Jeep Wrangler Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
In May of this year I embarked on a 15 day journey from London, Ontario to my furthest point of Jasper, Alberta.

I decided to write up a story of my preparation, experience and lessons I learned along the way and share with my fellow forum members.

This road trip was initially planned with a significant other. Well, things in life come and go and she was one of those things.

This was a trip I had been planning for the better part of 6 months. I had only visited the Rocky Mountains once before as a teenager, but didn't have much time to see the sights. I wasn’t going to let someone come in the way (or get out of the way) of taking this trip. I continued on with my plans to take the trip.

Setting personal drama aside, I’ll continue…

My journey would start on May 8, 2015 and last until between May 22 - May 24. The road would take me through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. Being born and raised in Canada, I felt it was my duty to see my country and what better way than to see it in a Jeep?

Spring in central Canada is unpredictable, which initially gave me my doubts about the timing of this trip, but I knew tourist traffic would be slim to none in the National Parks of Alberta and the potential for good weather was certainly there.

My main goal for this trip was to see as much of Canada as I could via road, while having as much time to explore the Rocky Mountains of Alberta at the same time.

Highlights that were considered a must were:

Banff
Jasper
Dinosaur Provincial Park
The shores of Lake Superior
The Prairies of Central Canada

Anything else in between was simply a bonus and would be done if time permitted. Driving to and from my destination took up about half of my trip as I was doing this alone. Despite the thought of driving for 8-10 hours per day, it was something I looked forward to, and really ended up enjoying for the most part.

I want to preface this thread in saying there is very little to no offroading in my adventure. This was a solo vehicle, solo person road trip. Just a guy in his mid 20’s and his 2010 2 door Jeep Wrangler and the open road!

I’m not sure what direction this thread is going to take and I welcome any feedback for future posts.

I’ll include as many pictures as I can along the way of the sights as well as the Jeep.

I’ll attempt to contribute to this thread on a gradual basis and include a few days of travel in each post.


I’ll first start with my preparation:

Being a 2 door Jeep, I knew that sleeping in the vehicle wouldn't provide the most comfort, but could be done. I removed the backseat for this journey to allow for maximum cargo and sleeping room.

I decided to bring 2 sleeping bags. Spring in Canada can be chilly, especially in the prairies and the mountains. Mother nature lived up to her word on this one…

I also packed a foam sleeping pad, typically meant for a tent to add insulation between the ground and yourself.

Other cold weather gear included: Toque (referred to as a beanie in the United States?), leather gloves, lots of hoodies,pants, rain jacket and a casual military style jacket

I planned to split my nightly accommodations between the Jeep, camping, and hotels. After a lot of research, I had a good idea of where I wanted to stay in the Rocky Mountains, but most of my accommodations along the way were hardly established other than what town or city I wanted to reach each day.

For camping, I kept it pretty simple.

small 3 person tent
single burner butane camp stove
coffee press
hatchet
first aid kit
fire starters
waterproof matches
various knives and flashlights
candles
bear spray
bug spray
duct tape

Clothes and footwear were pretty straight forward. Nike runners, casual Sperry Boat Shoes, Timberland boots and a pair of sandals for driving/showering while camping. T Shirts, hoodies, sweat pants, and jeans filled up most of my wardrobe that was packed in a military surplus paratrooper bag.

I won’t go into further detail with the boring stuff.

Vehicle prep included all 4 Ball Joints being replaced as well as a full vehicle inspection and oil change and tire rotation.

The weeks before, I planned my ideal route which is displayed here:

Canada Trip.jpg

Most of the journey would take place on Highway 1 (known as the Trans Canada Highway) through Canada. Main cities along the route would include Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina and Calgary.

On the eve of May 8, 2015, I loaded up most of the Jeep and got to bed early as a mid-day fairy crossing from Tobermory, Ontario to Manitoulin Island required me to arrive in Tobermory in mid morning. A 3 1/2 hour drive required me to be up and ready to go early!

I laid in bed awake for a while. Asking myself if I was doing the right thing. Was travelling alone on such a long trip in a Chrysler something a sane person would do?! ;)

But really, this being my first trip, I had my doubts about a lot of things. I decided to put my doubts aside and do it. Take every day as it comes, keep in touch with my family daily and ensure I made smart choices along the way.

The morning of May 8 came quick. I woke up feeling more “meh” than excited. I packed up the Jeep, set my GPS for Tobermory and hit the road….

More stories and plenty more pictures to come in the following posts!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
644 Posts
I'm hooked. Tell more.

Sounds like a great excursion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
It was a picture perfect day to take off. The sun was shining with not a cloud in the sky.

