Sunday, January 22, 2006

May these gates never be closed

Sorry for the lack of interesting posts lately. I've been quite busy setting up for work, and none of my upcoming posts are quite ready yet. In the near future, I'll have posts on the Scion tC, my new Kirkland apartment, and starting at Microsoft.

But until then, you'll have to make do with the answer to a frequently asked question:
How long does it take to get to Vancouver?

Short answer: 3 hours.

I made my first trip to Canada since arriving here, driving up to Vancouver to go catch a Nickelback concert with Dan at GM Place. Of course, getting distracted by work, I left at 4:45pm from Microsoft.

This should already raise flags with some people.

Traffic bubbles. Around the Seattle area at any major residental exit. Around Everett. Around a few places I don't even know what they are. Even around Vancouver, there's the crowd heading in for Friday night recreation in Richmond and Vancouver. At each location, the traffic can slow to a fraction of the speed limit.

Regardless, I made it from my office to the downtown core in about three hours. This includes a measely 10 minute wait at the Peace Arch border crossing. The Canadians are fairly nice about these things. The traffic slowed things down a bit, but as for how much difference it would make, I'm unsure.

Coming back was bad. While traffic was moving at a good clip all the way back, I had an hour's wait at the Peace Arch. Possibly because the American border guards are not that bright. Okay, I'm just bitter that they referred me to immigration. To their credit, the guy in immigration admitted that the guy at the booth was an idiot and apologised for the inconvenience. I was returning from Dan's house in Pitt Meadows, which is actually quite a fair bit of additional travel (plus stupid drunks all along that stretch of Hwy 1). Total miles: 163.1, time > 4hrs.

Those who have been estimating two hours are definitely considering an optimized time/location scenario, and even then, it would require a rather dismissive attitude towards local traffic laws. That being said, with a little forethought and flexibility on departure time, 2.5hrs would not be unreasonable at all. In Canada, the speed limits are largely ignored. In the US, pretty much everyone drives consistently between -5 and +10mph.

The drive's a bit rough. My tires are not meant for smooth riding over less-maintained sections of the I-5. Still, highway all the way is nice. And the Canadian sections are very well-maintained indeed.

And of course Canadian gas.
Gas Price (Pitt Meadows): $0.926/L
Gas Price (Blane, overpriced): USD2.499/ * 1G/3.785L * $1.153/USD = $0.76/L
(btw: I can get gas at about USD2.10/ around here)

Addendum: Mike to work (parking spot to parking spot): 6.2 miles, 15 minutes, no traffic.


Anonymous said...

Driving to me takes extra time? *shrug*

I'm closer to the border than North Vancouver, but perhaps I'm not reading your comment right.

As a general note, North Vancouver is only a 20 or 25 minute drive from my door on an average day.

Ah well, good show Friday night!

- The Irishman

Michael Jarrett said...

Nono, extra time as opposed to downtown, which was the endpoint on the trip up from Seattle.

Not knowing any better, I basically took highway 1 to out by the PNE, then Rupert, to SW Marine, to 99, through the Peace Arch, to I5.

Is there a better route out of Pitt Meadows that'll dump me on the I5? I presume there must be at least something that bypasses Vancouver, though I suppose an alternate border crossing would work too.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you went all the way to Vancouver, then turned around and went back to the border? *boggle*

Right at the end of the Mary Hill Bypass, you make a right-hand turn and stay in the right lane - there's a sign that says stay on the lane for the Port Mann bridge - that gets you into Surrey, which of course is where the border is.

Much quicker to the border from my place than from North Vancouver