2020 Travel Journal
A reverse chronological travel listing:
04Dec-06Dec2020 Chilliwack BC
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 70, Months: 2.2
On Friday afternoon we headed over to Chilliwack to get out of the house, go for a drive and basically chill. In Chilliwack.
We took the scenic route along zero avenue from Surrey into Abbotsford and then took the highway into Chilliwack.
It’s the pandemic of course, and the U.S. Canada border is closed. We filmed the following.
Before dark we headed towards Bridal Veil Falls. We filmed the following little hike:
After, we went over to our favourite parking spot both Friday and Saturday nights - geo:49.105507,-121.96441. On Saturday we headed over for a stroll along the Vedder River Canal.
On Sunday we slept in, ate a very late breakfast, and literally just lazed around in the van. Watched YouTube/NetFlix, drank coffee, ate. Lazy. Lazy. Cold outside, warm inside. Mid-afternoon we headed home.
27Nov-30Nov2020 Squamish and Whistler BC
Nights This Trip: 3, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 68, Months: 2.1
On Friday afternoon we took the Sprinter up through Vancouver over the Lions Gate Bridge and into a rainy Squamish. We found a parking spot in the industrial area parked on a private lot kitty-corner to the Coastal Ford dealership and used the free wifi using our Ubiquiti Nanostation M2 for the evening. The location was Queens Way and Commercial Place.
On Saturday we took a drive over the Squamish Valley Road into out-of-cellular range, and parked by the river and had breakfast with a view. Very quiet except for the odd passing vehicle.
We then headed over into Squamish again for went over to the Squamish Dike.
Saturday night we found a level spot behind the Shoppers Drug Mart and slept there for the night.
On Sunday we headed into Whistler, with a really nice sunny day the sunshine lit up the snow on the mountains. We parked in one of the main lots and then walked through Whistler Village. What a difference covid made to this normally bustling tourist town. It was really dead slow. A few businesses had closed including one of two Starbucks locations in the village. Many of the bars and restaurants were also empty.It was a Sunday which is normally packed with people. After our two hour pakring expired we headed over to Painted Cliff Road where we could nap for a while without any parking restrictions. In fact, during the winter months you can park there on weekends without any restrictions, and any time after 5pm during the week. So basically you could stealth camp in the area for free.
Later in the afternoon after our nap and some early dinner we headed back into Squamish for a place to stay, mainly so that we could charge the Yeti 1000 battery while we drove. The snow started to fall in Whistler and by the time we arrived in Squamish it was pouring rain. We found a good spot along Pemberton Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue which was very level and quiet at night.
Monday morning after breakfast we headed into Vancouver for a walk around False Creek and enjoyed the view of the water and boats. After, we headed home, cleaned and replenished the van for the next trip.
09Nov-14Nov2020 Cypress Mountain, Vancouver, Crescent Beach, White Rock, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody
Nights This Trip: 6, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 65, Months: 1.9
On Monday morning, we headed into downtown Vancouver for our dental appointment, had an early dinner then headed up to Cypress. It was a wet and cold afternoon, and the higher we headed up the mountain the more the rain changed to snow. Here is a video of the drive up:
and then a video of the van at the top of Cypress Mountain in the snow:
Afterwards we drove a bit around the downtown core just to see the lights at night and look for another spot to park and sleep. We returned to the same spot as a couple weeks ago - 12 block of West Hastings Street - very level and quiet during the night in front of residential townhomes. Parking meters require payment between 9am and 10pm, so we had to pay a few dollars since we arrived at 7pm to rest.
Tuesday morning we headed over to the Vancouver Harbour close to Stanley Park and enjoyed breafast in the van. After we headed through Vancouver towards Surrey for an appointment we had in the early afternoon. We then headed home to clean up and refresh the van.
On the Tuesday evening we headed over to Cresent Beach and parked in a level parking spot next to the Seahorse Grill and fell asleep nearly instantly.
On Wednesday morning we drove over to Blackie Spit in Cresent Beach, parked by the ocean and rested there most of the day. Took some video of our walk over by the trail
and also took a two hour timelapse of the tide rolling in, compressed down to one minute:
Later that day we headed over to Burnaby and into Coquitlam, found a level parking spot at the corner of Whiting Way and Webster Avenue.
On Thursday morning we drove to Deer Lake Park just for the view - it was raining so we cancelled our plans to do the 5km trail walk.
