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Old 01-05-2007, 05:44 PM   #1
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Hi guys,

I am heading over to the USA, purchasing a car and doing a cross country trip from LA to NY, driving mainly through the south doing part of route 66 alongside many stops in between. It is a pretty extensive trip and I will be seeing (to name main places only) LA, los vegas, phoenix, Dallas, Oaklahoma City, St Louis, Nashville, Indianapolis, Pitsburg, Washington, Phillidelphia & of course NY.

The plan is to then head up to Canada and see Toronto & Montreal for a week or so from NY, then drive back through the north of the states and end up in San Francisco. The more I look at it, no offence to anyone who lives in northern USA, but it does not look like there is too much I would like to see and would be quite an uneventful, long journey.

I have heard nothing but good things about Canada, particulary montreal being a great party town.. . The whole trip duration is 2.5 months. I would say the cross country USA trip will take up about 1.5 months.

I am now starting to think that it would be good to sell off the car around NY and experience Canada and fly up to Quebeck and see Montreal, Ottawa & Toronto. What do you guys think? What are the main highlights of these areas and how long should I assign to stay in the vicinity.

Being I will have to fly back to LA to return home, I am also considering stopping off in Vancouver BC as I have heard that BC is the most beautiful province in Canada..?

Also, I am departing relatively soon, late February.. what is the weather in Canada in these areas going to be like.. cold I know, but how cold?

All advice much appreciated!
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Old 01-06-2007, 06:44 PM   #2
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Wow! Major trip ahead of you. Congrats on that!

Vancouver BC is beautiful and is home to the 2008 Olympics. While you're at it, head south about 2 hrs and you'll be in Seattle. That, is definitely one of the most beautiful cities with a great ambience. Not cuz I'm from there, but have read it over and over from other sources. Google it.

Yes, still cold at that time of year, but starting to warm up and if you'll be there at the END of your trip then you'll hit the NW at a great time.

SV will have a better weather breakdown than I can remember, since she is our Resident Seattle Guru (I haven't lived there in almost 12 yrs).

I like the idea about the car. What kind will you get and what's your car purchasing budget? Would it be cheaper to rent a car on a monthly basis?

Anyways, is you're looking for a place to buy a used car, go here for the most popular classified ads website- http://www.losangeles.craigslist.org

Stop in to give us some updates from time to time!
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Old 01-08-2007, 06:49 AM   #3
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Just to clarify, it's the 2010 Olympics - which are the Winter variety.

Domestic flights within Canada are generally horribly expensive (it used to be cheaper to take a bus to Seattle and fly from there to Toronto, rather than Vancouver - Toronto direct...I'm not sure if that's still the case, but it's still expensive.) Check with VIA Rail, to see if you can get a rail pass for the cross-Canada trip. It takes around 7 days from coast to coast, less if you start in Toronto, and it's a lot more pleasant than driving through the seemingly endless prairies. Plus, the views coming through the Rockies are sublime and you might also stop off in Banff or Jasper. Wow, I just checked the student fare from TO to vancouver and it was nearly $500...maybe not the deal I expected. But still, contact them and see if you can get some sort of rail pass - my dial up line is too slow to do the looking myself!

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Old 01-08-2007, 07:23 AM   #4
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If you are a full time student, get a ISIC card and you'll have discount fares with Viarail. See here.

Traveling in Eastern/Central Canada in April isn't the best time of year, the country is pretty much at its ugliest ! No more snow, but no flower nor leaf in the trees yet. And still rather cold (a bit above 0 Celsius usually). However, to party, that doesn't matter !

If you enjoy outdoor activities, march is better, but you'll have to go North of Montreal or Toronto, or in the Quebec City area to find snow. You could try snowmobile, dog sledding, lodging in the woods, snowshoeing, of course skiing, etc. Ottawa and Quebec City aren't big partying city, but there is a nightlife on weekends (and a good one!).

I think I've read somewhere you are from Australia, am I right ? Then visiting Quebec City could be very interesting because beside being known as the "most beautiful city in North America", you'll get a sense of Europe in the old town, more than in Montreal. Well, Montreal old city is bristishlike, and Quebec City is francelike. And no problem with the language, by the way, most people do speak some english.

And Quebec's beer is the best !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 01-08-2007, 10:53 AM   #5
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Hey Cavanor, sounds like a great trip you've got ahead of yourself. Going through so much of the states and Canada will offer as much diversity as anywhere in the world.

I thought I'd chime in to help out a little on the canada part as I'm from western canada and hopefully give you a few helpful hints.

First of all I can't speak to extensively about eastern Canada but I can agree about Montreal and Quebec City. They are both beutiful cities that offer a european feel in the older downtown areas. You shouldn't have to much difficulty with the french as most people have been raised bi-lingual in those areas. If you do head west It's kind of a tough choice between rail and flying...you'll have to weigh the prices compared to what you really want to experience.....but I've driven the prairies too many times and your not going to miss anything exciting there.

