About Us

The Open Road Project exists to spread kindness and meet the needs of strangers. We travel in a 1979 GMC Vanguard named Lily. These are our stories.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Where are they now?

Thank you for reading this blog over the years. As we're sure you can see, we have been inactive for quite some time.

Fret not! There is a new era dawning, and there is now a PODCAST you can listen to if you want to keep in touch with what we are up to.

Jeremy and Calvin have started The Open Road Podcast, where they interview people who are finding adventure in the everyday, and share new and old stories alike. CLICK HERE to listen to the show, or subscribe on iTunes or Google Play (or wherever you get your shows).

You can also follow the podcast on Instagram by CLICKING HERE.

Cheers to the adventure,

The Boys

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Great Key Lime Pie Crawl of 2015

Sanibel is a fairly sleepy island so there isn't much of a night life.

While we were discussing what to do one evening, Katie Enns joked that we should go on a key lime crawl.

Needless to say, that evening we hopped on our bikes and began our quest for the best pie on the island.

We decided that we would judge each pie as a couple based on three criteria:

1) Presentation
2) Crust
3) Overall flavour

That night, we sampled pies from Gramma Dot's, The Lazy Flamingo, and Matzaluna. The next day, we continued the adventure with a slice at Jerry's.

Now I know you are just DYING to know where to find the best pie, but I must be honest - we haven't tabulated the results.

Each couple was responsible for their own score card, and at this point, I have no idea where any of those score cards are. I will make this my top priority. In the mean time, if you squint realllly hard, you might be able to see the scores in some of the photos below!

Grandma Dot's


The Lazy Flamingo





Thanks for reading,

Jeremy and friends

Friday, April 24, 2015

Working on our swings

Tyrone here – thanks for joining us. When the idea of a trip to Florida was brought to my attention, I’ll admit my mind immediately went to golf. We would be in a distant land where palm trees shaded the greens and the courses were open 12 months a year. However, my train of thought came quickly to a halt as I remembered Jeremy & Calvin weren’t golfers. Or so I thought.

They agreed to bring down some clubs with the intention of maybe hitting a driving range on a free afternoon, but while searching local courses one night we stumbled upon a true diamond in the rough. Myerlee Country Club proudly describes itself as “the 3rd most affordable course in South West Florida”. This translates into 9 holes, a cart and your choice of draft beer – for $15.

The decision was made and not four hours later, both Calvin & Jer were wondering why they had missed out on the glory for so many years. They enjoyed their time on the links so much, that a few mornings later they were the ones getting me up at the crack of dawn to ensure we weren’t late for our sunrise tee time. I am happy to report these two have fallen victim to the allure of golf – and it shows no signs for letting up any time soon.

The 20 yard chip that robbed Jer of a birdie...
Cart club
Short game
Living the high life 
Thanks to our sponsor, Nike
Now golf hasn’t been the only method in which we way have been working on our swings this past week, thanks to pristine tennis courts just next to our humble abode. Armed with a few rackets and fresh canisters of balls still holding that coveted new tennis ball smell, we began to refine our game.

After a few extremely competitive (read sweaty) warm up sessions, it was time for the Sanibel Cup to begin. As onlookers admired the sheer beauty of our back and forth rallies, each of us was able to claim a coveted Cup title. Wisely, we decided to retire on top and will be leaving the island as the undisputed champions.

It has been nice to be able to mix in these activities and more amongst the relaxation, and I’m sure the girls would happily tell you that their relaxation has also benefited from our periodic absence.


Tyrone and friends

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Get to know the locals

Here at the Open Road Project we are all about dispelling the myth that young people are sluggards, lazy, and sleep in till noon. So on Monday morning, we got up at the crack of dawn and went to the beach for some sunrise shelling.

Sanibel Island is the shell capital of the universe, and offers so many varieties of shells that no person could ever hope to collect them all. It was a beautiful sunrise, and we got the best selection of the shells deposited by the cool Florida night tide.

