“Well the road can’t be that bad”. Bullshit. It can be.
After hitting a transport trailer mud flap in Quesnel – long story – we decided to head into Likely to go fishing. Karen had visited the area prior to us getting married and said how nice it was. So when we checked in at the tourism office in Quesnel she confirmed that there were two roads into Likely. Coming from the North you can turn off at McLease Lake and head south west to the lake or drive all the way down to 150 Mile House and head in from there. It might be a bit hilly though.
What she did not mention is that the road from McLease Lake to Likely – well most of the way – is gravel. Well-traveled by logging trucks, rutted, potholed and washboard for about 40 kilometers. And there is little or no road markings. And it passes through open range country so there are cattle everywhere especially on the road. So for about an hour and a half we traveled along the high plateau dodging cows, trying not to actually kill Rattletrap by shaking her to death and not knowing we were actually on the correct road. And it had grades in the 9% range for what seemed like miles at a time. When we finally found the paved road heading into town I just about cried. Half way through all I wanted to do was crawl into a ball and suck my thumb like a baby. We were that scared that we would finally kill Rattletrap. Fun times were had by all.
We did survive and ended up at a really nice community campground in Likely, population next to zero, with a campground host that I can only presume failed the “super host” program. Or is on parole.
It is a really nice place with a great history and if you visit – which you should – make sure you visit the museum and visitors center. There you can view a wonderful video on the history of the Bullion Pit Mine, how it was built, by whom and showing some of the amazing engineering employed to build it. To say that we could never replicate the same feat today is an understatement!
We are home now. Karen is recuperating her leg after re-injuring it fishing after we came home from the trip. I am back to work and Rufus is being a dufus. Rattletrap is parked in the front yard, 8,000 km more on the odometer and really no worse for wear from the trip.
So what did we learn from our adventure:
· The North is vast and seemingly never ending. Especially when you are driving it day after day.
· Get fuel wherever and whenever you can. Never pass a gas station “thinking” there is one down the road. It may not be there, have fuel, or the proprietor got drunk and did not show up for work.
· Seeing a grizzly bear reminds you that you are not the top of the food chain.
· Road trips can be tiring. Take a vacation from your adventure.
· If you have any doubts about your relationship with your spouse go on a road trip. It will either erase them or enhance them. In our case I am glad my wife did not kill me in my sleep as I probably deserved it some time.
· Stop and smell the flowers. Just don’t stop too close to wildlife. See food chain advice above.
· Go and see the north before it is gone. Oil and gas expansion will change the north with more people and increased infrastructure. Fort Nelson will look like a mini Edmonton in 10 years.
So we thought all along that we were going to come home, sell Rattletrap and actually grow up and buy a new real motor-home. Well that was till we actually got home and started looking at maps – again.
So the adventure shall continue. Think “Viva Baja” in 2016 J
Kevan Karen & Rufus!!