We made it! We are finally in Canada and I am really excited to be crossing imaginary lines that divide lands and mindsets. We drove up through Glacier National Park which borders Montana and Canada. The visit in the park was short lived because of the fires that were burning in Kootenai National Park, just southwest of where we were visiting. The fires weren’t as big as the ones that started back in July of this year, but the shift in the winds blew the smoke in our direction and for a second there, we swore that the fires were following us. We heard about the fires happening at home in LA, Hurricane Harvey that hit Texas, Hurricane Irma picking up speed in the Atlantic heading towards the Caribbean and Florida and the fires that were burning through Montana and my heart was filled with sadness and worry for all the people affected by these disasters. Our prayers are with you and we were grateful for the people that helped us stay informed.
I really did wish that the weather permitted us for a longer visit, but sometimes life happens and we learn to roll with the punches, so the same day we explored Glacier we headed North to the Canadian border.
Border crossing was a lot simpler than we thought. We organized the van, had all of our documents (for us and Izzy) on hand and we pulled up to the window. We presented our passports, letting the lady know that we were making our way up into Alaska and she just waved us through no questions asked. It was the easiest crossing we could’ve had and we were so grateful for it. Once in Canada, we made our way North into a small town called Cardston. We looked up what our camping options were for Canada and to our surprise we found out that RVing through this country is not exactly the easiest to figure out. We found that there is free Crown Land camping available for residents, but outside of RV parks within the small towns, there wasn’t any designated places to park over night. With a bit of luck though, we stumbled onto the Lee Creek Campgrounds. They had wonderfully clean bathrooms/showers, a coin laundry available for guest, WIFI and water fill stations throughout the grounds so we splurged a whole $20 to stay worry free for the night.
After leaving camp the next day, we headed into Calgary. There were a couple car maintenance routines we had to take care of and luckily we found a service center in town that works on Sprinters. We took Gaia into Astra Automotives for an SRS light that triggered when we left LA. They ran the codes and found that there was a malfunction in the seatbelt buckle and if we wanted to wait for it, we would’ve had to wait a week or so for the parts to come in. So instead of getting it fixed, we had the oil change done and they also put in a air intake pipe and new filters instead. (It needed to be done, plus we figured we could take care of the SRS when we got back home around Christmas time) The guys at Astra were great and I was so glad we were able to find an honest mechanic so far from home.
Calgary otherwise was uneventful. It was a convenient place for the things that we needed, and the Walmart parking lot was filled with other van lifers, but it was time to move on to greener and better things, so on to Banff we went.
Banff is awesome. We got into the small mountain town and we were in love with how green and scenic the area was. It had a bigger downtown and a very helpful visitors center where they gave us trail maps for mountain biking. We followed the map to a parking lot that happened to have a bike park right by it, so guess what we did:
We also got lucky with an unmarked parking spot nearby, and got to camp for free near the bike park.
The next morning, we woke up with the sun knowing that we had an epic bike ride on our hands before heading back to a cafe for some more work so here is a glimpse of our morning ride. We haven’t known you long Banff, but we love you.