Day 57, Wednesday, August 22, 2007.
We left Calgary at 10:00 am and headed for Salmon Arm, BC. Calgary has grown so much it is unbelievable. When we got closer to Calgary the houses followed the hills for miles and the road construction is amazing. So leaving the campsite I had wondered if there was an easier way to get to the # 1 Highway, which is the Trans Canada Highway, than the way we came. I took our trusty GPS and marked where we were and where we wanted to be on the #1 and it drew me a route and we followed it to the #1. The roads the GPS suggested were roads that connected the subdivisions, not main roads per say. These roads were all 4 lane roads with level cloverleaf intersections. There would be big signs pointing out new communities that are being developed and there would be 3-4 on each of these signs. We think we have growth in Abbotsford this. Would be like starting in Hope and having solid housing to Langley or Surrey and from the USA border to way north of Mission. Well 30-40 minutes later we were on the #1 Highway heading West. The mountains sure looked good. You start with flat prairie, then foothills, then mountains and I have to say after a month away they were beyond impressive and closer to overwhelming. I can see how someone living all their life in the prairies or eastern Canada and then coming to BC, the mountains could be very intimidating. Seeing the mountains was like coming home again and we aren’t even home yet. Considerable amount of highway construction through the Rogers Pass. In one area I think just before Field, BC they are building a new section of road and a new bridge and rather than following the old road they are climbing up into the mountain and have built this bridge which I would say is 700-800 feet above the old road and river. I would like to have gotten a picture but there was just no where to stop. It will be interesting to drive this section of the road when the bridge is finished. I think before they are done it will be four lane on the whole Trans Canada Highway. Just before the foothills we saw a bad accident. A single car went off the road and must have flipped, they were working on getting the driver out when we drove past. The second accident was a big semi that flipped over on a corner, It looked to me like the driver would have been ok if he/she were buckled but I think the passenger would have had some serious road rash if not some serious rock bruises if they survived. You know, to come to thing about it those were the only accidents we saw on the whole trip, I have to say that surprises me. The drive was real good from Calgary to Salmon Arm. The traffic was very heavy, especially with the construction and flag people which would back the traffic up maybe 1-1.5 miles and then you had to contend with that bundle of vehicular moving out all at the same time. Everything seemed to flow well. We pulled into the Bennett’s about 4:30 in the afternoon. We gassed up before heading to the Bennett’s so we would be ready to go on Friday when we head on the final leg of our Cross Canada journey. We all agreed its good to be going home but we also really enjoyed the trip. The longer you are away you get more in the mode of traveling and the sitting doesn’t bother you like it did the first week of leaving home. I was just thinking of an interesting piece of trivia. Once we left the mountains the highest point we reached was in Alberta which was about 3000 feet above sea level. In the eastern provinces the highest point was on the Cabot Trail and I believe, if I remember correctly was around 800 feet. Coming back into the mountains along the Rogers Pass we reached an altitude of over 5300 feet. My GPS gives we a steady readout of the elevation as you move, along with, average moving speed, average over all speed, direction, odometer, daily miles traveled and about 10 other statistics. They are also great for finding your way around strange cities because you can put in an address for anywhere in North America and it will show you how to get there on a turn by turn set of instructions. We used ours on our whole trip. The GPS was turned on in the morning and ran till we stopped in the evening and then we used it to mark out our route for the next day if we were not sure of where we were going. The unit I have is a Garmen handheld with a very small screen so I have tied mine into my laptop which sits between the driver and passenger seats and swivels so we can both look at it. This also gives you a very large screen to view the map and the road ahead. They have new ones out now that talk to you and they are good but I like the way mine works with the laptop. Well two more entries for the trip and we are done. I may start putting our weekend trips into the blog. Let me know what you think of the diary of our trip including what was good and what was poor and how it could be improved for another time. Use the email firstname.lastname@example.org. That email won’t be checked much from here on but you are welcome to use either my work email, email@example.com or Willa’s email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both are checked daily and mine at work is done 3-4 times a day. Make sure you have a clear subject line in the email or we may not look at it if we don’t recognize the sender or the reason for the email. My assistant at the office checks my email and if she doesn’t recognize the sender or the reason for the email she will delete it. We get a lot of spam and unwanted solicitations.