Travel between health districts is banned in BC for now. With Covid cases rocketing across the prairies, and only a handful here on the island, it seems prudent to stay put. Here in the sun. On a beach. On the East coast of Vancouver Island. While I miss little George, wee Stella, and the kids, and an adventurous way of life, exploring the wonders that Nomad life and Canada hold, here is not a bad place to have to stay put. In the meantime, I get to prepare for future journeys when things open up. The first step, travel planning, is the most fun.
The first thing I did was order some British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba road maps from BCAA. BCAA and their affiliated Automobile Associations across North America offer free road maps as one of the benefits of membership with them. Other benefits include roadside assistance which can be costly if you break down on the road, especially if the only towing service is Pirate Pete’s Recovery, . I highly recommend anyone setting out on a road trip in their RV get an RV membership and travel medical insurance with their local Automobile Association. It’s just peace of mind so we can enjoy the journey. There are other organizations that offer roadside assistance packages especially for RVs, but after thorough research, I don’t think they have any advantages over BCAA’s RV Roadside Assistance program.
I also ordered a great Roadmap of Western Canada from Amazon.ca, which has rest stops, camping spots and of course, many detailed routes throughout the Western provinces. It has more detail than the BCAA maps, and more knowledge is better, right?
So, why paper road maps, you are (maybe) asking?
Well, the thing is, Google maps and Apple maps can only direct you as long as there is a cell signal. And there are many places (like the Rockies or Rural Manitoba) where there is no cellular service at all, and Wifi may only be available in the public libraries in small towns along the way. Which doesn’t really help at all.
I also got a very cool book called Camp Free in BC from Amazon.ca. It has about 50 different campsites, mainly Forest Service Campsites which are basic enough, but fulfill the need for peaceful boondocking near easily accessed yet amazing lakes (and some rivers) for free, or at least really cheap.
My R-Pod is well equipped for boondocking, with a 60 gallon grey tank, a 60 gallon black tank and a 30 gallon fresh water tank. It is also set up to run things on solar power, so I feel pretty well equipped for boondocking at some of the sites mentioned in the book. But I am not gonna lie. I really like my conveniences, so boondocking is just going to continue to be an option.
Testing the waters of Klaklamaka Lake
On a recent, Saturday trip for work up to Port McNeill, I checked out one of the campsites that Camp Free in BC listed, at Klaklakama Lake. As promised, it was an easy drive to the lakeside campground, with two well-designed sites for two campers. Each site had a picnic table and a firepit. There was even an older-looking, green-painted outhouse. When I got there, there was no one else there. The dogs had a swim and I was about to shuck clothes and walk into the warmish, crystal clear waters from the sandy beach at the lower campsite when the grumble of a big grey Dodge Ram diesel truck with a camper on the back arrived next to where I was parked.
The 50ish male driver and his female companion jumped out and asked me if I was going to be there long, since they wanted my spot. I don’t know if it was normal camper etiquette. I thought it was pretty rude. The pair probably were probably regulars there so I told them I’d take off in half an hour. They stood and stared impatiently at me as I had my picnic lunch and played more with my dogs and then got everyone and everything packed up.
Anyway, it was a nice little spot, and it made me even more interested in checking out some of the other local sites in the little book.