Friday, December 16, 2011

That Was Some Drive!

One of the many photos we took during our 13.5 hour drive over the Rocky Mountains yesterday.
The photo above was taken on Highway 5 north through the North Thompson country.  To the right is the Thompson River.

Why the long drive, over a long day, over vast mountain ranges?

Hitchin' up for the drive.
We were hauling this 26 foot moving trailer over the Canadian Rockies to Edmonton, Alberta.
Fresh overnight snow covered some of the mountain roads. 
The snow plows were busy cleaning a fresh dump of snow during our drive.  The roads are always cleared but conditions can be icy too.  Yesterday was no exception.  Driving up some of those mountain roads called for exercising the 4X4.

OK.  You ask, "why would they haul a huge trailer over the Rocky Mountains in the depths of winter?"  Well, it had long been in the plans that our daughter and son in law would return to the West Coast once their objectives had been accomplished in Edmonton, Alberta.  They moved here two years ago.

Early morning on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway #5 north)
On Wednesday afternoon I drove to the trailer rental place in Abbotsford, BC, and hitched up to a 26 foot moving trailer.  Thursday morning, bright and early, Jeanette and I loaded up our luggage, thermos of coffee and began our drive @ 5:00 am.

Approaching the summit before descending into the City of Merritt, BC
The Coquihalla is a high mountain, divided highway.  The conditions can change in mere minutes.  During the winter months, that's often the case.  On Thursday, it did not disappoint.  We left home in a drizzle, reached the foot of the Coquihalla in dry conditions, and we were in five feet of snow near the summit.  Other than a bit of ice on the roads (well sanded and salted) we easily sailed through.
Fueling up just north of the City of Kamloops.  We're 3 1/2 hours into our journey.
Although I did not need diesel, I knew that topping off the tanks would get me through the Rocky Mountains and into Hinton, Alberta, before having to refuel with cheaper Alberta diesel.  
Some of our drive was on bare roads such as this.
Other parts of our drive were over roads like this.
Other than a steady stream of transport trucks - and the odd patch of ice to test one's driving skills - Highway 5 north was a beautiful drive. It always is!  From the warmth and comfort of the truck, we saw fantastic mountain scenery, rivers, streams, lakes, rocks, snow and ice.  We've been driving these mountain roads for the past 30 + years and we never tire of the majestic beauty. 
7.5 hours into our drive, we arrived in this mountain town. 
This area, in central British Columbia, is famous for snow mobiling and helicopter skiing. The European tourists love this area and they come in great numbers for high mountain adventure tours - winter, fall, spring and summer.  This is great country for fishing, RV'ing, and almost any other outdoor adventure you can imagine. It's rugged and majestic!
Cleaning the windshield, driving lights and adding another gallon of window washing fluid.
Typical mountain streams.
Following a brief stop for lunch in Valemount, we continued our drive north.
The end of Highway 5 - a fork in the road leads us east towards Jasper National Park.
About 20 minutes north from Valemount is where Highway 5 ends in a fork and one gets to decide to drive east or west.  We chose east and headed toward Jasper National Park - about 70 minutes away.
The fresh overnight snow left a weighty look of snow on the evergreens that dot these mountain highways.
We did see a fair amount of wildlife in the Jasper Park area but we did not take the time to stop for photos.  
To the right is Moose Lake.  We're about 30 minutes west of Jasper National Park.
The famous Mount Robson.  We were not fortunate to see its peak today...but it's still a beauty to witness at any time and in any season.
We rolled through Jasper National Park and continued our journey east.  From here Edmonton is but a short 3 1/2 hours away.  We were soon to leave the Rocky Mountains for the foothills of the Province of Alberta.

While taking fuel in Hinton we texted our kids to advise that we were now in Alberta and would be at their home by about 7:30 pm mountain time.

So, starting very early on Thursday morning, we hauled this.....
....through this......
.....and this.....
....into Alberta (where there is very little snow).... help move Ginette and husband Trevor back to their home on the West Coast.  They own a home in Langley City and will be moving back in once their present renters vacate in mid-February.  Till then, they will occupy our home while Jeanette and I go in search of sunny and warmer climes in the US south west.

While here in Edmonton, we will journey off to the town of Two Hills, Alberta, to visit Jeanette's parents who live in a lodge.  We'll check in on her parents' farm too.  It's a 90 minute drive east of the city of Edmonton.

Ginette and Trevor, along with friends, will load the monster trailer. Our son Deni, and his wife to be, Courtney, will join us too as we take the time to have a Christmas dinner with Jeanette's parents this Sunday.  We made arrangements with the lodge for a special dining table.  Should be a fun and most special time.

So....after a good long sleep last night, we're ready for the running around we need to accomplish while in Edmonton and area.

Thanks for dropping by.


  1. You and Jeanette are pretty brave, that can be a daunting drive in the winter even without a trailer. Beautiful photos.

  2. My nerves would have been shot. I hate driving in mountains and I hate driving in snow. Double whammy!!! Glad you made it safe and sound..

  3. Now all those pictures of snow have almost made me change my mind about our upcoming trip home for Christmas, but then I flicked back to see some shots of the grandkids and stopped dialing Air Canada to cancel. We will only be there for a week or so, so how bad can it be

    Travel safe.

  4. The scenery is absolutely stunning but I am go glad I'm not towing in that snow and cold weather.

  5. the scenery is breathtaking..altho my nerves would have been shot...driving those mountains..glad your there safe and sound...enjoy your families...

  6. winter driving through the mountain passes is not a fun thing!..good job on the driving..glad you made it safely!..enjoy your holiday with your family!!!