A Change of Plans

This coming weekend is a long weekend for us here in Canada due to the Remembrance Day holiday. We always try to make the most of a long weekend, so our plan was to head from Alberta to the west coast of British Columbia to escape the snow for a few days.

It always takes a few days to get ready as packing for a family of seven is a bit of a chore; but we have been debating of whether to go or not since last weekend. Last weekend a ferry hit a dock on the island of Mayne taking it out of service for a while; this ferry just happened to be the one we usually take. The ferry being out of service already made our trip take longer, but we were willing to risk it.

Field, BC

Yesterday we decided to go for it and head to the coast. We had extra homework for the children as we were taking a few extra days, my husband had booked off holidays, babysitting for the fish had been arranged, we were all set.

Driving to Banff was fine, busy, but fine. By the time we hit Castle Mountain the weather was coming in but doable. We thought it would get better the closer we got to the BC border, but it didn’t.

Field, BCJust after the turn off to Lake Louise things really took a turn for the worse. A quick tap of the brakes proved we were on pure ice. Passing a single vehicle accident proved the bad road conditions. The fastest anyone was driving was 60 km/h.

bad weather in the rockiesBy the time we passed Spiral Tunnels we were down to 40 km/h and just hoping to keep the car on the road. By the time we hit Field we were driving at 20 km/h and on pure ice. Things were not improving. A decision had to be made.

icy roads in the rockiesWe still had 813 km to travel. The roads were awful. Our ferry was out of service so we would have to take a longer route. This no longer made sense. We delivered the unpopular news to our kids that we were turning around and heading home; a five-hour drive back.

Bad weather is just a fact of life when it comes to winter in Canada. Sometimes you just have to surrender to it and make the safe choice.

This weekend won’t be filled with walks on the beach, instead it will be filled with shovelling snow. (Oh joy!)

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16 thoughts on “A Change of Plans

  1. So smart to turn around and come home. As I was reading your post, I was so wishing that would be your decision. It’s just not worth taking a chance with your whole family in such conditions. I find it’s so dicey after the end of October to be going through the mountains. When one finally gets through, there’s always the Coquihalla Highway where I’ve white-knuckled driven it with 4 inches of snow at the end of JUNE! Yuck. Glad to know you’re all safe.

    • Oh the Coq can be bad. This past May we went in one side of a snow shed with rain and came out the other side to snow that was sticking; it was surreal. Our least favorite road is Kamloops to Merritt; we have hit the worst weather on that road and it changes at a moment’s notice.

      It looks like it was the right decision as child #2 now also seems to be getting sick.

  2. I have been on those roads! Frightening experience – we chose to do the same thing as you did. I’m so glad that you are safe at home, B.C. will be waiting for you – there will be a next time! 🙂

  3. Today was 24 degrees F and raining – so icy! I was glad when I arrived safely home from my outing this afternoon. So glad you were all kept safe and sound on the roads. Sorry you had to change your plans. Blessings!

    • We are trying to convince the kids to go this weekend but they are still a bit spooked about the roads. I think this is the first time they really took in what winter driving is like.

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