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July 3-6. Annual solo road trip. This year's theme is dubbed "get the hell out of Dodge, in a Dodge."

Day 1 - Nanaimo, BC, to Jasper, AB.



520 - Wake up, get dressed, get in my shiny new product from…. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles? My love for the Challenger even lets me bypass my inherent suspicion of the takeover of a historically unreliable American automaker by an even more historically unreliable Italian automaker. I digress, have you seen this thing? Not even my [strikethrough]Octane[/strikethrough] Velvet Red Metallic example, just any LX/LA platform Challenger. Despite its slab sides and portly curb weight, it recalls the spirit of the ‘70s original while providing the accoutrements expected of a car in the 21st century.

Correction: Introduced for the 2008 model year, it wasn’t until the refresh for the 2015 model year that the Challenger actually fulfilled all expectations for style, comfort, and driving experience. Albeit late, it couldn’t be all it could be more if it enrolled in the US Army. Then again, perhaps Canadian Armed Forces may be more appropriate, this car being assembled in Brampton, Ontario.

But I digress.

It’s 5:20 am and I head out immediately because all later ferries from Vancouver Island to the lower mainland of British Columbia are booked solid. Welcome to summer.


Ok, maybe this photo was taken on an earlier day. And not at 5:30 am.


I wasn't kidding about the ferry traffic.

620 - Ferry departs from Departure Bay, Nanaimo and will land at Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver in 100 minutes. Unfortunately, the confines of the vehicle bays, combined with the, uh, vastness of the Dodge, makes getting ingress/egress without risking the paint an exercise in extreme tummy tucking. That, or I pretend it's a classic Charger and make like Bo and Luke Duke.



I wasn't joking.



Farewell, island home.


60 km to Horseshoe Bay.




Just some samplers of what else I found on this particular ferry.

812 - Off the ferry and onto Highway 1. The trip begins in earnest. :)

838 - TWO ****ing minivans, both with Alberta plates, clogging up both available lanes of HWY-1 as we make our way through Surrey over the Port Mann bridge. As in, the car on the left was not passing the car on the right, not even if measured in geological time. This led me to do something I felt entirely justified over: I pulled HMCS Velvet Glove into the HOV lane for the three seconds required to put those four wheeled sloths in my rear view mirror and hear my exhaust roar (and promptly got back out of the HOV lane before I could get ticketed).

955 - I've made my way far enough eastward that I've left the flatland and starting to enter the Coquihalla Highway for the long slow escalation up the mountains while heading north. HMCS Velvet Glove passes a beautiful aquamarine coloured early sixties non-hooptie'ed Impala.


Up the Coquihalla we go.


Merritt.

1110 - Kamloops.

1131 - Fuel stop just north of Kamloops. As this is a) a new car, and b) a long road trip, I make habit to check the oil with each fill-up. Dipstick reads below the acceptable line. Of course the gas station does not stock the appropriate motor oil. I backtrack to Kamloops to Canadian Tire so I can buy Mobil 1's synthetic 0W-40. I had meant to recheck the oil requirements in the manual before I took off this morning, and had I done so I would have learned this weight oil, unusual for a "domestic," is the same Porsche recommends for my Boxster GTS, and so I could have taken some off my garage shelf rather than buy more on this trip. Long story short, I pour in 250 ml then make my way northward again along Yellowhead Highway (BC-5) into Wells Gray Country.

1233 - Mother****ing Camry blocking the temporary passing lane. I am fuming as he is not even attempting to make a pass. This is followed by hours of agonizingly slow progress due to eighteen-wheelers, camper vans, and other assorted detritus better served by an airplane or a bus. However, the sparse times I can warp past another obstacle offer me the chance to fully exploit the engine range all the way to redline, now that the 6.4 L Hemi has been fully broken in, according to the owner’s manual. It’s amazing to me how well this block breathes above 5000 rpm.

I also discover something I thought I would not be doing in a muscle car: downshifting from 6th to 4th to make a pass. Unlike my Boxster GTS, this is not out of necessity, although 6th in the Dodge is also purely for cruising and otherwise useless. I *could* make the pass in fifth, but the engine would barely turn above 3000 rpm. On a long road trip with many steady states of velocity, it’s nice to break the aural monotony and remind yourself what a big block V8 sounds like at full throttle above 4 grand on the tach. I’m sure the deer and elk wandering the periphery of the road appreciate the advance warning offered by the increased volume of thunder, too.


From the burnt remnants of the northern Thompson region...




... to Wells Gray Country.

1400 - I proceed to fondle and press various points of the soft touch dash like supple breasts at least once per 2-3 hours for the duration of this road trip. Try not to read too much into that.

Oh, screw it. Go nuts.

1523 - Valemount; pee break and oil check. All good.

1623 - East on Can-16, pass through Mt Robson Provincial Park

1747 MDT - Cross into Alberta, right into beautiful Jasper National Park.

1800 - Arrive at my booked cabin site, right along the confluence of the gorgeous Athabasca and Miette rivers. Despite an unwanted work related call, life’s pretty good. The SRT Challenger easily fufills both its muscle car and grand touring mission statements, the former in that I never tired of the low frequency growl on cruise, and the latter by way of simply eating up the nearly 1000 km of this trip with nary a backache or sore neck. I had a nice dinner at the on-site restaurant, then return to contemplate the direction of my life while watching the running waters from the two rivers.


Tekarra Cabins.



Jasper National Park. Miette River into the Athabasca River.


Because alcohol.

2130 - Oh look! A fireplace. Oh look! Firewood, kindling, and newspaper. This should be fun.



Those black marking should have been my first clue this would be less than ideal for a fire.


But did that stop me? Of course not!

2200 - I’m nearly smoked out of the cabin, despite following all standard procedures to ensure the smoke would escape out the chimney and not elsewhere in the cabin. Once the CO monitor went off, I said “screw it” and opened all the doors and windows, lest my wife think I came out this way just to do something I could have accomplished in our own garage. Apart from my clothes smelling well-barbequed, everything's fine. Back to sleep.


It's not worth ripping off, but all words and photos in this post is still © jimmylikescars.com 2017
 

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Awesome photos and trip. Thanks for sharing. I rode my motorcycle from TN with a group all the way to Banff. Visited Lake Louise and rode through the mountains. I've been alot of places, but Alberta is beautiful! The glacier formed lakes look like Caribbean ocean water. Stunning!
 

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Great color choice and very nice pictures. I'd love to take a long drive like that but without a spare tire I haven't gone more than an hour away from home. Goop and a compressor doesn't cover many situations.
 

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Awesome shots! One item I did not like about my Scat Pack was the matte black rear spoiler. Yours has the finished look with it painted body color, which is why I painted mine to match my B5 Blue body. Looking good dude!
 

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Thanks for sharing/posting pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Day 2 - Jasper, AB to Calgary, AB



Checked out around 9 am, then proceeded into Jasper town proper to look around. Famous bakery sells nothing my lactose intolerant GI tract could digest without embarrassing eruptions, so I make my way to a local diner and have a passable but lacklustre breakfast. I spent the morning walking through town to soak it up, then I decided to head north to Pyramid Lake (just north of town) to get a glimpse of Jasper’s many natural wonders. In fact, the lake and surrounding regions are beautiful, but I was more impressed with the roadside moose attraction. Note to tourists: do NOT get out of your car and try and take a selfie with a live moose in the backdrop, you idiots.









Pyramid Lake


You know when you park as FAR away as possible from anyone, then that jerk with the beater parks next to you? Yeah....







I made my way back to town just before 1 pm, but am delayed by the only way out being blocked by a long, slow train crossing. Minor delay aside (not an annoyance, I never tire of trains, especially in the countryside), I spend the rest of my afternoon traveling south along AB-93, or the Icefields' Parkway. Hands down, the most scenic driving road in Canada, nestled as it is between the country’s two most breathtakingly accessible national parks, Jasper and Banff. I even stopped to check out the Columbia Glacier.



Traffic in Jasper is due to a train crossing.



Do not want to leave this backdrop.

The frequent stops allow me again to exploit the full rev range of the Hemi, as well as get acquainted with the clutch and six speed shifter, (simulating a high density morning commute traffic jam with a Jasper pleasure cruise on the Icefields’ Parkway. Right…) both of which are far easier to operate than any 4200 lb vehicle with 485 hp and 475 lb ft of torque have any right to be. The shifter needs a bit more heft than in a Porsche or a Honda, but it won’t wear out your shoulder. My only complaint has to do with the actual angle of the shifter, canted towards the driver and the dash in all positions except 4th or 6th. I’m so used to shift levers appearing fully upright in the neutral position that I’ve developed an entire driving life without missing a shift, simply by operating on peripheral vision and feel to know what gear my car is always in. Not so with this shifter, and so I occasionally suffer a half-second delay in shifting because I forget which gear I am going from. The detents themselves, however, are easy to find.




