After a quick breakfast, we waited for our 10:00 am pickup from a friend who has been coming to the island since before Lily even hit the production line.

When someone gives you the "Sanibel Insiders List of Things To Do," and then also offers to take you on a tour of the island - you just say yes.

Driving around in the bed of a pickup truck is fun any day of the week, but cruising around the island this way was especially satisfying. Sanibel has a fascinating history, and I would encourage you to do a 5 minute Google search to learn more if you are into good stories.

Cruisin' Florida style
Back in the late 60's Sanibel was set to become the next "Miami beach," with plans for over 90,000 hotel/condo/high rise units. The locals, wanting to preserve the natural beauty and diverse wildlife on the island, ended up voting to secede from Lee County so that they could govern themselves, and take control back from the developers. Today the island is built as much as it will ever be, and no buildings are higher than 3 storeys. Also, two-thirds of the island is comprised of wildlife refuges. For a group of six who believe in a Creator, this island has been an amazing place to marvel at the beauty that surrounds us.

On our tour, we also learned about an inspiring man named Jay "Ding" Darling when we visited the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. He was a cartoonist with a passion for raising awareness of conservation issues. He was good friends with Franklin Roosevelt during the time the National Wildlife Foundation was created. His political cartoons won him a number of awards during a time when there many American animal species were rapidly disappearing. Our tour of the refuge compelled us to think about the complex conservation and environmental issues of the present.

This rifle held over three pounds of ammo, and would decimate 80-100 birds per shot
Getting educated
After our tour, we went out for an amazing lunch at a popular local spot called Doc Ford's. Doc Ford is a character in a book series based on a guy who lives on the island of Sanibel. Calvin has been captivated by one Doc Ford page-turner this week.

Whenever we travel on the open road, we find the best stories come from time spent with locals. Our tour was a perfect example of this!

Thanks for reading,

Jeremy and friends

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sunday Funday

When we woke up and realized we had a whole Sunday ahead of us, we were again excited that we decided to drive straight through.

After a modest sleep-in, we hopped in the RV to go out for breakfast and run some errands. We ended up at a hilarious little place called the Sunflower Cafe. When we walked in, the large restaurant was absolutely PACKED with the "over 65 Sunday church crowd." Every snowbird or Florida retiree stereotype you can think of applied. It was a pretty fun experience, and we estimated the average age of any given patron was 77. The coffee was hot and the food was greasy - just as we expected and hoped.

Now it was time to head to SuperTarget to get our groceries for the week. The ladies laid out a nice meal plan so shopping was pretty turnkey. Stick to the list.

Next on the to-do list was renting some bikes from our friends at Billy's Bikes. The island is quite small, and many people bike to get around. We quickly became friends with our service representative, who was originally from Montreal. All the bike shop employees thought the RV was VERY cool. I wasn't surprised.

Gotta love a well-maintained bike path
Now that the errands were complete, it was finally time to hit the beach. The water was warm, the waves were fun and the wind made for perfect conditions for Calvin's awesome snowy owl kite.

After beach time, we busted out the George Forman for dinner, followed by a late night bike ride for ice cream and the local hotspot.

The lovely ladies
Great weather to fly an ironic kite
Moments before Calvin smashed ice cream into his face - he'll do anything for the camera
Also, for those reading, please note that these posts are really about a vacation. Hopefully it's a little more interesting than the slides from your aunt's trip to the Grand Canyon, but no guarantees.


Jeremy and friends

Sunday, April 19, 2015

We made it!

After 30 straight hours in the RV - our longest direct ride to date - we made it to Sanibel Island in Florida.

When the workday ended on Friday, we gathered in Burlington and packed the RV. The was a definite buzz in the air. While Lily is, yes, an ancient RV, the girls were pleasantly surprised with her spacious and versatile configurations. The new upgrades and fresh scent went a long way.

Crossing the border and driving through the night was no problem, and for this we were very thankful. The Rockstar energy drinks were flowing, and the RV loved the cool air and open interstate. We cruised through Pennsylvania and all of West Virginia before sun up.

