From Kamloops we took the scenic route instead of the Coquihalla. The Coquihalla is famous for shortening the driving time between Kamloops and Vancouver by one hour. It is also, apparently, a favourite spot for SUVs to burst into flames, ruining other people's holidays and starting forest fires.
So we chose to drive the two-lane undivided highway 5A, behind some rather largish trucks going 30km/hr on the downhill. Quite pissing me off actually. One of the trucks had a load of six massive tires (each tire 1.1 lanes wide). These tires must have come from one of those oil sands vehicles, they were that big
. The tires were piled in such a way that you had to be committed to passing before you could find out if there was traffic in the opposing lane. Risky passing, to be sure.
Subsequently, Gerry and I made a pact that I would never again try passing on uneven pavement, during an elevation change, while veering right, with an unseen motorcycle in the right rut in front of the truck, and with only 250 metres of passing lane in a 100 km/hr zone and an 18-wheeler in oncoming traffic. Other than that, I'm
a champion driver!
Highway 5A passed through a lovely valley named after our favourite person (photo 7). In the middle of Nicola Lake is a village on a promontory, which I have named Laketown in honour of the Hobbit (photo 8). At the end of the lake we arrived at Nicola Ranch and the Nicola Church (photos 9 and 10).
We reached Merritt with no additional fuss. The forests there are very neatly stacked and a pleasure to observe (photo 11). It made me want to build furniture!
For the final push into Hope, we decided to brave the Coquihalla highway. It just seemed the right thing to do. So we went up, and up, and up. To me, we were above the tree line with no view at all except barren mountain tops and cliff faces. Gerry assured me that there actually were trees on either side of us.
On our way down approaching Hope, she pointed out the beautiful scenery and took this lovely photo of a rock face (photo 12). You may recognize this from the first Rambo film, which was filmed here. In contrast, my viewpoint, and in fact the entire Aristoltelian
world, consisted of: road in front, concrete barrier on left, shear drop on right, and white knuckles below.
Can't wait for the last day's driving. An easy jaunt to the ferry.
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