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Discussion Starter #1
Considering making a summer trip from the Twin Cities, MN to Calgary, Alberta.

Parents have done the trip several times, 2 day (11hrs/day) driving. Kids have not driven longer than 5hrs in one sitting. 7.5 and 5 years of age.

Am I crazy?

About 1200-1350 miles each way depending on how I choose to do it.

Suggestions on how to make it successful trip? Yes, I do have DVD player (no not the RES).

Also, for those who have done the trip, go across the US then up into Canada, or up to Canada and do the Trans Canada Highway all the way across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and into Calgary?
 

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Considering making a summer trip from the Twin Cities, MN to Calgary, Alberta.

Parents have done the trip several times, 2 day (11hrs/day) driving. Kids have not driven longer than 5hrs in one sitting. 7.5 and 5 years of age.

Am I crazy?

About 1200-1350 miles each way depending on how I choose to do it.

Suggestions on how to make it successful trip? Yes, I do have DVD player (no not the RES).

Also, for those who have done the trip, go across the US then up into Canada, or up to Canada and do the Trans Canada Highway all the way across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and into Calgary?
I'd keep the driving portion to no more than 8 hrs/day, with 2-3 pee breaks/meal breaks throughout each day.

If you've never driving across Canada, you're not missing much east of the Alberta Rockies :DD Therefore to expedite the trip between TC and Calgary I'd take I-94/I-90 to Great Falls MT, then north to Lethbridge AB via I-15, then west on Hwy #3 to Osoyoos, finally Hwy #97 north to the Big K.

Of course if you do want to go to Calgary, then you'd be continuing via Trans-Canada westbound then down around to Big K.

Hwy #3 (Crowsnest Hwy) is pretty scenic too and allows you to cut through the Kootenays.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have driven quite a bit through western Canada, but only as far as Regina/Saskatoon going east.

Personally, I have driven cross country US several times in both a moving van, Truck, and car. Several mid winter trips (16hrs in one sitting! due to bad road conditions), but all of these were pre-kids.

Daughter gets motion sick easier than some so I want to keep bouncy twisty roads out of the picture (maybe TCH is best, esp. the 8hr straight stretch through Sask?)

You are right about the fast trip going across the US. I'd cut a couple hrs off going that way. Better border crossing too... (yes I've crossed there several times...)
 

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I have driven quite a bit through western Canada, but only as far as Regina/Saskatoon going east.

Personally, I have driven cross country US several times in both a moving van, Truck, and car. Several mid winter trips (16hrs in one sitting! due to bad road conditions), but all of these were pre-kids.

Daughter gets motion sick easier than some so I want to keep bouncy twisty roads out of the picture (maybe TCH is best, esp. the 8hr straight stretch through Sask?)

You are right about the fast trip going across the US. I'd cut a couple hrs off going that way. Better border crossing too... (yes I've crossed there several times...)
Yeah, maybe better to bypass the Kootenays and hit TCH from Calgary. I tend to like backroads better (better eats :DD)
 

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Make sure you all have your passports ready for your return. Trained my son at an early age to use the waste basket in back if he feels the need to puke. After blowing his lunch in just about every vehicle we ever owned. By time he was 8 he was trained good.

Never been that route into Canada, other then the circle tour around lake Superior. But have drove the stretch from MSP out to Great Falls,MT. Crossing North Dakota or South Dakota, is about as fun as watching grass grow. Back roads is the only way we travel now.

Heading to the UP this June for 2 weeks. Can`t wait.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When I drove Calgary to Cleveland, I went hwy2 across Montana (northern part). In 12 hrs of driving I saw maybe at the maximum 20 cars. Most towns there were in the single digits (population: 6) and the town/village consisted of a bar/post office/gas station along side the train tracks.

Not a place I'd like to break down. As a point of pure interest the last mile marker in Montana going that route is mile marker 666. :nervous:

Having driven from Calgary to Tofino/Uclulet I know the twisty road trip well also. Fun to drive in a performance vehicle, not so much in a laden van with people who are easily motion sick (wife AND daughter).

1001Jim, been down to NUlm as well to the 3M facility there. Nice little town. Great buffet at the University...
 

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Make sure you all have your passports ready for your return. Trained my son at an early age to use the waste basket in back if he feels the need to puke. After blowing his lunch in just about every vehicle we ever owned. By time he was 8 he was trained good.
We applied for Nexus passes back in 2007, before our son even turned 2. Great (sort of) watching all the folks in the long +2 hr lines to go through the checkpoints while you blow by them in the Nexus lane. BEST money you'll ever spend for CAN<->USA road trips :DD

Re: in-car puking. Our son has bit of gastro reflux, so he's had his share of that. I strategically keep two boxes of baby wipes in the backseat where he can reach them, so when he's feeling nauseous he can take the cover off and fire away (and the closeable lid is very important afterward !)



