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Alaska, Last State in North America, 2017 (No Boat to Hawaii)

Friday, June 2, 2017

First "real" day of driving in BC Canada

Aldercroft to Lac La Hache: 273 miles


Tuesday: After a lot of careful consideration, looking at maps and reading the campground listings in the Milepost book, I decided Lac La Hache would be a good stopping point for Tuesday night. It looked like it was about 270 miles of driving and on the Milepost  “Western Access” route (BC 97).  

I find it is far less stressful to decide on a park in advance and make a reservation than to look for a park when we are tired and want to stop. So I choose the Kokanee Bay Motel and Campground. It looked like it was close to the highway and directions were in the Milepost.

But then Monday night I started reading the mile-by mile description of the road. Eek! It sounded like a very difficult, fairly long stretch of road. 

Image from the web, I was too busy driving
Seven tunnels, many curvy places, drop-offs and narrow bridges. One warning was to avoid driving high profile vehicles in windy or rainy weather.  Oh my!  Rain was predicted.


Add to that, when I put the address of the park into our Rand McNally navigation GPS, it said the destination was over 400 miles away.  What? 

I rechecked the Milepost maps and both Mapquest and Google Maps and they all agreed with my original calculation.  The Rand McNally refused to take my chosen route. I tried several variations on the destination and it kept coming up with route that took us way out of our way. All I could surmise was that there was something on the route that was not in keeping with our vehicle specifications.  At tunnel height? A U-turn? A weight or width restriction?

What to do?  I finally decided that since it was a Milepost route, and RVs larger than we are use it, as do large trucks, we should ignore the Rand McNally.

The result? I drove most of the hard part. I am more comfortable driving than being the passenger in this kind of situation. I think I drive a little slower than Craig does and don’t get stressed by other cars following. I do use pullouts to let them pass if I feel it is safe, but I am not afraid of being a "road boulder" if I feel pulling off is a risk.

As it turned out there was very little traffic and the pullouts were large and well marked. The curves were not tight and the grades not bad at all. 

Image from the web
The road was smooth, and most of the curves were easy. In fact this was some of the nicest surface we have driven on for a long time. We know this won't be the case as we continue, but we appreciated it on this day.



Image from the web
The scenery was outstanding!

I wish I could have taken some pictures, but it was best to just concentrate on driving and not be looking for a photo-op pullout.




Even the weather cooperated. The predicted rain did not start until just as we pulled into our destination park.

The Rand McNally? We kept it on with the sound muted. It kept “recalculating”, but by the time we were nearing our chosen destination it agreed with me and directed us to the correct location.

We stayed one night in Lac La Hache, at a nice little park just off the highway, on the shore of a pretty lake. I didn't take any pictures because as soon as I stepped out of the coach, the mosquitoes swarmed around me.  They even got into the coach after I had sprayed all of the screens with flying bug spray and closed all of the windows.  It also rained on and off, keeping me inside. But we had a good night sleep nonetheless and  continued on to Prince George the next morning.


Lac La Hache to Prince George: 171 miles

Wednesday's drive was a bit shorter. Beautiful scenery once again. One thing I noticed was the overwhelming number of blooming lilac bushes that surrounded the farm homes and dotted the towns. What rhododendrons and azaleas are to the Northwest, lilacs are to central British Colombia!  

Our park in Prince George was, to say the least, interesting. MamaYeh RV Resort had the largest display advertisement in the Milepost book for Prince George. It had a web site and online booking. It was also the only Passport America park on our entire route. I did not expect "fancy" or "luxury". I had seen the pictures of the sites online and knew they were gravel and wooded. What I didn't know was the in-park road was also gravel, and very very soft due to lots of recent rain. As we backed into our site we left huge gouges in the gravel, and deep tire tracts down the road. The site itself seemed pretty firm and we were relieved to see the Alfa did not sink. As we were settling in, the owner came by and fixed the road with his bobcat. 

The free WiFi advertised was only available at the office. The office itself was an older class C rig parked at the entrance to the park with an "OPEN" sign in the window and a hand painted "OFFICE" sign on a pole along the road.  We went over there to check our mail, and the next day drove into town to see the Visitors Center and used the free WiFi there for a little while. The town had everything anyone could want in terms of grocery, Walmart, Costco, and other stores. Unfortunately the park I wanted to see was closed due to flooding, so we went back to the rig and took a long afternoon nap.

I have to say I was very nervous about getting out of there on that soft road. It had rained pretty hard the night before. But we made it OK and we were once again driving north.

Prince George to Dawson Creek: 261 miles

The first part of the drive was through mountains in a light rain with ground fog. We were happy to see the sun break through so that by the time we were half way to Dawson Creek the sky was partially blue and the road was dry. 

We are staying at the Northern Lights RV park just south of town. It is high on a hill and we can see the town below. We have WiFi, but it is pretty weak. I am writing this late at night because we couldn't get a connection during the early evening.

We also have cable and (surprise surprise) satellite reception. Well the satellite reception is limited and my favorite channel does not come in.  But I'm fine with that.  I watch too much TV anyway.

6 comments:

  1. Nice to see you are having smooth sailing heading north through BC.

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  2. Lol we have the same trouble with GPS sometimes, and just turn off her voice as well. That is a beautiful,piece of highway your on

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  3. We discovered the BC parks, parks in western Canada in general, aren't quite like what we are used to in the US. On our trip we did a LOT of boondocking, because it worked for us with a day's drive to charge the batteries and the really gorgeous sites available for boondocking all through BC and the Yukon. We did reserve at place at the park in Whitehorse...Pioneer I think it was, and that was a good decision. Not sure if you are going to Fairbanks or not, but the big parking lot park worked fine for us there as well. So enjoying following you along on this trip. I guess you won't get to see my favorite part of the entire trip for me, the Cassair Highway.

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    1. Maybe on the way back ... Debating our route, plus considering the ferry to Prince. Rupert.

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  4. Such a grand adventure you are on. Enjoying the journey with you.

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  5. I'm enjoying your posts about your journey to Alaska.

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