Driving to Calgary (Moose Jaw to Calgary)

While at Moose Jaw, we stayed at Temple Gardens Hotel & Spa. Carol did a dip in the hot springs pool and she claimed that the mineral water really helped her psoriasis. The morning breakfast buffet was delicious along with the accompanying, friendly service.

After breakfast, we visited the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, before heading off on our final leg to Calgary. There were three tunnel tours, but we picked the one associated with the Cold War. The 45 minutes guided tour brings you back to the 1950’s of the Cold War era where facilities in Moose Jaw was used to trained NATO and 5 EYES spies. They also talked about how the Canadian government at that time surveil social (leftest) politicians from Saskatchewan thinking that they were potential communist spies.

Our final drive to Calgary was largely uneventful other than that Medicine Hat was a much bigger town than I original thought. The final charging stop was in the middle of nowhere with just an accompanying Subway restaurant. At each charging stop, three in total on this trip, our new Windex cleaning process seems to be working with the bug infested windshields.

Just as we approach the outskirts of Calgary, the sky opened up as if the city was rolling out the “yellow carpet” for us. Check out the stunning pictures below.

As a bonus the car was washed with heavy rain fall just before reaching the city boundary.

Below is Carol’s video of the day:

Driving to Calgary (Winnipeg to Moose Jaw)

This morning we had another Tim Horton’s breakfast with a 7am rise and setting out at around 8:30am after a 30min charge near the Tesla Superchargers at Polo mall.

I had to take a little detour to pick up a used stereo amplifier that I purchased, the SMSL DA9. I was looking for a balanced XLR input amplifier for my bedroom and this came up on Canuck Audio Mart. Hopefully it will sound good, but I will not be able to test it until I get home at the end of the month.

The above pickup was about a 30 minute detour, but we had beautiful weather for our 6 hours drive to Moose Jaw. The straight roads, clear skies, and Tesla Auto Pilot made the journey pleasant and relaxing.

There was an interesting Co-op stop in the middle of nowhere at Whitewood, Saskatchewan.

About 50 km from Moose Jaw, the Tesla auto wipers started to act up. I think it is the dead bugs build up on the windshield, and disoriented the front cameras that doubles as the rain sensor. I will have to wash the windscreen tomorrow morning before we set out again.

Another thing I noticed is that Saskatchewan highways had the speed markers too far to the right of the road. In a few cases, the Tesla failed to pickup the speed limit which was 110 kph, it instead erroneously assumed 80 kph. This impacted the cruise control until I applied a 30 kph offset in the Auto Pilot menu. If I did not have this offset, the car will revert back to 80 kph and I will be experiencing phantom breaking when cruising at 120 kph. Of course, this is a bit dangerous if there is a car following you too closely.

We had a nice Chinese dinner at James Chinese Restaurant, which is about a 5 minutes walk from our hotel. The food was okay, and when you are hungry, anything tastes good. Nonetheless, I will go back again.

After dinner we took a nice stroll towards Crescent Park. Here are some photos that we took.

Tomorrow we are going to visit the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, and then straight on to Calgary. We were going to goto Edmonton, but I think we’ll hit Edmonton on the way back, the same with Regina.

Carol’s video of the day is below.

Driving to Calgary (Thunder Bay to Winnipeg)

Today’s drive is our longest yet. We checked out of our AirBnB, and proceeded to a charge station to top up or batteries. This took about 30 minutes. Afterwards, we helped ourselves to a bagel breakfast to go at Tim Hortons. We ended up starting our journey at around 7am.

Today we actually crossed time zones from Eastern to Central, so we actually gained an hour.

The drive was uneventful and we are learning to stop at Supercharging stations at towns or cities with big populations so that there is either a Walmart or some big restaurant row.

There are two things which I find are critical assets for these long drives. The first is a good audio book, and the second is Tesla’s Autopilot / Auto Steering features. Both of these make the hours go by quick.

As usual, Carol’s video of the day gives a better experience than my wordy blog here.

Day 5: Thunder Bay to Winnipeg

Driving to Calgary (Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay)

Last night we stayed at the Quattro Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie. I really liked this hotel. Carol got her swimming in using their indoor pool, and we also got some laundry done with their guest laundry facilities. The place also came with complimentary breakfasts with real eggs and sausages!

We started our drive at 11am to Thunder Bay. The first half of the trip was met with beautiful weather. Northern Ontario has some really nice sceneries. We also got a bonus view, with some of the trees already changing into their fall colours.

The second half of the drive was pretty dangerous. It got super foggy on the highway, and we could not see more than 30 to 50 meters in front of us. It was like this for about 300 km. At our last charging stop, we had to use the GPS to guide us to get there.

After about three charge stops and numerous washroom breaks, at around 8pm we finally arrived at Thunder Bay. To our disappointment, most restaurants closed at 9pm here, so we settled for something simple, like McDonald’s for dinner.

