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British Columbia

July 29, 2013

Canada – Day 2 of the drive to Alaska – Friday, July 19

I took Tula on a walk around the campground so we could both stretch our legs a bit before setting off for a long day in the car. As I left the campground, I saw a bear trap. They did mention bears last night and to use the usual bear precautions like keeping all food and everything with a scent in a hard-sided vehicle or a bear box. I wonder how often the bear trap is used – it was a cylindrical metal tube sort of thing.

Shortly after I left Jasper National Park, I came to Mt. Robson Provincial Park. This was one more example of how things can look so different driving coming from a different direction. The last time I drove through we approached Mt. Robson from the west, and it’s a spectacular mountain, kind of set off by itself, and from the west it was visible for miles and it looked like one would just drive into it. Coming from the east, like I was now, made me wonder if I was thinking of some different place because it didn’t look at all like I remembered. And then when I stopped at the little gas station and looked back – pow! – there it was! It’s much more spectacular from the west.

The weather today started out beautiful and sunny and a perfect temperature, but as the day wore on, rain showers began to appear here and there, and it ended up being a gray, rainy afternoon and evening. Out here in western Canada, the little towns become fewer and farther between, and there were often signs reminding motorists that it could be hundreds of kilometers before the next gas station. I often topped up the gas tank when I was in a town, just so I didn’t take any chances. I headed west to Prince George, then north to Chetwynd and Fort St. John, where I picked up the Alaska Highway. I also starting to look for places to get an oil change, and figured I better start looking sooner rather than later. I asked the lady in the gas station at Fort St. John if they do oil changes, but they were getting ready to close for the day. It made me happy I got gas when I did, because the only other gas pump didn’t look like it was working. But I had a full tank and was ready for a couple more hours of driving. I was going to see about getting something to go from the one little restaurant, but things were so expensive, I didn’t bother. I went in to the grocery store to look around, and again, prices were really really high. It makes me feel bad for the people who have no choice but to pay the high prices. But I had some good bread, and I figured it was going to be a peanut butter and jelly sort of dinner.

It was raining again, but I continued north. Fort Nelson was the next town, but it was 370 miles away, with only 2-3 little tiny villages along the way. If I hadn’t been able to get gas on Friday evening in Fort St. John, I would have had to camp there and get gas in the morning. I knew I wasn’t going to make it to Fort Nelson tonight, but was thinking I might run across a campground somewhere. This part of British Columbia had forests and some wide open land. There were lots and lots of big trucks – hauling timber and maybe oil. Things were kind of a muddy mess at the places where the trucks would pull onto the highways. I did see signs for camps, but they mostly looked like big mud puddles with lots of pick-ups and trailers. It turned out those places weren’t campgrounds for people like me; they were camps for the people working in the lumber and oilfields! I’m glad I didn’t actually pull into one!

British Columbia has lots of pull-offs along the road, and as it got later and later, I saw RVs and other vehicles just pulling into those for the night. When I started to notice some fog in addition to the heavy rain, I decided I would do likewise, and simply found a big pull-off and decided to camp right there. It was raining so hard, I didn’t set up my normal sleeping arrangements – a lot of stuff would have gotten soaked as I was rearranging things. So I figured I would try my back-up plan, and that was to recline my seat as far as it would go, and with pillows, quilt and sleeping bag, and a box to prop up my feet, I was surprisingly comfortable in the front seat. I think Tula was a little confused why I didn’t inflate the air mattress, but I had an extra pillow for her, and moved a couple things so she had plenty of room on her dog bed, and we spent the night in the pull-off, and I actually slept pretty well in the reclined seat. It’s nice to know that will work in a pinch!

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One Comment
  1. Nancy, you continue to amaze me. I LOVE reading your blog and am taking this trip in my mind right along with you.

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