Tuesday, May 18, 2010

“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Or Olalla! The first day of our northbound journey toward Alaska was a day of contrasts in scenery and weather. We left Olalla before 7am under mostly sunny skies and cool-ish, pleasant temperatures. We crossed the border at Sumas about 11am with not even one car in line ahead of us, and after answering 15-20 questions: “Do you have any guns? Any weapons? Any fruits or vegetables? Any mace or pepper spray? Any bear spray?” (all are prohibited) and responding “No” to each, we were waved on our way in less than than 3 minutes. After turning onto Highway 1 just north of the border, we drove to Hope, B.C. and entered the very attractive Fraser Canyon which runs along the Fraser River for many kilometers, surrounded by abruptly tall mountains covered in evergreen trees, with snow still in the higher reaches. Canadian Pacific railroad tracks line both sides of the river, and we entered many tunnels through the rock along the way.

Temperatures rose as we meandered north, and to our surprise, by 2pm as we arrived at Cache Creek, hit 82 degrees. This section of B.C. is called “The Arizona of Canada” because its’ semi-arid weather is characterized by hot, dry summers and cold, dry winters. There are agricultural fields along the way, the trees thin out and the mountains shrink, and by 4pm we found ourselves in Clifton, B.C. where we planned to stay the night at a campground with wi-fi. Sadly this was not to be, as the campground was full. Dark clouds were building, so onward we went to the tiny town of 70 Mile House where we turned east off the highway to the Green Lake Provincial Recreation Area and a completely empty Arrowhead Campground on the shore of Green Lake.

About the time we left the highway it began raining lightly, then thunder followed, and by the time we picked our campsite it was raining full on with a stiff breeze and temperature of 62. We put in 8 ½ hours of drive time today, and covered 394 miles, periodically slowed by construction traffic and up to 15-minute stops on the highway. We expect this to be one of our highest mileage days of the entire trip. Nonetheless, we note how nice it is to have full-size highway lanes, shoulders, guard rails and amenities we grew accustomed to getting along without while traveling in Baja, Mexico the last two winters.

Today’s wildlife count: about a dozen white tailed deer and a dozen unidentified waterfowl.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We wouldn’t have guessed the concept of “Baja Midnight” (whereby all travelers in Baja, Mexico are in bed by 9pm, waking for sunrise between 5 and 6 am) would translate in Canada, but at least for us, it did. We went to bed at 9:15 last night after taping sheets of aluminum foil over the bedroom windows to make it dark, as suggested by one of the travel guides we’d read. We woke at 5am with full-on daylight outside, and 46 degrees, but 58 degrees inside the trailer, which quickly warmed to comfort with our heater. It doesn’t take much to raise the temperature in our 168 square foot home!

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