Welcome to Golden, British Columbia Would You Like a Detour?

Pulling into Golden she says, “I’d like to use a bathroom, can we stop somewhere?” I smiled at her need to use the restroom for the third time in less than two hours. “Of course we can, I really need to stretch my legs. Did you see the detour sign on the way into town?” I asked. “No what do you think its about?” “Well. It said the Trans-Canada Highway has construction and we might have to wait or take the detour.” Then she darted off into the cafe to use their bathroom. As she was inside, I pulled out the trusty phone and looked up the distances between Golden and Canmore via the TransCanada Highway (1 hour 45 minutes 162 kilometres) or the Detour route, Golden -to- Radium -to- Canmore via Highway 95 then connecting to Highway 93 (2 hours 45 minutes 262 kilometres).

When she returned to the sidewalk, I gave her the lowdown on distances and time for the detour versus the regular route and asked her what she was feeling would be better. “Well, we’ve always taken Trans-Canada, so I’m not sure if the detour would be better?”

We walked down to the end of main street, looking around at the town that we always drove through and never seemed to stop at other than for fuel, grub or coffee. “Let’s try Highway One and if we think its taking too long to get onto the roadway lets take the detour.” I said as we wandered down the walking trail next to the rivers edge.

Ten Pin or Bust Golden, British Columbia

After returning to the Tacoma we drove up the steep ten-kilometres of winding road heading Southeast out of Golden. Cresting the top of the hill there was no traffic in sight. Perhaps the “detour” wasn’t really in existence, I selfishly thought. Then we crested the next small hill and saw the line up of Semi-trailers and other vehicles. Damn it, spoke too soon.

Down into the lineup of vehicles we went. “Looks like we are in the lineup for an unknown period of time. What would you like to do?” I asked as I shifted into park and turned the truck off. “What time is it?” She asked. I lifted my cellphone from its storage area, clicked the side button and it revealed 6:33pm. “Around six thirty,” I replied followed by, “how long do you want to sit here? Perhaps the detour is actually the better route?” She smiled knowingly that I had sitting in traffic and would rather drive ten-kilometres an hour in any other direction than sit and wait. “How about a bit of patience,” she encouraged then starred out the window watching the dark blues fade into black above the mountain tops.

Twenty-ish minutes later the taillights of the semi in front of us came on. Its air brakes were released and it slowly lurched forward about fifty-meters. It was just far enough that I could see a break in the highway up ahead. “Hey, I see there is a break in the highway just up there. We could hit a u-turn and take the detour?” She smiled again, knowing my impatience was growing, “I support whatever decision you make.”

That was it. All the encouragement I needed. I pulled the Tacoma past the trailer, went up to the break in the highway-yielded and completed the U-turn in the middle of the highway coming out of the U, I hit the gas pedal and we launched into a hundred-kilometre an hour spring back to Golden. “WOW!!! That is a looooong lineup of vehicles that was behind us,” I said noting the headlights of other vehicles. “Yeah, that sure is.”

Back down into Golden, we turned left onto Highway 95 heading Southeast towards Radium. Through the sleepy town at 7:07pm we drove, past the 7-Eleven, over the two lane bridge crossing the Kicking Horse River, passed the Super Suds, Papa Ben’s Cafe and Save-on-Foods then the final building in Golden and we were on our detouring-adventure!

Speeding down the highway an 80-kph sign popped up on the side of the road then a town sign: Nicholson. Slowing into this sleepy town five street lights dotted the edge of the two horse town then as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared and the speed limit sign was back to 100-kph. Another hundred-ish kilometres down the road the speed slowed another small town appeared McMurdo and out the other side we went eight street lights this time. This went on and on for the next couple of hours. As did the arrival of speeding semi-trailers their brilliant blue LED lights on high coming up from Radium Hot Springs, probably trying to avoid the same construction we had just left. “Damn I really dislike those lights. They are extra bright and sliding me every time they come around corners. If this continues, I might have to pull over and let you drive,” I said. She smiled without saying a word.

Then without warning the clear crisp skies parted above us unforeseen in the darkness just outside of Spillimacheen the rain turned on, then as we reached the outskirts of town it poured and poured and poured down some more. There was so much rain the windshield wipers could not keep up. Spotting a pull off, I slowed the Tacoma and slide carefully to a stop. ‘What’s up?” she asked. “I have to pee, and its pouring rain. Great combination.” We both began to laugh.

Back in the truck after standing under a big spruce tree. I was barely wet. Tacoma back on the highway we continued our path down the roadway. “Are you doing okay?” she asked noticing I was no longer driving 100-kph but more like 65 to 75. “Yeah. Its just between the down pouring rain and the bright blue LED headlights, I’m getting a bit stressed out. But that last sign said Radium is another twenty-five kilometres. Then its your turn to drive, okay? Unless you want to grab a place to sleep?”

“I will see if anything is open,” she said pulling out her phone and checking on possible accommodations. After a few minutes she replied, “My phone is not getting any signal. We’ll have to wait until we reach Radium. I’m feeling pretty awake, too. Maybe I should take over and get us up to Canmore?” I simply nodded my head and began singing along to the tunes on the radio.

Another forty-five minutes down the heavily raining highway, we reached the outskirts of Radium. It was now 9:15pm. It had taken us nearly two hours to get from outside of Golden to Radium. Usually in the daylight this 110 kilometre route takes a bit over an hour. I was beat and couldn’t handle driving anymore. I slowed down and pulled around the roundabout in the middle of town. Swinging to the left and exiting onto the street which goes up to the Hot Springs. Nearing the top of the road I pulled over. Went to the back to the truck to open the tailgate and refill all the water bottles. After that a quick pee and I was ready for a nap.

Whilst I filled the bottles Shauna took to the driver’s seat preparing the mirrors and seat for the next leg of our travels. She was eerily awake at this time of night and wanted to push on rather than hole up in a hotel.

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb