Sunday, May 18, 2014

Crossing Borders: Hope to Williams Lake to Prince George to Dawson Creek,,,

     We made our border crossing into Canada at the less busy Port of Sumas, WA. about 20 miles east of the much busier I-5 Vancouver Port.  We decided to take advantage of the much lower U.S. prices and topped our gas tank off  ($3.83) before crossing as well…….us and about another hundred Canadians who had crossed the border to do the very same thing.  In return we received the ‘Royal Treatment’ at customs.  After being asked some 10 odd questions we were directed to park in the waiting area and report inside with our passports and USDA Certifications for our pets.  We chatted with another nice officer who then directed us outside to produce our pets as well as surrender our keys to the truck/RV for further inspection.  They went through each vehicle thoroughly, thanked us for our time/patience, and we were once again on our way in about 45 minutes.  I accidently knocked over several of their plastic parking poles as I left, but didn’t spend much time looking in the mirror for a reaction. 

     We spent our first night in a Provincial Park north of Hope, B.C. filming site of the original movie “Rambo”.  Canadian Provincial Parks are the equivalent of our state parks that feature nice level sites, numerous water spigots, vault style toilets, and sometimes showers or an RV dump site.  Prices ran $16/night or $23 with a generous bundle of firewood.  We ran our generator for power.  We spent a lovely evening next to Emory Creek at its confluence with the Fraser River.  The campground does lay across the river from the main tracks of the BC Railroad and trains went through nearly every hour throughout the night.  The first two days driving follow the Fraser River northbound within the walls of its mighty canyon.  There is some pretty spectacular scenery here as you wind your way through the Canadian Cascade Mountains.  This road can most accurately be described as up and down, round and round. 
     Our second night was spent boondocking in a Wal Mart parking lot in Williams Lake, B.C.  On the advice of a very nice lady in Customer Service we picked a spot over at the edge of the Garden Center and since this was not a 24 hour Wal Mart we slept very well.  We visited the Wal Mart McDonalds the next morning for a very tasty breakfast biscuit and filled my travel mug with coffee (for which there was no charge).  An interesting note:  McDonalds here also offered pizza or lasagna for lunch or dinner. 

     We woke the next morning to steady rain and our drive helped remove the cavalcade of bugs the truck/RV had collected thus far.  About the time we passed Prince George however, the sun broke out and I was able to display even more evidence of the mass murder of about another 1,000 or so various mosquitos, gnats, and other inheritors of the earth on the front of my mobile covered wagon.  I did see a young black bear on the side of the road just north of Quesnel, but Barb missed out as she was engrossed in her latest Kindle adventure novel.  We spent the night of Day #3 at the Crooked River Provincial Park about 40 miles north of Prince George.  Although we never saw any, there was plenty of moose scat and other sign around the camping areas. 

     Day #4 marked our last leg of the West Access Route as we traveled to Dawson Creek, B.C., Mile 0 of the Alaskan Highway.  The road takes a very scenic tour through the beginning of the Canadian Rockies with some spectacular scenery, especially around Pine Pass and Bijoux Falls.    This was also a “4 Bear Day” although we were never able to pull over fast or safe enough to get pictures.  Nearing Dawson Creek you enter the town of Chetwynd, B.C., home of some of the most remarkable chain saw art ever created.  There are a dozen or so near the Visitor Center with 146 more spread throughout the village. 


     Dawson Creek B.C. is the official beginning of the Alaska Highway.  Here is where “Mile 0” is marked with a monument in the middle of town.  There is also an arch gateway on the way out of town to mark your beginning.  We will camp in Dawson Creek for the next 3-4 days as we restock, recharge, and relax before heading North on the Alaskan Highway……1222 miles to the border. 

This post compliments of WiFi from Mile 0 Campground at Dawson Creek, B.C.

 SOME TRAVEL NOTES:  We exchanged some money for Canadian $ at a bank in Washington prior to our departure, but did not receive a very good exchange rate ($1 U.S. = $1.03 Canadian) due to our NOT being one of their customers.  The going rate is $1 = $1.08 U.S. to Canadian.  ATMs did accept our ATM card in Canada with the $1 = $1.03 exchange rate.  We notified our bank prior to departure from Michigan that we would be traveling so we purchased our diesel in Canada via our debit card.  Unlike the U.S. there is NO discount for cash vs. credit in Canada for gas.  Of course they will take U.S. dollars everywhere, but on a $1 for $1 basis.  We used our ‘Canuck Bucks’ for camping fees, groceries, souvenirs, etc.  On this leg we averaged 11.7 mpg towing on some fairly steady up and down terrain.  Gas is sold in liters here so it takes some conversion to determine cost, but we paid between $5.15 and $5.66 a gallon for diesel.  Beer and liquor are sold in separate stores in Canada.  Suffice it to say that alcohol is MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE in B.C.  Those who know me know I LOVE to cook even when camping.  We kept out tastes and menu pretty simple so far, but the best meal by far has been a box of Betty Crocker Philly Cheese Steak Hamburger Helper to which I substituted venison burger.  I added a side salad and it was as good as any 4 STAR meal I have ever had.  Lastly, I have to give credit to my wife Barbara for many of these photographs as she is learning the art of digital photography and is doing very well in spite of her teacher. 


  1. Glad you're spending some extra time in Dawson Creek. We should have spent more time a few places along the way. Next time ...

  2. This is GREAT! Thanks for keeping us informed of the adventure! Enjoying "traveling" with you through your words, photos (great job, Barb!) and food! Have fun!!