Like many other people, the last year-and-a-half or so has been a turmoil. Much of that time, we were unable to travel by RV, and we haven’t been able to RV into the USA since March 2020. That has been a significant blow to my family, as our favorite camping haunts are south of the Canadian border. Last summer we were able to travel to a wedding in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories. While the Yukon is definitely not in the Pacific Northwest (well it IS in the Pacific Northwest of Canada), I highly recommend a trip along the Alaska Highway.

The scenic road traverses some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. During one fuel stop we were delayed in exiting the fuel island due to a herd of Bison blocking the RV. We observed more wildlife outside the motorhome during that trip than we have on any other venture. None of us had ever seen Bison outside a zoo before, so it was a fascinating sight. The dogs had also never seen Bison before, and while the larger, older, and wiser dog quickly realized they were animals to be respected and silently observed, the smaller dog had to be covered up with a blanket whenever Bison were in sight because he would bark mercilessly. The Bison were unfazed by this of course, even if they could hear him.

That was a wonderful two weeks away in the RV, and we also saw bears, deer, coyotes, and wolves. The north is their domain and they roam it freely and in plentiful numbers. We saw many Bison herds, most of them grazing by the side of the highway, ignoring the vehicles passing by.

Because a good majority of our RV travel is to the USA, I have rarely ventured around my own province and country. I do have relatives in northern Alberta, so I am quite familiar with the road corridors between Vancouver and Alberta, but prior to the Yukon trip, I had not travelled to the far north of British Columbia, which is a vast province. When I was a young lad, we did travel across Canada and the USA in a Winnebago for six months. I have regrets that I do not remember most of that trip, but my parents and siblings talk about it often. My wife and I sometimes discuss repeating that trip someday.

We have pledged to do more travelling around BC, including more trips to Vancouver Island. We did happen to venture to the island a few weekends ago, but BC ferries is unfortunately very expensive, and it cost us almost $500CDN round trip just to get there. However, there is some beautiful scenery and great provincial parks to be found there. I am reminded of the time we decided to spend the day hopping around the San Juan islands. I found the Washington state ferry service to be excellent, and a fraction of the price of our ferry system.

I’m not sure why we have historically decided to make the USA our primary RV travel destination, but I think it stems mainly from the fact that our annual vacations have always been to California, a 35-year tradition that was broken by Covid in 2020. We always try to find new things to do on our way south, and during the last trip we decided to visit volcanos. On the way to Southern California, we visited Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helen’s, and Mt. Shasta. I’m sure most readers have visited at least the first of these.

Default RV trips will be to the U.S.

You may have noticed that in this entire article, I have not mentioned specific RV parks and have discussed only the journey. This is one of the primary joys of RV travel; it’s not just the destination but the journey that makes the lifestyle so enjoyable.

My family may find more time to venture around our own province more in the future, as the trip up north offered a wonderous glimpse into nature, but our default road trips will continue to be the numerous opportunities that can be found in the western United States. While Canada does have some great national and provincial parks and campgrounds, the state, federal, and national camping and recreation opportunities in the USA is second to none!

More journeys in Canada

As of this writing, there is still no indication of when the US border may open (a decision by the US government regarding Oct. 21 opening is imminent). The Canadian border opened to vaccinated US travelers at the beginning of September, so I hope readers are taking advantage of that. As I’ve stated in almost all my articles here, my family is anxiously waiting for this decision, even if just so we can return to our membership property in Birch Bay.

Editor's Note: On Nov. 8, the U.S. will lift restrictions on Canadians driving across the border that have been in place since practically the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Questions? Comments? Please add your thoughts below.

Steve Froese
Author: Steve FroeseEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Steve Froese is a Licensed Professional Engineer in British Columbia, as well as an Interprovincial Red Seal RV Technician, which is equivalent to a Master Certified RV Technician in the USA. Steve was a personal friend and colleague of the late Gary Bunzer (“the RV Doctor”), and works closely with FMCA as the monthly “Tech Talk” columnist, as well as being a member of the Technical Advisory and Education Committees. Steve and his family are lifelong and avid RVers, mostly in the Pacific Northwest.


0 #2 Steve 2021-11-11 18:38
Hi Patti, thanks for your comment. I will address your final comment first. We always plan well in advance of our trip. In fact, we already have most of our RV sites booked for our trip next July. The great thing about RVing is that you can plan some activities while winging others. Makes for a great lifestyle!
In terms of trip logistics, we were going to a family wedding in Whitehorse, and we have family in Logan Lake (in Northern BC), so our RV park there was also arranged. RV lodging is not something I usually like to attempt on the fly, especially in the summer, so I pre-booked the other stops. We also did trip planning, seeking out interesting stops along the way. Note that with large RVs and combinations (we have a 40' pusher towing a Prius on a dolly), it is sometimes difficult to plan stops in advance. Sometimes this requires booking an RV site, then driving back to interesting stops in the car. Also, in this case, we knew groceries would be both expensive and possible not easily accessible in the RV, so we took lots of groceries with us, thankful for our 4-door 12 cubic foot fridge. If we were travelling in the fall or winter, we would also have checked road conditions and planned alternate routes. In fact, on our return trip home, there was a serious mud slide that blocked the route we were planning to take, so we had to take an alternate route home. Fortunately we found out about it prior to taking the turnoff, but had we taken that, it would have significantly delayed us. Part of the RV lifestyle is to find things along the way that you didn't plan for or didn't know about. While we planned to see wildlife, we did not anticipate the many herds of Bison we saw right on the side of the road. In fact, one large bull blocked our exit from a fuelling station for several minutes. Never be in a hurry during your travels.
0 #1 Patti 2021-10-31 14:50
A trip along the Alaska Highway has long been on my radar, ever since I read about the “Al-Can” Highway in my geography books. I’d love to hear more about the logistics of your trip and what you found helpful to have on hand and know - gas station and grocery locations, things your family found personally helpful in bringing an RV up that way. Meanwhile, we look forward to having you back in the States. You will find some things have changed since COVID started - camping has EXPLODED during that time period since it was one of the only safe things we could do. If you are making reservations you will want to make them as early as you can. Camping was a lifesaver for us and we were so glad we could stick close to home yet get out and have adventures here in Washington.

Add comment

Security code

More share buttons