Alberta Adventure: Exploring Elk Island National Park

By Dave S. Clark

It’s easy to travel anywhere in the world these days, with the ability to book anything online, an abundance of information on every possible destination and technology to keep in touch with everything that’s going on back home. But with long distance travel now so accessible, it’s so easy to forget about what’s going on in your own backyard.

For years, I have driven across two and a half provinces to swim, canoe and boat around my favourite lake, which is just a few kilometers, as the crow flies, from the Manitoba-Ontario border. Twenty minutes into that 15-hour drive, I’d pass through Elk Island National Park. I’d be driving around 110 km/h, trying to make good time, and, if it was early enough, I might see some bison. They’d flash by as large, dark blobs that I never gave much thought to.

It wasn’t until I was standing on the beach of Astotin Lake, as the sun set over the mirror-still water which was only broken by two canoeists, that I realized I had been speeding by a gem right in my own backyard. I could do nearly everything I was doing in Manitoba – canoeing, sailing, hiking and just breathing fresh air – without even having to drive half an hour from my house. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Exploring Elk Island National Park”

Alberta Adventure: Cypress Hills road trip – An island of amazing drives among a sea of prairies

By Dave S. Clark

It can be painful, excruciatingly so, to find great roads to drive on through the prairies. The roads are long, flat, straight and beautiful in their own right, but they can be a bit boring if you want to go for a spirited drive. But it’s not all flat and boring. Sitting right on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan and only a short hop from the Montana border is an ancient island rising up from the sea of surrounding plains – Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

When I think of driving in Alberta and Saskatchewan, I think of telephone poles being the only thing that resemble trees and arrow straight roads, dotted on either side with cattle. Cypress definitely had the cattle, free roaming all over the park, but none of the roads were anything but straight. Continue reading “Alberta Adventure: Cypress Hills road trip – An island of amazing drives among a sea of prairies”

Iceland Ring Road Itinerary: A road trip like no other

By Dave S. Clark

Planning your Iceland Ring Road itinerary? Here’s why you should get excited – great roads, amazing scenery and friendly people make Iceland the perfect road trip destination. My wife Karlie, who writes the Miss Wanderlust blog, and I spent 10 nights in Iceland and were able to go around the entire Ring Road, and saw a good chunk of the beautiful little country with the exception of the West Fjords and the Highlands.

Our Ring Road itinerary wasn’t perfect but that’s the great thing about having a car. If you want to get moving, you pack up and go. Before heading to Iceland, we made a 10-night itinerary and booked our accommodations as we were going in June, just before the peak of high season.

The itinerary:

Day 1 and 2: Reykjavik – Adjusted to jet lag, explored downtown and went up Hallgrimskirkja. We stayed at this well-located Airbnb apartment. We also met up with Inga from Tiny Iceland who really made our stay awesome. If you’re going to Iceland, get in touch with Inga!  Continue reading “Iceland Ring Road Itinerary: A road trip like no other”

Tempting fate in a rusty Subaru GL

By Dave S. Clark

I have a weakness for cheap cars. Cheap vintage cars especially, but really any cheap crap can. They are fun, I don’t care if I wreck them and they are the main reason I’ve owned about 20 cars so far in my life. I also have a weakness for the Whiteshell Provincial Park, where I basically grew up as a kid. In 2004, those two weaknesses collided in an ill-fated journey.

At the time, I was a broke journalism student, wanting to get away for a little summer break and show my favourite spot in the world to my then-girlfriend Karlie. What little money I did have was tied up in my Nissan 240sx, which I was swapping an SR20DET into.  I was eager to show her the cottage where I had spent all my summers as I child and take her on our first major road trip together. The only concern was I was having loads of problems troubleshooting the freshly installed engine, which was only running on three of its four cylinders.  I had two options: not go, or drive my very beat up winter beater, an early ’80s Subaru GL. Or maybe it was a DL. I’m not sure, but what mattered was that it was a wagon, rusty, smelly and possibly not worth every last dollar of the $400 purchase price. Continue reading “Tempting fate in a rusty Subaru GL”

Classic car spotting in the former Yugoslavia

By Dave S. Clark

Some countries have cars that are synonymous with each other – Porsche, BMW and Mercedes with Germany, Ferrari and Lamborghini with Italy, the Big Three with the USA and Yugo with Yugoslavia.

