Canadian Rockies Road Trip

As soon as the new engine was purring happily, we loaded up the dogs and hit the road, headed north. We had a vague itinerary of driving through all of the national parks from Yellowstone to Jasper with a time frame of about three weeks until we needed to be in California for a wedding and a graduation party. This ambitious plan meant many long days of driving, separated here and there by some amazing fly fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and excellent camp spots.

Tim, Chimera, and the Grand Tetons

Tim fly fishing in Montana

Tim fly fishing in Montana

Django on a log

Django on a log

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Hobie in the grass

Hobie in the grass

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park

Tim is super excited about the glaciers!

Tim is super excited about the glaciers!

Driving, driving, driving

Driving, driving, driving

Awesome chicken coop in Canada

Awesome chicken coop in Canada

Glacial runoff stream

Glacial runoff stream

 

 

 

 

Driving along the backbone of the Canadian Rockies was truly breathtaking, we were awed by glacier after glacier and milky turquoise rivers running through narrow canyons.

Us at Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park

At the summit of the Ice Line Trail hike in Yoho National Park

At the summit of the Ice Line Trail hike in Yoho National Park

View from the Ice Line Trail in Yoho National Park

View from the Ice Line Trail in Yoho National Park

Tim fly fishing on a small river in Canada, where the cutthroats were abundant.

Tim fly fishing on a small river in Canada, where the Rainbow Trout were abundant.

True color photo of the amazing turquoise Peyto Lake in Banff National Park

True color photo of Peyto Lake in Banff National Park

Once we reached the town of Jasper we headed west and then south to Squamish for an awesome two days of climbing. Squamish is such an great area, we were wishing we had weeks to spend there climbing and windsurfing. But we had a ferry to catch and a wedding to attend.

Tim roped up at Cheakamus Canyon

Tim roped up at Cheakamus Canyon

Emily climbing at Cheakamus Canyon

Emily climbing a slab at Cheakamus Canyon

Emily belaying at Cheakamus Canyon

Emily belaying at Cheakamus Canyon

An excellent dihedral route in Squamish

An excellent dihedral route in Squamish

Tim flying his training kite on the foggy beach near Tofino

Tim flying his kite on the foggy beach near Tofino

Continuing southwest, we spend a few days on the beautiful west side of Vancouver Island, enjoying the long empty beaches shrouded in fog.

Tim stuck in his book

Tim stuck in his book

Hobie striking a pose on the foggy beach

Hobie striking a pose on the foggy beach

Tofino sunset

Tofino sunset

Tofino sunset

Tofino sunset

Tofino sunset

Tofino sunset

Waiting for the ferry in Victoria, Vancouver Island

Waiting for the ferry in Victoria, Vancouver Island

 

Then we boarded another ferry headed south to the Olympic peninsula.

Olympic Peninsula

Olympic Peninsula

We did our best to take the most scenic routes down the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and northern California, given the limited time we had. This allowed us to discover some amazing roads – picturesque, narrow, winding, and mostly empty.

Oregon sunset

Oregon sunset

Django on an Oregon beach

Django on an Oregon beach

Hobie on an Oregon beach

Hobie on an Oregon beach

Oregon beach sunset

Oregon beach sunset

Sneaky Chimera

Sneaky Chimera

Chimera enjoying and Oregon coast sunset

Chimera enjoying an Oregon coast sunset

This is how Django preferred to ride in the van. Hobie must have absorbed some of the vibrations from the van.

This is how Django preferred to travel. Hobie must have absorbed some of the vibrations.

By the time we arrived at our destination in California we were ready for some showers and a few days without driving.

Tim enjoying a rugged back yard croquet game.

Tim enjoying a rugged back yard croquet game.

Emily's aunt and little niece Audrey on horseback.

Emily’s aunt and little niece Audrey on horseback.

Adorable little Audrey in a box

Audrey in a box

After the festivities we turned east again and drove back to Colorado, this time taking taking the “Loneliest Highway in America” – Route 50 through Nevada, which was an excellent drive. If you ever take this route make sure to stop at the famous shoe tree, a giant cottonwood covered in old shoes of all varieties.

The doggles enjoying some dirt and sun

The doggles enjoying some dirt and sun

Shoe tree

Shoe tree

Shoe tree

Shoe tree

Shoe tree

Shoe tree

Tim contributing to the shoe tree

Tim contributing to the shoe tree

We were lucky to be arriving back in Colorado when the aspens were in full color, so we made a little detour to drive through the town of Aspen, which is well known for its amazing autumnal displays.

Aspen beauty

Aspen beauty

Emily and Chimera enjoying the view of the aspens

Emily and Chimera enjoying the view of the aspens

So how did Chimera and its new engine do on this ~5000 mile journey? The van was amazing. We had only a few small problems along the way, all of which we were able to fix quickly and even lead to some entertainment. The first problem started almost immediately: at lower speed the engine seemed to be choking for air, causing the van to chug rather violently. This happened particularly badly when we were driving through the swanky downtown of Jackson Hole, WY, full of tourists, which drew many good stares and I’m sure some snickers. Tim easily solved that problem by modifying the routing for the fuel tank breather line. The second real problem we had was a sudden hole in the exhaust pipe when one of the welded flanges came loose. This didn’t cause any problems driving, but made the van ridiculously loud. We had just entered Canada at that point and were lucky to find a muffler repair shop not too for off of our route. True to their reputation, the Canadians that we interacted with were all incredibly nice, and the guy at the muffler shop re-welded the pipe for free.

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