Tag Archives: British Columbia

Catching up = Day 9 and Day 10

(You might want to pour yourself a cup of tea and get comfy! This is my first internet connection in three days……)

May 19, 2009, Tuesday, day Nine
Fort Nelson to Laird Hot Springs
What a spectacular day! After the guys fueled up, John got his windshield ding fixed and Naomi figured out what to do about the dentist, we headed to the local Pioneer Museum. It’s amazing to me how much stuff can be collected for an area that was relatively unpopulated until 1942 when the 2000 soldiers arrived to begin construction of the Alaska Highway.
Alaskan Drive -Day 9
Fort Nelson was originally Mile 0 for the highway until the stretch from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson was completed and then it became Mile 300. Even today the population is just over 5000. But this museum was pretty extensive and seemed to include a little bit of everything historical about the town and the area. It was a good way to start the day.

Official departure was around 10:30, we made two stops for a total of about 40 minutes and made it to Laird Hot Springs Provincial Park by 3:30. That might not seem like a lot of driving time, but oh where that highway took us! Up and down (and up and down and up and down), around mountains, alongside beautiful lakes, over rivers and then along side the rivers. I was bouncing from the front seat to the sofa to try and get shot after shot of some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen. We saw caribou, stone sheep, bison and a glimpse of a bear. The sky was a perfect backdrop for the stunning white crowned mountain tops, the mountain tops were the perfect background for the spectacular lakes and rivers we drove by. Honestly, I took close to 500 pictures. It’s embarrassing, but I just couldn’t stop myself. (Plus it distracts me from getting too involved in all of the 8%-9% grades that we were either going up or going down). I’ve tried to pick just one (ok, sometimes two…maybe three) pictures from each hour of the day’s drive. Here goes –
The day started out pretty cold, but we were so pleased with the sunshine that we didn’t even care as the hills gradually became more and more covered with the white stuff.
Setting out –
10:30 -11.30
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-2
Before too long –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-6
the snow was all around us!
11:30 – 12:30
We did stop for a photo op at Steamboat Mountain Summit –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-8
And then just to be silly –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-9
(Can you see we’re a little bundled up? I think it was still below freezing at this point.)
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-15
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-16
12:30 – 1:30
We stopped for lunch at Summit Lake – the highest point on the Alaska Highway. (We were at the lowest point just that morning when we were at Fort Nelson).
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-17
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-18
Peanut butter and Jelly have rarely been set to such lovely surroundings!
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-24
It’s good to meet friends on the road.
1:30 – 2:30
Views from the side windows –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-26
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-27
Muncho Lake. This was absolutely stunning. It’s seven miles long and for a good part of it we were driving right along the edge (with a stone wall beside us). The color was amazing – even with it mostly covered with ice it was dazzling.
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-30
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-31
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-33
(That our little caravan coming around the corner)
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-34
So beautiful! I couldn’t resist going over my allotment of pictures on that one
And here is a moose – making it’s way (rapidly) down the river –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-38
Did you know that moose can swim continuously for several hours, dive to depths of 20 feet, and can remain submerged for up to a minute? Well, now you do!
He’s just a dot in this picture (toward the right) – I think he was in the express lane!
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-39
By 3:30 we were at our campground for the night – Laird Hot Springs Provincial Park. No hook-ups, but two wonderful hot (and I mean HOT) springs.
Laird Hot Springs
Here are John and Rosie and Gary and I enjoying a relaxing dip in the spring –
Alaskan Drive -Day 9-41
It was a lovely way to end a beautiful day. (Not to mention a great dinner and fellowship around a campfire!)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 Day 10 – Entering the YUKON!
Laird Hot Springs to Continental Divide Campground

