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Half a road trip planned, return through mid Canada or northen US?

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Mar 8th, 2013, 01:52 PM
  #1
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Half a road trip planned, return through mid Canada or northen US?

I am starting a new topic that is related to my others regarding our summer road trip for 4 and a half - 5 weeks in July/August. This Australian family of 6 (boys- 15, 12, 10 girl - 6)
has purchased a tent trailer that is fully equipped and the loose plan (will tighten it soon as I have flights to book when we get back..) is as below-

Vernon -Banff- Jasper - Calgary - Drumheller- Medicine Hat- Regina - Winnipeg - Thompson (MA) leave car & camper..(any suggestions where? and go on train to Churchill. Stay 2 nights with package..

This is as far as I have got.

The options are: A
1. Train back to Thompson, collect car & camper.
2. Drive to Wekuska Falls (much there..?) or Flin Flon (?) or both
3. Then to Prince Albert, Edmonton,then to - is it Liara Hot Springs?
4.Wells Gray Clearwater
5 Jasper (Wouldn't then do it on the way through to Calgary as above)
6. Vernon

Option B
1. Get back to Thompson on train, drive back to Winnipeg
3. Then go through the US to get home.
Perhaps MInnesota, North Dakota, etc through to Spokane and then to Vernon.

Really not sure what there is to do in the US in the northern states but can keep googling.. We can't be too rushed otherwise we won't enjoy what we see.

Option C
Don't go to Churchill to see the Beluga whales/ maybe Polar bears.. though wonder whether the Northern Lights can be seen in July..?

So I have ground to a halt and would apreciate your thoughts, you guys have been great so far.
When we do get back from this camping trip (however that may be,..) we are going to regroup for a few days and then we are flying to Toronto, for a few days, driving to Niagara Falls (this is already booked) and then we will fly to Quebec for stay in a VRBO for a few days then fly back to Kelowna. So very excited that this bit is coming together..
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Mar 8th, 2013, 02:56 PM
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Personally, I would do your option B, but that may be because I have a soft spot in my heart (and head, perhaps) from the many visits we made there as a child. Take US-2 across Montana, drive the Going to the Sun highway through Glacier National Park. Do visit the Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs near Saco, MT and spend some time around Browning to get some appreciation of the Blackfeet Nation.

I wouldn`t go as far as Spokane, though. After Glacier, I`d stay on US-2 to Bonners Ferry, then head north into Canada and follow BC-3 back to the Okanagan.
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Mar 8th, 2013, 04:40 PM
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Great, thanks..! I haven't heard of those places so I will look them up. Hot Springs sound just the thing..!
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Mar 8th, 2013, 06:53 PM
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Busy with four, I've follo9wed your quest right from the start and you are getting along just fine..Highway 2 gives you and idea of the nw in the 40's/50's as this area suffered greatly in the grea,depression and then made a come back, helped along by the railroad and massive grain transports. There is a town every 10 miles (give or take)because that was the roundtrip distance teams could haul grain to elevators.2 lanes but now with passing lanes but much more the "out west" that we have lost with the freeways. Majestic Peck Dam/Reservatior and surroundings. If you get to Spokane you will see an beautiful inland city that was a lumber giant even as early as the civil war. Home to 5 Universities/colleges and a major medical center. Nice town. Also home to one of the best basketball teams in No. America..Gonzaga. you will never have another trip like this and I know that you will enjoy it lots..
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Mar 12th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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You won't see any polar bears in July or August. The times I have been to Churchill by train, were in late October.
I believe you can leave the car with camper attached in the station parking lot in Thompson. The train stops for more than an hour in Thompson. I took a taxi into town for a meal.
You will save a lot on gas money if you come back through the US. Gas prices are very high in Canada compared with North Dakota and Montana.
Take a couple of days to see Glacier NP on your way west on US route 2.
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Mar 13th, 2013, 06:41 PM
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Thanks tomfuller, didn't think about gas prices, good tip. Hopefully the car and camper (filled with gear) will be safe enough at the train station parking lot.
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Apr 16th, 2013, 02:50 PM
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For those of you who have been following our plans (Aussie family, 4 kids, Canada/US road trip..) it has all been booked for the summer.
In case you are interested our route has changed quite a bit since all the discussions but I think it is a betterr route than some of my other ideas and also incorporates a variety of different experiences, for everyone. Not just lake, mountain, hot springs over and over again.
This is IT.. and it we will be gone for approx 5 weeks or 33 days.
Jasper - 3 nights
Banff - 3 nights
Calgary/Drumheller - 3 nights
Medicine Hat - 2 nights
Moose Jaw/Regina - 2 nights
Moose Mountain - 2 nights
Bismarck - 1 night (hotel)
Mitchell - 3 nights
Custer state Park - 3 nights
Billings - 1 night (hotel)
Yellowstone - 3 nights
Helena - 1 night (hotel)
Fort McLeod - 2 nights
Radium Hot Springs - 1 night (hotel)
Home

On this trip we should be able to experience,(among other things..) Lake Louise, Glaciers, mountains, dinosaur fossils, museums, First Peoples sites (eg Smashed in head Buffalo Jump, Writing-on-Stone Prov Park, tipis in Medicine Hat) water slides, Hoo doos, boating on lakes, Little House on the Prairie Homestead - De Smet, History (Little Bighorn, Custer,) Mount Rushmore, mini holf, Flintstone Park - Mitchell, rodeos, Royal Mounted Police displays, bears, etc (Yellowstone) and so on.

So we are very excited.. Thank you ALL for your input as you helped us to get to this final point as we decided what we did want to see, what we could cope with and what we needed to knock off the list.

I will file a trip report when we return. Happy Travels..!
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Apr 17th, 2013, 06:52 PM
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This might be the first time I've ever read of the thought of two nights in Medicine Hat.

(at least for non-hockey purposes)
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Apr 18th, 2013, 04:36 PM
  #9
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Haha Northwestmale.. only cos hubby doesn't want to put up the tent trailer for only one night. We will go and see stuff and find a pool to swim in.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 12:25 AM
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Hi, busywithfour.
Your trip sounds fantastic. What a wonderful lasting experience for you and your children.

I was quite surprised to see Moose Jaw on your itinerary. We are visiting Canada late September / early October, and one of the places I wanted to visit because of some family history was Moose Jaw! However, it was just not easy to get there and sadly we had to leave it out of our itinerary. Unfortunately, we probably will not get there as we are about to retire, and it's a bit far from New Zealand to just "pop" over to Canada, as we are able to do with your homeland!
Drive safely. I will look for your report when you have time to post one.

Dot
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Apr 19th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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So nice that people are interested in our trip and I will be sure to post a report. Hopefully getting to Moose Jaw in out car will be ok, it looked interesting to me also and we will explore there and Regina together. Yes we won't be 'popping' back over after our teacher exchange year is up here so we have to make the most of it. Once back in Aust we will need to then start seeing our own great country and yours.. All the best.
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Apr 19th, 2013, 09:27 PM
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From your various posts, it sounds as if you certainly are trying to make the most of your year in Canada.

I wish I'd known about teacher exchanges when our children were young. I would love to have experienced teaching in another country. Never mind, we had our international education experience hosting students from Uruguay and Sweden instead, and with whom we are still in touch 14+ years later.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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That's great. Hopefully you have been or will gget to visit them in their countries.
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Apr 20th, 2013, 11:22 AM
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Hi busywithfour,

Am new here, just a had a question about this trip. My uncle is coming to visit BC from Europe and wants to do a similar road trip to yours. Am hoping you can give me soem advice, because he wants to rent a camper for him and his wife .. do a trip through BC and end it in Alaska.......... do you have any recommendations for a camper rental company that might do one way? I asked around and many say that pick up in Canada and then drop off in USA is just not possible .. any feedback would be much appreciated. Thank you and I am certain you and your family will have an awesome trip! Your route sounds amazing!
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Apr 20th, 2013, 09:43 PM
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Hi finding_dolly, I only looked briefly into renting a camper and was quite put off with the cost of renting. Many also as you suggest, don't seem keen for you to travel very far. I didn't look into leaving it anywhere or taking it one way. We decided to buy one as we can use it for the year we are here. Sorry I'm not much help.
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Apr 21st, 2013, 10:41 AM
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Hi busywithfour, thanks so much for reply. I'll suggest buying one, it may make more sense, why not?!
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