Tag Archives: British Columbia

Stuff no one tells you: Canada

25 Jul

We entered Canada a week ago and it’s been an interesting experience. Consider this your unofficial guide to Alberta and British Columbia Canada. If only people had given us the real heads up beforehand…

It is simply amazing here. A-may-zing. You drive right next to mountains. The Canadian Rockies are really something else. And they are far more dramatic than mountain ranges in the States. Like, they are right there next to you. I had no idea how beautiful it would be here. I can’t even choose a favorite picture because they are all unbelievable and look like paintings (none are edited or touched up, by the way).

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Distances are VERY deceiving. A millimeter  on the map is really 500 miles. Seriously. We crossed into Canada July 18 in BC which quickly turned into Alberta Provence, hit Banff, Jasper and are now in Prince George, BC and we are STILL so far away from Alaska. Like over 1000 miles away. And after this town, I don’t think there’s very much until we get to Alaska.

Wildlife is literally on the side of a random road. It’s awesome because the animals just don’t care. And neither do the tourists. We’ve seen people park their cars in the middle of the highway (they call the subsequent backup a “bear jam”) and get right in the animals’ faces.

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Things are insanely incomprehensibly expensive here.$5 a gallon for gas. $7 for a box of cereal. $13 for a SIX pack of crummy beer and $50 for a 24 pack of Budweiser. $50 for a handle of Captain Morgan (are you dying, D??). I’ve never seen so many people walk out of a liquor store with PBR, which incidentally was the cheapest beer at $20 for a 13 pack. I found my favorite Zin on sale (read: US regular price) and I’m kicking myself for not buying more. Actually, we contemplated going back across the border simply to stock up on beer! Not an option now but had we known earlier, we definitely would have been crossing with our own personal liquor store in tow.

See, I'm not lying!

See, I’m not lying!

And along the lines of extreme expenses, national parks here cost $20 A DAY versus in the US it’s $20 for 7 days in the park. There are checkpoints throughout the park system and you must have your receipt of payment taped to the windshield at all times. The major highway runs right through the parks so even if you are just driving through the park, you have to pay the $20 rate. Thankfully, its not enforced unless you cross a checkpoint. Also while in the parks, you MUST stay in designated campgrounds and that is not advertised openly. You just have to know it, otherwise you run the risk of being woken up at 1am and forced to move even though there’s not a “no parking” or “no overnight camping” sign. Thanks Alberta parks guy! And the campground cost $30 night for no services. While in Banff, we were fortunate enough to get to the campground late, were placed in an overflow lot, thus paying only $9 a night for the same view everyone else had. Pretty sweet!

Alberta is a mosquito haven! And its not just the backcountry, even the cities are rampant with those little beasts. You have to keep moving, cover every inch of skin and and douse yourself in deet to not get eaten alive. Southern BC was pretty bad too but since we’ve been in Prince George, haven’t seen any. Fingers crossed it gets better because my body can’t take much more!

We just re-entered BC and have a long way to go before leaving the country. Hopefully there won’t be any more surprises…