Driving to Calgary (Sault Ste. Marie to Home)

Today is the last leg of our journey. I have driven almost 8,200km, and we have successfully drove our Tesla Model Y from Richmond Hill, Ontario to Calgary. Jasper being the furthest point from home.

As with most of our days, we started off with the hotel offered breakfast, and then we set about our ways on the road. Since we did the outbound trip via the ferry from Tobermory, most of this stretch (anything East of Espanola) will be new to us. The speed limit increased from the meagre 90kph to 110kph in the Northern portion of Highway 400. This was of course a pleasant surprise.

We also stopped at our first Tesla Supercharging station at Port Severn that look like a really well thought out rest stop for both EV and regular gasoline vehicles.

The major let down of the whole trip was that on the previous night, unbeknownst to me, I accidentally unplugged our portable fridge and all the delicious Mackay’s Ice Cream that we purchased in Alberta were all melted. Ruined on the last leg!

Lesson learned. Always check the temperature of the fridge when entering the vehicle.

This concludes our road trip. I will be doing another post on the charging statistics in a separate post.

Here is Carol’s video account of our day.

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

Today was a pretty tiring drive. Tiring yes, but at least this time it was not foggy like the outbound trip to Calgary. We can actually take in some of the beautiful lookouts of Lake Superior. Unfortunately, the nice scenery did not shorten the long trip. It felt forever before we arrived at Sault Ste. Marie.

However, as we get closer to Sault Ste. Marie, the trees begin to catch the autumn fires! The red orangey colours were pretty spectacular and wide spread.

I also miss the Supercharger stations in the prairies and Alberta. They were always close to a Walmart or a Tim Horton’s. The Supercharger stations in Ontario are in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes a washroom is hard to find around the station. The gas stations wants you to be a customer, so I just offer to by a $5 LottoMax ticket. Perhaps this washroom tax will have some anti-karma, lucky benefits.

Tonight we stuck with something simple, like Subway for dinner. We did get a chance to walk around the local mall called Station Mall. The pandemic really hit this city hard. The mall only had about 50% occupancy. Poor Sault Ste. Marie!

I got a double scoop Laura Secord ice cream cone while Carol got some New York Fries for some added dinner snacks.

Carol’s record of today’s tiring drive.

Driving to Calgary (Winnipeg to Thunder Bay)

This is going to be a pretty short summary. We are back in Ontario today! It is nice to be amongst Ontario plates again!

The flat land gave away to gentle hills as we roll into Thunder Bay. We hope to catch some restaurants open this time. Last time, most restaurants were closed by 8pm! This time we thought we found one that closes at 9pm, but as we got closer to the city we called our designated restaurant named Lucky’s, and were somewhat disappointed to find out that they close their dinning room at 8pm, and it is take-out only service during their last hour. The owner told us that if we make it by 7:30pm, we can be served. We got there at 7:25pm, just made it to order some Thai and Vietnamese dishes! If we did not make it in time, it would be some fast food joint again.

Another interesting fact, it looks like Tesla raised their Superchargers pricing during our road trip. On our way to Calgary, we were only paying around $0.47 to $0.49 per kWh. It looks like the $0.60 per kWh is not an Alberta thing. Here in Ontario, the current prices now ranges from $0.59 to $0.60 per kWh. I wonder if Tesla adjust the pricing based on actual oil market price.

Carol’s video of our mundane transition from Manitoba to Ontario.

Driving to Calgary (Regina to Winnipeg)

We did a Tim Hortons bagel breakfast this morning while we charge our car to start our drive to Winnipeg.

To combat the monotonous nature of these drives, I started an interesting practice yesterday, and I continue to practice it today.

I started to download the audio stream (no video) of some of the YouTube channels that I have been following as part of my day-to-day doom-scrolling activity. These audio streams are stored on my NAS server at home, where I create my own podcast feed (podcast.lufamily.ca), which can be accessed using the Overcast iOS App. Now I can get my daily dose of international news, propaganda, and individual opinions.

Our Tesla Model Y front is continuously battered by bugs, pebbles, and small stones as we cross the warm and windy prairies. We have been fairly lucky to escape any major damages, until today when our windshield became a casualty. There is a very nice star like crack on the lower passenger side of the windshield. I guess after about 6,000km and passing endless gravel trucks, this is not that uncommon, but still a bummer. We’ll get this sorted once we get back home.

Today’s trip is not all bad. We found Sun Fortune Restaurant, opened by a Hong Kong expat, serving the Chinese community here in Winnipeg for more than 20 years. My cravings for Chinese food and especially RICE has been satisfied tonight!

Checkout Carol’s video and be sure to watch to the end for the scrumptious Cantonese dishes we had tonight.

Driving to Calgary (Edmonton to Regina)

We started the morning with a very hearty breakfast at Denny’s, which was located near a local truck stop. I can’t lie, the breakfast was delicious and the Philly Cheese Steak Omelette was pretty tasty and satisfying.

