The Great Canadian RoadTrip - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 06:29 AM Thread Starter
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The Great Canadian RoadTrip

I will be updating this thread a little per day for the next week or so. My daughter and I just returned from an 11 day road trip across Canada and the US. We travelled from Toronto to Seattle and back. It took 6 days through Canada and 5 days to return through the US.

The total travel time (sitting in the car driving) was about 95 hours. The total distance travelled was 9900 km (6100 miles).

Naturally, I took my Elise. It performed flawlessly.

Before I set out, many people suggested that I should go in a daily driver. Having just returned I can't imagine having gone in any other car than my Elise.

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 07:19 AM
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You're my hero. That's awesome! Talk about packing light!

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 07:38 AM
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You're my hero. That's awesome! Talk about packing light!
Damn, thats rather awesome!
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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The schedule

Start Toronto, Ontario (June 21/2013)

1) To Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (8 hrs)
2) To Thunder Bay, Ontario (8 hrs)
3) To Winnipeg, Manitoba (8 hrs)
4) To Vermilion, Alberta (11.5 hrs)
5) To Kamloops, British Columbia (10.5 hrs)
6) To Seattle, Washington (7 hrs via Summerland BC)
7) To Post Falls, Idaho (9 hrs via Portland OR)
8) To Miles City, Montana (9.5 hrs)
9) To St. Paul, Minnesota (10.5 hrs)
10) To Chicago, Illinois (6.5 hrs)
11) To Toronto, Ontario (10 hrs - got lost)

I was back in Toronto late on July 1, 2013.

That's a driving time of 98.5 hours total. Sorry my post 1 of just 95 hours was not correct.

The actual driving hours are listed. Breaks for fuel fillups and food are additional to those times. As you can see I was very busy driving.

Originally I had planned to travel through Calgary Alberta and Banff but there was massive flooding out that way. So I had to go through Edmonton Alberta and Japser which added 2 extra hours to the driving time.

On the way home to Toronto I went through the Sarnia, Ontario border. However I think I programmed my GPS incorrectly and instead of going directly to Port Huron, Michigan I went to Port Hope, Michigan instead. That added 2 hours of unwanted site seeing.

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Day 1 - Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Here are a few shots of the trek from Toronto to Sault Ste Marie (and a little beyond).

1) What we packed
2) My daughter with some yellow sunglasses to match the car
3) A vintage vehicle we spotted in southern Ontario
4) The big nickel in Sudbury, Ontario
5) Flowers just beyond Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

We had the top off for the first three hours. I picked up quite a burn from that. I should have done only an hour top down.

The weather went from sunny to cloudy to heavy rain. Luckily the rain arrived only during the last hour of the trip. My daughter and I got soaked while unpacking the trunk at the hotel. My one and only pair of shoes were a bit wet but recovered for the next day of driving.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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Before I forget I'd like to mention that doing a long trip in the Elise seemed possible after reading Giles Cooper's blog about his trip to Alaska. For those unfamiliar with that trip it was done in an earlier generation Elise. Whereas his trip included camping gear, I stayed in comfy hotels or with friends and family each night. So my trip was easy by comparison.

The hours spent reading about his exciting trip gave me the energy to embark on my very own road trip. Thanks Giles!

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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 03:35 PM
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Glad to see you enjoyed the trip!!
A long distance trip in the Lotus is an amazing experience!
We need to get the southern Ontario guys together so you can tell us all about it

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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-03-2013, 03:39 PM
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Did you stop in missoula? I've done miles city to st Paul many times... Long, boring drive.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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I do remember seeing a Missoula road sign but I didn't stop there. When we went through the Midwest we were on a tight schedule so we just stopped here and there for scenery photos.

I had promised my friend in St. Paul that I'd be there for 8 pm (central time). I actually left Miles City at about 3:30 am mountain time to achieve that.

I can imagine that the drive would be boring if you did it a lot. However I had never done it before so it was all fresh to me.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 08:11 AM
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Amazing!

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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 09:44 AM Thread Starter
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Day 2 - Thunder Bay, Ontario

These pictures were taken between Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay Ontario.

1) A craft store about an hour north of Sault Ste Marie
2) Wolves in the store
3) Winnie the Pooh in White River, Ontario
4) Typical roads around Lake Superior
5) The Terry Fox monument in Thunder Bay, Ontario

We first visited a craft store a bit north of Sault Ste Marie. It had lots of facinating things that you'd never see in a big city. My daughter found some stuffed wolves in the store.

In White River we found a Winnie the Pooh monument. Apparently the actual bear that was named Winnie was purchased in White River and was named Winnie after the city Winnipeg. I just had to grab a shot together with my Winnie the Pooh watch.

The typical roads in northern Ontario have lots of trees but they were not as tall as I had expected. British Columbia has all the tall trees.

Terry Fox was a Canadian who lost a leg to cancer. He attempted to run across Canada on one real and one artificial leg but had to quit in the end. Cancer spread to his other leg and he died a year or two later. He did in fact run about 60% of the way. Amazing.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 11:21 AM
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A friend and his daughter did a similar camping trip in an Elise from Ottawa to California and back. I think they took a month. It was a great father - daughter adventure before she got to the age where all she wants cash and keys. Enjoy.
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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-04-2013, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Day 3 - Winnipeg, Manitoba

We travelled from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg in cloudy weather. Just before entering Manitoba it started to rain. It was still raining when we arrived in Winnipeg.

