As it turned out, hitchhiking across five provinces went considerably more smoothly than just getting home from Vancouver. And it took almost as long. It was cold, we waited an average of at least two hours, and it cost about as much as the two of us taking the bus (but not quite). However bad the hitching was, I know, it is never as bad as the bus.
I’ve always had a hard time getting out of Greater Vancouver, mostly because the city just goes on for so long. It’s Hope before there’s a decent place to stand on the highway itself, and it takes over an hour to just get to any suitable onramps.
Last time, I found a magic bus route that dropped me right on an on-ramp, about a half hour from the end of the Skytrain, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find the route again on Google. Public transit is usually a hitchhiker’s best friend in the city, vital for traversing hitching-unfriendly urban sprawl.
This time, we happened to land in the middle of a record snowfall event. After a few Vancouver errands, we rode the Skytrain to the end, then got on a bus that seemed promising, but turned out to be the never ending bus ride from hell. I think we were on that city bus for three hours! I started to fret after one. Everywhere the roads are in terrible condition, unplowed and heavy with snow.
It got dark, the entire human contents of the bus changed over several times, and then, alas!, the bus turned around and started backtracking without making the Google-promised loop to the highway. Arrgh! It was late evening, another bus, and a fair walk before we finally reached a marginally hitchable onramp somewhere in Langley. Meanwhile, there’s snow everywhere, and still coming down copiously. Great picturesque mounds of it, no big deal to us, but I knew that this was highly unusual for temperate Vancouver.
At our next on-ramp wait, we encountered a car stranded on the ramp and a television news crew packing up their gear. One of the guys was right chatty and explained they’d just wrapped a piece on the “general chaos of it all, you know”, meaning the “extreme” driving conditions. When we explained our own presence there, he was astounded. “WHaTTT?? Hitchhiking? Where? Why???!!!” Continue reading Hitching in the winter: proceed with caution