So we’ve been in the same place for over a week now and it’s about time I told you about it. We are staying in Maple Bay and this place is absolutely gorgeous! It’s a sleepy little hamlet that has a small convenience store, Scottish pub, a liquor store and a lot of older houses that are hidden in the trees on the hills. What makes this place so amazing is the landscape! Everything here seems so big! Whether it’s the pines or the maples everything grows taller and bigger than back on Ontario. The mountains and waterfront just add to the beauty. Most mornings there is fog circling the mountains and the tops of the trees and there are trails all over the place! Most of them go straight up and down and make you want to laugh just thinking about hiking them. Other than a few dog walks I have mostly stuck to walking the roads (which also have steep ups and downs) but as soon as I get used to all the extra cardio I will be in the trails. The air is different here. It’s heavy with moisture making it harder for me to breathe. I’ve plugged in our little electric heater to help dry out the air and have left the propane furnace untouched. It’s not cold here but the dampness makes it seem cold. I hope I get used to it! Duncan is the closest town and it is maybe a ten minute drive from here. It has everything I need except for a MEC store (that’s in Victoria). We arrived here at the beginning of the rainy season. We’ve been warned that it will rain every single day now until the beginning of April. So far it hasn’t been that bad. It rained this morning but it’s not raining right now. I’m looking forward to exploring the island. I’d like our first little trip to be to the Cathedral Forest and on to Tofino but I’m willing to wait for a nice day. In the meantime I have just been exploring locally by foot getting used to the windy roads and seeing where they lead.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Top things we get asked about travelling on a short bus. Most people have either outright asked us these questions or made statements trying to get answers to these questions.
1. Q:How do we afford it? Or I would love to do what you are doing but there is no way I could afford it. Are you retired?
A: No, we are not retired but we have downsized our lives so that we require less money to live this lifestyle. We sold and/or gave away almost everything we have and only have the bills associated with travelling (gas, food & entertainment). We still have an internet & call phone bills and also pay for a small storage unit filled with Michael’s tools.
2. Q: How much does it cost to travel?
A: This is such a difficult question to answer because of all of the variables. In general, the slower we travel the cheaper it is (gas is our biggest expense). We both enjoy natural landscapes so a walk on the beach or through the woods are always free but there are occasions where we spend on admissions (museums, science centres...). Everyone who travels will have their own special interests and hobbies requiring different amounts of money. Some months we have spent $1000 others have cost us $3000.
3. Q: How haven't you killed one another in that tiny space? Or I can't imagine living in a small space like that with my spouse especially with two large dogs.
A: We have both been surprised at how easily we adapted to this lifestyle. When we first moved on the bus and I was still working I know that Michael often felt frustrated with babysitting the dogs. Once I stopped working it got al lot easier. In general we do best while we are actually travelling and seeing new things as opposed to hanging around an area too long.
4. Q: How do you get privacy?
A: While it is more difficult to get privacy in a big city there is almost always a neglected park or secluded spot nearby. Sometimes just pulling into a community centre parking lot gives us the space we need. We love being able to let the dogs loose without leashes so we are pretty good at finding those remote safe spots.
5. Q: Where do you stay? Or how do you find places to stay in areas you aren't familiar with?
A: We have stayed all over the place! When we are familiar with the area or have arrived in enough daylight to do a tour of the town, we always look for the most scenic places to stay for the night. Sometimes that is a beautiful park or a waterfront lot, other times it’s a trailhead where we can easily walk the dogs. There are several occasions where we have just pulled into a Walmart, Cabella’s or Tourist Information parking lot for the night.
6. Q:Are you ever going to settle down? Are you going to do this indefinitely?
A: Probably not! No one really know their future. If you had asked me if I would ever life this lifestyle a decade ago I would have probably laughed at you. We will likely keep some aspects of this lifestyle for the rest of our lives (never owning a crazy amount of stuff, never owning a giant house...). But I think once we have travelled most of North America and decided where we like it best we will settle down and built a tiny house. Part of the adventure is not knowing what is going to happen next!
Thursday, October 12, 2017
We took our time today, moving slower with the knowledge that we would be on the island in Duncan before the day was over. We beat the snow and bad weather and made it all the way across the country this year! I still regret not making it to Newfoundland but we will get there. We spent a few hours waiting for the ferry and then another few hour on the ferry and then another hour waiting for Michael's friend to get home from work but we are here! This place is beautiful (I will post pictures in the next few day). We celebrated with too much red wine and Michael is already sleeping off his three glasses of wine. Good night World!
