It's been a very, very long time since I've had any extra time on my hands, but this is precisely where I found myself this summer. I wanted to make the most of it and I wanted to go on a trip that I would never forget. And that's how I discovered RVing.
Due to my recent retirement from Skeleton racing, I had extra time. In fact, I had more time than I've had in 20 years, or since before I could drive... legally at least! My wife Darla and I wanted to take advantage of our recent life changes which also included a move to Victoria. We had a number of commitments that our wagon was tied to and our attendance was mandatory, so we had to build the rest of our holiday around those. Little did we know the perfect solution was waiting.
Darla and I have crisscrossed this amazing country a number of times. We've been able to see and do a great deal as a result of the teams and projects we've been a part of. The only problem was that it had always been very structured. We never got the chance to savour it and longed for the opportunity to kick back and enjoy the ride -- though we never thought the ride would look like this.
As we pieced together what we wanted to do, divine intervention stepped in -- Go RVing Canada approached us about working together this summer to help raise awareness about the RV lifestyle and the boatload of benefits it offers.
Darla and I both grew up camping, she in the bush with her Grandparents and me in little campgrounds all over the place, but neither of us have done much of it in the last 20 years and we were both green when it came to RVing. We didnʼt know how to operate a home-on-wheels and were concerned about our ability to maneuver it around the hazards that were patiently waiting to eat up our deposit. Excited by the chance to hit the open road in an RV, we set out not knowing what to expect outside of some jaw-dropping scenery and quintessentially Canadian adventures.
It took about 10 minutes and one night of camping to feel like a boss behind the wheel of our 32ʼ C class RV. It handled like a dream and I felt like I could have parallel parked it on a crowded city street. We travelled some 6000 kilometres this summer and it felt like 500. Iʼve crossed the prairies hundreds of times and I can say without a doubt that this trip stands apart from the others for a few reasons. What made it different? In an RV:
1. You can go to the bathroom while driving. Iʼm not sure itʼs legal or even acceptable RV etiquette, but in case of emergencies you can get it done.
2. The term "pack a lunch" takes on a whole new meaning - you have all your food and accoutrements at your fingertips.
3. There is no need to leave any sports equipment at home, you can bring it all with you.
4. You get to sleep comfortably in nature and enjoy freedom from noise, light, and air pollution.
5. You can carry an axe and not only walk around with it, but you can get some serious exercise using it.
6. You come home with a new perspective. In my case, I realized that humans are massive consumers and RVing helped me simplify.
7. You see the world you are a part of with your own eyes. Seeing is believing: the world is a beautiful place.
8. You are in the driver's seat of your own adventure, so you can take life by the wheel and create the trip you deseRVe!
From Crystal Cove in Tofino and Cascade Cove in Christina Lake, Darla and I were greeted with new surprises at every turn. My discovery of a hidden gem in BC that my wife decided to let me in on will forever be one of my favorite places to visit in Canada. I won't spoil the secret, but you might discover it for yourselves if you tour around.
We were able to watch Ben Harper perform at Birds Hill Provincial Park at Winnipeg's world-renowned Folk Fest. The Wasagaming Campground in Riding Mountain National Park, an hour from my hometown of Russell, was like a homecoming - I hadn't actually camped there in about 28 years. Stops in Drumheller, Lake Louise Trailer Campground at Banff National Park, and Whistler Riverside Campground punctuated our trip. The destinations, campgrounds, scenery and people we passed changed as often as the songs on the radio.
Discovering Canada this way was remarkable. We are among the most privileged people in the world to be able to call it home. We loved discovering our surroundings and exploring our own backyard. Darla and I hope that we've inspired even a handful of Canadians to see more of this great country of ours, and potentially to see it by RV. Whether a downtown city-dweller, suburban parent or small town country kid, anyone can have (and enjoy) their own RV adventure. And the best part is that no two RV vacations are the same, and it looks quite different depending on who you ask. The outdoors are amazing -- you don't need a membership, and shirts and shoes are optional.
As we passed through small towns and big cities from Victoria to Winnipeg and back again, passing fields of rolling green and yellow crops, we absorbed every passing moment excitedly. There was no destination greater than the trip we were on. I loved how traveling with a purpose, like I've done with sport and TV, was able to be accomplished in such a laid-back way. I didn't feel like I needed a vacation when I got home from a 6000 Km Canadian road-trip. And the best part? We can't wait to get back out on the road again.
See you down the line...
This summer, Jon Montgomery partnered with Go RVing Canada to share his RV experiences, in hopes of inspiring others to see more of Canada and to consider seeing it by RV. The Go RVing Canada coalition is a non-profit association that consists of RV manufacturers, component suppliers, dealers and regional RV associations. GoRVing.ca is the go-to for all RVing related information, providing instructional videos, trip planning tools, RV basics and a lifestyle blog. Thank you to Camping and RV BC and Parks Canada for helping Jon and Darla plan their stops along the way.
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