We then headed into Burnaby to do some shopping, then drove into White Rock and found a good level spot to sleep at:
On Friday morning we then drove out to the White Rock Beach parking lot to enjoy breakfast and coffee inside the van. Rain was incredibly heavy during the night and into mid-day Friday. Our Yeti 1000 was in need of recharging. We purposely don’t have any solar panels on the roof, and with the very short days and lots of rain during the fall/winter months, it won’t get much use anyway. So we drove out to Belcarra Regional Park and explored the area.
There are parking restrictions all over the Belcarra residential areas - they absolutely do not want any overnighters or vanlifers parked on the side of the road. Though it would be a perfect area to do so, we could not. So don’t plan on coming to the area thinking that you could stealth camp - it just won’t work.
We found a quiet spot in Port Moody on Murray Street and Grant Street, affectionately known as Brewers Row. Many craft beer establishments along the same road and area. There are five unique operations on Brewers Row. It’s most likely the most densely concentrated grouping of breweries anywhere in Canada.
From there we went over to Rocky Point Park a short drive away.
Then headed over to the Sasamat Lake Loop trail and did an easy 3.2km hike around the lake.
Then as it started to get dark, a very quick drive into Buntzen Lake and then home from there to replenish, do laundry and get more food for the next vanlife days!
02Nov-08Nov2020 Steveston in Richmond BC, White Rock BC, Tsawwassen BC
Nights This Trip: 6, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 59, Months: 1.7
Another sunny day turned cloudy later in the day, we traveled over to Richmond and walked along the Steveston Harbour and adjoining trails along the Fraser River. Beautiful scenery as we watched the fishing boats travel by.
On the Monday night we found a nice level spot along Dyke Road across the Steveston Harbour Authority boat yards, parked along the road next to a ditch and a walkway. Very quite at night, and hardly any traffic.
On Tuesday night we headed over to White Rock, and ate dinner overlooking the ocean. We then headed over to uptown White Rock, found a good level spot to sleep along Russell Avenue close to Foster Street. In the morning, we headed over to the White Rock beach parking lot once again to enjoy the view, have breakfast and enjoy a long walk over to the pier, which is actually Canada’s Longest Pier.
On Wednesday night we headed back to Richmond by Steveston at the same spot as the other night along Dyke Road. We just obtained the new DJI Pocket 2 video camera earlier in the afternoon, and filmed some night video - pretty awesome stabilized footage. We will be creating more videos from now on to share our adventures and travels. We spent the day at Garry Point, walking the loop trail, and then had lunch unside the van.
On Thursday, we headed home to replenish some goods and dump the toilet, then headed over to Tswwassen where we had not yet fully explored in the past. Much of the land is owned by the Tsawwassen First Nation, and several roads are closed to only local traffic. Some parts we wanted to explore were simply off-limits. We found a good level spot to sleep along Blue Heron Way just before Starling Drive in front of some townhomes.
On Friday we went over to Tsawwassen Beach, located on the left side of Highway 17 as you approach the BC Ferry Terminal. From there we watched the kitesurfers and watched the sunset.
That evening we went over to the same overnight parking spot as on Thursday.
On Saturday we headed over to Diefenbaker Park in Tsawwassen, since it was time again to dump.
We explored the western part of the area, and visited Gary Gingell Park and took in the beautiful ocean view. From far away we could see the huge vehicle and passenger ferries, and Delta Port container yards and cranes.
In the afternoon we also visted Westham Island where the Alaksen National Wildlife Area, but the area was closed. Not sure if it was due to covid or not, but many other vehicles came by and had to turn around as well. Gates were locked. We explored many of the back and side roads in the area - all places we’ve never been to before.
Later Saturday afternoon we headed into Ladner to watch the sunset as we explored along the Fraser River.
We found a good spot for the evening on Chisholm Street at Delta Street and spent the night there. Espar heater on all night since the temperatures were below zero Celsius.
On Sunday we went for a hike in Ladner and explored a while. Ate lunch then headed home in the afternoon to replenish the van again.
30Oct-01Nov2020 Burnaby Mountain, SFU, Grouse Mountain, Deep Cove BC Canada
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 53, Months: 1.7
Spent the weekend exploring locally. Friday afternoon we headed over to Burnaby Mountain and went to explore the Playground of the Gods, next to the famous Horizon’s Restaurant which is now closed as of February 2020.
