Having completed a successful cross-country trek by car, I feel it appropriate to share my new found Canadian-roadtriping knowledge in the form of a few helpful hints and tips.
1. Go. It’s easy. Seriously, it seems far to go all the way across Canada, right? Sure, but it isn’t that far from Vancouver to Calgary, or from Calgary to Winnipeg, or from Winnipeg to Toronto. Each of those sections are reasonable two day drives. Rule 1 – break it down, don’t drive to far in a day, enjoy yourself. As you get towards the end, you’ll be thinking “is that all?”
2. At least two drivers. Minimum. Otherwise you will fall asleep and your passengers will die.
3. Pack light. Sure, bring everything you think you need, and be sensitive to how much room your vehicle has – but remember, you will drive past countless wal-marts and Canadian-Tires. So, if you forgot something, you can pick it up on the way without paying through the nose.
4. Rest Areas make great campsites. If you arrive late and leave early. Sleeping at rest areas, in the car, is by far the best way to go if you’re trying to make time.
5. Carry plenty of water. 20 liters or so. This way you don’t have to worry about running out, keeping your water bottles full all the time. The extra weight will mean you’ll burn a bit more fuel, but since most of Canada is flat, the speed you drive at will have much more of an effect. Also, if you carry plenty of water you could potentially repair a broken hose, fill the cooling system with water, and limp to the next town- avoiding a nasty tow bill.
6. Don’t drive so fast. Driving fast means you get tired more quickly, means you burn through gas, means it’s more difficult to pull over if you see something interesting. Also – with the money a speeding ticket costs, you could have rented a motel and had a shower, and you wouldn’t smell so bad. Think about that, speedy.
7. Speaking of showers – get wet! Often! If you pass an inviting lake, jump in it. Bring towers. Bring bio-degradable soap. Or, stop at provincial or federal campsites posing as campers – use their showers then run away. While your at it, you can marvel at the German tourists in their rented motorhomes. Don’t laugh – they get more Vacation time than you ever will.
8. Eat light. You are mostly sitting. Drink club soda rather than pop.
9. Don’t forget your coffee thermos, and the key safety rule – he who rides shotgun is not allowed to sleep.
10. Failing 9, Superstore has a Redbull copy called “redrain” at 1/3rd of the price.