We set out to Regina. It was a super windy day. The drive itself was pretty uneventful other than the fact that we had to charge at every Tesla Supercharge station from Edmonton to Regina. The open land and the wind really took a toll on our efficiency and therefore our range. Our total charge cost turned out to be $88.79. Adding salt to injury for some reason it costs more here, $0.60/kWh instead of $0.47/kWh from Ontario. I am beginning to think that Alberta does not like electric vehicles. The price is still reasonable considering that we covered more than 700km.

Nonetheless I cannot fault the Supercharging Network. We had no problems charging the car and there were plenty of available chargers. Knock on wood, but we have not had to line up during our trip save the time when we were in the big Crossiron Mall in Calgary.

The silver lining to all the stops, was that we got my wife, Carol, a Series 9 Apple Watch. We found a Best Buy at Lloydminster, Alberta. This is literally the last town before exiting Alberta and onto Saskatchewan. As a matter of fact, the border is within the town itself. Once again, we are delighted to take advantage of the lack of provincial sales tax in Alberta.

The sky was clear and on our drive into Regina we had a beautiful sunset to our right, while the moon welcome us into Regina on the horizon. We checked into our hotel, and I was on a hunt for some Chinese food. Unfortunately it seems like all Chinese restaurants in Regina closes on Tuesday. Just our luck! Instead, we settled for some Vietnamese Pho and sandwiches, both were delicious (maybe it’s our hunger speaking).

Once again Carol’s video is worth way more than my words.

Driving to Calgary (Jasper to Edmonton)

We left Jasper in the morning after a relaxing breakfast at the Forest Park hotel. If we were to stay in Jasper again, we should probably pick a weekday instead of a weekend. The prices of the hotels during the weekend is doubled. In hindsight this is probably obvious, but our schedule just happens to land us in Banff and Jasper on the weekend. Most of the stores close after Thanksgiving, and the scenic highway 93 from Banff to Jasper also closes as it becomes harder to maintain during the winter storms.

After about 50km East of Jasper we left the Jasper National Park. It is phenomenal that when we left the park, so did the picturesque view of the mountains, and the skies become dominant again on the horizon.

Today was not a long drive. We left Jasper at around 10:30am, and we got to Edmonton at about 2:30pm. We charged in a small town called Edson. We took the extra time to visit West Edmonton Mall and just so happened to frequent an Apple Store and picked up their last iPhone 15 Pro in inventory. What luck! Also being in Alberta we pay less HST, 9% less than Ontario.

Found 100°C Tea House Cafe, and I was dying for some Chinese food, not as good as Toronto, but beggars cannot be choosers.

Checked into Sandman Signature Sherwood Park Hotel by the Suncor refinery. Best hotel for the buck yet. Tomorrow we drive to Regina.

Carol’s video of the day is below.

Driving to Calgary (Banff to Jasper)

Our first difficulty of today was getting up at around 5:30am. Carol got up at this time while I took another 15 minutes. We did a quick remote checkout and hop in the car and went straight to Lake Louis. The idea is to get there before 7am so that we can park right at the lake.

Mission accomplished! We managed to park at the lower parking lot by the lake. Did the mandatory touristy thing by taking selfies and pictures around the lake and decided to hike up to Mirror Lake which is about 2.5km of incline hiking. We did not have it in us to keep on going to Lake Agnes, as that is another 800m. These are one way distances so we have to double distances for our round trip. All in all we did a 6km hike today.

Below are some pictures from Lake Louis, you can click the picture to show the full size.

The drive North on Hwy 93 was very picturesque! The sun came out in the second half of our drive. We stopped once at one of the lookout stops, but Carol mostly took videos while in the car. We passed the glass floor bridge, because our impression was it was super small and not worth our while.

We ended up in Jasper just in time to charge back our Tesla to 80% and have lunch, which we did at the Mad Grizzly on Patricia Street. Once again the food was okay, but we were hungry.

If we were to do it again, we would probably skip Banff and travel from Calgary, with a 5am departure and go direct to Lake Louis, with a quick charge in Canmore, and on the same day go straight to Jasper. There was a non-Tesla charger station mid-route from Lake Louis to Jasper, which we could have topped up with our CCS adapter.

I am super tired now and the rest of today will be vegging-out in the hotel room. Tomorrow we plan to do another hike in the area and off to West Edmonton Mall.

Here is Carol’s video for the day.

Driving to Calgary (Calgary to Banff)

After our light breakfast on September the 23rd, we set out to Banff.

The hotels at Banff on a Saturday is super expensive, but hey we are here already, so we bit the bullet and made the reservation at the Banff Park Lodge Resort on Lynx Street. Our planning involved more than just the booking at Banff. We also needed to figure out how to get to Lake Louis, and whether there are enough charging stations to Jasper.