Afterwards we traveled over to the Simon Fraser University grounds. Many new apartments and businesses have been built recently in the area. Then we headed over to north Surrey to meet with family and stayed overnight along 140th Street, which is a very busy road. Every passing car made the van move, but at least it was level. A good sleep nonetheless.
Saturday we slept in and then headed over to the North Shore by the Cleveland Dam near Grouse Mountain. We took a stroll over to the dam and Cleveland Lake which holds the majority of drinking water for the Vancouver area.
After, we headed up the road to Grouse Mountain where the infamous Grouse Grind is - also known as nature’s stairmaster. We’ve done the Grind a few times back when we were younger. This time we just looked at the trailhead :-)
We then headed over towards Deep Cove and went for a walk along the water and the pier. After, we headed over to Cates Park in North Vancouver, enjoyed dinner in the van, and watched the sunset by the boat launch pier.
Afterwards it was getting dark and late, so we headed west along the Dollarton Highway and found a very level and quiet spot in an industrial area a couple blocks south of the highway.
23Oct-25Oct2020 Vancouver, BC
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 51, Months: 1.6
Friday was one of Vancouver’s coldest October 23 on the history books at 3 degrees Celsius and heavy rains, we headed into the city’s Stanley Park to view the fall colours. We then drove through the downtown area in the evening and over to the Urban Fare grocery store and picked up a couple of Chicken Pot Pies, Coleslaw and bananas for dinner inside the van. We then drove over to 928 Beaty Street and found a great level parking spot for the night. A bit of noise from the traffic but overall a good sleep.
On Saturday morning the weather had cleared up with warm sunshine in the chilly air - mountains had their first snowfall - we had breakfast by the parking lot at Kits Beach, where we had to pay $5.00 to park, but the view was worth it. Went for a short walk and then headed over to Spanish Banks Beach and stayed there for several hours going for walks, lunch and a rest.
After we drove through the UBC lands, and into Iona Beach Reginal Park in Richmond, went for a walk and watched the sunset.
In the evening we headed into Vancouver again and slept on a very level parking spot on Hastings Street at Jervis. We had to pay a couple of dollars to park until 10pm at the metered spot. Traffic noise was minimal.
09Oct-11Oct2020 Harrison Hot Springs, BC
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 49, Months: 1.5
On the Friday night we arrived in Harrison Hot Springs, a small town near Hope BC. Found a good level parking spot along Saint Alice Street (geo:49.30289,-121.78812), ate dinner and crashed for the night. The rain was relentless that night - very heavy and constant.
On Saturday, we explored areas of Harrison that we had not yet visited like Hicks Lake and Deer Lake in Sasquatch Provincial Park. In order to get there we had to drive over muddy dirt and gravel forest service roads. Once there, we drove through the different provincial campgrounds, walked along the boardwalk and viewed the lakes. On Saturday night we found another level and quiet spot next to a motel and rested for the night. This spot was located on Spruce Street, geo:49.30262,-121.77668
On Sunday, after breakfast we headed towards Stave Falls just north of Mission BC, and then hung out and had lunch and a nap at the Stave Lake Boat Launch. Afterwards we headed west towards home.
01Oct-04Oct2020 Gibsons, Sechelt, Earl’s Cove - Sunshine Coast
Nights This Trip: 3, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 47, Months: 1.4
First time ever to travel to the nearby Sunshine Coast on the westcoast of Canada. Travelled from Horseshoe Bay over to Langdale BC. Just a 40 minute ferry ride over to the island, after waiting for 3 hours for the next available ferry. From there was dark and we travelled over to Gibsons, drove around a bit and found a nice level spot on the street to sleep at along Gower Point Road geo:49.401222,-123.50714. Absolutely quiet at night.
Next day we drove over to Sechelt and found a level spot to sleep on the road next to the local mall across from the residences along Cowrie Street geo:49.472347,-123.76099
On Saturday night we arrived in Earl’s Cove, the end of the northern part of BC Highway #101. It’s just the ferry terminal, a few buildings for passesngers and ferry workers. We decided to park in one of the few available spots. The last ferry is at 10pm, so after that it was the most quietest night in my life. Right by the ocean, dead quiet.
Sunday morning we slept in, it was drizzly and foggy October morning. Drove all the way back down towards Langdale, waited 4 hours to catch the next available ferry.
