I have been out of touch on the blogosphere for the past month because I have been travelling and camping a bunch, making the most of my summer before having to go back to work in a few weeks. Today, I am back to share with my BC road trip with all of you!
Prior to leaving for British Columbia, I spent 2 weeks in Rhode Island visiting my best friend Jen. We originally planned to leave at midnight, a few hours after I landed back in Toronto. Unfortunately, my flight out was cancelled! My original flight was 7:30pm on a Monday but because of cancellations, I couldn’t fly out until 9:30am the next morning. This delay threw our timing off and had us feeling like we were playing catch up for most of the drive across the United States. Eventually, we threw our hands up and surrendered and just allowed ourselves to enjoy the journey and not focus too long on the destination, because we knew we would eventually get where we needed to go.
We decided to stop at Greens Organic Cafe in Sarnia, Ontario before crossing the border into Michigan. This place was amazing! I enjoyed a delicious turmeric latte and a coconut bacon, lettuce and avocado sandwich, while Josiah had these amazing tempeh tacos.
Our route to British Columbia started in Ontario, crossing the US border in Michigan, driving through Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho and Washington. Josiah did most of the driving (bless his soul) and drove straight through the night our first day on the road. We were in Minnesota by morning, where we stopped at Truce Juice Bar in Minneapolis for a breakfast smoothie.
One of our biggest complaints would be not enough vegan options. By this, we mean that all the vegan spots were out of the way and would eat our a good chunk of our time just to get there, eat and then get back on the highway. If we didn’t have to meet my sister in Vancouver on a specific date, we would have definitely taken our time on this trip and wouldn’t have had an issue jumping on and off the highway to hit up vegan restaurants. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case and a few days we had to bite the bullet and eat fries at Wendy’s and hash browns at Burger King. I have not eaten anything from a popular fast food chain since going vegan and I definitely did not enjoy it. The fries and hash browns made me feel gross and heavy. After our road trip, we decided that next time we would rather stop at grocery stores along the way and pull off at rest stops to cook yummy and nutritious meals on our camping grill. Lesson learned!
The drive through Montana was breathtaking. So prehistoric looking! It truly looked as though dinosaurs still roamed the earth today. We were in awe the entire drive through and loved all the landscapes that we got to witness.
Our original plan was to camp along our road trip out to British Columbia, but due to setbacks we had to scrap that idea because we wanted to get to BC as quickly as possible. This means driving through the night or until very late at night, when it was too dark to set up our tent. We ended up staying in some sketchy motels, the first one being in Laurel, Montana. I was honestly terrified that my car was going to get broken into. I stood in front of my car putting an invisible protection bubble around it and repeating I AM PROTECTED. I AM SAFE. in my head until I felt good about leaving my car overnight. You might be laughing at me right now or think I am ridiculous but my car did not get broken into, and that is really counts 😉
Next, we drove from Montana to Washington. I cannot for the life of me remember if this was in Idaho or Washington, but either way, it was a beautiful lookout spot off the highway. We pulled over to snap some photos and take a break from driving, but ended up spending half an hour walking around and taking in all the beauty.
We got to Spokane, WA and immediately searched up juice and smoothie bars in the general area. The first 2 we went to ended up being closed, but 3rd times a charm 😉 I found Method Juice Cafe, an organic and vegan juice bar. I was so hungry and so happy that I finally had access to real food that I ordered a few items. I thought I had taken photos but turns out I was too hungry and forgot (oops). I ordered their pink dragon smoothie bowl, a decadent cacao smoothie and a cold pressed juice. Such a great spot with the best customer service!
It was getting so late by the time we got to Seattle, WA that we decided we needed to eat and find somewhere to crash for the night. We found this sweet little Thai spot that was opened really late, which made our night because it was after 11pm and everything else with veggie options seemed to be closed for the night. We filled our bellies with spring rolls, pad thai and panang curry and it truly hit the spot! The name is blanking me and once again, my hunger took control and I forgot to take photos. Oops.
Once we got to Vancouver and met up with my sister, we headed to The Wallflower for brunch and it was out of this world!! We got the tostados, mac n cheese and polenta omelette, and none of them disappointed. Each meal was so flavourful and hearty. I wish we had one of these in Toronto!
We got stuck in some traffic trying to get to the ferry terminal on a Friday and then spent at least 3 hours waiting to board our ferry from Vancouver to Victoria. Luckily, the ferry terminal had a little market place with some shops and a food court. I found JUSU, an organic juice bar and ordered yet another pitaya smoothie bowl. After we got some food in us, we headed outside and set up our hammock between 2 trees. We had hours to kill so why not do it comfortably? We were originally told we would possibly be getting on the ferry for 7pm, but more likely 8pm, so we were thrilled when we actually got on at 6pm.
We ended up getting to Salt Spring Island around 9 or 9:30pm that night, after 2 ferry rides (Vancouver to Victoria and Victoria to Salt Spring). We spent a few days with one of my closest friends Alex, who is interning on an organic farm on the Island. It was so amazing getting to reunite with her after 3 months and get to see the new place she calls home.