When I drove Calgary to Cleveland, I went hwy2 across Montana (northern part). In 12 hrs of driving I saw maybe at the maximum 20 cars. Most towns there were in the single digits (population: 6) and the town/village consisted of a bar/post office/gas station along side the train tracks.

Not a place I'd like to break down. As a point of pure interest the last mile marker in Montana going that route is mile marker 666. :nervous:
You're not in the Saab anymore, so relax :)

Milemarker 666 in MT eh ? Guess you both know of Hell, MI :DD

 

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1001Jim, been down to NUlm as well to the 3M facility there. Nice little town. Great buffet at the University...
Been here 17 years now, we manage Garden Terrace Apts.
Have a few residents who work for 3M as well as the College. We are just down the road from the Hospital. Tallest buildings around.
 

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We are going to have to apply for the Nexus pass some time soon. I miss driving through Canada.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Trip still up in the air. Brother getting married in Sept. $$ are tight. Will make the go/no go decision in the next few weeks. Wife wants to hit some sites (I'd like that too, but costs more $$) along the way, and the Minot routing (where we keep getting routed through according to Google maps) is most likely flooded.. :(
 

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I just got back from a trip out to great falls and glacier. If you are going to drive on the US side, you can either take 94 out and then cut off at Glendive, or go up across via US 2. We actually went out that way because we had a wedding in Great Falls. I think that weddings are a great excuse to see people and also see some scenery.

In regards to long days in the car, I have seven kids and we have driven up to 1089 miles in one day in the car (that was in our Sprinter) longest is the odyssey is 973. I have found that the best tactic to getting in a long day driving is to get up and leave very early (like 4 am) with the kids still in their PJs. They can go back to sleep, then we stop for breakfast after maybe 250 miles (Fargo for you). Then you just keep on driving and stop every 3-4 hours. Don't let them drink too much and make sure they have some games or reading material to do - we don't do videos(might be a philosophical difference there).

I actually think long drives in the car are great family time together. There are some awesome things you can listen to on CD and so on.

For your trip, I would take 94 to Glendive, get off and take 200 to Great Fall and then up I15 to where you are going. The speed limit in ND and Montana is 75, so practically speaking you can go 80 (even on 200 a two lane road). When you go 80 you can really make some time and put the miles behind you. I'm here in the TC and work for 3M, so contact me if you want to.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Send me a PM I work up at 3M as well :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Trip to Calgary cancelled. Logistics and $$ dictate local vacation to friends cabin. Still going up in Sept. for brothers wedding.
 

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sorry to hear your trip got cancelled.

For what it's worth, I've driven from SF bay area to Edmonton 2x via Vancouver, BC using I-5 North. My kids were tots then. Drove straight to Portland and spent the night at the hotel. Continued on to Vancouver, B.C. Stopped there to visit the wife's sister and ended up spending 2 days. Continued the trip to Edmonton using Coquihalla fwy. My mom lives just outside of Edmonton (Stony Plain).

The rockies between BC and AB have unpredictable weather during September timeframe so I had to get weather updates on the Weather band channel constantly.
Although Banff is beautiful at that time.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I've driven Calgary to Cleveland (back in the day before wife and kids) and its not a bad drive. I have no worries about driving the distance.

I know I will do this trip at some point in time, just not this year.

Done the trip across the rockies alot so that part doesn't bother me (winter and summer). I lived in Sherwood Park (just outside of Edmonton) for 5 years, and Calgary for 10 years so I am very familiar with those areas.

Also lived in Santa Rosa for 3 years. What part of the Bay area area you from?
 

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I'm in Fremont (actually, a block north of Milpitas border). Warm Springs district.

Went to college here and never left. :)

I've driven Calgary to Cleveland (back in the day before wife and kids) and its not a bad drive. I have no worries about driving the distance.

I know I will do this trip at some point in time, just not this year.

Done the trip across the rockies alot so that part doesn't bother me (winter and summer). I lived in Sherwood Park (just outside of Edmonton) for 5 years, and Calgary for 10 years so I am very familiar with those areas.

Also lived in Santa Rosa for 3 years. What part of the Bay area area you from?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Got notice today that the final (after long negotiations to try and get it down) deductible I'll have to pay on my roof repair is gonna be $1900. Better than the $2900 I was gonna have to pay... :(

Blessing in disguise though.. Hail storm damage was sufficient to mandate whole roof replacement (~10K job)... backstory is that the roof shingles were so poorly installed (and poor quality builders brand) I'd have been lucky to get 3 more years out of them (house was new construction 5 years ago!)

Thank goodness we delayed the long (and potentially expensive) trip this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Went up to Kelowna for brothers wedding. Makes me even more determined to drive up there in the Odyssey... For those who never have been there it looks like Sonoma/Napa in California.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Unfortunately no, the short duration of the visit (and a long flight, with carry on only) didn't allow me to take liquids over 3oz..... Hence no wines... :(
 
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