impossible to find receptacles for garbage and recycle bins in the eastern Provinces. We were quite dismayed to see travelers drop their garbage in parks and beaches for someone else to clean up. I will do some research on our northern route. I am hoping that, being mostly in BC, communities will have similar options as we do here. We do our best to manage trash in the camper by having a small bag for the dry garbage and a plastic container (with a lid), for the wet garbage. This way, there isn’t a urgency if we don’t find garbage cans for some time. Of course, we minimize as much as possible the amount of packaging and stuff that has to be thrown away. (A good practice at home or away).
I like the pictures I take with my phone but I found that I missed several events. By the time I got my phone ready to take a shot, it was gone. Switching to video would take even longer. Therefore, we took the plunge and got a GoPro. We have been trying it out. On the first try, we had it set on photo instead of video and the second time, (when we saw three coyotes on the trail), we had it set on time-lapse. The third time was much better but now we have to learn how to edit it so that we don’t retain hours of useless video. I will keep you posted about how this goes.
I haven’t forgotten about the prospect of seeing bears so we have bear spray and bear bangers. Yes, I am very aware that we will likely encounter many mosquitoes and so we will be decked out in full mosquito armour. And, of course, we will bring a fishing rod this time.
It is interesting to note that the distance from the Lower Mainland to Tuktoyaktuk is equal to the distance between home and Nova Scotia.
Well, I guess that is all for now. More to come….