Trans-Canada: North America and the Canadian Rockies

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#46
Day 17: August 12th, 2017

Our itinerary had us spending two nights in Calgary, with our actual tourist day slated for that Saturday. We woke up with the sun, partially due to habit of the past weeks of living in a tent, but more likely due to the floor to ceiling glass windows that our Airbnb was outfitted with flooding the room with light. While Dani showered I got our massive pile of laundry together, breaking it up into separate loads to fit inside the tiny washer and dryer we had in the unit. Once the first load was in and we looked presentable to the world, we wandered out the door and into the local urban neighborhood that surrounded the apartment building. Our first priority was to get caffeine in a cup for my girlfriend, at which point she became much more enthusiastic about the day. We found a really unique corner shop called Analog Coffee, a small establishment with white walls lined with vinyl records on shelves, mismatched photos, and a lively atmosphere created by the long lines of a younger crowd.


Calgary - Analog Coffee Shop by 2180miles


Calgary - Central Memorial Park by 2180miles


Once coffee was in hand, Dani and I began the search for a late breakfast/early lunch. As it turns out, Calgary is not the most gluten-aware city, and we struggled to find a place that could tailor to our dietary needs… making the most of it, we turned our search into a bit of an adventure, wandering the streets going restaurant to restaurant looking for a place to eat. I spoke to my parents on the phone as Dani eventually turned to Google searches, and updated them on our whereabouts and upcoming plans. By the time I got off the phone we had found a destination for lunch and began our walk a few blocks to get there. Passing through Calgary’s Central Memorial Garden, we enjoyed the symmetry and beauty of the fountains, pathways, and flowerbeds. On the opposite side of the small park I noticed a restaurant called The Beltliner, a diner-style venue with bright red lettering that looked like a modern take on a decades past establishment. We checked out the menu, delighted to find a gluten free bun for sandwiches, and quickly decided to scrap our initial plans and eat at The Beltliner instead. With the clock moving closer to noon we thought it appropriate to enjoy a local hard cider called Broken Ladder and perused the menu, ultimately deciding on a large bowl of tomato soup and each our own entrée, hers a sandwich of some sort while I went with chicken and waffles.

Early on in the trip we stumbled across the tidbit of information that Dani had never read (or been read) Goodnight Moon, and ironically enough the restaurant had a copy for kids to read while waiting for their meals. As we sipped our ciders and ate the incredibly delicious soup I read her the book aloud, showing the illustrations in a form that any kindergarten teacher would be proud of. After lunch we strolled back ten blocks or so to our apartment, soaking up the sunlight and truly just enjoying our last day together. More laundry was done throughout the afternoon as I took occasional trips down to the Jeep to re-pack our gear in a more solo-friendly way for the long (2,700+ mile) drive home. Our next morning wouldn’t be an early start, but likely a hectic one as we made our way to YYC - Calgary International Airport - for her 13h00 departure back to Orlando. Early in the evening a little more time spent on Google found us an entirely gluten friendly restaurant a few minutes walk from the apartment where we got our meals as take out, returning to the couch and concluding our evening with a screening of Disney/Pixar’s UP!, a movie she had never seen. It was exceptionally nice to relax and watch the animated film as we ate dinner and the sun disappeared over the horizon outside, the night moving in and darkness settling over the city around us.

The idea that the trip was coming even closer to its end was weighing on my heart and spirits, but I fell asleep that night remembering the past three weeks, smiling at the thought of how lucky we were, all the things we had done, and all that we had seen.
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#47
Happy New Year, my friends. It's about time I wrap this story up so here we go!



Day 18: August 13th, 2017


Our morning started slowly, meandering around the apartment continuing to pack the last of our clean laundry as I continued to make repeated trips to the elevator and down to the basement garage to access the Grand Cherokee. The drive to the airport, located across the city, would take around half an hour. With it technically being an international flight, we left about three hours before her departure to make sure there was enough time for security. Our time in the car was rather quiet as we were each off in our own worlds thinking about the miles and adventures behind us. We had officially traveled over 4,500 miles together since leaving Boston, crossing through five of the ten Canadian provinces, and visiting two of the most incredible national parks imaginable over the last three weeks. Our new REI Quarterdome 2 tent served us well, and the two-person Exped SynMat Duo air mattress was worth every single penny. Cumulatively we'd taken a few thousand photos, and would have these memories to look back on for the rest of our lives. Arriving at Calgary International, we parked the Jeep in the airport's short-term parking garage and carried her luggage inside, finding the American check-in desk and getting her boarding passes set for her quick layover in Dallas.

