The Great Beater Challenge 2021 – Climax on Day 2 Part 1

As we start the second day our initial goal is to drive through what was promised to be a long construction zone and then on to the very rough road promised by the locals the night before in the tavern. After that we hit the climax of the trip. So far everyone had made it except the Valiant. Will any of the remaining teams face mechanical issues along the way?

Here is the route for day 2 which a little longer than the first day. It does travel along Highway One which is the main Canadian highway for a stretch.

camp set up

The next morning came quickly and it was time to pack up. Luckily I had planned ahead and had brought us breakfast food. Too much in fact as we had planned to have four people not two.


Here is a view of most of the campground which you likely need to click to enlarge.


With the loss of our wings we re-themed our car from airplane to prairie shark-whale with some electric tape teeth. At least on the passenger side as there was a driver’s meeting that I was apparently missing.

Driver's meeting

I am not sure how we neglected to notice the meeting starting but I jogged over only to catch something like “… and that is the most important thing you need to know. Good luck and we are off”. How important could it be? We will never knew as all the teams started heading out.

1983 Dodge 400 convertible

The other teams made quick work of leaving the campsite.

1989 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale

The 1989 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale with its fuel pump working well.

The Volkswagen Rabbit starting day two. Nice rack.

Everyone seemed to be starting up smoothly on the morning, even the rough sounding Isuzu pickup … except for us. I turned the key, the engine turned over but did not fire. We tried a few times, pumped the pedal and took a peek under the hood to ensure all the bits and pieces were roughly in the places they were supposed to be. Perhaps our fuel pump finally packed in? As we reluctantly reached for the tools (via the back seat since our hatch was still stuck shut) my son tried one more time and the car fired up instantly like nothing was ever wrong. Huh.

We decided on a strategy of minimal shutdown/start up attempts for the rest of the day which meant skipping on an extra food or gas before leaving the village of Cadillac. We also parted ways with Rod as he was heading on a slightly different route as he had a surprise pick up to do. To be revealed in part two!

Impala in Cadillac

An Chevrolet Impala in Cadillac on Napier street. Try saying that fives times quickly. It is quite an automotive mouthful.

This old church was spotted on the open road and heading south.

Before too long we entered Val Marie which is considered the gateway to the Grasslands National Park. I will have to re-visit this are to check out the park as the schedule meant we unfortunately did not have the time to visit.

Like a lot of small places in Saskatchewan they are proud hometowns to famous hockey players. A few decades ago Bryan Trottier was a pretty big name as a Hockey Hall of Famer with a career as a player then coach. He has an impressive seven Stanley Cups to his name.

The hotel on center street.

A 1942 GMC Firetruck with grain elevator behind. As proudly displayed the elevator was built in 1927 and recently had an exterior restoration completed by the residents. There is some more information and a video of the restoration here.

As we left town we noticed this old Catholic convent which has been converted to an inn.

Soon we hit a large construction zone which was supposed to be the start of the very rough roads we were promised yesterday. The road was certainly not great but not too horrible either.

A sign with “Rough Road” and “Next <blank> kms” is always a bad sign. . There was definitely some large holes in the road but they were easily avoidable if the driver was playing attention. If you were not I could certainly see suspension or wheel damage resulting.

We came across another ghost town. The Mustang is not a free revving engine as shown by a tachometer that could be at home in a tractor.

Old store?

Another grain elevator, this time in Orkney.

Railway avenue. Let’s head back to the “main” road on our way to Climax.

Butte was not on our route so no milk for us I guess.

After a long, hard, rough ride we finally made it to Climax. Climax, Saskatchewan. Any jokes about the name practically write themselves.

I had a 1978 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 as my first car I purchased with my own money so I have a soft spot for these late second generation Camaros.

We had a GM Square Body truck with a Chevette in the first part on day one so how about a different truck with the Pontiac Acadian? We had a good chat with the Acadian driver and he is part of a group that wheel to wheel ice races Chevettes/T1000s/Acadians. He got a good deal on this one and its future is likely on ice. They are getting rare on the ground here and he mentioned another group that imported some from the US in bulk with a semi-truck and trailer. Not this particular one as its a Canadian model.

The Climax elevator for those wondering if it had one.

Not sure if the town sign was made by someone who is oblivious or with a good sense of humor.


This photo reminds me that I never did replace the burnt out headlight before setting off. It was safely tucked in the still stuck hatchback area. The next installment brings the exciting conclusion with Rod’s mystery pick up (sort of) on route, karting, an insect attack and a very large teepee. Plus we would have to re-fuel and thus turn off the car. Will the fuel pump get us to the finish line?

The whole Great Beater Challenge 2021 series

Preparations and Competitors

The Red Coat Trail on Day 1 Part 1

Saskatchewan Exploration on Day 1 Part 2

Climax on Day 2 Part 1

Heading to the finish line on Day 2 Part 2