We’re back! Finally, a new post! Life was just too stressful to make posts for a while, but we’ve landed something kind of great and it is time to get moving again! So let’s get back to the stories.
First up, our travels back to Winnipeg in the middle of the first pandemic lockdown. And wow, was that weird.
The pandemic and the lockdown changed everything for all of us. Even ironclad rules.
The first major part of the trip was the ferry ride. Normally, you park your vehicle on the lower decks and then go to the upper decks for the ride. It is illegal for anyone to stay any length of the time on the lower decks for some obvious safety reasons. If something disastrous were to happen, the lower decks would flood first, bulkhead doors would be closed, and there are no life rafts at that level (or even many places you could jump out).
Suddenly, it was mandatory to stay in your vehicle.
We got off the ferry at the Tsawwassen terminal so that we could avoid Vancouver. The contrast with the journey to the Island was immense, obvious, and immediate.
Previously busy highways were nearly empty.
We decided to travel Highway 1 the whole way, start to finish. While it wasn’t the major highway closer to Vancouver, not only was it nearly totally empty, but even through the rest of BC it was almost totally empty, and nearly deserted through the prairies.
If you don’t know anything about Canada, the Trans Canada Highway (Highway #1) is pretty much the only major highway through the country. It is Lyndsay’s major gripe about Canada versus the USA. We simply push majority of our traffic onto only one route. And it has almost no safe rest stops, making long distance travel with a child rather difficult. Prairies, I’m looking at you.
It seemed like an easy plan; we’re self contained, we don’t need to use bathrooms anywhere, we can haul enough water, the only stops required are for gas, a rest stop to boondock for the night, and rest stops to eat and let the kid run around for twenty minutes.
But of course, that was not the case. BC closed the majority of its rest stops, provincial parks and parking lots. This is the province with the most rest stops in Western Canada, and it was nearly impossible find a place to pull off that would be safe for Aurora. This forced us to pull off with truckers, risking spread to people that were still traveling across the continent daily and could spread the virus.
Thankfully, someone forgot to close the Six Mile Point rest stop on Kamloops Lake and we didn’t have to drive through the mountains at night.
It was windy and cold when we left the mountains. At first we tried to stop at a pulloff just before the end of the mountains, but it was barely off the highway, extremely windy and cold, and even with reduced traffic we were sharing it with truckers. The rigs going by only a few feet away were very loud and would shake the trailer, so we moved on.
The next stop was a picnic area in an Alberta provincial park. It was sheltered from the wind and we were the only ones there. It seemed like an ideal place to spend a single night in the middle of a pandemic.
While Lyndsay was making supper and I was doing some maintenance, one of Alberta’s provincial park rangers informed us that he couldn’t let us stay the night, despite everything that was going on. We were allowed to have our dinner, but then had to move on. We asked where to stay, and he sent us to a nearby casino on a Reservation.
Unlike the picnic area, the casino parking lot was well in the open. It was very windy, but we tried to make the best of it. We were away from other people, the sign on the casino said that RVers were welcome to stay the night, so we thought we were done.
Then members of the Reservation drove up, honked their horn at us until I stepped outside, and informed us that we had to stay at the crowded truck stop instead of the empty parking lot.
I don’t think they actually had any authority to make us leave, but the last thing we were going to do was argue.
So instead of being isolated, we were sent among people.
This became a running theme for the entire trip back to Winnipeg. Rest stops where we would be away from civilization were closed, and instead we had to boondock at truck stops with people going across the country, or in Walmart parking lots where we had to go inside to ensure we were allowed to stay the night, potentially spreading the virus or catching it ourselves.
After a five day, eerie, strange, and hair raising journey, we made it back to Winnipeg.
And were branded with The Scarlet Q.
Luckily, Town and Country RV Park had opened early for those like us. The provincial border checkpoints along the whole route had also been removed just days before each crossing. Others weren’t so lucky, especially those trying to go further east or come home from the east. Ontario had locked its borders and no one was able to cross, leaving people stranded. Several people had to wait it out at Town and Country until the border finally opened and they could head home.
The world is a strange place. The pandemic effected everyone. Rules set in stone changed overnight. Normal, stable lives were thrown into chaos. Common sense was revealed as a fallacy. On our trip, we could have stayed away from all civilization, but instead were forced close to people due to nonsensical rules made by people that can’t understand this life.