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Trans-Canada Trip

Yes, I'm serious about crossing Canada via rail. And, as you can see, I've started to do some research into it.

Starting in New York City, I'd head to Montréal via Amtrak (not plotted at this time)

I'd depart Montréal for Ottawa on the 4th February to arrive in time for a weekend of Winterlude and attend an Ottawa Knights' Barnight at the Cell Block / Centretown Pub.

If I leave Ottawa (after recuperating) on the 8th, I'd arrive in Toronto at 17:13 and spend ~48 hours there (mid-week) as the long-haul train to Winnipeg does not run every day.

The trip from Toronto to Winnipeg is long. Very long. Thirty-four hours on a train is damn long. I obviously need to research this further -- WiFi? Food? Sleeping quarters? Showers? Etc. As it's also in the dead of winter, how warm will the train be?

That would land me in Winnipeg on Saturday morning, the 12th of February, at 8am. When are barnights in Winnipeg again?

The remainder is still up in the air -- but I'm considering stops in Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper and then Vancouver for a while (self-guided X-Files tour perhaps?) -- from Vancouver, I'd head back to the United States to Seattle (via rail) spend some time there and then fly home to New York.

Yeah, this is only in 'the dream phase' right now. I need to juggle work, events, meet-ups and accommodations well in advance.

At this time, it's just a concept of crossing the country via train (which I've never done before) and making stops at places where I know people and there are things to do (which is why it's currently plotted out for Winterlude in Ottawa).

Have you done this? Do you have suggestions? Do you live in any of the cities I'll be visiting? All this need to be evaluated before I begin and I'd love to hear your comments!


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 8th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
All I have to say is - I am so fucking jealous!
Have a great trip
Nov. 8th, 2010 03:43 am (UTC)

If I haven't already said, I love your British Bulldog icon!!

Nov. 8th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
Bruce Crooks Says....
You miss out the whole of the East Chaz. I'm sad. Trains have no wifi except the montreal-Toronto corridor. There is very little cell coverage in bfnw. But the trains have food and booze, showers and sleeping cars. Mmm. And we are all there... to help you out.
If you are in toronto on the 11th feb it is
Dwayne's birthday show as mr spearhead!

I've driven through of the east coast, Ontario onwards, bar Newfoundland. Of course there's more to do on the east coast than I've already done, but there's something special about going into new provinces for the first time...

Is your information about the trains (especially Toronto to Winnipeg) not having Wifi is current? That would be bad -- as I wouldn't be able to work on the way... :-(

I would be on the train all day on 11 Feb 2011 -- so I wouldn't be in Toronto for Dwayne's birthday show on the 11th. :-(


Edited at 2010-11-08 03:43 am (UTC)
Nov. 8th, 2010 03:55 am (UTC)
Alex Johnston says....
It will be exciting to see you in Ottawa. Might I suggest that you spend a day or so somewhere in Northern Ontario, do some sightseeing. Canadian winters of my youth have largely gone away due to warm temperatures. The canal is closed most of the time to skating. However Northern Ontario and the Prairies still have cold winters. Snowy in Northern Ontario, I think and not so snowy on the prairies.

Also get and watch the movie One Week. Not only is it IMHO one of the best English language films to come from Canada, but it is the story of Ben who take a road trip from Toronto to the Pacific. The film will help give you an idea of some of the things to look for travelling across Canada. I can send you a piece I wrote about it, but before watching it be prepared to be moved, at times it is funny, sad, inspiring and full of great Canadian scenery (so watch it on a TV, not a computer)

BTW the train is a great way to travel across country. You never travelled until you have slept on a train, and travelled through a snow storm, that closes roads, and airports.

Here is a link to the DVD trailer of One Week. It came out over a year ago.


When I was loving in Boston, I came up for Winterlude (you were there) and the canal was open for skating -- I know it's been touch and go the past 10 years, but one can hope... My favourite part of Winterlude is skating on the canal and having a beaver tail and hot cocoa!

Thank you for the movie -- I'll watch it; however, my computer screen and sound system is better and bigger than my television. Do you still think I should watch it on the old CRT, rather than the big LCD?

I had the delight of first class sleeper accommodations with full meal ad tea service on an overnight train last year going from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. By Malaysian/Singapore standards, it was very costly -- but after the conversion, it was very reasonable (~$90).

The only thing that sucked was being woken up to exit the train to cross the border in the middle of the night almost half way there. :-( You'd think that they'd pass you through exit (Singapore) customs and enter Malaysia customs at the station in one swoop... nope.

I will watch the movie and see what ideas it inspires!


Nov. 8th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
Re: Alex Johnston says....
You should watch the movie on the biggest screen you have.

