THREE PEOPLE | ONE BULL TERRIER | A LIFTED SUBARU | 4,717 KILOMETERS
Something happened big five months ago back in Aug 2018; without going into details, it basically ended everything that I had going for me in Toronto. Because of this I needed to move home to West Coast Best Coast. Everything happened rather suddenly and I had roughly three weeks to wrap things up in Toronto, pack, and GTFO; it was rushed.
One of the main decisions I had to make was on what to do in terms of getting Project Dadbod back out West. When I had moved to Toronto in 2017 I shipped the FR-S by rail as that was the most cost effective shipping method at ($1,100 CAD, depot to depot) and it takes roughly 3 weeks. Initially, I had considered just doing the same thing going back, however, I do want to hit the ground running as soon I get back to BC, which that means I’d prefer not to be without wheels for that long. At this time, an idea came to mind: Since the family and I were planning on a cross country trip in April 2019 anyway, I figured, ‘why not just do that now?; This way I’ll get to experience driving across Canada and I won’t be without wheels once I get home.
It’s decided; I’m driving home.
Luckily a buddy of mine, Jun, who also happens to be an OG car guy from Van living in TO, when I told him about the move he offered to come along with his wife (we play hockey together). That helped out #yuge considering having an extra driver for a road trip of this caliber (especially to a road-trip n00b) means much less chances of dying and/or getting lost. Jun also has more experience with long drives than I do so needless to say, I took him on his offer and is more than grateful.
There was a bit of prep work to be done to Dadbod prior to driving across the country. We’ve decided not to rent and haul a uhaul across the country since I don’t have a lot of belongings and shipping the stuff via Greyhound would cost less than the trailer rental + extra gas consumption from hauling extra weight, not to mention the stress it will put on the drive train. Since there’s going to be three people and a doge inside the cabin we want as much space inside as possible (because comfort). Luckily, thanks to Amazon Prime I was able to get a Yakima Off-Grid Roof Basket w/ extension in within 2 days. To support the basket I picked up a pair of Thule Aeroblade crossbars from Rack Attack Toronto, who also hooked me up with a Curt 2” hitch class-3 receiver w/ Curt’s spare tire carrier (which I’m currently trying to sell!). I figured having a full size spare for a road trip of this caliper would probably be a wise idea so I ordered one more 235/75/16 K02 and a hub-centric (because safety) steelie, which also came within days, Nextmod also help me with the hitch install and the pre-trip tune up on minimal notice, for customer service these guys are top notch in Canada East fo sho!
I remember packing and cleaning out my condo up until the very last night when we were leaving. I was supposed to meet Jun and Nanako at their place Downtown at 9 PM, didn’t get there til’ nearly midnight. It was one hell of a final day in #the6ix but luckily Jun offered to drive the first stint of this epic long drive. We wanted to avoid traffic as much as possible getting out of Toronto, hence the late night departure.
The outside temperature dropped drastically as we headed North out of the city, it went from shorts and tee weather to 1°C as soon as we made our first gas stop. Since we were starting to roll into Fall, weather concerns had came up when we were planning the trip and because arriving in one piece is a priority, we’d like to avoid harsh driving conditions if it can be helped. There were news of a storm blowing Eastward from the West but up to this point the skies were clear and the roads were dry.
A smooth start to what will be a memorable travel!
Our first ‘real’ stop is Sault Sainte Marie, located just North of the Canada-USA border, in the middle of 3 of the Great Lakes. According to wiki this old city dates back to 1623 (bet they have amazing ghost stories). We had to stop for gas, food and bathroom break for the humans and canine. When planning out the trip we figured driving through Ontario would take the longest since we have to cut through a lot of small towns drive around the Great Lakes.
