This first part should probably fall in the doofus category: Was out the door on time on Saturday, September 19th headed for Moscow, ID to visit friends and pick up my delightful wife who was attending a meeting. Got all the way to Hood River and realized that I forgot my passport. Turned around and headed back for it. Was glad that it only added 100 miles to the trip. It could have been worse.
Sunday morning we headed north to Kingsgate, ID and crossed the border into Canada without issue. Spent the night at Moyie Lake Campground.
The next day we headed to Cranbrook and then on to Radium Springs along the Kootney River.
Along the way we stopped to see Columbia Lake which is the source of the Columbia River.
We spent two nights at the Moraine Lake Lodge in the Valley of the Ten Peaks. Moraine Lake is about seven miles southeast of Lake Louise. Was able to get up early and photograph the lake and peaks as the sun was coming up.
Because we were staying at the lodge we got free canoe rentals.
From Moraine Lake we headed to Calgary and then up to the Edmonton area and Caroline to visit friends for a few days. Traveling along Alberta 93 we passed under animal bridges. There is a eight to ten foot fence all along the road that funnels the animals to bridges and underpass where they can safely cross the road and not be a danger to motorists.
From Caroline we headed back across the Rockies at Rocky Mountain House on Alberta 11 which follows the North Saskatchewan River. We then took the Icefields Parkway up to Jasper along the Athabasca River. We took a break from driving at Athabasca Falls.
We stopped at the Icefields Visitor Center for a rest. The ice field was socked in with clouds but the gift shop was open.
In Jasper we spent the night at Whistlers Campground which had great showers.
From there it was back across BC headed for Lillooet. On the way we spent the night at Bridge Lake Provincial Park. We were there the last day it was open for the season.
On the way to Lillooet we traveled along the Frasier River. The Frasier has never been damed because of its silt content which would build up behind the dam very quickly.
At Lillooet we stayed at a nice B&B that was just above the Frasier. We listened to it roaring by all night.
From Lillooet we took BC 99 headed to Vancouver. BC 99 is an interesting road. Most of the road between Lillooet and Pemberton is very curvy and narrow with a steep drop on one side and a vertical rock face on the other. The down grades are impressive and vary from posted 10% to 13% and 15%. Having been in a car that lost its breaks on a steep downhill I was being very careful. We did great until the final 15% grade outside Pemberton where I felt the brakes start to get mushy. We made it around the last hairpin turn on to the flat with no problems. When I tried to slow for the next corner there were no brakes. We carefully drove into Pemberton and stopped at a park to eat lunch.
After lunch the breaks were fine so we continued on to White Rock which is near Vancouver to visit friends.
Our last stop before heading home was on Whidbey Island in Washington.
This was a two week trip. We traveled about five to hours a day including rest stops and lunch. The trip was a total of 2,600.3 miles from our front door and back again. The van averaged 12.5 MPG with a high of 13.7 and a low of 10.7 MPG. The average price per gallon we paid for gas was $3.21. The van ran great and gave us no problems.
The end of September is a great time to plan a trip into Alberta and BC. There is hardly any traffic, and the weather was beautiful. The trees are starting to turn yellow and there is snow at higher elevations but very little at road level. The only thing to keep in mind is that the many of the campgrounds close between mid September and mid October. The temperatures were in the low 60's during the day and we woke up to light frost a couple mornings while camping. It rained one night and we saw snow flurries on the Icefields Parkway other that that we had dry pavement all the way.