It was a pretty warm May morning on the day I departed. I would even consider it unseasonably warm for Canada. Needless to say I was getting more and more excited with every KM that ticked by. I traveled through the agriculture lands of Midwestern Ontario (my old stomping grounds). I found myself wondering how what I’ve been used to my entire life will compare with the vast agriculture lands of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Tobermory came quick. Anyone who’s been there can attest that it is a beautiful area of not only Ontario, but Canada. This region is part of Bruce Peninsula (part of the World Biosphere Reserve) and includes Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathon Five National Marine Park. I’ve had plenty of experience visiting this area as I grew up within a few hours drive. It’s amazing how easy it is to take these areas for granted being that they’re in your own backyard.

I filed in line for the Chi Chee Maun ferry which links Tobermory to Manitoulin and can save about 8 hours of driving instead of driving around Georgian Bay.


Here’s a view from the docking point of the ferry looking out over Georgian Bay and Lake Huron

IMG_0598.jpg

View off the back of the ferry after departing

IMG_0609.jpg

About 20 minutes into the ride the ferry passes one of the many islands that are scattered off the tip of the peninsula. Shipwrecks were very common in this region and it is now a well known area for diving. I can only assume that lighthouses like this were common many decades ago. You can see to the right some remaining winter ice still built up on the shore. You’ll see in my upcoming posts just the difference between one Great Lake to the other when it comes to seasonal changes.

IMG_0610.jpg

I arrived on Manitoulin Island to a dreary afternoon. I hopped back in the Jeep and kept on moving. Manitoulin Island brings back great memories for me as it was a place my family used to vacation throughout the summer. Definitely a unique landscape compared to the other regions of Central and Northern Ontario.

My first full fuel up was just after getting off the island in a small community called Espanola. 256 KM since my last fill up (yes I kept track of my fuel).

I stopped at one of what probably was 1,000 Tim Horton’s I passed by along the trip for a coffee and kept on going. My goal was to get to Sault Ste. Marie (The Soo) for the night. I had about 2 3/4 hours remaining before I got to my destination. For anyone who doesn’t know, Ontario is huge, I mean massive. About half of my driving time was spent within one province.

I arrived in The Soo around 8:00 PM. I was now in uncharted territory. Roads I have never been on before in my life were now ahead of me.

Day 1 Road Trip .jpg

I had no plans of where I was going to sleep, so I pulled into a Husky Truck Stop, grabbed some dinner and found a parking spot for the night. I set a sleeping area up in the back of the Jeep as best I could. I slept like crap that night. The unfamiliarity of the experience, paired with the constant noise from the 18 wheelers didn’t provide me much sleep that night.

cont.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I woke up as the sun was coming up. Fuelled up the Jeep and kept on going. The clear skies soon turned to a very low ceiling cloud cover. I was in Moose country now, so I kept my tired eyes peeled as best I could.

I was now driving through Lake Superior Provincial Park along the shores of Lake Superior. I made a few stops for a rest and to check out the scenery.

Here’s a shot of a pond/swamp on one side of the highway. I thought the fog lifting was a cool sight and signature Northern Ontario.

IMG_0614.jpg

First official shot of the Jeep!

IMG_0617.jpg

Here’s the view from behind me overlooking Lake Superior

IMG_0615.jpg

I kept driving. I soon began to realize just how remote Northern Ontario is. No cell service, communities only every couple hundred km’s.

A shot from one of the many lookout points along Lake Superior. The protection with the bays along with the much colder water and air temps around the lake meant that lake ice still filled in a big part of the lake. Seems like worlds apart from my journey across the lake yesterday.

IMG_0619.jpg

TBC.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I kept driving. Up and down some steep grades, catching glimpses of the lake on one side while rock walls were only feet from me on the other. Stopped in the well known town of Wawa, known for it’s giant statue of a Canada Goose. Filled up for fuel at an old general store, grabbed a coffee and a 20 minute nap. I was then on the road again for about 3 hours and I needed a break so I stopped in a town I’ve never heard of called Terrace Bay. This town was so unique, built along the bluffs of the lake and was just something I didn’t expect or see before. I found my way down to the lake and caught a great shot of one of the many rivers along the shores of Superior that finds their way into the lake.

IMG_0621.jpg

No rest for the wicked, unfortunately. I was about 5 hours of driving into my day and needed to make Thunder Bay for the night and had about 2 1/2 hours of driving left in my day.

