Hello from British Columbia! As I'm writing this, we are in a hotel room in a tiny town called Dawson Creek (no relation to the 90s TV show). We are LOVING this journey beyond words!!!
So far, we've traveled through California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Alberta (Canada), and British Columbia (Canada). We have seen temperatures range from 113 to low 40s. Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta took our breath away, and we could barely adjust our eyes to the flat serenity of the Great Salt Lake in Utah (pictured above). Sleeping under the stars has been the sweetest thing. So far, every mile has been smooth sailing, and I'm thankful.
I haven't gotten a chance to write a recap for the blog until now, but I know there's no way I could squeeze our journey from LA to British Columbia all into one post. So, today I'm going to write about driving from LA to Montana, and then in a few days I will share photos and stories from Alberta and British Columbia!
Here's a virtual walk-through of the past few days on the road for us:
We left LA bright and early on Saturday, September 2. I was ridiculously excited and hyper to FINALLY be leaving for our long-awaited journey! Willie had no idea what was in store. Grace needed coffee.
About 3 or 4 hours into our journey, we passed by Seven Magic Mountains, an outdoor art installation near Las Vegas. It's just right off the road and totally free to visit. We decided to stop to see it and let Willie go to the bathroom, and I snapped the photo above. So cool! It's only going to be there for one more year (it was intended as a temporary art installation), so go see it if you can.
Then we drove through Vegas (which Grace had never seen before) and onto Arizona and Utah. It was during this stretch that we saw the car thermometer reach 113 degrees. Yikes!
While we were driving, we lost 1 hour due to the time difference--Utah is on Mountain Time, one hour ahead of California. We ended up getting to our campsite around 4pm (the picture above). We camped at Snow Canyon State Park. It is hands down one of the most stunning campgrounds I have ever seen! It's near Zion National Park, so it has a bit of that red rocks look to it. It was HOT outside and we were kind of anxious for the sun to go down, but I still couldn't get over how gorgeous it was.
Because it was so hot, we couldn't make a fire. I whipped up some chilled dishes instead.
If you're looking for a place to camp near St. George, Utah (the closest town), I would very highly recommend Snow Canyon, with the caveat that it does get hot in the summer. The bathrooms were super clean, too! We didn't see another person the whole time, not even a campground host.
The next day we woke up early, again (side note: I think the latest we have "slept in" on this trip is 7:30am and we LOVE it . . . the early bird seriously gets the worm if you're driving to see beautiful places!) and drove to Antelope Island, Utah. Antelope Island is an island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake. But before driving onto the island (there is a causeway to get there), we tooled around Salt Lake City a bit to see the main temple and get some groceries. Salt Lake City is the Mormon capital of the world from what I've learned. We visited on a Sunday, so the city felt kind of empty with everyone in temple.
Then we arrived on Antelope Island, set up camp for the night, and took in the views. We camped at the Bridger Bay campground, which I would also recommend (though it's pretty rustic; only porta-potties and no running water). Once it got close to sunset, we decided to walk down the salt flats to the actual lake's edge for a little pre-dinner adventure.
Willie was very curious and waded right in! It was absolutely stunning at sunset.
The next morning leaving the island was just as beautiful:
And we saw a bunch of buffalo just hanging out on the side of the road! This one was having an early breakfast.
Our destination for the next day was Helena, Montana. Neither of us had ever been to Montana before and didn't really know what to expect. It was AWESOME. I'm going to sound like such an LA city slicker saying this, but it just felt like a western movie set. So cool, old fashioned, authentic, gritty, homey, and cute all at the same time. We absolutely loved it and really want to go back and spend more time.
We stayed at this Airbnb and it was so perfect. It's walking distance to downtown, dog friendly, has free (!!) laundry on site, and is just so cute, charming, and quintessentially Montanan (at least to someone who's never been to Montana before, haha!).
We walked around the adorable little town of Helena, and for dinner we got takeout pizza from a local place Bullman's Pizza. We loved it and would recommend. They have one pizza called the bitterroot that has pistachios, rosemary, and red onion as toppings . . . so unexpected but AMAZING.
I could hardly believe it, but after Helena our next destination was Banff, Alberta! None of the drives on these first three days was terribly long, so I was pretty surprised that it only took 4 days to drive to Canada from Los Angeles.
We woke up in Helena very excited to cross the border. On the way out of town, we stopped at the Dirty Dozen doughnut shop, which was incredible. I really recommend trying a Tiger Tail if you're ever in Helena :)
To be continued . . . Stay tuned for another recap very soon, and thanks for reading this very long and photo-heavy post!