Despite my many stops for pictures, I managed to keep schedule and arrive in Airdrie at 1830, where I met up with a forum Mopar fan (not from this website). Actually, we met at his parents’ house and I saw his dad’s ’68 GT350. My jaw needed lifting from the floor. We then headed back to his place in Calgary where I had a wonderful dinner with him and his better half, shooting the shit, drinking beer, and just plain relaxing. Shame it was over so quickly, but at least I got to see his 5.7 Magnum, as well as his perpetual-state-of-repair-Jeep. That '68 Shelby, though… damn!

Tips for a BCer to recognize he’s in Alberta:
Cops drive pickups (daFUQ?)
Sod will be randomly dispersed on the streets
Rusty ‘80s era Hilux pickups don’t die, as Clarkson attested, but they don’t appear to run, either. They merely take up space on a street with no parking spaces, forcing everyone to merge around it to witness its greatness.

It's not worth ripping off, but all words and photos in this post is still © jimmylikescars.com 2017
 

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Wow more pics! Brings back alot of memories for me! Icefield Parkway is amazing. I always thought the American upper mid west was beautiful, but it just doesn't hold a candle to the Canadian Rockies!
 

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Awesome pics of a cool trip and even better color combo car. Love the Octane Red with Tan interior!

If I may...switch off the amber DRL's and get the Vapor Black gas cap...it's bugging me! lol
 

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Very nice! Your car is beautiful and so is where you live and play. Thanks for taking the time to share.
 

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Beautiful country, only enhanced by your beautiful car. Thanks for sharing. A Guy
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Day 3 - Calgary, AB, to Revelstoke BC (the LONG way ‘round)



730 - BCS kicks me out of his house (he and the missus have to go to work). I go to Tim Horton’s for a bowl of oatmeal and hot chocolate. Yes, hot chocolate on what will be a sweltering July day in the Alberta prairies. Yes, I’m living up to a pathetic Canadian stereotype, I know….

830 - Today’s destination is Revelstoke, British Columbia. It’s not all that far away as the crow flies via Rogers Pass/Trans Canada Highway, but this is a road trip, so I wanted to take paths unknown (to me). Right now, though, it doesn’t matter which route I choose…. the ****ing navigation has me going around in circles. It apparently thinks one of the bike/pedestrian only paths is a piece of road fit for the battleship. This is the only time in the entire trip that UConnect’s navigation lets me down, but I have to forge my own way out of the maze that is Calgary’s suburbia before making my way onto AB-2.

911 - Driving south on route 2, and loving the prairies. I pass a town called Vulcan.




924 - Highway 2 becomes a small street, complete with traffic lights, as I pass through Nanton. I notice the bomber museum and cool looking model train store.

1004 - As the Rockies become slightly more than a contiguous silhouette along my right flank, I navigate the Challenger westward off route 2 and onto Highway 3, also known as Crowsnest Pass. This road could take me all the way back to Hope if I wanted to, but I have other plans on this day.




1054 - Passing through the small southwestern Albertan town of Coleman. The town itself is as blue collar as a Levi’s dress shirt, but situated along a beautiful slope as we pass though the foothills. Meanwhile, the Rockies loom straight ahead, daringly, as if to say “try me”. HMCS Velvet Glove barks a loud “**** off” to all who can hear it (re: anyone within a square kilometer).







1100 - All the nature vs machine posturing is rendered impotent while the big Dodge sits silently in a large traffic jam due to its impossible nemesis: road works. It’s 15 minutes before I can fire the 6.4L Hemi back to life and have it propel the 4200 lb girl forward again.


You look familiar.

1125 - We are back in British Columbia, but still on Mountain Daylight Time. The Dodge and its lone occupant are now surrounded by the ancient peaks of the eastern Rockies.

1147 - Sparwood. Home of the (formerly) World’s Biggest Truck. I stop for a meal and micturition.







Everyone should have one in their driveway.