Heading into Thunder Bay, I felt that it was my Canadian obligation to stop and check out the Terry Fox monument. Terry Fox is recognized as a Canadian hero for setting out on a marathon across Canada (attempting to run the distance of a marathon every day) to raise awareness for Cancer, with a prosthetic leg to add. Unfortunately, Terry didn’t meet his goal as the sickness he was helping to raise awareness for plagued his lungs. His journey ended in Thunder Bay along this stretch of the Trans Canada Highway.

Here’s a view of Terry’s Monument.

IMG_0623.jpg

And a view from the monument looking out over Lake Superior and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

IMG_0628.jpg

I pulled up my phone, booked a hotel for the night and checked in after making my way into town.

I slept like a baby that night!

Here’s a shot of the days drive

Day 2 .jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,132 Posts
Very nice write up. That is one of the most beautiful areas for a road trip in Canada. The shores of Lake Superior are spectacular. Too bad we didn't know you were coming through Thunder Bay. We could have given you a hardy Jeep welcome and escort through town, Jeep parade fashion.
Maybe next time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
212 Posts
Your trip thru the Bruce reminded me of the times I visited there with family and on my own when I rode my motorcycle there about five years ago. My grandma was from Wiarton and she also had family still in Lion's Head. It's such beautiful country up there.

Funny story; one year we took the ferry to Manitoulin Island and right off the boat we ran into a huge traffic jam. My dad couldn't figure out why there'd be so much traffic until we found out later that someone had robbed the bank and the police set up roadblocks to find them. We thought it was hysterical that someone would be so dumb as to rob a bank on an island with only one road off of it.

Anyway, I'll be reading the rest of your trip reports with excitement. Thanks for sharing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Your trip thru the Bruce reminded me of the times I visited there with family and on my own when I rode my motorcycle there about five years ago. My grandma was from Wiarton and she also had family still in Lion's Head. It's such beautiful country up there.

Funny story; one year we took the ferry to Manitoulin Island and right off the boat we ran into a huge traffic jam. My dad couldn't figure out why there'd be so much traffic until we found out later that someone had robbed the bank and the police set up roadblocks to find them. We thought it was hysterical that someone would be so dumb as to rob a bank on an island with only one road off of it.

Anyway, I'll be reading the rest of your trip reports with excitement. Thanks for sharing!
There's so many hidden gems on The Bruce and Manitoulin. A unique area like no other in The Great Lakes.

Our family rented a cottage up on Manitoulin for a number of years about 15 years ago or so (I was only about 12). Lots of great fishing and memories were had. Would love to spend some more time up there if I ever get the chance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
313 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Day 3 - New Provinces..

Day 3, May 10, 2015. My journey started early again, as my next goal was to make it to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Another 7 1/2 hour day of driving through the fairly isolated region of Northern Ontario. I passed over the Arctic Watershed divide. From here on, all watersheds flowed towards the Arctic Ocean and no longer towards the Atlantic. Despite being thousands of KM away from the Arctic Ocean, I now got the feeling I was truly far away from home, yet still in the save province. I drove and drove along the Trans Canada Highway through what seemed like never ending masses of forest, swamps and muskeg. I spotted a moose knee deep in a swamp less than 100 feet from the highway and I had to pinch myself. By the time I hammered on my brakes and turned around to get a better glimpse, she was already gone.

From Thunder Bay to the border of Manitoba, the Trans Canada Highway is only 2 lanes, with passing lanes every few KM. This is one of the few stretches (that I’m aware of) where the highway is only 2 lanes. My best guess is because the cost to dynamite the mass amounts of rock and pave 2 more lanes of road for the little travel this road sees likely isn’t worth the expense.


I took a quick break at a rest stop for few minutes. If I recall correctly, the temperature was about 3 degrees celsius with the odd flurry. A huge difference from the 15-20 degree weather I left home in.

IMG_0640.jpg

IMG_0635.jpg


I had spotted out some potential places to stay when arriving in WInnipeg. I decided to just grab a cheap camping site right off the Trans Canada for a quick night of camping and easy access to the road in the morning.

I arrived in Manitoba after 2 1/2 days of travel through Ontario. The land changed quickly to flat, FLAT land. Trees were rare and farm fields could be seen for as far as the eye could see. Manitoba is well known for flooding and I could now see why. It’s amazing to see the geography of the land change so drastically and so quickly.

I pulled into a KOA and grabbed a camp site of my choosing. This was an odd place to say the least. I spent as little time as I could there. The grounds were right on the shores of the Assiniboine river and the spring waters were high.

IMG_0642.jpg

The previous years high waters had washed away a lot of this same campground, and a high berm had been built to help prevent this going forward.

IMG_0644.jpg

Here’s a shot of the days drive

Day 3.png
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top