So this is it, time for the ‘big off’. It had begun to feel as if we could settle down in the US for a moment, but I guess that can happen when you are living with family, acting as tourist with no jobs. But now we must push on to our new home in Calgary.
The Route was planned by Todd, and it was to take us 10 minutes from Lynden to the border crossing at Sumas. Assuming there would be no problems here we would head up to Kamloops before spearing our way through the Rocky Mountains to get to our new city. Todd would take his shiny new Chevy Camaro, and I would follow in a slightly more clunky Chevy Tahoe.
There are probably Americans and Canadians who would look at this itinerary and think, “so what?,” but to us Brits, this is no small feat. I do not ever remember it being taught, so it must be genetics, but British people seem to believe the following;
- under an hour can be called “a nip out”
- 1-2hours is a journey
- 3-4 hours is a long trip
- 5-6 hours you need to think about stopping over night on your way
- 6+ hours and you will fall asleep at the wheel, crash and either die or maim an innocent family.
Obviously maiming anybody would not be an ideal start to our life in Canada, but I was very aware that, as many other locals do regularly, we were going to embark on a trip practically twice over the maiming limit. Gulp.
So we set off at 8.00am sharp, and the simple fact I was out of bed this early was enough to make me feel drowsy. The sun was already out in full force that morning, so the roads conditions where good, but my eyes would be strained. Sunglasses required. So with cereal bars to hand we fuelled the vehicles and set off on our journey.
We crossed the border at Sumas without any difficulties from border control and so were off on our way in Canada heading straight towards some very big mountains.
The roads here were in good order and people where driving freely, apart from the big lorries, which crawl up the mountains looking as if they may slip backwards at any second. However as we continued we did pass snow which had been ploughed to the sides of the roads serving as a warning for this countries potential for extreme conditions. The drive though was visually spectacular.
After just over three hours, already at the long trip stage, we stopped for food in Kamloops, and to top up on gas.
To Salmon Arm
From Kamloops the drive to Salmon arm was equally spectacular. I could quite happily have stopped at any of the lakes we passed and spent my day there. But time was of the essence and besides, Sacha was now asleep, so I turned up the radio and ploughed on.
In Salmon Arm we stopped for a toilet break and I decided to have my first coffee of the day so far. It was about 2.30pm, so not bad going.
This leg of the journey without doubt required the most concentration, especially as we passed through Glacier National Park. As we twisted and wound ourselves through the mountains with a whole convoy of other vehicles, we found the roads a bit more worn and the snow surrounding us that much more deeper. Also as we passed through the mountains’ tunnels we found there was absolutely no lighting inside them. Suddenly from daylight everything turns black, all the dashboard panel illuminates and it all becomes like a scary video game.
Getting to Golden was a relief and a good place to stop for a Tim Hortons’ coffee and cookie. Only two coffees, and it was after 5pm now.
Through the Rockies
The snow from here was impressive, several feet high in places, it was incredible how easy to drive the roads were through. There was no hint of wildlife were to be seen, and I didn’t blame it.
We stopped off in Banff to refuel and ten minutes later where straight off again to our final destination.
And Finally To Calgary
Wow, this was the shortest leg of the journey, but it felt like it went on and on and on. Finally we left the Banff National Park, the mountains dissolved into prairie land and Calgary’s evening lights came into view. It was less than an hour before we were in the city itself. To be honest by now I was tired, and driving through the city’s traffic was taking extra concentration.
However before we knew it, we where in Calgary, we had navigated its crossroads and highways and were parked outside the place we could now call home.