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Sicamous, BC to Brooks, AB :: Day 2 Record Attempt: Least amount of fuel Vancouver to Halifax

August 24th, 2013


Now this is more like mountain weather. Waking up in Sicamous, it’s 20ª, overcast and drizzly. Today there will be no worrying about using the air conditioner in the 2014 Chevy Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel to conserve fuel.

Heading east, we have a Twitter date with a guy in Revelstoke who has been tweeting back and forth with Garry. He knows we are ‘chasing’ down a Sign of the Day and he claims he has just the one for us. His Twitter handle is @RevelstokeSign, so we figure that’s a good start.

We are into real mountain driving and we know our fuel economy number won’t be very pretty today.

On the downgrades, I would normally work the gears to save the brakes. Garry lets me know this burns fuel. Wear down your brakes or burn more fuel? The answer is obvious from our perspective as we try and get our fuel economy computer back into the 4-point-something range.

In the heat of Day 1, on the long downhills, whenever we would see the fuel economy reading 0.0 L/100km, we would have little air conditioning parties in the Cruze. Weeee! Crank up the AC!!

Here, in the serious mountains, the temperature has dropped to 14ª Celsius. Luckily, heat in the Cruze is free. No fuel penalty there.

We have to maintain a safe speed even if we are trying not to burn too much fuel. We can’t be those drivers that people want to shake their fist at (or worse) as they pass.

We feel a certain connection with iconic roadside Canada at Craigellachie, British Columbia where the last spike of the trans-Canada railway was driven, realizing a dream of a coast-to-coast connection in 1885.

In Revelstoke, a mere 700 metres from the highway, (veering slightly from our rule to stay within 100 metres of our route but sometimes, you have to bend the rules!), we see Mr. @RevelstokeSign’s sign. It declares: Who wouldn’t want to live here?

Peter Humphreys, owner of the sign and the property that it sits on, tells us that apparently the type of sign is in violation of the city’s sign bylaw but the ever-changing positive and quirky messages on the sign have garnered quite a following and now the City of Revelstoke doesn’t dare touch it. Power to the People!

At the Rogers Pass Information Centre, the Park Rangers stamp our logbook and reinforce our notion that Canadians truly are a genuine, friendly bunch. Everywhere we stop, people want to chat and find out what we’re doing and share their stories of road trips. It’s like a conspiracy to slow us down.

The Rockies always manage to take my breath away no matter how many times I drive through them. I always marvel at the science, complexity and sweat equity that goes into creating and maintaining roads and bridges in landscape like this.

Although mountain driving may seem rather tame these days, those chain-up, chain-off areas, ominous ‘reduced visibility’, ‘dense fog’ and ‘check your brakes’ warnings, and ever-present morbid runaway lanes are not to be taken lightly.

Coming out of the Rocky Mountains is rewarding for a fuel economy test but daunting for a cross-Canada Cruze-ing couple. People we’ve talked to have mentioned the dread of crossing the Prairies. Boring. Flat. Never-ending. Ugh.

We are more excited than you can imagine for the upcoming ‘flat bit’ as one Twitter follower referred to the vast Canadian Prairies. And it’s not just because we’re hoping to really nerd out on our fuel efficiency. Garry and I really, really love the Prairies. I know, I know, what about the winter, the howling winds, the bitter cold? The splendour of the Big Sky, the Big Grass, rolling fields and wide open spaces is just as compelling to us as the majesty of the mountains in the west and the lakes and forests to the east.

But feel free to ask us how we feel in two days somewhere around Brandon, after keeping the speedometer steady at 97 km/h.

*Quote of the day:
Garry: You know what we need this weekend?
Lisa: What’s that, Hun?
Garry: Some good tailwind.
Lisa: That’s very romantic. Is this after you’ve whispered sweet hashtags in my ear?

*Honourable mention: Quote of the day
Things you wouldn’t have heard 10 years ago: ‘Argh! How can there be no cell?? I was in the middle of posting a Tweet!!’

*Dilemma of the day: We arrived Calgary around 7:00 p.m. last night. Should we stay or should we go? It felt too early to stop, we had the sun starting to set at our backs, a wind gently wafting from the southwest. We had come almost 1,000 km since Vancouver and hadn’t stopped for fuel. The range computer said we could go another 400 km. We felt like we could drive forever. What else could we do?

We pushed on, vowing to finish this blog post in the Cruze, get up early and make good time for our mid-afternoon appointment at a television station in Regina today.

Alas, about 60 kilometres east of Calgary, CTV Calgary called. “Would you stop in and do an interview on your way through town?” they asked.

Turning back on a fuel economy challenge across Canada is not an option. Catch us in Regina if you can, CTV.

*Canadians of our Day:
The Lady at The Last Spike Centre: When she saw what we were driving, she told Garry: “My son called me about an hour ago and told me that my next car should be a Cruze Diesel.” We couldn’t help wondering if the son had seen our columns about our journey in the Province and Vancouver Sun that morning.

Peter Humphreys, Mr. @RevelstokeSign. Thanks, Peter. Great to meet you. We’ll stop by next time we come through Revelstoke and see if you’re the Mayor yet!

We didn’t actually meet two of our Canadians of the Day in person. Let’s call them digital meeings:

Sherry Abramson shared her story and road trip tips by email: Hi Garry, Because you're from Moncton and so am I and because you're from the 60's and so am I, and because I've driven across the country to the Maritimes at least 4 times since I've lived in Vancouver the last 40 years, I wish you well. I always remember being in awe of the splendour of this whole country. Even on just the Transcanada, I'm sure you'll have lots of adventures. I'm curious as to access to diesel every where? My recommendation for long drives used to be dill pickles and relays of 1 person jogging the other driving at least an hour a day. Now it would be fast walking! Good luck. Sherry Abramson from Century Drive, Moncton.

Beverly Potvin. Also by email. Subject: So Jealous
Hi folks. Saw the article about your latest venture in the Vancouver Sun today. I read your columns with interest as they appear, and also want to applaud you (belatedly) for the time you and Hope of Hope for Wildlife drove a rescued pelican to North Carolina. Four years ago my daughter rented a car and drove me from Chilliwack to Pictou. She used to drive for a trucking company so it was pedal to the metal all the way and some funky motels when she needed rest and/or a couple of beers. One of the notable sights were inukshuks of all sizes in mainly deserted areas driving north of Lake Superior. Who builds them – bored road crews, travelers passing through, locals? We returned via Bangor and many, many toll booths later found ourselves travelling through North Dakota late at night looking for lodging. Really eerie and I swear that’s where aliens could be found, not New Mexico. Have a safe trip.
Bev Potvin, a Bluenoser far from Home

The gauges at the end of Day 2
Trip 1(from Vancouver): 1166.0 km
Average fuel economy: 4.5 L/100km
Average speed: 79.5 km/h
1636.0 km Total odometer

Trip 2 (Day 2 only from Sicamous): 662.3 km
Average fuel economy: 4.6 L/100km
Average speed: 82.0 km/h

Range of tank of diesel to date: 1166.0 km
Range remaining: 264.0 km
Total Estimated Tank: 1,430.0 kilometres

On Twitter: #CleanDieselCruze
Follow Lisa on Twitter: @FrontLady
Follow Garry on Twitter: @DrivenMind99
Follow our coast-to-coast trek on: http://blogs.driving.ca/

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