Recently I was invited to take part in the final leg of the Great Canadian TDI Diesel Tour with Volkswagen Canada. The premise of the trip was that starting from The Maritimes, teams of drivers would spend a few days each driving a leg of a multipart road trip across Canada.
Each leg was to be driven in various 2014 Volkswagen TDI Diesel vehicles on one tank of gas. These vehicles have new diesel engines that are much cleaner and more efficient than their predecessors as well as being much more affordable.
My trip started off by flying into Medicine Hat, Alberta to drive the final leg from there to Vancouver over two days.
I may have had a little fun at the hotel’s waterslide the night before we headed out.
The next morning, after a quick briefing about what we’d be driving, each team was given a vehicle and we all left at the same time. It wasn’t meant to be a race nor an exercise in hypermiling. I’d never heard of that before, which is the practice of squeezing out the most mileage possible, usually by driving very slow and going easy on the gas pedal among other techniques.
The first vehicle of the trip for me was the TDI Golf Wagon with it’s huge sunroof. Our first destination, the Brooks Aqueduct, was programmed into our GPS and we headed out. My co-pilot, Jason, and I both agreed that the seats in the Golf were extremely comfortable (“it’s like a hug from behind”) and perfect for long trips like we were on.
After meeting up with everyone at the Aqueduct, we did a little challenge for coffee cards and then headed for Calgary.
We met up with the rest of the teams at the Calgary Tower and headed up for lunch and a tour of the city from 600+ feet.
I was surprised at my brain’s reluctance to step on to the clear floor of the observation tower…I knew it was safe but I sure hesitated at first.
After lunch, it was time for a vehicle switch and we headed towards Banff. This time we got the Jetta.
The weather started to take a turn for the worst as we headed towards the mountains.
Once we arrived in Banff, we headed up the Banff Gondola and got to experience some light snow and some very cold temperatures.
After heading back down on the Gondola, the weather was starting to clear up. A few minutes away was our final destination of the day as we pulled up to the historic Banff Springs Hotel for the night.
It doesn’t matter how many times I visit Banff, it’s always spectacular. The views from my hotel room were particularly stunning as the sun began to set:
After an epic group dinner at the hotel’s Bow Valley Grill, we sampled from their amazing desert buffet.
The next morning we had another vehicle swap after breakfast.
We were now in the Passat for our final day of travel. We left Banff bright and early at 7:30am.
Strangely enough, just about the entire group of us ended up here in Golden (now back in BC) at the same time for a quick fuel up.
Not long after we got back on the highway, we came across a herd of animals on the road stopping traffic. I’m still not sure if they are mountain goats or sheep but they were surprisingly the only wildlife we saw the entire trip.
After an extended photo op, we headed out again for Three Valley Gap. This is a place I’ve driven through a number of times but never stopped. This time we did and had lunch at the roadside restaurant next door to the ghost town.
It was then time for another vehicle swap. This time we got into the Touareg which was easily my favourite to drive.
Our final stop before home was in Merrit where we had a little RC challenge around a parking lot:
The final leg was in the new Beetle:
I had my GoPro Hero 3 attached to the vehicles for most of the trip so here’s two days worth of driving in just under 2 minutes:
A huge thank you to Volkswagen Canada for inviting me along for the ride! It was an amazing opportunity to see the country.
You can view all the photos from the roadtrip on my Flickr set.
Disclosure: Volkswagen Canada paid for all travel, meals and accommodations for this trip.