This summer is the first in years that I haven’t made any big travel plans. This is partly because of the amount of money I don’t have and just the timing of everything this summer makes it a little hard to get away. So instead of leaving the country, I thought it would be nice to explore around home and see the amazing views Western Canada has to offer. I decided to stick with a roadtrip, it seemed like the cheaper choice and a better way to see the sights while heading to our destinations. I also invited a couple of my American friends from San Francisco, California to come and join me. Especially since they’ve given me the opportunity to explore some of the United States, I figured I should return the favour.
Basically for the trip, it mostly featured exploring Vancouver, the rocky mountains and Edmonton. As well as get in some good camping days.
But here’s the day by day breakdown of my roadtrip:
Day 1: This day I left in the afternoon heading towards Vancouver. Overall it wasn’t a bad drive, a nice 5 hours from the interior of British Columbia to the beautiful coastal city. I’ve been to Vancouver many times, mainly for things like concerts and the PNE, so I thought it would be nice to explore a little more as well. My american friends weren’t due to arrive until the next morning, so I actually left a day earlier to visit a couple of my friends in North Vancouver and spent the night at their place. It was a great visit and I think I ate so much sushi my stomach was about to explode!
Day 2: I guess this is the day the trip really started in regards to looking at the sights of Vancouver. After having breakfast (more sushi) I headed to the Vancouver airport to pick up my friends. Once we were all loaded up though, they were pretty tired from getting up so early and the plane ride. So we just headed to downtown Vancouver and checked out the shopping, Chinatown, the ocean and had some lunch. We were staying in a hotel in North Vancouver, so on the way, we also stopped at the Capilano Suspension bridges. They were actually pretty unique and quite awesome like the entire city of Vancouver.
Day 3: Now that my friends were all rested up and ready to go, we checked out of North Vancouver and headed on the road to our next destination. For our next stop, we decided to go camping for a few days. My friends have never really been camping out in the wild being that they were from San Francisco, so it was to be a new adventure for them. For the biggest
chunk of the day, we spent driving to Adams Lake, where we were to camp. Once we got there, my poor car looked like it went 4x4ing, covered in mud from top to bottom. So we just unpacked, pitched the tent, lit a fire and got dinner going.
Days 4 and 5: These two days were all camping and rough necking it out in the bush. They featured the typical sort of fun like fishing, hiking, roasting marshmallows, kayaking, and enjoying the beach. We were pretty lucky too that the weather kept up the whole time and brought some of the hottest days in the year so far.
Day 6: This was the end of the camping portion of the trip. We had breakfast, packed everything up and left Adams lake in the afternoon. It was a bit of a good thing too because the long weekend was starting, so many people were showing at the lake for their parties and whatnot. We decided to head out on the back road to Enderby. It was a nice drive through the forest and saw a lot of wildlife, including a couple bears and many many deer. Later in the afternoon we got into Enderby and stopped by a local pizza shop for dinner. After that, we went to the Starlight Drive In Theater. I’ve been there once before and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to take my friends to experience it as well. I think that if anyone gets a chance, they should definitely check out a Drive In Theater. Especially Enderby’s considering it has the largest screen in North America. So we had a good night watching Fast Five and Hop. Then it was back on the road, with one stop in Revelstoke to sleep on the side of the road for the night.
Day 7: After waking up all cramped inside the back of my car, it was on the road once more to head into the rocky
mountains to our next destination near Radium Hot Springs. It was a nice drive and took up most of the day, but eventually we found our way to our next accommodation, Addison’s Bungalows. I was pretty proud of myself for finding this place, its about 20 minutes from Radium Hot Springs and has a bunch of little bungalows all over this chunk of property in the woods. They were actually a fairly good size even with a full kitchen and many different but great features. For the rest of the night we really just relaxed, explored the town of Radium Hot Springs and drove through Kootenay National Park a little as well.
Day 8: After a refreshing sleep in an actual bed, we got up late and jumped into our swimsuits. We headed for the actual hot spring pools in Radium Hot Springs. We had a great time there and really enjoyed relaxing in the hot water. Later that night, we settled down and watched 8 Mile on the TV in the bungalows.
Day 9: After yet another night in the quaint little bungalows, we decided to head off to Banff. I thought it would be a nice stop since I haven’t been there before and neither have my friends. Once we arrived, we immediately started taking in the abundance of shopping and even purchased a few souvenirs at a couple of the shops. But then the rain really came, and it came hard. It started pouring like crazy, so we had a nice dinner at Tony Romas and hoped the rain would let off by the time we were done eating… It didn’t, so we decided to head back to the bungalows and call it a night.
Day 10: Even though there was that huge rainfall the day before, day 10 started out as a beautiful and sunny day. With that in mind we took it to our advantage and hit up our surroundings on some hiking trails. They have quite a few all over the National Parks in the rocky mountains and from what I saw, they are all really nice and beautiful hikes, different in their own way from one another. After a full day of hiking, it felt great to hit the shower and get a good nights sleep.
Day 11: Since this day was time to check out of our bungalow, it was also then time for us to leave the area of Radium Hot Springs. So once again, we packed up and headed off on the road, straight up towards Jasper. It was a very beautiful drive through the icefields and through 4 different national parks. I’m not sure how I missed such a beautiful drive so close to home. On the way to Jasper, we stopped at Lake Louise, still covered with a lot of ice and snow, but still very pretty. We also stopped at a few rest points to take in the view and get a couple pictures, along with some stops at the Athebasca icefields and falls. Then eventually that night we ended up late in Jasper. So we pulled into a campground nearby, pitched the tent and called it a night.
Day 12: After awakening, we realized how beautiful Jasper national park was, coming in the night before, it was getting dark and we didn’t take in the sights of our surroundings before going to bed. So we headed right int0 Jasper on that good start and just had to check out their famous tramway. It was a beautiful ride up the trams and really showed the vastness of the rocky mountains. After taking all that in, we went back into Jasper and checked out some of the many lakes in the area, all of which were beautiful in their own way. Next we started to head towards Edmonton but pulled off the main road to check out another hot spring, Miette Hot Springs. I thought this one was great and even better than the one in Radium with a magnificent view right in front of us as we soaked in the hot pools. Then it was eventually time to leave and really head to Edmonton. We ended up arriving quite late that night, sometime after midnight, so as a result we just pulled into a truck stop and called it a night, again in the back of my car.
Days 13, 14 and 15: For these days we checked into a hotel in Stony Plain (its much cheaper than getting one in Edmonton), then went into the city of Edmonton to take in some shopping at their famous West Edmonton Mall. It’s such a vast mall that it really did take us the whole day to check out all the little shops throughout the mall. The next day we devoted to their huge water park in the mall. It was a blast in the huge wave pool and checking out the many different water slides available. For the last day, we spent that checking out the amusement park, again in the mall, called Galaxyland. It was pretty awesome, and I loved the Red Rollercoaster with the triple loops! I gotta say though, if you plan on exploring the mall, make sure to have a few days to do it! There are really a lot of things to check out there.
Day 16: As our last day on a roadtrip, we just chilled in downtown Edmonton and walked around like a bunch of tourists. It was a beautiful day but sadly I had to take my friends to the airport and say goodbye. After that, it was to head back home for myself on the beautiful drive, back through the rocky mountains.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page” – Saint Augustine