1345 - Cranbrook. An ugly truck stop of a town situated between the Purcell and Selkirk ranges of the eastern Kootenay Rockies. The valley in between is a postcard of picture perfect Canadian Rockies living. The town itself is the mustache on this Mona Lisa. However, I can’t help notice the sudden frequency with which I see classic cars (from the '50s to the ‘70s) towing small campers. I’ve never seen anything like it before.


Imagine another twenty cars from the 1950s to 1970s with similar trailers sprinkled throughout the journey for the next few hours.

1348 PDT - I forget the moment I went back in time an hour, but the classic cars n’campers caravan continues all the way here in Creston. I make the mistake of fueling up while ignoring my burgeoning bladder, resulting my dancing like a toddler whilst holding the gas nozzle against Velvet’s open fuel filler. The following urination is so furious I swear it’s going to dent the porcelain. Oil check (fine) and we’re off again.


Creston.



1430 - The sound of the big Hemi’s eight cylinders staccatos in all directions as the sound bounces off the walls of mountains surrounding the Kootenay Pass.

1446 - Less than one hour from my home on Vancouver Island is a small, successful tourist shop/imported grocery store called “Goats on the Roof” because, truth in advertising, the roof is layered with sod and it has domesticated goats on it. Somehow, that’s not as impressive as driving past wild rams on the highway and making sure none of their horns are tipped with Red Velvet Metallic paint.


Thousands of feet above sea level. Sheer drop to one side, 4000-pound vehicles going 100+ kph to the other. Unfazed. Tough bastard.

1614 - Her Majesty's Canadian Ship having earlier changed course off Crowsnest and onto BC-6, we now find ourselves in Slocan. From here, it’s one of my top 3 driving roads in British Columbia until I make it to New Denver roughly 30 minutes later. The big Dodge’s adjustable Bilsteins in “sport" mode allow this colossus to handle these narrow roads with short radii turns adeptly, but that doesn’t mean it *likes* it. I make a mental note to come back on these roads on a future road trip, but with the small flat six powered roadster instead. Pictures here are essentially verboten, as I need both hands continuously to keep my trusty V8 powered chariot aimed between the vertical mountain face on my right and the sheer 500-foot drop into Slocan Lake to my left. I am disappointed to discover that Valhalla Provincial Park isn’t easily visible from this road, which is a shame. Despite the narrow mountain road, I temporarily allow my right foot to mate with the firewall in order for the Hemi to bellow out a thunderous roar. The dead Norse gods that certainly reside within the park would approve.




Sitrep: Six piston calipers do their job promptly and prove indefatiguable in a canyon carving environment: one more reason to get your 6.4 L Challenger in SRT or T/A trim over the Scat Pack.

1736 - SRT 392/HMCS Velvet Glove/the best damned unpretentious grand tourer finally gets to relax, parked on a steep slope in Galena Bay awaiting the inland ferry to take us across Upper Arrow Lake. I just missed the previous ferry by 5 minutes, and now I need to wait an hour. Having been kept in climate controlled comfort for the much of the day, imagine my shock at exiting the care and experiencing a humid 34 degrees at nearly 6 pm. For most of my wait, the only other people here are a family of motorcyclists vacationing from Alberta (destination, Vancouver Island) that consist of a mom, dad, teenage son, and pre-teen daughter. The two females decide to take a dip in the lake to cool off while waiting for the ferry. I decide to climb up a bluff to find a place to urinate in privacy. Without trying, the narrows here provide an acoustical chamber that permits me to hear the following conversation in its entirety:

Mom makes many noises attesting to the water’s cold temperature before (I assume) finally submerging herself completely to cool off. She then oscillates between cooing (about feeling cooler herself), and moaning (about the actual cold lake water).

Daughter: Mom, don’t make those sounds.

Mom: Why not?

Daughter: Because it sounds like the night you and dad thought the kids were asleep.


Priceless.







Upper Arrow Lake at Galena Bay. 6 pm. 34 degrees. ****.

1855 - My four wheeled boat crosses the lake on an actual boat, docks at Shelter Bay and makes its way north on BC-23 towards our nighttime destination.


Small ferry. Big car. Innumerable insects sacrificed on my front bumper.