24Sep-27Sep2020 Hope, Logan Lake, Kamloops BC
Nights This Trip: 3, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 44, Months: 1.3
We’ve always seen the signs for Logan Lake, but had not yet gone until this weekend. Drove up into Hope BC for our first stop and stayed overnight, and this time found a nice level spot along Corbett Street at 6th Avenue. After doing some online work in the morning, we headed towards Logan Lake via Highway #5 northbound all the way to Merritt and then along Highway 97C. Beautiful scenery with lots of ranches and cattle. Once we arrived in Logan Lake we immediately went over to the Municipal Campground property and parked right along the lake for a late lunch, took a nap afterwards and then took a long walk over the pedestrian-only walkway along the lake.
Afterwards we drove around many of the streets in the area exploring the commercial and residential areas. A mix of mobile homes, apartment buildings, townhomes and beautiful new homes backing onto Crown land.
From there we headed north along the Tunkwa Lake Road over to the Tunkwa Provincial Park. We drove over to the Tunkwa Lake and the three campgrounds exploring the area. A stay at the Provincial Campground is only $18 per night. Though nice, we decided to continue north towards Kamloops Lake along Highway #1 and then east towards Kamloops.
We stayed in Kamloops for the Friday night in the parking lot of an abandoned DairyQueen next to the Holiday Inn Express located on Versatile Drive. The other day we upgraded out cell data to Telus 50GB monthly plan, since we are travelling exclusively in Canada and in more remote sections where free Wifi access is harder to obtain.
On Saturday we drove along Highway 5A also known as the Princeton-Kamloops highway from Kamloops all the way down to the Merrit area. An absolutely beautful scenery along the drive. Along the way we stopped in Roche Lake Provincial Park, a 10km dirt road running east from the highway. We found a very private spot with a firepit overlooking the lake, spent some time by the fire, had lunch, then returned to the road again. Before it became dark, around 6:30pm, we found an awesome spot along the highway right next to Nicola Lake to camp at for the night. Highway 5A hardly has any traffic, so the evening was very quiet.
We stopped in Merritt for fuel, then continued down Highway 5A towards Princeton. Along the way we stopped at McCaffrey Lake where we found a firepit down the hill by the lake and made a fire for a couple hours while we had lunch. After, we drove towards Princeton, then west along Highway 3 to Hope, then further west to home.
17Sep-20Sep2020 Hope, Cache Creek, Lytton, Lilooet, Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish, Circle Tour
Nights This Trip: 3, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 41, Months: 1.2
Yet another BC Circle Tour, visiting places like Hope, Lytoon, Cache Creek, Lilooet, Pemderton, Squamish, and back home. First night we stayed in Chilliwack by the Starbucks parking lot (next to KalTire) in order to leverage their free wifi geo:49.14181,-121.9571. Slept there overnight without any issues.
We then travelled over to Lytton and did a lot of exploring by foot this time. Lots of photos and experiences in the area. Slept on the main street across from the Scotia Bank geo:50.2314,-121.58119. No free wifi available unfortunately. The sleep was very good on level ground, but we did hear the train rumble through the town during the night.
Next we travelled towards Ashcroft and spent more time exploring the small town. Then over to Cache Creek, found a nice level spot on the Dairy Queen parking lot, leveraged their free wifi, and slept there all by ourselves without any issues geo:50.81,-121.324165.
The next day we drove into Lilooet and visited some places we had not yet explored. Then over the amazing and scenic drive towards Pemberton, then down into Whistler, Squamish, and then home by late Monday night.
10Sep-13Sep2020 Hope, Kelowna, Peachland, Penticton, Oliver, Osoyoos, Circle Tour
Nights This Trip: 3, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 38, Months: 1.2
Leaving on Thursday afternoons lately, giving us more time to travel and see different things. The three day trips feel like mini-vacations, while still being able to work on the road starting very early in the mornings and travelling in the afternoons.
On Thursday night we stayed in Kelowna arriving around 10pm, found a spot where we stayed the previous time we were here next to the baseball field along Recreation Avenue geo:49.897427,-119.49028. In the morning we went over to Canadian Solar and picked up a Victron Orion 12/24-15 Isolated DC to DC charger, along with some 10awg and 8awg cable. Ordered a custom cable from Modern Outpost on Vancouver Island with stranded 10awg cable and a stacked Anderson Power Pole connector. Connected it together and powered the Goal Zero Yeti 1000 with a steady 20v as we drive, and the moment the Sprinter is turned off, the Victron will turn off as well. Details posted on the Goal Zero page on this site.
