#17 – Arizona & California: Our last travel post! We explore Sedona, Pleasant Lake, Joshua Tree Park and San Diego before heading home!

Biking on Mission Bay Beach, San Diego

Our travels are now done for a bit! We are back at home and doing a ton of laundry and catching up with a lot of chores and tasks that need to be done after being away for 5.5 months! This last post is all about our final stretch of the trip through Arizona and California, before we headed north and back into the cold.

We came into Arizona along the I-40, after going through Albuquerque and then Winslow, and turned south at Flagstaff to go check out Sedona, AZ. This was a beautiful, but incredibly busy place. It was American Thanksgiving weekend, and the tourists were out in abundance. It definitely gave off a summer Whistler vibe, with lots of high end art stores and eateries. We spent a good day exploring the views, sights and stunning geography. It was so colourful and unique, warm and developed.

Enjoying the views from the Sedona Airport

There were many parks surrounding Sedona, and we hiked a couple. The city also has an incredible viewpoint from up at the Airport, as well as a beautiful church built right into the rocks that drew quite a lot of tourists while we were there. It was warm, sunny and bright for our time, perfect for hiking and gawking all around us.

Checking out some older park facilities in Sedona

After Sedona, we headed more south, to just above Phoenix, at a campground on Pleasant Lake. This is a huge man made lake that is part of the water system for Arizona and California and collects a lot of water from the area for agriculture and drinking. It also is surrounded by giant cacti and wild donkeys! This was the hotest part of our trip, with 27c days, beautiful sunrises and sunsets and even hot air ballons floating nearby.

Camping among the Cacti in Pleasant Lake, AZ

We stayed at Lake Pleasant for 2 nights and enjoyed it immensly. We explored on our bikes and hiked through the desert. After this relaxing stretch we hit the road again and found a neat day spot called Montezuma Castle, nothing to do with actual Montezuma, but instead an ancient settlement of the Sinagua people dating back to the 12th Century up in the cliffs. Very well done little park and we learned a lot about these people and the ways they lived.

Montezuma Castle, AZ

After this brief excursion we continued west and were able to secure a site at Joshua Tree National Park, a famous high altitude desert park. We were in the south entrance, and had a beautiful site with views, hikes and even Road Runner birds around our campsite. We made some friends from Canada, and chatted into the night under the stars. We also got to explore a nearby abandoned Gold mine that was very cool.

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

After Joshua Tree, we took a harrowing road up a mountain on a shortcut down to San Diego near Coachella, CA. Our time in San Diego was great! We spent 6 nights at a RV campground near the city on Mission Bay. We rode to the Beach every day and explored San Diego by transit. We even road up to La Jolla nearby and found some sea lions and sea caves, as well as delious tacos and drinks.

Riding on the beach in La Jolla, CA

After San Diego, it was time to head home. We’ve explored a lot of the Pacific West Coast before, so we knew we were going to skip over a lot of northern California, Oregon and Washington and we were eager to get home and visit with family and friends. We drove the entire length of the I5, from San Diego to Vancouver over 4.5 days. It as a nice drive, but a couple of crazy mountain passes in northern California and southern Oregon. The all too familiar rains welcomed us and we had a very nostalgic ride on the ferry back to Vancouver Island.

Ferry ride home to Vancouver Island

Overall, we had an amazing trip and could not have asked for a better time. We saw so many beautiful places. We enjoyed meeting friendly people from all over Canada and USA. We stayed safe, followed all the Covid requirements and still were able to get out and tour around a lot of North America. We had a breakdown and did some maintenance on our truck, and learned a lot about navigating together through busy cities, giant 7 lane highways and quiet country backroads with no cell service. We did it all together!

Thanks for coming along on this chapter of our Sabbatical year. Our next steps are a little up in the air as we are waiting to see what is happening around the world. We’ve got time and we are flexible for whats next and will enjoy spending the holidays with our family and friends.

Our full route over 5.5 months! 22,000kms, 1 Territory, 6 Provinces, 19 States!

Photos from this segment: https://photos.app.goo.gl/6hH2J1ppPfWzSmiK6

#11 – Northern Ontario

Terry Fox Memorial in Thunder Bay

We came into Northern Ontario pretty excited. The Prairies were great, but hitting the border with Ontario signaled a new chapter in our adventures. We were coming to our home Province, where we were both born and have lots of family and friends to see and visit.

Our first stop was just outside of Kenora, at Rushing River Provincial Park. We had a great site and a good swim with some nice hikes along the river.

During our drive from Kenora to Thunder Bay we drove through the most intense thunder, rain and hail storm we both have ever seen. We had to pull over and wait for the rain to let up three separate times! All the cars and trucks were crawling along the highway with hazards on and barely able to see more than 40 feet ahead.

