For our sixth summer heading to the far north, we elected to drive. It was a fabulous way to decompress from winter and gear up for our busy season. I was excited to see the National Parks and famous sites until Banff and Jasper in Canada; after that, I figured there would be little but prairie and an occasional mountain. However, our first couple days were rainy and snowy - so much so that we could not even see the Grand Tetons, major roads were not yet open for the season through Yellowstone National Park, those that had opened required chains on tires, Lake Louise in Banff was covered in a thick layer of ice, and the foliage in Jasper had not yet even considered emerging. Needless to say, the first half of our journey was not as I had hoped, but the second half was surprisingly stunning. The snow-covered peaks, forever-long icy lakes, and snowy scenes of evergreen forests made wandering northward through Canada (the Cassiar Hwy route) a lovely way to spend a week.
We pulled my folks' pop-up camper with my little Oldsmobile Bravada but did get to stay three nights with friends along the way. Many campgrounds were not yet open for the season and gas stations were not always self-serve 24/7 which resulted in one night of creative camping... at a local airstrip. Linde quickly learned how to pop down the camper and really enjoyed spending cozy nights in her dinosaur print sleeping bag. In the car, she sang to her Raffi cd, snuggled and played "pat-a-cake" with her stuffed bear "Ashford," and loved bags of activities packed with love by her grandmas. Linde was happy to get back into the car after each stop, talked about the friends she would get to see in "The 'Laska," and adapted to napping twice each day as that best fit the long road trip days. Eddie patiently napped in the back of the car and kindly only got car sick once.
Austin and I, as a last-minute idea, brought along a couple hundred old cds we had not heard in the last decade-and-a-half. Each time we packed up and moved houses, over the last several years, we told ourselves that someday we would sort through them and put only the bests onto our computers. This turned out to be one of the most fun parts of the trip. We would listen to 2-3 tracks and decide if it was a "keeper" or if would find a new home in a trashcan at the next fuel station or remote rest stop. Below is the 10 minute video summary of our trip; please enjoy the awesome, strange, varied, and occasional terrible music selections in the background (which in no way represents our current taste in music).