14 Oct 2010, 12:15am
General Travel
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Day 24 – Vancouver and Alive!

Back in town.  Rewarded with a beautiful day.  Very odd Fall we’ve been having.

Anyway, checked out and started driving down to Vancouver.  First stop was about 3 minutes away.  We stopped off at South Side Diner in Whistler Creekside.  Great little diner, good prices, nice atmosphere, fantastic personality, and tasty food.

I had another full English Breakfast.  Nicely done and basic.

One thing I do NOT miss about being this close to Vancouver…  the gas prices…  Yes, diesel is generally cheaper, but consider this.  Ontario probably had the second highest gas prices.  Their HIGHEST gas price (not premium gas) was a little cheaper than the lowest diesel price I could find.  Thanks Translink and BC Transportation Board.  You guys are awesome. /bitterness

The drive down the Sea-To-Sky Highway was great.  Great weather, great views, almost no construction… great.  I think I’ve said “great’ enough, eh?  Great!  That word lost it’s meaning real fast…  Anyway.

Going over the Lions Gate Bridge always has a great view of Downtown Vancouver.  Like I mentioned before, there are very few Canadian cities where you can see the skyline as you come closer to it.  Vancouver is one of the few… kind of.  If you’re coming from the East you’ll go through Burnaby and the suburbs before you see Downtown.  Coming from the North gives you a different feeling.

It was also lovely to see the healthy smog settling over our beautiful city.  Green?  I’m certain people are trying to be.  At least there are fewer pick ups and SUVs?  Well.. not really…  Less than the Central provinces at least.

So… Let’s see…  I hit Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Fredericton, Halifax/Dartmouth, Charlottetown, Prince George, and Whistler.  Vancouver doesn’t count (obviously).  Since I missed out on Newfoundland, I figure I’m balanced with missing out Vancouver Island (plus I’ve been there before).  I drove around 14,000 KM and drove through most of the Provinces.  I drove through snow (briefly), flurries, snow, dirt, and uh… road.  I went from 4 degrees to 30 degrees in some places (I’m looking at you Ottawa!).

What have I learned?  This country is freaking big.

How would I rate things, places, and whatnot?  *shrug*  How about I leave it up to all of you?  Ask me a question and I’ll answer it in another post.

12 Oct 2010, 10:53pm
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Day 23 – Whistler pt. 2 Last Day

My trip is essentially over. I’m going to spend the day in Whistler and head back to Vancouver tomorrow.

For breakfast I went to Dubh Linn Gate Old Irish Pub, the Pan Pacific’s pub.  They had a nice full English Breakfast on the menu.  Even though I slipped forcefully into a food coma last night from White Spot’s turkey dinner special, I was surprisingly hungry.  It was very tasty.  A little pricey at $15.99, but they used top notch ingredients that kind of justified it.

More after the jump.

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11 Oct 2010, 11:32pm
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Day 22 – Whistler pt. 1

Happy Invasion D- Er… I mean… Thanksgiving Day!

Last leg of the journey.  I’ve decided to scrap plans to finish my trip along Vancouver Island.  I’ve been there before, and it’s close enough to make it a weekend trip.  So!  Whistler!  Last stop!  Be home soon.

One of the first stops was at 100 Mile House.  There are quite a few of these “Mile Houses”.  150 Mile House, 100 Mile House, 75 Mile House (not joking on that one).  Apparently, during the Gold Rush these were roadhouses for prospectors, the names kind of stuck.  What makes 100 Mile House famous?  I dunno, for me it would be the world’s largest skis.

More after the jump.

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10 Oct 2010, 10:49pm
Stories Travel
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Day 21 – Prince George and Jasper, back in Beautiful BC.

A proper time zone is hard to come by. Turns out I had to go 3 weeks before getting one!

Left Edmonton rather slowly. I wasn’t in a rush to get to Prince George so I figure I take it easy today.

Driving westward, I was rewarded with a the Rockies rising over the horizon!  What a sight to see.  THOSE are mountains.  Not the crap they have in Ontario (as nice as they may be).  To get to BC you have to go through Jasper National Park.  You stop as a toll station where if you’re camping you have to pay a fee (yes, they do send wardens out to check), but if you’re passing through no charge.

The drive through Jasper was fantastic!  Mountain ranges soar and surround you as you drive along.  You’ll also notice the water in the lakes are a turquoise colour.  They’re glacier lakes!  Although, at this time of year they’re all a little dry.  Some lakes come close to emerald green.  Fantastic.

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9 Oct 2010, 9:52pm
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Day 20 – Edmonton, WEM, Firearms, Expedia!

So, because Expedia’s follows their policies to the letter I’ve been forced to stay in Whistler for two nights. Guh… That means I’ll either extend everything by a day, or just finish off Vancouver Island in one day, which I think is doable and cheaper overall. After all, what’s there to do in Victoria anyway? Not much.  Always wanted to spend a day in Whistler, see what it has to offer even if it will be low season.  If I’m bored, I can always drive 2 hours back to Vancouver.  Hehe, nah.  That defeats the purpose.

Just so people know my itinerary (should I mysteriously disappear), tomorrow I’ll be in Prince George, then two nights in Whistler, then it’ll be a quick run around Vancouver Island before coming back… for real.  But, hey!  If anyone wants to hang out on Monday or Tuesday in Whistler, gimme a shout!

Anyway, back to Edmonton.  Drive here was pretty unremarkable and quick.  Stopped at one place that had a decent view.