I walked back out to the Jeep and sat in the driver's seat in relative silence, unsure what to do with the situation. It was incredibly strange to be alone, to look at an empty passenger seat while my peripheral vision simultaneously recognized the missing luggage in the back seat. It took a little while for the realization that I now had nearly 3,000 miles to travel alone before reaching Boston. After a song or two had played on the radio I reached forward and started the engine, realizing that simply sitting there in the airport parking garage wasn't getting me any closer to home. About a week prior I had begun thinking about my route home, things I'd like to see, and people I'd want to/be able to visit. I sent a few text messages and looked through possible map routes and ultimately decided I'd head back into the United States instead of getting back on the Trans-Canada Highway for days and traipsing back across the same Canadian provinces we had already come across. I'd follow Alberta Hwy 1 (technically the Trans-Canada) 200 miles from Calgary International to just east of Medicine Hat, AB, turning south on Highway 41 towards the Canadian/US border.



Alberta - Missing My Co-Pilot by 2180miles


Alberta - On The Road Again by 2180miles



​The road was boring beyond description; it was bland, flat, neutral toned, indescribably monotonous and relatively empty of other vehicles. I stopped for fuel just a few miles before turning south, filling up the Jeep's 24-gallon tank out of concern for my next time I'd be able to refuel. If the past few hours had been driving through “populated” areas, I was afraid of what the next few hours – and potentially the rest of the night – would bring… better to fill up while the opportunity presented itself. Turning onto 41 showed me exactly what I imagined, a two lane road stretching across vast fields, a wasteland of sorts, for hours on end. I stopped in a tiny town called Elkwater to mail Dani a postcard from the last Canadian town of the trip and buy a bottle of water. From there it was another hour south to Wild Horse, AB, the official site of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol crossing. When I tell you it was literally the first thing (from the obvious options of a house, car, fence, person, etc.) I had seen since Elkwood, I'm not exaggerating. Two border patrol agents came out to greet me and ask a few questions about my entry point and time in the country. They were surprised to hear I'd been in Canada for almost a month, having crossed the border some 2,700 miles east. I had nothing to declare and they quickly waved me on. A hundred feet and two high security fences later I found myself in Montana, the 41st state in the Union. Just like that and without much ceremony, I was back in America.

I stopped to take a photo of the state line sign, and spent no more than thirty seconds changing the speedometer of the Jeep's digital display back to mph from km/h. With the same two lane road and endless prairies on either side of me I continued on for over an hour until I reached the small town of Havre, MT, seeing only two houses and a tiny and long since forgotten church in that time. Turning off of Highway 41 and onto Montana Route 2 I did my best to keep an eye on the road while simultaneously trying to observe the scenery around me. The town was old and rundown, home to a major train yard, the Boxcars Casino, a few miscellaneous bars, and not much else. I turned around at one point immediately after passing Hi-Line Lanes, an abandoned bowling alley, the photographer in me filled with an immense desire to capture the scene. I drove on Route 2 towards Montana's Big Sky Scenic Byway as the sun began setting behind me, the blue tones of dusk washing over the vast plains. The beams of my headlights and the 30” Black Oak LED bar on the roof shone out brilliantly in front of me and I noticed a mile-long train racing across the valley to the south of me. With music playing loudly and the sun roof open wide to let the fresh air flow through, I did my best to enjoy the solitude that the new chapter of this adventure presented me with.


