Our First Vehicle-Associated Sponsor: HGregoire – Canada’s Centre D’Auto / Auto Center

The Truck

It was a couple of years ago, and Bella and I were in the market for a new truck. The four cars I had ever had were: Nissan Pathfinder, Pathfinder, Pathfinder…and you guessed it, another Pathfinder. All LE Models. And we were looking for The Expeditioners next…you guessed it, Pathfinder LE.

Now, you’re probably thinking, why would The Expeditioners need an LE? As indeed, LE stands for Luxury Edition. For one, we need the leather seats. Have you ever spilled a coffee on a fabric seat? How about a cup of water? Maybe some sand? A little mud? Some snow? Lots of snow? Rain got in? Or your friend spilled his soda and fries? Oil from your bike chain? How about some salt from your winter boots and ski boots? Water from your wet folding kayak spilled everywhere? Oh, your neoprene suits didn’t fully dry before throwing them in the back seat? How about the post camping food-bin…did the maple syrup leak out?

With fabric seats, the liquids will seep into your seat and rot the interior, the salt will leave white stains, the oil from your chain will never come off, the ketchup will be a constant yucky reminder of your buddy, the maple syrup will make everything gross and sticky, and the seats will take a smell reminiscent of a locker-room’s wet towels bin. But with leather seats– if you frequently clean your car, or wipe the ketchup stain of the seat, sop-up the water, or clean the coffee right away– then those little accidents don’t get immortalized. So there’s my argument for leather seats.

Hood

Secondly, is the sound system:) We spend many many many hours on the road. Expedition Canada alone involves over 6500km of driving… one way! And we loooooove our tunes. The Pathfinder LE has a Bose sound system. Looking out the window at mirrored lakes, sun breaking through puffy clouds, your best friend and lover sitting next to you, and the right song on… is just simply superb.

Truck afficionados know that certain 4x4s will just live longer. Many making it up into the half-million km mark. The Pathfinder is such a truck–and it has the power to pull/carry the heavy loads our adventures require. I parted with the last four around the quarter-million kilometer mark.

Now, the small conundrum is the fact that it is an expensive truck.

It’s common knowledge that the moment you drive a brand new vehicle off of the dealer’s lot, you are literally losing 30% of the original value of the car.

This is why, we never buy new, but instead previously owned. With about 70 000km on such a truck, you can literally get it for less than half the price from new. The trick, though, lies in finding the deal.

Bella and I had called every Nissan dealership in Ontario and Quebec, but nobody had what we were looking for in the price range we were looking for. I was getting stressed at not finding something–for in a few weeks, we would be heading off back-country skiing to Gaspesie, Quebec and we were going to be filming for CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.)

HGregoire

We had driven by the giant HGregoire Mega Auto Center on Autoroute 25 in Saint-Eustache, Quebec many times, but had never given it consideration, as indeed, all the previous trucks had been bought through Nissan dealerships. We thought we’d give it a check online first.

We found exactly what we were looking for! A 2007 Slate-Grey Nissan Pathfinder LE with 95 000km. Except there was no pictures…and we were leaving on a trip in a couple of days. Rushing over to the mega auto center, we perused a ton of vehicles (it was amazing the variety they had), but couldn’t see the Pathfinder we had “seen” online.

We were cordially greeted by a super jovial fellow and sales agent named Stephane Pare– to whom we anxiously inquired about the Pathfinder with no photos…and nowhere in the showroom.

“Let me check it out,” he said, and tapped away into his system.

“This one is so fresh it arrives tomorrow morning. That’s why the photos haven’t even been taken. We could have it cleaned and ready for a test drive tomorrow afternoon.”

That’s what I call efficiency! At 1pm the next day we were test driving it.Then we negotiated a little–and added HGregoire’s Premium 3 year or 70 000km warranty so that we would have no worries whatsoever. And then we bought it.

The Pathfinder

In less than 24 hours of having researched HGregoire’s immense inventory (they have numerous Megacenters) we had found our truck, test drove it, and purchased it.

And it was a great deal!

