Pick up by Traveland Langley
After breakfast we were picked up at the Victorian Hotel in Vancouver by a taxi hired by Traveland Langley (Day 2). I thought the person who picked us up was going to be a Traveland employee, but they also use taxis in subcontracting. At the end of our tour I saw that it was the same taxi drivers who brought the Traveland customers to the airport and to hotels.
Do you give a tip or not?
The question of whether or not to give a tip always arises. Can I give a tip in this case? If so, how much? When unloading our suitcases at Traveland I gave the taxi driver 20$ CAD. Afterwards I thought this might have been too much, because we actually pay quite a lot for the pick-up service at Traveland, about 90$ CAD per trip. I assume that the RV rental company who arranges and pays for the taxis, in this case Traveland Langley, will also pay for the tips. It would be easier for tourists to list this on the Traveland Langley RV Rentals website.
Mercedes Class C Diesel Navion - 25 Ft
Fuel-efficient Diesel ...?
The Camper pick up went pretty smoothly. It was through Travelhome in the Netherlands that we had booked the camper. Travelhome was cheaper at the time of booking. I found it safer if we needed our cancellation insurance, we could arrange that in the Netherlands. It was Samuel from Traveland Langley who arranged the papers on site and gave us a tour of the Mobilhome. The moment you hear the explanation, probably for the first time, about gray wastewater and black wastewater, it all sounds a bit complicated. But after you pull the wrong handle on day 3, everything suddenly becomes very clear! 🙂 We had opted for the 25 feet Mercedes Navion Diesel. Diesel is available almost everywhere in BC and Alberta and is usually cheaper than regular petrol. The biggest advantage of a Diesel Camper is that it is much more economical than a motorhome on petrol (around 30 à 40%). The consumption, I have not exactly tracked, but is on average around the 14 à 15 liters per 100 km. The Navion Diesel has a cruise control that is easier to drive and, in particular, more economical. But also good, because without it I wouldn't want to drive anymore. There were days that we drove 4 hours and then a cruise control is indispensable.
Traveland Langley RV Rentals - BC
We chose Traveland Langley because of the good reviews and because they rent out the Navion Diesel. The mobile home is also slightly narrower than other mobile homes and easier to park. At the campsite you simply slide the slideout outside, creating the same amount or even more space inside than with a "normal" mobile home. On the other side of the mobile home there is an electrically extendable awning against the sun. Be careful not to top up with manual water at the same time that you roll up the canopy again. More about that later.
Calculation number of km and Extras
We had previously opted for a distance of 3500 km, but this turned out to be a bit tight at the end of the ride. The total distance that we covered was 3903 km. For an extra km it costs 0.41 CAD $, which amounted to 185 $ CAD extra on the final invoice (Drop-Off Contract). If I had taken an extra bundle with 500 km, this would not have been cheaper, because you will not get a refund if you drive less than 500 km from the bundle. We are at the end of our trip from Horseshoebay to Cultus Lake drove (121 km) for our last night. I wouldn't do that anymore. We had a lot of traffic jams on that road and the price per km is actually not worth it. You still have to make and clear your bags, because the Camper must be in before 12:00 the next day. If I had to do it again, I probably opted for a later crossing from Vancouver Island to Horseshoebay and an overnight stay closer to Langley. When we signed the Pick-Up Contract, we had to pay $ 647,04 CAD. We requested a few extras that were not standard in the camper, including a Toaster ($ 12), a coffee machine ($ 15) and a small picnic table ($ 15). OK, little ones make big, but on a total rental price of 4517 € for 20 nights (+ 403 additional kilometers at 123 €) I would have given the extras for free. The total of the extras came to 47.04 $ (30 euros) including taxes. The 600 $ is the VIP deposit and is usually refunded.
Do not forget - get fuel first
Once everything was clear we could leave. I had never driven a mobile home before and it was surprisingly easy. Such an 25 years ago I had to go on the road occasionally for my (first) employer with a Mercedes Sprinter and it now appears that the chassis of the Navion Diesel is the same. That is why it seemed familiar to me. In the beginning it is always a bit of a search, but the layout of the mobile home is logical. The dashboard is also clear and I had already done driving with an automatic. So first refuel and on to the supermarket!