Tonight we are staying at another AirBnB place. A very nice one bedroom suite with our own washroom. The host, Dawna was very nice and waited for our arrival. The room has a very “family” feel to it. It is as though we are staying with relatives.

Tomorrow, we plan to start early to Winnipeg.

Carol’s video is worth a million of my words, so here it is.

Day 4: Driving from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay

Driving to Calgary (Sault Ste. Marie)

Looking out from the bow of the ferry from Tobermory to South Baymouth

Today we began or journey to Sault Ste. Marie. We start from Tobermory by hopping on the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry. The ferry ride itself accommodates mostly vehicles, such as cars, motorbikes, various recreational vehicles, vans, etc. I was impressed at how many vehicles it was able to carry in a single trip. There must have been 40 to 50 vehicles easily.

Driving into the ferry was also interesting, as there is two levels. The main level for vehicles that require extra height and motorbikes. The second level consists of mostly regular cars and SUV’s.

The ends of the ferry opens up to allow the vehicles through

The ferry took us to South Baymouth where we had our first road trip incident with our Tesla Model Y. Because the car was transported with the ferry, it lost its GPS position and had to reacquire the signal when we get off the ferry. Well, that is how it is suppose to work. The GPS signal was acquired, but the software map on the main dash failed to update the “current position”.

We tried the following to no avail:

  • Rebooting the dash;
  • Powering off and on with both a 3 minutes and 5 minutes wait;
  • Called Tesla support and they suggested the same with a final recommendation to drive to a Tesla Service Centre!

I am totally blown away that such a software glitch can exists on a Tesla. The fix probably just require a recycling of the GPS module. Unfortunately, there is no user-friendly way of doing this.

We gave up on our troubleshooting and drove from South Baymouth to Sault Ste. Marie without the Tesla navigation app. This is more of a handicap than I thought. The car fails to precondition the battery when we arrive at the supercharger so it takes a little longer to charge. We also miss the mapping functionality that tells us the locations of the on-route superchargers and how many were available. Good old Waze on our iPhone to the rescue, and some manual range calculations.

When we arrived at our hotel at Sault Ste. Marie, and with the help of the hotel Internet, I finally “risked” a software update on our Tesla. I had to use my iPhone’s personal hotspot and download the new software update for the Tesla. With fingers crossed and 30 minutes of unwanted and undesirable anxiety, the update downloaded successfully. Another bare knuckles 30 minutes wait, we were rewarded with a correct map and location on the dash once more!

The moral of the story is, when taking a long road trip, DO NOT transport the Tesla other than under its own power. Lesson learned! Those who are planning on taking a road trip, I highly recommend that you avoid ferries and trains that can transport your Tesla.

Tomorrow, we are off to Thunder Bay with a functional navigation system again.

Here is Carol’s video for the day.

Day 3: Taking the ferry to South Baymouth and on towards Sault Ste. Marie

Driving to Calgary

Yesterday we started our journey to Calgary. Our first stop is Tobermory where we plan to checkout the Flowerpot Island and do some hiking on the Bruce Trails.

Charging at Owen Sound

We started our journey at around 1pm. The drive is quite relaxing especially with Auto Steer enabled with our Tesla Model Y. We stopped at Owen Sound’s Walmart to get some supplies and did a quick charge before proceeding to Tobermory. We wanted to have lots of battery capacity when we arrive at Tobermory because we were not sure if we can charge there. By the time we came back to our car from Walmart, the car charged from 55% to 87%. We continue our drive to Tobermory.

When we arrived to Tobermory, we had about 65% battery left. This should be enough, but out of curiosity we discovered there was fast charging available by ChargeQuest at the Tobermory Community Centre. For fun, we charged it back up to 80%. At Owen Sound, we paid $12.37 for 25.79kWh ($0.48/kWh), and at Tobermory with ChargeQuest we paid $6.58 for 14.29kWh ($0.46/kWh), which took 17 minutes. It looks like the rates are more or less the same.

We booked an AirBnB about 1.5km South of town. Our host Susan, was very responsive. The place was really nice and both Carol and I really enjoyed our two night stay there. I personally love the huge and spacious bathroom. The weather was kind of cool, so we did not make use of the large backyard or the patio. Check this place out if you are looking for a spot to stay in Tobermory.

As mentioned earlier we wanted to visit the Flowerpot Island, but when we found out the prices, we decided to forgo this idea. Below are the prices from Blue Heron Cruises.

Prices for two adults to Flowerpot Island – Drop Off Cruise

Instead we just went to the Fathom Five National Marine Park for a 4km hike along its trail. Below are some photos we took along the way.

So getting back to the Flowerpot Island, the photo below is taken from the shores of the hiking trail, and it is as close to the island we got. Not a total loss!

We sighted Flowerpot Island!

Tomorrow (September, 14) we will be taking the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry to South Baymouth and onto Sault Ste. Marie!

Below are the lovely video summaries that Carol has made for our first two days of travel.

Day 1: From Richmond Hill to Tobermory
Day 2: Adventures in Tobermory