Calvin and Tyrone did most of the driving in the night, and I was back at the wheel as the sun was rising. Wow was it beautiful. At this point we were coming out of Virginia into North Carolina, and the fresh green and purple tree buds were beginning to appear. It was exciting to watch the forests turn more and more lush as we drove south.

When driving through the States, I am always reminded of the differences between our country and America. The dirt cheap gas is always welcome - we were typically filling up for about $60. Even with the poor exchange rate, that makes for a significant savings. There are also many things that make us scratch our heads, such as boiled peanuts, liquid nicotine at gas stations, and the omnipresent fast food.

The ride was mostly uneventful, though at times we could tell that Lily was a bit tired. The frequent stops for gas also allowed some time for the engine to rest.

Calvin pulled the last leg of the trip, driving from north of Tampa all the way to Sanibel - we arrived at 2:00 am on the nose.

After dumping everything into our place, we parked the RV and went straight to bed. Did it ever feel good to put our heads down on our pillows.

Now the fun begins!

Calvin got good bang for his buck at Starbucks. Leave room for dairy? No thanks.
RV life
Do not try to get between Katie E and her crosswords
Thanks for reading,

Jeremy and friends

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Announcement: To the Sunshine State!

That's right, Lily is heading to Florida.

This announcement is historic for a few reasons. Namely, there will women on this trip. Also, it's the first time travelling with a gorgeous new golden speedboat hood ornament reminiscent of a true Florida Poker Run boat. Ok, so a hood ornament is not that big of a deal, but taking girls on a trip is!

Open Road veterans Calvin Berry, Tyrone Maguire and I are going with our ladies - Katie, Danielle and Katie - on a trip to Sanibel Island. Though this will be more of a vacation than an adventure style trip, there are bound to be some good stories, so I have decided to write about what we get up to.

So, to the beginning of the story. A few months ago, Katie and Calvin invited Katie, myself, Dani and Ty to go to Florida with them for a vacation. While Tyrone and I were searching for cheap flights, a lightbulb went off simultaneously in our heads. The RV. Surely gas split 6 ways would be cheaper than a flight! Now if only we could convince the ladies...

Much to our surprise, they were excited about the idea! Obviously there were a number of conversations about reliability, but no way of travel is without its pros and cons... The new engine in Lily is built to last, and we haven't had (much) trouble on our last mini adventures. So after we crunched the numbers and assured the ladies Lily would undergo a thorough cleaning, they were in.

Over the past few weekends, I have been getting her ready with Tyrone and another Open Road veteran, Josh Willms. We put some more caulking on the roof (no leaks now!), fixed the right brake light and turn signal (important), got the electrical working inside (which I am VERY pumped about), got rid of some old (very old) rations from trips past, and installed some new windshield wipers (swish swish).  Thanks to my gracious father Rudy for lending some labour from his shop to do the electrical. Oh, and of course I enlisted the help of our favourite mechanic friend, Craig, to help us install some new speakers and the hood ornament. We also let him loose with his drill and some screws, which was helpful considering the state of some of our gorgeous wall hangings and the step into the RV.

With the major upgrades completed, I drove Lily back to my abode in Burlington. It was now time to let Katie loose with the cleaning products for the final polish. I wish that I could say I helped, but I was generally just in the way. Katie went to town with the Pinesol, Windex, and rubbing alcohol (for that pesky duct tape residue). She showed every speck of dust and dirt who was the boss with the Dyson. It was a truly sight to behold! I have never seen that RV so clean, so cared for and so ready to go on a journey.

Tomorrow, our adventure begins. We will be gone for a week, and are excited for warmer weather, and some great time together as friends. Naturally, we will be keeping our eyes open for people to meet and help.

Thank you for reading, and stay tuned. Adventure awaits!

Clean and clear and under control

Home is where you park it,

Jeremy and the boys (and gals!)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Open Road Project: Saturday Edition

As we have all grown older, graduated university, and started working full time, naturally it has been more difficult to find time for long, elaborate road trips.

