Alaska RV Camping Travelog – Day 1
Passengers on our RV camping trip were Brian, Margie, Helen (Brian’s Mom is 87), Casey our 4 ½ year old Golden Retriever, and Sox, a 10 year old gray housecat with an attitude. Brian and Margie have been living full time in their 36′ Class A motor home over 3 years, and boondock (remote dispersed camping) almost always. Mom has RV camping experience since she and Brian’s Dad owned both a pickup camper, and Class C motor home.
The Trip Begins
Our trip to Alaska actually began in early April as we left Overton, NV to pick up Mom in Bellingham, WA and head for the Great Land! Our satellite internet connection gave up the modem ghost at The Dave Deacon NWR south of Ely, so we decided to make some quick time up to Washington and see what we could do about getting our sole means of communication back up and running. Not like it was going to do us much good in the north country, but we needed to order parts and getit back into working order. So we headed for Bellingham and waited for parts to arrive, and our RV camping trip departure date.
May 28, 2006
It was a dark and stormy night….no kidding!!! It really did rain most of the night and none of us slept very well, partly due to the storm but also our anticipation of our long awaited trip! Some occupants of the motor home don’t consider 4:30 am to be an actual time, but on this day it did prove to exist! We packed up the remainder of our things and hit the road at 5:15! We started our trip in Bellingham, Washington, had rain just a couple miles, but that was it for a while. Tried to buy a Seattle newspaper at 5:40, but the place wasn’t open until 6:00.…ahhhh….a place after my own heart! Obviously we are the only crazies out on the road at this hour!
We had decided not to take our “toad”-our towed Jeep vehicle-so we would get a little better gas mileage and the foolishness of this decision would present itself more than once! Besides the fact we were unable to explore off the beaten path for RV camping locations more to our liking further off the road.
Headed to Sumas, WA where we went through Canadian Customs. We stopped and were asked just a few questions such as: how many of us were in the motor home, where we were all from, how long would we be in Canada, did we have any weapons, and also how much alcohol and tobacco we were in possession of. Also needed to provide rabies vaccination proof for both pets, and drivers license and birth certificates for the humans! That was pretty much it, and we were allowed to enter into Canada. We turned east onto Highway 1 which is a great limited access 4 lane highway, and the skies opened up! We were in need of a grocery store, as we hadn’t brought much of anything as we didn’t know what to expect in the way of customs. Turns out they didn’t even ask us anything about food, so all our worries were for nothing.
Found a Safeway at Chilliwack, and there the fun began…..
First of all, they charge .25 cents for a shopping cart, and Mom and I being as saving as we are, each picked up a brown basket and started down our list! Back to the motor home, and the latch on the refrigerator door breaks off! Mind you, it’s 6:25 so besides the fact it’s EARLY…we have to limp our fridge door along another 5,800 odd miles!!!
Back on the road to Hope, BC and through the Fraser River Valley. Many opportunities for RV camping according to our friends from Vancouver, BC. Especially in the Canadian Provincial Parks, with low cost overnight stays in pristine locations. They also provided toilets, trash and many had firewood available .
From what little we can see through the clouds and rain, it looks like a beautiful canyon and somewhere we’ll have to spend some more time exploring! The river is out of it’s banks in many places due to the spring runoff, and the water is quite muddy. There were several tunnels this way, but the road is in good condition and people seem to obey the speed limit.
Broke out of the rain into beautiful blue sky around 11:00. We did see our one and only deer of the trip, and two foxes around Spence’s Bridge. Our next stop was at high noon at The 108 Mile House, a roadhouse on the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail. This was an interesting historic stop with many old buildings restored with furnishings of the 1800’s. There is also a nice lake, and rest area at the same place so we decided it was a good place for lunch too. Good places to camp overnight in the rest areas, which were very clean and all had trash barrels available. Moving on again at 1:30 and with the small lakes, trees small communities and farms doting the countryside we seemed to be frozen in time–maybe around 1965!
Decided to call it a day after 400 miles in the town of Quesnel. Perfect place to boondock next to the Fraser River, no neighbors, no charge, and a quiet end to our first day on the road. We had dinner in the motor home, and studied the map for our next days travel agenda.
Trip notes: informational signage in Canada, is often after the fact…or during! I.e. Steep grade information is frequently missing or too late resulting in having to apply brakes in a hurry!
Next…RV Camping Journal – Day 2 – Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway