Saturday, August  17, 2019
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Thursday, July 31/Friday Aug.1 - Gainford, AB to Thunder Bay, ON

courtesy Markus
The Yellowhead Highway
Although we didn't specifically intend for it when we got up, this turned out to be the marathon driving day of the whole trip. We started out at 5:30am from Gainford and made our way west along the Yellowhead Highway (16), through Edmonton. Having clocked up so many thousands of kms on the vehicles, we stopped in Lloydminster AB/SK for an oil change.
Oil change in Lloydminster
By mid-afternoon we were driving through stereotypical Saskatchewan rural farmland, with grain elevators and wide vistas. We stopped at the small sleepy hamlet of Wynard, SK, and found the local park (which was deserted). Here I had a short nap while everyone else cooked up some lunch at a picnic table. Luc "played" on the kid's playground structure in the park.
courtesy Markus
Luc's climbing playground
At this point we'd sort of half-decided to try and make it all the way to Markus' sister's place in Thunder Bay, still another 1300km away (we'd already come over 800km so far). This would mean driving through the night. I was up for it, and so was Luc. So, this would be my first 24 hour driving adventure!
Saskatchewan Grain Elevator
After our little break, we continued east on the Yellowhead. It wasn't too much longer before we entered Manitoba, and crossed the scenic valley of the Assiniboine river.
courtesy Markus
Road Hazard Damage
Soon afterwards, a nasty chunk of some sort of machinery punches a huge hole in Markus' car's exhaust pipe, instantly changing markus mellow exhaust note to an unholy exhaust roar. After pulling over and verifying that the damage is contained to that alone, we continue onwards.

We reach the Winnipeg area at dusk, and desptie Ewart's warnings about moose and the northern ontario wilderness, we continue on carefully into the night.
courtesy Markus
Careful driving
Now that we are back east the weather turns damp foggy and drizzly. We stay close behind some large transport trucks and eventually make our way through the night uneventfully to Dryden, where I take another quick nap in the van. From there it is a few more hours to daylight and, not long after, Markus' sister's place in Thunder Bay.

Quite a day's journey: Total distance: 2117 km, Total elapsed time: 24h 03m, including all stops.

Friday, Aug.1 - Thunder Bay, ON to Camp Amogla, ON

After some sleeping on the couch at Markus' sister's place. We go out for a quick breakfast and are then heading east on Hwy 17 to reach the Sault Ste Marie area by sundown. We visit the moving Terry Fox memorial outside of Thunder Bay, and then continue along the scenic North Shore of Lake Superior. Lots of wild, rugged scenery - cliffs, lake vistas, etc.
courtesy Markus
courtesy Markus
courtesy Luc
Thunder Bay
Old Diner in Thunder Bay
Attempting to fix hole
courtesy Markus
courtesy Markus
courtesy Markus
The Terry Fox Memorial
Hwy 17 through Northern Ontario
FInal Packup
Markus stops to take pictures of the big goose at Wawa, and we stop at a few other overlooks in and around Lake Superior Provincial park. Other than that, its straight to Markus' parent's camp, where good food and comfy beds await.

Total distance: 755km, Total elapsed time: 8h 50m, including all stops.

Saturday, Aug. 2 - Camp Amogla, ON to Ottawa, ON

The last day of our journey has arrived. Funny how the 8 hour drive from Markus' parent's camp to Ottawa doesn't seem so long after having just done a 24 hour driving marathon.

The drive back is uneventful, and the weather is crappy anyway, so Luc and I play video games in the back of the van. After 9 hours of driving we are back in Ottawa, where I make the rounds and drop everyone off at their houses.... and the journey is completed!

Total distance: 736km, Total elapsed time: 9h 15m, including all stops.

Road Trip Summary

Date From To Distance Driving time (including all stops)
Thu Jul 17 Ottawa ON Camp Amogla ON 752 km 8h 53m
Fri Jul 18 Camp Amogla ON Watertown SD 1381 km 18h 35m
Sat Jul 19 Watertown SD Sheridan WY 1256 km 18h 16m
Sun Jul 20 Sheridan WY Yellowstone NP WY 444 km 7h 54m
Mon Jul 21 Yellowstone NP WY Grand Teton NP WY 86 km 1h 45m
Thu Jul 24 Grand Teton NP WY Butte MT 431 km 6h 24m
Fri Jul 25 Butte MT Glacier NP MT 489 km 9h 54m
Sun Jul 27 Glacier NP MT Lethbridge AB 164 km 5h 00m
Mon Jul 28 Lethbridge AB Calgary AB 221 km 2h 56m
Tue Jul 29 Calgary AB Banff NP AB 218 km 4h 00m
Wed Jul 30 Banff NP AB Gainford AB 468 km 5h 32m
Thu Jul 31 Gainford AB Thunder Bay ON 2117 km 24h 03m
Fri Aug 1 Thunder Bay ON Camp Amogla ON 755 km 8h 50m
Sat Aug 2 Camp Amogla ON Ottawa ON 736 km 9h 15m
GRAND TOTAL 9620km 117h 45m
Detailed Map - Our Actual Route - click to expand
The GPS tracklog for the entire driving route is available from the GPS Tracklogs page.
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