What follows is a summary of my trip from Los Angeles, CA to
British Columbia and back for the BCTR sponsored All Triumph
Drive In. The trip was a total of 3,538 miles and took 7 days, 6
hours. For those of you doubting the reliability of British
cars, a properly maintained car can be just as good as anything
you’re making payments on today. Other Triumphs driving from the
LA area included a TR3, TR4, TR250, and Stag. I was told there
were 15 CA cars registered. There were also several people
flying in without their cars.
When I purchased my 1972 TR6 in Oct 96 it had a good paint job
and decent interior. The suspension was rebuilt out of
necessity. The engine was rebuilt because I was tired of getting
150 miles per quart of oil. I chose to make the trip with my
fiberglass hardtop. The car is then secure and lockable, quiet,
and offers good sun protection. The previous owner trashed the
soft top frame and I haven't gotten around to replacing it yet.
For a list of my projects and the recent history of the car see
my very basic web page at:
Monday, 3 Aug 98
I left Los Angeles at 5 a.m. to minimize traffic and the heat of
central California. My route was north on I-5. The air temp
first broke 100 degrees about Sacramento. Towards Redding the
temp gauge moved above half way, just past the right dot on my
temp gauge. Even a good cooling system can only transfer so much
heat while running a sustained 80 mph with the hot dry air
temperatures. Since the rebuild, I normally run at the lower dot
(look closely, you may have the dots also). I could also feel
the heat coming through the transmission tunnel area. I'll be
putting heat shield padding under the carpet soon.
I stopped in Weed, CA at 2 p.m. for lunch. Looking at the map
and realizing I'd already completed almost 700 miles, I needed to
slow down. I saw Crater Lake as a recommended place to see, so I
left I-5 for route 97 - a much nicer drive, without the traffic
and left lane losers. Route 62 took me to the park. $10 got my
car in for the drive around the west side of the lake. The lake
is formed in a collapsed volcano, with a max depth of almost
2,000 feet. The water is incredibly blue and pictures do not do
it justice. If you're in the area, it's a place to see. Just
north of the lake is the Pumice Desert, an interesting break in
the pine forests.
Route 138 took me back to 97. I ended the first night in Bend,
OR at 8 p.m., driving 914 miles and 4 gas stops the first day.
My intention was to get close to Canada as soon as possible,
should any delays happen.
Tue, 4 Aug
I continued on 97 to I-84 at Biggs. Next time, I'd take route
197 to shorten the route. My plan was to check out the Columbia
River. I spent some time at the Bonneville lock, dam, and fish
hatchery. This is also a good stop. There are some huge fish in
the river. Most of the fish in the fish ladder were about 18
inches, though there was one about 4 feet long that kept showing
I also made a route 30 diversion several times off I-84. There
are several waterfalls worthy of a visit. I then proceeded back
on I-5 to route 504 for a look at Mt St Helens. I took 504 to
the end and got to see the devastation from the eruption. A good
115 mile trip off the rush of the freeway. I came back to I-5 on
504/505 and stopped the night at Tacoma, WA after an easy 503
miles with only two gas stops.
Wed, 5 Aug
I got an early start with the intent of touring the Boeing
facility at Everett. This is a popular attraction, as the
soonest tour I could get was 5 hours later. I looked around the
visitor facility then proceeded north on I-5. I left the
interstate at exit 231 for a trip along the coast on route 11.
This is another nice drive with some great views of the islands.
I had a picnic lunch by the side of the road overlooking the
I then joined I-5 to the border crossing. Here my temp gauge got
the highest I'd ever seen. I ran the engine at 2000 rpm several
times to get the fan going and keep things under control. The
gauge was about 3/4 of the way to hot. I stopped just out of
Vancouver on route 99, only to find out that hwy 1/99 disappeared
in the city. Fortunately the helpful person at the visitor
center gave me a map and directions on the best way to get
through the city. My temp gauge tried for a new high in the wait
for the Lions Gate Bridge, as a pickup had lost a load of lumber
in the road. I was also surprised by the aggressiveness of the
pedestrians and their taking the right of way at intersections,
where I had to wait several light changes to go straight with my
green light. If I do this again, I'll plan a way around the
Finally I got to go again. The temp gauge dropped back below
halfway and the interior started to cool. Had another delay near
W. Vancouver for the ferry traffic, till I could exit on 99 north
- great views of the water and mountains. Another frustrating
delay near Squamish for construction - one direction at a time,
after a delay. Cars finally stopped inching forward, so I could
turn of the engine and wait. When we finally got to go,
southbound traffic was backed up 9/10ths of a mile and growing as
Scenery was good, but I was frustrated. I'd read about Garibaldi
Provincial Park (in the LA Times of all places) and planned to
stop at the only paved road into the park. (That would never
happen in the US - we lazy Americans couldn't get our cars and
tour busses in.) The small road to the Garibaldi Lake trail head
ended in a small parking lot by Rubble Creek with a fantastic
view of The Barrier, with a massive rockslide occurring in 1885.
This rockslide is at least 300m high. I started up the trial for
a better look, but turned around after 30 minutes. The trail
went up and up and up, never exiting the trees. I ran into a
couple from Pennsylvania who confirmed the view didn't open up
for at least an hour. As it was already 5 p.m., I turned around
and went back to the car.
Refreshed from my hike, I continued past Whistler for less
expensive accommodations at the only hotel in Pemberton, with a
fantastic view of the mountains. I stopped at about 6 p.m. after
a slow 317 miles. I treated myself to a nice dinner at the motel
restaurant and had a relaxing evening.
Thur, 5 Aug
I'd been told it would take at least 2 hours to make it to
Lillooet, the next city. It was only about 100 km, so I though
I'd get there quicker. I didn't. This was actually the best
drive on the trip. The road was twisty, curvy, up and down, with
incredible scenery. Traffic was almost nonexistent. Most of the
drive was 3rd gear at about 40 mph, pretty close to the 60 kph
speed limit, which was just fine. I did a short 1 km hike to
lower Joffe Lake along the way, again another great provincial
park. Much of the road was so new it didn't even have lines. I
was told that a good portion of it was gravel until two years
ago. This is a road I will go out of my way to visit again.
I'd intended to continue on to Kamloops for the night, however
the road ahead was closed because of forest fires. After walking
around Lillooet and having lunch, I turned south on route 12
along the Fraser River. There was potentially some great scenery
here, however visibility got as bad as 100m in sections because
of smoke from the fires.
I joined route 1 at Lytton and continued south, calling the hotel
to see if I could move my reservation up a day. I stopped at
Bridal Falls shortly after Hope. This is a nice short hike at
another of the great Provincial parks along the road.
I pulled into the Holiday Inn in Chilliwack at about 3 p.m., 221
miles for the day, 1955 miles for the trip so far. A trip to the
pool, jacuzzi, then a shower and rest before going to an early
arriver's hospitality party at the home of a local BCTR member.