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Author Topic: Trip West 2018  (Read 310 times)

Merlin

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Trip West 2018
« on: September 11, 2018, 10:46:42 PM »
Last month we completed a month-long, 5000 mile round trip from Michigan to the Canadian Rockies. We basically drove up Michigan to the Mackinac Bridge, turned west on U.S. 2 and went 1850 miles to Glacier National Park. From there, we drove north up the Rockies to Banff and Jasper National Parks along the Icefields Parkway, then came back east on the Trans-Canadian highway to Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba. After a few days there, we drove around Lake Superior and back down into Michigan to home. We stayed only at public parks, including national parks, state parks, and provincial parks; all with advance reservations. The 16TBS performed flawlessly and kept us cool in pavement-melting 100F heat, warm in almost frosty 39F cold and gave us a very comfortable base camp for hiking, biking, bird-watching, and scenic-cruising.

We stayed several nights in many campgrounds and averaged about 285 miles on the days we traveled. The new solar system kept the lights on for the several times we were rustic camping. The Land Cruiser was a great tow vehicle, easily handling high mountain passes, both up and down! It averaged 11 mpg (and Canadians pay a fortune for gas)! In most places Canadian gas was more than $5 per gallon. The exchange rate eased the pain, but gas was our largest single expense by far for the trip.

Some highlights included having a mother grizzly and 2 cubs ramble down the campground road right next to our camper, seeing the last remaining glaciers in Glacier National Park, biking along a gorgeous trail by the Athabasca River, morning coffee in the high Rockies, learning that wolves eat beavers as “snack-packs”, coming down mountain passes so steep that 2nd gear was needed for braking, the earth-shaking rumble of 1000s of horsepower worth of locomotives pulling/pushing trains through Banff on the Canadian Pacific railway, Lake Superior in the fog.

Here are some photos of the adventure.

« Last Edit: September 12, 2018, 03:07:20 PM by Paul »
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Powder Hounds

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2018, 01:43:09 PM »
Looks like a great trip! You timed the conditions perfectly. Great setup.

 Mid August we were at Waterfowl Lakes (Icefields Parkway a few miles before the Saskatchewan River Crossing) we turned around and came back to Calgary. August is now IMO smoke month. Due to the frequency and intensity of forest fires camping locally in August is a new challenge, we met so many people that were suffering due to the smoke. Very unfortunate for tourists coming to enjoy the mountains and wildlife.

The cost of fuel...oh the joy of Carbon Tax. I won't even go there!

Thanks for sharing!

Paul

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2018, 03:08:47 PM »
Wow thanks for sharing! That seem like it was a good trip!
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gbpack

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2018, 06:25:45 PM »
Great trip! Thanks for the pics Merlin. We will be getting back to Glacier NP again one of these years. Great park. Love the “Going To The Sun” road!

Merlin

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2018, 09:00:53 PM »
Great trip! Thanks for the pics Merlin. We will be getting back to Glacier NP again one of these years. Great park. Love the “Going To The Sun” road!

As mentioned by powder hounds, fires are becoming a big deal to tourism. Although there were no smoke/fires while we were in the Rockies during July-early August, The Going to the Sun Highway was a mess of driving through recently burned out forests. I was very disappointed in the scenic value of all the burned over landscape and really began to wonder about the National Park policy of, for the most part, letting wildfires burn unless they endanger homes and resorts. Combined with the lack of glaciers (most are predicted to be finally gone in a couple of years), Glacier National Park might not be a high point like it was several years ago.

And, I guess I should note that my photo above labeled "Glacier" was taken of a glacier in the Columbia Icefields of Jasper National Park, not in Glacier National Park.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2018, 09:03:03 PM by Merlin »
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GrampaKilt

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2018, 09:42:10 PM »
Thanks for your journey report. The Banff-Jasper Highway is in our backyard, we've probably been over it 50 times, it never gets ordinary. The picture of our former TV (Jetta) and the 14DB was taken at a campsite just south of the Icefields.

Merlin, could you comment on your nifty bug net for the awning? GK
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 09:45:00 PM by GrampaKilt »

Merlin

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2018, 10:01:44 AM »
Thanks for your journey report. The Banff-Jasper Highway is in our backyard, we've probably been over it 50 times, it never gets ordinary. The picture of our former TV (Jetta) and the 14DB was taken at a campsite just south of the Icefields.

Merlin, could you comment on your nifty bug net for the awning? GK

Sure. It’s a Dometic product. When we purchased it 3 years ago it was called the Patty O’Room. It’s now called the Veranda Room. You buy a “starter kit” with the sides and door panel, then add expansion panels for the length of your awning. It’s expensive (few hundred $), but for us and our relatively smaller 16, it’s a perfect addition.
Michigan

JazzyPigsGA

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2018, 06:21:18 PM »
I had one of those rooms on my pop up! It was great in low wind places.


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rideandfly

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2018, 02:28:25 PM »
Merlin,

Great trip report and photos, looks like a fine time!!! Like the report details and TV. Last time we saw y'all in MI, you had a different TV if I remember correctly.
Bill

john

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2018, 03:37:18 PM »
saw your pictures of your screening under your awning and was wondering if you could tell me where you found it.I have a 16db also and really would like to be able to screen it in

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2018, 03:38:57 PM »
sorry just noticed previous post

Merlin

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2018, 07:41:40 PM »
Merlin,

Great trip report and photos, looks like a fine time!!! Like the report details and TV. Last time we saw y'all in MI, you had a different TV if I remember correctly.

Hi Bill, go to hear from you again!

Yup, we traded in our '04 Land Cruiser and bought a '17 Land Cruiser last year. Tows effortlessly and goes anywhere. Camper is the same, but with a bunch more mods. I keep hearing great things about Olivers, so you made an excellent choice on that it seems.
Michigan

rideandfly

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2018, 05:47:58 AM »


Hi Bill, go to hear from you again!

Yup, we traded in our '04 Land Cruiser and bought a '17 Land Cruiser last year. Tows effortlessly and goes anywhere. Camper is the same, but with a bunch more mods. I keep hearing great things about Olivers, so you made an excellent choice on that it seems.

Merlin,

Good to hear from you, too! Ollie is working out well. Enjoyed your trip report, we just returned from a western US trip, too.

Best Regards,
Bill

Powder Hounds

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Re: Trip West 2018
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2018, 09:30:15 PM »
Hi Merlin,

Nice vehicle! We can't buy a Toyota LC in Canada, they are not sold here (new). The match would be Lexus LX 570, a true mall crawler. Huge bucks for all that fancy trim.

Enjoy!