In May of 2012, my husband and I sold most of our belongings and moved to the Yukon. We had about 2 weeks to get ourselves out of the hunting camp we had been living in and drive across Canada to our new home.
Welcome to the Northland
Originally published in May 2012.
Wow, I can’t believe how beautiful and stunning our province of Ontario is! I feel a bit sad about not being able to visit and enjoy the mid-western part of our province as much as I would like. Honestly, it’s just too far.
Havelock to Cochrane
Bo Bo Ska Dittle is all packed up with everything we think we’ll need living up north. We decided to drive northbound through Haliburton and up Highway 11 to remind ourselves of how much we love the area, and a last good memory of this beautiful place.
We have plans to stay our first night in Cochrane at friends of B’s. Pickles! has done very well. It took her 1.5 hours to get the swing of things in the car and eventually she fell asleep in her crate. Once she was snoozing, we could rest easy for the hours of driving ahead.
Cochrane to Thunder Bay
We peeled out of Cochrane just as the sun was coming up. The stretch of highway between Cochrane and Nipigon is quite the route. We had to gas up each time we drove through a town to make sure we could make it from Hearst to Longlac. It was 3.5 to 4 hours of driving without a sign of civilization. I looked so hard to spot a moose that I started seeing illusions of what I thought were moose.
Once we arrived in Longlac, I felt more comfortable about being up here; north, that is. I’d better get used to it if we’re going to live in the Yukon! Beardmore is unbelievably gorgeous with huge mountainous cliffs and ridges with waterfalls and lakes all the way to Nipigon. I must get up here again.
We arrived in Thunder Bay early enough to hit the tavern in town while waiting for our friends to get home from work. They were letting us crash at their place. It was good to see familiar faces because from this point on, it’s just our family. B, Pickles! and I.
Today we realized that Pickles! prefers the soothing sounds of soul music and horns, so it has been on heavy rotation in Bo Bo Ska Dittle for the last 3 days.
Thunder Bay to Winnipeg
What a morning with mist lying in the valleys of the highlands, the sun rising, a moose’s butt (finally spotted a moose!), and friendly people. This is one of our favourite routes thus far.
Thunder Bay to Kenora is incredible with Canadian shield, hills, pines, lakes, bald eagles and windy roads.
Arriving in Manitoba was a real accomplishment for me. I have been to 30 of the 50 states in the U.S., but haven’t been outside of Ontario in my own country! It didn’t take long for the landscape to flatten out and for the road to become straight…. straight into Winnipeg.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Pickles! has been one un-happy camper. It’s taking her about 2 hours to stop crying and fall asleep. She’ll snooze until we have to make a stop, then she’ll get up to see what’s going on, let us know of her disapproval with cackles and more crying until we start driving again. It’s a good thing cats sleep for 16 hours a day!
The prairies, what a beautiful part of our country! I was expecting lonely intersections with a grain elevator and miles and miles of crops, but what I did see were rolling hills between Winnipeg and Virden with poplar, spruce, pines and wetlands.
Alberta Let Your Hair Hang Low
The great plains and badlands of Saskatchewan and Alberta. At one point there were millions of buffalo roaming here. I wish there still were.
We stayed in Calgary for one night and went downtown for some fine dining. It was nice to finally see the Rockies.
We’ve been on the road for 5 days already and it’s going to take us another 5 to reach the Yukon. Canada, you are beautifully large!
Banff and Jasper National Parks
We drove through Banff and stopped in Lake Louise for an expensive mediocre lunch.
I once heard someone say that there are two kinds of preferences. Those who like wide open spaces, deserts, prairies, and great plains; and those who love mountains and feeling of being hugged by them. I am one of those mountain lovers. I love the comfort felt from being surrounded by mountains. I love knowing that they’ll always be there and won’t move. I feel too vulnerable in wide-open spaces.
Jasper is a fun little town. We checked into our hotel and hit up the brewery in town.
After our beers we decided to wander the streets. We could hear live music coming from the Whistle Stop and couldn’t resist. We ordered a couple of Big Rock Grasshoppers and “got down”. The band was great, but only played from 3-6 in the afternoon! We found out they were opening for Fred Eaglesmith the next night, so decided to stay another night. We’re some of those people who stop at most yard sales and Fred gigs (you’d have to be a fan to know what I’m talking about). We chatted with a few members of the band who put us on the guest list for the Fred gig. We ended up going out to their Jam Shack on the other side of the tracks for a jam session later that evening.
The Jam Shack was just a padded room above some industrial building, but apparently bands go there to record. They had a lap steel, so I helped to twang up a few tunes. What a great time!
We did a little hiking in the park the next day.
We were up early again to hit the road to continue our journey to the Yukon. It is getting real now. We’re following highway signs for the Alaska Highway.
We drove through Grand Prairie and spotted this big box store. There’s a lot of booze in there!
To be continued on Tuesday’s.