1920 - Welcome back to Revelstoke. More than anywhere else I’ve been to on this, or any other trip… this town is British Columbia. Alpine sports, landslides, a large national park atop an elevated mountain plateau complete with wandering bears, The Last Spike, etc. It would appear all my travels, literal and emotional, have come through this town since 2008. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Unfortunately, I was unable to procure a bed at my favourite Korean owned B&B, so I made to with staying at one of the actual ski mountain resorts. The parking lot already hosts two post-refresh Challengers, an SXT and 5.7 Shaker. This is a good sign.

2027 - I’m in no mood to drive into town and find something unique to eat, so I take advantage of the resort’s in-house restaurant. The view of the Revelstoke Glacier from the patio is priceless. The local maple cream ale is delicious. The actual dinner was only average. The overtly, very bad-intentioned, flirtatious hostess (not waitress) who kept refilling my water had me contemplating super-bad thoughts. The second pint of cream ale didn’t help. I make sure to mention my wife at least a half dozen times. Not entirely satisfied, I pay my bill and book it back to my room. I’m asleep within ten minutes, which is perfect because according to my ale-ridden calculations, I’ll need to be off to an early start in the morning if I want to make it home after an extended stop at a favourite location.


Begbie Brewery maple cream ale and the Revelstoke Glacier.


It's not worth ripping off, but all words and photos in this post is still © jimmylikescars.com 2017



Awesome photos and trip. Thanks for sharing. I rode my motorcycle from TN with a group all the way to Banff. Visited Lake Louise and rode through the mountains. I've been alot of places, but Alberta is beautiful! The glacier formed lakes look like Caribbean ocean water. Stunning!
Now that's a long haul from Tennessee. Must have been a great trip.
Great photos! :wink3:
Absolutely stunning photos. Thanks for sharing!
Awesome shots! One item I did not like about my Scat Pack was the matte black rear spoiler. Yours has the finished look with it painted body color, which is why I painted mine to match my B5 Blue body. Looking good dude!
Thanks for sharing/posting pics.
Wow! where do you start, awesome car, drive, scenery, great time had, thanks for sharing.
Very nice! Your car is beautiful and so is where you live and play. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Awesome trip man! I love B.C. You kept your car pretty clean too :)
The only thing more gorgeous than the landscape is the Car! Just beautiful!
Beautiful country, only enhanced by your beautiful car. Thanks for sharing. A Guy
Thank you, fellas! I'm glad you're enjoying it.

Great color choice and very nice pictures. I'd love to take a long drive like that but without a spare tire I haven't gone more than an hour away from home. Goop and a compressor doesn't cover many situations.
You only live once. That's what CAA (or in your case, AAA) is for. ;)

The pictures are beautiful.
A Barton shifter would meet your needs as you can adjust the angle to your liking.
Thanks for the tip. I don't actually mind the shifter at all, but it did take some getting used to.

Wow more pics! Brings back alot of memories for me! Icefield Parkway is amazing. I always thought the American upper mid west was beautiful, but it just desn't hold a candle to the Canadian Rockies!
The spine of the Rockies, north to south, all the way down is host to some great scenery.

Awesome pics of a cool trip and even better color combo car. Love the Octane Red with Tan interior!

If I may...switch off the amber DRL's and get the Vapor Black gas cap...it's bugging me! lol
DRLs are by law in Canada, can't switch them off. As to the gas cap, I prefer the stock one versus black. Now, if I can get one to match the Hyper Black of my wheels, that I'll consider.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Day 4 - Revelstoke, BC to Nanaimo, BC via the Sea-to-Sky highway (or in this case, Sky-to-Sea).



I’m fully awake by 6 am, not having even taken off my clothes last night before I collapsed into the bed. I take advantage of the facilities by soaking in the outdoor hot tub for twenty minutes before packing up and making my way back to the Brampton Bruiser.


The SRT 392 in its natural environment... a Chevron station (ethanol-free 94 octane, baby!). Still, not an unattractive place for a fill up.

Sitrep from Captain Obvious: this car is fantastic at long distance runs, but a bit less happy if doing it in the twisties. The polar opposite of my 981 GTS. I couldn’t be happier at their dichotomous relationship. I just wish I could have both cars at my disposal simultaneously.

First World Problems, I know. I’ll shut up now.

