Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Day 12 - Wednesday, September 9 - Valemount, BC to Chilliwack, BC (near Vancouver)

Starting mileage: 3890 Starting time: 9:00 am

Ending mileage: 4263 Ending time: 5:00 pm
Travel mileage: 373 Travel time: 8 hours

This was mostly a getting caught up and travel day.

Laundry was essential so we (Carmen) did it at the hotel before leaving which gave us a bit later start.

It was a bit discouraging to once again have rain as we packed up the car in the morning. This is the 7th day in a row that it has rained and the temperature has not gone above 60 during the day. The people of western Canada should be thanking us for bringing the rain which has dropped the fire risk from "severe" to "low" during our stay. The severe drought, while not alleviated, has certainly been helped by the rain. It has not been so great for the farmers in the middle of harvesting their grain.

Fortunately, the rain stopped and the sky cleared up. It was 78 degrees by the time we got to our hotel, the Comfort Inn in Chilliwack.

While in the Banff/Jasper park we got all sorts of information about how to deal with bears and about seeing wildlife that included caribou, moose, elk, mountain goats, big horn sheep and golden eagles. The only wildlife we saw were crows, magpies and chipmunks.  After leaving the park, we saw an elk lying by the side of the road outside the town of Jasper. More exciting, as we drove today, we saw a grizzly cub running along the side of the road, although we didn't have a chance to stop.

Our car was overdue for an oil change so we stopped at the Jiffy-Lube in Kamloops. They do it a bit differently than in the U.S. - you drive the car into the service bay yourself and then sit in the car while they change the oil. When they checked the differential fluid, it was low and a strange color, not a good sign as it was just changed 2 months ago. I've also had to add a quart of engine oil about every 2000 miles which isn't good either. Hopefully we will be ok until we get back in another 6000 miles or so.

We passed through more areas of extensive damage to the Lodgepole Pine due to the Pine Bark Beetles. with whole hillsides brown with dead trees. We also passed the remnants of a forest fire that stretched over 10 miles on both sides of the road. It isn't surprising that there are fire problems with so many dead trees - the problem is the same from Southern Canada to Colorado and west to the Southern California mountains. In some areas they are doing prescribed burns in an attempt to reduce out of control forest fires but this is also an expensive and manpower consuming process. And difficult when they are already busy fighting current fires.

Coming down from Kamloops, we passed through a mountain range with many ridges so we would go steadily uphill for several miles and then steadily downhill for several miles. We must have done this at least 20 times.  Fortunately, the road is double lanes on each side and very good - the speed limit is 75 mph the whole way so we made good time. There aren't many guardrails along the roads in British Columbia so mis-attention while driving could be quite exciting.

Tomorrow we are off to sightseeing in Vancouver.

Day 11 route

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