Alberta - Approaching the Border by 2180miles


US/Alberta - Border Crossing by 2180miles


US - Welcome to Montana by 2180miles


My goal for the day was to cover over half of the distance from Calgary to Minneapolis, an impressive 1,300 mile trek. With the late start to the day, this would require me driving till well after midnight. As the pitch black of night blanketed the sky and earth I began seeing the most brilliant stars shining back at me from the heavens above. Quickly researching the moon-rise time, I pulled off the road and set up my camera and tripod to capture one of the most incredibly vibrant Milky Way displays I've ever seen. It was quite eerie to be standing in a field an hour from the nearest established town and be staring up at the sprawling galaxy and constellations above. My fish-eye wide-angle lens allowed for some great images, one of which I'll share below. With miles to go, I packed up my gear after twenty or so minutes and carried on to the east. Some time after midnight Dani called to let me know she had made it home safely, eager to know where I was in the world.

At 02h00 I pulled the Jeep off the road, crossing a small ditch and coming to a stop on the edge of a wide open field. Without a single structure in sight I deemed it a safe place to spend the night and began rearranging the gear inside the Jeep. Moving one of our Pelican cases to the ground outside, I inflated my single person Therm-a-Rest sleeping pad. I had traveled just under 700 miles since leaving Calgary, and fell fast asleep stretched out across the back of the Grand Cherokee, knowing all too well just how quickly the sun would rise again.


More Images from Big Sky Country:


Montana - Abandoned Church by 2180miles


Montana - Sense of Scale by 2180miles


Montana - Havre Train Yard by 2180miles


Montana - Havre Train Yard by 2180miles


Montana - Hi-Line Lanes by 2180miles


Milky Way over Montana by 2180miles
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#48
Day 19: August 14th, 2017

​There’s an exciting and simultaneously disorienting feeling when waking up in the back of an SUV in the middle of a massive and otherwise empty field in the Midwest. I packed up my camping gear into the appropriate storage locations and hit the road as the sun crested the hilly horizon, following along Route 200 for about ten miles to meet up with I-94, the road I’d ultimately be spending most of my day on. I stopped at a huge gas station to fill the tank, happily paying $2.23 a gallon at my first re-fuel in the United States in three week’s time, and grabbed a quick breakfast sandwich before hitting the road again. My goal for the day was to reach Minneapolis by dinner time, where I’d be spending the night with a long time family friend Greg and his fiancée.


Montana - Sleeping in the Jeep by 2180miles


North Dakota - State Line by 2180miles


Merging eastbound onto I-94, I was happy to see that the highway was relatively empty, leaving me to move along without interruption from the GPS for the next 547 miles; I was relaxed and simply in the mood to cruise. The road started fluctuating in elevation as I moved towards, and eventually into, North Dakota. I stopped for a bit at a scenic vista of the Little Missouri National Grasslands, listening to music with the windows down and taking a few photographs as other drivers stopped to do the same. Getting back onto I-94 I was almost immediately greeted with stones being thrown towards the Jeep by two large trailers full of construction gravel. Though I didn’t notice it at the time, one of the harshest impacts ended up creating a large crack in the lower passenger side of my windshield which would end up growing to nearly 18” long by the time I reached Boston a few days later. I sped by the trucks as quickly as possible, passing (and giggling) at the sign for Exit 7 to “Home On The Range, North Dakota”, swearing to myself I wouldn’t stop until I was an hour or two away and well out of the trucks proximity with hopes of never seeing them again.



North Dakota - Exit 7 by 2180miles


North Dakota - Open Highway by 2180miles


North Dakota - Endless Sunflower Fields by 2180miles


Lunch was later in the day, set up on the side of a long dirt road that paralleled miles and miles of sunflower fields. I made up a sandwich with meats and cheese we had left in the Grand Cherokee’s Dometic refrigerator and soaked in the sunshine before moving on, referencing the clock and the iPad’s GPS to see that I was doing well on time and mileage. I refueled again in the mid-afternoon and texted Greg to let him know when I’d be arriving in Minneapolis for dinner. Pulling into the city limits around 18h30, I stared out over a semi-familiar skyline and noticed an incredibly dirty hood in my peripheral vision. As I’m not the kind of traveler who would ever show up to a friends house with a vehicle covered in thousands upon thousands of miles of adventure and road dust, I quickly referenced the iPad and changed my routing to the nearest touch-less wash. After a thorough rinsing I covered the remaining distance to Greg and Carol’s home in Minnetonka, MN. We ate a delicious home cooked meal and stayed up late talking about travel and happenings in all of our lives.

