how to live, travel and explore the world from your van

Vanabode Overall Information Covering the Canadian Portion of our 2,866+ mile 20 day trip

Vanabode trip, 20+ days spent, June   

Even though we were living in Florida (basing out of Cocoa) we needed to cover some of the North West territory for our Destinations Guide that we had previously skipped. First, we traveled to see our old friends in Pahrump and Las Vegas Nevada. Then we drove some 2866 miles from Pahrump, Nevada through Oregon, Washington, and into Canada and back via the Oregon and Washington coasts to test the viability of Vanabode living in these parts of the United States on $20 a day. You can read about the individual places we went by clicking any of the links on this page for this particular trip or you see 100's of places we have written about by referencing the Destinations Guide.

Canadian campgrounds along our route were extremely clean and organized. All of them had some kind of campground host or officer making sure all is well and taking payment for each place. Few had hot showers though which was very disappointing given the rather cold nature of this country. After spending some time in Vancouver later in the trip though I see that Canadians might not shower as much as we do. One night Kelly tried to bath off in the cold river flowing through the Bromley Provincial Park. It was considerably colder than the Colorado flowing though Laughlin Nevada. Her feet were frozen within seconds so bathing here is not possible.


The campgrounds in Canada are not cheap ranging in price from $16 per night to $38 per night depending on the amount of hookups and amenities available. They are however much quieter due to the reduced crowds and colder climate than many in the states.

In warmer more popular climates campgrounds tend to be much busier, louder, and have more partying going on than here. That makes this great for the Vanabode lifestyle.

Our first commercial stop in Canada was at a small roadside restaurant in the town of Princeton I think. The bathroom was clean but very small. I was served water in a glass that looked like it had been scratched 50 times by a wild cougar. A nice 45+ year old lady came to the table as our hostess/waitress wearing a sleeveless shirt that displayed the silver dollar sized open wound on her upper arm. She told the customer at the table next to us "I had to buy socks yesterday I haven't done laundry in so long". I hope she bought underwear too. I stared up at her unibrow as she told me how she was heading to Vegas soon. The blueberry muffin I was served was burned on the top and I ate it with my wife's spoon since it crumbled into 40 pieces. It was barely worth the $1.50 I paid for it.

Many ask me about heating the van safely when in colder climates like Canada. This trip we experienced late night temperatures down to 44 degrees Fahrenheit and though you may not want to hike or picnic when it is this cold, at night it is not really an issue. A properly installed, off floor, house quality, bed mattress stays quite warm using a sheet plus a blanket with two $25 sleeping bags opened up on top. In fact I can rarely sleep all night without kicking off the sleeping bag portion of my bedding due to it getting very warm. My wife loves it however so it works for both of us and we have never gotten sick due to being exposed to overly cold night air. During the day the temperatures rose to 60-70 degrees making it perfect hiking and exploring conditions.

The country of Canada did not seem that much different than the Untied States. There were typical small farms with folks living in trailers and there were mansions worth millions on the road side. From the big cities like Vancouver down to the tiniest 500 person population cities Canada was nothing new but it was however more expensive. All the Canadians we met were pleasant, and helpful. The country seemed to be financially better off than the United States. I never saw any pollution or littering.

There is a huge Eastern Indian influence with those from India owning and managing entire sections of cities with large restaurants and even farms and fruit and roadside stands. We actually had butter chicken and basmati rice at one of the roadside farms, though it was inferior to that I cook on my own or the quality that you can get in Vegas. I asked a few of them why they immigrated here and they all just smiled and replied "we like so much, we like so much".

One other weird thing I noticed was the androgynous look and dress of so many Canadians. Many many times one could not tell when viewing a walking couple from any angle which one was male and which one was female. Both sexes seemed to dress alike. Men seemed more feminine and women more masculine. It was very strange. Maybe the weather had something to do with it. Then again maybe I am spoiled having been around the most incredible examples of the human race from every nationality in the world while Vanabode living in Las Vegas. Here's a picture mounted at the massive Vancouver Bay marina where the 2010 Olympics ceremonies took place. It is of a famous woman who ran huge businesses in Canada and she is known for her forward thinking.


Children don't get out of school in Canada until 3-4 weeks after the kids in the United States have started summer vacation. This means the parks and vacation hot spots are still uncrowded here in early June whereas they can be a beehive of activity in the US.

Canada is not especially suited to Vanaboding due to the colder climate and more expensive structure, but it can be done. It is much more difficult to Vanabode in Canada because it is more undeveloped. One would think that would be a plus but it is not. For example we drove for over a hundred miles a few times and there was not one place that I would consider a great place to camp for free. The highway is narrow with only a few exits leading off to gated private roads. There are a few pull offs to park and take a picture for a minute or two but no dirt roads leading off into nowhere to spend the night. You are not going to find discount grocery stores every hour or two. The campgrounds are tightly controlled and fairly expensive fees are always taken. These observations are from exploring a small portion of Canada along the Southern border from Osoyoos to Vancouver over the course of 5 days.

As a note this works in reverse for Canadians who want to Vanabode the United States. They can come here using the Vanabode book and travel much easier, and see much more, and do it so much more cheaply than they could in Canada. That of course is true of all other countries mainly due to America's safe, organized highways and infrastructure coupled with fantastic geography and our trademark freedom to explore and enjoy.

This page is part of a 20 day, 2,866 mile, Vanabode trip.
See van camping Nevada Washington Oregon Canada for an overview of this particular trip.
Visit travel destinations for our master list of 100's of cool places visited that we have reviews on.
Vanabode travel and live anywhere in America on $20 a day including food, lodging and transportation.

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