Photography and commentary from John Fujimagari

Happy Belated Birthday Darwin


Hi Darwin,

Happy Belated Birthday. I was going to call on your birthday on Thursday and wish you birthday greeting on the phone. Of course things don’t always work out as planned. I had thought to call in the evening from Lake Louise, I was leaving Kamloops at about 2:00 MST and thought I’d be there before 7. First,let me go back to that morning, I slept at the rest area at the top of the Coquihalla near the old toll plaza.

 

I thought that I was doing good because the forecast called for more snow and I made it past the big hill and the rest of the way to Kamloops is easier going. I awoke late that morning with the previous day’s scratchy throat turned into a full blown cold, I had almost no voice. After fuelling in Kamloops, I made it to Griffin Lake where they shut down the highway for 2 hours for avalanche control at Three Valley Gap. After opening the road the traffic proceeded at a snail’s pace headed east. I went through Revelstoke and on to Albert Canyon where, luckily, the tire chains were only required for 7 or more axle trucks (I had 5). As I started down the east side of Roger’s Pass, I noticed the Armed Forces were setting up their Howitzer just east of the summit. By the time I reached Golden they were closing the road for avalanche control. I knew there was an accident east of Golden, but the road report said the expected time of opening was 8:30 MST, which was the time I arrived there. Then opening at 9:30, 11:00 and 1:00 AM.

Road Closed At GoldenThe Wait

It kept reporting the opening time to be 1:00 until 2:30 when they said the road was closed for avalanche control and would open at 10:00 AM on Friday. At this point, I pulled out of Golden and headed south to Radium. The road was snow covered and –10 c but the going was good. I had the road pretty much to my self most of the way with one truck behind me. I met only about 4 vehicles headed toward Golden. I caught up to another truck about a half hour from Radium and if I didn’t follow too close and allowed the snow to settle, so I didn’t get whited out. After making the turn at Radium and driving through the narrow Sinclair Canyon, we started up the big climb from the Hot Springs. I was able to pass the truck in front of me on the hill. The snow had eased up and it was getting warmer as I neared the brake check. A double dump truck pulled out ahead of me at the brake check and started down the hill. I wasn’t at all sure about the condition of the road as the salt was starting to melt the ice at –1 c, turning the snow and compact snow into slush. near the bottom of the hill, it started getting cold again, snow started coming down again and worse, the wind started to blow again. I caught up to the dump truck a couple of times on hills where he didn’t pull as good as me and had to back way off to get out of the swirling snow. I finally caught up to him on a hill where there was a crosswind from the driver’s side and I could see to pass him. By the time I got to the Storm Mountain brake check it was –18 c. I was never so glad to get back on the Trans-Canada, where I had the road to myself. I motored from Castle Junction to Banff and didn’t see another set of tire tracks in the snow. When I got into Canmore it was after 6:30 and I laid down for a nap so I could miss the rush hour traffic in Calgary. I got in before 10 am but had trouble getting unhooked because everything was packed with snow and frozen. So after stopping to get some cough syrup and drugs, and then a big take-out container of Won-Ton soup, I was home at 12:45; in time for a late lunch.

Anyhow, that was my day, I hope you had a much better birthday.

Best Light,

John Fujimagari

PS I hope you don’t mind if I blog this.

 

Hi John,

Thanks for the birthday wish! I happened to have a stellar day.

What a crazy story about your day on lucky 13th!

Feel free to blog away

Darwin

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One response

  1. Holy Crap John! First of all I did not know you were a trucker. Second, that is some crazy tense story.
    Being a trucker should be one of two jobs I would love to do here in Canada (as a photographer). The place you would see are endless!
    The second job I think would be a train engineer for the CPR. NOW Talk about the VIEWS these guys get!!!

    Like

    January 17, 2011 at 08:09

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