After Sault Ste. Marie, we kept heading North to get around Lake Superior to Thunder Bay. We topped up again at Thunder Bay, the plan was to get to the Manitoba boarder before stopping to rest. At least that’s what we’d like to do anyway… :p
Remember that storm I was talking about earlier? We had the pleasure to meeting it en route to Thunder Bay. With all the snow coming down hard it felt like I was traveling in deep space (can’t see shit). As the white stuff starts to stick on the roads traveling at average 110 km/h on a single lane highway became rather sketchy, even on new’ish K02’s.
Mind you, while I’ trying to stay on the road as if it was a life/death situation, these long hauler semi trucks were ripping by me going at least 140 km/h #nofucksgiven which made me question the size of my umm… courage, however I was exhausted and reeeally wanted to make it home in one piece, so we decided to pull off the highway and rest on the side of the road for a few hours before we continue. This concludes our first 30 hours of the trip!
Before the trip, many has told me just how flat and boring the drive through the Prairies will be; there’s nothing for miles and miles and miles, they say. Welp, they’re 100% on point about the flat part, but it wasn’t nearly as dreadful as everyone said it’d be! We noticed immediately after crossing into Manitoba that the road is absolutely flat and there is near zero in elevation change; there is absolutely nothing around for miles for nearly all of the Prairies. With that said, we enjoyed what the Canadian Prairies had to offer: a smooth, mostly straight, and safe ride. The colors were different from Ontario, it was more Yellow, more “fall”, it was also cool to see how the scenery can become so different the moment you cross the boarder into the next province over. he diff between Manitoba and Saskatchewan is non-existent, to me at least anyway).
In terms of grounds covered, Day 2 of our trip was much more satisfying considering we covered all of the Canadian Prairies in within 24 hours (joys of having two drivers), all on the Trans Canada Highway. First we made a quick stop at the Center of Canada Park in Taché, Manitoba, before puttin’ along to Winnipeg where we had to pick up some dry food for Rosa to last the remainder of the road trip.
Since there are no gigantic lakes to drive around in this neck of woods, we crossed into Saskatchewan hours after we left Winnipeg. SK wasn’t much different, the drive was very straight and very, very flat. So flat that you can look down the horizon and there’d be nothing but fields. While many friends have warned me about how boring this part of the drive is, we begged to differ. For fun-loving MF’s like us, there’s no such ting as boring :p
Along side the Trans Canada Highway are service roads. What are service roads? They are roadways parallel to a high-speed highway often used to provide access to private driveways, shops, houses, industries or farms.
In this case the service roads are dirt roads so naturally, we decided to entertain ourselves by getting a little (lot) dirty. We bombed down the dirt trails for a while up until we hit Indian Head where we fueled up and gave Dadbod a much needed bath (see video below). This was the first time we the K02’s are tested off the pavement. The road conditions were nowhere next extreme, however, since it’s been raining the roads were quite muddy (see video + aftermath below).
“Dirty” was an understatement by the time we were done on those farm roads, we pulled into a local ESSO gas station to fill up. Being responsible adults we’ve decided to locate the nearest car wash, that way we don’t have 3 inches of caked on dirt to pick off later; #SMRT. Conveniently, there is a coin wash just down the street!
Now, during the entire year that I was living in Toronto I’ve never been to a self serve coin car wash before. On this day I learned that these facilities with DOORS so your ass don’t freeze when trying to wash your ride (I don’t know why I was so #mindblown, but I was, ok?). What’s even more amazing? The water was warm. Ya, #mindblown9000. That was hands down the most enjoyable self-serve car wash experience I have ever… experienced. Needless to say, blasting off the mud bodykit was sweet, so sweet that I recorded the entire experience <3
Once zestfully clean, we got back on the Trans Canada Hwy.
Traveling at average speed between 120 - 140 KM/H going with the flow of traffic, we made it to Regina, SK for a quick gas and food stop, then back on the highway for few more hours until we hit a truck stop in Cypress County, the Alberta boarder. We rested for a few hours before traveling on.
