Dec 06

Top 10 memorable moments from a Canada road trip

by in Adventure, Blog trip, North America

At the top of Sulphur Mountain, Banff Canada

Zoe and Ali at the top of Sulphur Mountain, Banff

When you go on an RV road trip in Canada, you’re guaranteed a great many memorable moments, whichever part of the country you visit. But when you drive through British Columbia and Alberta via the Rockies from Vancouver to Calgary these moments tumble over each other almost every hour. Here are just a few that stand out, but there were many more …

1. Walking in the desert at Osoyoos

Nk'Mip Desert Cultural Centre - Osoyoos - Canada

Osoyoos Desert – Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre

The heat is the biggest surprise. The sun beats down as we walk though scrubby bushes and stunted trees. The heady scent from a herby shrub wafts past, bringing back vague memories of the wilder parts of Greece. Travel companion Ali is wearing a hat to keep cool as we walk through the desert. Yes, we’re in Canada, not a place you think of as really hot or with a desert, but at Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre we learn about this unique ecology and wildlife, including the Western Rattlesnake and the Cayote. We learn about the Osoyoos Indian Band, who run the Desert Centre and nearby RV Park and admire Smoker Marchand sculptures. It’s fascinating, surprising and very hot.

2.  Eating cherries on the road

Cherries from a farm shop in Okanagan Valley Canada

Cherries at the farm shop

We buy a kilo of big, fat, sweet and oh so very juicy cherries from one of the farm shops along the Okanagan Valley. It’s late spring and the whole area is bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables in this very fertile part of southern Canada. We’ve been told to get the cherries as it’s the best crop for years. We’re on our way to the Rockies but have a long way to go and these deep red globes of delicious goodness keep us going all the way to Revelstoke. Fortunately there is a market and we can stock up again; luckily they last until our first glimpse of the Rockies.

3.  The Pipe Mountain Coaster, Revelstoke

The Pipe Mountain Coaster Revelstoke

Ready, steady, go …

‘Keep off the brake. Don’t be a chicken!’ The words of the bearded Canadian guy in the queue, resound in my ears as I zoom down the sheer drop VERY fast. I desperately want to pull brake, but two things stop me.

  • I’m worried I’m going so fast I’ll tip out
  • I don’t want to be a chicken.

I’m on the Pipe Mountain Coaster in Revelstoke, British Columbia. Riding up in the gondola, the Monashee Mountains and Columbia River spread beneath us. Whizzing down the mountain, I’ve no time to look at the view. Fir trees flick past as the little cart twists, turns and at one point appears to shoot off the edge, accelerating past a ski run on its way down 1.4km of track at up to 26mph. All too soon, I’m at the end, exhilarated and wanting to do again – me no chicken!

4  BBQ at Dutch Lake Resort, Clearwater

BBQ burgers at Dutch Lake Resort Canada - photo zoedawes

Burgers for dinner

The sound of wood chopping has stopped and there’s smoke wafting in through the door of the RV. Ali’s got the BBQ going and I’ve finished preparing the salad and opened a couple of beers. Beef burgers from a local butcher sizzle merrily on the metal rack we’ve just bought from Dutch Lake Resort shop. A couple of guys from the RV next door come over to chat whilst we wait for the burgers to cook. The sun’s setting over the lily-strewn lake and frogs start croaking in the shallows. The tantalizing smell of onions and burgers get the taste buds going. Love eating outdoors in Canada …

5.  The Rockies from the top of Whistler Mountain

The Rockies and Jasper Sky Tram - Whistler Mountain - Canada - photo zoedawes

The Rockies and Jasper Sky Tram

At last I’m here, on top of Whistler Mountain gazing out across the most famous mountains in North America. Their pointed tops ripple across the horizon, perfectly mountainy. Snow glitters in the late afternoon light and a ribbon of river ripples through the wooded valley. A lake of startling blue water glistens and winks upwards. Quirky Jasper town curves alongside the railway track and birds glide on the chilly thermals. Neither words nor photos can do justice to this awesome sight.