You also mightbwant to look into getting a cheap flight on Westjet from Toronto to Winnipeg and take the train from Winnipeg to Vancouver. You might also consider flying from Winnipeg to Edmonton and taking the train from there. The whole train trip out west is scenic, but the Paries gets boring after the first 12 hours. You might also phone VIA rail and check where they have wifi. thwy are currently imstalling a new system on the trains and they are also extending coverage of wifi. They might have many regions covered by the time you tske your trip.. Also many people use satellitento get high speed access, and you might be able to rent something at a reasonable cost. My parents in PEI used sateliate to get internet until recently and i believe they might offer it through Sirus, or the other low level sateliate service.
Nov. 9th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Alex Johnston says....

I managed to watch the rest of the movie last night. It was a very good movie, although it isn't very applicable to me. He was driving his motorcycle from Toronto to the west coast; whereas, I will be on a train. Many of the things (off the beaten path) will be unreachable to me without hiring a car at each stop. I don't think I'll get an opportunity to kiss the Stanley Cup either -- although, that would be simply amazing!

The giant items (dinosaur, hockey stick, etc.) are the sort of things that I'll also find along route 66 (Chicago to Los Angeles) -- a little hokey and cute, but not what I'm looking for. You know I was already at the big nickel in Sudbury! -- you were there with me. ;-)

I have a wanderlust and I attempt to satisfy it by travelling. I, like so many others, am missing a purpose in life. It's like a hole in my very being that makes life seem futile at times. Searching, as if in a maze, for that hunk of cheese that reveals the purpose behind it all. I guess you already know this about me, as "One Week" somewhat resonated that message.

Some say it's depression and I should be medicated, but since it's not life threatening and I feel depression is simply a symptom that comes with the brutal realization that 'life's not fair' -- to mask it with artificial happiness from pills or drugs would alter the person I honestly am.

It's moments of brutal clarity like writing this that make me happy for my A.D.D., as I know that in a few moments I will be distracted by something shiny and carry on with life, not dwelling on this for too long, as if I were to.... hey, that bunny has a fluffy tail!!


Edited at 2010-11-09 03:54 pm (UTC)
Nov. 10th, 2010 12:45 am (UTC)
Re: Alex Johnston says....
I am glad you enjoyed the film. The train will give you a different path, but he scenery will be just as beautiful. You will also get to meet different types of characters, like Ben. I think the film saya we all have our own journeys.

What would you do if you have only one week or one month to live? Is one of the questions the film asks of us? It suggests that is what should be our purpose. Ben decided to create something, he writes a book. Many people say that is what our purpose in life is, to be creative and create things. It could be art, children, relationships, business, community etx. You are a grwat community builder. Like me your greatest gift to the world could have been the community you built with your BBS, Multicom 4. The people who were brought together by it had there lifes changed and enriched, in ways that changed their lifes, forever. The good that came out of it, has changed not kust their lives forever, bur everyone the affected. The film shows how many little things or big ongs that we dp has effects on others in ways we do not know. Like the rancher who's dead dog Ben doscovers, and inspired by Ben, goes sees her son, and while doing so meets the love of her life. Or the newfies who by traveling cross country on cheap Canadian Tire bikes, show Ben that no matter how nonsensible things are, to keep going,

Many people are now thinking that depression is a normal process for the brain to go into, when one is trying to solve problems that we are unable to figure things out. It slows us dowm so that we can focus, on being, instead of always doing. So Its likely the depression is linked to not being able to figure out what your purpose.

People, things and culture tells us often that we are not OK. We should be like them, or what they think we should be. If we can shed what others tell us about not being able to be ourselves, we can discover ourselves, and oir purpose, or puposes. The ironic thing is that all great people, all those that create great things, or relationships, are fundementally different from others. It is only when they embrace their difference that they do great things.

Doing so requires me to develope the ability to let go and grief my losses.
Nov. 8th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC)
Steven Kerbow says....
Start off in Ottawa and see Top Trainer Mike! Then head West! Just checked your schedule out! Awesome sounding trip! Kinda jealous too! LOL :)

Maybe I'll see you in Ottawa?

Have we ever met?

Nov. 10th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC)
Excuse the spelling errors, I wrote thismon my ipod.
Nov. 13th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
(13:56:48) 'Halfclip' (Montreal, PQ): Not sure if you still get this.
(13:57:03) 'Halfclip' (Montreal, PQ): If you travel trans canada by train, you MUSTR get a roomette or a bedroom
(13:57:07) 'Halfclip' (Montreal, PQ): don't travel coach.
(13:57:25) 'Halfclip' (Montreal, PQ): Coach doesn't give you access to the good bar/dome cars at the back of the train
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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