Back in Canada

Trip Start Aug 09, 2008
Trip End Aug 2009

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We finally landed on Canadian soil July 2nd in Vancouver. We stayed with friends for a few days while the van was serviced and checked over for our drive back to Ontario.  It came back with a clean bill of health and after all the work done on the van last year, the westy ran beautifully.  It was actually a pleasure to drive it (that's coming from me, Bobbie...).

The highlight of our drive back to Ontario was Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, a world heritage site, 2 hours outside Calgary.  Leaving Calgary, we drove through rolling prairie farm-lands and yellow mustard fields, all very pretty and reminding us somewhat of India - well maybe just a teeny weeny bit, with the farmland and yellow fields, but minus the mud huts and sari-clad women.  Once we got near the park and without warning, the road made a dip into a valley and we were in another world altogether – the badlands. The name badlands comes from the voyageurs who transported furs and goods across the country in the 18th and 19th century. When they got to this barren, dry, inhospitable area, they called it "mauvais terre," bad land. The name stuck.

The transition from farmland to badlands was surreal.  It was like being on a different planet, one surrounded by red rocks and sandstone sculptures in all shapes and forms.  The strange land formations sculptured by rain created beautiful shapes which could make your imagination run wild.  The formations could resemble dinosaur feet - which is the first thing that came to my mind- to faces, animals, flowers, or mushrooms. This is a haven for photographers, archaeologists, kids and artists.

We went on a guided “Centrosaurus Bone Bed” Hike one morning through an area of the park not open to the general public. A group of about 30 people got into 2 vans and were driven to the start of the hike. The guide was very good at telling us the history of the region, and of how archaeologists pieced together the events of what happened to create the stunning landscape, and also how so many dinosaurs ended up dying at the same time. The most interesting part of the hike, apart from seeing dinosaur fossils, was listening to the kids on the tour who knew so much about dinosaurs. This park would captivate anyone interested in dinosaurs and history. We highly recommend visiting it.

The weather was cool but dry in the West, but once we hit Ontario the rains started. Just a light intermittent drizzle while we camped at Rushing River Provincial Park near Kenora, Sleeping Giant Provincial Park just outside Thunder Bay, and finally, Lake Superior Provincial Park, our last camp stop.  It was only when we got to London and Toronto that we were hit with torrential downpours that have signified this summer of 2009 in Ontario.

Toronto and London was all catching up with family and some of Rajiv’s friends.  We had the van listed for sale on Kijjiji in London, Toronto and Ottawa.  The most interest came from Ottawa and yes, the van is finally sold.  As much as I would have liked to have it sold in Vancouver, it was nice to be able to drive the van back to Ottawa and come back full circle.  We drove from the Conservation Co-op in Sandy Hill last year in August and on Wednesday, July 30th, we drove the van back to the Co-op where we are renting our apartment.

The van has gone to a wonderful home and that made it a little easier for Rajiv to give it up.  Perhaps, when we have more time to travel in the future, we may consider getting another one.

It has been an amazing year and we are grateful that we were able to give ourselves this gift. 

For anyone interested in stats on the van, here goes.......

Total kms driven within Canada 2008 & 2009 – 22,480kms
Total fuel cost - $3,586
Total litres used - 3,000 litres
2008 - average fuel cost/km - 17 cents/km (due to high gas costs)
2009 – average fuel cost/km - 14 cents/km
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