Our time on the Island was a breath of fresh air, and looking back, we wish we had spent way more time there. We got to experience market day, ate at the only vegan restaurant on the Island, checked out the new zero waste store, hit up all the shops in town and stood on top of the highest mountain on Salt Spring. The weekend literally flew by and before we knew it, we were back on the road.
My heart was so full getting to reunite and spend time with this beautiful soul. Prior to her leaving for BC, we spent every weekend together going to wellness expos and ecstatic dance parties. The day she left is the same day that I met Josiah (talk about divine timing)
Thank you Alex for an amazing weekend in your new home! We loved every second of it and cannot wait to get back to the Island. You were such a kind and generous host. We love you!
We left Salt Spring Island and headed for Tofino. This meant getting on another ferry and driving for about 4 hours. The drive up to Tofino is straight up terrifying. The windy, narrow mountain roads gave me so much anxiety. Our day ended up being a total bust. The town and beaches were so spread out, the last surfing lesson was at 3:30pm and we missed that. The food options were slim. The vegan restaurant and organic market were closed because it was Monday. We decided to find a campsite, set up and then hit up the beach and enjoy what was left of our day. The campground was too hard for us to get our stakes in the ground, so we got a refund and decided to just drive another 4 hours and get on a ferry back to Vancouver. So we did just that. We got to the ferry terminal with over an hour to spare so we found a Thai restaurant and grabbed dinner while we waited.
We got back to Vancouver late at night and had to find somewhere relatively cheap to spend the night. It ended up being another sketchy motel, so sketchy that the man working the front desk actually told us not to have anything visible at all in our vehicle because it would get broken into. So, I definitely did my little protection ritual once again because I did not trust the area or parking lot whatsoever. I didn’t even sleep that night because I was so uneasy with the area we were in and kept worrying about my poor car. Luckily, the car was fine and we got our asses out of their as fast as we could the next morning.
We headed to Eternal Abundance for breakfast before making our way to Squamish. Such a quaint little organic vegan market and cafe. I didn’t love the smoothie or waffles I ordered, they were good but not great. You win some, you lose some.
Oh Squamish, I love and miss you every damn day. I did not know what to expect when we arrived in Squamish but it was breathtaking and hands down, one of my favourite places in British Columbia. We ended up at Alice Lake, where we rented stand up paddle boards and cruised around the lake. The next day, we went into town and checked out the shops. We found a vegan friendly cafe, where I had an amazing rice bowl with peanut sauce! Winning.
Next stop: Whistler! I am not sure if it was the time of year we visited but it was way too touristy for me. I much prefer small towns and nature, and Whistler was just a little too busy for me. We did enjoy some time by the lake, walked around the farmers market and ate some yummy food. Next time around I would have made sure to get out and do some hiking, but since we were only there for a day and spent it with Josiah’s friends, we didn’t get to do much nature exploring.
En route to Banff but had to stop at Joffre Lake because look how beautiful it is! We originally planned to drive straight from Whistler to Banff but we would have spend the entire day in the car. We decided to split up the drive and drive about 4 hours one day and the remaining 4 hours the following day. We ended up at a campground called Noah’s Ark just outside of Revelstoke, BC. I am so glad we did because it ended up being our last time camping on this trip since every single site in Banff was booked up for the long weekend (oops)
Down the street from our campground was the Enchanted Mountain. It is this amazing fairy tale wonderland that makes your inner child so happy. I am so glad Josiah and I got up early to go check this place out.
So grateful that we got to spend the day with Josiah’s cousin, exploring Lake Louise and Banff. We had dinner at Nourish Bistro, hit up all the tourist shops and ended our night at the hot springs. We crammed it quite a bit for the short amount of time we had there. As I previously mentioned, it was extremely busy and all the campsites had been booked for the long weekend. We got on the road just before midnight and started our journey home.
The drive back home to Ontario felt like it lasted forever. The Prairies are flat as flat can be, quite the drastic change in landscape compared to the beautiful mountains we grew to love. Once you get to Northern Ontario, the night drives are pitch black and slightly terrifying. We even had a family of moose cross in front of our car in the middle of the night! Thank god for high beams.
Looking back, there are some things we would have done differently. In regards to the road trip part, we would not bring any fresh produce with us because it goes back quickly. Instead, we would stop at organic or natural grocery stores along the way, buy groceries and then find a rest stop where we could make our meals instead of having to hunt down somewhere to eat. We would pack less items as there were several things we brought that never got used and just took up space. We would also give ourselves more time and not put ourselves on such a strict schedule. This way we could plan to stop and camp in certain places, do some hikes and explore the different states or provinces. I would also set a budget next time, in order to refrain from frivolous spending. A larger vehicle would have also been a game changer for us because we were cooped up in a small Honda Civic the entire trip. Even with the few things I would tweak next time, I still loved every second of this trip. It was an experience of a lifetime. I have been wanting to see British Columbia for quite some time now and I am grateful that I got to experience that with my boyfriend and my sister.
Do you have any tips or tricks for road trips or travelling as a vegan?
I would love to hear what you have to say!
Love and Light,