Another gorgeous day! The early daylight is making early risers out of us, and Gary and I were out for a walk (after breakfast!) by 6:30. (scary, isn’t it?).
We walked out to the hot springs to check out the second pool – it was just as lovely as the one we had taken our dip in, but much deeper. And so beautiful in the morning light –
Alaskan Day 10
We pulled out right on scheduled and continued our trek North and West. We had seen several signs warning about Bison herds, but had only spotted a couple along the road. We weren’t too far down the road when we finally came upon a herd (ok, so it’s not a Dancing with Wolves size herd, but we felt it was pretty sizable!).
Alaskan Day 10-4
And imagine our delight to find several young ones in the group – and one even nursing.
Alaskan Day 10-5
We continued to keep our eyes peeled for wildlife along the side of the road and a couple of time spotted a black bear grazing near a tree line. We finally hit the jackpot though –
Alaskan Day 10-11
Made my day!
The road was pretty much winding through forested hills
Alaskan Day 10-7
as it followed the Laird River west.
Alaskan Day 10-13
I was excited to see the snowcapped mountains on the horizon
Alaskan Day 10-16
but wasn’t so excited about the fact that I couldn’t see any more of the road. Gulp.

We made it to Watson Lake and the Signpost Forest just before noon.
Alaskan Day 10-19
Travelers from all around the world stop there and nail a sign to one of the posts in the “forest”. We came prepared –
Alaskan Day 10-17
Alaskan Day 10-18
And were glad that we had joined in the tradition.

A quick lunch and on to the last bit of our trip for the day.
Alaskan Day 10-23
Alaskan Day 10-25
Alaskan Day 10-28
We did hit a couple stretches of gravel – not a real problem to drive on, but boy does it kick up the dust. It’s one of the good times to be the one out front!
Alaskan Day 10-30
As we were approaching our destination for the day –
Alaskan Day 10-33
And finally the view out of our picture window here at our resting place for the night.
Alaskan Day 10-34
Snow notwithstanding, we ate dinner outside and enjoyed a lovely campfire with some neighbors from Austria. 🙂

Tomorrow we will be splitting up for a bit. We’ll leave together, but Jay and Naomi will be heading into Whitehorse for a dentist appointment (yea!!!) while the rest of us head to Carcross. Once they’re finished at the dentist they’ll come down and join us. We are planning on camping in Carcross and then driving down to Skagway for the day on Friday.
Map of Days 9 &10
Day 9-10
Map of Day 11 (Jay and Naomi’s route is the little blue line!)
Day 11

(OK, I’m back to the present! The Carpers did indeed head to Whitehorse for the dentist (and Naomi did get her tooth fixed enough so she’ll be comfortable for the rest of the trip) and we are settled in at a little campground in Carcross. The guys have just finished up washing the rigs and cars – boy, were they dirty! I’ve finished up some laundry, worked on getting this post ready to go and now I need to get the vacuuming done. I do have some pictures of the drive today – but I’ll spare you right now. I mean, really – how much of this road stuff can you take! We won’t be heading into Skagway until Saturday, so tomorrow is a little up in the air. But with all the tourism information we have, I’m sure we’ll find something to do!)

Oh – I almost forgot –
More Day 9 Pictures HERE
More Day 10 Pictures HERE

Driving, driving, driving, driving

Monday, May 18, 2009 Day 8

We were huddled together this morning as we had our pre-drive prayer in the parking lot of the gas station with the snow swirling around us. It was COLD (like 27 degrees!). But we were ready. Our fuel tanks were full, we had picked up some odds and ends at the grocery store and we were ready to drive. And that really is all we did today.
But first – the conversation after we’ve filled up with diesel –
Gary – figure out how much diesel we got.
Me – OK – so I’ll add the two receipts together (we almost always have to do two fill-ups since they cut off before we’re really full.). Let’s see – 151.3 plus 11.71 liters – Ok – 163.41 liters. Now, I divide that by 3.8 – 43.01 gallons.
Gary – so how much is that per gallon.
Me – Well, if I take $140.06 (what we spent) and divide it by the number of gallons we bought (43.01) that gives us a $3.25/gal price.
Gary – what’s that is US dollars?.
Me – Hmmmm…let’s figure that the rate of exchange is 1.14 – so I take the 3.25/gal price and divide it by 1.14 – so we just paid 2.86/gal for diesel. And we bought 43 gallons. Does that sound right?
Gary – Yep – now what about MPG –……..
(Who knew this trip would involve ALGEBRA!)

