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Discussion Starter #1
So Im planning a reasonable sized road trip for mid September.

A loop from SoCal upto Jasper National Park back down through Yellowstone, Utah national parks etc. Total about 5000miles at the moment. 3 weeks.

Its going to be camping and hiking so we'll have more gear than usual. I can easily fit enough gear for camping trips around (warmer) CA but up North we'll need more gear.

It took a while to figure out what to do for extra luggage but I found something that works well so thought id post.

Its a Ravin Crossbox carry case. 41 x 19 x 13 inches. Water proof

Awkwardly looks like a small coffin but much better than any standard luggage box I could find. (all are way too big.)

I found a cheap engine cover so I could bolt things to it. So the case is mounted with rubber isolators through the front of the engine cover and suction cupped to the back clam. Easy to pop the cups and get into the boot. Also have straps to tie the roof to.

I have been working through a bunch of maintenance. Final big job will be to put a new radiator in and while the clam is off try figure out the weird rattling coming from the front (checked all the bolts I can get to).









What I can normally fit in there.



 

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I'm not sure about camping in Alberta, but in BC campsites can get booked up, if you haven't looked into reservations yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Even mid September? This weekends job is to book a few. Does it rain a lot at that time of year up that way or is it just cold?
 

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Alberta has a strange climate, very unpredictable. BC on the other Hand is a lot more predictable, so do some research on average temps and precipitation for the areas you plan to visit.
I live on the south end of Vancouver Island, this area has without a doubt the best weather in the PNW as well as all of Canada. Our summer month are July, August and September were the weather equals that of San Diego.
If you decide to come this way, make sure to PM me.

👍
 

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campgrounds will be sparsely populated after Labour Day; I wouldn't worry about that.

I highly recommend the Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper. One of the most spectacular drives in North America (and enough curves to have fun in the Elise) - in good weather. Check the road/weather conditions when you get close. In bad weather you won't see much of the great scenery and at that time of year, snow is at least as likely as rain at high elevation... not much fun in the Elise. Either way, watch for critters on the road.

Not sure of your intended route but for fun driving overall, stay in or west of the Rockies. Long, straight and boring roads dominate the flat ground on the east side of the Rocks.

Have fun!
 

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Does it rain a lot at that time of year up that way or is it just cold?
I would expect rain on at least some days, but not most days, in Sept, especially near the coast. The BC interior, say around Kelowna or Kamloops for example, is drier, but still gets some rain.

Temperatures at low elevations should be mild. The interior is both a little bit warmer and colder than the coast. If you're camping at high elevation in BC, Manning Park for example, it'll be cold at night, as you might expect at Jasper as well. Could get snow way up there. The weather forecasts for towns seem pretty reliable 2 days in advance but our mountain weather changes rapidly and can have microclimates.

Since you're coming from California, do you get to drive much in the rain? If not, it might be helpful to know that worn, dirty road markers and a lack of reflectors on many BC roads can make it very hard to see your lane on rainy nights here. Something to consider when scheduling your departure/arrival times.

Route comments... The bumpy concrete surface of the I5 between Seattle and Vancouver can be a bit tiring in my wife's Mini, so I can imagine the Elise being genuinely uncomfortable.

I'm not sure about the clearance on the speed bumps at Peace Arch border crossing, haven't tried in my car yet. The lanes are narrow so you might not be able to hit them at much of an angle. The truck crossing further east might be the safer bet. Fill up the tank in Blaine before crossing the border, gas is cheaper there :)

Hwy 1 from Vancouver towards the interior is a commute, but you could take a more scenic route to bypass it, maybe hwy 7.

Also good to know is that BC has "excessive speed" (40 km/h over the limit) and "stunting" (drifting, etc) laws that result in your car getting towed away. There are often speed traps on the highways approaching towns. Squamish and Merritt come to mind.

There are a bunch of red light and speed cameras being activated at high-collision intersections around the province as well, which should show up on google maps (there's also road signage and a BC gov web page listing the locations).