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
This morning we headed to Mill Lake Park to take the dogs for a walk. The place was small but really nice (we could easily walk around the lake in half an hour). It almost made us forget we were in a big city. Almost. The sounds of construction kind of ruined the serenity but everyone we met along the trail was friendly and it was nice to see Melkie back to his old self being loud and obnoxious and wanting to chase every single bird he saw. We enjoyed the rest of the day with Michaels brother and wife not leaving until after dark. We decided to pull the Barking Bus into a Pets Mart parking lot and call it a night! Good night!
We woke up in a beautiful spot but I was uneasy. I had an awful dream that I'm sure is attached to this place somehow. It was beautiful though and we took our time before we left. We were only on the road for about an hour before we stopped at a rest area for a pancake breakfast. Michael took over the driving and soon we were driving into Hope where we gassed up and continued on to Abbotsford. We arrived in Abbotsford and walked the dogs before heading over to visit with Michaels's brother. Unfortunately, we had just missed them (we didn't know it at the time but his brothers cell phone had been destroyed earlier in the week and he hadn't received any of our messages). We headed to the local Walmart where I picked up a few things to make a thanksgiving dinner and while we were waiting to hear from his brother we met this interesting guy from Labrador. He has spent the last three years travelling back and forth across Canada picking up work whenever he needed money. We ended up hanging around the Walmart parking lot listening to music and sharing our pumpkin pie with our new Newfie friend. If someone had of told me that I would be sitting here doing this a few years ago, I would have laughed at them. Good night World!
Monday, October 9, 2017
Everything about today was perfect! We woke up with a view of the mountains out the window and and 24 hour washrooms at the casino (sometimes that's really important). We decided to check out Bow Valley Provincial Park while we were here and we were surprised by how many people were camping. Next stop was Dead Man's Flat. It's a tiny little town just before Canmore. After a quick drive through the small town we headed on to Canmore. Canmore is gorgeous! It's surrounded by mountains and just looks like an amazing place to live. We drove through the town slowly and found a place to park and hang out while I made breakfast. Our next stop was Lake Louise. As we parked it started snowing and it was pretty cold. I was still enjoying myself but when Michael asked if I was done I realized that he was freezing and it was time to go. Prior to the snow the views of the mountains were amazing but while it was snowing we could hardly see the mountains. Soon the sun was back out and everything was gorgeous again. We stopped at multiple look out spots and took lots of pictures. I wasn't really paying attention (because I knew we were staying on Hwy 1) and was surprised when we saw the sign for British Columbia! I can't believe we've made it this far! It's so much easier to drive when the landscape changes constantly and there is so much to see! I kept trying to take pictures while driving and playing with rear view mirror shots. As we were nearing Roger's Pass Michael noticed the pine trees covered in ice at the top. They looked like giant bristle brushes! We stopped when we got to Revelstoke National Park and walked the 1km boardwalk through the woods. So many of the giant cedars had died and were rotting on the ground but it was still an amazing place to see. We had brought the dogs with us for our Lake Louise side trip as well as for our walk in the woods and today is the first day Melkie has been able to keep up. I'm so glad he's getting better! Revelstoke is gorgeous! We could easily live here! The water, the mountains, it has everything we need! We continued this line of thought for the rest of the day as the road followed the the water and each new spot we saw was better than the last. Salmon Arm was another absolutely beautiful spot we could easily imagine staying! As it got dark I made the mistake of staying on the TransCanada when I should have started heading south. It was a little frustrating because I turned around and ended up on a giant highway with speeds of 120 driving in the dark when I just wanted to find a spot to stop for the night. It all worked out though, I soon saw a picnic sign and followed it to arrive at Lac La Jeune Provincial Park. We are parked right next to the lake! After another late dinner and dishes it's time for bed. It's been a long amazing day!
Sunday, October 8, 2017
I woke up so early this morning. I went for a walk thinking Michael would be up when I got back-nope! I made and drank my coffee and the smell of coffee didn't even wake him up. I went grocery shopping and put away all the groceries. Finally I woke him up. I realized later that maybe the time change had messed me up. Anyway, today was all about putting in the miles. To me the Prairies are monotonous but I get why people like it here. The feeling I get when I am at the ocean and everything seems so big compared to me is the same feeling I get here. I am surrounded by fields of gold and everything looks microscopic in comparison to how big the fields are. The cattle look like toy cattle the barns look small the only thing huge aside from the fields are the silos and the trains. And there are a lot of trains! Oh and we saw snow today. It worries me a little wondering how much snow we might find in the mountains. We crossed into Alberta today and stopped at a really nice rest stop near Portage la Prairie. Other than that it was just so much driving. I had wanted to make it to Canmore but as it got dark I decided on Bow Valley Provincial Park. When we took the exit we saw a casino with lots of RV's parked and ended up joining them. By this time it was dark so while I quickly made dinner Michael walked the dogs. I thought Michael would want to check out the casino but he was exhausted. After doing up the dishes and another coffee we are ready for bed. Good night World!