You may have noticed by now, we haven’t stopped off at any motels along the way yet. Jun and Nanako both had taken time off work for this trip, the earlier we make it home means more time for them to see their friends and family. We save a lot of time and expenses by toughing it out and sleeping in the car for 4 days. Was it comfortable? Not reeeeally, but I also just really wanted to go home, so no complaints about sleeping inside the Subie. Plus, comparing to an economy airline seat the Subie is actually quite comfortable to sleep in!
While the Canadian Prairies are flat it wasn’t entirely boring (I’m sure clearing it within 24hrs contributed huge towards it). It was amazing to experience flatness, be able to gaze into infinity and see nothing until where horizon meets the sky. Below is a small gallery of snapshots between dirty pig fun and Alberta.
After a short but sweet rest at the Cypress Truck Stop we’re back on the road. Day 4 was all Alberta. When in Alberta, you eat the beef. Since the best meat in the country comes from this place start our day by heading straight into Calgary for a glorious slab of prime rib from their downtown Keg. Hands down the best meal we’ve had on the trip. Afterwards we dragged our food-baby asses to the Olympic Ski Hill for some tourist’y stuff. We snapped some photos on the hills and kept on with our travels.
Ever since I moved to Canada at age 10, I’ve heard plenty about Banff. Mostly as a travel destination, though I have never visited myself up until this now.
Prior to this, the furthest I’ve driven from BC previously was to Jasper for a hockey tournament (8hr drive). Witnessing the Canadian Rocky Mountains in it’s true glory by driving through it is really something else and it’s safe to admit I will never get sick of it.
You can call me biased, but as soon as we hit that part of the trip, the visuals leveled up ten-folds. We stopped at tourist hot spot Lake Louise where I managed to take a panoramic capture of the lake view with my Canon 5D Mark III through a crowd of tourists (was quite proud of myself for that cause there were a lot of people there)
So far, only when were getting out of Ontario and drove through that snow storm had we hit sub-zero temperatures. It was cold through the Prairies but mostly cause it was raining. We drove thru a little bit of rough weather before we arrived at Banff but it cleared up once we hit our stop with just enough of clouds in the sky for epic shots :)
We spent roughly an hour at Lake Louise and went back on the road. We traveled down the Banff-Windermere highway until we hit the Vermilion Crossing which is the Alberta / BC boarder. We are almost home.
We crossed into BC at around 5 PM on Sept 24th (Monday). Jun had mentioned that he wanted to take us to his natural hot spring and we could spend the night there before driving home the next day. We followed the Kootenay Hwy Southbound and made a short stop at Radium Lake for gas and to let Rosa stretch her legs, before continuing down the highway. Once we’ve drove past Windermere Lake and Columbia lake we turned off on a logging road which leads to our destination for the night, Lussier Hot Springs.
While the hot spring is located deep near the end of a logging road, it is no secret to tourists and neighboring locals. There was a bunch of cars there when we arrived at 9 PM, we walked down to the springs and it was pretty busy. Since we’ve already planned to spend the night there and not wanting to deal with the crowd, we’ve decided to sleep in the car first and wait until the crowd thins out toward later in the evening. We crashed in the Crosstrek until around 3 AM. Only one other car left besides us, great. Stepping out into -3°C in shorts was exceptionally… refreshing; woke me right up. There was a short trek down to the water; a fenced trail that brings you down the hill with an epic river view to your right. Shout outs to Richmond Hill Subaru for hooking me up with my Subaru LED lantern, it lit us down the dark, unpaved trails safely. It was a 5 minute walk down to the bottom of the trail where we were greeted by 3 pools of natural hot springs, sitting right beside a flowing river. There were another group of guys there who drove over from Calgary, a spontaneous, last minute adventure for this group of gentlemen, right on!
