Summer is nearly upon us, and that means the season for summer road trips is here! Living in BC, we are fortunate to have so many incredible destinations within easy reach. Previously we’ve shared our favourite road trips right here on Vancouver Island. This year, we have assembled a list of our favourite scenic drives through BC, along with some handy tips to keep your trip safe and enjoyable.
The Gold Rush Trail
Following the routes of the gold seekers of the 1800s, the Gold Rush Trail travels from New Westminster to Prince George. Winding through the stunning Fraser Canyon and the iconic Cariboo, the route travels 1,900 km through BC’s interior. Offering desert landscapes and rolling grasslands, there’s no better way to get in touch with your inner pioneer. To truly make your trip complete, we highly recommend a visit to the historic gold mining town of Barkerville!
Our Travel Tips:
Pull Over: Breathtaking views can lead to distracted driving. Save your canyon sightseeing for designated rest stops along the road, or consider taking turns with another licensed driver in the vehicle to give everyone a turn at the window.
Get an Emergency Safety Kit: Rockslides, are not uncommon in BC’s interior, and driving through remote areas always comes with some risk. Public Safety Canada recommends assembling an emergency safety kit that includes, food, water, a first aid kit and warning lights. For the full list, visit the Public Safety Get Prepared website. For more information, see our recommendation for the 10 items to keep in your car if you’re leaving civilization.
The Sunshine Coast
Explore the beauty of BC’s coast with a 359 km route that jumps through the gulf islands. Providing numerous options for hiking and fishing, this trip is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. As an added bonus for us island folk, the Sunshine Coast route begins in Horseshoe bay and ends in Victoria!
Our Travel Tips:
Keep Items Secure: Storing that heavy camera in the backseat may be convenient for taking a quick snap of the ocean, but a sudden stop can transform any seemingly benign object into a dangerous projectile. Keep heavy and loose items in the trunk of the car, or deep in the seat well where they can be contained.
Watch your Fuel Gauge: While you think you may know your vehicle’s mileage, road trips are a different beast. Using the air conditioner can increase fuel consumption by up to 20%, and if you’re planning on hauling any additional gear, be aware that extra weight and high temperatures will make your vehicle work harder.
In short, a summer road trip means you will be burning through your tank a lot faster than normal. Checking your tire pressure and buying gas in the coolest part of the day are just a few our tips for getting better gas mileage. (And don’t forget to always take that ‘last chance’ to fill-up!)
The Okanagan Valley & Mountain Route
Enjoy BC’s summer bounty with a tour through the orchards and vineyards of the Okanagan, followed by a breathtaking view of the mountains. Circling 1261km from Yoho National Park to Penticton, this route passes through some of BC’s best wineries and hot springs, so be sure to leave plenty of time for some rest and relaxation!
Our Travel Tips:
Protect yourself from the Heat: Did you know you can get a sunburn from inside your car? While windshields include a layer of plastic that acts as a barrier to UVA and UVB rays, the same can’t always be said for the rest of the windows in a vehicle. With shade in short supply in the valley, be sure to protect your skin from harmful rays using sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.
Consider getting a sunshield for your vehicle when it’s parked to help avoid the shock of climbing into a hot car after a rest stop. And remember, kids & pets should never be left alone in a vehicle when it’s warm out.
Get a Tune Up before you go: When planning a road trip, you should never forget about the family member who is getting you there – your car! Get your tires, battery and fluids checked before you leave, and be sure to tell your mechanic if you’re going to be driving in hot weather, or towing a boat and trailer, as you may require a different motor oil than usual.
To prevent a last minute panic, book your service 2 weeks before you leave. This gives everyone plenty of time to address any issues and make sure your car is good to go! Searle’s is currently running a Spring-Summer Maintenance Special. Get an oil, lube, and filter change, plus a comprehensive visual inspection and tire rotation for only $99.95. (Plus you can enter to win an iRobot Roomba 650 – which is handy for keeping house clean while you’re gone.)