Road Trip- Montreal to Vancouver
Replies: 3 - Last Post: Apr 9, 2012 12:01 PM Last Post By: kchadley
Apr 8, 2012 3:30 PM
Also- does 8 days sound reasonable to make it from Montreal to Vancouver? Clearly we would spend most of those days driving, but we don't have an abundance of time, so we're hoping to make it work.
Apr 8, 2012 5:42 PM
Apr 9, 2012 11:18 AM
2TransCanada is slower, more expensive (gas and lodging), and more scenic. USA routes are correspondingly faster, cheaper and less scenic (with occasional exceptions, like within a few hundred miles of the West Coast). If you haven't spent time in the Canadian Rockies, by all means go there--nothing in the American Rockies is even remotely comparable.
Eight days means moving steadily, but I've done the trip in three by driving 20 hours per day. I recommend against trying it that way. In eight days you can choose a couple of half or full-day stopovers to explore, plus spend a couple of hours here and there poking around. Most people try to get through the prairies as quickly as possible, and there are good reasons for this.
Hope that's helpful.
Apr 9, 2012 12:01 PM
3That's pretty open-ended. You're looking at a minimum of about 4600 km from point A to point B; in eight days that's just under 600 km per day, so budget an average of six to eight westward-driving hours per day. (Don't forget there will be periodic stops for food, fuel, and washroom visits, and that rural highways can have a speed limit below 100 km/h.) With two drivers, it's certainly possible to do, but that many hours in a little metal box can be a real stress test for a relationship.
If you stay in Canada, you'll pass near a number of major parks in Ontario--but be aware that it's a long drive around Lake Superior. (Sometimes quite scenic, but Ontario is quite large once you're on the 'other' side of the provincial map.) The Transcanada highway takes you past Algonquin Provincial Park (in central Ontario) and Pukaskwa (pr. Puck-a-saw) National Park (on the shores of Superior). It's a long, flat, straight, not-terribly-exciting run across the Prairies from Winnipeg to Alberta.
It's your choice where to cross the Rockies; there are interesting parks along all of the major passes. If you follow a more northerly route via Edmonton, you'll pass through Jasper; a more southerly tack through Calgary will take you through Banff.
The alternative is a route through the United States. (Note that in high summer, it may be warmer than the Canadian route; be prepared to test your air conditioning.) Google Maps says the shortest routing is via Sault St. Marie and I-94, as long as your passport is in order. I haven't driven this route, but I have suspicions that there won't be much to see crossing North Dakota. On the bright side, the long drive across the 'flyover' states is an opportunity to gain time for sightseeing on the other days of your trip.
Further south (but a few hundred extra kilometers) you could go via Chicago, offering deep-dish pizza and an assortment of parks and museums. (If you go this route, I recommend taking highway 402 from London, ON and crossing at Sarnia/Port Huron. In my experience, there's less traffic and the border guards are much more pleasant and relaxed than at Detroit/Windsor.
Going west on the I-90, there's still not a whole lot to see in Minnesota or much of South Dakota. As you approach the western edge of South Dakota, however, you'll come to Badlands National Park. Follow South Dakota route 240 south, along the Badlands Loop Road to see some truly stunning scenery. (There are viewpoints and scenic overlooks with parking scattered along the highway, along with an assortment of trails--four are less than a mile long.)
A detour south into Yellowstone National Park is also a possibility. (Be warned that this will cost you another couple of hundred kilometers, and take you a long way off I-90.)
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