Driving to Alaska Day 4: Hello Canada

Welcome to post 4 of 18 in our Driving to Alaska series. We hope you enjoy the stories from this unforgettable 4,000 mile road trip.

Riggins, Idaho –> Skookumchuck, British Columbia

The day began with a walk down the road to use the restroom at the nearby campground; my morning view that of the rugged canyon carved by the mighty Salmon river just as the first rays of sunshine kissed the peaks high above.  This is what I love about foregoing the comforts of domesticated living.  A quarter mile walk to use the bathroom, in country like this, is a damn fine way to start the day.

I was delighted to learn that Cade & Becca enjoy a slow morning as much as we do.  Compatibility with your travel partners is a huge component to the overall enjoyment of a trip like this.  We all enjoy good food, savoring our surroundings, and moving at a leisurely pace.  And so I couldn’t help but smile at the fact that it was after eleven by the time we rolled out of camp and made our way towards the Canadian border.  The drive through northern Idaho was beautiful with rolling green hills, vibrant yellow fields of flowering canola, and pine-covered foothills rising in the distance.  

Eight hours of driving led us through Moscow, Coeur d’alene, and Bonner’s Ferry, eventually bringing us to the Canadian border at Kingsgate, British Columbia.  It was 7:30pm when we pulled up to the border station with no idea how long it might take to get through with two vehicles and a fully-loaded cargo trailer.  Passports and registration were presented to the border agent and a short series of questions were asked.  “Are you carrying any guns?  Cannabis?  Large amounts of cash?  Any watercraft?”  And my personal favorite… “Will you be driving straight through to Alaska or are you making any stops in Canada?”.  There may be people out there crazy enough to do such a thing as drive 2,000 miles straight through, however, we are most definitely not those people.  In less than 10 minutes we were across the border and in British Columbia.  

Mark nor myself had ever been to Canada.  This was entirely new territory for us and the excitement escalated the second we pulled away from the border station.  At the same time a steady rain began to pour down and the idea of setting up camp wasn’t appealing to any of us, even though it was eight o’clock at night and we’d been driving for nine hours.  We all agreed to push on to a possible campsite an hour away.  To our delight, this was a great decision.  With every passing mile the clouds began to part and the sky became brighter.  The heavy rain and dark clouds had led me to believe it was getting dark but a bright blue sky began to reveal itself from behind the clouds.  And then, from the crest of a hill, the snow-capped Canadian Rockies appeared.  As the sun finally descended behind the mountains, the low level clouds hugging the peaks turned moody shades of pink, purple and indigo.  Our first hour in Canada could not have been a more beautiful welcome.

A little after 9pm we turned off the highway and down a small two track dirt road that led to a grassy field alongside the Kootenay river. A nice spot to conclude a long day.  Just enough light remained to breathe in the fresh mountain air, brush our teeth, and seal a water leak in the camper shell before tucking ourselves inside our little cocoon and quickly dozing off to sleep. 

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1 Comment

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  • Looks like you found another great spot to camp! The Canadian Rockies are beautiful! I hope your time in Canada will not include the rain.☔


We’re Mark & Michele, modern-day nomads perfecting the art of slow, full-time travel.  Our tiny home on wheels and slow-paced travel style allows us to minimize our expenses while maximizing our freedom.  May our unconventional way of life inspire you to design a life that you love.


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