Shortly before 23h00 I took a quick shower and climbed into their very comfy guest bed, exhausted after the 650-mile solo journey from a vacant field in Big Sky Country to the metropolitan suburbs of Minneapolis. Mile by mile, hour by hour, this adventure was coming closer to an end.



Minnesota - Almost to MSP by 2180miles


Minnesota - Giving the Lady a Bath by 2180miles
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#49
Day 20: August 15th, 2017

​I woke up early to have breakfast with Greg and Carol before heading off on my next leg, a 450 mile haul to the Chicago suburbs where I'd spend the night with my buddy Marcus and his family. The ride was to be relatively straightforward, taking I-94 and I-90 for 6 and a half hours before arriving in Lemont, IL. Quickly packing up the Jeep after a toasted bagel with an assortment of cream cheese options, I made use of being in Minneapolis and stopped by my friend Emma's house (Greg's daughter) to meet her three young boys. Hanging out for half an hour or so, I hopped back in the Grand Cherokee and headed towards the highway. The weather was absolutely perfect, in the mid-60s with the sun shining and wispy clouds in the air. I rolled the windows down and rolled my eyes as I eased onto the brakes and made my way into the stop-and-go traffic of Minneapolis' morning commuter traffic.


Minnesota - Uncle Greg by 2180miles


Minnesota - Delta's MSP Hangars by 2180miles


With the promise of Marcus' famous homemade BBQ waiting for me in Lemont, I knew my day was to destined to have minimal distractions en route. I had but one instruction: to stop in Osseo, Wisconsin, at the famous Norske Nook Bakery to pick up pies. Two hours after my departure I pulled off the highway and began following the GPS down the quiet back roads of Osseo. Easily finding parking alongside the bakery, I wandered inside to discovery a little breakfast restaurant with a wide array of pies lining the food display cases. I had been given specific instruction from Marcus to get a banana cream pie for him and strawberry-rhubarb for his wife Molly… I then of course needed a slice of raspberry pie for myself. The challenge with the pies was keeping them from baking in the sun over the course of the remaining hours of my drive. Of course I had the fridge in the back, but fitting the gigantic pies required me emptying out everything else from inside and then rearranging it all. Not wanting to let Marcus down with his one simple wish for pie, I sat on the edge of the road in this tiny little town and unloaded every piece of produce from the fridge onto the sidewalk and wiggled the pies in (with less than a millimeter to spare on each side) and piled everything else that would fit back in on top and discarding food I knew I wouldn't be consuming before getting home.

I drove slowly back out of town, cruising down wide roads with small houses and manicured front lawns before merging back onto the highway and back into the figurative slipstream of interstate travel. Everything was going flawlessly until I reached for my single slice of pie and realized I didn't have a utensil to eat it with. Fear not, I flipped on my hazard and strobe lights and pulled over to the side of the road to fish one out of our cooking gear in the back of the Jeep. I was laughing as 18-wheelers were moving over into different lanes to give me space in the brake-down lane as they whizzed by… if only they could have known I was simply looking for a fork to eat my pie with. (Full disclosure: I ended up finding a spoon first, so that's what I ate with)



Wisconsin - Norske Nook Pies by 2180miles


Wisconsin - Stopping in Osseo by 2180miles


Wisconsin - Pie Time by 2180miles


I hit the traffic starting about 40 minutes outside of Chicago, making a brief pit-stop to fill up the Grand Cherokee's tank and getting back on the road. I'd been getting text messages all afternoon of the food Marcus was preparing, and I was eager to get there. I crossed the Illinois state line just after 15h30, and arrived at his place about an hour later. We spent the night sitting around the table on his back porch with neighbors, family, and a few friends from work who were in town doing production for an event in the city. The vast array of food was incredible and I did my best to pace myself to ensure I consumed as much as I could. We finished the night with the Norske Nook pies I had carried 350 miles for dessert, and I retired to bed on a massively full stomach. It had been a relatively short day in comparison to the long hauls the two days prior, and I rested well knowing that the trip was slowly nearing its end.


