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Author Topic: Chicago-Victoria  (Read 2271 times)


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  • Location: Roselle, IL
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« on: August 20, 2019, 12:03:07 PM »

I just joined AARoads after several years of not following road stuff (I was a little active in m.t.r back in the day).

This is a brief report of a trip my wife and I did in the summer 2018 from Chicago via Banff and Whistler to Victoria and then back home. I'll just post some highlights and be happy to answer questions about details.

Day 1: Chicago - St. Cloud, MN via I-90 and I-94. Nothing too exciting except Waze took us off I-90 somewhere in Wisconsin to avoid a backup (may have cost us time) and a different route around St. Paul than I expected due to an accident.

Day 2: St. Cloud - Minot, ND via I-94 to Jamestown, ND and then US 52. A pretty vanilla day

Day 3: Minot - Swift Current, SK via US 52, SK 39, and the TCH. No delay at the border - while there was a line for trucks / buses / RVs, it was right up to the inspection station with no wait at all in the car lane.

Day 4: Swift Current - Canmore, AB: Another vanilla day.

We spend four nights in Canmore with the middle day going up the Icefields Parkway to the glacier (thought about continuing up to Jasper but not enough time) and then it was off to Whistler.

Driving Day 5: Canmore - Whistler via TCH (AB 1 and BC 1), after Kamloops, BC 1 to Cache Creek, BC 97 north, to BC 99 South via the "back way" to Whistler. It was an easy drive to Cache Creek but 99 was a surprise. First, approaching Lillooet, we found one-way controlled traffic on gravel across a hillside. Found out later there had been a landslide overnight that morning and they quickly regraded the road and opened it with flagmen controlling traffic. Dodged a bullet there. Then after Lillooet was totally unexpected with a series of 10%+ up and down grades. Driving a stick, it only took me one hill to realize I needed it in second gear before starting down! Kept pulling over to let locals, who clearly knew the road better than me, pass (I was in no hurry!).

After four nights in Whistler, it was off to Victoria.

Driving Day 6: Whistler - Victoria. Departed Whistler at a time designed to hopefully make the 12:00 ferry from Tsawwassen. Waze wanted me to loop around east of downtown Vancouver but I really wanted to drive across the Lion's Gate Bridge - that may have been a mistake. Made it to the ferry about 11:15 where they were already saying "Possible Wait" for the 12:00 ferry. They started boarding, our lane started moving, five cars to go, four, three, two, one, STOP! Yep, we were #1 not to get on the 12:00. With hourly service, it wasn't a big deal and if I had made a reservation, it would have been for the 1:00 anyway (and as it was, we would need to wait to check-in when we reached our accommodations in Victoria). The Tsawwassen - Swatz Bay ferry is a very relaxing way to spend 90 minutes and the Pacific Buffet which is on three of the four ships used in summer on that route makes a for a very reasonably priced meal.

We spent six nights in Victoria including driving one day up to Nanaimo and back.

Driving Day 7: Victoria - Vancouver. Left shooting for the 1:00 ferry which we easily made. Another Pacific Buffet lunch. After reaching the mainland, we ducked into Point Roberts for a couple of hours just to say we had been there (it was 7/4 so we had to spend a few hours in the U.S. that day) where for the first time we were able to use our Global Entry cards in a Nexus lane for entering the U.S. (and were complimented for knowing what to do better than some of the everyday Nexus users). After Point Roberts, it was to a Vancouver Airport area hotel where we'd park the car for 14 nights while flying up to Alaska and then doing a cruise back to Vancouver.

Driving Day 8: Vancouver - Blaine, WA. A very short day as we had a place we could stay in Blaine where we could do laundry after 14 nights without. Being able to use the Nexus lanes at the Peace Arch crossing saved us significant time - just two or three cars ahead of us vs. 50 or so in the regular line. Just a couple of questions and we were sent on our way.

Day 9: Blaine - Missoula, MT. Probably the most challenging day due to the hours of driving and the time change. We were shooting to leave at 6am (we were a few minutes late) and get breakfast on the road. We took US 2 from Everett to Spokane rather than going down to I-90 - a very enjoyable drive. Reached Missoula around 8pm MT.

Day 10: Missoula - Rapid City, SD. Another long day (we'd be spending two nights in Rapid City so the previous two days were long due to needing to be in Rapid City as planned). Mostly I-90 but took US 212 from Crow Agency to Belle Fourche and then back to I-90.

The next day was spent seeing Mt. Rushmore as well as other things in that area.

Driving Day 11: Rapid City - Sioux Falls: A shorter day of driving as we wanted to spend some time in Badlands NP on the way. So it was after 2pm by the time we were back on I-90 at the east end of the park and another time change before Sioux Falls so another late dinner after arrival.

Day 12: Sioux Falls - Chicago: One last day on I-90 and we were home.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2019, 01:06:39 PM by lstone19 »


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