So here I am, pulling a trailer up the driveway of my parent’s house. Starting a cross-country adventure amidst the chaos of COVID-19. I usually wouldn’t condone unnecessary travel during a pandemic (for fucks sake please wear your masks), but I have recently become an essential worker.
Long story short, my dad owns an environmental consulting company that deals with health and safety. One of their main focuses is on asbestos – testing buildings to see where it’s present and making sure it’s removed safely (among other things). It’s too dangerous for him to fly any of his usual employees out to the job sites in other provinces at the moment… so my partner Chesney and I have volunteered as tributes. I know when you hear “essential worker” you picture a nurse or a grocery store employee, but making sure the air is clear of asbestos is important too!
I’ll be the first to admit, taking on the job was not totally selfless – it means we have an excuse to drive across the country. A pretty sweet gig for my Kiwi boyfriend too, who now gets to see more of the country. He can’t work, but obviously he’s coming along for the ride!
I’ve always wanted to do a camper van trip, and this seemed like the perfect time. It just so happened that Dad, Chesney and I spotted the CUTEST trailer for sale on the side of the road. I have never noticed a trailer before in my entire life, but the adorable little A-frame stood out. We stopped to take a look at it, fell in love instantly, and picked it up a week or so later. (We even managed to bargain for a cheaper price!).
Fast forward a few hectic weeks of learning how to do the job and getting all the accessories ready for the trailer, we’re finally on our way. The reputation of my dad’s entire company rests in my hands and my ability to use a microscope. I’m mostly kidding. I do actually have to use a microscope, wear a full-face respirator, steel toe boots, and tyvek suit sometimes. But no one will die of asbestos poisoning if I make a mistake – don’t worry.
It will take us an entire week just to get out of Ontario. I think we all underestimate how massive Canada is sometimes. It’s also partially due to the fact that I have to drive like a grandma, but it’s also just far af.
For our first night, we’re staying at a brewery in Parry Sound, Ontario. There’s an app called Harvest Hosts for Canada and the USA which will let camper vans and trailers park on their property for free. It’s like Airbnb for farms and RVs instead of apartments and people. It’s free, but it’s encouraged that you buy something from the people you’re staying with as a trade.
Tonight we’ve booked in at The Trestle Brewery. Drink some beer for free accommodation? Don’t mind if we do.
I’m envisioning a big farm with lots of space and fields of hops – the ability to park wherever we want within a specified green space. But instead, the GPS leads us to central Parry Sound, where the Trestle brewery sits on the riverbank beside… you guessed it… the Trestle bridge. Where I actually should have expected it to be. To be fair I’ve never been to Parry Sound, but in hindsight I should have probably looked a little more closely at the map. Instead of the massive field I pictured, t’s a small warehouse with a regular sized parking lot with regular sized parking spaces. Oooooooh no.
I have to back our 21 ft trailer into a parking space while staff and visitors on the patio all watch. It takes me a few goes and a lot of directions from Chesney standing in the parking spot to guide me… but we got there. I expect to become a pro over the next 6 weeks.
The reviews on the app describe beautiful riverside parking spots, but because we showed up at dinner time most of the lot is full. We end up parking in front of the bins and next to some kind of generator the brewery uses that makes hella noise.
In the distance – the train is running over the trestle bridge, blowing it’s horn as it passes. I can sleep through literally anything, but unfortunately Chesney hasn’t been blessed with the same gift.
The staff are sooo friendly and helpful, and they offer to let us move as soon as the riverside spots open up but you could not pay me enough money to re-park this trailer right now. We’ll stick by the bins and generator – it’s just one night!
We sit down for a nice patio dinner right on the river and each choose a flight of beer. The train passes over the bridge again and is mirrored perfectly in the reflection of the placid river. The sun’s going down and the temperature is perfect. Life is good.
We even see a beaver! The little guy putters about on the river bank, and then dives into the river. According to our server, he lives at the brewery. A pretty good omen for the first night of our cross-Canadian road trip!Buy me a tea