We Did It!!
So we did it, we drove across Canada and came back through the USA, about 27,000 KLM’s. We left July 15, 2022 and got home October 4, 2022, 81 nights in a hotel room! Around the continent in 81 days!
Would we do it again? No,
Do we regret doing it? No. Everyone should do it once.
You don’t really realize how big this country is until you drive across it. I knew it was big, but I didn’t really know how big, now I know. A second thing to factor in is that some areas have better marketing than others. Take Niagra falls for example: the falls are beautiful, both American and Canadian sides.
The city of Niagra Falls is, I don’ say this in hate, nothing more than a carnival strip that reminded me a bit of an older typ Las Vegas. We spent three days there. We are not carnaval people. Niagra on the Lake, another community was simply wonderful and beautiful and filled with tourists, (good thing we went during the off season). The carnaval atmosphere is not heavily marketed, but the beauty and romance is. Some areas are just more enjoyable to us than others.
We spent twelve days in Newfoundland, it was wonderful, fascinating and the people were so very nice, and the scenery was completely different from the rest of Canada. Twelve days was enough, we won’t be in a hurry to return, but we are grateful for having been there. You get tired of rocks and water and fishing villages along the way. I really enjoyed the Puffins by the way, my peak memory!
There are areas that are under-rated as well. St. John New Brunswick for example. What a great city for exploring, St. Andrews NB as well for its beauty and touristy welcome. Saskatoon was a shocker, I loved the city, beautiful and easy to get around. I never truly appreciated how big Winnipeg is, how dynamic it is. The Museum of Human Rights is a must, the Art Gallery and the Mint should also be on the list. There is a bench at Portage and Main, which is more than there is at Haight and Ashbury! People who have been to Sanfransico know what I am saying.
I am a fan of the prairie provinces, I don’t have to go back, but I am very happy I went. We developed a bit of a game while driving along, We were watching for wood piles outside of peoples homes. There are a lot of big wood piles across the prairies. The most that we saw were in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, but the prairies had lots.
Speaking of Prince Edward Island, we spent three days there in Charletown. Everyone told us that you can see most of the island in a day. Wrong. We should have stayed in three or four different communities as we worked our way around the island instead of day trips out from Charletown. Everyone there has a huge lawn, beautifully manicured. They must spend the whole weekend working on them.
We followed some driving trails we came across as we drove along, like the Accadian Trail and the Chem du Roy. We were on the Chem du Roy many years ago and it was interesting back then, but in todays world, most of the off highway one routs are really not that scenic anymore.
One part we did enjoy was going to a few, somewhat obscure little areas that we had heard about in song or story. What is Skinners Pond, PEI famous for? Stomping Tom Connors, We went to his museum/bar/dance hall. The centre of Canada can be found a short distance out of Winnipeg heading east, and there is Shag Harbour in Nova Scotia. UFO buffs will know about Shag Harour! Maude Lewis’s old house is in the Halifax Art Gallery, but her son rebuilt a replica of it and it is still standing near Digby Nova Scotia. Oh yes, did I mention the Puffins, Canada’s delightful little clowns! If you are in Bonivista, you must go out to the lighthouse in the evening to see them. Ask any of the locals, they can point you in the right direction!
Part II The American Experiance.
Okay, we hear so many things on the news about the USA, the venom between political idiologies, the staunch tea party retoric, fake news tantrums, racisim and sexism, all of that human drival that would scare any travelor. We never saw any of it.
What we did see were people dawning face masks in crowded area, politeness and hospitality everywhere, kindness and generosity of spirit. There are no mad dog MAGA types and the supporters of President Bidon are not politically lefties. These are warm hearted, salt of the Earth kind of people, even the border guards.
We were nervous and even a bit anxious about traveling into the States having been alerted to any number of horror stories, but as it turns out, these stories are few and far between. The last time we had been in the States was prior to the Covid days and prior to the defeat of Trump and the election of Biden, we were not sure what to expect. We did receive good ole American Hospitality.
The US is behind Canada in maby areas, they do not have as modern credit card payment machines, there are fewer recharging stations for electric cars. In Utah, we needed to show both drivers loscence and passport before us two seniors could purchase a bottle of wine. No wonder Utah drivers are so, so, never mind. The people of Utah are the gold standard for warmth and humility.
In Canada, our downtowns are usually the life of our cities and towns. Not so in the US. Downtown Bangor Maine, on a Friday afternoon is dead. Beautiful old buildings all around and very few people in sight. They are a few restaurants and a couple of pubs away from greatness!
The American economy seems to depend on freeways and overpasses, and there are a lot of them. I drove through Chicago and it only took two hours! My freeway was getting some work done to it and every car in Illinois was typing to get through at the same time. Freeways are fine in driving from destination to destination, but sometimes trying to get off or on one can be quite exciting. Posted speed limits are more for decoration than anything else, same as Ontario.
We stopped along the way at a few of the storied little towns such as LeClaire (American Pickers), Austin (Spam museum) and Mitchell SD(The Corn Palace). My favorite spot was Rapid City SD, centre to everything, The Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore, Custer National Park, Badlands National Park, Deadwood and Sturgis and of course Wall Drugstore.
You need to go there to understand the Wall Drug Store thing.
We started running into smoke from Iowa on, and for people who want to take photos, this is a bad thing. While we did tour Palous area, the ScabLands and everything in between, we didn’t have as much enthusiasm as we did have. Quite frankly, we were powering out.
In my calculations for the cost of the trip, I suggested a conservative number of $240.00 per day including gas, hotel and food. We were gone for 81 days and the total estimate was for $19,440.00 I hate to say it, but that was quite close.
Our brand new Kia Seltos performed perfectly, we did get two oil changes along the way, but there were absolutely no issues at all. The only thing that was a problem was our GPS device which we bought for around $700.00. It would get lost. In Canada, with our cell plan, the google GPS worked every bit as good. Because of the cell coverage difference we could not use google in the US, or I would have. The other GPS performed about as well as google, certainly not really that much better, but cost a lot more.
Canada’s worst drivers are in Ontario, while the rest of us are taught defensive driving,in Ontario it is just the opposite.
To the dark haired woman in the newer yellow Corvette, I could have killed you quite easily and gotten away with it. Your life was in my hands as you came flying past on the right hand shoulder at more than 100 KPH. All I had to do was be a bit slower getting to my brake and you would be a cremated remain on some cemetery wall. You were young and I suspect that some of your organs would have been donated to grateful recipients. Oh well, I am sure you will find the driver who is slower than me before long. Idiot! I see your family’s tears!
Gee-wizz I get bitter and preachy at times don’t I!
Quebec drivers need lessons on parking, no, those lines are not decorations on the pavement. You are supposed to park between them, not just anywhere at whatever angle. têtes de merde!
Saskatoon is a beautiful little city, Newfoundland is great for a long visit, once; many areas in Canada have good marketing people, some areas are really under sold. Living in British Columbia, I have a greater appreciation for my own Pacific Northwest. Our country is big and diverse and friendly and everything, but I am going to stay closer to home for a while, us retired folks are like that!