Forty degrees Celcius (104F) is hot no matter which way you slice it. When you’re trying to take classic cars up a British Columbia mountain side on a twisty, exposed dirt road on the hottest day of the year it will put even the best radiator and cooling systems to the test. However, through all the cooling challenges, amazing backroads, tiny ferry crossings, and epic scenery, every car and participant accomplished something extraordinary last weekend on the first annual Rush to Gold Bridge event.
Twelve Adventurers departed Hope, BC this past Saturday, travelling north through Lytton – traditionally Canada’s hottest town – and onwards to the remote mountain mining town of Gold Bridge.
If you’re familiar with Classic Car Adventures, you might be surprised to hear that our flagship event, the all-tarmac Spring Thaw was not our first event concept. In fact, the idea of CCA was created around the Rush to Gold Bridge format. It just took us a few more years to bring this alternate format to fruition.
Originally coined as “Dave’s Birthday Touring Adventure”, the idea was to bring together great friends, an ambitious mixed-surface route, and a sense of exploration and accomplishment. Some of the major driving routes in the province were gravel until not too long ago, so it would be a throwback to the early days of motoring in British Columbia.
The two-day event took participants over some of the most unique terrain the province could throw at them. Starting with a slightly unnerving Reaction Ferry ride two-at-a-time over the fast-moving Fraser River, the cars then traversed a high ridge line dirt route to Lillooet. This is where a certain Mini popped it’s cork and bubbled over in the extreme heat, and where some cars with their tight confines and lack of AC had the participants about to boil over! With everyone re-filled and regrouped in Lillooet, the convoy finished the day driving up the near legendary Carpenter Lake Road to Gold Bridge.
Greeted by smiling ranch hands and cowgirls on horseback at the overnight stop, the cars parked up on the lawn at Chilcotin Holidays for some rest and relaxation. Our very own Pebble Beach! The ranch staff put on quite the spread, and the laughter and story telling continuing late into the evening.
With a mountain of bacon and eggs devoured the next morning, it was off to Pemberton and the finish in Squamish. The cars with more ground clearance went over the Hurley Pass, discovering the abandoned Bralorne Mine along the way, while the more clearance-challenged went back down to the Lillooet for a fun blast over the Duffey Lake Road.
At the final BBQ lunch stop in Squamish, it was unanimous in our enjoyment of the event, and the need to rope even more of our Classic Car friends into joining us next year!