Roadtrip #2 – Days 5-9 (March 8-12)

Yes, I’ve taken a long time to do this post…

We left Great Falls on the morning of March 8th heading eastward to Rapid City, South Dakota. Boy, that was a maze getting out of there! We decided to take a shorter route that took us off the main Interstate, Highway 15. This showed us rural Montana taking us through winding hills and small towns. In fact, one of the small towns we stopped in for a rest was called Ryegate. The funny thing about this little town was the sign they had at the local bar, or saloon as they probably call it. Here is a picture of the sign:

Testicle Festival

For those of you that can’t read it, the sign says “25th Annual –  Testicle Festival – Sat June 13 – ‘Nuttin But Fun'”. Funny to me at least. This is obviously from 2009 as 2010 doesn’t have a Saturday June 13, yet I’m sure it’ll happen this year too, so you can still go!

After leaving Ryegate we returned to the Interstate and made our way through Billings, Montana and settling in Sheridan, Wyoming for the night. We had a fantastic pizza that night from an establishment that’s been there for 38 years called Ole’s Pizza & Spaghetti House. If you’re in Sheridan ever, check it out, its on the main drag and sells spaghetti and pizza.

Day 6 began by leaving Sheridan, heading for Rapid City, South Dakota. We went through the town of Sturgis, South Dakota which is renown for their annual motorcycle rally. We stopped at a rest area along the way and as we were entering the area on the ramp there was a sign that caught us off guard and for that we unfortunately don’t have a picture of it. The sign said “No Hunting”. This ultimately begs only one question, what kind of person hunts at a rest area? Once making it to Rapid City, we figured we could make it to Sioux Falls for the night. However, what we didn’t know was that we’d be driving into a blizzard. The weather got pretty bad and visibility was low. As we approached the town of Murdo, South Dakota we decided we better find a place to stay for the night and wait the weather out. Our venue of choice was a Days Inn parking lot.

The snow stopped overnight and we left Murdo in the morning. The weather was not completely optimal, having to drive through some fog while we made our way to Sioux Falls. We cut south down to I-80 which took us to our end destination for the day in West Des Moines, Iowa. A pretty good day driving-wise.

Day 8 saw us traveling through 4 states, leaving Des Moines, Iowa in the morning, crossing into Illinois at Davenport, driving south around Chicago and into Indiana, finally stopping in Kalamazoo, Michigan for our final night on the road. The rain became quite heavy around Chicago and increased its intesity as we approached Kalamazoo. Just outside Chicago there was a billboard along the highway for the gentleman’s club Club390, which read “All the liquor. None of the clothes.”. Only in America!

Illinois state sign

Indiana state sign

The final day of our 39 day adventure began with our approach to the border at Port Huron/Sarnia. On our way to the border we passed through the lovely and bustling metropolis known as Flint, Michigan… ya, right! The border crossing went just fine with minimal questions. After we crossed, we drove to Wardsville, Ontario which is just outside London, for a short visit with old friend Frank Csenki. Here we dropped off our navigator Mike Murphy. So with a man down, it was left to Dad and I to get this rig back to Toronto. As we got closer to Toronto the rain started, and boy did it pour! Fortunately, the rain broke as we got into Scarborough, allowing us to unload without getting soaked.

Oh ya, my bed felt absolutely amazing!

Roadtrip #2 – Days 1-4 (Mar 4-7)

Our trip back to Toronto got delayed by one day due to me coming down with a bit of a bug, so instead of leaving on March 3rd, we left March 4th.  Day one started out leaving our residence for the past 3 weeks at Albert & Michelle’s, my dad’s cousin, at about 10:30 am.  Our drive took us to Revelstoke, BC where we met up with my dad’s friends Robert and Julia.

Day 2 was spent in Revelstoke getting a guided tour by Robert.  We drove up to Revelstoke Mountain Resort where my Dad and Uncle Mike took the gondola to 5000ft.  Unfortunately, the terrain was not accessible, so I had to stay back and get a full report upon their return.  Other places we visited were a few local highlights such as the Revelstoke Dam, the second largest dam in North America after the Hoover Dam.  We spent the night there and prepared to leave in the morning.

Revelstoke - Mount Mackenzie view

Revelstoke scenery

Day 3 was a shorter drive to Banff, Alberta where we met up with Jon Whelan, a long time friend of my dad and Uncle Mike back from their days working at Chateau Lake Louise in the 1970’s.  En route to Banff we stopped at Lake Louise, where once again I had to miss out on the great, great vista due to the icy terrain.  This does however mean that I must come back to both Revelstoke and Lake Louise at a later date.