Have you checked out the Porsche GTS Routes app? It lists some fun drives around here. Sea to Sky hwy to Whistler is a popular one, with some scenic rest stops. It's quieter in the early morning and later night. The viewpoint for the Tantalus mtns is really nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Since you're coming from California, do you get to drive much in the rain? If not, it might be helpful to know that worn, dirty road markers and a lack of reflectors on many BC roads can make it very hard to see your lane on rainy nights here. Something to consider when scheduling your departure/arrival times.
Ive been in CA for 2 years but originally from New Zealand. Which rains a lot and has really narrow windy roads though hardly any snow driving. I am going to try and stick to the 'only drive during the day' rule because I want to see things.

Thanks for the info and route suggestions. Whats hwy5 like? Current plan would be hwy7, hwy5 to Jasper then take 93 down.

Like you mention, Hwy99 to Whistler looks good. Then get back on hwy5 to Jasper. Would you pick this over hwy7,5?

 

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Thanks for the info and route suggestions. Whats hwy5 like?
...
Like you mention, Hwy99 to Whistler looks good. Then get back on hwy5 to Jasper. Would you pick this over hwy7,5?
Hwy 5 is the fastest route, starts off with evergreen forest and has a long steep climb we call the Bear Shed. There's a rest stop at the top with a nice mountain view. Heading toward Merritt (good idea to stop for gas and/or food here) and Kamloops, where it's drier, you'll see more valleys with ranches. The road is wide with 2 or 3 lanes per direction to pass the big rigs that frequently take this route. Past Hope this route has been fairly quiet and relaxed whenever I've driven it. The worthwhile sights I know of are Othello Tunnels and Hell's Gate (actually up hwy 1 a bit from Hope, but you could take the detour and come back).

Hwy 99 would be my pick, but I've been to Othello and Hell's Gate a few times already. Check google maps and the radio traffic report before starting in case there's a major collision on the 99, or you could be stuck for hours.

The 99 is twistier, but has a lower speed limit until past Squamish. It switches between 1 and 2 lanes per direction and hugs the coast from Vancouver to Squamish, so the distracting views can be very good, then goes inland toward Whistler. There are a number of scenic rest stops with signage, as well as lakes and waterfalls. If you don't go early in the morning it can be busy, with a mix of people driving less than the limit and impatient tailgaters asking for a tow by the popo. In Squamish is The Chief, which is a nice hike (or climb) up a granite dome with a great view of the town from the top. I stop for gas in town because it's cheaper and I can get either Shell V-Power or Chevron 94 instead of the ethanol blend. Traffic tends to thin out past Squamish, but hwy 5 still seems quieter. Whistler has great restaurants, and you can hike up the mountains, or take the gondola up and just hike around at the top. There are guides if you want to do something technical. I would expect it to be quieter past Whistler, and Duffey Lake Rd (still hwy 99) is a great drive.

Either way, when you get to Kamloops, there was a restaurant at Hotel 540 on Victoria st that had good pancakes with a bit of crispy caramelization on the outside. This is of course the most important bit of info I have for you :)
 

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Hwy 99 is a great drive, but it depends how much time you plan to take... just getting to it could be infuriating, dealing with Vancouver area traffic. If you want to make any time at all, just get to Hope and decide then if you want to take #5 or #1 up towards Kamloops.
Last time through, I went through the Fraser Canyon (Rt 1) and enjoyed it more than the Coquihalla (Rt 5). The Coq has passing lanes the whole way and is faster... but it's a bit boring. The Canyon can be slow, with traffic... but I enjoyed carving my way through it. And you will see Hell's Gate if that's important. North of Kamloops, Rt 5 gets a bit more entertaining until north of Blue River, where the countryside opens up to a broad valley.. enjoy the trip!
 

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Have a look at taking CA 49 from CA 41 out of Bakersfield. US 99 and I5 in California are just boring in a Lotus.
 
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