1) Warnings about moose
2) The Manitoba border
3) The Parliament building in Winnipeg
4) Deer in the backyard
5) My friend's baby trying out the car

The Parliament building was the only tourist destination we visited. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to illegally park the car right in front. I had the car there for at least 10 minutes without anyone complaining.

I have a friend in Winnipeg that we visited for dinner. We were impressed that three deer showed up in his yard. On the rest of the trip I believe we only encountered three more deer.

My friend has a baby daughter who wanted to check out the Elise.
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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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Day 4 - Vermilion, Alberta

Here are some pictures from day 4 of our travels.

1) 1955 Ford Fairlane
2) Saskatchewan border
3) A grain elevator
4) Farm equipment
5) Alberta border

We began the day in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The flooding situation in Alberta near Calgary made us decide to go to Edmonton, Alberta instead. That city is much north of Calgary so that route was going to add 2 hours to our schedule. We expected a long day of driving.

Shortly after leaving Winnipeg we encountered a really nice vintage car. The owner was friendly too. He had relatives in the city in British Columbia that we were planning to visit (Summerland). He ended up giving us the following news/advice:

1) The flooding in Calgary was likely to hit Edmonton too
2) Saskatchewan had lots of flooding too and today a big storm was coming
3) Every major highway from Alberta to British Columbia was closed
4) The highway through Saskatchewan that we were planning to take would destroy my car

With that in mind, we continued on. Luckily none of it proved to be true. The roads were excellent and the day was sunny. All the roads we needed were open.

Everyone told us that the flat prairies would bore us but actually we really liked them. Mabye it was because we had seen three consecutive days of trees in Ontario.

We saw a few police cars here and there. I had to laugh because you could literally see them miles away. There were no signs or trees for them to hide behind.

I was amazed at how large the farm machine truck was, especially beside my Elise.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Day 5 - Kamloops, British Columbia

We finally got to the Rockies.

1) First mountain
2) Jasper
3) Moutain / lake
4) British Columbia border
5) Mount Robson in cloud cover

Ontario generally has flat terrain. On day 5 we finally hit the Rockies and were excited to say the least. Our cameras became very active.

My daughter also thought that the border sign for the province of British Columbia was the best border sign of our trip.

I did take a picture of Mount Robson which is the second or third largest mountain in British Columbia at 13,000 feet. Unfortunately what you see is perhaps only 75% of the mountain.

It was a lot of fun driving through BC in the Lotus. We had the top off for part of the drive. It was as beautiful as beautiful can be, definitely the highlight of our trip.
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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-05-2013, 05:07 PM
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Looked like a great trip and thanks for sharing. I've been to Sask and Alberta several times in summers past, but have yet to try it with the Lotus. Would love to photograph the car against some bright canola fields, the salt lakes west of Moose Jaw, glaciers near Banff, or just rip it through the Icefields Parkway!
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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-07-2013, 11:07 AM
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You Canadians are an adventurous bunch. I have some friends on the dune Buggy forums that do annual trips in their Buggy of about that much. Absolutely awesome!

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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 07:47 AM Thread Starter
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Day 6 - Seattle, Washington

These pictures were taken travelling from Kamloops, BC to Seattle via Summerland, BC

1) Road in a cloud
2) My uncle and cousins
3) My daughter and her relatives
4) Travelling to Seattle
5) My sister's kids in the Lotus

One of the mountain roads actually disappeared into a cloud for about a minute. It was exciting but the lack of visibility was a bit unsettling.

In Summerland, British Columbia we stopped to visit some relatives. I had met my uncle about twenty years ago but had never met my cousin or any of his family. They treated us like royalty.

Also in Summerland, my daughter discovered the two horses they own. She suggested that we stay in Summerland for good and scrap the rest of the road trip. Yes Summerland was exceptionally beautiful as was the entire Okanagan valley.

The picture of the Lotus at the roadside was taken somewhere between Summerland and Seattle.

Finally we arrived in Seattle to visit my sister for dinner. Her kids loved the car.

As this was the midpoint of our trip and we had just about run out of clean clothes, we managed to get some laundry done while we were there.
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post #19 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-08-2013, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Day 7 - Post Falls, Idaho

On the way from Seattle to Post Falls Idaho I met up with a friend in Portland, Oregon.

1) Together with my sister and her kids
2) A vintage car between Seattle and Portland
3) Lunch at the Olive Garden
4) Baby in the Lotus
5) Between Portland and Post Falls Idaho

After just one night visiting my sister in Seattle we set out for Portland. In Portland we met a lady that I used to work with in Toronto. She's married and has her first child, a beautiful little girl. Her Mom lives with her and takes care of the baby during the day.

My daughter and I joined the three generations of girls--baby, Mom and Grandmother--for a delightful lunch at the Olive Garden. My friend's Mom said hi to me in English so I said hi to her in Chinese. Neither of us know more than that but it was sufficient to get along.

Finally we set out for our hotel in Post Falls Idaho and arrived just after dark.
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-09-2013, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Day 8 - Miles City, Montana

Today we travelled to Miles City Montana and arrived at dark.

1) Entering Montana
2) I found Paradise
3) One small truck pulling five
4) Wide open road
5) Miles City at night

The western side of Montana is very green with lots of trees. A few hours later it flattens out and is basically wide open road. Driving in Montana was very relaxing. The speed limit is 75 but most were going about 90 mph. I only saw a few police and they were always near the towns.

I noticed one pickup truck that was hauling five others? That seemed a bit ambitious to me. I've never seen anything like that in Ontario.

I was really curious about Miles City. The population is only 8000. When we arrived it was quite exciting since the town just appears out of nowhere. The main strip almost felt like Las Vegas at night.
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