Illinois - Close to Chicago by 2180miles


Illinois - BP Refuel by 2180miles


Marcus Manning the BBQ by 2180miles
 

Bushcoat

one trail at a time
#50
It was! Despite being almost out of gas in the WK2 I wasn't willing to just pass by that place without stopping for some photos. I wish we had time to fly the drone around it, but I was waist high in brush that had grown in around the property and it wasn't too easy to explore. I've got a few more photos I'll dig up and post.

If you're interested, here are the GPS coordinates: 49°46'59.0"N 86°33'12.8"W
Thanks buddy, I'm in Thunder Bay and used to commute to Ottawa once a month, I've probably driven past 50 times but never stopped in. A lot of that is being either 3 hrs from home and just wanting to get home, or only 3 hours into a drive and just wanting to get some miles behind me, the rest is the strange location and worrying about parking on the side of that narrow highway. Lots abandoned up north, lots of memories of a different time! Awesome pics, thanks for sharing your trip and keep em coming! We were out west to the Alberta parks last year late May, hoping to make it out to B.C this year!.
 
#51
Hi,

I just came across your trip report today and was glued to every photo and paragraph from start to finish. Amazing work and I'm glad you had a great time, especially in the Canadian Rockies. I'm fortunate enough to live in Canmore and you most likely passed in front of my house if you drove the Smith Dorian highway.

Been living here for around 10 years but sometimes, it takes the perspective of others to make you really appreciate your surroundings.

Hope you make it back! You'll have to visit my favorite area (Lake Ohara) and perhaps spend a night in one of our majestic but rustic mountain huts.
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#52
Day 21: August 16th, 2017


​I slept like I was dead on a full stomach of delicious food. It was easy to see that the past few days of traversing the U.S. was taking a slight toll on my body, and I was somewhat looking forward to getting home and relaxing for a while. I took a hot shower and joined Marcus and Molly in the kitchen for breakfast, enjoying a half hour of a family lifestyle, something I've long since been absent from in my own life, as their son Andrew got ready to take his driver's permit test that morning. I was out the door by 08h00 and on the road just in time to be caught up in Chicago's morning traffic. It was Wednesday August 16th, and I had 1,100 miles to go until I was back in Boston. For the first time since leaving Calgary, I had no real plan as to where I needed to be at the end of the day. I only knew I wanted to be within cruising distance of Poughkeepsie, NY for the next day, where I was hoping to visit with my aunts and grandparents.


Illinois - Stopped for Marcus' BBQ by 2180miles


Indiana - One State Closer to Home by 2180miles


Despite the traffic I crossed into Indiana within an hour, thereby entering my 6th state since the border crossing in Wild Horse in Montana. The highway eventually opened up again and I set the cruise control for 75, happily moving along with the music up and listening to occasional chatter on the CB and HAM radios in the cab of the Jeep. By the late morning I was into Ohio, the sun shining overhead and casting its light down on the vast fields that skirted both sides of the highway. Shortly after noon I stopped for a quick lunch at a highway rest-stop and found myself staring at a map of notable locations in Ohio; there hadn't been much by way of beautiful photography opportunities in the past few days and I was itching to see something aside the paved roads and reflective paint lines that sprawled out endlessly ahead of me. As far as accessibility was concerned my options seemed few; I could go an hour out of my way to photograph a lighthouse on the shore of Lake Erie, arriving far too early for any kind of sunset opportunity, or I could move forward an hour or so to the small town of Milan where I could visit the childhood home of one Mr. Thomas Alva Edison. The latter option quickly became the obvious choice.

