Monday, December 8, 2014

Back Through BC

Hwy 16 eastward from the Cassiar Hwy quickly gave indication that we were back in civilization by forcing us to share the road with speeders, semi-trucks, and unfriendly drivers.  Fortunately, the highway slowly evolved into farmland slopes, rivers with salmon and bear and humans fishing for those salmon. We never realized how much fishing is available in BC so far inland.

Trucks hauling timber to lumber mills is the number one source of the BC economy, with mining being a close second.  Communities appeared to support each other as Mennonite church members stood with striking school teachers.  Many small BC communities still hadn't gone back to school in mid September because of the teacher strike.   The small farms and ranches were preparing for winter as farmers covered hay bales and removed crops from their fields.
Our journey northward and now southward had been guided by the popular reference guide, The Milepost.  However, this book failed to represent hwy 16 adequately.  We looked for rest areas, as they were not cited in the book.  The kilometer posts were not numbered in alignment with real signposts and even the craziest math didn't help us figure out where the hell we were.  The book also excluded the native villages along the route entirely.

The highway itself is in good to excellent shape - especially when compared to the widened goat trails of the Yukon, but compared to roads of the US we still found them lacking basic amenities that would help us and others.  Often, there were no signs indicating rest areas or turn outs until we were on top of them.  Don't know if you've ever tried to stop a 31 ft fully loaded motor home towing a Jeep on a dime - but trust us, it doesn't happen.  

Being back in farmland made the drive somewhat boring without mountain views but it had been a while since we had seen horses, cattle, sheep, lamas, goats, and pigs so we enjoyed seeing familiar mammals again. As we drove east, the mountains disappeared from our line of sight several times but the calm lakes and streams allowed for some good photo opportunities.  Some communities had local radios and tv stations but we opted to listen to free Sirius XM radio during their fall promotion.  As we neared Prince George, the road widened and traffic increased.  City buses and traffic lights, a casino and a health food store told us that this was almost a real "city."  We turned south onto the Caribou highway just before crossing the city limits.

We looked for the community called Cinema, a location with a store and free camping.  Somehow we missed it and ended up at Canyon Creek RV park.  The park's beautiful setting, friendly owners, and a nature trail were nice but the facilities were old and the noise from the highway was constant.

We departed late the next day and got on the road to find groceries in Quesnel.  After driving in circles around downtown trying to find a store whose parking lot was large enough for us, we settled on a store near Wal-mart.  We used our own shopping bags was our cart in the store and this apparently became an issue during checkout as we had used our own shopping bag instead of a cart. The crotchety cashier was not certain we had emptied our bag and insisted on looking in both bags twice to ensure we had emptied them.  Accused of shoplifting by a rude Canadian!  Did we really look like we were trying to steal a block of cheese?  By this time we had had our fill of Canada and couldn't wait to get back to the good ol' US of A - faults and all.

A little farther down the road we stopped at Gold Trail RV park.  It advertised itself as an Escapees Club resort but trust us, this was no resort!  When Joy confronted the manager about the condition of the restroom and the fact that the campground was not currently an Escapees Club, he was rude and actually sexually harassed her by calling her a bitch.  He justified his behavior as only joking but is an absolute moron! He provided yet another reason we aren't too fond of our neighbors to the north.  Luckily, this would be our last night in Canada and we were looking forward to crossing into Washington and seeing friends and family.