Sun Peaks There and Back Again

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Sun Peaks Resort – Winter 2004/05. Just got back from there and before I forget, here’s a data dump on having a great time there….
h3. Seattle to Sun Peaks
It is about 330 miles and we’ve never gotten there in less than seven hours including a break for lunch and the usual kid stuff. The main thing is to know where to stop on the way there.
First of all take the Sumas border entry. It is usually incredibly short in terms of lines (and big in terms of odor, but you’ll find out when you get there). The diretions are hard to come by on the Sun Peaks site, so here they are along with a travelogue both coming and going. The best directions are on “sunpeaksvacationChalets.com”:http://www.sunpeaksvacationchalets.com/Directions/directions.html or “Yahoo Maps”:http://maps.yahoo.com/dd_result?ed=xTowJeV.wimQQVd6MsEKU7USFw–&csz=Seattle%2C+WA&country=us&tcsz=kamloops%2C+bc&tcountry=ca&terr=-1001 gets it right.
Mile 0. Getting up and going bright and early at 8:30AM is about the perfect time since you’ll get to Sun Peaks while it is still daylight. That’s important if you’ve never been there.
Mile 90. Drive to Bellingham and take the Mt. Baker Highway exit, SR-542. Got for about 13 miles and then make a left on Route 9 going north. It is very pictoresque and scenic and I presume full of police with radar, so follow the speed limit signs
Mile 115. This will take you to the Sumas border exit. Remember, you need to have your passport. Also there are no fruit or vegatables allowed, so chow down before you get there.
Mile 130. You will get to Chillawack and it will be about lunch time. We get there about 11:15-11:30. Get off at Vedder Road exit and go south, take the first right on Luckakuck Way (what cool names), on your right is Cottonwood Mall and there is “Earl’s”:http://www.earls.ca/ whic is the most decent restaurant before you get into the mountain passes. Try their Thai Curry, it’s amazingly good. Also, the kids like the Fettucini Alfredo. Also, if you are lucky enough to have a DVD player in your car on brought a computer with you, its a good idea to start a movie now as kids are usually getting a little tired now and you’ve got a ways to go. (like 2/3s of the trip :-). Also, if you are low on gas, get some now. It is a huge gap of nothing you are about to cross.
Mile 160. The miles are a little fuzzy here, but basically, you take the Trans-Canada Highway (it actually becomes route 3 for a little) a little farther until you get to the Coquihalla Highway or route 5N. This is the quickest way over the mountains. You need C$10 for tolls, but don’t worry, they do take credit cards at the toll booth. Get ready for an amazing amount of great scenario too as you get through the mountains. It goes for for 115 miles, so you are going to have lots of time to enjoy the view 🙂
Mile 275 or thereabouts. This gets a little bit more fuzzy, but at this points, Route 5N joins up with the Trans Canada Highway again (Route 1 West). You now reach Kamloops and miraculously, you’ll see a gigantic Costco, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Wal*Mart (I’m not kidding). Take the Columbia St West exit, you should see a big super market called the grocery store and most importantsly a “Starbucks”:http://home.flash.net/~ral1/starbucks/bigimages/DSCN6687.htm at the corner at “Columbia Place”:http://www.starbucks.com/retail/locator/MapResults.aspx?a=1&StoreKey=43&IC_O=50.676124094046%3a-120.337892797545%3a32%3aKamloops%2c+British+Columbia%2c+Canada&GAD1_O=&GAD2_O=&GAD3_O=Kamloops%2c+British+Columbia%2c+Canada&GAD4_O=&radius=5&countryID=39&dataSource=MapPoint.NA. Most importantly, there is a grocery store right there that has organize everything. This is a great place to load up on treats as this is the nearest grocery store to Sun Peaks, so pack up that Mac and Cheese, etc. The Bagel store there is also great. Filling up now is a good idea after that long run.
Mile 276. To get back on to the freeway, take Columbia West and the make a left onto Summit DRive, this will take you back to the Trancanada
Mile 280. Follow the signs to Jasper, be careful as otherwise you’ll stay on the Trans Canada, you’ll wind down towards the rivers and be on Route 5 going north.
Mile 300. You’ll see a bunch of signs that say turn right. This is Heffley Creek, now you head up the valley to Sun Peaks. YOu are almost there.
Mile 330. Hey you made it! The village will suddenly appear about miles of going through cattle crossings and other scenic spots.
h3. The Return Trip
The return is pretty much the mirror image of the trip above. The only tricks are:
Start out at 8AM if you can. THe main reason is that if it is a weekday in particulary, you want to avoid Seattle southbound traffic by getting home at 330PM or so.
At Kamploops, get off at Summit Drive. Remember that one. Make a right at Columbia and go to the bagel store or the Starbucks. This is a great breakfast thing and gets everyone in the mood to go. The maple bagles by the way are really good.
If you are hungry, you should get to Chillawack as it should be about 1130 and head to the Earl’s again otherwise, if you can hold out get to Bellingham.
Just before you cross the Sumas border crossing, there is the GST rebate place. You actually don’t see it until 500 meters before, so don’t worry. it is on the right. This is a good time to start the movie by the way.
At Bellingham, stop at “Dos Padres”:http://www.historicfairhaven.us/dospadres.html. It is a little off the beaten “track”:http://maps.yahoo.com/dd_result?ed=EINwGuV.wimPPZu9PP7r5AVZu_H46JX.Z4QcYIu4Z4yWVR9epO7FhfMGk3gw.lqn&csz=kamloops%2C+bc&country=ca&tcsz=bellingham%2C+wa&tcountry=us&oerr=3005
It is a little off the beaten track, but it gets you out of the really bad fast food places on I-5. This is where the original taco salad comes from (or so they claim). In any case, you should be there about 1PM after the big rush. There is also a gas station there, so a good place to fill up. They have some other nice restaurants in that area called Fairhaven we didn’t have a chance to try, but was incredibly restful to stop there. No pun intended.

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