If you say it fast, 10,000 kilometres and 19 bodies of water in 30 days doesn’t sound so hard.

And at the time, it wasn’t. The excitement of each succeeding day, the land and water traversed, piled adventure upon adventure to revitalize us.

Canada Onboard’s quest was twofold, celebrate Canada’s150th birthday in grand style with a cross-country trip, and do it in a way we’d always dreamed of.

For John, it was the notion he had at age 20 to buy a beat up van, throw a mattress in the back and head west. Pam had a more refined dream, the same trip with dependable camping gear.

And so it was that we got to fulfill those dreams, 50 years later for John, by taking our standup paddleboards from Hamilton to Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and back, then Hamilton-Victoria, Vancouver Island.

We used a new Honda Pilot SUV fitted with a foam mattress for the first part, then a crazy 20-year-old camper van from Wicked Campers west.

The aim was to paddle in two bodies of water for each province covered (sorry, northern cousins, we hope to tell your story soon). We fell a bit short at 19 and even then because in a couple of cases we were in two bodies of water during one outing.

Pam is a certified standup paddleboard instructor and guide,  John the neophyte with only a handful of paddling sessions to his credit as they set out.

But he was a lot more confident when we finished on Canoe Cove on Vancouver Island Oct. 7 than when we embarked Sept. 6 from Hamilton.

Along the way we were tested with a paddle amongst the whales in a tricky tide at the axis of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers, in the Rockies on Moraine Lake when the air was -8C and water just 8C and lolled on a slow prairie river called the LaSalle near Winnipeg.

Join us for the ride at and see some of the places we’ll be running group trips in the future.