Saturday, June 27, 2015

Anacortes to Dawson Creek, BC

Well, folks, I'm afraid the blog will likely be quite spotty during this trek through British Columbia, Yukon Territory and Alaska, if these first three days of travel are any indication.  We left Anacortes Wednesday morning, spent that night in Cache Creek, BC, Thursday spent the night in Prince George, BC, and Friday and Saturday nights we're in Dawson Creek.  Internet connectivity is hit or miss, and when we're dry camping like we did in Cache Creek, nonexistent.  So far, I haven't been able to upload any photos to the web albums for posting in the blog, as what internet connection the parks have is just too overloaded to permit it.  So, I will try my best to at least keep up with the narrative reasonably close to the actual time and will just have to come back with supplemental posts with pictures when I have the capacity.

The last three days have been pretty solid days of driving, but I'm telling you, we've definitely drunk the Koolaid on RV caravanning for this exploration.  On most of our RVing up to this point, we have never made advance reservations, except for holiday weekends, and have just played it by ear, starting to look for an RV park in the afternoon when we're getting ready to quit driving for the day.  Most of the time this has worked quite well, and we've rarely encountered a problem. But we were concerned about trying to do it this way for Alaska, given the vastness and the wilderness character of the state, so we decided to go the caravan route.  We have several RV friends who had done this and they all were sold on it.  So we signed up, and so far we just love it.  The company we went with has really gotten it down pat, and the staff that's with us on the trip are just fabulous, already going above and beyond what's ordinarily required of staff by the company.  They gave us a detailed daily trip log, giving mileage and landmarks along the way, not only to let us know of interesting things to stop and see, but to make sure we have no problem finding our way to the next stopping point.  They have a briefing each afternoon or evening before we pull out to make sure everyone understands what to expect along the way, and answering questions about directions, etc.  Each morning the tail gunner comes around early to thump the tires, checking for any low pressure that needs to be addressed before leaving.  We have CB radios to keep in contact along the road, and we all have identifying stickers on our RVs so when anyone sees someone stopped along the way, we check in to make sure they are okay, or offer help if they're having any problems.  We've already stopped to help out folks a couple of times, and it's very reassuring to know that you have so many folks around in case of trouble.  It's already like we're one big family and that's a great way to start.

The first night we stayed at a campground in Cache Creek, BC called Hat Creek Ranch.  They had some regular campsites, but we were dry camping, occupying a large grassy field, all parked close together.  This was our first experience of what RV rallies are like, but it was a lot of fun.  It was very relaxing to just sit around sharing the day's driving experiences, what happened at the border crossing--they had us throw out some berries, but it was pretty easy to get through--and the staff hosted a hot dog roast for us.  The campground had several buildings set up like a pioneer period village, with old wagons, etc., and some of them dressed in period costumes.  They even had an old covered wagon that you could rent out and it would sleep 4--our kids would have loved that when they were little!  We had a group campfire after dinner and Sophie met Daisy, some sort of yorkie mix dog from North Carolina and they had a great time playing together.  She was worn out by the time we got back to the RV!  She so wishes little Maddie would play, but she's so small and shy, I think Sophie is a bit intimidating to her.  But Daisy is about Sophie's size and it looks like they've become new BFFs!

The second night we were in Prince George, and we drove into town with our new friends from Missouri whom we had met at the campground in Idaho on the way out.  They are in an RV like the smaller one we had in 2013 and are not towing a car, so we drove together so they could go to the grocery store.  Everyone is very helpful in giving rides into town to those who don't have a tow vehicle.  We had dinner together at a restaurant one of the other caravaners had recommended and it was very nice--lots of traditional choices for Ken and Kathy, as well as some good vegan options for us!

We got into Dawson Creek last night (Friday) and will be here tonight as well.  This is right where the AlCan Highway starts so we'll all go for a group photo at the Arch at the beginning of the highway, and then some sightseeing later this afternoon.  On the way here we stopped in Chetwynd, the "wood carving capital of the world,"  according to their Chamber of Commerce.  They have annual competitions where carvers using chainsaws create these remarkable detailed huge pieces, like wild animals, fishermen, divers, and other truly unique creations.  They had just finished this year's competition a week or so before we were there, so they had all the winners in one strip along the sidewalk in the small downtown.  The visitor center folks explained that in a few weeks they will put them in different locations throughout the town, and it's really cool.  Whenever I can post pictures I will have lots of these

Sorry that I can't put up any pictures now, but anyway, we're having a blast!

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