Winter Roadtrip 2012… days four and five.

Roadtripping is supposed to be amazing, fun, exhilarating and spontaneous, but sometimes it’s not. Kind of like our lives… days four and five were definitely less than stellar, but the company was good. 🙂 We found on this roadtrip, we were going to have to deliberately choose to look for the positives in our situation, the weather was still not cooperating, and after some consideration we decided to push on as originally planned, and “feel our way” along this trip. We relaxed, and decided to loosely hold to our schedule and allow for changes along the route if needed.

So bright and early, Brian and I headed west out of Jasper into the center of British Columbia and cruised the famous and lonely Canadian Hwy 16 – or the “Yellow Head Highway” we only drove a fraction of its length, from Jasper to a few hundred miles from Prince Rupert. The idea was to leave civilization and really see the backwoods of Canada, a road and a place we had never actually visited. The weather, the fog and the terrain all combined to give us a less than ideal experience.

Yellow Head Highway - Jan 2012 - West of Jasper

Rain, sleet and occasional snow were constant companions for the next four hundred miles and visibility remained low. We saw a ton of trees and few mountains, but mostly just the snow covered pavement and icy road. Let me just confirm for the curious… Yellow Head highway west of Jasper has very few towns, very few gas stations and very little civilization at all. The isolation was a welcome friend as we had driven here in part to escape the crush of our schedules and busy lives… but after two days of relentless road and grey shades of sky and no real sun, we were ready for something with a bit more yellow and orange and whole lot less white and grey.

So we adjusted our plans and decided to turn south after a very interesting side trip that almost led us up to Alaska (turned back by a sudden blizzard) … instead we had to make a double stop in Prince George and discovered an epic snafu at a Petro Canada gas station in which a debit card of Brian’s was charged almost $700,000.00 (not a typo) for a fill up… by accident of course. Talk about inflation… We won’t go into that, but it was clear we were ready to get out of dodge and find some sunshine and more accurate credit card machines in the south.

We stuck with our roadtripping tradition and determined to leave British Columbia via the backroads (via Hwy 99) into Whistler and onto Vancouver. We enjoyed a spectacular end of day view as we wound our way along the misty harbors and wooded inlets of the Pacific Northwest as we approached Bowen Island and Horseshoe Bay. Vancouver BC is a MUST visitfor those who love mild climates, flowers on Victoria’s island and an amazing cityscape that rests on a series of peninsula’s right on the pacific, rimmed by the mountains to the north and east and the sea to the west. GORGEOUS in any weather!

Approaching Vancouver - Pacific Beauty - Horseshoe Bay

We however managed to find a serious traffic jam on Canadian Hwy 4 as we tried to sneak back into the US, spending an extra 90 minutes trapped on a ten lane freeway in rush hour evening traffic. Good to know some things are universal 🙂

We survived and despite the weather and the roads and the delays we navigated the new path forward without serious incident or stress. We did feel the unease of driving so quickly from an isolated wilderness road with only wind and rain and trees to look at, into a ten lane truck and commuter jammed freeway full of suburbanites…. it takes some rapid “adjusting” to shift from such extremes in environment, but we remained in good spirits and hopeful for a new day and better views in Washington.

Between us we have six teen-agers, this rapid transition stuff was already a bit of a familiar sensation for us, but in a different way… we knew about sudden climate changes, the angst of slowing down and speeding up and of surprises in the weather at home… this roadtrip had many of the familiar earmarks of married life and raising our kids. The trick it seems with family and roadtripping is to choose to relax,… to hang “loosely” to our plans and enjoy the ride as we go. Some things, like hormones and growing up can’t be avoided or delayed… as parents we just have to go “through” them, pressing past the rain and the fog and gloom of our present situation, to the sunshine and calm that lies just ahead.

Crossing the US border we quickly headed for Seattle, a hotel and maybe some sunshine… day five of our roadtrip we prayed would be much better. It was… and it wasn’t. But that’s for tomorrow’s blog.


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