But since the RV is running so well these days, we have been keeping our eyes peeled for mini-adventures. Such an adventure occurred in November, and we called the trip #TORPsaturday, or The Open Road Project: Saturday Edition. Waking up at 6:00am on a Saturday, six of us hopped into Lily and headed north (Anthony and James joined for their inaugural adventure).

Our first stop - Bellwood Lake - was an absolute bust. As we lurked around the lake looking for a spot to camp, we quickly realized that there was no suitable place to set up camp. While driving down a cottage road, we were stopped by a local who told us about a string of cottage robberies in the area. Clearly we were top suspects, as not 10 minutes later we were swarmed by the fuzz. After kindly letting us know that we wouldn't find a spot to camp anywhere in the area, we decided to move on. For some reason the police didn't take us up on our RV tour offer...

The dam
Our new friends, with the Bellwood Lake dam in the background
After we ate our lunch of pizza buns, we decided to head another 45 minutes north to Anthony's friend Mikaela's place. I was a bit hesitant to spend more time driving (gas ain't cheap), but Anthony assured us that this place would provide the adventure we were looking for. Boy was he right.

As we drove, our excitement began to increase exponentially. The rolling hills were covered with a beautiful layer of snow, and we could feel that our trip was beginning to take shape. When we arrived at his friends house, we were warmly greeted and asked if we wanted to hike a loop of the Bruce trail. This hike had it all - scenic lookouts, abandoned buildings, and the crisp, country air for our lungs. It was amazing.

When we got back from our hike, we realized that we had an opportunity to do something helpful for our new friends. Their house is heated with a wood stove, so we asked if we could process some logs. There wasn't really a need, and instead we were given a good stash of logs for our own fire that night.

A neat small world moment occurred when James realized that he had worked with Mikaela's brother Zach at camp the previous summer. This kind of stuff often happens on the road.

After saying goodbye to our new friends, we found an incredible place to spend the night beside a beautiful flowing stream. For the rest of the night, we cast our lines, hit some golf balls, enjoyed a fire and cooked a magical dinner of Canadian bacon on a bun.

Happy to be in nature 
The gang plus Mikaela "Tour Guide" Alexander
Tim getting his Canada on
The morning would bring our 24 hour adventure to a close, but we went to bed totally satisfied. I tend to say that anytime Lily gets out on the road, magic happens. This was the case once again. The day started off slow, but slowly built into an incredible adventure.

While in the end we didn't really help anyone on this quick trip, I always appreciate the conversation and relationship building that occurs when you get some guys together and break the routine of daily life.

As I went down to the river to play
Anthony with the only catch of the day
The Bruce Trail
Huge thanks to our sponsor, Pretty Cheap Beanies
Embrace the weather
This pics sums up Open Road first timers Anthony and James

The Boys

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jeremy's Bachelor Party

One of the best things about being engaged is the fact that you get to have a bachelor party (don't take it personally, Katie).

Needless to say, the boys planned an unbelievable weekend for me. We started downtown Toronto with a Steam Whistle brewery tour and then had an amazing meal at Mill Street brewery. The German in me was jumping for job during each delectable bite of schnitzel.

From there we headed to an old warehouse that was home to an underground axe throwing league. Yes, you read that correctly - axe throwing. Many of my best friends were able to join us for the safe, calm, and tranquil hatchet-hucking tournament.  That night the whole posse camped out in Lily and a bunch of tents.

The next day, my wedding party stuck around and we went to Bronte Provincial Park for another day of camping and hanging out. It was the perfect blend of activities and adventure.

Huge thanks to Tyrone for planning, and to the boys for taking excellent care of me.

Now it's time to go get married. Wish me luck.

Deeply contemplating marriage in the last known photograph of me as a single man
Thankful for these men

Jeremy and The Boys

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Calvin's Bachelor Party

Well it is been a long time since this blog has been updated, but Lily is still alive and well, and though we haven't been writing a whole lot, there have been some dandy adventures.