Once you get out west Alberta has some great stuff to offer. Mainly where the rockies start...some of the best skiing in north america and so great sites to see. It is very expensive though and hostels in places like banff and jasper are usually booked. Also word is Banff is aids capital of canada so I'd keep an eye out for that!!! Through the rockies to Vancouver on train would be amazing, and probably be the only way to go...driving it is magnificent and I could only imagine the sights when on the rail.

To sum it up Vancouver is a great city that your not going to want to miss, a lot like seattle but a little more laid back. The weather throughout canada is still going to be cold though. In Alberta here we'll get snow right till the end of May....doesn't mean its going to be all that cold but it does happen. Don't be suprised to get hit with -15ish in april. And as for Vancouver it will rain rather than snow but temperatures are usually about 10-15 degrees cel higher than anywhere else.

Hope any of this helps...good luck and have a good trip.
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Old 01-09-2007, 03:29 PM   #6
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Hi Guys,

Thanks for the advice. Travelpunk, I am buying a 92 cadillac seville (hopefully) in California. Am travelling with my brother, and he figures that if we buy the car, we might as well utilise it rather than sell it half way through the trip, so it looks like we might be driving accross the Northern part of the US. Will still see montreal, ottawa, toronto.. Not sure about BC though. It is not the first time I have heard Seattle praised on these forums, I will try my best to check it out, and hopefully BC too, which has had equally good reviews. We will see if time allows.

Another reason I am a bit keen on Canada, I am 20 atm and with the drinking laws in the states being 21, I am sure when I get accross country I will be keen to let my hair down and have a few nights out .. Sure I'll prolly strike the odd bar or two that will let me in on the way through the states, but from what I've heard, they are pretty anal about it. Can't let someone as small as not being able to drink get in the road of my travel plans i guess though huh .

It is not cheaper to rent a car really due to age restrictions.. I worked it out a while back and it was going to cost something ridiculous like $3000 US for th trip, then you have milage restrictions etc etc and all the hidden costs I am sure. The car I am looking at atm is $2500 US with full guarantee by a Caddy dealership on the driveline, Just hoping the guy at the other end can extend the tags (they expire in March) to suit my trip. Also, if i were to rent a car, I would get nothing in return when I leave, at least I can sell the caddy.

Yes, I am from Australia, but I have heard that Montreal is the only real bilingual city in Quebec and that If you go anywhere else in Quebec and speak english they will look at you like this ---->:eek: lol, so I don't know about that one
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavanor View Post
Yes, I am from Australia, but I have heard that Montreal is the only real bilingual city in Quebec and that If you go anywhere else in Quebec and speak english they will look at you like this ---->:eek: lol, so I don't know about that one
I'm a "real Quebecoise" , live in Quebec City, and I can assure you that you'd have no trouble outside Montreal. There are several bilingual cities, along the USA border and the province of Ontario, and elsewhere english is understood by just about anyone under 50 years of age. In french cities (like Quebec City) people working with tourists master english, but regular locals would probably be shy to speak english, although very interested to practice, since they have so little opportunities outside the classroom ! And you being from Australia, I mean... just learn the very basic in french and people will fall in love with you !

It is true that part of the population find tourists who can't even say "bonjour" and "merci" annoying, but remember my tips and you'll have the best of times here !
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Old 02-23-2007, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cavanor View Post
I have heard nothing but good things about Canada, particulary montreal being a great party town.. . The whole trip duration is 2.5 months. I would say the cross country USA trip will take up about 1.5 months.

...
Also, I am departing relatively soon, late February.. what is the weather in Canada in these areas going to be like.. cold I know, but how cold?

All advice much appreciated!
Two things. Actually 3 things. First, you made a great choice, and that sounds liek an awesome trip...

Okay, so first, only snobby Montrealers will say that they're the best party town in Canada. The simply truth is that no one tops Toronto. Yeah, that makes me a snobby Torontonian. But when in Toronto, you're gonna want to pick up an issue of NOW or EYE magazine (free) to figure out what events are going on that week.
But you could spend a few days just walking around the different downtown areas... You especially want to check out Queen street West, spadina (Chinatown), College West (lil italy), Bloor Street West (koreatown), Danforth (greektown), church street (gaytown)...

Second, temp is getting better. It's minus 5 here in Ottawa today, but last week weeks it was -30s. It fluctuates, especially with the whole global warming thing. You can check Weather Network for temps.

Oh and if you are in Ottawa, this is a great city for outdoor stuff... not a huge party city, though.

Hope it helps!
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Old 02-23-2007, 01:29 PM   #9
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If you go to toronto check out Steam Whistle Brewing right across from the CN tower (skip the tower though..it's a waste of good drinking money)

Steam Whistle has tours of the brewery for 8 bucks and you get lots of "samples" and get to keep either a glass or a bottle opener! Well worth the money.
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