Somewhere in BC
Trip Start Jun 12, 2005
41Trip End Aug 2005
Show trip route
Where I stayed
The pot-luck last evening was great, as I indicated. We had a good time. This morning we got up to board a bus, a school bus that we would spend a great deal of time in today. At 8am we boarded our little yellow bus to go downtown to have a group picture taken in front of the stern wheeler Yukon. That done we got back on board our school bus to go to breakfast. Well, for many reasons I do not care to enumerate, we ended up riding for an hour an a half to Braeborn Lodge, half of the way to Dawson Creek! When we arrived at10am they were not expecting a bus load of hungry campers. Two hours later, when the last of our party received their breakfast; we all watched them eat! We then got back on the bus for our trip to the RV Park, where we arrived at about 12:30. What a wasted morning, but we were not unhappy; we were on our last full day together and we did not want to spend it bitching. We just had a good time being together...
During a quick trip to Whitehorse, we made a stop a Wal-Mart, then I dropped Pat off at the Super Canada store (a bit like a Super Wal-Mart, but I think owned by Kroger). I then went to the Sun Down Coffee Shop to send my web Blog over their WiFi, went to the CBIC Bank to get some cash from their ATM, went to the government liquor store for a bottle of scotch, nearly ran down an Indian squaw who was walking down the middle of the street, and was back at the Super Canada to pickup Pat in about 45 minutes. We then hurried back to the RV Park, stopping briefly to fill the gas tank at $1.075 per liter on the way. After a quick change, we got back on the bus to go downtown (again) for dinner at Ricky's All Day Cafe. We had a great dinner, a wonderful (but silly) brief program honoring our tour leaders, and then got back on the bus for a trip to the Frontier Follies at the Weston Hotel. The show was very enjoyable, and probably the most professional of the three shows we saw on the trip. We got home at about 11pm and promptly retired for the evening. It was a great day, our last together as a caravan, and everyone seemed to enjoy it despite the snafus and extended bus travel.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The last day of our caravan, our last day together as a group! This morning we all prepared to go our own way, most of us getting up at an early hour. At 8am we gathered at our tour leader's (Dick and Joyce Diggins) motor home for coffee and donuts and many good by hugs. It was nice but it also was sad because we were saying goodbye to a great group. By 8:40 we were pulling out of the RV Park to start our homeward journey. But wait, I left out much of the drama. We (Pat, me and a dozen other couples) had been struggling over the best route to Vancouver. Do we take highway 37, reportedly one of the worst in Canada, or do we drive all the way back to Dawson Creek and take highway 97 south to Vancouver, some 137 miles longer?
When we went to bed we thought our group was all decided. When we got up we found that it had changed! We lost one but we gained several more. When we finally departed, there were six units. To back up a bit, we had heard several horror stories about highway 37. At least four people had told us that it was an awful highway, nearly all gravel, very bumpy with lots of curves and no shoulders. One or two said it was a great scenic route and all you had to do was drive slowly. We took the advice of the one or two and started out down the Alaska Highway, almost to Watson Lake and a distance of 250 miles from Whitehorse, before turning south on to highway 37. We stopped for gas at this junction because we knew our opportunities were very limited on down the road. While refueling, I made the mistake of talking to the man on the other side of the pump, who had just come north up 37. He did his best to talk me out of going south on 37!
Well, soon the rest of our sub-caravan group arrived and we briefly discussed this latest advice before we chose to ignore it. Pat was not too comfortable with this development, but she only said she was not sure this is what we should be doing. We all took off down scenic highway 37 agreeing to travel 75 miles, thinking it would take about an hour and a half. Well we could not maintain 50 miles per hour, and we arrived two hours later at a jade store. Actually it was two jade stores, one on each side of the narrow highway with no shoulders. It was our first stop on our own after the caravan arrangements. We parked in the parking lot, no hook ups were provided, we got to use their facilities, there was free coffee, and there was no charge for "dry" camping on their parking lot. After dropping a couple of dozen dollars in their gift shop I decided that it may have been cheaper in a campground that charged you to stay.
After visiting the first gift shop, our host for the evening, we walked across the highway to another store. Why I do not know, as the mosquitoes and black flies were awful and we did not buy anything. We went back to our trailer and broke out the scotch (it was nearly 6 o'clock and there certainly wasn't anything else to do).
Within ten minutes the first couple showed up at our door, then another, and another. By the time the "happy hour" ended nearly two hours later, a total of ten guests had attended. As the last ones departed, Pat decided that she was a whole bunch more comfortable about the decision to head for Vancouver via highway 37, especially after one couple told us that tomorrow evening we would be back in a campground where they had bleachers set up so the guests could watch the grizzly bears catching the salmon coming up stream to spawn! Actually, while we will still be in Canada, we will be across the river into Alaska, a part of the panhandle below Juneau. It is so amazing how this country goes and goes and goes, and we have only seen a small part of it! It is time to go to bed, the computer battery is warning me it is out of "juice" and this is enough.
Goodnoght, Mr. and Mrs. America!