Needless to say, we’ve been having an interesting time figuring our actual expenses. But even Canadians are somewhat conflicted. A fellow at Ness Lake said that even though he buys his gasoline by the liter, the cars are rated on MPGs. Go figure!

But on to our travels. As I said before – we left in the snow. It wasn’t sticking on the road, thankfully, but it was beginning to coat the trees.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8
It was pretty, but still. We weren’t very excited about the whole driving in the snow thing!
The only real “off the beaten path” event we did today was to drive on a short stretch of the original Alaskan Highway which included the only original wooden bridge still in use.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-1 And it’s a curved bridge at that.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-2
It even had wood decking. It was very neat – though we did go over it one at a time! 🙂
It was just a quick diversion, and only a couple of miles (or kilometers) outside of Dawson Creek, but it was pretty interesting.
From that point on – it was pretty much road, road and more road.
Here are a some of my favorite road signs – all together in one place.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-3
I don’t know how high your tolerance for “windshield pictures” is, so just let me say we crossed some amazing bridges –
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-6
Spotted some interesting “art” along the road
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-9
(that boy needs a jacket!)
Saw the trees change from deciduous
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-8
To Evergreen
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-13
And more Evergreen trees that I have ever seen in one place
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-17
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-22
And finally back to “trembling aspen” (honest, that’s what the Milepost said!)
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-24
And just after we crossed the Muskwa River bridge (the lowest point on the Alaskan Highway) we pulled into Fort Nelson.
Alaskan Drive - Day 8-25
286 Miles. Almost 7 hours of driving. A good day for a bunch of folks not really in a hurry! We settled into our campground and after we enjoyed a shared dinner the guys drove back into town to scope out the best place to fuel up tomorrow. Best place? $1.10/liter. This morning at Dawson Creek it was $.87/liter. (Ah, the beauty pain of supply and demand!)
Ouch. I know I don’t want to do the math on that one! Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotto do!

Here’s a collage of more windshield shots –
Alaskan Road Day 8
but if you’d like to see them in a slide show – check it out here!.

Tuesday Morning, May 19th – Day 9 (well, the beginning of it anyway)First of all – THE SUN IS SHINING!!!!! We haven’t seen too much of that lately, so it’s pretty exciting to us!
Next – The day’s schedule is kind of tentative – there’s a windshield nick (John & Rosie) we’re trying to get taken care of and Naomi was hoping to see a dentist this morning for a broken tooth (but apparently no dental problems here can happen until the 23rd!), so I’m not sure just how the morning is working (especially since I’m over in the laundry room doing this update!). We hope to get as far as Laird Hot Springs today – about 200 miles.
And it looks like we’ll be in provincial park tonight – no electric, let alone an internet connection. So I figured I’d better get this baby posted while I have the chance!
Hmm….is that our diesel rumbling outside the door?????

Six days shalt thou travel. On the seventh thou shalt REST.

Alaskan Drive - Day 7-3
It’s snowing. I don’t like it. I just want to be honest about that. While I love seeing snow up on the mountain tops or even by the side of the road, when you are driving around in a 40 ft. long tin can, watching snow fall around you is just not pretty. Thankfully we are not driving today and hopefully in the morning all of this mess will only be a memory. Then again there’s the fact that it’s supposed to get into the twenties tonight, but that’s another story.

