Are you brave enough to travel?
by Dale Burgos
Raise your hands if you are itching to travel as much as I am. Did you raise your hands? Are people now wondering why you are holding your arm up?
For over two years I have been dreaming up the perfect vacation that the Burgos bunch can take after we have been keeping it close to home. For us, we are looking at travelling back to Winnipeg this summer to visit my mom, mother-in-law, son, siblings, nieces, nephews, and our grandchild. More of that trip in a minute.
I’m still very thankful that we were able to get away before the pandemic hit. Back in January 2020, Elizabeth and I surprised the kids with a trip to Mexico. We had never been there and have always wanted to go. Upon our arrival back to Canadian soil, we started hearing about coronavirus. I had never heard of it before, and being oblivious, thought it originated in Mexico. Little did I know, what we thought was a passing flu would become what we know it to be today. That was our last “family trip,” as defined by my son Gavin.
“Trips to Victoria, Vancouver, and Tofino don’t count dad,” he said wryly. “We need to take a plane.”
I guess he has a point. But seriously, where could we go? I can tell you for sure, we won’t be taking a cruise anywhere. Those ships scare me now.
Do I want to risk another lockdown while we are in another country? That, plus we let the kids’ passports expire last year. I mean, we didn’t need them. Now, many people across the country are finally willing to travel but are hit with another roadblock – passport delays. So go ahead, book your trip, and renew your passport. Hopefully, you’ll get it in time, maybe you won’t. I’m not blaming the Canadian passport office, they’re doing the best they can. This, too, is another effect of COVID.
So, we stay close to home, right? We can start planning for our trip to Winnipeg to visit family, right? Wrong! Another stumbling block – astronomical gas prices. Last night, I filled up the gas tank in the Burgos’ SUV. It is a V8 monster with a 100-litre tank. As I filled the vehicle with gas, I emptied my tear ducts by crying. I wasn’t the only one crying at the gas station. A truck driver gave me a sympathetic nod as he rubbed his runny nose on his sleeve while his total crept closer and closer to $200. I paid $2.27 per litre for regular grade. That isn’t a typo. Industry analysts predict $2.50 per litre come summertime. That’s something to look forward to.
With these gas prices, a road trip back home is going to cost a lot of money. Like, a lot. Do we fly on the econo airlines? Risky because it seems they are in operation one day with threats to shut down the next. We still haven’t made the decision if we are going to drive back, but we still have some time to decide.
If we do travel back to Winnipeg, let me share some of the Burgos’ favourite places to go on our road trips. We’ll start here on the west coast.
The city of Vancouver is a no-brainer. If you haven’t been, you must visit one day. Rent a bike and ride through all of Stanley Park. If you like markets, check out Granville Island. If you want to see if you are afraid of heights, check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge. As for food, take your pick, they have all kinds of global cuisine.
Further east, we stop in Salmon Arm, B.C. (Fun fact, salmon do not have arms!) The city has some of the best summer temps in the country, but don’t fret, you can rent a houseboat and spend your days on Shuswap Lake.
The Rocky Mountains on the border of B.C. and Alberta is another place you need to experience. Coming from Winnipeg, I thought “Garbage Hill” on Empress Street was high. Nope, the majestic mountains are a site to behold.
Calgary is a favourite stop because most of my extended family calls it home. We always stop to visit, and eat, visit, and then eat some more. If we feel adventurous, we drive north from Calgary and stop in Edmonton. There, we visit and eat, visit, and then eat some more. The kids like the indoor water and amusement parks in West Edmonton Mall. It’s our Disneyland, without the life-size cartoon characters.
Further east is Saskatchewan. I have a love-hate relationship with this province. I love that it is an easy drive. However, I can’t stand that it is an easy drive. It is quite boring with nothing much to see for miles. A good place to spend half a day is The Tunnels of Moose Jaw. The underground tour may tickle your fancy if you like prohibition-era Canadian history.
In Regina, I found China Liang’s Buffet. It looked a bit sketchy on the outside, but wow, it’s probably the best Chinese food buffet I’ve been to. Expect to wait for a table, it’s very popular.
Next stop would be Winnipeg. I don’t need to tell you how awesome the city is. Family, friends, and so many places to eat! I intend to eat a FatBoy Burger from the Red Top or Dairi-Wip drive-ins. After that, sinigang or pancit at mom’s place.
Ok, I think I’ve talked myself into it. We will be driving to Winnipeg this summer. I will just close my eyes when filling up the gas tank.
So, let me ask you, are you brave enough to travel?
Dale manages the communications department for a school district in B.C.