Monday, September 17, 2007

JUNE 27 to AUGUST 24, 2007

The trip was made by Mel, Willa and Tegan (our granddaughter) Kraft. We traveled in a 31 foot, Class A motorhome. We brought 3 bikes with us which were on a carrier on the back of the motorhome and I had bought covers for the bikes which helped keep the dust and rain off of them. We did not tow a car and we found either there was parking or we used a shuttle from the campsites. We stayed in campsites most of the time, mainly because it was reasonably hot and we wanted the hookups to run the air conditioner. However to save money you can stay in Walmarts, Canadian Tire, Costco parking lots. If you are concerned about safety, then the private or provincial campsites are best. However, you won’t be lonely in the other parking lots. We stayed in one Walmart parking lot and there were about 10 of us. In another we shared it with one other camper. We always asked at the store but they seemed more than happy to have you stay.
The following is a summary of some of the cost of our trip. I’ll add to the list as we get the figures in but as of August 25, 2007.
We traveled 15,600 kilometers = 9,693.84 miles.
We used 4443.693 liters of gas or 977.495 gallons.
Gas cost $4,557.31 which averages at about $1.003 per liter.
We averaged about 10.164 miles per gallon.
Our campsites cost us a total of $1417.06 including taxes.
Based on being away 59 nights the average cost of campsites was $24.00 per night. Out of the 59 nights we stayed with friends and family and several other sites with no charge so that has to be taken into consideration.
The average cost of gas per day was about $75.55 per day. Many of the days we stayed stationary if there were things to do in that area.
So camping and gas cost about $99.55 per day.
We bought about $76.00 worth of propane and we brought back about $20.00 worth still in the tank.
Longest day on the road 965 kilometers or 599.65 miles which was too long of a day.
Shortest day on the road 54.7 kilometers or 34 miles which means we did a lot of sight seeing that day and there were a number of other ones with similar mileage.
Our average moving speed was a low of 34 k/h to high of 87 k/h.
Our highest elevation was in the Rogers Pass in BC at 5300 feet; the next highest was about 3200 feet which was Calgary, Alberta. Edmonton, Alberta was 2335 feet. Once we left the prairies the highest we reached I believe was on the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia which was about 1400 feet. The rest of the country was in the 100-300 foot range.
Any other questions just email me. You can use the email That email won’t be checked much from here on but you are welcome to use either my work email, or Willa’s email at

Day 59, August 24, 2007

Day 59, Friday, August 24, 2007.
We left Keith and Lillian’s at about 9:00 am and headed for home. The traffic was a little heavy but moved very well. We did hit a road construction on the Coquihalla Highway past Kamloops but nothing that held us up for long. We did see two mishaps, one was a newer Dodge truck and the whole front end was burnt to a crisp. In Merritt where the #5 crosses over the #1 there was another mishap and we weren’t sure what the problem was, maybe another fire by the looks of it. Well this is the last leg of our journey across Canada. It was with mixed emotions getting home. Nice to be home but sad that the adventure was over. We arrived at home about 3:00 pm after a stop for corn and then to dump the holding tanks in the motorhome. We had someone looking after our home while we were gone and it was sure nice to come home to a spotless house. Hardly know anyone had lived there for 2 months. Once home we unloaded the motorhome and Willa started her laundry, every thing got stripped and ended up in the laundry. WE WILL DO IT AGAIN! But next time when we are retired and maybe take longer and I even thought of doing the trip over 2 years. Spend 4 months one year and leave the motorhome in storage for the winter back East and pick up where we left off the next year. That would save a lot of driving and give you more time to explore the huge country of ours. There is so much more we want to see in Canada but that is for another time.
I hope you enjoyed following the trip with us as we did physically doing it. We had a lot of fun and it brought to home just how big our country is and how beautiful it is and we haven’t seen all of it yet. I’ve had so many people I’ve met that say how beautiful BC is but I would have to say every province we hit had its own beauty only in a different way from BC. We could have spent weeks or months back in PEI. We regret not seeing more of Nova Scotia. However Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, will be high on the agenda for the next trip.