Hopping off the highway and following signs for the village of Milan, I wandered down quiet streets with beautifully homes on either side until I arrived at a small brick home on a dead-end road. I hopped out of the Jeep and entered through a door labeled “Office” as a half dozen other people walked out. Paying the reasonable $7 entry fee for the tour, I joined the family I had just seen next door in the brick home and began what ended up being an absolutely fantastic tour of the Birthplace of Edison. Being in the technical industry where Edison and Tesla are often argued against each other, I know a fair bit about Thomas' inventions and mishaps in the invention process, so naturally as the tour guide quizzed the group I would answer as best I knew. By the end of the tour she simply referred to me as “Boston” and seemed to expect I'd have the answer to every question she inquired. At the end of the tour as the family made their way back to the car, I spoke with the tour guide a bit more as she asked what brought me by Milan. Her husband is a backcountry hiker and son was attending school in Vermont, so we spoke at length about the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail hikes. Before leaving I asked about her opinion regarding places to stop for the night and she pointed me towards Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located another hour east on I-80. I plotted the destination in the iPad's navigation software and eased my way back out of town as quietly as I had come.



Ohio - Thomas Edison's Childhood Home by 2180miles


Ohio - Thomas Edison's Childhood Bedroom by 2180miles


Ohio - The Living Room by 2180miles


Ohio - Early Bamboo Filament Bulb by 2180miles


Ohio - Landmark by 2180miles


Somewhere between Milan and the National Park, on the phone with Dani as she finished work, I looked down at the odometer to witness the Jeep (now 8 months old) roll from 9,999 miles over to 10,000. Being the first brand new car I've ever purchased, I've never had an odometer be that low to witness this moment, which I found to be very exciting.. quite the long trip this had been! As the sun began sinking in the sky I pulled off towards Cuyahoga Valley and found myself a nice open field in the park to have dinner at. I laid out my laptop and the Coleman stove on a picnic bench and began cooking a tuna and pasta meal and blogging simultaneously as families and their dogs wandered around the park grounds. As soon as my meal was completed I washed my dishes and packed up my gear, returning to the Jeep and doing some research as to any known “wild-camp” sites I could reach on the western side of Pennsylvania before calling it a night. Using a little creativity with Google's Earth View mode, I found a little dirt clearing on the side of a forest access road on the outskirts of of Punxsutawney, PA where I'd aim for.

The ride would take another 3 hours, the majority of which I'd spend in the pitch black on an otherwise empty highway with the 30” LED bar blazing the path ahead of me with light. My music was loud and the moon roof open allowing the warm summer night's air into the cabin. Shortly before 23h00 I pulled off the interstate and found my way along the breadcrumb trail of the GPS to the wild-camp site I had selected. I backed the Jeep up off the dirt roadway and turned on the reverse lights to illuminate the area as I set up my camp for the night. The stars shone brilliantly overhead, leading me to snap a few images with my camera before climbing into the Jeep and laying down for the night, hearing the crickets chirp outside through the windows I had vented for air circulation. In a million years I'd never have guessed I'd be camping in Punxsutawney Phil's hometown, but here I was… another day further east, closer to home, and absolutely exhausted.



Ohio - Flying through Miles by 2180miles


Ohio - Solo Dinner in Cuyahoga National Park by 2180miles


Pennsylvania - Night Sky by 2180miles
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#53
Thanks buddy, I'm in Thunder Bay and used to commute to Ottawa once a month, I've probably driven past 50 times but never stopped in. A lot of that is being either 3 hrs from home and just wanting to get home, or only 3 hours into a drive and just wanting to get some miles behind me, the rest is the strange location and worrying about parking on the side of that narrow highway. Lots abandoned up north, lots of memories of a different time! Awesome pics, thanks for sharing your trip and keep em coming! We were out west to the Alberta parks last year late May, hoping to make it out to B.C this year!.
Totally understand being 3 hours in or 3 hours to go... We pulled off the highway and into the high marshy grass. There was some kind of remnant of the original driveway, enough that we could get the WK2 up there close enough. If I had time (more precisely, if we had fuel) I'd have flown the drone over it and maybe even tried to get inside. Truly an eerie building. If you end up stopping some time I'd love to see more photos.

Thanks for the kind words! Trying my best to wrap up the posts... I never intended it to take me 4 months after finishing the expedition to actually finish posting.
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#54
Hi,

I just came across your trip report today and was glued to every photo and paragraph from start to finish. Amazing work and I'm glad you had a great time, especially in the Canadian Rockies. I'm fortunate enough to live in Canmore and you most likely passed in front of my house if you drove the Smith Dorian highway.

