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5 Provinces – 10 States

October 25, 2019
Moab National Park

We have now completed our coast to coast, cross North America tenting road trip. We are now in San Francisco visiting friends and looking forward to attending a celebration to welcome an old sailing friend into San Francisco after an epic single handed voyage (see Figure Eight Voyage).

Let’s roll the date back to early September when Sage’s new owner, Remy, took possession and within 48 hours had to guide Sage through Hurricane Dorian in Halifax Harbour.

The day before the hurricane we had had a great sail with Remy on Halifax Harbour. We returned to the marina only to leave poor Remy with the preparations for the oncoming hurricane telling him that we were leaving Halifax for our trek across North America!

We purposely made our way to the west end of PEI to visit some old friends, Mike and Claire. Unfortunately, we arrived 2 days after Mike Gaudet died but our timing was such that we could attend a large gathering of friends and family who were celebrating Mike’s life. I think we almost gave Claire a heart attack . We hadn’t seen or talked to Claire in almost 28 years so was shocked to see us at the event. We got together the day after and had a great chance to catch up.

Damage from Hurricane Dorian was minor in PEI other than loss of power (we filled the bathtub in the motel just in case) and a large number of downed trees. Reports from Remy onboard Sage indicated she survived with no damage for which we were very thankful even though she was no longer ours.

Crossing to the mainland put us in New Brunswick. It was a quick trip through NB and on to the Gaspe in Quebec. The Gaspe’s south shore was nothing to get excited about but we came around a corner and decided to pull over and were astounded to see the view in the picture below;

Roche Perce

The north coast of the Gaspe was spectacular – the road crept along the ocean coastline, the villages were small and intimate and always with a church dominating the landscape. Not enough time to dawdle so drive on with a stop at Les Jardins to Metis and on to Quebec City

Here the weather closed in but we found a lovely BnB on the south shore of the river with a view over to the citadel. Out the backdoor and along the cycle path for 5 minutes and we arrived at the ferry to take us across to the north shore and the old town of Quebec City.

The view from our bedroom over to the citadel

After a day of walking all over town and meeting for dinner with Connie’s brother and wife, Jerry and Debbie, we stormed away toward Ontario and visits with both our families.

In Ontario we picked up our last needed remaining item to continue across the continent. Napier tents in St. Catherines makes a tent that attaches to the back of most SUVs.

Getting one chance to set up the tent on a practice run at Connie’s mums place we piled in all our earthly belongings and headed west.

First stop Point Peele – the southernmost point in Canada – it’s on the same latitude (41degrees) as Eureka, CA. Point Peele national park is a great birding area for migrating birds but in late September and early October it’s the monarch butterflies that use it as a jumping off point for heading south. It’s a spectacular park.

The border – yes, now head south to avoid the northern route which proved to be a wise decision – a few days later Alberta and Montana received a large amount of snow and we don’t relish the idea of waking up in a tent and shovelling the snow to get out.

Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California – I90, I69, I57, I70, I25, 115, 50, 550, 128, I15, 95, 266, 168, 395, 120, and finally the 580 into San Francisco were just some of the roads we travelled and camped along.

We saw only one other car from Canada and it was from Alberta

Temperatures varied in the campgrounds from hot (34C) and humid in Indiana to 18C and -3C in Colorado. The further west we went the drier it got. The further west we went the higher in altitude and the cooler at night it got but daytime was always sunny and warm.

The closer to the Monarch Pass the more excited we were getting. Weather was improving and we felt we were back in home territory as we headed up to Monarch Pass (2,878m). At Monarch Pass we met The Real Sarahs – a trio of women all named Sarah formed a group who were touring western US and Canada. We traded travelling stories and learnt they had been playing on Vancouver Island in Campbell River, Port Alberni, Duncan and Victoria.

So from Monarch Pass we thought it would be all downhill. Well, of course, the western part of the continent is full of mountains and passes and for the next while we were crossing deserts, climbing mountains and driving over even more passes but none as high as Monarch Pass.

