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Planning a great canadian roadtrip

JeanJean Papa bearGatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
edited April 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
So I just bought me a car (Corolla 2009) and i'd like to use it to see more of my own country. I visited almost all of my home province and southern Ontario, but nothing besides that.

I'm hesitating in beetween Atlantic and Western Canada. West intrigues me more, but going all the way from Vancouver to Ottawa might be bitting more than I can chew.

So I guess I'd ike the pros and cons of visiting both regions as well as general road trip advice. :)

"You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
Jean on

Posts

  • TaGuelleTaGuelle Registered User
    edited March 2009
    I would say do the Maritimes because you can be at the ass end of Canada in a Day versus the long time you would spend trying to hit the rockies. Also, how many people were you thinking of doing this with? I know the car might be your baby, but three drivers is a minimum in my mind.

    TaGuelle on
  • JeanJean Papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    This project is at the brainstorming phase. Right now, it's just me,myself and I.

    I tought 2 weeks would be great. Maybe 3.

    Jean on
    "You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm just going to say that there's not much to do in NB except for drive through it, depending on the season. I'd wager if you come here to the East Coast, you'll spend a lot of your time in PEI (beautiful) and Nova Scotia.

    tony_important on
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  • Kate of LokysKate of Lokys Registered User
    edited March 2009
    What time of year are you thinking of going? That will have a huge impact on things. The East Coast during the summer is spectacular; in winter it's a storm-whipped hellhole.

    I'm more familiar with the east, so I'll share what I know about it.

    First, distances out there are deceiving. It's technically only something like four hours from Halifax down to Yarmouth (300km), but it's nothing like driving from, say, Toronto to Ottawa. Rest stops are few and far between - there are literally only something like 30 exits along that entire stretch of highway, and not a single one of them has anything like a 400-series service centre. Also, they use a retarded numbering system for their exits which just goes from 1 to 30 instead of being based on which kilometer the exit is on, so if you pass exit 18 and think "man, I really should have gotten gas," too bad! It's 50km to exit 19.

    The highways are also extremely boring about 90% of the time. Except in a few places, they don't follow the coastline (which makes sense, because if they did they would be like 200 times longer), so instead of cruising along Highway 1 style looking out over the ocean, you will be driving on empty two-lane roads lined with impenetrable black-dark pine forest on both sides. New Brunswick is even worse, because the main road through there doesn't even have glimpses of the ocean, it is just mile after mile of choking thick forests as far as the eye can see for hours on end.

    That said, the Maritimes can be absolutely beautiful, and I would highly recommend them as a destination. You just have to accept that you won't be able to just drive around and see everything. If you make a road trip out of it, you should aim to drive no more than a few hours per day, and you should use the rest of your time each day to explore the area. Sometimes that will mean more driving - up in the Acadian region, there are just a ton of little roads winding through hills filled with beautifully-kept old homes, and puttering along at 50km/h just taking everything in is a pure pleasure. Sometimes, that will mean getting out of the car and taking a hike through someplace like the Keji seaside adjunct, which has 2-5km trails leading out to pristine beaches. Depending on what you enjoy doing with yourself, I'd recommend staying for more than a single day in some places. The South Shore in particular is quintessentially East Coast - lighthouses, rocky beaches, crashing surf, the best damned fried clams in the world - and if you have a car, it's very convenient to just get a room for a few days somewhere and do day trips out from there.

    One thing to keep in mind with Nova Scotia, though, is that it's very small-town in a lot of ways. Shops, restaurants, and even gas stations close early, especially on weekends. It's also highly dependent on tourist trade - there's a great restaurant in Shelburne, for example, Charlotte Lane, but it closes in December and doesn't reopen until the May 24 weekend. So, if you're planning an off-season trip, heading out west might be a better idea.

    But Nova Scotia is beautiful.

