Le Grand Détour

Back in Canada

1 July 2017

After Yellowstone and a drive to Idaho through a dirt road path, with some excellent driving roads while where it was paved, and a lot of dead trees from a forest fire, I headed North back into Canada.


Dead trees in Montana. Although, some clearly survived.

And what an appropriate day to visit Canada: On 1 July, Canada Day. And as I have mentioned before, Canada was celebrating its 150 birthday. So arriving over the border, the border patrol agent gave me flag with "Canada 150" written on it. I wondered if the Americans would give me something similar if I arrived in the US on 4 July (spoiler alert; they did not, but then again, perhaps a 241st is not as impressive as a 150th one).

Not that I got to see a lot of Canadian civilisation on Canada Day, as I spent most of it driving around their Banff National Park in Alberta, just on the border with British Columbia.


Lake Peyto in Banff National Park. Here, delibrately with some pine in the foreground.


Athabasca Falls in Banff.

I then spent the night in a small town called McBride in British Columbia, thus meaning that driving in from Idaho and into Alberta and back to British Columbia, meant I had to cross the same time zone line twice. Indeed, the time zone lines are a bit odd at times, particularly when one state or province does not have a single time zone. No state or province in North America is practically large enough to require more than one time zone, yet some do, because they allow the counties to pick their time zone.

Then again, you could have a situation like Europe, where everyone [1] is using the same time zone, even though they do not really match their actual location compared to, you know, the sun. The reason? As with everything else in Europe: Hitler.


Far off in the distance, a helicopter arrives. And it will later land on the road in front of us.

After staying overnight in McBride, the next day's travel was to Vancouver, where I had decided to take a beautiful detour towards. My plans were hindered, however, as I am driving South on the 97 just before Cache Creek, the traffic suddenly halts. Police arrive on the scene, and within minutes a helicopter lands on the road. The road was closed and would be closed for 8 hours at least. Meaning I would have to go back again, resulting in a detour of effectively four hours.

I should probably not have been as irritated as I was, but I was bothered by the fact that I did not get to see more of this road to Vancouver, and instead had to endure a late arrival - I was beginning to be slightly exhausted - in Vancouver. So I got to do some motorway driving, and in British Columbia the speed limit is a more reasonable 120 km/h (almost Danish conditions!).

But I now understand why they do not use the term 'motorway'. Apparently, bicycles are allowed to ride on them! At first I thought the cyclists were madmen, but then there were signs warning drivers about them! Clearly endorsed by the authorities. When authorities endorse madness, no wonder these people are mad! But to Vancouver I arrived without hitting a bicyclist. Or anyone else for that matter.


[1]Everyone that matters, that is. Who cares about the Portuguese?