Day 58, August 23, 2007

Day 58, Thursday, August 23, 2007.
We spent the day with Keith and Lillian Bennett in Salmon Arm, BC. Very relaxing day. Keith is a wood turner and has all the equipment for the hobby. He got Tegan, our 16 year old granddaughter, to make herself a bowl. Keith got a piece of wood in the rough shape she would need and after a few instructions she got started. I think Keith could have turned the bowl out in less than an hour but it took Tegan three hours. She sure enjoyed doing it. She and I were amazed at watching the block of wood slowly taking shape under the tool. Each curve a little different cutting tool was used and as the chips flew the bowl started to magically appear. Once the bowl was shaped then she started the sanding process to get a nice smooth finish. Tegan again was amazed how smooth the bowl got as you used the different sandpapers. I think the thing that amazed her most and still does me is when you have everything ready to start to put the oil finish on the wood. Keith uses either mineral oil or extra virgin oil ( what exactly an extra virgin is I am not sure, I do understand what a virgin is, but extra? Maybe it means two, you know just in case!). You should have seen Tegan’s eyes light up as the oil was applied. The wood grain jumps out at you. The bowl was made out of a burl if I remember correctly and when the oil was applied all the twist, turns and birds eye jumped right out at you. Keith has done several bowls and a potpourri bowl for us. What was fascinating about our bowls was the cherry wood came from a tree in our field after it died. The interesting bit of trivia that goes with this is I knew the old gentleman who planted the trees in our field in 1933. Peter Ioriel, from Italy. He lived on the mountain for quiet a few years and I knew him as a kid in the ‘50s when we first moved to Straiton on Sumas Mountain. He had some wonderful stories to tell of the mountain and especially the school marm who lived in the house above from where we live now. Apparently she had an unusual number of gentlemen callers and the stories went on from there. Mr. Ioriel was a neat old gentleman and I talked to him after we bought the property that we currently live on and he gave me the history on the property. Where we live now is across the road from where I was raised, we moved there in 1951 with my parents. Right next door to the house was the one roomed school that I went to from grade one to grade six. Prior to grade one I would go up and knock on the door and the teacher would let me in and sit me on a chair at the back of one of the rows and let me draw or doodle until I got bored. Six grades, six rows of desks and one teacher. The teacher we had the longest was Mrs. Edith Money and she taught for 5-7 years at the Straiton School. When the weather got bad she would spend the night at our house or maybe a week if the roads were real bad. See how your kids would like that, I take that back at the age I was it would have been a treat but not for a teenager. We had an old orchard in the back of the house, and every fall we would pick the apples and store them in the basement of the house. My Dad would put them into about 40 gallon wooden barrels and they would be shipped off to his brothers and sisters who lived in and around North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Where I wanted to go with this was to say that I would pick one these apples, they were King Apples, and I would polish it up and take it to the teacher most days the apples were available. The King Apple has a wax coating on it and when you polished it, it would shine and in a multitude of red hues. Even then I was impressed by the colour and shine the apples could take on. By the way we were on 80 acres of land with an older two story house with a barn, chicken coop and a few other outbuildings and they paid $2000 for it in 1951. Hard to believe but you have to apply that to the hourly wage then. The lumber the house was built from was cut and milled from the timber on the property. We had about 8-10 huge maple trees around the immediate yard. One tree was getting a little too old and sat too close to the house and Dad decided to cut it down. The stump left over was about 4-6 feet across. One hot summer day just after the tree was cut down I decided to count the rings. There were over two hundred rings to the centre of the rotted out area in the center of the tree and the rotted out area was about a foot across. Sorry kind of got off the original entry, but to suffice to say we enjoyed our time at the Bennett’s and would have stayed longer, but weren’t invited to……………not true, they begged and pleaded for us to stay……which was a little closer to the truth but we were wanting to get home to get two kids ready for school and rearrange sleeping areas for the two girls. We took temporary custody of our 10 year old granddaughter just before we left on holidays……..which is another story. Tomorrow we start our last leg of the cross Canada journey which brings us right back to where we started—HOME.

