Monday, September 21, 2015

Roads in BC

“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!!

Well here are some final pictures to chuckle at. Kevan is presently composing the final installment of Alaska/Yukon 2015.

Karen (with Rufus at her feet)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Miles upon miles..............

Miles upon miles upon miles……..

That is what it feels like sometimes. The never ending driving; in a barren landscape. Not flat and boring like Saskatchewan more like having to watch a boring PBS show or someone’s home movies. Over and over again.

That is driving from the Yukon back to lower BC. And lower BC means Prince George.

Give you an idea of what it is like; we left Liard Hot Springs at 8:30 am. Normal stops for lunch, wild life photos and 5 construction zones later we were in Fort Nelson at 3:30. Yes almost 6 hours of continual momentum to cover about 260 kms.  Did we mention the road construction and having to follow 3 pilot cars.

The north has two seasons: winter and road repair.

When we were here in 2009 the roads in northern BC were terrible. We had driven better road in Mexico than in northern BC. Well since that time someone got a boatload of money and is spending it as fast as possible on road improvements. So in a couple of years the road up here should be nice. But not now.

Complaining aside the views are magnificent and we are in beautiful fall colours. But after the first 1,000 km of viewing them, they start to blur after awhile. And there is nowhere to stop and take in some interesting sights, etc. because other than building the Alaskan Highway in the 1940’s the only other interesting thing up here is the current gas exploration boom. Not real interesting for a traveler but good for the local economy.

So we write this from a campground south of Dawson Creek. We have ended our trek upon the Alaskan Highway and are thankful for it. Rattletrap has survived up to this point – with some teething issues – but still on the road.  Karen has not killed Kevan – yet - and Roofus is still a doofus. All is well, albeit a little road weary.

Now we are in search of warmer weather and hopefully more interesting surroundings. Basically we are off to go fishing in the 100 mile house area for a couple of days then head back to the Island.

Cheers for now

Kevan, Karen and Roofus.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dawson North

Here is a few photos :

From the road Kevan, Karen and Rufus!!

Saturday, September 5, 2015


We ended up at the “Top of the World” and decided to head south. Well from here everything is south.

Due to Karen’s leg issues we have decided not to go into Alaska. The financial risk of re-injuring her calf muscle is too great even properly insured. Oh well, we decided to go up part of the “top of the World” highway to the viewpoint that overlooks the vast Dawson area. Pictures to follow when we get enough Internet bandwidth somewhere.

One of the great things about the Dawson area is that you can walk everywhere. So cane in hand Karen and I set about and did the normal sight seeing things. Two of the highlights were the Dredge #4 and a walking tour of the city.

The dredge is a National historic sight and it is HUGE. Built in 1913 it was designed and built partly in Wisconsin and Vancouver. One of the large gears is 14 feet in diameter and was too big to be shipped with the fir timbers from Vancouver. It came via sternwheeler up the Yukon River. Not only is it an engineering marvel for its time it was in use till the late 1950’s.

We did a guided walking tour of Dawson. It highlighted the strange stories and characters of the era along with access to some of the historic buildings like the Red Feather Saloon. If you ever visit Dawson make time for one of their great walking tours.

We are now heading south stopping for some fishing and an extended stay back in Whitehorse that will include dinner at the Klondike Rib and Salmon Barbecue. Can hardly wait.

On the road to Nowhere.

Kevan, Karen and Rufus.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Updated photo

Here are some updated photos. We struggle with file size and "high speed" so there at not a lot but they are good:

K, K & R

Too tired for dinner?

In Whitehorse and too tired to even go out for dinner. Karen cooked up bacon and pancakes while I fettled with Rattletrap’s ongoing transmission saga.

The transmission issue is rather simple. The overdrive cuts out over about 3,000 ft so coming up from Watson Lake we kept dropping into 3rd gear and could not get it to shift up to overdrive. Same thing happened on the cross Canada trip but self-corrected when we came out of Calgary as the rest of Canada resides below 3,000 ft.

The solution is to find the altimeter used by the transmission computer and unplug it. Install a jumper cable between two of the terminals of the connector and viola we fool the computer into thinking we are always at sea level. According to the Internet forum it should work - maybe.

As for being tired it is because of the mileage we have put on. We have logged nearly 5,000 kms since leaving home with the only real stop in Nakusp for the HU event. So we have been getting up at 7:00 on the road by 8:30, stopping only long enough for coffee, gas and a sandwich made in a highway pull off somewhere. About 4:00 ish we start to look for a place to stay for the night so hopefully we can be set up and eating dinner by 6:00 ish.  Do dishes, walk the dog and off to bed to read. Sounds good the first day but by the end of the first week it gets a little tiring.

So when we got into Whitehorse we hit the Canadian Tire for a few things and then headed to the campground. Good thing as the parking lot of the Wal-Mart was absolutely packed with RVs – campers, trailer, motorhomes – all that you can imagine. And it was filthy with garbage falling out and strewn around the garbage cans, shit everywhere and in general not a good vibe. Sort of a real low rent stopping area for people too cheap to pay the $30 for the great campsite we are in.

We were so bummed out and tired instead of heading off to one of our favourite restaurants we headed to the campground. Had a “dispute” regarding my parking abilities and then realised that the real issue was that we were just tired and weary from all the driving.

So how to cure the tiredness? Firstly break up the routine.

Try to have more stops during the day but honestly this is hard to do in the area of the world. The natural beauty of the place is amazing but you cover vast terrain between anything of any real importance or interest. Hence you just drive and look a the trees, mountains and keep an eye open for suspension ruining pot holes the depth of a decent coal mine.

We are heading to Dawson City for a few days of fun and excitement. There we will park up then eat, drink, gamble, see the sights. At this point this sound like the best cure for being tired – have some fun.

Sometimes you have to take a vacation from your adventure.

On the road to Alaska

Kevan, Karen and Rufus.