The Great Canadian Road Trip

So, every couple of years our family takes a trip “outside”. This is what Yukoners call going down South and stocking up on things you can’t get here, getting your city fix, maybe even seeing a movie in a decent, modern movie theatre. We don’t go out every year, it’s just too expensive. But I do find if I don’t get out every couple of years, it starts to get to me. I find I get too “bushed”. Road tripping is a Canadian institution, and travelling to and from the Yukon is one of the most amazing trips in Canada, if I do say so myself.

Our first stop was Victoria, B.C. so that we could attend my little brother’s wedding. We flew from Whitehorse to Victoria mainly to save time. It is a two day drive out of Whitehorse, so we didn’t want to waste a single moment of vacation time. It was nice to see all the family. We are kind of scattered all over the country now, so having an excuse to visit, like a fabulous wedding was all we needed. My brother Luke and his now wife, Melissa, have been together for ten years, so you could really feel the love and I know they are going to be so happy as they enter this next chapter of their lives.

And I’m glad we could be there. It’s a pretty rare thing that hubby, the kids and I all get to go somewhere together. Oh, and they had a chocolate fountain, so it was totally worth the trip!

We also saw The Tragically Hip concert while we were in Victoria, the first leg of what will most likely be their last tour. It was awesome and so much more than I expected it to be. I really felt like we were part of a moment in history. Gord Downie looks like he is sick, battling incurable brain cancer, but the rest of the band surrounded him and you could feel the love between them, like brothers. And he rocked the house and I am so grateful that he decided to go out with a bang and not a whimper. What a courageous, inspiring human being. I cried a lot, so much emotion attached to all their songs, but “Bobcaygeon”, “Wheat Kings”, “Long Time Running” and “The Lonely End of the Rink”, which he wrote for his Dad who has passed, brought everyone to tears. It will be a moment I will remember for a long time.

After that, we took another flight to Edmonton, Alberta to visit our dear friends and shop our assess off. We hit Ikea and the Mall and I swear my feet are still sore! My friend Shawna and I also went for tattoos. I got my birds fixed and my son’s name on my back. We got our first tattoos together when we were way too young, so now it’s a tradition and we try to get tattooed when we see each other. It’s nice to have someone to hold your hand too! Thanks for talking me through it, Shawna!

Then we came to the road trip portion of our family vacation. We decided to buy a vehicle in Edmonton to drive home. Buying a vehicle would allow us to take the “fun” drive back to Whitehorse, but would also enable us to transport our massive amount of crap back to town. As an added bonus, we’re going to sell said vehicle for a bit more than we bought it for and pay for the trip home! Smart, eh?

I always forget how long that drive is. It is roughly 2000 kilometres (that’s about 1300 miles for those of you who care) from Edmonton to Whitehorse, and for half that trip, you are in the mountains, which is awe inspiring! However, travelling that road with children is definitely not for the weak. We’ve done it with both kids one other time, two years ago. The girl was 9 and the boy was 4. Let’s just say we made it. It was not perfect, but we all lived and I didn’t leave anyone on the side of the road…for long.

But memory is a funny thing. It’s like labour. You know how your brain releases this hormone after you have a baby to make you forget how awful the birth process is to trick you into having more babies? That’s how my memories of the Alaska Highway are. For some reason, I only remember the good parts. Why is that?? Anyway, this trip was a little better, now that the kids are a bit older, but it is a test of character to make it up that road with kids. My parents took us up and down that highway a bunch of times when I was a kid, and all I can say is, I’m so very sorry.

But look at the pretty pictures! Breathtaking! And I do recommend the drive. I don’t think you can really appreciate how far away the Yukon is if you get here by plane. It’s not the same and I’ll do it again. Just give me a couple of years to block out this trip.

 

This herd of bison is always around between Liard Hotsprings and Watson Lake.

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