Updated: Nov 4
We woke up on July 1st, Canada Day, in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. Not exactly where I thought we would be at this time, but we were here for a good reason. A week or so prior, we decided to change course and head to Saskatoon. We had been watching the real estate market there and thought it would be a good place for us to buy an affordable home. The summer was heating up and inventory was getting low, so we felt the need to get there and have a look at some properties sooner than later. Nothing fancy, just a small older home that would be easy to look after and could provide us with an address in the winter months while travelling the rest of the year.
We drove long days to make it to Saskatchewan in good time. I had been in touch with a real estate agent and had set up several home viewings, we were excited. As we drove into Saskatoon I was hoping to be charmed by the place and the new landscape around me. The first thing I encountered was a crazy amount of traffic and we nearly had someone drive into the back of us. We couldn’t even stop at the park without paying for parking. Perhaps it was because we had been in quiet remote places for the last few months that made Saskatoon seem extra busy to me at the time. Or perhaps I was rethinking the thought of living in a city. Regardless, we got ready to meet the agent. Throughout the day we went to a few different neighbourhoods and looked at several homes.
Some were in better shape than others, but all had potential.
At the end of the day we were tired and both rather quiet. Unknown to me at the time, earlier in the week, my partner had been searching RV Dealers online for the chance of finding a Class B Camper Van in stock. We had been looking at Class B Vans for years now. At one point we even built our own camper van. But unfortunately things did not work out as we had hoped all those years ago and we had to sell it. In his search, he actually found a new RV dealership that was near by Saskatoon and they had three new vans in their showroom. They had actually just received them days earlier. It was hard to find them in stock at all, so to have three to look at was great luck. Before calling it a day, my partner suggested we stop by the RV dealer and have a look, just for fun. We had never had the chance to actually view one of these vans before, so we were once again excited and had a new burst of energy.
The RV dealership was quiet and due to my call ahead, they were expecting us. The three vans were in their new showroom and they were all looking rather lovely with their lights on and their cozy atmospheres inviting you in for a sit. It was so fun, after years of looking at photos, to actually be in a Class B van and contemplating calling one home once again, it was all rather exciting. It was sure more fun than looking at the houses earlier.
But you see, we couldn’t have it both ways, either we buy a home on land or a home on wheels, both were not an option, we had to choose one. As we left the RV dealer that afternoon I had a feeling we were having the same thoughts. Throughout that evening we looked at additional homes and tried to process the thought of owning a brick and mortar house again. Discussion of the van kept coming up instead.
As we awoke the next morning it was clear to both of us. We were not interested in owning a home on land at this time. We didn’t want to paint, mow lawns, clean eavestroughs, buy furniture or take ownership of one place. We were both enjoying our life on the road, but knew the Taxa Tiger Moth trailer would not be enough if we were to go full time as overlanders. The purchasing of the van became the clear option and once we had decided there was no hesitation or delay. It all seemed perfect, we came to Saskatoon to find a new home and in the end we had found one. The van was only 15 minutes away, brand new and on sale.
The RV dealer would buy our travel trailer for a fair price and they were able to add on a few extra bits to the van before we took delivery. What seemed like a really long week finally went by and we could pick up our new van, now named Ella 3.0. We had two vans before and they were Ella 1.0 and 2.0, so naturally this one would be 3.0. Our first night was exciting as we got to know our new home on wheels.
We decided to keep Gazoo, our 4Runner as well. I could not give him up and besides, we still wanted to carry our canoe and have a 4x4 to drive around. This also meant we could both drive full time! I wasn't comfortable with the trailer and was missing the driving very much. I love to drive., we both do, so this was another bonus, along with the many other perks that came with our new van. So I took over as the 4Runner driver and my partner would drive the van. The two vehicles seemed to get along from day one.
We now had our new home and had answered a few questions that were lingering about with respect to our future. Now what’s the plan? Well, for starters we needed to get back to British Columbia within 7 days to register and insure the van in our home province. So we knew what way we were headed and it soon became clear what we needed to do next.
Go pick up my Mom! She passed away in May, soon after I left on my journey and her cremated remains were resting at a funeral home on the Sunshine Coast. She needed to be picked up and taken to a beautiful destination to rest. OK, we had a plan, go get Mom! We drove long days, across Saskatchewan, through Alberta and then back into British Columbia, making it in three days. We travelled through the Kootenay Region of BC on the way back and enjoyed some paddling. The Kootenay region is a special kind of beautiful. Four of British Columbia’s mountain ranges pass through it, along with the Columbia River and many other majestic waterways. It is on the list of places we want to go back to and spend more time exploring.
We soon were back in familiar territory, where we had travelled through in the Spring. It was nice going back to some of the parks we had stayed at before. It gave us the chance to paddle and hike a few spots we had missed on our first visit. It was also fascinating to see how the plant life and the trees had changed since Spring. Watching the seasons change while travelling truly connects us to the natural world around us everyday in a special way. One spot we stopped at again was Marble Canyon. We went for a paddle and found a lovely waterfall when we went ashore for lunch.
We were now getting closer to the Sunshine Coast and it just happened to be the busiest time of year for tourists, travellers and campers. There was no space anywhere to camp. This meant we had a long day of driving ahead of us and a ferry ride before we would be on the Coast. I had mixed feelings about going back. I didn’t think I would be back so soon and I wasn’t really ready, but I needed to get my Mom. At the end of the travel day we found ourselves in a very familiar place on the Sunshine Coast again. We were staying at a campground we had drove by a million times when we lived there, but never slept in, it was all a bit surreal. I had a small spell of sadness as we finished for the day. I was tired, a bit disoriented and finally coming to terms with the loss of my Mom, it all hit me at once. Luckily, we had some family stop by with some cold beers and a welcomed hug to make the evening better.
The next day I went to the funeral home and picked Mom up. We spent a few days on the coast, getting fresh supplies and visiting with some family. The next plan was to find a spot to leave my Mom’s remains. Somewhere outside, somewhere beautiful and peaceful. Neither of us had been to the North of Vancouver Island so we thought it would be a great reason to go explore and see if Mom could find a resting spot. We travelled through the upper Sunshine Coast into Powell River and caught the ferry over to Vancouver Island.
We stayed at some beautiful campgrounds along the way and then decided to stay at Telegraph Cove for a few days. Telegraph Cove is a community of about 20 inhabitants, on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, located approximately 210 kilometres northwest of Campbell River. It is a former fishing and cannery village that has become a launch point for fishing, camping, hiking and water sports. There was no question the area was beautiful.
We spent a week exploring the area and going on some long hikes through the calming and humbling rainforest. After looking all week, I didn’t find a spot where I felt right about leaving my Mom. I don’t know why it wasn’t right, it just wasn’t. Regardless, we enjoyed exploring more of the island and had managed to find the coolest spot in BC, as at the time a heatwave was running hot everywhere else it seemed.
After a short discussion one evening we decided on the next direction. A place we both fell in love with when we were there earlier in the year. A place a knew would be right for my Mom. August was upon us now and we were heading North again, to the magical Cassiar Highway.
Here is short video sharing some of my July travel moments.