6. Relaxing by Medicine Lake

Wild flowers by Medicine Lake in the Rockies - photo zoedawes

Wild flowers by Medicine Lake

The calm waters ripple briefly as a duck floats serenely past. At the end of the lake tower the jaggy peaks of the Rockies, reflected in shimmering symmetry. I drink in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Medicine Lake in the heart of Jasper National Park, in Alberta. Delicate white and yellow wild flowers bend their dainty heads in the gentle breeze and overhead a large bird wheels its way across the cloud-flecked sky; too far away to see if it’s a bald eagle. A stone lands with a resounding splash to my left and two children giggle; the spell is broken and it’s time to move on and explore more …

7.  Driving the RV along the Icefields Parkway

RV on the Icefields Parkway The Rockies Canada - photo zoedawes

RV on the Icefields Parkway

After hundreds of miles we are finally driving along one of the world’s most spectacular roads, the Icefields Parkway, from Jasper to Banff. Every twist and turn reveals more mountains until we feel completely surrounded. We are running parallel to the Continental Divide from Jasper National Park to Banff National Park stopping off at the Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Pass, Stutfield and Athabasca Glaciers, Peyto Lake, Wildfowl Lake and Lake Louise.  We see mountain goats, many birds, wild flowers and tourists. It could take us a few hours; it actually takes us all day, every mile a miracle of natural wonder and delight …

8.  The unbelievable blue of Peyto Lake

Peyto Lake Alberta Canada - photo zoedawes

Peyto Lake

You have to see it to believe it …

9. Cocktail at the Banff Springs Hotel

Cocktail on the Terrace Banff Springs Hotel Canada

Cocktail on the Terrace

After all the driving, staying in campgrounds and sightseeing it’s so relaxing to have a Mojito on the terrace of the splendidly luxurious Banff Springs Hotel. With panoramic views of the Bow River and the Rocky Mountains, it’s a suitably fitting place to absorb scenery and reflect on our epic road trip through the Rockies …

10. To boldly go – to Vulcan

RV outside Trekcetera Museum Alberta

RV outside Trekcetera Museum

From the sublime to the … well, not ridiculous, but definitely surreal. Walking into a room with wall-to-wall costumes and artefacts from Star Trek, being shown round by a flamboyant and highly entertaining TV and movie enthusiast, dressed as a 19th C dandy cowboy, is a really quirky contrast to the natural wonders we have seen over the past couple of weeks. The Trekcetera Museum in Vulcan (the town name came first) has the largest collection of Trekkie memorabilia in Canada and we feel vaguely hysterical as we leave to find a bottle of wine for our last night sleeping in our trusty RV. Live long and prosper …

Trekcetera Museum Vulcan

Trekcetera Museum

#ExploreCanada Road Trip

I visited British Columbia as a guest of Explore Canada as part of a Travelator Media campaign, driving the RV from Vancouver to Montreal. Many thanks to Alison Bailey for her unfailing good humour, practical advice and excellent driving. Much gratitude to all the people we met along the way who made it such a memorable trip.

memorable-canada-pinterest

Read more about our Canada RV road trip:

The Quirky Traveller: History in the Rocky Mountains

Heather on Her Travels: Foodie Adventures – Ontario and Quebec

Travel with Kat: Top 10 things to do in British Columbia

On the Luce: Calgary to Toronto – Unforgettable Moments

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17 Responses to “Top 10 memorable moments from a Canada road trip”

  1. From Zoe Dawes:

    This was one of the toughest articles to write as there were so many different highlights to choose from. However, there was no contest for my favourite; sitting on tne shore of Medicine Lake, contemplating the majestic scenery all around.

    Posted on December 6, 2016 at 10:41 pm #
  2. From Nim Singh:

    Wow Zoe – I think you captured that all beautifully. I really felt like i was on that journey with you.

