Sunday, January 22, 2012

Australian Adventure: Let the Adventure Begin

My next great travel adventure has begun, and I haven't even left the country yet. Winter finally came to Kelowna just as it was time to leave for Vancouver and my flight down under, where the 40-degree heat of mid-summer await. However, the drive to Vancouver was quite the opposite, with compact snow covered roads the entire way to Hope, blinding fog, drifting snow, high winds and temperatures that had warmed to -20 over the connector.

Our trip was detoured before had even begun as the Coquihalla highway was riddled with compact snow, ice and ice rain warnings along with the inevitable hoard of accidents that follow when BC drivers take to the highways in such conditions. However, the excitement would begin shortly after leaving the house, when the passenger side wiper went limp as a salty, sandy mess was dropped on the windshield from traffic in front. To make things worse, the driver’s side wiper began to lift halfway through its arch, only completing 50% of its task. With several stops at gas stations to make use of their squeegees, we made our way to the visual safety of the snow packed Connector, only to run head long into the fog pack that usually socks in the Pennask Summit this time of year.

However, as the Coquihalla was congested with the remnants of stupidity, we opted to take the 5a south to Princeton, connecting to the #3 to Hope. This would add an additional hour and a half to our day, but it would be well worth it as the 5a was a winter wonderland with nearly no traffic, much nicer than following the sheep over to the Coq. Snow began to fall and the wind would soon pick up, however, the wounded wipers would not be needed as the flakes were frozen enough to bounce off the windshield. However, this would change as well began to descend into the warmer Fraser Valley, with salt trucks in full attack, the road was covered in a 10 cm thick layer of slush, and travelling behind a salt truck made visibility a struggle. The wipers would have to come on, and it didn’t take long for the passenger side arm to come out of alignment, in danger of pinning the driver’s side mid-arch, with some loving coercion, Steph leaned out of the window into the salty spray and freed the limp wiper, giving us temporarily limited vision once again.

After a battle of vision, some slipping and sliding and a hand brake turn thrown in for good measure, we made it to Maple Ridge, my short stop over before the my, where the real adventure will begin. Climate shock recovery will most likely be my fist challenge with the expected 60-degree change in weather.

For more information about the expedition and the cause, please visit

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