|The Normal Route|
However, the lovely snow we've been having in Big White has caused no end of grief for the TCH. Last night, when we were packing to leave, the TCH was closed for part of the route (between Sicamous and Revelstoke) due to avalanches that were being cleared, and closures/delayed openings were threatened for the part through the Rogers Pass from Revelstoke to Golden due to the avalanche danger. The alternative route here is pretty long; the Selkirk and Purcell mountains are in the way. It looks like this:
|The South route|
All the way we were getting regular updates that the road ahead was opening bit by bit. But we got to Vernon (just north of Kelowna) and found out that the Sicamous-Revelstoke stretch had now shut due to multiple avalanches, and wouldn't open until tomorrow. Oops. Now what?
Our two choices at this stage became pull a 180° turn and head right back the way we came to take the south route, or to cut across the mountains and try to avoid the closures, using a route via Nakusp that looks like this:
|Big White to Vernon to Nakusp to Revelstoke to home|
|I figure about 300 km/hr ought to do it|
|Part the way across|
|Getting closer. Cables visible.|
|Almost there. Packed with cars...|
|Dramatic log shot|
|Out of focus, but still|
|The pole is artistic, don't you think?|
|Have roof bullet, will travel|
|I liked the building. Looked like a movie set.|
|Big White to Cranbrook via Nakusp|
We left Big White at 9 AM Pacific time and rolled into Cranbrook at 7 PM Pacific. But we went through a time zone change on the way, so arrived at 8 PM mountain. We found a hotel, checked in, then went out for dinner. I had picked a Greek restaurant in town that I had found on line. As we pulled up (at 8:30 PM local time on a Sunday night), they shut the lights off on the sign and we watched them turn the sign from Open to Closed.
So a quick check on my iPhone and I found a back up restaurant. We went there, and it too was closed (despite a sign saying open for take out from 5-9 PM Sundays). We ended up at East Side Marios. However, we were the only patrons in the whole place for the 90 minutes we were there.
To get home from Cranbrook tomorrow, this is the fastest route:
|Cranbrook to home|
At this moment, a wicked snow storm is hitting Kootenay National Park. Parks is doing avalanche control on the road in the park tomorrow. Forecasts are for 30 cm of snow. The road is currently in poor winter driving conditions. It crosses two major passes (Sinclair and Vermillion). So there's a risk that we will wake up tomorrow and find the road closed (or worse, get to Invermere and the Kootenay Park turnoff and find the road closed). And if Hwy 93 closes, so will the TCH. This would be our only route around it all:
|Cranbrook to home via Fernie and Calgary (almost)|
Stay tuned for how this all ends.
And if you're coming to Cranbrook on a Sunday night, try to eat before 8:30 pm.