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Old 11-20-2013, 07:26 AM   #1
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Driving Coast to Coast for Pickup

I know there are a few of you out there that have done so, I'm looking for a realistic time frame for the drive out to pickup a new trailer. I would be looking at 3100 miles or 51 hours according to Google Maps for Springfield Ma to Chilliwack.
I'm thinking taking the Trans-Canada Highway after crossing the border in Niagara. I've only driven the route from Niagara to Sault Ste. Marie, which we really enjoyed. Having no experience west of there, is there much to stop and see between Sault Ste. Marie and Calgary where I'd want to figure downtime? Or is most of it like much of the Midwest US where it's a boring highway drive.
I have no problem taking my time, say up to 2 weeks, if it's worth it. Or should I just blow through and figure 6 days or some such. Would be doing a combination of tenting and motels, depending on availability and the weather.
Would take our time coming back via Glacier, Yellowstone, etc.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:27 AM   #2
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I have lived in Vancouver BC, Winnipeg Manitoba, Toronto, Kingston and London Ontario and Montreal Quebec and have driven both east to west and west to east many times as a result. I have driven both through the US and through Canada. Some considerations:
  1. What time of year are you planning to make the trip?
  2. Will you be travelling alone or with a co-driver? Will there be children?
  3. How young are you? If you are older you might not want to drive as far each day.
Some general advice:
  1. The route north from Sault Ste. Marie over Lake Superior and west on the Trans Canada Highway is a long, lonely route. A much faster and safer route is to take US#2 through Escanaba, Duluth, Minot.
  2. From Minot you can either continue west on US#2 or head north on US#52 and join the Trans Canada Highway near Moose Jaw
  3. The price of gas is significantly higher in Canada than in the US. In Vancouver BC is is presently $1.26 per litre, equivalent to about US$4.54 per US gallon. We bought gas about a week ago just south of us in Washington state for US$3.02 per US gallon.
  4. When we were traveling with a family we generally did not go more than 500 miles per day. If you are young and have a co-driver you can go much further. I have driven non-stop from London, Ontario to Vancouver BC on the mixed US/Canadian route described in 1. and 2. above
  5. The route from Calgary west on the Trans Canada highway is scenic assuming good weather. The Rockies are spectacular. From Kamloops south the Coquihalla Highway #5 is faster although Highway #1 (Fraser Canyon) is beautiful.
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Old 11-20-2013, 08:43 AM   #3
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1. Early August, camper is slated for completion Aug 11.
2. So far my DW will be with me although I have suggested she fly into Seattle. She works part time, I'm retired.
3. 56 and started to slow down, a 10 hour road trip wears me out with just me driving. DW won't drive when towing.

Thanks for the suggestion of US#2, I'll check it out. I do want to see the route west of Calgary.

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Old 11-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #4
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If you have the time and money why not take the scenic route. The cost of fuel and daily expenses in the US vs. Canada. The availably of camping and motel reservations. Are you traveling back slowly on temporary trailer tags or state license plates? Look at this trip as a vacation with pleasure in mind.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:24 AM   #5
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Bob,
I have planned this trip at least a dozen times, with both scenic and quickest way.I did it for my Escape 19 and now for my 21' as well as for attending the Escape rally this summer. I even figured out my stops and overnight rest areas. All my calculations are using US highways out and then the short jump from Bellingham up to Chilliwack. The Canadian roads are nice but gas is sometimes far in between and a lot more expensive. Plus you get hit with a fee each charge.
It will be at least 6 days of 10 hour drives. I have it thru metro areas or avoiding metro areas. I have it going thru Badlands and Beartooth Highway and back thru Colorado and RMNP. It is a good 2 weeks minimum. A trip of a lifetime.
At least you will not have weather to worry about, maybe if there is a cancellation you could get a slot before June and then attend the rally, imagine close to 100 Escapes lined up.
The other thing is tags, you can get a 5 day tag from Washington State for something like $20 that should get you back home east but unless you can preregister your trailer in your home state and bring your tags, you will be tag less. You will also need a Canadian insurance permit to drive down to the border.
Another option is flying out to Seattle, renting a Uhaul truck for about $1200 for unlimited one way towing for 7 days (you will also need to pay to have a brake controller installed-$150 fee) and tow it back east with their truck.
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Old 11-20-2013, 09:30 AM   #6
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I'm not in a hurry and am taking my time coming back, I'm figuring 6-8 weeks total which is 4-6 weeks longer then I've gone before. I was figuring the Trans-Can Hwy as I've not seen it, but long long dead stretches of nothingness I can pass on. I've made reservations for 3 weeks in Yellowstone/Tetons/Custer I made a while back and am trying to see if I can tie in picking up a new camper with the trip. I could change my reservations if needed, hence this thread. Don't I don't know about plates yet, hopefully they'll be plates as opposed to a temp pass. I have yet to look into Massachusetts's requirements.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:49 AM   #7
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Hi , like Brian we have also driven across the country in our younger years , and found that highway 2 south of Superior is a much easier and faster route . This past Sept/Oct we drove from Calgary to Halifax/PEI . We did take hwy 17 through northern Ont. ( have lived there) , both hwy 17 and 11 are scenic . The highest gas price was $158.9 per litre in Upsala .
On our return west we did opt for the US route south of Superior also scenic , not as rugged , but beautiful beaches east of Marquette . On the Canadian side the area between Thunder Bay and Kenora ( and east as far as Falcon Lake ) is really beautiful .
The prairies are prairies both sides of the boarder , as mentioned by Brian cheaper gas and faster through the US . I would surely recommend heading north through Calgary , driving west of Calgary into the Mountains the first time, it is an awesome experience . Don't think one would get the sense of "entering" the real mountains from anywhere else - and of coarse there is Banff and L. Louise right off the hwy .
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:20 AM   #8
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I'll also recommend crossing in the US on US2, although when I picked up my 17 in April, 2011 I drove a mix of secondary roads and I90. I've crossed on US2 a couple of times, usually crossing into Canada to avoid Chicago. A good road that isn't much slower than the interstate. I have heard that both motels and campgrounds are hard to find in the oil boom areas.

