On August 1st, 2015, my boyfriend (“Rob”) and I will be starting an east to west trip across Canada and the USA that will see us traveling 10,500 km in 35 days.
We’ll be following this route and be stopping in the following places along the way on approximately these dates:
- Dartmouth, NS (Starting Point) – August 1st
- Montreal, QC (just in time for Osheaga!) – August 2nd
- Ottawa, ON – August 3rd
- Toronto, ON – August 6th
- Niagara Falls, ON – August 8th
- Chicago, IL – August 9th
- Milwaukee, WI – August 10th
- Fargo, ND – August 12th
- Regina, SK – August 13th
- Calgary, AB – August 14th
- Canmore, AB – August 15th
- Banff, AB – August 17th
- Jasper, AB – August 18th
- Mt Robson, BC – August 20th
- Vancouver Island, BC – August 22nd
- Missoula, MT – August 25th
- Bismarck, ND – August 26th
- Chicago, IL – August 27th
- Toronto, ON – August 28th
- Lennoxville, QC – September 1st
- Dartmouth, NS – September 4th (ish)
Both of us have undertaken long road trips before, but never in this scale, length, or proximity to each other. Scouting out are route and figuring out travel times, dates, and gas costs have been our big logistical challenge so far.
We’ll be camping some nights in our two man tent, sometimes staying with friends while passing through cities, and on nights when there’s inclement weather or we’re too lazy to set up our tent, we’ll be sleeping in our modified 2002 Dodge Caravan.
In addition to the obligatory hippie privacy curtains, fly screens and very snugly blankets and pillows, there are some even more impressive modifications that we’ve made to our home on the road.
We wanted a better sleeping and storage situation, so Rob conceptualized some CAD models to fit inside the van using SketchUp:
I ‘m actually traveling on the Pacific Coast right now, while he and our friend Shawn built these in my Mom’s garage over the past week, so I take zero credit as a builder. These guys kick ass.
How did this come about? I’m lucky that our relationship is partially predicated on a mutual love of travel and the excitement of discovering new places. We also have complimentary skill sets.
If I’d been doing this trip on my own, I would’ve probably just thrown a cheap lawn chair pillow in the back with a sleeping bag. Having Rob along means a much more sophisticated rig, and not having to drive as much (more time for reading). There’s always a bonus to having a partner in crime.
As for the trip itself, I don’t know who suggested it first, but it didn’t take long for both of us to latch on to the idea.
A: “We should drive across Canada.”
A: “This summer?”
B: “Sounds good”
Both of us have been A and B at times, and Canada and summer are easily replaceable my any number of variables? South Korea in the spring? The Labrador Straits for Christmas? Check, check. It certainly helps to have a partner on the same wavelength.
If you’re looking for a road trip partner, it doesn’t have to be a romantic partner either. Siblings, friends, co-workers, and classmates can all make good road trip buddies. As long as they’re willing to split the gas, you’re good to go.
Will we be striving to live cheaply? Yes. We put aside about $4,000 combined for this trip just in case of car failure, but in reality are hoping to spend less than half of that. We plan to be hitting up Wal Mart parking lots and parks to sleep cheaply, and are psychologically prepared to eat rice and beans for a month.
Will we be smelly? Yes.
Will we still love each other at the end of it? I sure hope so.
Let us know if you’re along our route! We’re looking to experience all the crazy and amazing things these locations have to offer and are definitely taking suggestions for things to do. I’ll also be taking a lot of photos along the way, and am willing to trade photos or writing for food or accommodation.
Also, if you know any really good tea spots along this route, definitely hit me up in the comments below. I’ve totally got a sub-quest to turn this into the start of a North American Tea Tour.
All the best,
ps. Podcast suggestions! We’ll need to kill a lot of highway and podcasts make the time fly. Things similar to Radiolab, History of Japan/China/Rome, and Stuff You Should Know would be welcome suggestions.