On June 4, Mark Richardson wet the front wheels of a bright yellow 2012 Camaro convertible in the Atlantic Ocean at St. John's, Newfoundland. On August 8, 57 days and 15,245 kilometres later, he dipped the same wheels in the Pacific Ocean at Victoria, British Columbia.
In between, he drove the full length of the Trans-Canada Highway, through all ten provinces – as well as taking some interesting side trips. Quite a few, in fact, for he more than doubled the Trans-Canada's 7370-km distance by trip's end.
"There’s still a romance to be found on the road if you want to look for it," said Richardson on arrival at the Pacific. "It’s right there beneath your feet, under your tires, waiting to show you Canada."
Richardson's Trans-Canada trek wasn't just a joy ride. Sponsored by the CAA (Canadian Automobile Association), it was intended to both celebrate and call attention to the 50th anniversary of the completion of the Trans-Canada Highway – and the 100th anniversary of the first coast-to-coast road trip across Canada (albeit without roads in many places).
CAA clubs across the country organized local events for Richardson to meet with regional members and the greater community.
Along the way, he met and chatted with politicians, media personalities and just plain folks who told stories of the route and the impact it has had on their lives and the livelihood of their regions.
Accompanied by his 12-year-old son, Tristan, for the second half of the journey, he documented his daily adventures on a blog. He plans to turn the tales into a book (to be released at CAA's 2013 Annual General Meeting).
His blog entries recount historic tales of the early drivers who competed to be the first to cross the country, and provide plenty of local history and colour about the places and people he visited.
It's an insightful glimpse into Canada's history, geography, diversity and spirit.
Beyond his natural journalistic interest in the Trans-Canada, Richardson has a personal connection to the great highway. He was born on July 30, 1962 – the exact day the highway was completed at Revelstoke, BC. He was in Revelstoke on July 30, 2012, to celebrate both their birthdays.
"There’s still a romance to be found on the road if you want to look for it," says Richardson. "It’s right there beneath your feet, under your tires, waiting to show you Canada.
Mark Richardson, an award-winning journalist and author, is the former editor of the Toronto Star's Wheels and the current the editor of the MFuel automotive supplements in Maclean's magazine.
He is a veteran of North American road trips and author of a book, titled 'Zen and Now'.