Five engineering students at the University of Victoria (UVic) took the trip of a lifetime last summer, driving the length of the Trans-Canada Highway.
The young men undertook the drive as part of the Trans-Canada Cup Run, a journey in which students from UVic (the school located the farthest west) and Memorial University in St. John's, N.L. (the school located the farthest east) travel to each other's institutions in alternating years.
This year was UVic's turn, and the journey was documented in a 23-minute time-lapse video that was posted to YouTube on Dec. 24.
There are strict rules around the trip. Participants must follow the Trans-Canada Highway without any shortcuts. They must undertake the journey in a vehicle that costs less than $500. The participants in this case chose a Ford Aerostar they named "Cathy."
But the real challenge is driving with an open container of seawater from the sending school for approximately 7,000 km.
Once they arrive at their destination, the amount of water left inside is measured to determine whether the road trippers owe or are owed a round of drinks.
This year, the students began their journey on Aug. 22, travelling through towns such as Swift Current, Moose Jaw and Wawa, with stops along the way to camp, pick up hitchhikers or deal with highway patrollers.
They reached the end of their journey at Cape Spear, Canada's easternmost point, on Sept. 2.
They summed up the trip by invoking the words of folk-rock band Spirit of the West:
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Portland To San Francisco
The drive from Portland to San Francisco has so many highlights it could easily be split into a few separate trips. Filled with exciting twists and turns, Highway 101 and Highway 1 hug the Oregon and California coastlines. Explore the amazing old-growth forest named the <a href="http://avenueofthegiants.net/" target="_hplink">Avenue of the Giants</a> just south of Eureka, California. Next, hit some wineries in the Napa Valley to see how the harvest season is coming along. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/parksdh/" target="_blank">Daniel Parks</a>
Boston To NYC
Driving from Boston to New York City provides an interesting cross-section of urban and natural scenery to appreciate. Stop by for a history lesson at the <a href="http://www.bostonteapartyship.com/" target="_hplink">Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum</a> before cruising down to Rhode Island for some incredible seafood. And don’t forget to head inland to see the incredible fall colours the Northwest is so well known for. Before hitting the Big Apple, you may want to plan on parking further out of the city and taking the train rather than deal with the guesswork and headaches NYC parking is notorious for. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vikas-garg/" target="_blank">Vikas Garg</a>
Edmonton To Southern Alberta (Cowboy Trail)
If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, Alberta’s Cowboy Trail follows the old Highway 22 from North of Edmonton through to a little south of Lethbridge, Alta. near the Alberta-Montana border. Winding through Alberta’s ranch country, the Cowboy Trail is quite remote and offers up an interesting glimpse into Canada's history of the Wild West. Stop for a horseback riding excursion in <a href="http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/waterton/index.aspx" target="_hplink">Waterton Glacier National Park,</a> or for a real step back in time, check out <a href="http://www.marvsclassics.ca/" target="_hplink">Marv’s Classic Soda Shop and Diner</a> in the town of Black Diamond. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/easyfordkid/" target="_blank">Jeri</a>
Los Angeles To Las Vegas
A drive through a flat straight stretch of highway in the desert might be a hard sell once the novelty of sand and cacti wears off, but there are a number of great detours along the way to keep things interesting. <a href="http://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm" target="_hplink">Death Valley National Park </a>is dotted with eerie ghost towns and other strange sights. Then there's the <a href="http://www.missioninn.com/" target="_hplink">Mission Inn and Spa</a> in Riverside, Calif. -- an architectural landmark that is not to be missed. Be sure to check out their open-air Spanish patio for a bite to eat on the way through town. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jesssseeee/" target="_blank">Jesse! S?</a>
Capital To Capital, Ottawa To Quebec City
Get past the bits of rough pavement and a road trip from Ottawa to Quebec City is a great way to brush up on early Canadian history. If you’re on a condensed timeline, follow Highway 40 straight through but make sure to detour through Montreal for a night out on the town. If there's time to spare, head directly east from Montreal and explore the Eastern Townships via Highways 10 and 55. The region has recently seen a boom in winery start-ups near Dunham and Sutton that are definitely worth exploring if time permits. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ensh/" target="_blank">Emmanuel Huybrechts</a>
Vancouver To Kelowna
Speaking of wine tours, this drive is another local favourite on the West Coast. Following the Crowsnest Highway through southern British Columbia helps avoid the potential chaos associated with the Coquihalla Highway. It also allows you to drive the entire length of the province's renowned wine region known as the Okanagan Valley. Wineries dot the entire valley from Osoyoos to Kelowna so be sure to pace yourself when visiting the many tasting rooms. Located in the centre of the valley, Penticton makes for a great home base for stretching the tour out over a weekend. Photo Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/badcomputer/" target="_blank">Darren Kirby</a>
Up Next: 10 Surprises That Could Ruin Your Road Trip
First things first, you need to know your destination, how long it will take to reach it and where you will stop along the way. Nothing is more frustrating than driving in circles in an unfamiliar area searching for a place to rest after a full day on the road (especially if you’re travelling with restless kids). So determine your checkpoints beforehand and book your accommodations.