But, we were almost home. Anything west of the great divide we feel is home – mountains, deserts and the Pacific Ocean. So, on we drove west climbing more passes, sitting in hot springs, seeing and eating more mexican foods, clear skies, warm days and cool (cold) evenings.

There is an area called the 4 corners – it’s the meeting of the four states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. Coming out of Colorado we were in the northern section of this area. It’s marked by red sedimentary rocks. spectacularly sculpted sandstone arches and cliffs, at times raging rivers, dry desert-like landscape and it’s peppered by National and State parks as well as protected forest lands. It’s an area we could spend many months exploring.

We visited parks with names such as Mammoth National Park, Arches National Park, Mueller State Park, Gunnison National Forest, Dominguez-Escalante Conservatioon Area, McInnis Canyons National Park, Monti-La Sal National Forest etc – we didn’t have the time to stop everywhere but the protected areas are numerous and beautiful.

Inspired by Free One movie Connie and Tony go out for their first climbing experience – ha, ha

After so much spectacular natural scenery we changed abruptly headed to Las Vegas. Neither of us had ever been. No need to add pictures as most people have a vision of what it’s like. We decided to stop for one night and take in a Cirque du Soleil show. Bellagio theatre for Cirque du Soleil was awesome and a real treat from forests, BBQ fires, raging rivers and white line fever. After 12 hours we were ready to leave – smoke drove us out of the casinos and hotel lobbies.

Onward to the mountain passes north of Las Vegas, up and past Lida, over the mountains to Deep Springs and on to Big Pine and Bishops before climbing up to Mammoth, the top most ski town in California. We camped close to Mammoth and spent a day sampling the hot springs. We luxuriated in the warmth of the water and the scenery.

French Camp, CA

Most campsites were well run whether they be Bureau of Land Management, State or National Parks or privately run. Some came with water and electricity to the actual site but most just with a fire pit and a picnic table. But all came with well cleaned washrooms and some with showers.

From Mammoth we made our way into San Francisco. A hasty drive through Yosemite National Park. A promise was made to return someday soon then we rushed into San Francisco to visit with sailing friends Marilyn and Leo

Connie, Leo and Marilyn

The other reason we were in San Francisco was to see Randall sail in under the Golden Gate Bridge completing his Figure 8 voyage.

We dipped our feet into the Pacific Ocean – we were home, but not quite. We still have the northern trek through California, Oregon and Washington to do before we hop on the ferry to Victoria.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Tobias Bechtel permalink
    October 25, 2019 11:36

    So, you see – travelling on land is not so bad after all! Really enjoyed reading your “soft” camping trip, keep going. We also enjoy the postcards that are still getting to us in South Africa – thank you!

  2. Barrie permalink
    October 25, 2019 11:50

    Wow, great trip. We are looking forward to seeing you face to face real soon. Wishing you cheep gas and smooth highways. Barrie and Sandra

  3. October 25, 2019 12:05

    you can continue the journey a bit further north once you hit Vancouver Island! We’d love to have you visit in Campbell River.

  4. chrislaletin permalink
    October 25, 2019 12:41

    Aloha world travelers. Your stories are inspiring me to keep notes of our next adventure so I can share them with friends too. Hope to cross paths sometime. We are headed to Florida to recommission jaz for a winter in the Bahamas. We moved to the big island Hawai’i if you are ever out this way. You are welcome at our place.

  5. Wayno permalink
    October 25, 2019 16:27

    Fabulous travellers’ tales.. quite enjoyed that, thanks mate. I’m over to India and Sri Lanka next month and back to Chemainus for my sister’s 80th at Easter 2020. Cheers

  6. Judi K permalink
    October 26, 2019 10:46

    Great blog, I remember Mike and Claire, even though one loses contact, it is always a sad moment to hear of someone passing. I hope to catch up with you in Victoria ……. or you can come camping to Little Fort.m

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