Tag Archives: Highway Thru Hell

Highway Thru Hell

Hubby and I are on the road again in the first part of our adventure in moving to the west coast.  It’s been, um… eventful.  (And I’m writing this very late on Tuesday night, so please forgive any mistakes.)

Our property purchase closes this week, so we decided to come and spend some time wandering our new place and deciding where the house will go.  And some brilliant person who shall remain nameless… (Hint: She has long red hair) …said, “Hey, this is a perfect opportunity to put my ’53 Chevy on the car-hauler trailer and pull it out to the Island before the roads get bad in winter!”

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

So we loaded the Chevy onto the car hauler and packed the truck with the oddments the moving companies wouldn’t take (including our giant houseplants) and set out to drive the whole shebang over multiple mountain passes to the coast, where we’d catch the ferry to Vancouver Island.

Easy-peasy, right?

Naively, we considered:  Should we drive it in one day, or break it into two?  Well, let’s break it into two, just to be on the safe side.

Uh-huh.

We immediately discovered, much to our chagrin, that our car-hauler is an old long-necked U-Haul type for which stabilizer bars were never made.  If we exceeded 90 km/hr (55 mph), it developed an oscillation that required an instant slow-down or it threatened to fling us off the road.

Okay, fine.  Two days.  Not exceeding 90 km/hr.  We could do this.

The first day it took us 9 hours to get to Kamloops.  The second day it took us 15 hours to get from Kamloops to Qualicum Bay where we’re staying.  It’s supposed to be a 13-hour trip in total from Calgary.

I took the first shift as driver.  Let me just say, navigating an unstable 41-foot truck-and-trailer down hairpin curves on an 8% grade is not something I’d care to do on a regular basis.  (Read NEVER AGAIN.)  Particularly with a 5-foot-tall flowering hibiscus tickling the back of my neck.

After the first 3½ hours (at Golden, BC), Hubby took his turn.  Of course, the road immediately became wider and flatter, and the next day even the infamous Coquihalla Highway (the location of the reality show Highway Thru Hell) only offered a few short stretches of 8.5% downgrade on nice wide sweeping turns.  But it didn’t matter – by that time we were so anxious about the possibility of more hairpin turns and steep grades that we were both vibrating by the time we made it to flat ground at Hope, BC.

Then we thought we’d make the 3:10 ferry over to Vancouver Island.

And we would have, except for the traffic accident that kept us parked on the TransCanada Highway for 30 minutes… allowing THE ENTIRE MIDWAY CREW OF THE PACIFIC NATIONAL EXHIBITION to get in front of us.  Which used up all the deck space not only on the 3:10 ferry, but also on the 5:20 ferry.  We finally got aboard the 7:30 ferry, which, after loading, unloading, and some more driving, got us to our destination around 11 PM.

Gee, maybe next time we’ll try to do it in one day.  Ya think?

But we’re finally safe and sound on the Island and looking forward to our bed tonight.  Thank God we’re flying back instead of driving.

And at least I got some pretty pictures:

 

A train tunnel near Salmon Arm, BC, from our truck window

A train tunnel near Salmon Arm, BC, from our truck window

Mara Lake

Mara Lake

Coming up on the Port Mann Bridge, Vancouver BC

Coming up on the Port Mann Bridge, Vancouver BC

On the Port Mann Bridge

On the Port Mann Bridge

The 5:20 ferry leaving... without us

The 5:20 ferry leaving… without us

On the ferry at last!

On the ferry at last!

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