Once you determine your destination and pit stops, you will need to know how to get there. And because technology isn’t always reliable, your cell phone and GPS are going to need backup. Print out directions from online, and mark out the routes you will take on a trusty paper map.
Breaking The Bank
Create a budget and stand by it. Research prices in advance and decide how much money you are willing to allocate towards food, accommodation, gas, souvenirs, activities, attractions, and any unexpected expenses you may incur along the way. And hang on to your receipts so you can divvy up expenses at the end of the trip.
An Accident Or Illness
Whether you’re travelling to another province or crossing the 49th parallel, you should always purchase medical emergency travel insurance or double check your current policy to ensure you’re covered for the duration of your journey and any extreme sporting activities. And never take off without letting someone at home know where you’re headed, the routes you will take, what stops you will make and your ETA.
A Breakdown Or Flat Tire
The key components of your road trip are, of course, your four wheels and engine. It’s important to ensure your vehicle is ready for the voyage by having it fully serviced before you hit the road. Pack an emergency road kit that includes jumper cables, flares, blankets, a spare, a first-aid kit, flashlight, a phone charger, candles and matches. If you don’t have roadside assistance, you may consider joining an automobile club such as the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) who will come to your aid if you find yourself stranded on the shoulder of a road.
Running Out Of Gas
Make it a rule to never allow the fuel gauge to dip past half a tank. Unless you've mapped everything ahead of time, you never know when you'll encounter another gas station. Also keep in mind fuel saving tips such as slowing down, being light on the break, avoid idling and keeping those tires inflated.
Getting Locked Out Of The Vehicle
In addition to ensuring you have your license, registration, passport, credit card and any other important documents, have an extra copy (or more) of the vehicle key in case you lock it in the car or lose it. Make another passenger responsible for hanging on to it. that way, if one of you forgets the key there’s always a back up.
Be sure to keep an eye on the forecast for the duration of your journey. That way, you're prepared for the conditions you'll be driving in and can make any changes to your itinerary if necessary. Make sure those windshield wipers are working effectively, top off the windshield washer fluid and keep an extra bottle in the back. And because weather in Canada can change in the blink of an eye, always pack clothes and footwear for all conditions regardless of the forecast.
This isn’t exactly an unexpected surprise. In fact, chances are you will develop a case of driver fatigue after hours of driving. It’s always best to have more than one certified driver on the trip, so you can take shifts. If that isn’t possible, there are a few tricks to curb drowsiness until you reach your checkpoint, such as rolling down the window, pumping those upbeat tunes, having a conversation, making lane changes, or stopping to stretch and grab a snack.
“Are We There Yet?”
There’s nothing worse than a car full of irritable passengers when you’re trying to concentrate on the road. Keep the peace by making everyone in the crew responsible for planning road games, snacks, activities and attractions to visit along the way that will distract them from the fact they’ve been cramped in car for hours.