    Kate of Lokys on
    I'm here to tell you about voting. Imagine you're locked in a huge underground nightclub filled with sinners, whores, freaks and unnameable things that rape pit bulls for fun. And you ain't allowed out until you all vote on what you're going to do tonight [. . .] So you vote for television, and everyone else, as far as your eye can see, votes to fuck you with switchblades. That's voting. You're welcome.
  • saggiosaggio Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Coming out West is a bit of a drive, certainly, but there's a reason why British Columbia is called supernatural. It's perhaps the most naturally beautiful places you'll ever see, and we have basically every sort of biosphere you could imagine, from desert to rain forest. We also have the best goddamned skiing in North America, as well as some pretty decent surfing.

    Vancouver, by itself, is an amazing city. Best part of North America, by fucking far. Best sushi outside of Tokyo, best location of any city I've ever seen, an absolutely amazing selection of restaurants of all sorts, and you are literally minutes away from some of the most beautiful natural wonders you can scope. But the rest of the province has a lot to offer, too, especially if you are into ecotourism or wine.

    The only downside about B.C. is that you have to drive through Alberta to get to it. ;)

    saggio on
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  • EskimoDaveEskimoDave Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    saggio wrote: »
    Coming out West is a bit of a drive, certainly, but there's a reason why British Columbia is called supernatural. It's perhaps the most naturally beautiful places you'll ever see, and we have basically every sort of biosphere you could imagine, from desert to rain forest. We also have the best goddamned skiing in North America, as well as some pretty decent surfing.

    Vancouver, by itself, is an amazing city. Best part of North America, by fucking far. Best sushi outside of Tokyo, best location of any city I've ever seen, an absolutely amazing selection of restaurants of all sorts, and you are literally minutes away from some of the most beautiful natural wonders you can scope. But the rest of the province has a lot to offer, too, especially if you are into ecotourism or wine.

    The only downside about B.C. is that you have to drive through Alberta to get to it. ;)

    fuck the mainland. Its all about The Island.

    EskimoDave on
  • AridholAridhol Daddliest Catch Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    EskimoDave wrote: »
    saggio wrote: »
    Coming out West is a bit of a drive, certainly, but there's a reason why British Columbia is called supernatural. It's perhaps the most naturally beautiful places you'll ever see, and we have basically every sort of biosphere you could imagine, from desert to rain forest. We also have the best goddamned skiing in North America, as well as some pretty decent surfing.

    Vancouver, by itself, is an amazing city. Best part of North America, by fucking far. Best sushi outside of Tokyo, best location of any city I've ever seen, an absolutely amazing selection of restaurants of all sorts, and you are literally minutes away from some of the most beautiful natural wonders you can scope. But the rest of the province has a lot to offer, too, especially if you are into ecotourism or wine.

    The only downside about B.C. is that you have to drive through Alberta to get to it. ;)

    fuck the mainland. Its all about The Island.

    Aridhol on
  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Going west, depending on how long you would want to drive will take you 3 ~ 5 days. Going East will take you 1 day.

    Going west is a pretty shitty drive, you basically just want to get it over with. I've driven from Toronto to Alberta and back, alone both times. Northern Ontario is nice to look at but slow driving. The speed limit is 90, its one lane driving most of the way with an oncoming lane next to you, being around slow trucks piss you off.

    The prairies suck balls but the speed limit is 110 so you can weasel 120-125 without getting a ticket generally, and cover some more ground. Also the roads are really straight and long. Easy to drive, but also really boring.

    I never went past the Rockies, yet.

    As for general driving advice; start thinking about getting gas when you're around 50%. Pack snacks and drinks with you so you can avoid stopping where necessary to cover ground faster. With this in mind, don't push yourself too far either. Stop when you need to. Usually if I feel myself getting drowsy or anything like that I would smoke a cig, drink caffeinated drinks, eat, play some music or just stop. Basically stimulate myself somehow without diminishing my attention from driving.

    4 hour drives are nothing really. I once drove from Thunder Bay to Toronto in a single day, thats like 16 hours of driving.

    Al_wat on
  • ComahawkComahawk Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Go to Whitehorse, it is very beautiful up there and quite a unique experience.

