We woke up early on the side of the road down the street from the border crossing. We stayed up late for our very first and lucky Northern Lights display. We decided to sleep-in a tiny bit but we still got an early start. Our first day in Canada was a learning experience.
Our first introduction to Canada was the border crossing guard. She was incredibly friendly and gave us all sorts of useful information about what to expect. Everything aside from the wind.
The first many miles are farm land. Green open fields of farm land. It’s flat and the hills roll for miles. While there wasn’t much to look at the drive is really pleasant and the roads are in great shape.
In the USA, each State has its own way of handling gas stops and towns off the highway. For instance, Texas has “access” roads. These roads run directly along the highway but they have stop lights. You can see all the various venues and its fairly common for mini towns to sprout up and be supported simply by all the access to patrons from Highway traffic. We’ve been to several States that tuck the little stops off the highway where you can’t seem them. Those states rely on highway signage to indicate what is located at each stop. You can’t really “see” the shops and stores from the highway.
Canada is a little different and a blend of both the above concepts. I was expecting to see name-brand gas stations and convenience stores. Instead, our first exposure into Canada was a bit different. They have smaller highways and stores are right off the highways like Texas. The stores have mostly been small and independently run. The side roads along the highway are different than Texas. They do not run the length of the highway - and, instead, are only long enough to support the small cluster of businesses. I don’t know why but it took us a little getting used to before we started “looking” for the correct style of buildings and businesses for gas and shopping. This is only relevant outside big cities. Big cities look and feel similar to most States in the USA we’ve visited.
We happened to cross into Canada on an extremely windy day. We had not encountered wind like this in all of our adventures. It made driving our first day a bit stressful. The sustained winds were only 30mph. To me this doesn’t feel or seem like much. You just have to correctively turn the wheel against the wind. The wind gusts are another story. If we weren’t out away from all forms of life I’m certain we would have been blown into other drivers. Thankfully we had the road to ourselves for hours.
Canada is based on the metric system. Our Pleasure Way doesn’t have kilometer readings on the speedometer. We’ve talked about apps we find useful before. Our good ole’ friend Waze came to the rescue. We have Waze setup to always display our speedWe were able to set Waze to kilometer-per-hour.
We also have Waze setup to automatically notify us if we are going 5+ over the speed limit. This really helps when you reach small towns where the town has dramatically reduced the speeds. Waze will automatically make an audible tone and let you know the speed changed and you need to slow down. The traffic avoidance built into Waze is the best we’ve seen so far but it has really become an invaluable tool for our travels.