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Author Topic: Virginia to Vancouver - PART 3 (final)  (Read 1441 times)


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Virginia to Vancouver - PART 3 (final)
« on: October 20, 2014, 11:47:45 AM »

We left Vancouver via BC 99 south with a loop using BC 91.  The border crossing onto I-5 was much busier than rural Saskatchewan had been two weeks earlier.  At least there was a lovely water view off to the west while waiting in line.  I wonder if that same view is available to northbound travelers waiting for Canadian inspection...?  As before, the border inspection was pretty brief, with the agent noting I was "crazy" for driving to that location from Virginia.

We spent two nights in Anacortes WA so that we could go on an orca watching cruise.  Well worth the effort.  Anacortes is a nice small city with good views of the water and surrounding islands.  This view is plentiful on WA 20 SPUR all the way to its ending at the ferry.

There was an unusual WA 20 SPUR shield on R St approaching WA 20 Spur.  Did not get a picture because the camera was in the hotel room charging but it is on GMSV - http://goo.gl/maps/vPoUa.  The letters 'SR' appear inside the shield at the bottom.  I did not see this on any other state route shield anywhere.

The whale tour ended up being a long boat ride that encircled the entirety of the San Juan Islands.  The whales were off the coast of Victoria BC.  But the weather was terrific so nobody minded that it took 90 minutes each way to see them.

We took 5 days to drive back to Virginia...

DAY 1 - Used I-5 and I-405 to I-90.  I got caught in some Seattle rush hour traffic.  I expected some on I-5 and was a little surprised at I-405 but since the ramps were metered this must be normal.  Plus there was a little construction.  I-90 over Snoqualmie was under construction in a few places near it but it was pretty.  Something I never saw before was a construction vehicle with a placard that said DO NOT PASS was driving in the center of the three-lane highway going about 45 mph, blocking the whole freeway.  It was not apparent what he was doing as after a mile or so he pulled over where nothing was going on.

I-82 was new to me and has some terrific views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier.  I-84 eastbound up the long grade east of Pendleton is no easier to drive than the downhill side was in 2010.  There were a bunch of dust devils in the fields just before the climbing started.  i took a brief detour on US 30 through Baker City just to take a break from triple trucks and whatnot.  i also used US 30 from Ontario to where it comes back to I-84 at exit 9 in Idaho, but they have I-84 as a two-lane road there and I had to detour WB back to US 95 to go EB on I-84.  So that was a waste of time.

We stayed in Boise.  WB rush hour on I-184 and I-84 was a little gnarly but it looked like there were wrecks.

DAY 2 - Used I-84 and I-86 to Pocatello.  80 mph for much of it.  I thought about using US 30 instead for its 80 mile stretch around Twin Falls but I would not have made Cheyenne by dark if I had done that.  The lst time I was in Pocatello was 1997 and I forgot how nice a setting it is in on the south side.  I used I-15 then US 30 to get to I-80 in western Wyonimg.  US 30 is a good road.  The 4-lane goes a good bit further than Rand McN says it does and in Idaho there are passing lanes provided, so I never got stuck or harrassed in the two lane sections.  Wyoming didn't have passing lanes other than climbs but did seem more serious about trying to keep wildlife off the road.

Other than a brief pit stop tour through Rock Springs, I used I-80 all the way to Cheyenne.  The eastern half of I-90 had lots of fenced in areas with pronghorn antelope.  Since I was sent out to get take out dinner by myself I was able to go drive the infamous I-180.

DAY 3 - used I-80 to US 81 in York NE.  Something odd that occurred...until 124 miles into the ride on a Saturday morning, I had not yet passed a passenger car and not one had passed me - only trucks.  I-80 in Nebraska had a lot of construction zones and I saw a state-named interstate shield directly on I-80.  US 81 south to Kansas was wide open and four lanes.  what was weird was that they bypassed all the towns when they widened US 81.  But they lowered the speed limit to 55 on the bypasses, even if there were fewer intersections than when US 81 was between towns and signed as 65 mph.  I guess these are revenue opportunities.  US 81 in Kansas was signed as 70 mph.

I followed US 36 across Kansas from US 81.  Here another oddity occurred.  US 36 is 90% two-lane from US 81 to Missouri.  I did not approach or get approached by any vehicle while on the two lane segments.  This is in contrast to US 52 in North Dakota and SK 39 where we were playing large scale Frogger.  US 36 is signed at 65 mph and was arrow straight (albeit hilly) for long segments. 

We spent the night in St. Joseph MO where the only motel mishap of the trip occurred.  The bathroom light fixture out of the blue starting pouring out water.  Turns out a kid in the room above us overflowed the toilet.  Thankfully we were able to switch rooms.

DAY 4 - used US 36 across Missouri and I-72 across Illinois.  These are pretty sleepy thoroughfares, which is what I was hoping for.  One thing though is that Illinois still has suicide merges where it's interstates converge.  Some are not signed in advance so that is unnerving to me since I have not had regular contact with these kinds of merges in over 20 years.

I went ahead and stayed on I-72 past I-57.  If you make no turns, you end up on the IL 130 entrance to I-74 east of Urbana.  I took the Indianapolis Beltway the opposite direction around to I-70 east, thus clinching the whole beltway on this trip.  There is still a fair amount of button copy on the south end of the beltway but I'm guessing is on its way out as construction in the I-65 area is underway.  We stopped for the night along I-70 north of Dayton.

DAY 5 - got a taste of Columbus OH rush hour on I-70 but I-270 around the south of town was free-flowing.  Also some button copy on I-270.  From here I used I-70 to Washington PA (used I-470 around Wheeling), then I-79 and I-68 to Hancock, followed by US 522 to Winchester.  There were lots of large deer carcasses on US 522 in WV/VA.  I-68 was the only place with a hint of fall color on pretty much the whole trip.

Trip clinches (* is a national clinch):
WV/OH - US 35
IN - I-465
IL - I-72*, I-474
IA - I-380
ND - US 52
SK - SK 39
AB - TCH-1
BC - BC 17A, BC 91
WA - I-82, WA 20 Spur, WA 536
OR - I-82*
ID - I-86*, I-184
WY - I-80/US 30 Bus Rock Springs, I-180
MO - I-72, US 36


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