Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.
|Sunday, August 23, 2009 21:12:44|
Subject: Rolls Alaska to Argentina & back: 6 - Stewart to Victoria, BC, Canada
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Miles for the day: 184 (296 km) Miles to date: 2,235 (3,597 km)
We awoke to a town without electricity. There were large gas generators in the street with cables to local businesses so they could run cash registers and credit card machines, but little else. Breakfast offerings were very limited. This little town that pulls together would not have electricity for another 24 hours.
We retraced our steps past the glaciers on the road out of town, with a number of photo stops. The construction was finished, so the road was in great shape. Back on highway 37 we took a detour on a dirt road to an unmarked fish ladder and waterfall just before the Nass River Bridge. We knew about it from our conversations in the pub in Stewart. Campers were quite amazed to see the Rolls on this four wheel drive road! It was fascinating to watch the spawning salmon leap into the air to get above the waterfall.
Highway 37 ends at Kwanga, a native Indian community on the Prince George to Prince Rupert Highway where Marilynn's brother Rick is in charge of installing sewer systems on the Indian reserve. We saw him on the highway, so followed him back to his trailer for a cold beer. There is no accommodation nearby, but Rick knew the owners of a hotel in New Hazelton, about 45 minutes away, where he arranged a reservation.
Rick stayed in New Hazelton before getting his trailer, so knew a good restaurant for drinks and dinner. While we were eating a very tired group of about 20 young firefighters with smoke blackened faces came in. They had been fighting one of the 2,000 fires burning throughout BC. In this hot weather as many as 200 new fires were starting daily, most from electrical storms.
After finishing dinner Rick and I ordered Caesars, a Canadian drink like a bloody Mary but with clamato juice instead of tomato juice. When the waiter asked if we wanted large or small ones Rick asked if there was more vodka in the large ones, and the waiter said yes, so we ordered large ones. Sometime later our not so sharp waiter returned with two Caesar salads! Caesar salads with vodka? He was promptly sent back to the bar to get the drinks!
The evening ended in a local pub, where a native Indian girl sent over a pitcher of beer for Rick and I because she liked the Rolls, so we invited her to join our table. From the general drift of conversation I think she was looking for a father for her next baby, but it was interesting. At the end of the evening Rick sensibly decided to stay in the hotel rather than try driving back to his trailer somewhat impaired.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Miles for the day: 231 (372 km) Miles to date: 2,466 (3,969)
When Marilynn & I got up Rick was long gone. The drive to Vanderhoof was broken by a gas and lunch stop in Burns Lake, where we also picked up some supplies at a supermarket. As we didn't have a frequent shopper card, the cashier borrowed one from the lady in line behind us to discount a few dollars from our purchase!
We checked into the very nice Hillview Hotel, before having foot long hot dogs for dinner at a recommended take-out restaurant. We made an early night of it!
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Miles for the day: 272 (438 km) Miles to date: 2,738 (4,406)
It was all good road today. The gas and lunch stop was at Quesnel, but shortly out of town we could see traffic stopped for miles ahead. The next hour was spent crawling ahead a few feet at a time; something the Rolls shows its displeasure at by overheating. Fortunately some rain showers brought cooler temperatures. The road had been closed since morning due to an accident.
Shortly before reaching the accident scene a flat deck truck passed us going the other way with a blackened ball of metal on the back that had been a car. At the scene a truck trailer burned halfway down its length was a few feet back from the frame and wheels of what had been the cab of the truck. The truck floorboards were another few feet ahead - virtually nothing was left of the cab. We were sure no one could have survived. A crane was lifting the remaining pieces of scorched metal onto trucks to haul away.
Once in our hotel in 100 Mile House we turned on the TV news. One of the first people at the accident scene had a video camera, which showed people running towards the wrecked vehicles to pull out passengers right after the crash. The car doors were bent too badly to open, so someone backed their pickup truck to the wreck, attached chains to the doors and pulled them off. Everyone had been dragged clear of the wrecks when the last video shot showed both vehicles erupt in an ball of flame, presumably from gas tanks exploding. Amazingly, no one died.
It was a pub supper in 100 Mile House, and another early night to bed.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Miles for the day: 268 (431 km) Miles to date: 3,006 (4,838)
We gassed up at Clinton, the last gas stop for some time on the route we were taking. I well remembered driving this road on fumes during last years Rolls & Bentley rally! It is a pretty drive to the town of Lillooet, the former Mile 0 of the famous Caribou Road that took many prospectors north during the gold rush. Today Lillooet was covered in smoke from the many forest fires burning in the mountains a short distance from town. The residents were on 60 second evacuation notice, and in fact were evacuated the next day. Helicopters shuttled back and forth to the fire from a nearby lake, dumping water from large buckets suspended beneath them.
Once out of the fire zone the drive through snow capped mountains and along gorgeous lakes was beautiful. We stopped at one lake, where Marilynn walked quite a distance back down the road looking for the perfect photo. A pickup driven by a native Indian man pulled up alongside her to ask why she was so far from her car. She said I was just up the road, but he said that wouldn't do her much good if she was attacked, as the area was full of bears and cougars. She made a fairly quick retreat back to the car.
Lunch was in Pemberton, a town near the site of the 2010 Olympics at Whistler Mountain, and the former home of our daughter. There was lots of activity as we drove past Whistler and along the highway to Vancouver. Quite a bit of road has been widened and paved, but there is still much to be done. Before Vancouver we turned off to Horseshoe Bay to catch the ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The wait of a little over an hour was passed pleasantly in a pub in Horseshoe Bay Village.
In Nanaimo we checked into the Howard Johnson and called long time friend Jack Zydel to meet us at a waterfront pub, where he and his wife had drinks and dinner with us.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Miles for the day: 106 (171 km) Miles to date: 3,112 (5,008)
We decided not to breakfast in Nanaimo, but to drive south of Duncan were I knew a great breakfast restaurant, however dividing barriers in the center of the road made a left turn impossible. We carried on to where I knew another restaurant, but it was closed. We drove to Shawnigan Lake, where one of our sons and his family were renting a vacation cottage, to find the local restaurant had a sign on the door "gone fishing, surfing, etc." We also struck out on finding where the kids were staying, so we tried another restaurant on the main highway that we were sure would be open, but wasn't. A very hungry couple of people finally had brunch in Victoria, thus ending this leg of the trip.
The car will be left with the mechanics to sort out some small problems, then when business permits I'll fly back to Victoria to drive the next leg to Costa Rica.