In the first part of the day we left Calgary, traveled a short distance across the prairie and foothills towards the mountains. Then we completed the very scenic drive from Banff to Saskatchewan Crossing. Instead of continuing into Jasper we turned east along the David Thompson Highway and eventually out of the mountains again. Our final destination for the day was the small town of Lodgepole where, if we all made it, the GBC competitors would something like double or triple the population (temporarily).
The David Thompson Highway, while still mountainous, is a bit more of an open valley. This stretch covered was in common with the start of the Fiddy Run that I had recently done on a scooter. The Tercel, while no speed demon loaded down with four people and their supplies, definitely covered ground faster than a classic Honda 80cc scooter.
In fact, unlike most years where we have found ourselves to be one of the slowest teams, we were in an unusual spot which I would describe as mid-pack.
I guess you have modest performance expectations when you are happy to be leading a Tempo and B2200. Although they passed us shortly after this.
I have to admit I was a little surprised how well our Jerry-rigged up rope securing system on the nose and other decorations were holding up.
While no longer in the national park there was still fantastic scenery to be found.
This vintage playground equipment is at the campground where the Fiddy Run had started and finished. Other riders had stories of terror on it and it did look more than a little sketchy. A relic from another time. So naturally we stopped to give it a try.
It was only mildly terrifying with a nice gravel massage at the bottom waiting for anyone who got going too fast. We all survived unscathed to continue on.
Another stretch of road, another lovely mountain view (ruined by a pink garbage can nose).
This road had a few curves to it which was nice.
As we left the mountains it started to lightly rain on and off and we were treated to a full rainbow. Then briefly a double rainbow.
At a scavenger hunt item stop we even caught up to some of our ’90s era competitors.
Due to the relatively flatter terrain we were even able to overtake a few vehicles including a well known performance legend, the Volkswagen Jetta diesel.
The day was coming to a close and we were getting close to Lodgepole. It seemed like a fine time to start thinking about dinner.
I had bought some ham to cook along the route. The tinfoil was liberated from the kitchen but unfortunately contained much less than expected so it did not fully cover the meat. No matter, I strapped it to the exhaust manifold shield and we were off. My apologies for including my finger in the photo.
You know it has been a good day when your beater is at the end of a rainbow.
Our final destination for the day was the hamlet of Lodgepole, Alberta. As of 2016 it had a recorded population of 116 people and the influx of GBC competitors temporarily significantly added to that. Our last challenge for the day was to spend exactly $12.45 including tax in the general store which is harder than one would suspect given that some food items are subject to sales tax and some are not. Due to oddities in tax law, even quantity can change eligibility. One donut is taxed while a dozen are not, for example. The ladies working the register had the patience of several saints in helping us and other teams get to the magic number. The till ran out of paper half way through printing our successful receipt but I managed to get them to sign it since the old-school register could not do a re-print.
For some reason there was a reluctance to sample the manifold cooked ham from some of my boys but for those of us that were brave enough to try it the taste was quite good.
The whole town of Lodgepole was incredibly supportive and put on a BBQ where competitors could buy a hot meal. Since our one piece of engine ham was not quite enough for the whole family we eagerly joined in.
The town also offered up a large field where we were able to set up tents (or sleep in our vehicles for those earning bonus points).
One of the competitors even brought along equipment and their singing talent to put on a concert. There was a small fireworks display after dark before everyone settled in for the night. Join us for day two in the next installment when we see a bear (live this time), briefly get lost and head south towards the finish line.
Full The Great Beater Challenge 2019 segments:
Vehicle Preparation and Theme – Creation of the Hamborghini
What fun, how many communities would welcome such a wacky event?
Still trying to figure out how to get this Mustang convertible out west and run the GBC as a non-competitor… 🙂
You could run as a Fast Action Recovery Team or FART as they are called volunteer to help beaters in distress! There were a couple this year including one in a WRX.
