After checking Iceland of our bucket list, it was now time to check of another country of our wishlist: Canada.
Finding our wheels
Before coming to Canada we did quite some research regarding renting a camper (RV) for 4 weeks during our travels through Alberta, The Rocky Mountains and British Columbia. When inquiring quotes and looking for availability we found out that most of the small and medium sized RV’s were unavailable. Renting a large RV (minimum of 9 meters long!) would costs us about C$6000 (± €5000) including mileage and some camping gear. That’s just a crazy amount of money just for renting a vehicle and doesn’t include any of the campground costs and gas. And don’t forget the enormous size of the RV! After this shock we figured it might be more convenient and affordable to stay at Airbnb’s and B&B, while exploring West Canada with a regular car. Henk, an uncle of Tjeerd Paul who lives in Canada, was kind enough to help us find a decent car company and helped us to get a better deal as we would rent the car for quite a while. In the last week before we took of for our world trip all accommodation and car rental was book. We’d only have to collect the car an go!
Day of arrival
The flight from Reykjavik to Edmonton was a nice and comfortable sit. We hoped to get a visa stamp in our passport when passing security, but unfortunately everything was electronic. More space for stamps in the future.
We arrived in the afternoon and were picked up by the lovely Henk and Harma, family of Tjeerd Paul. After the warm welcome at the airport they took us to Boston Pizza for a quick dinner. Because of the time difference our day was 30 hours long and dinner felt like a late night snack to us. After filling our stomachs with some pizza the only thing left to do was having a good night sleep.
Getting stuff done in Edmonton
Wednesday was the day that we wanted to get some stuff done; picking up the car, getting a Canadian sim card and buying a small Bose speaker. Unfortunately the day didn’t go as planned. The car that was reserved for us was given to someone else, so they gave us another car which was a small upgrade. When inspecting the car the engine light was on. No way that we would take that car! But no other car was available. So no car for us today. The rental company would phone around to see if they can find another car available somewhere else in the area, which we’d hopefully could collect on Thursday.
Ok, the car thing was sorted, kind of. Now it was time to get a sim card and Bose speaker. Buying the speaker was no problem of course. But getting a sim card is another story. After some asking around we found that getting a sim card from Bell or ?? was the best option. But the store didn’t have any sim cards in stock anymore. Bummer, but we’d find it somewhere else then. Another employee of the store suddenly had another idea. As we’d be in Canada for more than 4 weeks it could be interesting to get a contract with Fido and cancel the contract after a month. It would be much cheaper than a prepaid sim card and canceling after a month would be free of charge. After asking some more questions it seemed a good option, so we went for it. We’re good to go, so we thought.
When arriving back ‘home’ we received conformation e-mail mentioning all kind of extra charges. This was not like they told us in the store! After contacting the customer service we canceled the contract immediately. You never know what kind of issues you get yourself into when canceling the contract after a month and we didn’t feel like wanting for it. So no car and no sim card at the at of the day. Luckily we found our Bose speaker we’ve been looking for which really has amazing sound! And you know what, we’d just go on WiFi wherever we’d go. Having no internet isn’t the end of the world ;).
Thursday was now the pick up of our car. So as agreed we’d pick up our car around 1 pm. Everything seemed alright. All scratches were noted, fuel tank was full, no engine lights or other lights burning, so we’re good to go! And the good thing was the car had cruise control, had a huge trunk for all our luggage and groceries and had all kind of other bonus features assisting you when driving. We felt awesome driving this buddy on wheels!
After exploring some more shops in Edmonton (read West Edmonton Mall = biggest mall in North America), getting our last things and spending the last couple of days with the family; eating out, having amazing breakfast at IHOP and watching football together, it was time to hit the road and start cruising Canada! (Thanks Henk & Harma for having us!)
Cruising to Calgary and Drumheller
The starting trip of our trip was Calgary. It’s a ‘short’ ride from Edmonton and would we our gateway to the Rocky Mountains. But when talking with the family they told us the Drumheller area would also be very nice to explore. As we had booked 2 nights in Calgary and it was only 1,5 hours drive to Drumheller from Calgary, we figured it was our only chance to see the place where most fossils of dinosaurs are found in the world.
On our way to Drumheller the scenery was kind of boring. It was flat, empty and yellow of grain fields. But when becoming closely to Drumheller the scenery changed and turned into this weird hill-like area ‘below’ ground at Horseshoe Canyon. Something like we’ve never seen before. We drove further into Drumheller and went to the visitors center for some extra info on what to see and do in the area. A lovely, young woman told us about the Dinosaur trail and Hoodoo Drive that takes you through a big part of the area, showing most of the sights. Sounds like a plan to us!
During this drive we visited Atlas Coal mine, the famous Hoodoos (which you can find on several places in Canada), one of the smallest churches you’ll probably see and another gorgeous valley were many fossils of dinosaurs where found. It was really a beautiful drive Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to visit the museum where you’ll find more information about the fossils that are found in the Drumheller area. After this fulfilling and scenic day it was time to get back to Calgary.