When we picked it up, we had the brief opportunity to meet HGrgoire’s Marketing and Media Head– Michelle Therrien. A very kind and sharp lady that took an interest to our concept. I told bella as we left the lot– “Maybe they’ll sponsor us one day!”

We hopped in our new truck and headed off to pick-up our friends for our Gaspesie trip and then our Pathfinder took as all over Eastern Canada.

Expeds Bella

Canoe Camping

Fast-forward a couple of years to a few weeks ago, and we approach Michelle Therrien about possibly having HGregoire be a sponsor for Expedition Canada.

We had a fantastic conversation on the phone. We talked about our truck and our travels. Michelle had been following our galavanting around the globe since we bought the truck and happily said they would love to sponsor us–and take the major logo placement on The Expeditioners Truck.

I put the phone down, and turned to Bella and said: “Do you remember what I told you when we left the parking lot when we first bought the truck?”

Sometimes, you’ve got to just believe!

Thank you very very much to HGregoire’s team and Michelle Therrien for believing in us!

You can follow our epic journey across Canada via our Facebook Page, Website and Twitter. Make sure to look for the hashtag #ExpeditionCanada and if you’re looking for a great deal on a pre-owned vehicle in Canada, well you know where to go!

www.hgregoire.com

H Gregoire Website

On the road

Meat Cove Camping, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada

One of our favourite car-camping campsites that we have ever discovered is in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

This place is called “Meat Cove” and it’s setup for car camping and RV Camping. The coolest sit is this one though!

Bella, Wang-Tsu and I camped on the point– and were lucky enough to be treated to a night of Auroras dancing across the sky– and this in summertime!

Here is a photo taken by Roberto. The three of us were standing behind the camera. Just staring at the sky in awe.

A life worth dreaming

Practical Details:

$25 per car campsite.

Address:
2479 Meat Cove Road
Inverness County, Cape Breton
NS, B0C 1E0
Phone: 1-902-383-2379
Website: http://www.meatcovecampground.ca

Back-Country BC

Back-Country BC

I’ve been skiing since I was 5 years old. Every weekend, my parents would drop me off with the YMCA ski school which would take us to a different mountain for the day. The surrounding area of Montreal has the highest concentration of ski hills in the world. Mont Saint Sauveur, Owl’s Head, Orford, Tremblant, Mont Blanc, Sutton, Jay Peak, Bromont, Chanteclair and many more. While these hills are nowhere near the majesty of Canada’s West Coast Mountains, they sufficed for my adolescent and teenage years.

About 6 years ago, I went to ski Whistler and Blackcomb in Canada’s West– and learned what a true ski mountain consists of. Extremely long runs, inspiring views, and powder… lots of powder! Yet this was not to be the final step in the evolution of my skiing, for indeed it was only a few years ago that Bella and I got into the world of back-country skiing and touring.

Exponentially harder, back-country skiing consists of heading into remote regions with a special ski binding that allows your heel to lift. By donning ‘skins’ (fuzzy mohair strips that attach with glue to the bottom of your skis) you are able to literally ski uphill. You begin below the tree line and wind your way through pine trees, across avalanche chutes, and up into the alpine.

It can take hours to reach your destination– always heading higher and higher. The exertion is exhausting, as you carry your gear/food/water in backpack. But it is well worth it. For once you reach the top, you get to lay fresh tracks in knee deep powder, with not a soul in sight except for your ski partner. It’s liberating and extremely rewarding.

In this photo you see Bella after an awesome descent in British Columbia’s Marriot Basin.

Where to stay while you ski: Canada’s back-country has a network of huts up in the mountains, so that you can leave all your camping gear in the hut while you run epic powdery run after epic run.

It took us 5- hours to reach the Wendy Thompson Hut in Marriot Basin which is owned and operated by the Alpine Club of Canada. We did it in a snowstorm and late in the day and without knowing the route. You can easily shave off a couple of hours if you know the way.

Required Equipment:
1. Back-Country Skis, or Snowboard
2. Avalanche Transceivers
3. Shovel
4. Backpack
5. Skins
6. Ski Poles
7. Gloves/ Tuque/ Wool Socks
8. Shell Jacket
9. Down Jacket
10. GPS (not necessary, but good to have in the back-country)