Been living here for around 10 years but sometimes, it takes the perspective of others to make you really appreciate your surroundings.

Hope you make it back! You'll have to visit my favorite area (Lake Ohara) and perhaps spend a night in one of our majestic but rustic mountain huts.

Thanks so much for reading along! I'm truly glad you enjoyed the photos and writing. We had an incredible time in the Rockies, and there were absolutely some of the most incredible sights I've ever seen. Dani and I are both hopeful to make it back out there in the next few years to do more adventuring, though we'll likely fly that time. It's crazy to think we drove by your house, and even more crazy to think that the Internet and this forum allowed that small-world connection to be made.

You're lucky to live in such an incredible area - don't ever stop taking it for granted! I'll PM you in a few years before we head back out to get some ideas of other places to visit!

Best wishes,

Ryan
 
#55
Hi,

I just came across your trip report today and was glued to every photo and paragraph from start to finish. Amazing work and I'm glad you had a great time, especially in the Canadian Rockies. I'm fortunate enough to live in Canmore and you most likely passed in front of my house if you drove the Smith Dorian highway.

Been living here for around 10 years but sometimes, it takes the perspective of others to make you really appreciate your surroundings.

Hope you make it back! You'll have to visit my favorite area (Lake Ohara) and perhaps spend a night in one of our majestic but rustic mountain huts.
Thanks so much for reading along! I'm truly glad you enjoyed the photos and writing. We had an incredible time in the Rockies, and there were absolutely some of the most incredible sights I've ever seen. Dani and I are both hopeful to make it back out there in the next few years to do more adventuring, though we'll likely fly that time. It's crazy to think we drove by your house, and even more crazy to think that the Internet and this forum allowed that small-world connection to be made.

You're lucky to live in such an incredible area - don't ever stop taking it for granted! I'll PM you in a few years before we head back out to get some ideas of other places to visit!

Best wishes,

Ryan
I agreed with @maguro. My 2nd trip back to the canadian rockies is all about visiting Lake O'hara. We only spend half a day at this hidden gem. We took a hike up to Lake Oesa which view is breathtaking. If I planning to visit again, i would camp inside this area and spend more time hiking this area. Access to this area is very limited and hard to secure. You either have to book bus transportation ahead of time or you will need to hike 11km (one way) from the parking lot to Lake Ohara. Hoping a bus ride out of Lake O'hara is a bit flexible.

@maguro, I think I pass through your house too. I enjoyed the driving the smith dorian trial.
 

Bushcoat

one trail at a time
#56
Totally understand being 3 hours in or 3 hours to go... We pulled off the highway and into the high marshy grass. There was some kind of remnant of the original driveway, enough that we could get the WK2 up there close enough. If I had time (more precisely, if we had fuel) I'd have flown the drone over it and maybe even tried to get inside. Truly an eerie building. If you end up stopping some time I'd love to see more photos.

Thanks for the kind words! Trying my best to wrap up the posts... I never intended it to take me 4 months after finishing the expedition to actually finish posting.

I actually was very surprised to see you took Hwy 11 (the north route) from north bay to nipigon rather than Hwy 17 along Lake Superior. To me, that church is on of the very, very (very) few points of interest on that whole 10 hr or so stretch! If you do it again, take Hwy 17, well worth it. And if you want gravel travel, there is a dirt highway, mostly a haul road that runs between new liskard to Hwy 144. The highway is chip sealed now, (commonly called shining tree Hwy to locals) it takes you past the highest point in Ontario. Once you hit Hwy 144 (about halfway between Sudbury and timmins) there's a gas bar restaurant there called "the watershed". Cross Hwy 144 headed west you have 50 miles of gravel (sultan road) which brings you to sultan, a town of maybe 23 people, then on a small chip seal 600 series highway will bring you to Hwy 129, then just outside chapleau you get on 101 which is another hour and a half or so to wawa where you would get on Hwy 17. You might see 20-25 vehicles on that whole stretch, mostly pulp trucks.
 
#57
You're lucky to live in such an incredible area - don't ever stop taking it for granted! I'll PM you in a few years before we head back out to get some ideas of other places to visit!
For sure! Please give me a shout when you return. Now that you've completed the "tourist" visit, I can give you some new ideas so you can maximize your trip.

