I’ve seen a couple of new things over the summer and fall. One thing is ‘variable speed’ corridors on the some highways in British Columbia. There are no permanent speed limit signs on these sections of highway. Instead there are overhead, digital signs every few miles that indicate the speed.
Another new (to me) thing this year that I first saw in the most unlikely of places was in a McDonalds in Rocky Mountain House, Ab. That was where I saw the first electronic touch screen ordering system where you get to punch in your own order, and pay for it without ever talking to a person. Personally, I don’t like them and find the person behind the counter is much faster than me hunting and guessing and choosing. It will be interesting to see if the same tech has arrived in the US restaurants this winter?
While on the topic – many grocery stores now have the self check-out option. It’s a great idea, but rarely works for me. It usually does not understand when I do not want to use their bag, or if I want to question a price. And if you try to buy beer with one in the US, it grinds to a halt until a real person comes over to verify your ID. Of course I’ve had a similar problem when the ‘under-21’ clerk had to wait till someone else came to OK a liquor purchase! I usually end up just walking away from one of those self checkout machines, leaving it muttering away to itself while I haul my stuff to the next available cashier!
Now where were we? Oh right, after camping and kayaking at some great lakes in central BC, we stopped in to visit friends on beautiful Bridge Lake, and admired the wonderful views and incredible job of renovating that they have been doing for the last few years. Of course this has prevented them from coming south in the winter – but not this year. They will be loading their camper and heading south at the end of the year!
We were in 100 Mile House, BC, and looking for a route to Whistler and Squamish on the coast. One of the roads has been closed for a while due to a massive landslide that totally removed a large section of the road, but I heard that it had recently been partially re-built. I saw on the map that there was a short-cut from Clinton, past a provincial park, and coming out on Highway 99. It looked good – on the map! The first few miles was paved, just to lure you in. Then it turned into a rough gravel road, with it’s own warnings of debris flows, etc.
I stopped and talked to a muddy logging truck (that should have been a hint) at the start of this section, and he gave me some good advice on where NOT to go; and that the next truck coming would be in an hour. So we headed on up this ‘road’ that soon turned into a narrow, muddy, one-lane logging road winding up 1500’ of this cliff at a 14% grade with few to nil pull-outs. (No photos of the scarier parts!)The mud was luckily fairly gritty, but it was soon plastered all up the sides of the rig, and even onto the windshield somehow. Luckily, we met no one, and once on top, the logging traffic was diverted and the rest of the route was simply a muddy road populated by cows not inclined to give the right of way.
Onwards towards Lillooet was where the road had collapsed a few weeks prior. I think it had only reopened to one lane traffic for a day or two by the time I got there.
It was a bit chilly out, so the flaggers each had a small bonfire burning to try and stay warm.
Whistler was totally socked in and raining when I got there (so no pics). Got to have a coffee with cousins who were visiting the area as well, then hung out with the high speed internet in the library – at least until the weather improved a bit. From there it was a cruise down into Squamish, and the Sea to Sky highway leading towards Vancouver. Original ‘plans’ had included possibly some time on Vancouver Island, but some time constraints in getting back home, and scary stories about days-long delays getting on a ferry convinced me to stay on the mainland.
And not wanting to go through metro Vancouver traffic and being stuck mostly on the Trans Canada highway on the way home, it was an easy decision to backtrack through Pemberton and Lillooet where my route could be a bit more varied.
Of course, one has to stop on occasion for a coffee or a burger, but I found rather tight parking options both at Tim’s and under the arches.
Well, it looks like the pre-roadtrip roadtrips have taken place, the leaves have all fallen, the grass has quit growing (finally), and a bit of snow has started to fall. The Bayfield Bunch are heading south, and I imagine Wandering Willy and Jean & Skip will also be heading out any day. Which leaves nothing else to do except to switch campers, load up and head for the warm south country! We may have to wait for a warm day or two to melt the snow off the slides on the 5th wheel, and to get our ducks in a row, our needed shots at the vet(!), but the next post may well find us on the road south!