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WHAT was I thinking!! Arriving SEATAC at 4pm on Friday Rush Hour to Head to BC!?

WHAT was I thinking!! Arriving SEATAC at 4pm on Friday Rush Hour to Head to BC!?

Old May 12th, 2007, 06:39 PM
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WHAT was I thinking!! Arriving SEATAC at 4pm on Friday Rush Hour to Head to BC!?

OK, let me just say this first off: My brain must've gone on vacation already. There is another couple who started traveling with us last year, and whom we wanted to show British Columbia and the Canadian Rockies. I got caught up in a fare sale, and booked us all to fly from Orlando to Seattle on Friday, 9/7 (after Labor Day that same week). Okay, but our normally preferred flight wasn't available, so I chose a good connection (or so I thought at the time) later in the day. Now, we arrive at 4pm. Which means we'll probably be leaving SEATAC around 5pm during Friday rush hour, thinking we only have a few hours drive to Hope, BC.

Are you done laughing yet? Probably not. I am throwing myself on all of your tender mercies, in the hopes that this can be salvaged.

Here's the deal: Our friends have never traveled until last fall, when we took them to Tahoe. They are really excited to see British Columbia. I really want to show them some great mountains, and also fit in Vancouver, Butchart Gardens, and a quick Okanagan trip (more for us, we love the wine). We had 11 nights/10 days (not counting airplane travel); I just pushed it out to 12 nights/11 days. Oh, no -- laughing again, I see.

We have 5 nights in our timeshare in Canmore checking in on Sunday 9/9. I can move it around a bit if need be.

I was planning on spending the last day in Buchart, taking either Tsawwassen or Horseshoe bay, returning to Anacortes or Tsawwassen and spending the night in a SEATAC hotel (Priceline) before leaving in the morning.

So here is the question: On Friday when we arrive, is it possible to make Vancouver or Hope without dragging in late at night, or is it better to head east for some place like Wenatchee, and routing up through there? And is it feasible to work in a ferry crossing somewhere along the way/way back?

Also, DH would really like to stop at some Okanagan wineries on the way back (he thinks the extra space will be less of a problem then, okay....) to pick up some wine.

I know this is a lot of driving, and would prefer that a full day driving include several stops for exploration, meals, etc. It's too pretty, and I'm too tired of long days spent just driving.

I've been going round in circles, so any suggestions would really make my day. Thanks, Sandy
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Old May 12th, 2007, 09:02 PM
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Hang onto your hat, Sandy.

This is no problem.

I think the Lynden-Aldergrove or the Sumas-Huntingdon border crossing should be good. They are further east than the Peace Arch-Blaine and Pacific Highway Truck Customs border crossings. They bring you into Canada in the vicinity of Abbotsford, BC. Seattle to Hope is about 3 hours. You could consider spending the night in Hope, or you could stop earlier, in Chilliwack.

The next day you could take Hwy #5 from Hope to Kamloops. People say this is the least pretty route, but I still think the stretch of road from Hope to Merritt is attractive.

At Kamloops you could turn east onto Hwy #1. Things in the vicinity of Kamloops are a bit dry, to my taste, but I find that the scenery picks up when one reaches the Shuswap Lake, around Salmon Arm. Then I like all the way from Sicamous, east through Revelstoke, Golden, Lake Louise and Banff.

Hope to Canmore is 8.5 hours, give or take, not counting stops. I'm sure you'll stop for a meal at least once, and you'll lose an hour when you cross time zones between Revelstoke and Golden. So it'll effectively take you 10.5 hours, but I feel that's doable.

Now let's look at your larger itinerary. You could try this:

Fri, Sept 7 - Drive to Chilliwack or Hope.

Sat, Sept 8 - Drive to Canmore. I think it would be helpful if you could move your arrival up by one day. It'll make things more efficient.

Sun, Sept 9 - Wed, Sept 12 - Canmore

Mon, Sept 13 - Drive to Revelstoke, stopping to see Yoho National Park stuff on the way.

Tue, Sept 14 - Drive to the Okanagan Valley. If you want to catch an inland ferry, you could go south from Revelstoke to Fauguier. You would catch the Shelter Bay - Galena Bay ferry en route to Fauquier. Then you would catch the Fauquier - Needles ferry before continuing westwards towards Vernon.

Wed, Sept 15 - Buy wine in the morning, drive to Vancouver in the afternoon.

Thu, Sept 16 - Vancouver sight seeing.

Fri, Sept 17 - Cross to Victoria in the morning. Visit Butchart Gardens in the afternoon.

Tue, Sept 18th - Look around downtown Victoria a bit in the morning, cross back to the mainland, and drive to SEATAC for the night.

Hope that helps.

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Old May 13th, 2007, 08:47 AM
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Thanks, Judy. Yes, it does help. I had thought about those two border crossings as well. Thinking that it would be about 3 hours to Hope, my plan was to stop there for the night, then take the "Coke" to Merritt, cutting over to Kelowna. We could eat lunch at a winery, spend a bit of time stretching our legs, and then spend the next night at Salmon Arm (thought it was very pretty when we came through 2 years ago, but we could not stop). From Salmon Arm I planned to drive to Canmore.

But with additional traffic, those 3 hours might be -- what? Maybe 5? Plus dinner? (I've learned not to overlook that chow time, when you're tired it makes a big difference.)

Where possible, I try not to schedule more than 5-6 hard driving in a day, so as to allow a few hours to get out, explore and enjoy the scenery. Those 12-14 hour drives we used to make seem like a waste of my vacation day anymore..
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Old May 13th, 2007, 08:01 PM
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Well let us not minimize the traffic in Seattle! I have been stuck in it a time or two at the evening rush hour.

I suggest you take one of two courses of action:

Have a late lunch/early dinner while the traffic subsides.

Book yourself into a hotel near the airport and take advantage of the time change to get an early start Saturday morning. If you started out at 8 your home time, it would be 5 am Seattle time.

I suppose you could slog it out. If your rental car has a CD player, play your favorites. Oand get some carry out food and eat while you sit in traffic.
The non drivers can have a blast.

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Old May 14th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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Hi, Bob! You know, the simplest solutions are sometimes the hardest to come up with. I do like the early dinner one, since it will be past chow time in Orlando. Since I'm a non-driver, the meal in the car option sounds pretty good, too. Of course, we can drive until the traffic is really annoying, we can drop off and find a restaurant then.

Any idea what time the traffic slows down?
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Old May 14th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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I really don't know. Based on the daily mess in and out of Atlanta, I would say 7 pm.

Saturday's around atlanta are no bargain either. We were coming home on Saturday afternoon around 6 pm, and there were traffic jams all over, particularly around the shopping centers near the Interstates.

I found that in Seattle, both the north - south and the east main routes were equally clogged.

One thing I might suggest is taking a cue from the Munich airport bus.

the company has worked out an alternative set of twists and turns to avoid the jams on the autobahn.

I know one day we were on our way to the Munich airport when we heard that there was a major "Verkehrsstau" on the Autobahn. Not to worry, the bus simply took to the non freeways and the trip took us about 20 minutes longer. Fortunately we had allowed plenty of lead time.

I do not know if that idea would work around Seattle, but you have time I hope to order a Seattle map and see if such an idea is even possible.

Judging from my Atlanta experiences, there are times when all is for naught.

It can be very frustrating.



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Old May 14th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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Yeah, it's ugly all over. Here in Orlando, I take to the side roads quite a bit. Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes I just annoy people in the neighborhoods.... C

Maybe I'll try to detour option on the GPS.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 01:09 PM
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Mmmm...I don't think there really is a detour around our traffic--or if there is I haven't found it and I've been in Seattle for 20 years ;-). Taking 405 around Seattle won't do you any good, that's for sure.

The one good piece of news is that with 4 people in the car, you can use the carpool lanes on I-5 so that will make it a LITTLE better (but it will get bad again up near and through Everett after the carpool lane ends). And definitely use the express lanes through Seattle (left hand lane exit) even though there will be a backup to get onto them.

But yes on a Friday, rush hour could easily extend through 7 PM. Once you're north of Marysville, things should start moving freely again.

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Old May 14th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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My mother used to send me up to spend the summers with my relatives -- we lived in the San Franciso Bay Area, and everyone else was up in Everett & Marysville. Back then, it was pretty rural. My aunt & uncle's house was in the middle of a 10-acre forested lot. The nearest place that I can remember was the tannery. How things have grown...
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Old May 14th, 2007, 09:50 PM
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So you are ""Landing"" @ 4pm... and it will take some amount of time to get bags and collect your rental car, and in this case it HELPS to be delayed that way.

Under no circumstances should you drive very far before stopping for a good, long and satisfying dinner, to maximize the use of your time.

The area between north Seattle and Everett would likely be your biggest slowdown if you set sail right into rush hour traffic.

By delaying, and having a good dinner, you would effectively lose no actual time at all, given the difference in traffic.

If I were in your shoes, I'd LEAVE mid-town Seattle at perhaps 7pm, needing maaaaybe a solid hour to get the 35 miles to Marysville (north of Everett).

From that point it would be less than an hour to north Bellingham, where you'd take exit #256 and drive due north to Canada Hwy #1.

(sometimes a 3:30pm Friday departure from north Seattle results in 90 minutes for a 25-ish mile drive north on I-5 --- you may as well get your meal out of the way at no actual time cost to you)

From Marysville to Hope, BC it is about 2 hours and 20 minutes of DRIVING TIME (plus any border delays, which might not be too much exiting USA at that point, from a remote-ish border crossing)

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Old May 15th, 2007, 07:08 AM
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NorthwestMale, I appreciate the specifics. Thanks!
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