2017 Hagerty Spring Thaw – Day One

Gathering in Squamish this morning, the air was filled with anticipation, the joy of seeing old friends again and the excitement for the start of the 2017 Hagerty Spring Thaw. Usually the organizers are greeting our guests, enjoying a coffee and checking out the wonderful cars that appear in the parking lot. This year, however, I’ve been told I was looking slightly more stressed…typing away on my laptop.

You may think the weather, slightly raining in Squamish was to blame, but no. I was on the phone and laptop checking weather reports, avalanche reports and road closure reports. Our main road for the day, Duffy Lake Road, was closed the night before by an Avalanche. By 7:30am it was open, and avalanche dangers were lowered from high to moderate. Perhaps the event could travel as planned? At 7:45am, however, the text messages started coming in. “Mud slide closes highway 99”, “Have you heard…Duffy’s closed.” Where I would normally spend the morning greeting and catching up with guests, instead I was typing out new instructions to replace almost the entire day in the route book.

Re-directing twisty-road-loving diehards to take the highway all the way through Vancouver, and down the valley to Hope, might seem like the worst way to start an event…and to be honest, I was certainly feeling it right up until I made the announcement. I expected a room full of disappointed faces, and instead, I had ear-to-ear smiles, laughter and that same excitement you could feel in the parking lot. As someone suggested near the end of the driver’s meeting “its not called Classic Car Adventures for nothing!”

Our new route took us down a very rainy Sea to Sky Highway, and through the traffic and transport trucks of Vancouver. Upon reaching Hope where, ironically, we often start our events, the group turned North to go up the Canyon along Highway 1. As the canyon, and twisties, start the clouds parted and we were soon driving in gorgeous sunshine along twisty roads. Or at least, that’s what they tell me…

The organizer, you see, was back in Abbotsford trying to diagnose why my new fuel injection system had decided no fuel was to be injected. We diagnosed, we swapped parts, but with the clock ticking towards dinner we swapped cars and raced for Kamloops.

I expected to arrive to a parking lot of weary travellers. Buffeted by high winds, torrential downpours and the heavy spray off of transport trucks…it wasn’t the type of morning we’re known for. Instead, the parking lot at our hotel was a virtual car show and tailgating party. True to the very nature of our adventurist entrants, it was smiles and enthusiasm for the challenges that started the day, and the rewards of sunshine and fantastic roads that came to follow. The change in route had allowed for a little extra time at the hotel in the sunshine, and the group was taking full advantage to check out the cars, meet first time entrants and catch up with friends from year’s past.

Despite a number of electrical issues, a few failed wiper systems, and a road-side generator swap, all but one of our cars (the organizer’s) had made it to the finish. With 95 cars starting this morning, that’s a pretty impressive finishing ratio!

Despite the weather, our amazing photographer Andrew Snucins still managed to snag some great shots!

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