Monday, 5 March 2012

The Drive Home: Part 2

It was +8° and raining when we awoke in Cranbrook this morning. The road reports all called for poor winter conditions on most of our choices of routes, but all were open, so we decided to go the fastest route I mentioned yesterday that looks like this:
The plan for the day
and is ~300 km and 4 hrs. Just as we got to Radium Hot Springs, they closed Hwy 93 through the Sinclair and Vermillion passes. But surprisingly, the Trans Canada was open, and road conditions were reportedly good until the Alberta border. So we continued north on this route:
The revised plan
It adds almost exactly 100 km to the route, so is ~400 km and 5 hrs.

Temps were in the +5° range, and the roads bare and wet (from rain) from Cranbrook to Golden. The roads stayed just fine to Field where it started snowing. As if by magic (or more likely, government maintenance intervention), the roads went from fine to horrible the moment you crossed the Alberta border, and we drove the last hour in a raging blizzard with sloppy, snow covered roads.
Between Lake Louise & Castle Junction
So in the end, this was our 2 day journey:
Could we have a more circuitous route?
According to Google Maps, it's 1,068 km, and 15 hrs 30 minutes of driving time. Vernon to Golden via the Trans Canada Highway is 300 km. The detour from Vernon to Nakusp to Nelson to Cranbrook to Golden is an 810 km detour, adding about 510 km to the commute.

Sadly, the two friends I know along our route (one in Cranbrook, one in Invermere) were unable to see us along our journey.

On the bright side, we saw 3 bald eagles, one deer, 5 bighorn sheep and a small herd of elk. And a whole lot of the BC countryside.

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