    Posted on December 7, 2016 at 11:46 am #
  3. From Zoe Dawes:

    Thanks Nim – it was a pleasure to relive such a wonderful trip. Sure it would have been great fun if you had been there!

    Posted on December 7, 2016 at 12:10 pm #
  4. From Charlie Mason:

    What a fantastic trip and some great memories. We’ve never been to Canada but reading this, and a couple of other articles on your Road Trip, it should be added to our holiday ideas!

    Posted on December 7, 2016 at 1:59 pm #
  5. From Zoe Dawes:

    Do hope you get there Charlie. Everyone should go to Canada at least once in their lifetime! The others on our RV trip also saw some amazing sights but I think we got the tops with the Rockies 😉

    Posted on December 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm #
  6. From Mary Wood:

    You’re so lucky to have such a great adventure! We wouldn’t be able to affordca road trip like this but I love being able to travel there with you in spirit ☺

    Posted on December 7, 2016 at 9:01 pm #
  7. From Zoe Dawes:

    Without doubt, one of the best road trips I’ve ever done Mary. I was very nervous about driving a big RV but it wasn’t too difficult. Glad to have along for the ride!

    Posted on December 7, 2016 at 9:16 pm #
  8. From Gary Bembridge:

    Amazing! Ten great highlights. Love to experience these too!

    Posted on December 8, 2016 at 3:58 pm #
  9. From Kathryn Burrington:

    Fabulous blog post, Zoë. What an adventure! I love the way you describe… well, everything. And I can almost smell those burgers sizzling away.

    Posted on December 8, 2016 at 8:47 pm #
  10. From Sara Dobak:

    What an eclectic mix of highlights, Zoe! Just goes to show how incredibly diverse Canada is. I was most surprised by the hot desert landscape at Osoyoos, most gleefully squealy about the Trekcetera Museum (diehard Trekkie that I am), and most impressed by your simple homage to Peyto Lake – I wholeheartedly concur that you do indeed have to see it to believe it!

    Posted on December 13, 2016 at 12:17 am #
  11. From Zoe Dawes:

    Cheers Gary – sure you’d enjoy them, tho I’m not sure I can quite picture you with your feet up on a BBQ 😉 Canada has something for all tastes, ages and interests; hope you return someday soon.

    Posted on December 13, 2016 at 10:47 am #
  12. From Zoe Dawes:

    Thank you so much Kat. The reason I write a blog is in the hope that it will encourage others to travel more and if that is not possible, then to enjoy the experiences from the comfort of their sofa!

    Posted on December 13, 2016 at 10:49 am #
  13. From Zoe Dawes:

    Ah, you’d have loved this trip then, Sara! I gather Trekcetera is moving to another site in Alberta – won’t be quite the same not being in the quirky town of Vulcan 😉 Hope you boldy get there one day!

    Posted on December 13, 2016 at 10:52 am #
  14. From Lucy:

    It’s amazing to see how diverse this area is – deserts, mountains and even a bit of outer space! There’s so much to see (and some great food too), I’m definitely adding this area to my travel wishlist.

    Posted on December 13, 2016 at 3:54 pm #
  15. From Zoe Dawes:

    As you say, Lucy, this is a really diverse area with so much to see and do. The foodie scene is a revelation and of course, eating out in the Canadian landscape is very appealing 🙂

    Posted on December 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm #
  16. From Heather on her travels:

    So many quirky things – I’d love to see the views over Whistler from that cable car but not so sure I’m that much of a ‘trekkie’ even though I used to love Captain Kirk as a child

    Posted on December 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm #
  17. From Zoe Dawes:

    Yes Heather, the Trekcetera Museum is very Trekkie-centred! However, they have a whole section on Hollywood films as well, including Superman’s cape and also puppets from Thunderbirds, so it does have a more general appeal!

    Posted on December 16, 2016 at 12:20 pm #

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