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  • Writer's pictureMax S

I left Canada to live on the road

The big day had finally come, the MAF sensor I needed had arrived, I plugged it in and drove the truck around. It ran great, or so I thought. There was one more thing I had done before leaving, I installed a gauge for the transmission temperature (having overheated it before) as well as a gauge for the Exhaust Gast Temperatures (EGT's). Everything looked good on that test drive. So the day was set, and after saying my goodbye's I hit the road. Teary eyed but excited. I was heading for Victoria, the southern most city on Vancouver Island. I had booked a crossing with the Coho Ferry to Port Angeles, Washington state USA. About 30 minutes in my transmission temperatures kept climbing slowly, I checked the level but it was good. I found if I drove above about 95km/h the transmission temperatures would get uncomfortably hot, 210F+

Front quarter of Coho Ferry through window of vehicle
The Coho Ferry arrives to take me across the first border of the trip

Great I thought, day 1 and a hot transmission. I figured the truck was so heavy with this new drawer system, fridge, tent etc. I would just get a trans cooler and that would be it. So I kept driving, I needed to pick up a few things before starting the trip officially though. So I stopped at Cabela's and got a nice Thermarest blanked, a sleeping bag liner for my 0 degree bag (Celsius), a few Jet boil fuel canisters and a first aid kit for the truck. Something I should have had a long time ago. With that, I made my way to the ferry. There were no issues with customs, except trying to explain to American Border Patrol you're leaving for an indefinite amount of time to Central America alone didn't bode well. So I told them I was going on a short trip to Baja and everything was all good. Getting on the ship was just like BC ferry's, you pull into the lane they tell you, park your truck, and head upstairs. The Coho Ferry has been running since 1959, and when you get onboard you can tell. It's well kept but the interior definitely looks her age.

Looking off the back of the Coho Ferry with American flag waving
The last time I saw Canada

I mostly sat outside on that trip, it was cold, wet and windy. I wanted to lookout on the water, feel the air. My emotions were all over the place, I couldn't believe after all this dreaming, then planning, it all worked out. I had booked the 1pm departure so by the time I got off the ferry the sun was hanging low, with it being late October. I popped into the town to load up on some groceries at the local Walmart and headed into Olympic National Park. It was already night time when I was looking for the first camp spot of the trip. This is where (as most over landers know) apps like iOverlander come in really handy. However, I find after having spoken to a lot of people who travel in their vehicles, some become a bit too depended on it and rule out great wild camp spots due to lack of information. On the way to a listed spot I found a slightly overgrown former logging road and drove down it instead. I found a nice little opening at the end and setup camp.

Closing roof top tent in forest
Closing up the first camp of the entire trip - Night #1

I know for some people sleeping outside in the middle of the woods just isn't appealing, and I get it. But once I got used to sleeping in a regular ground tent when camping, and then upgraded to the luxury of a rooftop tent, I couldn't pick a better way to sleep. I think something about the fresh air, and maybe combined with the lack of stress compared to the 9-5 lifestyle, let me get the deepest and most restful sleeps of my life. Now don't get me wrong, 7 months later I still love the occasional hotel and comfortable bed, in fact I look forward to it. But I still love that roof tent.

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morag hone
morag hone
03 févr.

We are heading to Ecuador for a 5 day mountain bike tour in May. Your video has made us that much more excited!! Love your content and your ability to capture the natural beauty of the country. Safe travels from a fellow Canadian!!

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