I turned picking up my trailer into a 111 day trip around the US and Canada. A great time! Check my sig for details of the trip.
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Old 11-20-2013, 12:24 PM   #9
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We moved from Calgary, AB to St. John's, NF and then back to Edmonton, AB three years later. Drove across country with our family both times, on the way out on Trans-Canada Hwy, and on the way back through the US. The US freeway system is much faster going and on much better highways than the long slog through northern Ontario. Travel expenses would be lower through the US. You should definitely travel through the mountain parks in Alberta and BC.
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Old 11-20-2013, 01:50 PM   #10
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I'll also recommend crossing in the US on US2, although when I picked up my 17 in April, 2011 I drove a mix of secondary roads and I90. I've crossed on US2 a couple of times, usually crossing into Canada to avoid Chicago. A good road that isn't much slower than the interstate. I have heard that both motels and campgrounds are hard to find in the oil boom areas.

I turned picking up my trailer into a 111 day trip around the US and Canada. A great time! Check my sig for details of the trip.
We traveled most of US 2 on our retirement trip back East. Much more interesting than Interstates.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:57 PM   #11
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Thanks all for the great ideas, exactly what I was hoping to get. Does anyone know what area constitutes the oil boom area?
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:38 PM   #12
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Much of Alberta and Saskatchewan are oil boom areas. Even if oil is not being extracted, there are oilfield servicing companies, pipeline development, etc.

I suspect you're thinking of the oilsands up at Ft. McMurray. It's a long way out of your way (7-8 hours straight driving, one-way from Calgary), much of it on a highway notorious for motor vehicle accidents because everyone is driving too fast and impatiently. I know a number of people who live in my community and commute up there for work (10 days on, 10 days off kind of arrangements). I don't know anyone who enjoys the drive; and that's without an RV in tow.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:41 PM   #13
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From the web: North Dakota may soon be giving Texas a run for its money in the oil industry. Information released last month by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Interior, indicates that oil and gas resources in the Bakken and Three Forks formations contain about 7.4 billion barrels (BBO) of undiscovered and technically recoverable oil. The shale formations located in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota have been reassessed, estimating undiscovered resources that drastically increase the amounts previously reported in 2008. The region where the Bakken and Three Forks are located, known as the Williston Basin is already a large oil producer. But, the newly discovered resources are almost entirely located within the Three Forks formation, which is situated primarily in North Dakota; a state with only one existing, and two planned refineries.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:43 PM   #14
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We've driven across the country several times (U.S.) and the midwest can be surprising. True the interstate is boring. But there are state campgrounds in the prairie states that make nice destination points. Pretty and comfortable.
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Old 11-20-2013, 07:58 PM   #15
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We've driven across the country several times (U.S.) and the midwest can be surprising. True the interstate is boring. But there are state campgrounds in the prairie states that make nice destination points. Pretty and comfortable.
One of the biggest surprises on our 14,000 mile retirement around the US came in states that we didn't think would be all that exciting. I absolutely loved the Northwest part of Nebraska. Learned there was a lot more to Nebraska than corn.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:53 PM   #16
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We did notice that in N.Dakota motels close to the hwy seemed very busy ... rv park we stayed at in Minot N. Dakota had lots of long term oil field workers , lots of winterized trailers.
Could not even imagine spending the winter that way . Oil pumps everywhere . There is a lot of truck traffic , but the hwys are very good ,easy drive .
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:06 PM   #17
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We thought South Dakota was great -- Badlands, Black Hills (we know a good cabin court) Sioux Falls was a big surprise -- there is a wonderful wide waterfall -- after a day on the road it was a real bonus. And there's a good Thai restaurant.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:17 PM   #18
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In ND, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a great place to stay and never busy.
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Old 11-20-2013, 11:59 PM   #19
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In ND, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is a great place to stay and never busy.
Definitely on my to see list. We were close, once, but had to detour south to meet up with relatives.
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Old 11-21-2013, 01:04 AM   #20
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From the web: North Dakota may soon be giving Texas a run for its money in the oil industry. Information released last month by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Interior, indicates that oil and gas resources in the Bakken and Three Forks formations contain about 7.4 billion barrels (BBO) of undiscovered and technically recoverable oil. The shale formations located in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota have been reassessed, estimating undiscovered resources that drastically increase the amounts previously reported in 2008. The region where the Bakken and Three Forks are located, known as the Williston Basin is already a large oil producer. But, the newly discovered resources are almost entirely located within the Three Forks formation, which is situated primarily in North Dakota; a state with only one existing, and two planned refineries.
To add to Glen point, check out the link below...

Picture of the Day: Light Pollution Caused by Fracking As Seen from Space
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