In a twisted sort of CC effect (ok timing wise, not really because this was in 2012), a coworker of mine took a trip out that way to vacation by driving around in the Canadian Rockies. Being of the green persuasion, he rented a car with good gas mileage, a “Toyota Corolla or Equivalent” (ok for the purposes of the CC Effect, let’s pretend it was a “Toyota Tercel or Equivalent”… pig snout optional. ;o)
…he gets to the counter and naturally, they’re out of them, so they offered him an upgrade to … wait for it …
a 2012 Mustang V6 Convertible.
He said with the beautiful scenery, the top down, and a car with better performance than that which he typically drives (a Camry), he referred to it as “the best road trip ever”.
Of course, he had the more powerful (and efficient) 3.7L V6, as opposed to the 4.0L you’ll be getting Doug, but having the 4.0L myself, I can honestly say that your new ride will have plenty of power.
My friend was actually impressed with the gas mileage of the Mustang saying he got almost 30 mpg on that trip. The best I ever got with mine was a trip down I-81 into the Carolinas, when I pulled off the sticker advertised 26 mpg. So despite what I said in reply to your post today, I guess I have taken my Mustang down that way, just not onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. ;o)
When you guys completed your GBC, David (and hopefully you had success), you all should’ve worn your pig costumes and jumped up in the air in front of the car in a recreation of Toyota’s “Oh what a feeling!” ad campaign.
It would certainly fit with your great sense of humor.
As always, I am loving this series. I really need to take a trip out that way to drive around. Simply beautiful scenery.
I wish I had thought of the Toyota jump. That would have been great.
Mmm, manifold ham…
I used to have a cookbook about that…
I wonder about the guy with the “Shaker” hood scoop, I mean grill cover, from the ‘meet the teams’ post.
I would think that David’s manifold stove would work more efficiently, however hot dogs are best cooked low and slow….
I remember reading an article about that in a magazine from the early 70s. As a kid I was kind of weirded out by the idea. Now I think it’s cool.
Nice intake hamifold on that Toyota.
That vintage slide – I can feel the sizzling on the bottoms of my legs from just looking at that picture. Metal slides in direct sun – I guess the upside was that the black vinyl seats we all had to sit on in our family cars didn’t seem so bad after an afternoon on the slide. 🙂
Of course for the Mercury M-350 team, sliding down a hot, bumpy metal slide and landing in a gravel pit might have been the most comfortable part of the day!
And the fastest? 🙂
Another great post, with lovely pics. The lead photo of the Merc’ is beautiful, as are all the images here. Really enjoying this!
This pic rivals some of those Eugene street shots Paul would post. Flashback to 1991.
Thank you. Managed to take the Mercury one as we passed it.
The ham looked tasty! Presumably the Austin team had a kettle on the boil by the time they came in.
Quite an adventurous story and trip. Nice to see the car and appendages held up.
Re cooking by engine manifold:.
My grandfather told me stories about that kind of cooking back in the depression era. People would wrap ham, chicken, whatever in tinfoil, attach to exhaust manifold, then drive to the picnic grounds. By the time they reached destination, food is cooked and ready to eat.
Back then, the engine bay in a Model T had plenty of room for such things.
I don’t remember whether they drained some hot water from the radiator for coffee, but I wouldn’t be surprised. In those days, people were pretty innovative and made to with what they had.
This would have been a fun way to finish the summer. And what a beautiful part of the province to travel through.
Cooking by engine manifold is something I’d like to try on a road trip someday. I doubt Mrs. M would approve, Its a guy thing anyway.
A couple of posts ago several commentators indicated that it would nigh impossible to find a vehicle for $700 or less in the locale where they lived, a parts car at best perhaps.
With that thought in mind I decided to see just what $700 or less would buy me here in Manitoba, a couple of provinces east of the Great Beater Challenge. I went to our local Kijiji web site (similar I guess to Craigs List in the US), looking for said vehicles. I only included vehicles that were described as running, (no parts cars) and I was amazed to find 31 vehicles that would be eligible to meet the Beater Car Challenge. No Tercels in the list, but I did find 4 Hondas. So I guess they are out there. (here in the Northland anyways).