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Southeast BC/Southern AB Roadtrip


So...I'm heading up to Canada over Presidents' Day, but have little idea as to what route I'm going to take.

I know I'll be in Spokane on Friday night, probably leaving at 7 or so in the morning. I need to be back in Deer Lodge by Monday, at, say, 8 PM.

I'm setting off to drive the entire AB and BC highway systems, but I'm trying to figure out what's the best use of my time right now. Is it worth attempting Highway 93 up to Route 1 at this time of year, or should I save it for summer? I'm not scared of bad roads if it means I can circumvent summer traffic. The objective is to drive these systems as efficiently as possible.

Right now my options are
Night 0: Spokane
Night 1: Calgary via 3, 93, 1
Night 2: Lethbridge via some smorgasbord of secondary highways
Night 3: Deer Lodge, clinching some highways around Lethbridge


Night 0: Spokane
Night 1: Lethbridge (swinging out to clinch BC 43 and Idaho 57, former for sure, latter time permitting)
Night 2: Medicine Hat, crisscrossing (crissclinching?) the whole way between Lethbridge and Medicine Hat
Night 3: Deer Lodge via non-direct route

I guess what I'm asking is, assuming weather is semi-reasonable, is this a good time of year to try to go up to Calgary via 93? I'd like to avoid tourist traffic, but I guess at this time of year I'm going to get a bunch of skiiers, so maybe I'm best off waiting until summer anyway, and just working on the prairies around Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Or maybe 93 is such a good road that traffic concerns really shouldn't be a concern.

Also...what is typical speeding tolerance in a 100 zone in Alberta?

J N Winkler:
I can't comment on winter weather driving conditions, but I have done Hwys. 1, 3, and 93 in the peak summer driving season (2003) and I would describe the traffic on the two-lane sections as heavy but tolerable, except on TCH 1 from about Kamloops east to the TCH 1/Alta. 93 split west of Banff where the level of service on some sections is quite bad.  Much of this length has been targeted for four-laning, and may be much better now.  It does not sound like any of it is on either of your proposed itineraries.

I don't know the speeding tolerance in either BC or Alberta--just that in rural areas the RCMP effectively replaces the function of a highway patrol in an US state.  Most provincial primary highways in Alberta run straight through towns south of Calgary, so there is also municipal law enforcement to consider.


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