    Comahawk on
  • SatanIsMyMotorSatanIsMyMotor Fuck Warren Ellis Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you come to NB you have to check out Fundy National Park. To the person that said there's nothing to do here, I'm going to have to say that you're wrong.

    Obviously do your trip in the summer and if you want some other suggestions on things to do I might be able to help as I used to work for tourism here.

    Also, are you 19?

    SatanIsMyMotor on
  • badpoetbadpoet Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I headed up to Banff last summer (I live in Minnesota) and had a wonderful time. We spent the majority of our trip around Lake Louise. The scenery was beautiful, and it's pretty cheap to camp (comparing to hotels), so you could stay there a few days then head over to BC, which I didn't get the chance to do (trip was only a week). The stretch of highway between Regina and Calgary is a brutally boring though.

    badpoet on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    It really depends on what you want to accomplish on the trip. Do you want to spend a lot of time in urban areas, or along a coast? Or do you want to get away from everything and into the middle of nowhere?

    My wife and I went on a camping trip west from Minnesota, up into the Canadian rockies, and then drove back to MN from Jasper. Breathtaking stuff out there, if that's what you're into -- you truly feel like people have barely touched the area.

    But really it depends on what you want to do in your car trip. If you want to drive and see how far you can get, seeing the countryside, west. If you want to do activities and city/town stuff, east.

    EggyToast on
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  • Hey AshtrayHey Ashtray Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I grew up in No Funswick, and there's some stuff to do, albeit not a whole lot. If you're an outdoors, nature kind of guy there's tons of great hiking spots everywhere, Hopewell Rocks, etc etc. Saint John is where I'm from, it's a pretty big shit hole, but Fredericton is beautiful and has a good night life (at least when university is in, I'm not sure about the summer). But yeah, Halifax will keep you entertained for weeks, and PEI is one of the nicest places I've ever been to. If you can get up to Newfoundland, it's worth it, but keep it mind that after the 6 hour ferry ride, it's an 8 hour drive to St. John's. So unless you just want to see Stephenville (shit hole) or Cornerbrook, I'd only go to Newfoundland if you're willing to make the drive east. St. John's is awesome, and there's tons of nice places along the way, and also the nicest people in the entire world live in Newfoundland.

    So basically if you're the kind of person who enjoys history and architecture and culture and drinking and you know how to entertain yourself, then I'd say the Atlantic Provinces are for you. Nova Scotia alone is worth making the trip for, I've been here for 4 years, and Halifax is one of my favorite cities in the world. I say come east.

    Hey Ashtray on
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  • DmanDman Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    if your own your own I'm going to have to say east.
    I've never actually been to the maritime provinces but it's a question of math.

    Especially if your own your own you will spend most of your time driving to/from Vancouver and not enough time in the Rockies and catching waves on Longbeach on Vancouver island.

    I've been to the Rockies and Vancouver island many times and I must say they are amazing, but Canada is a huge country and driving across it and back in 2 or 3 weeks on your own will suck the soul out of it.

    Dman on
  • JeanJean Papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    What time of year are you thinking of going?

    Early September seems the best to me. The touris mass has then died down but the weather is still nice.
    Also, are you 19?

    Looking to recomend me some pubs, uh? ;) Yup, I've been legal driniing age for a while :)
    It really depends on what you want to accomplish on the tri

    I want to see and experience my own country more.

    Big citiies, small villages, national parks, pubs , museums , historic sites , local cuisine.. I'm open to anything really :)

    Jean on
    "You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
  • clearsimpleplainclearsimpleplain Registered User
    edited April 2009
    I've been coast to coast in Canada, and I currently live in Saskatchewan. Let me just say that this is a great place to live, but you don't want to take a road trip here when you can hop around Eastern Canada.

    I grew up in the North. The Canadian Shield is beautiful country and well worth a trip, but you can get that in Ontario. As far as the West is concerned, there are a million beautiful spots, but everything is so far apart that you're going to spend most of your time driving across the prairies. The Rockies are worth the trip, and as I mentioned, there are a lot of beautiful things between Ontario and BC, but why spend so much time crossing all that blank distance when you can stick to the East coast and have constant scenery, cities, and situations?