Rogers Pass

Lake Louise 1

Lake Louise 2

Chateau Lake Louise

Lake Louise - Ice sculptures

Day 4 started at about 8:30am and made our way out of Banff to just outside Canmore where we had breakfast.  From there we made our way through Calgary, down to Lethbridge, and crossed into Montana, without trouble, where we have settled for the night in Great Falls, Montana.  Tomorrow’s goal is make it to Rapid City, South Dakota.  More to come later…

Three Sisters - Canmore, AB


Montana sunset

Day 8 wrapup (Feb. 9)

Day 8 started around 10am, I have to say, Washington redeemed itself from Day 7. The scenery was magnificent, going through the Rockies with big Pine and Spruce lined roads. Beautiful. Traffic was superb, making it across the border (with no problems) and into Coquitlam by 2:30pm. We’re safe and sound. A big thank-you goes out to my Uncle Craig for coming down and taking the roadtrip with us and lending his helping hand, much appreciated. So now only 1 day until the festivities start. Dinner at Grandma & Grandpa’s tonight.

Day 6 & 7 wrapup (Feb. 7 & 8)

Day 6 started out leaving around 9:30am. We travelled through the remaining part of Utah, experiencing great weather with the sun shining. The views we saw were phenomenal, cutting through the mountains. Around midday we crossed the state line into Idaho. The weather became cloudy and had a touch of rain, which was ok because Idaho was rather boring landscape-wise. After covering all of Idaho, we entered into Oregon before sundown, settling in Ontario. Day 7 started later, close to 10am, but were fortunate enough to pick up an hour shortly after leaving due to entering the Pacific time zone. We conquered Deadman Pass easily and saw an absolutely breathtaking vista (picture to come soon). Early afternoon we crossed into our final state, Washington. Washington has been quite blah so far, fusing farming and industry into a crazy mix. We are staying the night in a small town almost at the summit of the Snoqualmie Pass (elevation 3,022 feet) called Cle Elum. Tomorrow is the conclusion to roadtrip #1, probably ending up in Vancouver in the early afternoon.

Deadman Pass vista

Day 5 wrapup (Feb. 6)

Day 5 started at about 9:45am. We began our day traveling through the mountains of Wyoming along I-80. We stopped briefly for a rest at the Lincoln Memorial, the highest elevation on the entire I-80 at 8,640 feet. The scenery was fantastic along this part of the highway (pardon me, interstate). The rock formations were stunning and the colour a reddish-brown. The landscape returned to more flat, but the Rockies could still be seen off in the distance. The number of windmill farms were surprising, many of them stretching for miles along a ridge. We crossed into Utah just before sundown and settled for the night in Ogden, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City. We hope to make it to Boise, Idaho for tomorrow night.

Day 3 & 4 wrapup (Feb. 4 & 5)

Day 3 started later, about 9:45am. We finished crossing Missouri by mid-day, then entering Kansas. Boy, is Kansas ever flat! It seems like miles upon miles of nothing. weather was ok, a little rain. We stopped for the night in a town called Hays, literally in the middle of nowhere. We thought in order to soak in the “culture” Hays had to offer, we’d flip on the local radio station, 99KZ FM. Real stompin’ music! I was curious to hear if they had a morning traffic report, no such luck. Although, I did hear breaking news of a man who died due to his tractor falling on him in a pasture. No joke. Only in Kansas. Day 4 started about 9:15am, making our way out of Kansas, into Colorado and through Denver, settling for the night in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  We caught our first glimpse of the Rockies while driving through Colorado. Drive was good, great weather. Tomorrow’s destination, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Day 1 & 2 wrapup (Feb. 2 & 3)

Day one started at 9:30am. Traffic was good all day and we crossed the border with no problems at 12:30pm. Weather was ok with a little snow, but nothing serious. As far as scenery, Michigan and Indiana are nothing to write home about. We ended the day outside of Indianapolis. Day Two started at 9:30am. We crossed the rest of Indiana making it through Illinois and ending outside Kansas City Missouri. The highlight so far was in Michigan seeing one billboard on one side of the road advertising a Christian University and on the opposite side of the road a billboard advertising the Adult Superstore. This to me was quite funny and makes me ask the question, why a “Superstore”? Do they buy in bulk?
Tommow’s goal is to make it close to Denver…we shall see.