Thanks for dropping in.
The idea for this travel Substack occurred to me after a multi-month trip around England, Wales, and northern Norway in the spring of 2022. As I travelled, I posted a photograph on Facebook more or less each day, with occasional observations about wherever I was.
Immediately below is a picture I took in a forest carpeted with bluebells near Marlborough in Wiltshire, England when I was on a photography workshop. We had to get up where we were staying in Swanage, Dorset before 3 a.m. in order to drive to Wiltshire in time to get the first rays of the morning sun cutting through the trees. It was worth it.
And here’s a picture of a seahawk I took near Svolvaer in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, which are above the Arctic Circle. This was taken from a Zodiac, so it’s a miracle that I got a clear shot of a moving bird from a rocking boat with a longish lens. I took hundreds of shots and a few, like this one, worked out.
Some people told me they loved these posts. Others, I assume, weren’t interested. That’s why I thought a Substack might work, so people could get the dispatches as email, or poke in here on the site and get an update as and when they’d like. And the majority of humanity, and of my Facebook friends, could avoid this altogether.
In the spring—of 2023, that is—I am planning another big trip. This one is a little different. I am planning to leave Ottawa April 1st (hence the title of the Substack) and drive my all-electric Nissan Leaf to Victoria, British Columbia. I then plan to return via the United States.
Driving an EV on a trip like that presents some challenges. Particularly in Northern Ontario and across the Plains States, rapid chargers are few and far between. Along the Trans-Canada, however, Petro-Canada has a charger at least every 200 kilometres, which should be more than adequate, assuming they are all working. There are other companies with chargers too, of course. I guess I’ll find out how my theory that this is feasible works out in practice. In the States, I think I am going to have to swing a bit farther south that I otherwise would, cutting from the Pacific Northwest down through Salt Lake City and then across, to improve my chances of finding a charger when I need one. Joe Biden’s climate bill promises a charger every 50 miles along major highways, but I doubt very many will be available in time for me.
No doubt the availability or otherwise of chargers, and the practicality or otherwise of what I am attempting to do, will provide grist for this Substack.
It’s also the case that EVs don’t take kindly to having too many rapid charges during a single day. For that reason, I am planning to limit my daily drive to roughly 500 kilometres. That means I will not barrel through to Winnipeg in a 24-hour day, as my brother Mike has occasionally done. Instead I will take four or five days. But I see that as an advantage. Instead of driving through Northern Ontario as fast as you possibly can—a tradition among Manitobans—I will have time on my hands in places like North Bay, Thunder Bay, and maybe even Wawa.
I hope taking it slowly will mean I have photographs to post that are more than just a blur of fir trees.
As I travel across Canada, I intend to look in on friends along the way. Actually, I am hoping some of them will put me up for a day or two. This is intended to be a bit of a nostalgia tour as well as an electric vehicle challenge. I will try not to bore anyone here with too much chatter about people you may or may not know. But I have been lucky in my lifetime to live in many different places and visit many more, so I am hoping that some of my observations will be interesting to some of you.
If all goes according to plan, my friend Ross—my oldest living friend I like to say—will meet me in the Pacific Northwest to do some more intensive photography. It is a region neither of us knows well but seems like it will afford some spectacular vistas.
I am not keeping to a precise schedule, but I’ll need to meet up with Ross, in Seattle perhaps, at some pre-arranged date. And I need to be back in Ottawa in time for my daughter Sophia’s graduation in June. As a I write, they haven’t said when in June the graduation will occur, so that may influence how leisurely or how rushed my transit through the States ends up being.
Between now and April, I do have a trip planned to the UK, and so I may post a few things from there. I will post photos from home if I have any I think are worth sharing. And I will post updates on the preparations for my EV adventure, if they seem worth communicating.
If any of this seems like it might be interesting to you, please click one of the subscribe buttons above, or fill in the email box below.
And before you go, here’s a photo of an unusual sunset and cloud formation I took near Swanage, UK, last spring.
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Love the bird shot! Hope to see you in Winnipeg whenever you get here.