5 Things You Should Know About Taking A Canadian Road Trip
Welcome to Canada. Bienvenue au Canada. Willkommen in Kanada. Bienvenido a Canada. 欢迎来到加拿大. Benvenuti in Canada. カナダへようこそ ! Why so many welcomes you may ask? Simple really. Because many of these countries prefer to tour Canada on four wheels. Most decide on the RV or Motorhome option. Good choice too because there is lots to see in Canada. We are some big country!
Us locals, well, we love a good road trip in any season. It is part of our DNA to explore. However, being local we sometimes do not have the means for luxury and comfort like our visiting friends. Nope, our choice is simple, whatever is sitting in the driveway at the time is always road trip worthy.
The amazing Canadian scenery creates many distractions when exploring Canada by vehicle. We are a big country with a lot of wide open spaces south to north, west to east, city to village and wetland to mountain. The type of vehicle plays a large part in where you can and cannot travel to. Know your vehicle’s potential because breaking down in the backcountry or on anyone of our long lonely highways is not a memory you want to remember from your adventures in Canada. Here are 5 things you should know about making and taking a Canadian Road Trip. Hope this helps.
Look, I am a local and I still do it! Yes, I have run out of gas. Nothing serious, just a big pain in the butt. It is the biggest self imposed headache one can create for themselves during any road trip. It is just lazy. Ugh! If you’re in the city, no worries, there are gas stations everywhere. We always pack a gas can and walking boots for those headaches. When you venture away from the comforts of the city, everything changes. Always check kilometres before leaving to connect with the next community. Sometimes a gas station is many 100’s of kilometres away and in some parts of Canada the gas station may not even be open yet. If you run out of gas in the backcountry, well that is just stupid. Sorry, but it is. If this is the case you should not be in the backcountry to start with.
TURN ON YOUR WILDLIFE RADAR
We call it wildlife radar. Maybe it is because we encounter more wildlife than most. When we drive we always turn on our wildlife radar because, on most occasions, it has avoided us collisions. Sadly, a few birds have flew into our grill and have lost their lives. A bonus is that Canada makes it easy to avoid wildlife because in Canada you are always trying to spot wildlife anyway when you are road tripping. It is what we do. You should too. Try to spot wildlife because it avoids collisions.
We travel the secondary highways and backcountry roads whenever we can. The routes we explore are selected because wildlife likes to roam freely. Many species of wildlife use our roads and cross our roads day and night. Be smart, turn on your wildlife radar, headlights and you will be fine when driving. Here are just a few of the wildlife species we have encountered on the road in Canada – Moose, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Brown Bear, Wolf, Fox, Caribou, Lynx, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goat, Porcupine, Beaver, White Tail Deer, Duck, Elk, Chipmunk, Squirrel, Buffalo and many Birds. If you count Cow… that one too. Still looking for a Sasquatch and Ogopogo.
Ask yourself how many coffees and water you have swigged back since your last bathroom break. Why is your stomach grumbling, making those odd sounds, after you gulped down your meal 6 hours ago? Look… sometimes there is no bathroom for hundreds of kilometres. Before departing on a road trip check your bowel functions. Service them if you have too.
Here is why? Most of the bathrooms / washrooms in the urban parts of Canada are OK. They are heated and outfitted with hot water, soaps, hand disinfectant, hand dryers, diaper change, paper towel and more. Still, they are not your hotel room or home. After that, when you hit the remote pit toilet country of Canada everything changes. You are lucky to get toilet paper. As a last resort, always pack a roll of toilet paper. Sometimes the toilet paper is long gone. Nothing worse than having to go and no TP.
Breaking News: The Trans Canada Highway (TCH) is not the answer to touring Canada. Far from it. The TCH is the most direct route for travelling east to west, north to south throughout Canada. It connects communities, provinces and territories. It is the highway locals use because it is the quickest. Rush, rush rush that some locals have grown so use to the scenery, so much so that it becomes invisible to them.
As a tourist, when it comes to the scenery, the backcountry and secondary highways always win hands down. It is these secondary highways and roads where you encounter and experience some of Canada’s greatest treasures. So what if it takes 30 minutes or a couple hours longer, you got to visit with lakes, rivers, bridges, lookouts, mountains, attractions, farmers markets, art galleries, museums, ferries, wildlife and experience small town Canada.
THE “WHAT IF” MOMENT
We all say it, “What if something goes wrong”. It is a bit of a cliche’ but what if something goes wrong during your road trip? That would suck… or not… depending on if you are prepared. So what is the backup plan? Some do not have one. Those do not tend to go well. Some prepare. Do you have something to eat? Do you have water? Do you have blankets because it gets cold at night in some areas of Canada? Do you have a flashlight? What about a flare and a whistle? Is your cell phone charged just in case it works? Do you have jumper cables? Do you have a good spare tire? All can play a big role when something goes wrong.
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