Week 8 // Alberta to British Columbia

On July 1st, Canada Day, we crossed the border from Montana north into Alberta, on our way to visit Stefan’s cousin Kenny and his family in Calgary. One of the best things about traveling (maybe one of the scariest for some) is not knowing what the next day will bring. My friend Emily, Kenny’s wife, asked us if we’d be interested in going to Canmore the following night to check out a house concert at her sister’s house. We always love to go with the flow, so of course we were up for it. We had no idea what an amazing treat it would be…

Map of Alberta route

House concert poster

This was no ordinary house concert! A million dollar view, hand painted banner and custom built stage, logs for seats, artisan beverages (a light brew called Saison, and an oak barrel Nut Brown) by soon-to-be Brewmaster Meesch Lamarche, a delicious spread of food by the hosts, and some of the most incredible live music by Dominique Fricot, Hilary Grist and her husband Mike, on their western Canada CD release tour. I was so captivated and moved by the entire experience, I wanted so badly to take out my journal and capture the moment. Stefan encouraged me, and thanks to the beer, I went for it. Later in the night, after everyone had left, Dom, Hilary, and Mike asked me to show them my journal. They were so grateful and stoked for the visual experience through my eyes, they took photos with it and became instant friends, talking story the rest of the night.

Hilary and Dom banner

Dom, Mike, and Hilary

Mike and Hilary singing

Sketch of concert

Moon over mountain

We headed back to Calgary for a couple days to chill, and returned to Canmore on the weekend. Emily’s family was wonderful! Just as in the first day, they greeted us like old friends. Very much like us and Em & Ken, they love outdoor adventure, yummy food, and fine art. Kenny and Stefan and I set out to hike Ha Ling Peak, a steep incline with a shockingly spectacular view. It was worth the tough climb up!

Baby Mountain Goat

Stefan and Kenny, Ha Ling

This fellow was giving out lemonade just before the trail ended and the loose rock to the peak began.

Lemonaid

Lemonaid guy

Canmore Ha-Ling Hike, D+S

The three amigos, Ha Ling

Looking over, Ha Ling

View of Canmore from ha Ling

Canmore Ha-Ling Hike, Daina

Journal - Day 50-51, Canmore to Golden

Our last night in Canmore with our family was a special feast. While Em’s family was preparing dinner, Kenny and their daughter played soccer in the back yard where the stage was a few days before. When she wasn’t blocking the ball, she was giggling or dancing like a true summer child.

Kenny and Sophie playing soccer

Preparing dinner

Flowers

Dinner table

Flowers 2

Sophie dancing

Sculpture

The back wall was festively decorated with Em’s sister Andrea Keys Connel‘s art sculpture.

Leaves, water pot

Checking the brusheta

Brusheta

Family with Daina

Dinner plate

The following morning we said our farewells to everyone, giving and receiving the best hugs. It was such a beautiful, super fun, rich quality visit.

Farewell

We used to live in Field, British Columbia, and wanted to visit the little town that has given us such nostalgia for almost 2 decades since.

Map of British Columbia route

Incredibly, it was exactly as it was in ’96, except that the ‘Shack’ we used to live in did get some well-needed repairs to keep it standing and liveable. Word is, a carpenter lives there and totally redid the interior.

Field, shack

We visited The Velvet Antler, where I bought our first real pottery set from Ryan Cameron as a gift for Stefan back in ’96. Ryan and his daughter Kathryn have a beautiful display gallery upstairs showcasing their wares and paintings from Ryan and some local artists.

Field, potter

Field, potter 5

Field, potter 4

Field, potter 3

Field, potter 2

Stefan hadn’t seen his friend Glenn in years, and he lived nearby in Golden, so we met up in Field to catch up on life, and then went for a little hike to Takakkaw Falls and visit Emerald Lake.

Takakkaw Falls sign

Takakkaw Falls

Stefan and Glenn

Stefan & Daina at falls

Emerald Lake sign

Emerald Lake boat rentals

For weeks we had planned to visit the Okanagan Valley where we would pick fresh cherries and peaches. We had even bought grain alcohol in Montana with plans to make our own fruit infused liquor. Unfortunately, the truck had other plans, and so after asking around in Kelowna, we learned of a good Polish family-owned garage from a girl at the visitor’s centre. It turned out that her boyfriend worked there and was a diesel mechanic. While our truck got new front end brakes, the owners drove us to spend our days on the beach and even invited Stefan to play beach volleyball with their team. Our nights we spent in the camper at the garage.

City Beach, vollyball

City Beach, chairs

Journal - Kelowna

Kelowna marina

Tacofino truck

PM Auto, garage

PM Auto, brakes

Gyro Beach zip line

City Beach, kids on monkey bars

Gyro Beach rentals
PM Auto, brakes 2

Time was getting away from us. As much as we would love to throw the calendar out the window, we still had places to be at certain times. We had to be in Whistler by the 9th to make sure we could spend some good quality time with our friends and their two boys before their boys went to Nova Scotia to visit their grandma. These kids are like our nephews, we missed them so much, there was no way we could be late. By some miracle, the garage finished just in time for us to keep to our planned travel route through the back roads of Duffey Lake and Lillooet, which would bring us to Whistler by early evening.

Duffy Lake 2

Duffy Lake 1

Duffy Lake, Stefan and truck

The road was so steep, with long upward hauls. The truck overheated, keep us on our toes. There would be another garage visit in the not too distant future…

Duffy Lake 5

This route through Lillooet was all at once heart pounding and breathtaking. The mountain pass brought us to Pemberton, and it was smooth sailing all the way to Whistler

Duffy Lake 4

Duffy Lake 3

Duffy Lake 6

 

2 Comments on “Week 8 // Alberta to British Columbia

  1. WOW all I can say is WOW AGAIN! More amazing pictures. I feel like we are travelling along with you. It all brings back such wonderful memories of our trips to the West Coast. Sorry to read about all your truck problems but happy to hear you are enjoying places and all the people you meet. We had our share of truck problems in ’04 but survived. We never had to walk to get help and we stayed well. Take care. Hugs, Frances and Jim

    • Hi Frances & Jim! We are really loving life on the road. Please don’t feel bad about the truck and camper problems. We knew there would (and will) be lots of work to do on them as we go. After all, we’ve put on over 15,000km carrying 4000lbs over really rough roads. But we still feel we bought the best truck for the job and really love the camper interior. When we do it again, we’ll switch the truck bed with an 8′ dually utility bed (the box with all the exterior storage compartments), get a smaller newer camper, and bring less stuff. It’s amazing how little you need to live comfortably! We are hoping the camper makes it through the year, but it’s falling apart at the seams. We’ve chained and strapped it together which seems to be helping, and the spring loaded turnbuckles help ease the stress, as well as the air bags we just got installed. There was so much water damage and rot that the structure is too weak, and all the jostling from rough roads isn’t good for it. But I really hope we’ve supported it enough to last until we get home. I love the space and feel of our little home so much, it’s really a shame. Like you, I know I’ll get emotional about it too when it’s gone. I love this camper! We’ve only seen 1 other Shasta on the road. We keep looking at other truck campers (just in case) and haven’t found another with as nice an interior layout as this one. Thanks so much :) As for the photos, I’m having fun playing around with my Canon Rebel T4i SLR. Take care, D&S

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