So Today – Sunday, May 17th – Day 7 of our Alaskan Adventure
After six busy days on the road, it was wonderful to just sit still. We were blessed to be able to worship at a nearby church, enjoyed a nice lunch out and then checked out the visitors’ center and watch a couple of videos on the building of the Alaskan Highway – 1500 miles (through wilderness) in just over 8 months. Amazing.
Go North, Young Man
Alaskan Drive - Day 7
Mile ZERO!
Alaskan Drive - Day 7-1
A quiet day in downtown Dawson Creek!
Alaskan Drive - Day 7-2
The rest of the day called for naps and eating leftovers and watching that pesky snow falling.
Yesterday – Day Six – Saturday -May 16, 2009
Our first stop of the day was at Huble Homestead – the early 20th century home of a local entrepreneur who established his own mini-community along the Fraser River. Since we were absolutely the first visitors of the season (it was their opening day), we enjoyed a lovely guided tour of the homestead.
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-3

Alaskan Drive - Day 6-2 Alaskan Drive - Day 6-4

This fellow pretty much did it all – freighting, guiding, surveying, fur trading, along with supplying provisions and accommodations for travelers. His wife traded the crops from her extensive garden for meats from the passing paddleboats. It was a great tour – and as an added bonus, the rain didn’t start until after we left.

And then it rained off and on pretty much the rest of the day. But still we managed to put in our longest day of driving so far. 262 miles. All the way to Dawson Creek, and Mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway. We made a couple of stops along the way – a visitor center here and there and then a quick driving tour of Chetwynd, home to the Chainsaw Sculpture Contest each year and all of its previous years’ entries – but pretty much we just pressed on to Dawson Creek. Here are some windshield shots of our drive through this stretch of beautiful British Columbia (They’re in order so you can see how the scenery was always changing!)-
Alaskan Drive - Day 6
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-6 (ok – this is not a windshield shot – it’s a picture of our back-up camera when the guys were investigating why our “warning” light came on. Nothing could be found, so we continued on.)
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-7
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-8
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-9
Crossing through Pine Pass
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-10
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-12
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-13
(can you feel it getting colder?)
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-15
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-16
Through Pine Pass – and back into some green. Phew!
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-19
Civilization – Chetwynd!
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-20
Bunches of the chainsaw sculpture. They were amazing!
Alaskan Drive - Day 6
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-21
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-22
It wasn’t until I downloaded my pictures that I realized this bridge had been graffitied (is that a word?) just for me!
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-23
One more pass over the Pine River
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-24
And then suddenly we were in farmland?
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-25
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-28
And then, finally – Dawson Creek is in view –
Alaskan Drive - Day 6-29
I was surprised that this area is such a ranching/agricultural area with a little industrialization thrown in on the outskirts of town(I guess I figured we’d be more in the mountains), but then again if I had studied up on any Canadian geography I’d probably have had a better idea. We didn’t do a lot of exploring in the downtown between the weather “issues” and the fact that we were beat, so I can’t say much about the town itself. The visitor centers were excellent (we’re becoming quite the visitor centor connoisseurs), the videos much longer that 12 minutes (but then again it was a pretty big story) but they were excellent.

But now, it’s off to bed. Tomorrow we hit the road again – hopefully they’ll be dry!
Here’s a map of our drive on Saturday – Prince George to Dawson Creek.
Day 6
I don’t know how far we’ll get tomorrow – maybe as far as Fort Nelson. I’m not sure what the Wagon Master has in store for us! 🙂

Oh – if you’d REALLY like to see more of the pictures from our drive on Saturday – Go for it!

If it’s Friday we must be in……..

May 14, 2009 Thursday Day 4
I thought you might like to meet my new best friend. I’ve gotten to know this friend pretty well, and although it took awhile for me to really understand her, now that I know how she ticks, we’ve become quite close. In fact, she often travels right on my lap.
Alaskan Drive Day 4-17
Inside her cover is an explosion of information.
Alaskan Drive Day 4-18
Once you figure out the route you are taking (and find that section in the book), it takes you mile by mile down the road telling you about everything from where there’s a turnout with a trash can to all kinds of details about communities you will be driving through. It lists campgrounds and tourist attractions (and trash cans) and while it can’t list everything in an area, it always gives information about where to find the local Visitor Centers. It has truly been an invaluable tool – and a real friend!