We explored different parts of Kelowna this time, exploring the Mountainside Park area, the Village of Kettle Valley, Okanagan Mountain Park area and all along Lakeshore Road, and up near the remote residential area west of Cedar Mountain Regional Park. Some very beautiful estates and homes in the area.
Friday night we stayed in Kelowna in the same spot as the previous evening along Recreation Avenue geo:49.897427,-119.49028.
On Saturday we travelled south along Highway 97 and explored Peachland. An amazingly beautiful little town, very clean and felt right at home there. We stayed most of the day at the Heritage Park right along the Okanagan Lake, going for walks, eating lunch and dinner there, and generally enjoying the scenery. From there we travelled over to Summerland, which though nice, didn’t have the same feel as Peachland. We drove around Summerland to explore the residential area and along Lakeshore Drive South. From there we drove over to Penticton. With the California and Oregon wildfires raging in the USA, a lot of the smoke had reached BC. The lake and Penticton became overcome with heavy smoke, with very reduced visibility.
We stayed on the street next to the BC Liquor Store, leveraged their free Wifi along Main Street geo:49.4851,-119.587234. On Sunday we explored Munson Mountain, which is where the giant PENTICTON sign is located. Afterwards, we purchased 20 pounds of fresh Gala apples from a neighboring apple farm, picked fresh from the tree - very juicy and crunchy, for only a dollar a pound. Afterwards, we headed further south along Highway 97 travelling through Oliver and then Osoyoos, then west along Highway 3 through Keremeos, Princeton, Manning Park, Sunshine Valley, Hope and then home.
These Thursday to Sunday trips feel a lot longer than they really are, and seem like mini-retirements or mini-vacations and really breaks up the week very well.
03Sep-07Sep2020 Hope, 100 Mile House, Prince George, Valemount, Kamloops, Hope Circle Tour
Nights This Trip: 4, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 35, Months: 1.0
Time to go up north before the snow starts falling. Started off very sunny and hot weather, but once in Price George and Valemount we encountered very heavy rain and dark clouds.
Our first stop for the night was scenic Hope. As we travelled north along Highway 1, we drove though many of the towns along the highway. Many has signs warning residents only due to the threat of COVID-19 spreading. We stopped in Lytton and enjoyed the tail end of the Friday Farmers Market and slept on Main Street geo:50.2314,-121.58119.
Second overnight stop was 100 Mile House - every street within the village had no parking signs listed from 11pm to 7am. They definitely do not want people camping there overnight. We instead drove over to the Co-Op Cardlock fuel station with a huge parking lot located at geo:51.665237,-121.291115. Hardly any trucks there, found a fairly level spot and parked for the night. On the way we passed through Williams Lake, a very clean city with lots of flowers along the main streets. Defintely a place to re-visit and spend some more time in.
The third stop was in Prince George. The downtown is filled with a lot of street kids and several druggies. Not much has changed in the downtown in the 30 years since I’ve been there. We stayed overnight along Regents Crescent at geo:53.902218,-122.74049. The outskirts are doing very well though - lots of newer big box stores and fast food restaurants. Along the Yellowhead Highway 16 eastbound we came across the Ancient Forest but unfortunately the downpour was very heavy, and we did not have our rain gear with us on this trip. Next time :-)
The fourth and final overnight stop was in Valemount, a very small villiage with the basic amenities. Found a nice level spot in back of the Comfort Inn parking lot along Cranberry Lake Road at geo:52.82913,-119.28051. Nobody bothered us. It was a chilly 8c and heavy rain. First night with the Espar heater running to keep things toasty.
After Valemount, we continued our journey though many small towns like McBride. McBride is a very small villiage known for their train stop, with murals on the buildings depicting trains. Next stop was along the villiage of Blue River, a great place to relax by the small Eleanor Lake. We walked along the trail by the park to the beach house. We also drove up through the woods along a narrow trail to where the Blue River almost meets the North Thompson River and enjoyed a coffee and tea break there.
Next stop was a tiny village called Vavenby, and drove through there to see what it was like. The main employer there is the Canfor Lumber Sawmill. Next stop was Kamloops, a large city in the Okanagon, and from there it was Marritt, Hope and then on the way home.
