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Old 12-29-2010, 10:03 AM
 
77 posts, read 328,779 times
Reputation: 37

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Hi all,

My wife and I might be moving from Saint Paul, Minnesota to Vancouver, BC in the next month or two. If we do this, I am planning on first driving from Saint Paul, Minnesota up to Canada, and then driving through Canada. We're both Canadian, and it just seems like it'd be easier for us to drive back to Vancouver, BC through Canada rather than along the I94 to the I90, and then to the I5 north.

But I have a few questions: Have any of you driven across the Canadian rocky mountains in the winter time? Do you think that this is a bad idea? Do you think it would be better to take the I94 to the I90, and then over to the I5?

My parents are concerned that this is a very bad idea and would prefer we sell our car first in Saint Paul, Minnesota- fly to Vancouver, and then buy another vehicle there. We have a pet dog and a pet cat and I'm unhappy with the idea of having to bring them onto the plane with us in the cargo hold.

I will likely have relatively little control over when we will have to move- i.e. I do not think I will have sufficient flexibility in my new position that I can delay the move until the summer time when the roads will be in better condition.

What do you guys think?

Thanks,
Brad
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Old 12-29-2010, 01:56 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
10,715 posts, read 22,325,919 times
Reputation: 5137
the mountains passes have fleets of snow plows and de-icers out 24/7 to keep the roads open and safe should be no problem.

Try this site for current road conditions on the passes and just remember to get your car tuned and bring some food and water along and to have a set of decent winter tires on your car and you should be A-ok.

also instead of flying you could also take a Train or greyhound bus across the rocky mountains if you feel un-safe to naivagate them. On a grey hound you would just have to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery

sites to check conditions the first one is your best bet as it is run by the govronment of Canada and updated frequently.
http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/drivebc_supp/canada_map.htm

Canada Travel Information - Highway and Road Conditions, Traffic and Transit
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Old 12-29-2010, 07:49 PM
 
397 posts, read 607,238 times
Reputation: 489
I have made the same trip more than once.

Any part of the journey can be problematic in the winter.

The short stretch from Winnipeg to Portage la Prairie can be brutal in drifting snow. It can be closed for hours at a time in bad weather.

I've always had good luck from Portage to Calgary, but keep in mind this is all flat prairie and is subject to some wild winter storms as well.

From Calgary into the mountains has always had some bad patches when I've travelled in winter.

BC does a good job of keeping the roads clear through all the passes, but watch out for black ice, especially as you go from sunlight into shadow. A road that seems perfectly dry can actually be covered with a thin layer of treacherous ice.

If the weather is good, the Coquihalla is a good choice to complete your journey into Vancouver. If there has been a lot of snow at elevation, stay off the Coq., and stay on the Trans Canada.

If you give yourself a couple of extra days to cope with weather, you should be fine. Listen to the weather and don't be afraid to stop at a motel to wait out the bad weather.

Pack a winter survival kit. Candles, matches, a container to melt snow, blankets, chocolate bars, cell phone, shovel, and good winter clothes. If you get stuck, stay in the car and wait for rescue.

All of this is just a long way of saying, use common sense and you will be fine.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Niagara Falls ON.
10,024 posts, read 10,135,943 times
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My wife and I are professional long distance truckers and we have driven both of these routes many times in the winter. """TAKE THE AMERICAN INTERSTATE""". There is ABSOLUTELY NO COMPARISON in the quality of the roads, the onroute ammenities, the severity of the weather if things get bad, ETC ETC. Even the cost of the fuel is so much cheeper that the savings on it alone will pay for a night in a nice motel. The transCanada highway from just outside of Calgary to almost Vancouver is a national disgrace as far as I'm concerned. From Winnipeg to Calgary is a little better but not in the same league as the I90 as far as rest areas, places to eat or sleep etc.
The question for someone like me who has travelled both so many times is a NO BRAINER. I'm not trying to be insulting because why would you know, not having first hand info on the differences between these two vastly different routes. Anyways, the best to you in your new life in Van. It's a fantastic city and I'm sure you are going to love it.
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Old 12-30-2010, 03:30 AM
 