Our fourth day on the road could be called a “slow news day”. While we drove through some beautiful countryside, we didn’t make any exciting stops (well, unless you count the one where we all filled up with diesel. That was pretty exciting in an economic sort of way!)

So in pictures – and in just a couple of long run-on sentence, here is what we did on Thursday.

Starting out from our perch at Lake McLeese Resort
Alaskan Drive Day 4

we made our first stop at a local “wood shop” – aka gift shop – where we did succumb to a small portion of homemade fudge and
Alaskan Drive Day 4-1

then we drove by lots and lots of cows (I especially liked these hugging the hill)
Alaskan Drive Day 4-2
and horses
Alaskan Drive Day 4-3
and beautiful farms
Alaskan Drive Day 4-4
until we came to Quesnel (which surprisingly rhymes with Dwinell) where we again located the Visitors Center, checked out the Billy Barker statue (he’s one of the gold miners that founded the town) saw some blue sky
Alaskan Drive Day 4-5
but turned and looked the other way to see what was ahead of us.
Alaskan Drive Day 4-6

After we found a local quilt shop (which made up for the long stop at the farm machinery “museum” yesterday),
Alaskan Drive Day 4-7

we hit the road again
Alaskan Drive Day 4-8
till we came to a “turnout with a trash bin on the east side” where we enjoyed our lunch (with our motors turned off, since we were in an “idle-free” zone!) in our own rigs since we were once again being rained on
Alaskan Drive Day 4-9
and when we got back moving down the road
Alaskan Drive Day 4-10
we came to the little town of Stoner (as in John and Rosie) so I had to take a picture of this little building,
Alaskan Drive Day 4-12
even though we never actually saw the town but eventually we came to our destination for the day, Prince George, crossing the Fraser River one more time,
Alaskan Drive Day 4-13

and after we drove through town we headed to Ness Lake Bible Camp (a Sower project located near Prince George) where we were going to spend the next two nights
Alaskan Drive Day 4-14

and there we were blessed with dinner and a time of Bible Study with the staff and then a beautiful (even through the trees) sunset!
Alaskan Drive Day 4-15

And thus ended Day Four of our Alaskan Adventure.

OK, Day 5. We left the RV’s all nestled in at Ness Lake and took off to explore Prince George, BC. It was a nice relaxing day just driving around in a car instead of trying to find parking spaces for three big ol’ RV’s. We did the visitor center, another quilt shop, a train museum, enjoyed a Tim Horton coffee and donuts, and ate lunch at the White Spot.
Here we are at the train museum –
Alaskan Drive Day 5
We finished the day with a drive up to UNBC – University of Northern British Columbia. It was a beautiful campus, but we were most impressed with the view!
Alaskan Drive-Day 5
Not too many pictures today, but I just snagged most of the pictures taken by camera maniac John, so once I get a chance to sort through them, I’m sure I’ll be sharing some more. Fair warning!

We were delighted to be able to spend two nights here at Ness Lake Bible Camp. It certainly is a beautiful location and it’s always exciting to see how God is working all across North America. You never know, we might just stop here on our way home and work for a week or so. We leave tomorrow morning with Dawson Creek, BC in our sights – Mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway. I’m not sure we’ll make it all the way. (It’s about 230 miles and is certainly do-able, but you never know what things we need to stop and see along the way:-)). Slow and steady, right? We might meet a few extra folks along the way since this weekend is the “May Long Weekend” here in Canada. Monday is Victoria Day, which seems to be like our Memorial Day weekend, and a lot of the summer activities are having a big kick-off since it’s the opening of the “season”. Should be fun.

It’s getting light here around 4:30 (and not getting dark until 9:30), so I’d better get this place picked up if we’re going to get out of here at a decent hour.
Sweet Dreams!

PS- here’s another reason Gary has had such a good time here at Ness Lake –
Canada day 5 238
(special effects compliments of John’s fun new camera!)