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

When we arrived in Thunder Bay, the sun was shining and it was a good couple of days to go camping out at the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. We had a wonderful time there and did the epic hike to the top of the Giant and to see the dangerous chasm!

Giant Cliffs!

After Thunder Bay, we headed south again, after stopping at the Terry Fox Memorial nearby. It was an incredibly beautiful spot, and was quite sombre to be there and think about the sacrifice and contribution that Terry was able to give to the world.

The Milky Way from Manitoulin Island

We stopped a few times along Lake Superior for some incredible beaches, waterfalls and camping at Rabbit Blanket campsite before we headed into Manitoulin Island where we wanted to catch the Chi Cheemaun ferry down to Tobermory and Southern Ontario. On Manitoulin Island, they have very little light pollution and the stars were so amazing. I was able to get a good photo of the milky way from our campsite!

The Chi-Cheemaun Ferry from South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island to Tobermory

Below is our video from this segment of the trip, as well as a link to some more photos from this leg of our trip.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1XWcWqSwQcDaG5zD9

#10 – The Prairies

Exploring downtown Winnipeg

We spent a full week exploring the Canadian Prairies. We had great weather and good driving conditions for the whole time. We tried to stay north as we came down from Fort St John and skip along northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Our first night was in Fahler, Alberta and it was full on harvest time. Combines in the fields, farmers working and hay rolls everywhere. Fahler is also the honey bee capital of Canada and had a huge bee in town. We stayed at a beautiful municipal park with power, showers and just a couple other campers.

We drove through Cold Lake, Alberta, home of the Snowbirds and giant air force base. We spent a night at Beaver Creek provincial campground. It was decent, but busy.

Next day we crossed into Saskatchewan and visited Athabasca, which was a nice stop and had some interesting history. We then spent two gorgeous days at a giant, empty mega campground near Battleford, Saskatchewan. It was strange to be at a spot that had thousands of campers a week earlier and now it was just us and the retirees.

Beautiful sunset, Battleford Lakes SK

We had power, showers, sunshine and space, and so we settled in for 2 nights. We had a few nice hikes, a couple of refreshing swims and lots of time to read.

After Battleford, we headed straight for Saskatoon to do some laundry and also get a hotel room for the night! (Our first one!) We also enjoyed a nice dinner out to celebrate Caroline’s birthday. Good thing we brought some nice clothes.

Getting shrunk at Moosomin Lake SK

After Saskatoon we went south and aimed to hook up with the trans Canada #1 highway. Our main road for the rest of the trip. We also had our check engine light come on! We knew it was a minor issue, most likely related to some bad fuel. We got it looked at it Winnipeg and it’s been fine ever since.

Tiny Caroline!

Before Winnipeg, we spent a night at Moosomin Lake, which has a super nice little regional park with camping. It was also very quiet as everyone had gone back home for school and work. We still enjoyed our time exploring their giant chairs.

Museum of Human Rights. Winnipeg MB

In Winnipeg, we got lots done! We did a big shop, loaded up with supplies, got our truck looked at and sorted out and spent a morning walking around downtown. It was a beauty blue sky day and we really enjoyed all the public art and parks by the river.

After Winnipeg, we set our sights for Northern Ontario. We were excited for this next chapter and also to see some family and friends. Next stops will be Kenora and Thunder Bay.

Below is a link to more photos from this segment of our adventures.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Hb4u6phPWmnhTLvW6

#7 – Kluane Park: Bears, Hikes and Lakes!

We were excited to head west after we stocked up in Whitehorse. With our loaded, charged and full Camper, we merged onto the Alaskan Highway and headed west. Kluane National Park is well known for some amazing views, lots of huge mountains, including Mt Logan, the tallest mountain in Canada. Lots of glaciers, bears and sheep to see as well.

Pine Lake

We first stayed at Pine Lake, about two hours west of Whitehorse, and had a great time riding our bikes into Haines Junction. We enjoyed the views and slowed down for a couple of days. We found an amazing rasberry patch and enjoyed the fruits of summer.

Fireweed Season

Congdon Creek was a pretty exciting place to stay, as it was right on the “bear corridor”, or the Bear Buffet as we called it. The feeling was that they built this campground on the wrong spot, as the giant grizzly bears have been using it as a highway for a lot longer. The tenters had to stay in an electrically protected enclosure, but our camper kept us safe and warm once again. We used Congdon Creek as a jumping off point for a great hike called the Sheep’s Creek Trail that overlooked an amazing river delta

lots of erosionary processes going on

This was a very interesting region to explore. We drove up the Alaska Highway as far as Burwash Landing, which was still about another 150km to get to the actual border. It was still closed to Canadians when we got there, so we will have to come back again for an Alaskan adventure.

Here is our video for this chapter. with some photos linked below!

Photos from this chapter of our trip: https://photos.app.goo.gl/cBm6KaU9RotERVABA

Next video is all about Kathleen Lake, Cacross Dunes and Atlin BC!