Day 57, August 22, 2007

Day 57, Wednesday, August 22, 2007.
We left Calgary at 10:00 am and headed for Salmon Arm, BC. Calgary has grown so much it is unbelievable. When we got closer to Calgary the houses followed the hills for miles and the road construction is amazing. So leaving the campsite I had wondered if there was an easier way to get to the # 1 Highway, which is the Trans Canada Highway, than the way we came. I took our trusty GPS and marked where we were and where we wanted to be on the #1 and it drew me a route and we followed it to the #1. The roads the GPS suggested were roads that connected the subdivisions, not main roads per say. These roads were all 4 lane roads with level cloverleaf intersections. There would be big signs pointing out new communities that are being developed and there would be 3-4 on each of these signs. We think we have growth in Abbotsford this. Would be like starting in Hope and having solid housing to Langley or Surrey and from the USA border to way north of Mission. Well 30-40 minutes later we were on the #1 Highway heading West. The mountains sure looked good. You start with flat prairie, then foothills, then mountains and I have to say after a month away they were beyond impressive and closer to overwhelming. I can see how someone living all their life in the prairies or eastern Canada and then coming to BC, the mountains could be very intimidating. Seeing the mountains was like coming home again and we aren’t even home yet. Considerable amount of highway construction through the Rogers Pass. In one area I think just before Field, BC they are building a new section of road and a new bridge and rather than following the old road they are climbing up into the mountain and have built this bridge which I would say is 700-800 feet above the old road and river. I would like to have gotten a picture but there was just no where to stop. It will be interesting to drive this section of the road when the bridge is finished. I think before they are done it will be four lane on the whole Trans Canada Highway. Just before the foothills we saw a bad accident. A single car went off the road and must have flipped, they were working on getting the driver out when we drove past. The second accident was a big semi that flipped over on a corner, It looked to me like the driver would have been ok if he/she were buckled but I think the passenger would have had some serious road rash if not some serious rock bruises if they survived. You know, to come to thing about it those were the only accidents we saw on the whole trip, I have to say that surprises me. The drive was real good from Calgary to Salmon Arm. The traffic was very heavy, especially with the construction and flag people which would back the traffic up maybe 1-1.5 miles and then you had to contend with that bundle of vehicular moving out all at the same time. Everything seemed to flow well. We pulled into the Bennett’s about 4:30 in the afternoon. We gassed up before heading to the Bennett’s so we would be ready to go on Friday when we head on the final leg of our Cross Canada journey. We all agreed its good to be going home but we also really enjoyed the trip. The longer you are away you get more in the mode of traveling and the sitting doesn’t bother you like it did the first week of leaving home. I was just thinking of an interesting piece of trivia. Once we left the mountains the highest point we reached was in Alberta which was about 3000 feet above sea level. In the eastern provinces the highest point was on the Cabot Trail and I believe, if I remember correctly was around 800 feet. Coming back into the mountains along the Rogers Pass we reached an altitude of over 5300 feet. My GPS gives we a steady readout of the elevation as you move, along with, average moving speed, average over all speed, direction, odometer, daily miles traveled and about 10 other statistics. They are also great for finding your way around strange cities because you can put in an address for anywhere in North America and it will show you how to get there on a turn by turn set of instructions. We used ours on our whole trip. The GPS was turned on in the morning and ran till we stopped in the evening and then we used it to mark out our route for the next day if we were not sure of where we were going. The unit I have is a Garmen handheld with a very small screen so I have tied mine into my laptop which sits between the driver and passenger seats and swivels so we can both look at it. This also gives you a very large screen to view the map and the road ahead. They have new ones out now that talk to you and they are good but I like the way mine works with the laptop. Well two more entries for the trip and we are done. I may start putting our weekend trips into the blog. Let me know what you think of the diary of our trip including what was good and what was poor and how it could be improved for another time. Use the email That email won’t be checked much from here on but you are welcome to use either my work email, or Willa’s email at Both are checked daily and mine at work is done 3-4 times a day. Make sure you have a clear subject line in the email or we may not look at it if we don’t recognize the sender or the reason for the email. My assistant at the office checks my email and if she doesn’t recognize the sender or the reason for the email she will delete it. We get a lot of spam and unwanted solicitations.