Being a hot spring noob, I was blown away at how hot the spring water was at the upper pool, being out there at 3 in the morning in the middle of a cross country trip going home made it even more special. The skies were clear and the moon was shining brightly around the mountains, it was magical af. I couldn’t let myself not capture this epic evening so I ran my wet ass back up to the car to grab my camera and tripod. On my way back I also grabbed a few cold dranks from the cooler. I grabbed some long exposure moonlit shots (see below) and a few more up top w/ Dadbod under the starry night sky. We left the hot spring and got back on the road at around 5 AM.
There’s one more stop before we’re home. Jun and Nana wanted to visit some fine BC winery at Osoyoos. We made a quick stop at an old mining town (Kimberly BC) to fuel up, then drove down Hwy 95A (Kimberly Hwy) where we turned onto the Hwy 3 at Cranbrook. We drove past various small towns in Kootenay BC for about 6ish hours until we finally reached Ososoos.
Only 20 minutes from the Wine Capital of Canada in Oliver, BC. Osoyoos BC has their own handful of wineries. The temperature has raised significantly compared to the subzero temps we’ve just experienced less than twelve hours ago, the warmest we’ve felt since Ontario; it was
After breakfast, we stopped by a winery where Jun and Nana wanted to buy some gifts for friends and family. The outside temperature is finally at a level that Princess Rosa feels satisfactory with, she’s been on dry food diet for the second half of the trip (cause no way to keep raw food frozen) she’s been extremely farty, so it was nice to let her to some of that outside of the car as well ;)
We left Blue Sky Estate Winery at 2:38 PM (thx google timeline) and kept on traveling down Hwy 3 for three hours before we stopped at Hope, BC for fuel, for one last time. Maybe it was being the time we were travelling at, we pretty much had the road all to ourselves all through Manning Park, which blew me away with it’s beautiful fall colors. Once we hit Hope it finally hit me that we’re home. I recognize the mountains and the colors of the skies. I remember driving this part of Highway One back when I was breaking in my newly built B20 motor in my ITR, when I was still Moo Man (RevScene.net days). At this point, I can drive home with my eyes closed (jk, that would not be very cash money thing to do). Greeted by a little bit of evening traffic rolling into town at around 7pm, we decided to finish the trip with a bangin’ meal at Newton Beef Noodle House in Richmond and boy, was that glorious.
In just under 5 days we drove from Toronto, ON to Vancouver, BC. A trip I’d love to make again at some point; maybe next time I’ll take my time with it, perhaps even have some sorta lodging arrangements. What an amazing experience to see a good portion of the country I call home. Some of you who follow me on IG may have seen the stories I’ve been posting through-out the drive, shout-outs for those who reached out as I was passing by your area and sorry I couldn’t stop by and say hi this time (there’s always next time!).
A total of 14 gas stops were made on this trip which was within expectations considering we’re running heavy tires with a basket full of stuff strapped on top of the car. Huge shout-out to Richmond Hill Subaru back in Ontario for offering to help out with a portion of our fuel cost on this trip, it was much needed and appreciated.
Canada Place is the final planned destination. After I dropped off Jun and Nana at Jun’s family home in Burnaby, I drove down to the waterfront to grab a couple shots to officially wrap up the adventure.
This road trip marks a very important time in my personal life.
There was a handful of people who lent a hand and warm support when it mattered most;
Right now I’d like to express my gratitude to these folks.
Luis & Miren back in Toronto. Thank you for your love and support. Huge love to Lu for lending a hand w/ packing and cleaning out the pad in TO up to the very last day and single-handedly assembling our epic munchy box. #MVP
Peter & Rachel @ Nextmod Markham. Thanks you for dealing with all my last minute maintenance + prep work. Hands down the best shop I’ve worked with out East!
Jun & Nanako for offering to ride w/ me on this cross country trip. It wouldn’t have been nearly as smooth and swift without their help. Thank you also for dealing with Rosa’s tamago-pei’s all thru the trip LMAO
My home boy Odi who sold me the Crosstrek. Thank you for hooking up the sponsorship with the generous folks over at Richmond Hill Subaru for this trip. How awesome is are these people?? VERY