Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Thanks for those brakes, Mr. Stephen!

On our recent trip, we took the exciting route to Vancouver. We crossed from the Yellowhead to the Caribou highways at Little Fort, just south of Clearwater, and stayed at a campsite in Bridge Lake. The next day we drove out to Clinton. Now, on my map there is a road connecting Clinton to Lillooet, but I stopped to ask one of the locals about it just the same.

To old lady in store; "Is there a road connecting Clinton to Lillooet?"
"Yes, just up there." pause... "Some of it is gravel..." pause... "It gets a bit washboardy sometimes, if you are in a hurry, you better go around by the highway."
OK, I'm not in a hurry."

So we drove on a paved road for 17km west of Clinton, to a nice little provincial park, where the pavement ended, and the road narrowed to one lane (!), and began to climb in switchbacks up this mountain. We climbed and climbed, a couple hundred yards this way, a couple hundred yards that way... I remember pointing out the view to my kids at one point, when the lake was a couple thousand feet below us, looking down at it from about a 60 degree angle. One lane, gravel, hoping nobody came from the other direction. When we finally topped out we were overlooking the valley where Lillooet is, but seeing it from very high up. That side of the valley was all open, and made for a long trip downhill.

My big kids are of the sort that wants the trip to be fast and done, no dilly-dallying or shortcuts (which always take longer); this time I was told that I could take more shortcuts if they were like that one...

The rest of the drive from Lillooet to Whistler was pretty spectacular as well. Driving down from the pass into Pemberton the road was a 15% grade for 5km., full of switchbacks, and my brakes were smoking by the time I reached the bottom. We were very thankful for Stephen's brake job he had just done on the van. The old ones would have left us in a pile somewhere in those hills...

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