It all began one sunny day in September, 2005. The Regina Dragonboat Festival had just wrapped up, and Scott was joining his parents on their retirement vacation. As he was taking in the scenery, his parents called out, "Scott! Look at this!!!". Scott came running over to find his parents watching two gentlemen preparing a boat for a trip around the harbour. Within minutes, Scott called Brad back in Regina and insisted that Regina needs a similar tour with dragonboats to showcase Regina's beautiful Wascana Park.
It was an uphill battle for six months, but by April 2006 the wheels were in motion (literally) and we were set for possibly the most unusual road trip ever. Our mission: Regina to Montreal to Regina in a week.
Scott employed the road trip experience of his dad for this trip (and also because Brad's fiance was expecting their first baby). It was smooth sailing (thanks to a little Trans Am power) for the first leg as we pulled into Thunder Bay 13 hours later, around 10PM. However, a few kilometres out of Thunder Bay was when it all began ...
Dear reader, have you ever hit a snow squall? Well, in the black of night, and surrounded by semi trucks, we hit one. Let me offer a bit of advice: Trans Ams were not meant for driving through snow squalls. The squall came out of nowhere, and just engulfed us in a wall of snow coming straight at the windshield. We could barely see past the hood of the car. However, as quick as the trip was to dish out mayhem, it also dished out a miracle. After 15 minutes of driving through the squall, we found a truck stop and motel. Needless to say, the driving was over for that night.
The next leg of our trip took us along Lake Superior ... in the fallout from the previous night's storm. I'd love to show you pictures of the scenery, but we couldn't pull over to take them because the Trans Am was being used as a snow plow and if we stopped, we'd be stopped for a looonnng time! So let's just say, the Lake looks like the ocean. I'll give you a moment to get a mental image. Now here's another one for you: along the way, we spotted a semi trailer split in half as it went over a cliff. These were the kind of roads we were dealing with.
After yet another snow storm, we arived in beautiful Toronto. Unfortunately, our stay was only long enough to snap a few shots, grab a quick lunch at City Hall, and pay twelve dollars for parking. Now, I'm no mathematician, but twelve dollars in any currency doesn't add up. Our 45 foot trailer awaited us at Toronto's harbour. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what a challenge it is to navigate a 45 foot trailer through Toronto during rush (and in Toronto, every hour is rush hour!). But thankfully, the entire trip was showered with very polite people, and Toronto's drivers were no different.
Once we got rolling, the weird looks just didn't stop. Naturally, we couldn't take ourselves seriously for the first bit, so we just had to take this picture:
Our next stop: Morin Heights, Quebec (it's a suburb of Montreal). If you've never been to Montreal before, let me just say that the traffic MOVES and EVERY sign is in French. I would now like to take this opportunity to thank my high school French teachers for preparing me for the culture shock. After looking like a complete moron while trying to get gas, we arrived in Morin Heights and the boat was loaded onto the trailer with one sweet crane:
We left Regina at 8AM Monday, and the boat was loaded and ready to go by 4PM Thursday. The trip back to Regina was as action packed as the trip down. Outside Ottawa, the trailer wiring frayed and caused fuses to blow up in the car. Have you ever changed a fuse on the side of a highway at 2AM? That's an "interesting" process, but by the 6th fuse, I had it mastered.
Just as we entered Thunder Bay, the hitch on the Trans Am snapped. However, the theme of the road trip must have been "LUCK" because we met a mobile welder by the name of Rick who had us going in no time. Thankfully, aside from bad gas mileage and a couple police check-stops, the trip back was mostly smooth. Here's a typical gas stop for us:
The boat is now safely back in Regina and undergoing its transformation by Storm. In a few weeks, we will launch with tours for the general public and charters. Check back for more information (and pictures!).
One thing is for certain: In May, 2006, Regina's Wascana Lake is going to be taken by Storm ... !