In the meantime, I'll be looking forward to your new adventures!


Ken.
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#59
I actually was very surprised to see you took Hwy 11 (the north route) from north bay to nipigon rather than Hwy 17 along Lake Superior. To me, that church is on of the very, very (very) few points of interest on that whole 10 hr or so stretch! If you do it again, take Hwy 17, well worth it. And if you want gravel travel, there is a dirt highway, mostly a haul road that runs between new liskard to Hwy 144. The highway is chip sealed now, (commonly called shining tree Hwy to locals) it takes you past the highest point in Ontario. Once you hit Hwy 144 (about halfway between Sudbury and timmins) there's a gas bar restaurant there called "the watershed". Cross Hwy 144 headed west you have 50 miles of gravel (sultan road) which brings you to sultan, a town of maybe 23 people, then on a small chip seal 600 series highway will bring you to Hwy 129, then just outside chapleau you get on 101 which is another hour and a half or so to wawa where you would get on Hwy 17. You might see 20-25 vehicles on that whole stretch, mostly pulp trucks.
Honestly I was simply going off of Google Maps for our routing at that point. I had initially, when time was no concern and I was going to be going alone, looked at taking the Trans-Canada Trail (the 13,000 mile dirt one) across as much of the country as I could, but once Banff and Jasper became focal points in our window, Dani and I decided to put our long haul days into getting to Alberta quickly. I will absolutely keep the suggestion in mind for a different kind of route next time, so thank you for sharing the knowledge!!


For sure! Please give me a shout when you return. Now that you've completed the "tourist" visit, I can give you some new ideas so you can maximize your trip.

In the meantime, I'll be looking forward to your new adventures!
Absolutely will do! Thanks again for following along :)
 

2180miles

Endurance Adventuring
#60
Day 22/23: August 17th & 18th


I slept soundly in Puxatawney, waking with the sun and quickly packing away the gear inside the Jeep. I snapped a quick photo of the “campsite” and was on my way again, navigating the sleepy back roads before eventually arriving back on I-80 eastbound. My dreams of cruising along through Pennsylvania were quickly shattered as traffic backed up for miles due to seemingly endless construction. Knowing that my days were numbered as a roadway traveler, I rolled the windows down and turned up the music, enjoying the rolling green hills around me as I worked my way towards Poughkeepsie, NY. My plan was to complete the 300 mile route to visit my aunts and grandparents, spend the night, then head on back to home in Boston.

Shortly after 10h00 the traffic cleared up, and within an hour I saw my first Massachusetts license plate. With cruise control set to 70 I passed by corn fields and under party cloudy skies, eventually turning onto I-84 around Scranton, PA and seeing the “Welcome to New York” sign shortly thereafter. I pulled into Poughkeepsie in the mid-afternoon and spent an enjoyable afternoon relaxing with family and showing them the photos of the trip I'd so far had the ability to catalogue and touch up. We ate an early dinner at one of my grandparents most frequented local restaurants, and I fell asleep not long after the sun went down.


Pennsylvania - Wild Camping by 2180miles


New York - One State To Go by 2180miles


​The next morning came quickly, and I stared out the window at an overcast world while a gentle rain fell on the Hudson Valley. I ate a quick breakfast and talked about plans for future exploration endeavors with my grandfather – a man who always saves New York Times obituaries of great adventurers for me to read. Somewhat anxious to get home, I loaded what little gear I had brought inside and hugged my grandparents before hitting the road around 11. As I headed towards the Taconic State Parkway the rain steadily increased in volume, eventually becoming a downpour by the time I got to I-90. The three and a half hour drive went by without a hitch, and crossing back under the Boston skyline put a huge smile on my face and a sense of sadness in my heart. Crossing over the Zakim and Tobin bridges and getting off the highway, I pulled into my driveway and sat in the driver's seat for a while without moving, a light rain still falling on the Jeep's roof.
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Massachusetts - The Final State by 2180miles


Massachusetts - Miles from Home by 2180miles


Massachusetts - The Zakim Bridge by 2180miles