I suppose days like yesterday only come one at a time. We woke at Muncho Lake this morning, same place we went to sleep last night, but it didn’t take long for the magic to dissipate as we traveled east and south, leaving the Rocky Mountains behind and moving onto the great inland plateau that makes up a large part of British Columbia.
When we settled in for the night, Mo wanted to load the kayaks, but I had visions of a silent morning paddle on that beautiful lake. Instead morning brought strong winds, even in the early light, and we loaded up the boats and were on the road by 8am. This part of BC is gorgeous, and the road passes through Muncho Lake Provincial Park and then through Stone Mountain Provincial Park. It’s a narrow road, but not bad, with a few curves here and there and a natural, meandering kind of mode that was fun to drive.
We saw more Stone Mountain Sheep at their namesake park, all standing in the road along the highway and in the highway, looking almost exactly as they do in the Milepost photo. Very cute critters, but I’m not sure what it is that they find along the road that is so interesting. Once beyond the park, the road dropped down to follow the Tetsa River, and the views in all directions were wonderful.
We pulled into the Tetsa Campground with the promise of fresh baked bread, and I checked in at the camp store to find perfect round loaves of fresh sourdough bread and a warm cinnamon bun that was hands down ten times better than the famous buns on the Klondike Highway. On the counter in the crockpot, was a bubbling pot of incredibly good smelling soup, so I bought a bowl of that as well for our supper to go with the bread. The owner was charming and conversational, with that far northern accent that I am getting used to.
Continuing east we crossed the last of the Northern Rocky Mountains as we moved onto the plateau. The trees were thick and the aspen and birch was dark green, but there wasn’t much else to see all the way in to Fort Nelson. Some agenda items: get water, dump, get gas, get money, get food, wash the rigs. We succeeded in the first few, with a stop at the visitor center that yielded information about where to find an ATM. Right next to the ATM was a pizza place, and we haven’t had pizza in more than a month, so we ordered one to go.
The city operates a free dump and water station near the museum, so we took advantage of that, planning to boondock somewhere tonight and wanting to be sure we had enough water for baths. I still have sulfur in my hair and it does feel a bit weird. While parked at the pizza place, I discovered a hot spot and managed to upload a few photos and a single blog post while checking email and doing some more banking. Mo was anxious to get the rigs washed, so after I stopped into the IGA for supplies, we headed over to the car wash.
It’s hard to explain just how these kinds of chores can seem to take so long, can be so tiresome and can really take the shine out of a day. Before we washed the rigs, we needed fuel, and I paid the highest price ever at 1.46 per liter. I put 225 Canadian into the tank and it was still only 3/4 full. Trying to get out of the station added more frustration as some woman from Alaska seemed to think the middle of the driveway was the place to park while she shopped and took on water. When I asked her to move so we could get out, she pulled forward a few feet and then got out to do more stuff. Duh! Excuse me, but please, we would like to GET OUT OF THIS PLACE!
Not so fast, we still have the rigs to wash. Just a couple of doors down from the FasGas was a car wash with a bay big enough for both rigs and we just slid into position without a hitch. I went to get loonies, and the proprietor informed me it used only toonies, with each toonie giving one minute of wash time. I looked at Mo, we looked at the MoHo, and thought about just how far ten bucks would take us in that filthy mess. Maybe not.
We pulled out of town in a ton of traffic, lots of pickup trucks driving south to work the second shift on the huge natural gas plant south of town. In 1957, Fort Nelson didn’t even have power, but now with oil shale and natural gas the place it starting to really boom. It was actually hot for the first time since we left the lower 48, with a humid 90 plus degrees showing on the thermometer.
We are now driving south on the Alaska Highway, BC highway 97. Advertised road condition says wide road, 2 lane good pavement all the way to Dawson Creek. As the miles pass I think we are both feeling a bit better. It does make me wonder how things will feel when we have to deal with reentry into traffic and the frustrations of a populated world. For the time being, we plan to find another wide place in the road to boondock tonight, eat our pizza and drink a well deserved beer.
Later: Around 4 pm, maybe 40 or 50 miles south of Fort Nelson at an unnamed creek, Mo suddenly said, “Hey, this looks good!”. We crossed the little bridge and turned down the tiny road on the east side of the highway toward a nice wide area along the creek. Perfect.
It was hot. After settling in we made sure the fan was on before taking Abby for a walk down to the stream. Not sure why, but the stream was a dull brown color, hopefully not some sort of runoff from the oil fields. We heated up our pizza and relaxed with dinner, turned on the water heater for a good shower, and then, bam. Two big rigs saw that little narrow road as well and rumbled down into “our” campsite, jumped out, hollered at each other while backing and proceeded to set up their nice little camp, chairs and all, right out our front window.
Ok. Right. I’m a jerk. It’s NOT my campground, it’s not my creek, and they have just as much a right to be here as I do. Bummer. I have been spoiled rotten, and its time to get back to the real world. ugh. Little black flies are buzzing around INSDIE the MoHo, and I’m not sure how they got here. Big black spruce beetles are hanging out on the screen. Did I mention that it’s hot? Mo is hiding away in her book on the sofa, oblivious to my grumblings. Smart.
Road conditions: variable, but mostly good 2 lane highway. A bit of construction in BC, a bit of narrow stuff here and there, some frost heaves here and there, but we still traveled at 50mph most of the time.
The rest of the photos for this day are linked here