We spent most of November and December between Toronto and Vancouver. It was good to spend time with our family and friends during the holiday season, something I had missed out on in the past 6 years working in the US. Emily and I both cleaned out the many boxes we had stored at our parents’ from college days and in between moves. Living in our car for a month has further convinced us that a minimalist lifestyle is what we want. We are grateful for a home to stay in two of Canada’s largest multicultural cities where we have access to really good cultural food. That said, we quickly missed the serenity of the wilderness and life on the road. I’m envious of the people who have been able to find income or carve out a career while always on the road.
Toronto to Vancouver
On November 18th, 2017 we started our drive west towards British Columbia. We weren’t keen on spending too much time on this leg of the trip since the winter was getting worse, so we drove past many points of interest. I’d really like the chance to go through the prairies again on another schedule-free trip. Watching the northern lights at Jasper or Wood Buffalo National Park in Alberta is certainly high on my list.
It took us 3 days to drive through Ontario, the width of the province stretches over 5 U.S. states! Near the end of our second day, the snow started to build up and come down heavily. It was close to 6pm when we were reaching our destination for the evening in the town of Ignace, ON. At about 50km east of town, a moose suddenly appeared on the highway in the thick snowfall. It was less than 10m away and we could not avoid hitting the animal. We clipped the moose on the passenger side and immediately stopped the car. Emily screamed and we were both in shock. We looked at each other and were immediately relieved when we realized that we were both unharmed in the accident. With a flashlight in my hand, we both got out to look for the moose but it had already ran away so hopefully he/she was not injured.
The driver behind us stopped to make sure we were okay and helped us check our vehicle. The moose cracked the windshield, ripped off our side mirror, broken the headlamp and bumper, and dented a few panels. As far as we could tell in the dark, most of the damage seemed to be cosmetic so we continued our drive into town. At this time, there were snowsquall warnings in the area and we were driving right through it. Still shocked from the accident, the next hour of driving was terrifying and painful. We had very little visibility and the highway was completely covered with snow. We caught up to a truck and followed behind until we got into town. The truck cleared a path on the road for the string of cars behind it and was the only way we knew where we were heading.
The remainder of the westward drive was not as enjoyable as the Canadian east. The car and our spirits were broken by the accident and all we wanted to do was to find a warm place to repair ourselves and the car. We spent the daylight driving and the evening in motels at Winnepeg, MB, Swift Current, SK and Creston, BC over the next 3 days before arriving in Vancouver, BC. The snow was not so bad after leaving Ontario, and so the remainder of the drive was relatively easy. My heart skipped a beat every time we were told to watch out for moose, elk, mountain goats and deer.
Arriving in Vancouver
We arrived in Vancouver to a rainy night on November 24th, 2017 and let out a sigh of relief. The car was making more noise than ever and I was worried things would get worse. Thankfully, Vancouver has extremely mild winters so I could get my hands dirty in the garage. After settling in for a week, we wanted to share our Trans Canada experience through what Emily does best — baking up a storm. Emily and I came up with a laundry list of travel-inspired biscuits and chocolates for our friends/family for New Years. While she planned and carried out her baking, I was in charge of putting up this website and the packaging to go along with it. It was a tough two weeks, but it felt great to make something again.