28Aug-30Aug2020 Chilliwack Lake
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 31, Months: 1.0
Spent the entire weekend hanging out in Chilliwack, resting a lot inside the van, taking short walks around the Garrison area. Drove over to Chilliwack Lake for the day, and parked in the parking lot under the dense trees. Watched boaters, kayakers, and fisherman playing in the water. Slept both nights on a parking spot along Tamihi Way at geo:49.105507,-121.96441.
21Aug-23Aug2020 Chilliwack Vedder River Trail
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 29, Months: 0.9
Hung out in Chilliwack. Slept both nights on a parking spot along Tamihi Way at geo:49.105507,-121.96441.
14Aug-16Aug2020 Stayed Home
No van travel this weekend!
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 27, Months: 0.8
Hung out in Chilliwack area, and went for walks. Slept both nights on a parking spot along Tamihi Way at geo:49.105507,-121.96441.
31Jul-03Aug2020 Osoyoos, Cranbrook, Fairmont Hot Springs, Revelstoke Tour
Nights This Trip: 3, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 25, Months: 0.7
Three night long weekend adventure travelling from home all the way over to Osoyoos, Cranbrook, Nelson, Fairmont, Revelstoke and many places in-between. Took Canada’s longest free lake ferry.
The first night we spent in Osoyoos, we slept along a relatively quiet road across from Walnut Beach Resort, geo:51.33882,-117.01769 after exploring the area for a while. On Saturday we had breakfast in the van, headed east along highway 3 towards Grand Forks, Castlegar, Nelson, and then along highway 3A to the Balfour Ferry Terminal to take the Kooteney Bay ferry on Kooteney Lake - its absolutely free, and the Sprinter was the first vehicle on and placed in the very front of the ship. Once we landed on shore, we continued along highway 3A toards Creston.
On Saturday late at night we arrived in Cranbrook and found a quiet spot along 17th Street South, geo:49.51161,-115.75787.
On Sunday in the morning we headed north along highway 95A through Kimberly, Skookumchuck, Canal Flats and spent time at Fairmont Hot Springs which was very sunny and hot as well. From there we continued north to Invermere, looked around and then headed west towards Panorama Mountain Resort and explored the area.
We had lunch and a nap near the new homes built on the highest point of the mountain area there. Afterwards we headed east again to highway 95 and headed north to Radium Hot Springs, which is run by the Canadian Government. Due to Covid-19, the pool and the springs were all closed. We still enjoyed the area and spent time at the Sinclair Canyon overlook. After we headed north along highway 95 which parallels the Columbia River - a very scenic drive just west of the Rockies, and continued towards Golden.
In Golden, we found a spot along Dogtooth Forest Service Road at geo:51.33882,-117.01769. There were lots and lot of mosquitos, and the family got eaten alive (except me!) despite lots of mosquito coils burning.
On Monday we headed west from Golden through Glacier National Park over to Revelstoke, through Salmon Arm, Kamloops, Hope and then home. A beautiful scenic drive.
24Jul-26Jul2020 Osoyoos BC
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 22, Months: 0.7
Visited Osoyoos for a couple days. Just a 5 hour drive east from the house over highway 1 and highway 3, passing through Manning Park and many small towns. Bought some fresh cherries and blueberries in season in Keremeos, the fruit capital of BC. Spent a lot of time relaxing by Lake Osoyoos, going for walks and bike rides. Explored all the way around the lake and the residential neighbourhoods, travelling all the way up to Oliver and back to Osoyoos. Visited the Canada USA border and the place was empty - normally a bustling border crossing during non-pandemic times. Stayed both nights along the lake in public parking lot near the public washrooms along Cottonwood Drive at geo:49.031113,-119.44864. Nobody bothered us. Vanlife is great!
17Jul-19Jul2020 Whistler Olympic Park area BC
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 20, Months: 0.6
Whistler Olympic Park area geo:50.105816,-123.11995
The drive up towards Whistler is amazing, so we decided once again to drive along Highway 99 - the Sea to Sky Highway - and stay at the absolutely quiet spot near the Whistler Olympic Park once again. The weather promised to not have any rain. Brought a couple boxes of dimensional lumber with us to burn for our campfire. Stayed here the full two days and just relaxed. A great place to restore your energy.