Simply put, having an RV is a blessing.

When one of your best friends is having a bachelor party and everyone needs transport to Ottawa for white water rafting, you have the answer.

When eight people need a place to sleep during the trip, you have the answer.

When you want to make some memories together, you have the answer.

The weekend was a great success.

Calvin deeply contemplating marriage in the last known photograph of him as a single man.
I spy with my little eye, a lot things that are fun. 
Elliot Moose is on the loose.
Blessings to you, brother Calvin, as you embark on your marriage journey with your Katie!


The Boys

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer Adventures: Join us!

It has been a good summer, but my how quickly it flies by!

If you have been wondering what The Open Road boys are up to, wonder no more.

Tim: Working at a marketing firm in the Toronto area
Tyrone: In a summer semester at Laurier working on his business degree
Jeremy: Working as the Assistant Boys Camp Director at Camp Mini-Yo-We
Zach: In school at the University of Guelph

We are all going to be reunited in late August for PRiME, Camp Mini-Yo-We's teens camp. This is going to be an awesome week where over 200 teens will have an awesome time, learn more about God and make life long friends. The four of us guys met at camp a few years ago and started friendships that would carry us through university and some of the best adventures of our lives. It's cool to look back and see how friendships evolve as lives are shared together.

We are looking forward to catching up after a summer apart.

If you are between the ages of 14-18 and are free between August 25-31, join us for PRiME! It's guaranteed to be a great time (I don't usually promote this type of thing on this blog, but seriously, it's going to be the best week of your summer if you come).

Home is where you park it,
The Boys

Life-sized Mario Kart at PRiME 2012

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mitchell & Ness: Where dreams come true

Expect the unexpected when you are on the road. This theme was once again solidified as our road trip through the Northeastern States brought us to an apparel store in the heart of Philadelphia. Tim had heard of said specialty sports store, Mitchell & Ness, from somewhere in cyberspace. The first time we were there, we noticed a film crew in the store. I struck up a conversation and quickly found out what was going on. FuseTV was in town filming a special on Sneaker Culture and had stopped at the iconic shop to take a look around.

We were told who the on camera talent was, and naturally went over to introduce ourselves. That was when we met Esteban Serrano, host of "Top 20 Countdown" on FuseTV. We told him all about what we were up to and he quickly became very excited to follow us on our social media platforms. We chatted for a while longer about previous trips and life in general before he signed our guest book and invited us to swing by his place if we were ever in New York. Chance encounters like these are always memorable, so thank you Esteban for your kind words and encouragement! We wish you all the best.
Our new friend, Esteban.
The next day as we were cruising the streets of Philly, we were again close to the place we had met Esteban the day prior. We decided to go in one more time, as it seemed to be a good place to grab a Phillies shirt to remember the city by (we went to a ball game the night before remember?). This time when we walked through the door, we were greeted by some DJ's from "104.5 Philadelphia's Alternative Radio Station!" As it turns out, the station was throwing a concert for their 6th birthday starring Paramore and Phoenix. The DJ's were hanging out at Mitchell & Ness giving away tickets to the show and promoting the station. As a fellow radio DJ, I enjoyed chatting with them about their roles at the station. There were three drawings for tickets, so I imagine you can guess what happened when four of us entered the contest...

We won two tickets :)

Tyrone's name was drawn and since we weren't going to be in Philly any longer, we gave two kids the chance to rock out at the show. It was pretty clear that the two who we gave them to were keen on seeing their favourite band, so it worked out really well. The mother was so grateful, and again we were able to engage in some great conversation. "Stuff like this just doesn't happen!" Sometimes it does, and we are so thankful when we get to be a part of that kind of "stuff."

Tyrone with his spoils.
Easy come, easy go.
Always sign the guest book!
And last but not least, a quick video of Tyrone winning. Somehow, deeeep inside our souls, we just knew that we were going to win some tickets, so I decided to film the drawing.

Home is where you park it,
The Boys