Have Chariot – August Update

Only one week left before we slip into September. My living room was a little chilly when I got up this morning. Someone left the big wall fan on all night. I am beginning to think I will not get out for a test camp. Of course, with a campfire ban, over 560 wildfires, and extremely smoky skies across the province camping is not exactly a fun prospect. This morning I woke up, peeked out the window and saw blue sky and a sunrise working hard to pierce the clouds. The smoky haze is nearly all gone. Everyone can at least take a proper breath.

Heavy smoke in the air for a week is not healthy. Smoke in the air of one of the most beautiful places in world is unthinkable when it surpasses the Air Quality (AQI) levels in Beijing! Firefighters at all levels need to be applauded, this has been a tough summer. A summer some are saying is the new normal. Yikes! Although a shift in wind, so smoke, direction has changed there will not be any changes to the campfire ban. So sad, no roasted marshmallows in the new future.

My hope is to go on a day trip up Vancouver Island to visit Newcastle Island even if we cannot camp there for now. I am definitely an island girl. Of course, no smoky skies here does not mean it will be clear closer to where some of the wildfires are burning. This means I will be keeping a close watch on weather, fires burning, AQI, traffic before heading out. Probably next week if all is fine. Meanwhile, happy note, I can still go blackberry picking! Possibly a quick trip to Sooke where I know of some great places.

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Have Chariot – what about meals?

Five years have passed since my mother died, nearly eight since my father. So July and August have not been happy months in recent years. However, as I continue my plans to travel, possibly even live, in my car and camp I am reminded of all the adventures my parents went on. With only one driver. The only difference is that they had a truck although I am positive it did not have a canopy let along a camper. They camped.

Which brings me to what campfire bans? In B.C., probably the majority of the province, there are campfire bans currently in place. It just happened that my inbox had an article that discusses just that problem. Although it speaks of Vancouver Island the message is that camping can still be fun. https://vancouverisland.travel/island-moments/ This made me think that perhaps I should collect the rather ancient Coleman stove my sister found with our parents things. If they could survive for a weekend, weeks and even a year once (although that included a lot of B&Bs) then surely I can.

First thing to do will be to make sure it is in working order!

Of course this brings me to another issue. Once cooking is done what on earth does anyone choosing to use their vehicle as a place to bed down in do with food? All the material I have come across says to lock it in the vehicle, assuming you have one, but nothing about those especially hungry bears that choose to sniff about, and possibly break into, said vehicle. Just stay away from grizzly country? Camp in fields only? I have camped, even had to cower in a shower once when bears were nosing about – Jasper National Park many, many years ago.

Perhaps needless to say we have not yet gone camping. However, I am working on it!

Have Chariot – second thoughts

One of my daughters liked the idea of my plan to once again cross the country and camp on the way but wondered why I had not considered pulling a small trailer or perhaps finding a van. A reasonable question and one I have lobbed back and forth in my brain. Now that the bouncing has stopped I remain firmly on the side of car camping. (Until I started researching everything I was not even aware that ‘car camping’ was a thing) However, I also came up with ways to make this latest plan less crazy. Or, I thought I had. Most likely just as well we are looking at next year!

First, why not pull a small camper, tent trailer or trade in my car for a van that I can kit out to suit me needs? Besides finances – always a major consideration – I just cannot envision being comfortable driving very far with a behemoth non-motored two wheel (or four) sleeping space attached to my backside. Even a small behemoth. In addition, it would mean constantly having to back into a space, uncoupling and setting up in specific areas meant for more than just tents. So why not a van? Well, finances again. Also, what does one do with a van that is camperized once a trip is finished? I doubt I would be going on other major driving trips. So. Back to my 2002 Hyundai Elantra. I know the car, I am happy driving it. I feel safe in it. Yet, is it realistic to take two plus weeks to travel across Canada with only a hatchback to sleep in? With a passenger.

After checking out 10+ tents of various shapes, sizes, colours, and space, we think this MEC Camper 3 best suits our needs.

We decided to look at tents. We even think we found one that is not too outrageously expensive – many would would consider it relatively cheap. Which brings me to how does anyone decide which tent is the right one? There are so many! Knowing we have the car as a back up for a sleeping space we still decided that a three person 3 season tent would suit our needs. Not so big as to be cumbersome yet have enough room to give us about 18″ between us. We chose to not look at lightweight backpacking tents which will most likely limit campsites (so far the main plan) we can stay at unless we are willing to carry a 3.07kg tent plus everything else. In other words, my daughter would have to carry it! My plan is to buy it, then drive up to maybe Rathtrevor on Vancouver Island for an overnight test. Baby steps. Hoping less chance of cougars and bears. Besides, if all else fails I know someone who lives nearby.

Have chariot – will travel

Anyone who has read my posts may have realized I like the quirky, but not dangerous, side of adventure. Having barely settled back home with a good book it is time to pull out my notebook & pencil, power up my iPad, erase all traces of wedding plans from my whiteboard and start some research for an adventure that is definitely outside my comfort zone. Time to call a friend with more experience than my usual travel companions. (Pandas tend to appreciate the softer side of travel)

With my daughter seriously considering a move to Toronto to further her studies and two of her sisters already in Ontario it is extremely likely I join her, or take up temporary residence with each of the three on a rotating basis. Or permanently live in my golden chariot. This is where my lumberjack friend enters. A rugged individual with attitude and lots of hugs he should be able to help me figure out how to get from Point A to Point B (approx 4500km depending on where B will be) on a very thin budget. Driving.

I swear he is smirking.

I really do not intend to ride across the country on a dogsled although it might be handy if I end up being caught in a snowstorm. My chariot is a 2002 Hyundai Elantra 4 door hatchback. I also intend to turn the car into a camper. Probably the most challenging adventure I will undertake. I think the first venture will be a weekend somewhere on the island before the end of September – Tofino perhaps. Keeping this short for now, looking for any words of wisdom besides suggestions to stop now.

What do I have so far? Chariot, nerves of steel (questionable), sleeping bags, various backpacking camp items, tiny BBQ (hey, its only a list so far), navigator. My daughter does not drive – yet.