Road trip time! Shane, Hazel and I went on our most epic road trip to date. We covered 6,500km over 17 days. To say it was a lot of driving would be an understatement. No regrets though! It was an amazing experience in so many ways. I don’t think we (as a family) have ever had that much uninterrupted time together and it felt so good. Shane went back to work last night and while money is great, we really missed being together. Here is our trip and some of the highlights along the way.
Day 1 – FN to Grande Prairie. No highlights here! Just good old fashioned boring northern BC driving.
Day 2 – GP to Edmonton. We stayed with my brother and sister in law, which was lovely as always! We spent an hour or two at the mall because I needed to return a jacket. We did order amazing Japenese food, craving crushed.
Day 3 – Edmonton to Saskatoon. We stopped along the way at the Ukranian Cultural Village, which was pretty neat. There was a lot to see and lots of people in character. Hazel was super stoked on the pigs and chickens she met. I was stoked on perogies. We stopped in Vergville to see the giant Easter egg. What I remember most about Saskatoon was not being able to find a restaurant we wanted to eat at that would allow minors. We finally made it to a Cactus Club, so I can’t complain about that. I also remember a lot of seedy characters in Saskatoon’s beautiful downtown area, which kinda made sense given that it was a Friday night, but it was kind of contradictory. Day 4 – Saskatoon to Riding Mountain National Park (Manitoba). Very boring drive, amazing park. I could have easily spent another 3 nights here. It was like a tiny version of Whistler, except instead of mountains there was a lake. We had a lovely campsite, ate homemade ice cream, went on a bike adventure and had wood fired pizza for dinner. It should be noted we ate pizza at least 6 times on this trip, but it was all amazing!Day 5 – RMNP to Winnipeg. We had cinnamon buns for breakfast and did a fun marsh trail (on many many floating docks) before we left. We hated our campsite at Birds Hill Park in Winnipeg, and even tried to get it changed, but despite the park having 450 camp sites no others were available. That evening we took Hazel to (the gorgeous) Assiniboine Park to watch Moana outdoors, which was a great idea.Day 6 – I spent most of the day at the Human Rights Museum (the inspiration for the trip). It was amazing and worthy of so many more visits. I could have easily spent another full day there, but my feet were tired! Shane and Hazel spent the day at the park, and then we got Hazel’s first hair cut! They parked her in front of a TV and give her a lollie and she couldn’t have cared less what happened. HA! More pizza for dinner.Day 7 – We spent today biking around Winnipeg on two different self guided biking tours. I HIGHLY recommend this. It’s the day we fell in love with Winnipeg and decided that if given the opportunity we would totally live here. The bike paths were amazing, we had great coffee, saw beautiful things, listened to music, explored the food stalls at The Forks, talked to locals, played in water fountains, had a nap in a park and had the best iced matcha latte of my life. (And I’m a big fan, so I’ve tried a few)Day 8 – Our plans for the day got rained out, so we adjusted. We had the best breakfast at Clementine Cafe, played for hours at the Children Museum, and ate fun doughnuts. We were pretty tired collectively that day, so we went back to camp with half of the afternoon to spare. In the evening we finally ventured past our campsite in the park and took a bike ride to the lake while the weather was clear.Day 9 – Highlights: amazing breakfast, a tour of the Candian Mint, our time at the Zoo, WATCHING POLAR BEARS SWIM! Lows: Hazel throwing up all over herself in the truck, not having enough wipes, dealing with that smell for daaaaays.Day 10 – Winnipeg to Grasslands National Park. Interestingly the prairies were very smokey almost the whole time we were there and I found it difficult to get good pictures because the blue blue sky we expected was always grey. This drive day was so hot and boring. The park itself was very nice. We had planned on staying two nights, but I guess had underestimated just how little Hazel was for most of the exploring we wanted to do. We decided to just spend one night, which was the right call. We will definitely need a follow-up trip in a few years, however! It was 33 degrees out, so we played in the creek catching minnows and frogs. We also biked/walked our bikes up a ridge to watch the sun set. Gorgeous! We watched Sing on the laptop while we waited for it to get dark, and finally around 10:30 went outside to gawk at the amazing beauty above us. You’ve never seen so many stars in your life. Unfortunately for me, Hazel was very done from her long day and lost her mind almost immediately.Day 11 – Grasslands NP to Drumheller. Looong day driving. You’d be surprised how hard it was to find gas in rural Sask + AB. We used the jerry can we had a few times a day.Day 12 – This was a bonus day in Drumheller, as we were supposed to still be in Grasslands. We biked around town for a few hours, stopping for coffee and to play at playgrounds. We had a very fun lunch at Bernie and the Boys. We went on an “adventure” (hiking) in Horse Thief Canyon which was fun fun. Hazel loved building rock towers. Over the next two days whenever she saw colourful rocks (so everywhere) she would point and exclaim “that’s where we went on adventure!” Adorable.Day 13 – Aunty Eva and Uncle Chris came to visit us in Drumheller! It was so nice to see them again. Together we went to the Royal Tyrell Museum (which is a dino museum). It was bonkers busy inside. Like, elbow for room crowded. It was a Saturday afternoon, but it was nuts. I bought a fossil! We had a great BBQ dinner followed by an evening around the campfire (only our second of the trip).Day 14 – Drumheller to Banff Best breakfast at WHIFS flapjack house! We went walking in the hoodoos. We left before lunch and drove to Banff. Which was also a mad house for the record. Jeez! I guess we were in less “touristy” spots before, but Drumheller, Banff and later Lake Louise were all super busy! We walked around town, shopping here and there and eventually eating a delicious pizza dinner.Day 15 – We walked to the lower falls in Johnston Canyon (crazy busy even at 8:30am). Followed by an exploration of the Fairmont hotel (which Hazel was certain was a castle. I only wish I had remembered to put her in a dress. She did so much twirling!) We built sandcastles along the river, did some more shopping (mostly for candy!) and ate at one of our favourites, Earls. Day 16 – Banff to Lake Louise to Grande Prairie. We had booked a campsite in Lake Louise and were reeeeally looking forward to a hike around the lake. Instead, we found the busiest park we’d ever seen. Like, the closest parking spot was a 30-minute shuttle ride away. We decided to skip the bananas busy park and drive home a day early. And then we waited 25 minutes to get gas, yes, that’s how busy it was.
Day 17 – GP – Home. We left GP at 5:00 am and were home before lunch, which was awesome and we should definitely remember to do that again.