By 1010 am I’ve already traversed enough of the Trans-Canada that I’m passing through Kamloops. This morning I’ve already crossed Three Valley Gap, houseboat country, and now the Thompson region desert. As I plow west (and upwards) from the city, through this romantically rustic landscape, I remember something Richard Hammond once said on one of Top Gear’s great American road trips. The sound of a big V8 as it passes through the desert is one of life’s most evocative events. Paris can **** right off if they think I’m ever giving this up. The Challenger’s colour is [strike]Velvet[/strike] Octane Red, but the experience it is currently providing is Sublime.





Not a bad place for a viewpoint, either.

Sublime turns to sour as I’m forced to saddle the Dodge behind a slow-as-balls 10 year old Kia sporting SPINNERS. What in the actual ****? I manage to skirt around this eyesore in the hamlet of Cache Creek, the Dodge burning rubber as it gets off the Trans-Canada and heads north on BC-97.



Soon after, I turn west yet again, on the beginning (end?) of BC-99, otherwise known as the Sea-to-Sky highway that runs continuous through Vancouver to the US border at Blaine, Washington. This, my friends, is the Best Driving Road of British Columbia. I can only handle the Challenger at 6/10ths on this road, but I don’t care. Letting the Hemi breathe above 4000 rpms while it attempts to dance through the corners is more than enough to make me crack a smile. Seeing a McLaren GT3 (seemingly) teleport past me in the opposite direction gives me pause to make certain I’m not seeing mirages. To drive THAT car this far out in never never land takes a true enthusiast, not one of Vancouver or Whistler’s too numerous poseurs. My hat is off to you, sir. I just hope it doesn’t overheat in this 30-plus degree desert heat.



Sea-to-Sky Highway, in reverse. The Vancouver-to-Whistler crowd will never know the best parts.

It’s eleven-thirty a.m. when Challenger SRT 392 meets previous generation convertible Camaro ZL1. Despite similar curb weights, the Chevrolet has an additional 95 horses under its hood. Despite my not attacking these roads with the same manic fervour I would exhibit behind the wheel of say, a small mid-engined roadster, the ZL1 driver is too slow for my tastes (but we’re both still making progress just over the speed limit, so it’s not cuss word city). However, geography dictates I remain patiently behind him as there is simply nowhere to safely execute a pass.

Too bad no one told that to the motorcyclists behind me.




I scream obscenities at no one in my air conditioned mobile cocoon while a pair of long distance cruisers (both BMWs, I think) fly past first me, then the ZL1. On double yellows both times. With less than 50 ft of forward visibility owing to the curvature of the road around a desert mountain and above a deeply recessed river. They’re lucky they weren’t killed pulling those passes. If they stop at the winery, I’ll kill them myself.

I’ll also make note to beat the shit out of the gray-haired ZL1 driver with a penis presumably the size of an earthworm. How else to explain this *******’s sudden discovery of the gas pedal after he’s passed by the suicidal cycle-worlders, not to overtake them but to come within (from my vantage point) a dangerously close distance to one of their rear tires. I slow down in preparation for the possible results of this pointless dick measuring contest. Again, no casualties were suffered. Idiots.

Thankfully, the rest of my journey is unencumbered by further stupidity as the BMW bros speed off, never to be seen by yours truly again, and the ZL1 driver remembers that he’s a fat, Cialis-swallowing ****sucker and pulls off along a gravel viewpoint so I can leave him in the dust (literally). Shame, really. I liked his car. Now hear the full aural range of a naturally aspirated 6.4L V8.

It would take something special to get me off this road. Hyori Lee naked. No gasoline in the tank. Or the promise of good alcohol. In this case, Ft. Berens’ Winery. For the uninitiated, British Columbia is chock full of fantastic wineries, the most famous of which all reside in the Okanagan region. All said wineries are owned and operated by their European masters. To be perfectly fair, this was necessary in order to transform these previous barrels of badly stored grapes into something special, but now that the locals have the technology and the know how, it’s nice to see a local success story. That’s why I like Ft. Berens. It’s not just great wine, but it’s the only winery in Lillooet, AND it’s fully locally run. I first stopped here over five years ago and they were operating out of a garden shed. Now, I’d swear it had Euro money backing if it not for the owners swearing up and down that they’re still doing it their way.

