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I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Travelin' down the highway

Last week, we decided that we'd go for a little drive. Now, I don't spend a lot of time in the car - I live downtown, I work downtown, I walk everywhere.

But we were out for lunch at Horseshoe Bay - sort of the northern tip of Vancouver - and we decided we'd take a short drive up the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish.

Of course, none of you will have been following this but here's the short version of what's happened in Vancouver in the past four years. We get the 2010 Winter Olympics split between Vancouver and Whistler (at the end of the Sea to Sky Highway). The Olympic Committee tells us we HAVE to fix the highway - gee, surprise, it's one of the most dangerous stretches of road in Canada. Why? Because it runs right up the Coast Mountain Range - hovering (and when I say hovering, I mean it) between the mountains and the steep drop into the ocean.

It's a narrow shelf of a road that goes up and down and around when they can't blast out enough mountain for a reasonably sized road. It's also filled - especially in the winter - with people commuting back and forth to ski at Whistler. They feel confident on this road so they speed - all the time. Snow or rain or traffic doesn't slow them down a bit. So there are plenty of accidents.

And every time there's an accident, the road is closed - in one direction or the other or sometimes both - for hours. There are mud slides - the road is closed for hours and sometimes days. There are rock slides - the road is closed for weeks. And all of these things tend to happen more in the winter (guess what? the WINTER Olympics!) than in the summer.

The road - 60 miles of it from Horseshoe Bay to Whistler - has been under construction for years and it was supposed to be finished by now. It's not.

It's like driving an obstacle course. Yes, some of the road has been widened and repaved and it's gorgeous - but there are parts that haven't even been touched yet and they're even more noticeably bad compared to the new stuff. I have a friend who said he actually had to pull over (and he was driving rather than a passenger) because the road winds so much he thought he was going to throw up. There are pylons all over the road - and it's impossible to tell which lane goes where.

Luckily, we were driving it on a Tuesday afternoon and there wasn't much traffic so we were safe if we had to slow down to figure out which set of pylons were ours or even if we went into the wrong lane. I sure wouldn't be driving that road in the dark or the rain.

But it is beautiful up there - here are a couple of pictures of the scenery on the way up. It's beautiful - but for me it'll probably stay (even after it's finished) a summer day drive.


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