Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The 2015 CFL Road Trip

The 2015 CFL schedule was released last week and I immediately began planning a road trip to take in all nine teams. However, this year is rather odd as the stadiums in both Toronto and Hamilton have other engagements (notably the Pan Am Games) that mean that neither club will play a game at home in the first five weeks of the season. The Argos do have a home game in that time though, but it will be played in Fort McMurray against the Eskimos. So much for eastern bias.

A perfect CFL road trip should take no more than 5 weeks. Ideally, Montreal and Ottawa would be home in the first week, then Toronto and Hamilton the next. Winnipeg and Saskatchewan would take the third week of your journey, with Calgary and Edmonton occupying the fourth before finishing with a single game in Vancouver. If you preferred to start in the West, simply reverse that list. Assuming a return to your starting point, the ideal trip would take about 10,200 km (this is the CFL road trip, thus kilometres are used to measure distance), assuming that you stay in Canada the whole way.

No such perfect lineup exists this season, but you can still get a trip done in just under five weeks with only a bit of extra driving. The scheduling quirk means that you can't really start a trip until July 18 with Winnipeg at Calgary, and then follow up with games on the following in three consecutive days in BC, Edmonton, and Saskatchewan (that's a lot of driving) before heading to Winnipeg on July 30. You could again see three games in three days between August 7-9 in Ottawa, Toronto, and Hamilton before finishing in Montreal on August 13. Return to Calgary over three days, making the trip 30 days long and taking about 10,500 km.

However, this is not the trip that I would take, because I would use hometown Ottawa as a starting and finishing point. Starting with those three consecutive eastern games listed above, you could then move west, hitting Winnipeg and Calgary on back-to-back days, checking out BC (and the minor league Vancouver Canadians) from Aug 18-20, and then start back east to Regina. Since you skipped Edmonton, you'll have to backtrack there before making the long trek to finish up in Montreal. The backtrack is not really necessary, as Edmonton is also home on August 21 but that would limit your time there; I'd rather see the Argos on my birthday. The full schedule is below:

Fri, Aug 7  Montreal at Ottawa 7:30
Sat, Aug 8  Saskatchewan at Toronto 7:00
Sun, Aug 9  Winnipeg at Hamilton 7:00
Fri, Aug 14 Toronto at Winnipeg 7:00
Sat, Aug 15 Ottawa at Calgary 8:00
Thu, Aug 20 Montreal at BC 7:00
Sat, Aug 22 Calgary at Saskatchewan 6:00
Fri, Aug 28 Toronto at Edmonton 7:00
Thu, Sep 3  BC at Montreal 7:30

That is exactly 28 days (well, 29 if you party in Montreal on the last night and return to Ottawa on the Friday), taking 11,500 km (just under 7,200 miles), quite a bit of driving for just 9 games. Obviously a CFL trip is not nearly as difficult as the NFL trip I took in 2013 in terms of total time, but with teams in Canada so spread out, you end up driving 800 miles (1280 km) for each game (that was 625 miles per game for the NFL trip). One thing I like about this plan is that you see every team but Edmonton and Hamilton on the road, and the Argos twice.

So will I take it? It is tempting, but there is a lot of downtime between games and few other sports to see in the Canadian summer. I'll decide in July, so stay tuned.

Update: No trip this year, I'll be doing minor league baseball for two weeks in August instead. Check back for a schedule next month.



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