Ft. Berens has gained enough reputation to host Corvette and Porsche clubs for their long distance driving events. It also has numerous gold and silver medals for its products. They’ve achieved enough success to hire excellent full time cooks to prepare fullsome meals to match their grapes, and the property allows one to sit outside under a tarp (otherwise you’d burn straight through the rocky earth to hell within minutes) and enjoy the vanishing point framed by two differing mountains, one lush with evergreens and snow capped, the other dusty and full of sagebrush. Yes, Virginia, I drank a glass of Cab Sav and had a gourmet, deconstructed burger with vegetables and potato mash.


Ft. Berens' Winery


Excuse me, ma'am and sir. Could you kindly give up your seats so I can take a photo? No? Ok... (note: I didn't actually ask)



I fulfill my British Columbian obligations and buy a case of combined whites and reds (mostly for gifts) before the Challenger takes me through the small town of Lillooet to its Chevron station for a final fill-up. Earlier at Ft. Berens, I added another 250 ml of Mobil 1 to the engine.


Possibly my favourite photo, because it highlights the downsides of the enormity of this car. Pump "8" is gasoline, pump "6" is diesel only. The fuel filler is just aft of the peak of the rear wheel well. The doors are SO LONG that in order to open them wide enough to actually climb in and out, I have to pull the car forward and end up blocking both fuel pumps. "One car, two pumps."

BC-99 from Lillooet to Pemberton. The best of the best. Tight, technical, gorgeous landscapes, steep changes in elevation. The latter apparently important for the four pack of extreme morons LONGBOADING DOWN THE HIGHWAY into Lillooet. An example of enabling? These idiots waved me aside as if to assert their presence on this roadway superceded my own, and they had a car behind them with another apparently eukaryote accomplice filming them through the sunroof. A few hours later when I don’t need both hands for the task of driving, I report them to the local authorities. I’m sure they won’t be caught, but at least it will alert the police the fact that this will likely be a recurring theme during the summer. Hopefully the next batch will then be apprehended, then promptly ass-raped with rusty crowbars.


Seton Lake. I stop here for a photo with every road trip I can.

As per the above description of this stretch of BC-99, it’s not best served by the Challenger, but it’s undeniably enjoyable all the same. Perhaps more so by the fact that I only ran into one of those infernal “Canadream” campervans, and it was actually piloted by a courteous soul who made room to allow me to pass on a rare stretch of straight, flat road. Otherwise, it’s just V8 intake, exhaust, forest, lakes, and curvy asphalt for the next eighty kilometers.



Putting the "Sky" in Sea-to-Sky, and also pushing the limits of all four tires responsible for weaving this tank through at speed.

Out the other side of my own personal mountainous rubicon (I’ll tell that story another time), I have an entirely event free trip south (and down) BC-99 through Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish, Lion’s Bay, and ultimately Horseshoe Bay. The beautiful Challenger, visage obscured by the splattered exoskeletons of a thousand insects, must lie in wait at the large ferry terminal along the coast of West Vancouver for 90 minutes before we have a chance to cross. We board at 655 pm, and arrive in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay around 820 pm. I’m only eight minutes from home, but first I make a small detour to one of the city’s few DIY coin-op car washes. I take my time soaking, soaping, brushing, then rinsing off the Challenger’s hard won, sun-baked war paint, before standing back and admiring my latest acquisition.


Before.


After.


One of my favourite easter eggs of modern Challenger ownership.

And acquitted itself well it most certainly did. The drive itself never wore me out. The UConnect’s ease of use allowed endless streams of podcasts and music while providing climate control and fans blowing air up my backside. The leather seats are less sports car hugging and more couch comfy, and the spacious interior lends itself to the feel befitting a grand tourer. But that engine dominates the experience, never allowing itself to be ignored unless I wanted to keep it quiet by staying off the gas and keeping it below 2000 rpm, actually an easy feat when cruising in a car hitched to such a large powerplant. A muscle car as much as anything else. You can’t forget that engine.

Then you go home, step out and look back at it. Velvet Red in the setting sun, against an ocean backdrop.

Poetry standing still. Heavy metal in motion.

I bought the right car.

It's not worth ripping off, but all words and photos in this post is still © jimmylikescars.com 2017
 

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Day 4 - Revelstoke, BC to Nanaimo, BC via the Sea-to-Sky highway (or in this case, Sky-to-Sea).

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One of my favourite easter eggs of modern Challenger ownership.



My favorite part of this easter egg (well described) is the reflection from the shadow on the windshield on sunny days. The negative image in the windshield comes to life when reflected off the dashboard.
 
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