10Jul-12Jul2020 Whistler Olympic Park area and Squamish BC
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 18, Months: 0.5
Whistler Olympic Park area geo:50.105816,-123.11995 and Squamish geo:49.7496,-123.13524
We decided to visit the same spot as a couple weekends ago near Whistler Olympic Park. Arrived Friday evening, setup our campfire, and enjoyed dinner while having a view of the local mountains. Absolutely peacefull area, with very little traffic along the paved Callaghan Valley Road. Woke up Saturday morning, started our campfire while having breakfast, and right at noon it started to rain heavily. We packed up and decided to drive back down towards Squamish, and explore the residential areas to the east of the highway. After driving around in a heavy downpour, we decided to just park and stay the night. There is a side-road called Tantalus Road, which runs parallel to Highway 99 near to the Executive Suites Hotel that is quite level and very quiet with few cars. Sunday morning we had breakfast, then headed south towards home, driving through Vancouver city. Vancouver is now pretty much back to normal, except there are more businesses that have closed down due to COVID-19.
03Jul-05Jul2020 Lytton and Lillooet BC
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 16, Months: 0.5
Lytton area geo:50.2314,-121.58119 and Lillooet geo:50.693047,-121.93487
Time to drive north, and explore some more. On the Friday afternoon we drove along the Trans Canada Highway and travelled north to Lytton. We explored the area, went to places we had not seen before, and drove around the residential neighborhoods to get a better feel for this beautiful small town. Found a spot along the Main Street, which is very level, and with full LTE signal. Generally a very quiet and restful sleep, except once in a while you could hear and feel the train rumble as it travels next to the Trans Canada. In the morning we enjoyed breakfast in the van, then headed further north west towards Lillooet along a very desolate Highway 12.
Highway 12 is very scenic, and saw some mountain goats along the way, and some great spots to take a break and taken in the view.
There are many Indian First Nations reservations along the way. Once in Lillooet, we decided to see if there was any camping available at the BC Hydro Seton Dam. Due to COVID19, everything was still closed. We went instead over towards Seton Lake, and that was also barricaded shut. We just decided to park next to the Seton Lake Canal and have lunch and rest for a while. At 3pm the barricade was opened, and allowed people to drive towards the lake recreation area. The park attendant mentioned that July 4 was the first day it was open since the pandemic began, and that there was no coordination between Seton Lake staff (Indian managed) and BC Hydrop (Provincially managed). We enjoyed sitting in the park by the lake, and each every other picnic table area was marked with an X so as to provide social distancing.
We explored several different options for an overnight spot, but they seemed to be on Indian-owned land (not sure actually), so we decided to park on the main street. Not perfectly level, but good enough for an overnight.
Sunday we decided to have breakfast overlooking the Old Bridge at geo:50.705143,-121.92288. An awesome spot overlooking the Fraser River, the mountains, and basked in the sunshine. After breakfast we left and went further north towards the Village of Cache Creek. The recent rains caused the Bonaparte River to overflow.
An emergency evacuation was underway in the village, with several trailer parks under water, and eroded banks threatening a local hotel. We parked along the raging river for a couple hours and had lunch and a nap. From there we headed south once again along the Trans Canada Highway towards home.
26Jun-28Jun2020 Whistler Olympic Park and Soo River Forest Service Road
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 14, Months: 0.4
Whistler Olympic Park area geo:50.105816,-123.11995 and Soo River Forest Service Road geo:50.22649,-122.91309
Making better use of OsmAnd mapping application, it’s helping to find more remote free spots to camp at by importing all the wild camping spots in British Columbia. Instead of driving east like we have done for the past month, we decided to drive north towards Whistler and explore parts we’ve never visited before. One such place is towards Whistler Olympic Park. Note that Whistler is still closed due to the pandemic, and actually opens as part of the Phase 3 COVID-19 reopening starting on June 29, 2020.
Whistler Olympic Park was closed, and the free camping area shown on the map was out of bounds. We explored the Alexander Falls, then found a spot along the Callaghan Valley Road to camp at on Friday evening. Since the park was closed, there was very little traffic on the road. The spot was absolutely quiet and in the mountains.
On Saturday we did a bit of exploring through the different side roads leading towards Whistler. Then we drove towards the Soo River Hydro Electric Dam, which is a privately owned. The area next to the dam is set aside for free camping, and is located approximately 3.6km from the Sea to Sky Highway 99 along a gravel forest service road. There is a weak LTE signal so its still possible to use the phone and Internet. Beautiful area right next to the Soo River and absolutely quiet.
