Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dawson Creek, British Columbia

Day one of the Canadian portion of our "Great Adventure" did not start very well. I woke up Thursday morning sick with a head cold. I felt terrible. Dan asked if I wanted to stay in Great Falls for a couple more days - just until I was feeling better - or go ahead. Of course, he asked me AFTER we had already gotten everything packed up and ready to go. I told him that I would rather go ahead and get started on the rest of the trip instead of just sitting around. We had already sat an extra day waiting for the weather to break and the mail to arrive - I was ready to go, even if I didn't feel good. So, off we went.

We ran into a few rain/snow showers on our way to the border which was about 120 miles north. There were not a lot of people waiting to go over into Canada - so I guess the border guards were bored because when we reached the custom booth they decided we needed to be searched. Yep, we had to pull over into another building (at least we were inside because it was cold!) and two very nice young men searched the truck and the unit - we had to open the slides and they went through the entire camper - they went through the truck and the tool boxes in the bed of the truck. I really don't know what they were looking for (and these two young men didn't know either, but they were just doing their job). Anyway, when they finished the search we had to walk over to another building which housed immigration - with our passports and the paperwork from the searchers. About another half an hour there and we were finally into Canada.

This is what we saw all day long on day one - snow, snow and more snow. It would snow on us for a while - then stop - then start again. Anyway, it was still not sticking to the roads and we didn't have any wind, so Dan said it was not bad to drive in. We just weren't in any hurry to get anywhere. The first night we stayed in Lethbridge. We didn't even unhook the truck - just pulled in - got set up and came inside. We stopped around 4:30 because I was really felling pretty rough. As soon as we got all set up, I went to bed and slept about 3 hours before Dan came in and woke me up to eat. I really didn't want anything to eat, but did eat a couple Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits and Dan had some left overs. I stayed up about an hour and went back to bed.

The weather was much better on Day two - clear, but the temperatures were still pretty low - about 28 when we got up. However, I was still feeling pretty rough. I took some medicine - got in the truck and proceeded to sleep most of the day. I would wake up when Dan would stop for fuel, walk the pups, or to go to the bathroom. He fixed himself an egg salad sandwich - I just didn't want anything to eat. We made it to Whitecourt last night. I did come in and fix dinner - chicken enchilada casserole (using the chicken I had cooked in Great Falls). It was pretty good and I managed to stay awake long enough to clean up the kitchen and take a shower before heading off to bed. I didn't even hear Dan come to bed (he had to soak his toes and change his bandages.)

Woke up this morning feeling MUCH better. I had slept with my head elevated and I really think it helped. I didn't have a horrible headache this morning, plus I think the medicine has finally kicked in. Anyway, I felt better all day today and was actually able to stay awake all day in the truck.

This is one of the signs on the side of the road - this is how they post "Watch for Moose"! Haven't seen any yet - just deer, a couple of pronghorn antelope, a fox, and I think I saw a wolf (it might have been someones pet, but it was beside the road and huge!), and of course your geese and ducks. I'll be sure to let you know when I spot my first moose on this trip (and the first bear too)!

Okay - first excuse the exposure on this picture - but I just had to post it (the dial on top of the camera got turned to the night time natural setting and I didn't know it until later in the day). Yes, it is what you think it is - a HUGE beaver in the middle of this town (name of town-Beaverville - who would have guessed!). I just HAD to let you see this.
Okay, we got into Dawson Creek this afternoon around 2:30 and it was around 3 by the time we got checked into the campground and all hooked up. I was so excited that we actually had Internet AT THE SITE that I got on line immediately - answered a couple of emails - and then Dan and I went into town.

Right downtown - in the middle of the intersection is this marker "Mile 0 - Alaska Highway" and that's my big guy leaning on the marker.
Then we went down to Walmart - we just wanted to see what a Canadian Walmart looked like - a lot like ours - and the prices were not that different. Some things were more expensive and some things didn't need refrigeration until opening (we bought some orange juice to try). Then we had to go get the truck fueled up. Speaking of fuel - we haven't had any problem finding diesel fuel - or for that matter getting the unit in and out of fuel stations (which are regular gas stations) but I guess they have enough RV's come through that the stations are built to accommodate us. We have seen very few stations that Dan wouldn't feel comfortable pulling into, and, at almost all the stations they have some type of eatery (while waiting to pay at one place I bought some Tim Hortons doughnuts - which were very good). That is the only place where I broke down and bought something, but I was hungry.

We had thought about staying here another day and just resting, but I think that we are going to go ahead and head out on the Alaska Highway tomorrow. For all of you that haven't looked at a map yet - the last three days we have just been on Canadian highways trying to get to the Alaska Highway. We traveled all the way through the province of Alberta and passed into British Columbia about 50 miles southeast of Dawson Creek. Now we will have to go through British Columbia to the Yukon Territory before we get to Alaska. We have traveled about 1,000 miles so far from the American border and we have about 1,000 miles to go to reach Haines Junction. This is when we will have to decide if we are going to try and go do the interior or just head from Haines. If we do the interior we will be adding another 1,000 miles or so. We just aren't sure we want to add the miles to the truck or pull the unit that far. We have talked about parking the unit in a park and just driving the truck, but that would mean hotels with the pups. We just haven't decided what we are going to do yet. A lot will depend on the road conditions and the weather. I will be sure to let you know when I can.
When we do get to Haines Junction we will still be in Canada, so once again, unless we find another campground with WiFi I will not be able to blog until reaching Alaska. So, this will be the last blog for awhile again. I don't expect to find WiFi again until we reach a pretty big town and I don't know IF there are anymore in Canada between here and there. Guess we will just have to wait and see. Please, just keep checking back - I will blog when I can. Hope you enjoy the following pictures.

Here is the link to the pictures from Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center (with a couple of the pups)

Here is a link to the pictures on the road in Montana in case your are interested.
Talk to you "down the road"!!!

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