# 6 – Back to Whitehorse!

After a lot of hiking around Tombstone Park and with some sore feet, we decided to head back south. Tombstone was the northern zenith of our trip, the literal high point and the most north we have both ever been. We had such a great time, and with such amazing weather, it was hard to turn the truck around and head down south.

We camped for a night at Tatchun Lake and caught the tail end of a pleasant thunder and lightening storm. We were safe, dry and warm in our Camper and had nothing to worry about. We got to swim before hand and the lake was super pleasant!

The world’s biggest Cinnamon Bun from Braeburn Lodge, Yukon.

We treated ourselves with a very tasty treat, a Cinnamon Bun from the Braeburn Lodge, halfway between Dawson City and Whitehorse, near the five finger rapids of the Yukon River. We heard these were big, but really, they were gigantic. We shared one, over three solid sessions, and were stuffed! Glad we got only the one.

We were returning to Whitehorse to restock, restore, and refresh ourselves and our camper. We needed supplies and a shower mostly. We also wanted to see some of the more touristy stuff of Whitehorse, mainly the Beringa Museum and the Transportation Museum, conviently located next to each other at the side of the Alaskan Highway. We enjoyed both!

One of the most important planes to the north after WWII
Yolo’ing the rapids at Miles Canyon

We also checked out Miles Canyon, a very scenic spot just outside of Whitehorse, with hiking along a narrow canyon, full of white water that was a serious hazard for the early prospectors of the gold rush.

We had a great second visit to Whitehorse and we are feeling that we are getting to know the city a little better. We stayed at the same RV park and were able to get some laundry done, some more showers and charged up our batteries. Here is our video from this segment:

As well, we have more photos from this segment of our trip at the link below!

Next chapter we will be heading to the Kluane National Park, near Haines Junction and visit Pine Lake, and Congdon Creek. Apparently there is lots of Grizzlies!

https://photos.app.goo.gl/kv8Rpw6XauvSH9Bg7

#5 – Tombstone Park and Dempster Highway

After a great time in Dawson City. we headed north for Tombstone Park, 70kms up the Dempster Highway. The Dempster Highway is well known for blowing tires, huge pot holes and long distances between fuel stops. It traverses the arctic for over 700kms through the Northwest Territories to the Arctic Ocean.

We wanted to explore it a bit, but not go all the way. Plus, the Northwest Territories were closed to non residents. We decided to just go to Tombstone Park, a beautiful valley 70kms north of Dawson City.

Our Camper all setup for the sun!

We stayed for four nights as the weather was phenomenal and our site was fantastic. We were right beside the early North Klondike River, when it was still more of a creek. Every day was sunny and hot, above 30 degrees Celsius. We loved every moment there.

A panorama of the valley we stayed in.

We did lots of hiking from this camp spot. Just above us was the Goldensides Trail, and it provided amazing views.

Staying cool beside the North Klondike River.

We saw lots of wildlife during our stay in Tombstone. We saw a cow Moose just 400meters from our campsite, as well as a flourishing beaver den with a beaver swimming around collecting dinner. We saw marmots, foxes and thankfully, no grizzly bears!

Looking north from the Goldensides Trail
We harvested a bunch of wild blueberries and made some Jam. Delicious!

We were at the right place at the right time and the wild blueberries were in full harvest. Everywhere we hiked, we snacked as we went. One night we collected a bunch and made some Jam. It was my breakfast of choice for the next few weeks!

Looking west towards Tombstone Mountain (in the middle) from the Grizzly Lake trail lookout.

South of Tombstone Park, we hiked the Grizzly Lake trail, or at least half of it. We hiked up into the alpine to the “lookout” and were rewarded with this amazing view, looking over Grizzly Lake to Tombstone mountain.

After these hikes, we were a little sore and ready to head south, back towards Whitehorse to resupply, shower and map out our exploration, into the Kluane region and Haines Junction.

Here are some photos from this part of our trip! https://photos.app.goo.gl/aL6rcCuiaD4gZsU19

Here is the video we’ve put together of our experiences from this amazing place:

#2 – Famous Places – Bear Glacier, Stewart BC, and Jade City

Our second and third days on our journey north went through some pretty famous spots. We started on the Cassiar Highway, famous for being a very picturesque highway with lots of beautiful lookouts and stops. Its also known for being a little rough or ‘bumpy’, we which can confirm. 100% correct. We bounced and bumped our way along, visiting Stewart, BC a quirky little city with a big past and a close town, Hyder, USA, that we wished we could visit.

We also drove past Bear Glacier, which has been retreating away from the highway over the last few decades, but still provides a beautiful view of ice and power to move mountains!