19Jun-20Jun2020 Chilliwack, BC
Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 12, Months: 0.4
Chilliwack, BC geo:49.100784,-121.983246
Just to get out for a short drive and a one night stay, we visited Chilliwack near the waterpark which is still closed due to the pandemic. There is a pleasant residential area next to the Vedder River which would be a good place to live one day. So to find out how it is overnight we stayed on a public parking spot along Anglers Boulevard. Extremely quiet neighbourhood. Not wanting to bang our pots and pans while making breakfast and coffee on a Saturday morning in the residential area, we moved a short drive over to the Sardis Sports Complex. Found a nice level spot, had breakfast, read, and basically stayed in that same spot for about 8 hours before heading home. It rained heavily that day, so staying indoors was the perfect thing to do.
12Jun-14Jun2020 Hope, BC and Silver Skagit Forest Service Road
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 11, Months: 0.3
Hope, BC and Silver Skagit Forest Service Road geo:49.265633,-121.3963
We started using a combination of OsmAnd, iOverlander and UltimateCampgrounds to find new spots. We ventured out towards Hope on a Friday night, and parked along the street in Hope overnight. On Saturday we explored the south side of Hope, and visited the Silver Skagit Provincial Park which just opened on June 1 - all parks were closed due to the pandemic.
Hiked a bit next to the lake, then ventured out along the forest service road to take a look what is there. Found a spot right next to the river on Silver Skagit Road, an unpaved road with many potholes.
The spot had no cell signal so it was a perfect spot to relax. Found some small branches and made a fire and relaxed by the river.
Sunday we returned home after a very restful weekend.
05Jun-07Jun2020 Coldriver Road near Highway 5 Exit 256 Merritt
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 9, Months: 0.2
Coldriver Road near Highway #5 Exit 256 Merritt geo:49.87352,-120.91123
Same spot as last weekend. Normally we go back home Sunday evening along highway 5 like we did the past 2 weekends. However, this weekend we went towards Merritt, then along highway 8 westbound towards Spences Bridge, then towards home along TransCanada highway 1 for a scenic tour.
We saw several mountain goats along the way.
29May-31May2020 Coldriver Road near Highway 5 Exit 256 Merritt
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 7, Months: 0.2
Coldriver Road near Highway 5 Exit 256 Merritt geo:49.87352,-120.91123
Same spot as last weekend - another relaxing weekend by the river.
22May-24May2020 Coldriver Road near Highway 5 Exit 256 Merritt
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 5, Months: 0.1
Coldriver Road near Highway 5 Exit 256 Merritt geo:49.87352,-120.91123
Very first trip for two months due to Covid, we ventured out of the house without stopping except for fuel. No restaurants, no malls, no people. For the very first time since Confederation in 1867, Canada has closed its border with the United States on 18Mar2020 due to the pandemic. As you see, majority of our trips have ventured into the USA. Now is a great time to explore our northern backyard - British Coloumbia.
Looking on iOverlander, we found this spot for wild camping. About 3 hours from home, and far away from any people. Not many cars on the road still due to the pandemic.
The spot was right next to the river. Very quiet spot, level, and just relaxed by the fire for two nights before heading directly home afterwards.
COVID-19 STAY AT HOME
21Mar2020 to 21May2020 - Parked at home for two solid months
Parked at home on the driveway due to the stay-at-home orders by Government during the COVID-19 pandemic.
20Mar-21Mar2020 Chilliwack BC
Nights This Trip: 1, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 3, Months: 0.1
In order to get of the house during the early stages of the pandemic, we drove out to Chilliwack and found a boondocking spot next to the Chilliwack River along the Chilliwack Lake Road. No cellular reception, so it was a nice break from all the depressing news. Filled up with very cheap diesel at $0.96/litre - about a 50 cent difference from the month prior.
07Feb-09Feb2020 Bellingham, Anacortes, Deception Pass
Nights This Trip: 2, Total Nights Sleeping in the Van during 2020: 2, Months: 0.0
Went down to Bellingham to get the dogs their three-year rabies vaccination at Petco for $20 each. Stayed in Bellingham near the former Melvin’s Brewery on the Friday night. Saturday we drove down towards the Casino on Highway 20 East and rested there for a few hours. Drove over to Anacortes and had dinner there and slept near the Safeway. Sunday we drove over to Deception Pass and walked the bridge, then drove over to the Deception Pass State Park and enjoyed looking over the ocean. After, drove towards Costco in Bellingham for groceries and fuel, then home.
2019 Travel Journal
Click on our 2019 Travel Journal link for all the details.