Wednesday 18 November 2020

Road tripping - Part One - Hit the road Jack

A few months ago I had booked a three day trip. About a month ago it came up in conversation with a friend of mine that I had this trip booked and he kind of invited himself along. He said he needed a break and really wanted to go. I really needed a break, this year with all that has happened and with personal issues a few days away was essential for my sanity. On one hand I had other plans in mind for this trip, on the other hand expenses would be split down the middle. Being cheap won out.

This is a friend that I have known since high school and we see each other on an irregular basis. There may be some changes coming up in his life that may make it harder for us to meet up in the future. It looked like this might be our last chance for quite some time to get together for a few days. I was able to juggle a few things so he could come along.

The plan was to get to Ainsworth Hot Springs in British Columbia. My friend lives on a quarter section (160 acres) outside of Edmonton. This was to happen on November 12 and a snowstorm had gone through our area the prior weekend and hung around for a bit on the following Monday. Distance is about 880km one way.

I am one of those types that likes to hit the road early. Very early. I like there to be a cushion built in for travel time just in case something goes wrong or there is a delay. Of course my friend had to volunteer for overtime and worked the night shift. He was off work at seven in the morning. I was at his place on time and wanted to leave right away however we had a disagreement over which vehicle we would take. I wanted to take mine, he wanted to take his 2002 Ford F150 4x4. I pack light, he packed enough for what looked like a week. Arguing wastes travel time when you are trying to leave on a trip so I caved. I drove because he had worked the last twelve hours and I was not going to let him drive. On the road at 8:15am.

I would have rather taken my car. My ride had new winter tires and the brakes had just been serviced. I drove all day in his truck that had a check engine light constantly on with a few other minor issues. Most of the time the idiot light means nothing however those things bother me. I really did not want to take his vehicle however he brought beef jerky for the trip so that helped me overlook a few things.

My friend is one of those who has extra gas on hand. Gas in my area is 82.9 cents a litre. Once you get into British Columbia you are paying thirty to forty cents a litre more. My friend had ten five gallon jerrycans that were full in the back of the truck so we did not have to pay their prices. Instead of stopping for gas, there were stops at the side of the road to fill the truck from five gallon containers.

Highway 39 west of Edmonton, south on Highway 22 to Highway 1 then west. Quick stop to top up the gas. That part of the trip was largely uneventful until Highway 1 west heading towards Canmore we encountered absolutely brutal headwind that faded away when we got into Banff National Park. Then it was fine all the way to Revelstoke. The highways were bare.

Then from Revelstoke south on Highway 23 to the Shelter Bay Ferry. There was a quick stop because my friend wanted to put gas in the truck. I did not want to stop because I wanted to make the ferry. There was lots of gas in the tank, it read about half full. We ended up stopping. After filling the truck he asked for the keys to drive, I declined. The comment was made that "I do not get the keys to my own truck to drive?" to which I agreed. I needed to have something in the win column. Besides, I am a lousy passenger, I like to be behind the wheel.

We get to the ferry landing and it had already departed. If we had not stopped we would have made it. We had a little over half an hour to wait for the ferry. I was stretching my legs and got conversing with the guy in the vehicle parked beside us. There was a joke made about marijuana for some reason and he said he was on a buying trip for a marijuana business he was involved in. I mentioned that I knew one of the founders of Aurora MJ, one of the companies involved in the business in Canada. He said he was one of the founders. We both knew the same guy. He was no longer involved in the company at this time. As an aside, what are your chances of meeting someone in British Columbia involved in the marijuana trade? The chances are damn good. The guy lives in my part of Alberta and I gave him my card.

South on Highway 23 to Nakusp, then Highway 6 towards New Denver. Of course it was night and pitch black with no moonlight before we got to Nakusp. The road to New Denver was fine however there are many twists and turns on this road all the way to Ainsworth because you are in the mountains. You have to be careful at night due to the abundance of wildlife. At New Denver it was Highway 31A to Kaslo and then south to Ainsworth. As soon as we passed New Denver it started to snow and snowed all the way to Kaslo. It snowed just enough to cover the highway with a thin layer and it was snowing heavily. There was close to zero traffic which was fine because I could not see where my lane was due to the covered road and falling snow reduced my visibility and speed to about 60km/h. To make it easier I just drove down the middle of the highway.

Once in Kaslo it was about 21km to Ainsworth. No snow and clear sailing. It was also over eleven hours travel time for the day. Just a wee bit longer than I thought it would be. Ainsworth is a small place and I had the foresight to make dinner reservations at the resort weeks before. Bacon-wrapped rib-eye with a nine ounce glass of wine is a perfect way to finish the day.


  1. Replies
    1. A quarter section is a lot of land, does he he hunt it?

    2. No. I have seen deer in his yard. He has seen the occasional moose, a cougar was spotted once. Quite a few people own land and do not hunt.

  2. The payoff at the end of the trip makes it all worthwhile.

  3. sounds like an eventful day but the end result made it worth it. Don't think I would be driving those roads in the dark - or in the snow for that matter AND with someone else's vehicle. You're brave!

  4. Driving down the middle of the road often makes sense when there's nobody else on it.