    Visit Ottawa and Quebec, see some of northern Ontario if you get the chance, and then turn around and hit the surf around PEI. You can do all of this and more in the time you would spend driving across the plains.

    clearsimpleplain on
  • JeanJean Papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    mmm guess i'll go with the maritimes this time. I'll head west once I have more experience road tripping!

    Here's a rough draft of what my schedule would look like. Toughts? Of course nothing is set in stone yet.

    Day 1 Travel to St John NB (1,100km)
    Day 2 Visit St John
    Day 3 Fundy National Park
    Day 4 Fundy Islands
    Day 5 Fort Beauséjour,NB and Anapolis Valley, NS
    Day 6-7 Halifax
    Day 8 Louisbourg Fortress
    Day 9 Cape Breton Highlands National Park
    Day 10-11 Prince Edward Island
    Day 12-13 îles de la Madeleine, Québec
    Day 14 King's Landing Historical Site, NB and Village historique acadien, NB
    Day 15 Head back home

    Jean on
    "You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
  • CycophantCycophant Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Jean wrote: »
    mmm guess i'll go with the maritimes this time. I'll head west once I have more experience road tripping!

    Here's a rough draft of what my schedule would look like. Toughts? Of course nothing is set in stone yet.

    Day 1 Travel to St John NB (1,100km)
    ...
    Day 15 Head back home

    Driving 1100km in a single day isn't something to set upon lightly. It can be done, sure. But it's almost certainly not going to be all that pleasant.

    You'll either have to speed a majority of the way there, or it'll take you pretty much all day. Either way you'll be quite tired, and I would highly suggest taking breaks every few hours to ensure you don't get road-weary and careen off an embankment or something.

    Cycophant on
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  • SmallLadySmallLady Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Aridhol wrote: »
    EskimoDave wrote: »
    saggio wrote: »
    Coming out West is a bit of a drive, certainly, but there's a reason why British Columbia is called supernatural. It's perhaps the most naturally beautiful places you'll ever see, and we have basically every sort of biosphere you could imagine, from desert to rain forest. We also have the best goddamned skiing in North America, as well as some pretty decent surfing.

    Vancouver, by itself, is an amazing city. Best part of North America, by fucking far. Best sushi outside of Tokyo, best location of any city I've ever seen, an absolutely amazing selection of restaurants of all sorts, and you are literally minutes away from some of the most beautiful natural wonders you can scope. But the rest of the province has a lot to offer, too, especially if you are into ecotourism or wine.

    The only downside about B.C. is that you have to drive through Alberta to get to it. ;)

    fuck the mainland. Its all about The Island.


    Fixed that for ya.

    SmallLady on
    "we're just doing what smalllady told us to do" - @Heels
  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    When do you think that you'll be in Halifax?
    There's a lot of fun stuff to do here, sometimes it really depends on the time of year.

    tony_important on
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  • JeanJean Papa bear Gatineau, QuébecRegistered User regular
    edited April 2009
    The timing is not fixed yet . i'll avoid the high season unless I have a good reason not to tough, so either early June or early September seems the best. The weather is still nice and the crowds should not be as bad as those dates.

    Jean on
    "You won't destroy us, You won't destroy our democracy. We are a small but proud nation. No one can bomb us to silence. No one can scare us from being Norway. This evening and tonight, we'll take care of each other. That's what we do best when attacked'' - Jens Stoltenberg
  • tony_importanttony_important Registered User regular
    edited April 2009
    Jean wrote: »
    The timing is not fixed yet . i'll avoid the high season unless I have a good reason not to tough, so either early June or early September seems the best. The weather is still nice and the crowds should not be as bad as those dates.

    early september is a really good time to come. The tourists are gone, but the weather is still awesome. Also, you can still give the ocean a swim.

    tony_important on
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