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8 Oct 2010, 8:13pm
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Day 19 – Saskatoon, it’s certainly nicer than Regina.

Remember when I said Saskatchewan isn’t as flat as everyone says it is?  I take it back.  It’s not that flat in SOUTH Saskatchewan.  Northern Saskatchewan?  You can land a jumbo jet ANYWHERE without worry.  You might ruin some crops, but who cares if you’re saving lives.  Boring drive?  A little.  Funnest part?  Passing slow moving vehicles (one lane highway on Highway 16).

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7 Oct 2010, 7:06pm
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Day 18 – Winnipeg pt 2.

Today is another day of rest. I got to Winnipeg a little earlier than I planned, but I’m not going to go out and explore the city (already did that). That also means I won’t be taking any photos today. Instead, I’m going to catch up on stuff from the “real” world that I’ve been neglecting a little (ie. bills and old photo sessions I need to finish).

I think it’s interesting how each Province has it’s own terrestrial quirks. BC is all mountains, lakes, rivers, etc. Alberta can be mountainous and also really really flat, and dusty. Saskatchewan is all farm land and rolling hills. Manitoba is kind of like Saskatchewan, but with more trees and a few more hills. Ontario is a mix of high cliffs (not going to call them mountains), trees, LOTS of lakes, bogs, swamps and of course the Great Lakes. Quebec is French. New Brunswick’s like Quebec, but not really. Ok, I’ll be honest, the last three Provinces are very similar to each other with regards to terrain (and everyone seems love their ATVs). Nova Scotia is a bit of farmland and of course the Atlantic coast, but you won’t ever be confused if you’re in Nova Scotia. PEI is like Saskatchewan, but with red mud… and fisheries. As soon as you cross a provincial border you are immediately faced with the new province’s terrain! It’s weird! Most likely, that’s how the provinces were divided up in the first place, but it’s still weird!

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6 Oct 2010, 7:14pm
Photography Travel
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Day 17 – Thunder Bay and running water

Sault Ste. Marie was fun to leave.  Driving through North Western Ontario was just as nice Westward as it was Eastward.  The only difference this time is it’s sunny!

I made a few stops along the way.  Wasn’t in any rush to get to Thunder Bay so I took my time.

My first stop was at Chippewa River.  Lots of fishermen standing in the river catching… fish.  I’ll assume some kind of salmon.  I don’t know anything about fish…  Anyway, great stop.  The point where the river meets the highway is rather impressive.  Lots of active streams and rocks.  I couldn’t help but take some time to shoot like I used to.

More after the jump.

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5 Oct 2010, 7:52pm
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Day 16 – Niagara Falls and Sault Ste. Marie

Everytime I’m in Toronto I have to go to Niagara Falls.  It’s one of those things, ya know?  Let’s face it, no matter how touristy Niagara Falls might be it’s still wicked awesome.

I wish that was the case today…  When I got to Niagara Falls it was pissing rain, warm rain, and turns out it isn’t quite low season for the famouse border town.  I could only spend about an hour in town, and there were no good parking spots!  I’m not paying 15-18 dollars for a 1 hour parking spot, and I’m not parking a 20 minute walk from the falls in the pissing rain.  On the other hand, it’s not like I haven’t seen the Falls before or done some of the touristy stuff.  I’ll admit I could spend a good deal of time in all those ridiculous (but awesome) tourist areas.  They’re so full of “life”!  Maybe next time.

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4 Oct 2010, 8:35pm
General Travel
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Day 15 – Toronto Again?! Yeah…

Woke up, still felt full from last night’s pork infusion.  But, I had three ribs left… *shrug* *munch munch*.

There seems to be a new trend with highway gas stops.  Whenever you think of pit stops while on road trips there are two usual stops, the sketchy, super old school gas stations where you usually meet either a very polite elderly man/woman, or a very sketchy man… or Texas Chainsaw Massacre-like people… anyway, then you have your generic stops like Esso, Shell, etc.  They’re either with our without some kind of restaurant (fast food or trucker stop diner).  Now, we have… I don’t know what to call it… THE MEGA PIT STOP or OnRoute stations (pretty sure they’re operated by Canadian Tire)!  This seems to be a general trend in Ontario and parts of Quebec.  The refueling portion is MASSIVE.  There are enough bays to fit a fleet of cars, and a separate station for trucks (of course).  They do have the usual gas station convenient store too.  The parking lot is massive as well.  The one aspect that makes this place kind of unique is the modern looking building nearby with acute angles and half the building covered in large paned glass.  Pretty impressive looking, but somehow feels wrong…

Inside feels like an airport food court.  There are a number of fast food chains on one side and a large number of seating on the other.  There’s also a magazine/snack shop that has “healthy” snacks.  I mean, organic chips, fruits, yogurt, etc. along with the usual road trip foods.  I hadn’t eaten any fruits or vegetables for the last few days so I needed to eat at least something healthy.  Fruit cup!  Simple and hard to screw up… wow, I was wrong.  The damn thing was almost frozen when I ate into it and the fruits were all tasteless and hurt my teeth!  Yeck… 4 bucks for that?!  I need to stop by an IGA or something to load up on healthy snacks…

Anyway, I’m back in Toronto.  Don’t expect much for today’s post.  Today’s going to be more of a day of rest and laundry before I head out again.  Going to Niagara Falls tomorrow, before going to Sault Ste. Marie.  So, at least I’ll have that.