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Old 09-14-2021, 11:39 AM   #1
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Advice? Driving from Jasper AB to Vancouver BC. Avoid the Coquihalla??

Hi all,

We're up in Jasper right now. We leave for Clearwater BC on Friday, stay for 5 days then on to Vancouver to catch the ferry to Vancouver Island where we're spending the winter.

Our trip planner (RVParky) has us taking Hwy 5 from Jasper to Clearwater, then Hwy 5 from Clearwater, through Kamloops then down through Coquihalla Pass to Hwy 1 through Abbotsford>Surrey on to Vancouver.

We spoke with a friend from BC (not an RVer) that suggested we try to avoid the Coquihalla all together.

Is all of Hwy 5 the Coquihalla or is just through Merritt thats the concern?

We can't avoid Hwy 5 from Jasper to Kamloops. Would I be better to hop on to Hwy 1 in Kamloops and take that all the way in to Vancouver? Is there a route that avoids as many big mountain passes as possible?

I've never done the drive before, let alone in a 36ft motorhome towing a Jeep so I appreciate the advice and experience!
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:15 PM   #2
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Ok , I believe the fire that had the highway between Merritt and Hope closed; is now being held and is further away from the Highway than it was when I came through in early August . I haven't been on Drive BC to check for closures on the #1 Fraser Canyon route for the fire that destroyed Lytton .

The 5 from Jaspar to Kamloops is my preferred route when traveling to Hinton to see friends .
Kamloops to Hope through Merritt , isn't easy but I've done it a number of times with no issues .
Kelowna to Hope over the Connector 97C and 5 has been an annual trip for past 11 years with the coach , both directions .

HIGHWAY 99 from Kamloops to Vancouver , I wouldn't take my coach through there if I was paid to do so! 18% grade section, narrow with no shoulder in places.

There are no routes in southern BC, interior to the coast , that don't have long climbs and downhill sections .

The Coke #5 Kamloops /Hope, deserves your full attention when driving , keep your downhill speed in check; at the summits gear down ( I go 45 MPH with exhaust brake on from the summits ) coast to 55 MPH then brake hard back to 45 , coast again to allow brakes to cool . Expect to be down to 35/40 MPH on the uphills , semis will be doing 30 if loaded .
Sorry about the MPH , vs KPH for speed ( my old Newmar has the MPH speedo ) .
You'll be on the highway with hundreds of other RVs take your time , it's doable .
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:24 PM   #3
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This past spring. Made two trips from Langley to Calgary with two different MHís. One is a 25 ft class C and we towed a car on our way from Langley to Calgary.

The second trip was with our 40 ft class A DP. Also towing a car.

350 HP , 34,000 lb. not a ball of fire but did not overheat and other than water temperatures getting to just under 200 and transmission temperatures around the 180 mark on the longest climbs no issues. Did not pass hardly anyone and got passed a lot. Enjoyed the view and nice highway.
Exhaust brake made the long downhill grades easy to manage.

I see no reason to avoid the Coke. It is quick, way less local traffic and well maintained.

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Old 09-14-2021, 02:25 PM   #4
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NOW after all that I see your route map shows you going to Horseshoe Bay for the ferry . I HAVE to take that route to get home . If I was going to Vancouver Island I would avoid central Vancouver like the plague .

Use the Tswwassen ferry terminal , they have sailings to Nanaimo if that's where your heading .
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Old 09-14-2021, 02:59 PM   #5
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Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skip426 View Post
NOW after all that I see your route map shows you going to Horseshoe Bay for the ferry . I HAVE to take that route to get home . If I was going to Vancouver Island I would avoid central Vancouver like the plague .

Use the Tswwassen ferry terminal , they have sailings to Nanaimo if that's where your heading .
Hi Skip thanks for the advice!

I've done Hwy 99 once in a van and that was enough for me to never want to go that route again.

I am going to take your suggestion of departing from Tsawwassen instead of Horseshoe Bay.

Question: Would hopping on the Hwy 1 at Kamloops and going down through Cache Creek then taking that down through Lytton in to Hope (see attached route picture) be an easier pass than taking Hwy 5 through Merritt?
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:03 PM   #6
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I haven't been to the Drive BC site to check if the #1 highway through Lytton is still closed , due to wild fire activity close to the road .

www.drivebc.ca

95% of Lytton was destroyed during the wildfire and I don't think even those evacuated have been allowed in yet.

I prefer the 5 to the 1 , #1 has too many corners and if it does happen to rain you can get BAD fog through there. Some corners can be a little scary if your co-pilot happens to be a little nervous.
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Old 09-14-2021, 06:17 PM   #7
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Skip thanks for the great advice.

My co-pilot thanks you as well
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Old Yesterday, 03:46 PM   #8
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Take the Coq. You are making a lot out of nothing. Do as 96Bounder1st and Skip426 have suggested. Gear down, use the jake and control your speed.
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Old Yesterday, 04:57 PM   #9
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There is only one potentially-gnarly section of the Coquihalla and that's between the summit and the snowshed - steep going up and down depending in direction (down for you). Just go slow (the wise/laden truck(er)s do) especially for these couple of Km or so from the brake check area until you pass through the snowshed and you'll be o.k. There are a couple of other steep sections (e.g., a couple of Km before the Carolin Mines exit) but they're fine as long as you take it slow. Gravity isn't always you friend.
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