Monday, 29 August 2016

A Road Trip Dream

I want to go on a road trip. It's an anxiety building within me, a kind of urgency to escape my daily life and become once again an adventurer on the road and sea. Being on the road brings a kind of freedom from ALS though not an escape from the wheelchair. For a bit, for a part of each day, I can forget about the disease as the miles wash away the coat of despair upon me.

The single reason I cannot go is financial. No, this is not a request for help or a setup for a Go Fund Me campaign. It's simply the reason I cannot go. On average, a road trip day costs about $250, depending on where I eat, what I eat, the cost of a wheelchair accessible motel, and the fuel consumed. So the base cost of a two week road trip is around $3,500. Add some extra for special events and such, and you are looking at an easy $4,000 for two weeks. And it's about the same whether you have one person or two or three or even four!

The trip I want to do these days would take me from Calgary to Bella Coola, then on the ferry to Port Hardy. I would like to stay a couple of days in Telelgraph Cove, where I could take a whale watching boat trip for an afternoon, and perhaps a charter fishing trip for another afternoon. It might even be possible to go into the Broughton Islands, possible to Echo Bay, for a side trip. I would love to see those islands and coves again before I die.

Next it would be down to Campbell River for a night, then on to Victoria to visit my son-in-law, my daughter and her two kids. A couple of days in Victoria would be fun. I might even finally get to see Craigdarroch Castle. In all my time in Victoria, I've never visited, although I doubt that it is wheelchair friendly. Even so, just to see the outside would be fun.

The next leg would be a backwards leg, driving up to Port Renfrew, then over the logging roads to Bamfield. I am not sure about accommodations there, but I have already proven that I can sleep in the back of the truck if necessary. I just have to have help getting in there. Or if I am alone, I can also sleep in the front of the truck. I'll just slide over to the passenger seat and lean back.

From Bamfield it would be off to Port Alberni and over to Nanaimo. I'd stay there for the next day, taking the ferry to Gabriola Island and going for dinner in Silva Bay. It's one of loveliest ports in the Gulf Islands, and is another place I would like to see once more. After that, it's off to Vancouver to visit my Mom and Ray, Rick, and Meaghan and family.

The trip home is only a day. However if the right person was with me, and we had the money, I would detour through Seattle for a couple of days, then backtrack to Sedro Wolley. From there I would take the highway through the Cascades to the Washington town of Okanagan, and then head up to Osoyoos for the night. From there, I would wiggle my way home somehow, perhaps with a stop in Nelson or Cranbrook.

I haven't counted the days on this trip. I haven't counted the miles. I haven't done a budget or made a plan or even looked at the ferry schedule. I've done none of this, because I know I can't go. I need two things; money, and a travel partner or partners with a sense of adventure and a willingness to help.

NB. I made a speadsheet. Of course I made a spreadsheet. I have to make a spreadsheet. It's the rule!


  1. Richard, speaking of travel: I have followed your blog for some time (can't remember how I stumbled across it, but there..) and was esp interested in the loop through the NWT/Yukon/AK you took last summer. I am living in New Orleans (one of quite a few Canadians down here) and always have wanted to do this route. Problem is that I really do not want to take my vehicle across the US to do it. I have not found much in terms of public transportation that would be useful, so my question is this: do you have any advice on how one might manage this ? Do you think it is possible to rent a vehicle somewhere (Edmonton ?) for three weeks ? From a company that would let one take the vehicle across what are probably not always the best road conditions ? Any thoughts ? Michael

  2. Actually there are a lot of rented cars and RV's on the Alaska Highway and the Yukon Highway. There are not as many, rented or otherwise, along the Dempster Highway; it's long and gravel, and that scares off a lot of people.

    I think the best way for you to do this would be to fly to Edmonton or Whitehorse and rent a car there. Let them know that you are doing the Alaska Highway. Make sure you ask them for an extra spare tire. Check with the rental companies. They are used to this happening.