33,136 posts, read 39,078,504 times
Reputation: 28489
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucknow View Post
My wife and I are professional long distance truckers and we have driven both of these routes many times in the winter. """TAKE THE AMERICAN INTERSTATE""". There is ABSOLUTELY NO COMPARISON in the quality of the roads, the onroute ammenities, the severity of the weather if things get bad, ETC ETC. Even the cost of the fuel is so much cheeper that the savings on it alone will pay for a night in a nice motel. The transCanada highway from just outside of Calgary to almost Vancouver is a national disgrace as far as I'm concerned. From Winnipeg to Calgary is a little better but not in the same league as the I90 as far as rest areas, places to eat or sleep etc.
The question for someone like me who has travelled both so many times is a NO BRAINER. I'm not trying to be insulting because why would you know, not having first hand info on the differences between these two vastly different routes. Anyways, the best to you in your new life in Van. It's a fantastic city and I'm sure you are going to love it.
Excellent advice lucknow
It is done everyday by many travelers but given the choice i wouldnt do it on the Canadian side in the winter, also good snow tires , survival kit and proper winter clothing could mean the difference between life and death if you happen to get stuck somewhere in the car for several days..
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
1,372 posts, read 2,488,093 times
Reputation: 573
i would guess it is possible, but a challenge. dont get out of your car too much =D
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Old 12-30-2010, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
10,715 posts, read 22,325,919 times
Reputation: 5137
Quote:
Originally Posted by iPwn View Post
i would guess it is possible, but a challenge. dont get out of your car too much =D
not really we did it every christmas for 12 years in a row from metro vancouver to calgary in winter to see and spend time with relatives.

The roads were always pretty good just some parts in the higher elevations get a bit more snow but there are tons of washrooms and rest areas to take a break and lots of places grab a bite to eat in the towns and cities you travel through and their are lots of hotels and motels in the towns to stay over night in.

there is pretty much a mcdonalds, a Dairy Queen and a subway in every small town for a quick meal and all of the Gas stations sell sandwhichs and other normal junk food to grab along the way while filling up.
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Old 01-01-2011, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Canackistan
746 posts, read 1,452,433 times
Reputation: 676
You'll be fine. We just did that drive last week, no problems. Take it slow, leave lots of following distance and you'll be okay. Put some winter tires on the car and go.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:11 PM
 
9,326 posts, read 18,980,034 times
Reputation: 4394
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhdavis1978 View Post
Hi all,

My wife and I might be moving from Saint Paul, Minnesota to Vancouver, BC in the next month or two. If we do this, I am planning on first driving from Saint Paul, Minnesota up to Canada, and then driving through Canada. We're both Canadian, and it just seems like it'd be easier for us to drive back to Vancouver, BC through Canada rather than along the I94 to the I90, and then to the I5 north.

But I have a few questions: Have any of you driven across the Canadian rocky mountains in the winter time? Do you think that this is a bad idea? Do you think it would be better to take the I94 to the I90, and then over to the I5?

My parents are concerned that this is a very bad idea and would prefer we sell our car first in Saint Paul, Minnesota- fly to Vancouver, and then buy another vehicle there. We have a pet dog and a pet cat and I'm unhappy with the idea of having to bring them onto the plane with us in the cargo hold.

I will likely have relatively little control over when we will have to move- i.e. I do not think I will have sufficient flexibility in my new position that I can delay the move until the summer time when the roads will be in better condition.

What do you guys think?

Thanks,
Brad
have you checked first to see if your vehicle is admissible into Canada? If not, may be a mute point, you'd have to sell your car anyway and buy one back in Canada.
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:42 PM
 
Location: Calgary, AB
482 posts, read 2,114,537 times
Reputation: 329
Another question is, do these folks have permits to stay in Canada? Apparently just about every day nowadays Americans show up at the border with a U-Haul and get turned around... They seem to think they can just show up and move here...

It's called diplomatic reciprocity...
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