We charged up our vehicle to 93% before we set out on our journey. We made an ice cream stop at Mackay’s Ice Cream in Cochrane. We purchased a couple of flavours to go, and also got a cup for immediate tasting. The ice cream was delicious but we still prefer the Kawartha Ice Cream brand at home.

We stopped at Canmore to charge our car again to around 95% and debated whether we should eat lunch there or just head to Banff. We decided on the latter because there was an Una Pizza in Banff that we wanted to check out. Ferraro’s pizza was better because of the fresh dough.

For dinner we visited The Bistro Restaurant on Bear Street. The food was “okay”. The Nash was better in Calgary.

All in all I think it will be a long time before I visit Banff again. It was simply too touristy for me.

As it turned out we could have skipped Canmore and not charge at all, because there is a destination charger at the hotel which we topped up to around 95% again. Tomorrow morning at 6am we will be ready to head to Lake Louis and then straight to Jasper without further charging. Fingers cross and hope we have enough charge with all the hilly terrain.

Carol’s video for the day:

Driving to Calgary (in Calgary)

We stayed at our cousin’s place in AirDrie as he and his wife are both retired. We arrived at around 8pm on September the 18th. cousin Eddie was kind enough to slap something simple for us to eat. His rendition of the soya sauce based ribs was perfect with the steam rice that I had. At this point on the road trip, I have not had any rice for many, many days!

The next day we went to the CrossIron Mills Mall in Airdrie. This gives an opportunity for the girls to do some shopping while I can charge at the Tesla Supercharger that is located around the parking lots of the mall. When I got to the mall, I was surprised that it was full, and I had to queue up for a charge. After waiting for about 30 minutes, I got a stall that only gave me about 29kW. This was the slowest super charger experience yet on our road trip. The Flo fast DC charger that were next to the super chargers was faster, giving us 50kW. To make the experience worst, upon a thorough research, this was the only super charger station near Calgary! Anyone planning to drive to Calgary with a Tesla should be advised to get their vehicle charged up prior to entering the city. I gave up with the super chargers, and decided to just charge our Tesla at our cousin’s house at a measly 1kW. This means one day of plug in will only give us about 30% of charge. We didn’t do a lot of driving around town, so this worked as long as we leave the car plugged in all the time.

On the 19th, we went to cousin Rob’s place for dinner. He and his wife cooked a superb meal for us. The meat was tender and delicious, and the dinner rolls were like candy. After one, you immediately want another. It was good to catch up with them.

On the 20th, Eddie’s wife made some wonderful blueberry pancakes for us with accompanying bacon and sausages. This meal was a carb bonanza! The pancakes tasted better than my wife’s cooking. I made sure that she got the recipe. On the same evening, we went to the Modern Steak restaurant. Even though it was a steak house, and I had the Black Angus Filet, the most memorable for me were the oysters on the sea food platter. The crème brûlée also imprinted a lasting impression in my mind.

On the 21st, we woke up with some delicious pastries from La Table Haute Pastry in Airdrie. These were compliments from our cousin’s daughter and her husband. What left a real impression was the delightful almond croissant. There are no words to describe its taste. For me it was heavenly and perhaps even life changing!

Later on, we drove downtown and visited Shiki Menya Ramen for a late brunch. I had the squid ink soup, and its special savoury flavour made me want to just breathe in the ramen. Their portion was large enough that we were all stuffed. Their gyoza were also very tasty. However, in the end I had an after taste of garlic and a dying thirst for the rest of the day.

We had walk off our fullness at the Market Mall and a short visit to a local Costco for some light shopping. The garlicky flavour was alleviated by another helping of pastry from La Table when we got home. That same night we had another get together with Rob and his wife at the The Nash. It was another great opportunity to be with good company and enjoy some excellent food, especially my lamb shoulder that was cooked to perfection.

On our final full day in Calgary, the 22nd, we took our drone out to do some flying around Eddie’s gorgeous neighbourhood that was surrounded by canals lined with parallel walking paths. We use those same paths, to frequent a local Crumbl Cookies. These cookies were packed with sugar, excellent for an apocalyptic sugar rush. On our last evening in Calgary we had a super delicious meal at Ferraro Truly Italian. I had a spaghetti dish, but the pizza appetizer was out of this world. They made all their pasta and dough fresh when ordered.

This morning we bid our farewell to Calgary and our cousins on the morning of the 23rd as we head out Banff to checkout some of god’s fine landscaping. We really, really appreciated and grateful for both of our cousins to be able to share their time and residence with us. The time that we had was memorable and both Carol and I were glad that we made the trip out here to Calgary.

It is too bad that we have to make our U-Turn here, and not Vancouver or Victoria on Vancouver Island, as we must make our way back to Toronto for a wedding in October. Sorry cousin Melissa for not be able to make a visit this time around. I am pretty sure there will be a next time though.

Here is a video curated and edited by Carol on the four days that we spent in Calgary.

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: