As I posted on Twitter less than an hour after we cleared this particular winter driving mess: The downside of a winter vacation is often the treacherous drive home!
After a quiet morning of wandering around our hotel in the ankle-deep winter snow of a mountain wonderland it was time to pack the car and start the drive home. But where on one side of the mountain it was sunny and magical, a few kilometers North on the same road, just around that big mountain there, a heavy cloud had settled into the valley and the wind was blowing.
All of this was making for a sketchy drive homeward.
Winter Roads and Mountains.
I was the passenger. This is sometimes the worse seat to be in.
All you can do as the passenger is sit quietly and try not to be a distraction. I accomplished this heavy task by pointing my phone camera out the front of the car windshield and taking in the rare view of a lonely winter drive down an empty mountain highway.
The video called “Winter Drive” is from part of our long, slow, snowy drive yesterday.
I include a second video for context, as “Kananaskis Cruising” was a short out-the-side-window clip of the same twenty-five kilometer stretch of highway we had driven inbound less than fourty-eight hours previous. Notice the lovely mountains that are barely ghostly shadows in the video taken a couple days later.
We’re hearty, snow-trained Canadians… eh.
We have high-quality winter tires on our four wheel drive SUV, emergency supplies in the back hatch, and have both driven our share of winter roads.
There was no cell service anywhere along this road.
There was a kid and a puppy in the backseat.
The advanced driving features (lane detection, collision detection, etc) of the car had tapped out and were just flashing a yellow light apologetically from the dashboard.
And snow, ice, cold, and speed are never a trivial combination no matter who you are and what technology you are using.
The worst of the drive (actually) was less impressive visually. As we turned up onto the main four-lane cutting vertically up the province and across the prairies, the one hundred kilometer per hour gusting winds had blown a number of large trucks off the road. The car shook for three hours and we had to stop to refill our windshield fluid because the asphalt couldn’t decide if it was wet, icy, or snowy, but all of it spattered on the glass obscuring the view. Passing these jackknifed in the ditch and watching them through a muddy, snow-streaked pane of glass as the road of gusting wind creaks and groans the seals of the car is a glaring reminder that the buffeting of the vehicle as it shakes is not exactly an amusement park ride.
But in the end… (spoiler alert) we made it home safely, if very slowly.