The wife and I departed Seattle for Canada in our Toyota Prius rental car (kindly sponsored by Hertz) and hit the i-5N, driving north. Our drive took us to town Sumas, at the border of the USA and Canada. It felt like Sumas (and probably many US towns at the US/Canadian border) was the JB of Canada, a place where people pop over from Canada to buy cheaper petrol and duty-free liquor (but without the 3/4 tank rule).
Crossing the border with our US rental car was painless. It was even easier than crossing the Causeway in Singapore. The Canadian immigration officer just checked our passports and off we went.
When we reached the Trans Canada Highway, we knew we were truly in Canada when we saw sights like these.
Frankly, we didn't have a plan or itinerary. We did not know where exactly were were heading first or where we were going to stop. That's the beauty of self-drive, and I have enjoyed this freedom of going-with-the-flow.
We stopped at rest stops like this A&W at Revelstoke when we felt like it. Also partly because we got hungry and my butt hurt from driving for so many hours (Pro-tip: Rest often when doing long distance driving. It is better for your alertness and your butt.)
We decided to stop for the night at Kelowna. We spent two days here, enjoying the views of the Okanagan Lake in the Okanagan Valley. We spent a lovely afternoon at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, where we had lunch with a view, took a tour of their winery, and did some awesome wine tasting.
Their wines are stored in a pyramid-shaped cellar, which is believed to make the wines taste better.
This is Ruth, our host at the winery. She was a most knowledgeable guide, about wines and about the geography of the Kelowna area.
According to Ruth, the Okanagan Lake was created when two tectonic plates collided long ago and then glaciers melted. The collision was so big that parts of the lake are as deep as 1km! The fertile sediment of the banks of the lake, together with the climate, made this place ideal for growing grapes.
We hit the road for Banff after our stay in Kelowna, but always ready to pull over whenever we saw sights that we liked.
I think I could get used to the massive sense of space in Canada. And also the awesome views.