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Nearly 80, former Miscouche man gearing up to travel across Canada in a 1981 Corvette

To celebrate his 80th birthday, Peter Steele bought himself a red, 1981 Chevrolet Corvette. Steele plans to travel cross country in the 'vette, as he calls it, in about 30 days.
To celebrate his 80th birthday, Peter Steele bought himself a red, 1981 Chevrolet Corvette. Steele plans to travel cross country in the 'vette, as he calls it, in about 30 days. - Contributed

They were some of the best days of Peter Steele's life – driving along coastal routes and bumpy roads and zooming along a highway with his wife, Linda, in the passenger seat. 

But sadly, Steele will have to set off on his latest journey alone after his wife's death four years ago this month. 

"She used to be my navigator," Steele said shakily. 

"We travelled by car with a motorhome dragging behind, sailed on the Queen Elizabeth 2 and cruised together ... we front-loaded our lives. We did all these things when we were young."

Peter Steele and wife Linda. Linda was the navigator and Steele was the driver when the pair would travel together. Now Steele is going on a solo trip, to add to the
Peter Steele and wife Linda. Linda was the navigator and Steele was the driver when the pair would travel together. Now Steele is going on a solo trip, to add to the

Now with his 80th birthday looming, Steele is looking to make more memories on the open road. 

"To celebrate, I bought myself a Corvette."

Driving since he was 14, Steele always had an idea of what a fun car was. 

"The C3 from the 1970s - now that was my idea of a car," he said with a chuckle. 

Now living in Hantsport, N.S., Steele grew up in Miscouche, just outside of Summerside, and moved to a new province after his assets were lost in the 2008 financial crisis. 

But before that, he was the vice-principal of Colonel Grey High School in Charlottetown, owned one of the first seniors housing facilities in Charlottetown and is a former owner of Woodley Replicas. 

But the past isn't about to keep him down. 

"The Corvette's in Edmonton, so I'll fly out there, drive it home, but make some stops on the way."

The red, C3 1981 T-Top Corvette Peter Steele bought himself to celebrate his 80th birthday.
The red, C3 1981 T-Top Corvette Peter Steele bought himself to celebrate his 80th birthday.

One of Steele's sons found the car on a used vehicle website. He told his father about it and soon Steele was having regular correspondence with the seller. 

"My son, David, went and checked out the car, he knows a guy at a mechanic shop that will make sure everything is in tune before the journey home." 

"It's a red, C3 1981 T-Top Corvette. If there's good weather, I'll have the top down."

His first stop will be in Dawson City, Yukon. 

"My son will be heading up there on a business trip on his motorcycle. I'll be his support for the journey."

Then he plans to hit the west coast. But based on the route he's got in mind, he might miss the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador. The trip is expected to take about a month.

Chelsea Moullins of Summerside travelled across Canada with a friend three years ago in a span of 17 days. 

"My must see place was Banff and Lake Louise (in Alberta). I had never seen mountains before. But there are places we definitely wished we had gone, like the Royal Canadian Mint in Manitoba or Old Quebec City."

During the trip, the pair drove along the Great Lakes. That experience has left them with a life lesson: "Always gas up when you can, especially if you know you've got a long stretch of road ahead of you." 

According to the Canadian Automobile Association, summer is a great time to travel cross-country. 

The organization advises motorists to get their vehicle inspected just before the trip, take emergency supplies and keep a spare set of keys handy to avoid getting locked out of the car. 
 


Travelling tips from CAA: 
– Keep a flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, water and non-perishable foods in your emergency pack 
– Have a tool kit handy, including a tire-pressure gauge, wrench, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables and emergency flares/reflectors 
– Ensure all documents like driver's licence, licence plate stickers, vehicle insurance, and travel insurance is up to date
– Reduce distractions while driving, if you've got passengers designate someone to answer texts and phone calls
– If your car breaks down, pull of of traffic if possible
– Don't drive tired 
SOURCE: https://www.caa.ca/the-time-is-right-for-a-canadian-summer-road-trip-says-caa/


Steele plans to share his journey on YouTube. 

"I'm dealing with technology I've never used before. I need to learn how to use a GoPro. I'll send the video to my granddaughter in Ontario, and she will put them online for me."

But Steele is very aware of the empty passenger seat next to him. 

"I've got a bushel full of memories. It will be a nostalgic trip, every time I look at the right seat..." he said trailing off. 

To help cover the cost of the adventure, Steele has a GoFundMe page for those interested in supporting him.  

"Any little bit will help. But this trip is about more than that."

Really, Steele hopes his journey will remind people that adventure always awaits. 

"You're never too old for adventure. I hope this proves that. I hope it helps inspire people my age to get out and travel or try new things.

"I want to create new memories for myself and my family. One day when I look back on the trip footage I can be like 'I really did that.'" 


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