Expensive supermarket ...
Wow, our first purchases were not wrong. The third bill my MasterCard swallowed was again $ 600 CAD and I didn't feel like we were taking much. Of course you have to buy everything again, even salt and pepper, and there are expensive things in between. At Traveland you have the opportunity to bring food and other conveniences that people do not want to or cannot take home and leave on a rack. We were able to take a few things with us, but apparently it didn't make much difference. Half ended up back on the same rack at the end of our tour. Most of the food that is there on the rack is there for a reason. Either you don't use it or it doesn't taste good. We also brought about 8 DVDs with Traveland Langley and put them back later. The DVDs came in handy for the children. DVDs from Europe cannot be played in Canada and therefore not in the camper. Shopping takes a lot of time. Plan in advance what you (really) need and make a list! Maybe fun to do on the plane. The food is about the same price as in the more expensive shops in Belgium and the Netherlands, maybe a little more expensive.
Beer is very expensive ... and you buy it in a liquor store
The beer is very expensive and of dubious quality. One 33cl can of beer costs about 2 euros. I had bought a pack of 24 in a liquor store and regretted it at the first can. In addition to the Molson Canadian 24 pack, there were also Stella Artois Packs. I still remember thinking “We're in Canada so I'm going to drink Canadian beer and not start drinking (Belgian) Stella Artois here, huh”. Pff… I should have done better. 😉 What is very time consuming when you go shopping in the superstores is that you will find everything there, but no beer or wine. After you have shopped for 600 $ and think “now we are off to the Othello tunnels” you can first look for a Liquor Store if you want to drink a beer or wine with all that food in the evening. The problem is that those Liquor stores are not, as you might suspect, located next to the supermarket, but on the contrary a long way away. So you have to ask people on the street: “excuse me sir / madam… where can I find a liquor store please”.
Othello Tunnels - Coquihalla Provincial Park
Ok, we were refueled, had food and found liquor. We could finally go on an adventure to Hope and to the Othello tunnels. It turned out that the maps that I had downloaded in advance via the "Here WeGo" app had disappeared. Yes, that started well. Fortunately my father gave me a map of British Columbia. If you drive without a GPS, you only know how lost it is to find your way with a road map. Jessica had to read the card so we "almost" got into a fight. It was quite a task to find the right way and we were allowed to drive back here and there, but nevertheless touched on the Othello Tunnel. We had parked a little too far from the Othello Tunnels, because we thought it would be too narrow further down the street to be able to turn. So even though we had to step 2 km extra, we were completely satisfied.
The Othello tunnels were laid in 1914 over 3 mountain ranges to construct a railway line from Kootenay to the coast. You can walk on foot through 5 different railway tunnels and over 4 bridges. We saw our first salmon jump upstream under a bridge and the children loved it. Phew, the pressure was off.
After the walk we quickly found our way to the campsite. The campground is a private campground and I requested a full hook up. Actually, that is not necessary the first night because the waste water tanks (gray tank) and toilet (black tank) are still empty and we also stayed on 1 night Coquihalla Campground.
I had already received the number of our campsite in advance via email and could drive right up there. Turned out to our surprise that the place was already occupied! When we arrived it was after 7 PM and I knew that there could be a message at the reception with instructions. Nothing at the door, of course. Slight panic, but there was a phone number that I could call. Fortunately, someone picked up and he was even at the reception after a few minutes. He could indeed confirm that our place was occupied by someone else, but fortunately he had another place for us.
Connect Traveland Camper
In the meantime it was dark and we had to connect the camper for the first time. On the basis of how people looked on the other side of the road I could see that we could use some help. While I was signing "1st time camper" I went to ask my neighbor for help.
He turned out to be a super friendly Canadian. He showed me that you can just put the toilet drain loose in the drain and I had to put a stone on it. Not all drainage hoses can be tightened on a drain! The water hose on the coupling was not completely watertight and he put on another seal so that we could connect water.
At the reception there was wifi and I could download the GPS maps again. We could finally eat at 9 PM. We went to bed early, because we had to get up early the next day Okanagan Lake North Provincial Park to drive.
Route Day 2: Vancouver - Traveland Langley - Othello Tunnels - Coquihalla Campground
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