Having made two trips to the former Yugoslavia and seeing every former state except Slovenia, I’ve had ample time to spot many Yugos and other classics that have been able to stay on the road. If you enjoy classic car spotting like I do and are heading to the Balkans, you’ll be excited to know that Yugos won’t be the only vintage (or vintage looking) car you’ll see.

Here are the most common classics I spotted in the region:  Continue reading “Classic car spotting in the former Yugoslavia”

Hupmobile, pre-war cars highlight Elkhorn auto museum

By Dave S. Clark

For years, I drove past the Manitoba Antique Automobile Museum in Elkhorn but never stopped to go in. Perhaps it was because I was always making good time and I know how long it can take me to go through a great antique car museum when I get sucked in. On my last time through, I made the wise move to get a glimpse of the Hupmobiles, Overlands and other pre-war cars on display.

On my way home to Edmonton from my annual retreat in the Whiteshell Provincial Park, I decided to finally commit the time and check it out. Besides, I was driving 1500 kilometres that day and this would be a good chance to get out and stretch my legs.  Continue reading “Hupmobile, pre-war cars highlight Elkhorn auto museum”

The therapeutic marathon drive to Whiteshell Provincial Park

Jessica-Lake-Lodge-MapBy Dave S. Clark

Some people think it’s crazy. Others think it’s stupid, dangerous or painfully boring. To me, it’s 15-hours of pure rubber-on-asphalt therapy.

Nobody has probably ever described driving across Saskatchewan and through large segments of equally flat Alberta and Manitoba as an therapeutic before, but I guess I’m different.

I first made the trip to Jessica Lake in the Whiteshell Provincial Park when I was just five months old (I wasn’t driving yet.) During my first few years, we make the trek from BC’s lower mainland. Since then the drive has been made annually from Edmonton, save for two years where I lived in Manitoba where I drove the reverse route just as often. Continue reading “The therapeutic marathon drive to Whiteshell Provincial Park”

Erg Chigaga a moving Moroccan adventure

By Dave S. Clark

The Sahara Desert – its name alone conjures up images of sand, extreme heat and a quest for survival. It’s the world’s third largest desert and the largest desert that will kill you with heat rather than cold.

It’s something you can’t miss when you go to Morocco and if you haven’t already added it, you should tack it on to your bucket list.

There are two large expanses of sand dunes in Morocco that tourists go to – Erg Chigaga and Erg Chebbi. While we had heard Erb Chebbi was extremely beautiful, we also heard people call it the ‘Coca Cola desert’ because you can sit in your hotel or a café and sip your favourite American beverage while looking out over the dunes. Erg Chigaga, however, was very remote, which was what we were after. When I picture myself being in the desert, I don’t imagine other people around. It’s a place of solitude. A place where you wander alone to try to find yourself. It’s not a place to be around other tourists. Erg Chigaga it was. And remote it is.  Continue reading “Erg Chigaga a moving Moroccan adventure”

Skipping town to avoid Bíladagar, Akureyri’s Car Fest

By Dave S. Clark

Wherever I travel to, I always try to seek out things that excite me as a car enthusiast. That means car museums, cool car shops, or just finding fun road trip routes to take. That’s why I started this blog. In June 2013, while travelling in Iceland, I was surprised to come across one of the country’s biggest car festivals, Bíladagar, completely by accident. More surprisingly, I wish I hadn’t come across it at all.

As my wife and I pulled into the country’s second city, Akureyri, I instantly noticed the large amount of classic and modified cars on the streets of the gorgeous small town. Shortly after arriving, we were sitting in a restaurant facing the large window that looks out onto one of Akureyri’s main streets.  A train of 50s American cars rolled past with a few 60s and 70s muscle cars as well. I was pretty surprised and excited by this, considering the only vintage vehicles I’d seen up until this point were old Series II Land Rovers, which make sense given the landscape and climate of Iceland.  Continue reading “Skipping town to avoid Bíladagar, Akureyri’s Car Fest”

Automotive oddities at Iceland’s Ystafell Transportation Museum

Dave S. Clark

I never imagined I would see a Kewet EL Jet or a Matra-Simca Begheera in a car museum in northern Iceland just a short jaunt south of Arctic Circle. It would have been impossible to imagine because I had no idea that either of those cars had even existed.

The Danish electric microcar and the polyester-bodied French sports car are just two of the many oddball cars that have been given a home at the Ystafell Transportation MuseumContinue reading “Automotive oddities at Iceland’s Ystafell Transportation Museum”