So, a few numbers:
-over 10 thousand kilometres
-one driver for all of it.
-longest travel day: 10 hours/1000km (twice)
-shortest travel day: 5.5 hours/500km (twice)
-5 hotels, 3 lodges/cabins, 2 airbnbs, 3 chain motels (never again)
-4 border crossings (all pleasant and straightforward. The nicest was Idaho)
-5 Canadian provinces
-8 US States
-3 time zones crossed each way
-7 sock monkeys made on the road, and now living in Saskatchewan/B.C., Washington, Oregon, Missouri and Northern Ontario
-3 imaginary friends (+ a couple of spouses) who are now real and all the more cherished
-5000+ photographs (six 32 GB memory cards filled and then some)
-15 postcards painted and posted
-half a day of rain
-1 birthday celebration
-20 days straight of running and exploring new surroundings
I can't honestly pick a best out of all of it, because the entire trip was filled with awe-inspiring scenery and beautiful moments, but my top 5 places, in no particular order, would include: Haystack rock, Lake Louise, seeing and hearing whales breaching in the Salish Sea, the Columbia River gorge, and the Qu'Appelle Valley, SK.
Best moments included spending my birthday with wonderful people in Victoria; visiting with H&M at their lakeside home in Saskatchewan; meeting D&J at Hood River, meeting J at Snoqualmie; running in the early morning along the Spokane River; seeing the Rockies rise out of the prairies, standing beside the Terry Fox statue, marking the end of his run, overlooking Thunder Bay, ON; watching the dogs play in the Pacific Ocean; driving into an endless, golden sunset on the Prairies; watching the sun set across the bay in Victoria, as kayakers paddled in the gilded water; and seeing bald eagles in British Columbia.
As mentioned in the list above, I took thousands of photographs, and for the purposes of this blog, I generally took a quick scan of the thumbnails, chose a few as the ''highlight reel'' and edited and uploaded those. I'm eager to see what other gems may still await when I get a chance to take a proper, closer look at the memory cards. From the photos I took, I've narrowed it to a top 10 (ok, a top 13) below.
Thank you to everybody who followed along on this journey. I have always been a strong proponent of the incredibly enriching value of travel. I was lucky enough to spend a couple of summers in France when I was a student, and I can honestly say that I learned far more and grew far more as a person during those times than ever I did in the classroom. I feel that this journey has had the same effect. I am head over heels in love with Canada, my adopted and adoptive country, and also with the incredibly beautiful world that we have the privilege of inhabiting. I've struggled throughout these few weeks to find adequate words to describe the experience, the scenery, and the feelings that were stirred, and I think that the closest approximation is reverence. My only regret is that I waited this long to do it.