Caroline checking out the Glacier

We drove through Dease Lake on our way north and ended up spending the night boondocking in the Jade City parking lot, which offered “FREE RV PARKING” which immediately appealed to us, of course. I also happen to be a huge fan of the tv show “Jade Fever” which explores a family Jade mining operation nearby. During our travel through, we followed Scrappy Larry, a scrap dealer from the show for a while, and saw Larry himself and his son at the Jade City store. We also got to watch Gary fire up “SixPack” their old, broken down work truck that is a big part of their mining operation and show.

Our video below shows some of these explorations and more, with some bonus footage of the Jade City work truck “Six Pack” from the tv show “Jade Fever”

Here is a link to some more photos from this segment of our trip!

A&C

Check out our Camper!

Hi Everyone!
We hope you are well, staying cool, and enjoying the start of your summer.

Below is a video tour of our camper. This camper and truck will carry us north to the Yukon, east across Canada, and hopefully south, through the USA on our way back home to British Columbia by December 2021.

Our camper is a older Northern Lite 9-6 “Lite” Camper from the mid 90s. Its got everything we need, as you’ll see in the video and provides us with a home away from home, in the back of our truck.

Check out our Camper!

We are spending this first part of our trip visiting with Family that we haven’t seen in a while. We have been to Gordon Bay, Cowichan Lake, Chemanius, Burnaby, and Gibsons, and will be heading north in a couple of weeks. More videos to come of our adventures!

Hope to see you sometime soon!

#A&C

https://twitter.com/aaronmueller

Our Youtube Channel

Here we Go!

We made it! After a unique year, when we all wondered what was going to happen, what we might be able to do, and where we might be able to go, we think we have a solid plan for our sabbatical year ahead.

Our original plan was to travel around the world last year and obviously it was no longer possible. We have spent the year teaching, and watching, to see when the vaccines would become available, and what options we might have. We’ve had to pivot, and pivot again, multiple times and we still need to be flexible and accomodating in where we go and when.

With all that said, we are super happy to be heading out soon and starting our year of adventure. We both are at mid-points in our teaching career and are looking forward to the break and opportunity to see lots of new places and people, and to visit with lots of family and friends. We’ve been planning and saving for this trip for over 5 years now and it felt like this last year was one long over-time period!

Where are we going first?

As we are fully vaccinated now, we are able to go north to the Yukon! Its been our dream to see the north and explore this vast, beautiful territory. Our first plan was to take the ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert, but unfortunately, one of the ferries blew a main engine and is out for the summer, our reservation was cancelled and we needed to pivot once again.

So, now the plan is to head up through the mainland, after visiting family in Chemainus, Vancouver, and Gibsons first. We are aiming to be in Dawson City for the end of July and to spend about 2 weeks exploring the territory. After that, we want to point our truck south and start to slowly make our way across the country!

Our truck is a 2015 F-250 Super Duty Crew Cab Long Box with some interesting modifications (That HUGE front bumper!), airbags, torklift tie-downs, bed raiser, and lots of safety equipment. Our camper is an older Northern Lite Camper 9-6 “lite” series from the mid 90s. Its got all the features we wanted in a camper, with lots of space, storage, cooking setup, fridge, furnace, solar panel, batteries and comfort. It even has a very small ‘wet’ bath! It is a light weight fiberglass camper that has an excellent reputation and is in good shape. We were lucky to be able to find it as they are popular and rare.

We hope to be able to share short videos of our experiences, adventures and escapades over the next few months. You can subscribe to our blog here to get email updates when we publish new posts, and you can subscribe to my youtube channel here

Follow along with us and stay in touch. Our plan is to maybe come back through the US once the border opens up, and to travel internationally in 2022. Stay tuned for updates as we solidify our plans and pivot around obstacles. If we are coming near you sometime this year, we would love to stop in and visit, maybe even park outside for a night and mooch some electricity and boondock in our camper out front of your place.



We hope this post finds you well, and that you are also looking forward to this next post-pandemic period that is slowly opening up across Canada.

See you soon!

Little Qualicum Falls

Hello Everyone!


Little Qualicum Falls
Recently we were able to go camping on Vancouver Island, at a beautiful little spot called Little Qualicum Falls, near Qualicum Beach, and Coombs, a little north of Nanaimo. Its a nice little campground, with excellent trails that cross over the river multiple times allowing you to explore and enjoy the set of waterfalls!

We were there when there was lots of fresh melt from the mountains and lots of white water. The campground was busy, the weather was amazing and it was another chance for us to test out all the equipment and gear for our truck and camper! We really liked our new folding camping table, our new radio, and some other little bits of gear that should make our upcoming trip a lot more comfortable.

I made a short little video of our weekend, with some walks around the falls, and a day trip to nearby Cameron Lake, along an old railway line.

We are on the final countdown to our trip! With some good news on the horizon, more people getting vaccinated, and plans for opening up our province and country, things are looking good for our summer and fall adventures. Stay tuned for more adventures and fun times!

A&C