Favorite Canadian Memories

I recently posted our Favorite Alaska Memories so now it is time to post our favorite memories of traveling through Alberta, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory. We spent 23 nights in Canada and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and friendly Canadian people.

We started our travels in Canada by spending almost a week in Alberta in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.

We saw lots of wildlife as we drove through British Columbia on the Alaska Highway before arriving in Alaska for the first time.

After a week in Alaska we drove through Canada to Dawson City, Yukon and across the Top of the World Highway before returning to Alaska.

Our journey back to the lower 48 took us along the Cassier Highway through British Columbia.

For a map of our entire journey be sure to check out Our Route. And for a list of all the campgrounds where we stayed check out our Campground List.

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Day 91: Back in the lower 48

Day 91: Wednesday, August 14, 2013. Williams Lake, BC to Oroville, Washington, USA. River Oaks RV Park Site 43. 393 miles traveled. One of our longest driving days since leaving home.

Our last night in British Columbia was in Williams Lake where we stayed at Stampede RV Park next to the rodeo grounds.

Willams Lake Stampede Grounds
Willams Lake Stampede Grounds

As we drove south we left the snow peaked mountains behind as we began to see more and more farmland and ranches. In one area we passed by the Painted Hills which reminded me of the Painted Desert. The road was good and even though there were still steep grades and curvy roads as we descended into and out of valleys we were making really good time. At some point along the way we decided we were going to cross the border in Washington.

Painted Hills in southern British Columbia
Painted Hills in southern British Columbia

We were driving on Highway 97 which runs right beside Okanagan Lake for many, many miles. There are several provincial parks along the lake and we could see boaters in the beautiful blue water. We passed several beaches full of swimmers trying to cool off in the 90 degree weather.

And then we entered Kelowna which is nothing but big box stores and chain restaurants for miles with stoplights at every intersection. It was bumper to bumper traffic and we wondered where all these people were coming from on a Wednesday afternoon. There were many big homes and condos high up on the hills overlooking the lake.

The canal next to the road in Penticton was full of rafters
The canal next to the road in Penticton was full of people rafting to beat the 90 degree heat

Finally we were past Kelowna and started to move along at a good pace again. In the town of Penticton a canal runs through town right beside the highway. The canal was full of people in rafts floating down the canal in colorful rafts of every size and description. As I rolled down the window to take some pictures these people waved as me as we went by.

After that we began to see fruit stands selling the famous Okanagan Valley peaches, cherries, and other produce grown in the valley. Orchards and vineyards grew in fields as far as the eye could see. We must have passed about 50 wineries all offering wine tasting.

Finally, about 5:00 we reached the American border in Oroville, Washington and went through customs. Everyone in an RV had to pull over to be inspected so we waited our turn and soon were on our way. I looked at my phone and had cell service so I called an RV park in Oroville and we got a site for 2 nights.

Our first day back in the states was filled with resting, doing laundry, and going to the grocery store. Once the chores were done we went to the Okanogan Winery shop in Oroville where I bought some delicious Chardonnay and Pino Grigio. We went to dinner at Trino’s, a very popular Mexican restaurant in town.

Now we start heading southeast to Georgia.

Traveling South through Yukon, British Columbia, and a side trip to Hyder, Alaska

Today is Day 90 of our great adventure, Tuesday, August 13, 2013. It’s been a week since my last post from Tok, Alaska.

Our journey from Tok to the Yukon border on the Alaska Highway was uneventful. When we stopped at the border crossing in the Yukon we handed the border agent our passports and his first question was “Are you heading home to Georgia?” He had not even opened our passports but he knew we were from Georgia when he saw our Georgia G license plate on the front of the truck! He is a fan of American college football and he and Henry talked football for a minute. Of course he asked the required questions and we were on our way.

Sunrise at Burwash Landing
Sunrise at Burwash Landing, Yukon Territory

As soon as we got past customs the road was terrible. We waited for a pilot car to take us several miles through a construction zone and the rest of the way was full of potholes and frost heaves. It took almost four hours to travel the less than hundred miles from Beaver Creek to Burwash Landing, our stop for the night. Our campsite was right on the lake and Blondie even got to go swimming. I woke up in time to take some sunrise pictures before we continued on down  the road.

We enjoyed watching a Bald Eagle in our campground in Teslin, Yukon Territory before we turned south onto the Cassiar Highway into British Columbia. Although the Cassiar is paved, it is narrow, winding, and full of pot holes and frost heaves. The first part of the road had no lines painted on it and no shoulders. The going was slow but beautiful. Our one wildlife sighting was a red fox on the side of the road.

After a restful night in Dease Lake, BC our next stop was Stewart, BC and Hyder, Alaska. To reach Stewart and Hyder we turned off of the Cassiar Highway onto the Glacier Highway for the forty mile drive down to Stewart and Hyder. It was one of the most beautiful drives we have been on and we saw two bears along the road.

After setting up camp in Stewart, we drove the three miles into Hyder, Alaska. We drove through town where there are a few stores, most of them closed, a hotel, bar and restaurant, an RV park, and some houses. Just on the other side of Hyder we were in the Tongass National Forest where there is a nice bear viewing platform on Fish Creek. The salmon are running through the creek to spawn and bears are frequently seen going after the fish. As soon as we got there we saw a black bear in the creek.

The next morning we went to the creek early to watch for bears at Fish Creek. We missed three grizzlies and a black bear that were there earlier. The most excitement we had was watching a wolf go after fish. After about two hours we decided to take the 17 mile drive on a gravel road to see Salmon Glacier. We reached an overlook where we looked down for a spectacular view of the glacier. After stopping again at the bear viewing platform with no sign of a bear we returned to the campground to get ready for the rest of our trip.

We stopped to look at Bear Glacier after we left Stewart
We stopped to look at Bear Glacier after we left Stewart

Early the next morning we were on the road again. We stopped at an overlook on the way out of Stewart for a close look at Bear Glacier.

We turned off of the Cassiar Highway onto the Yellowhead Highway. The road is good and we traveled through several towns before stopping in Houston for the night. We went out to a pizza restaurant for dinner and called it a day.

The going is slow on most of the roads we have been on since we first got to Alberta in June. We have been averaging about 45 miles an hour most days so the going is slow. It’s even slower on some of the mountain roads.

We are on roads now where we will be able to make some time. If all goes as planned we will be in Washington state on Thursday.

Day 29: More Wildlife and Liard Hotsprings

Day 29: Thursday, June 13, 2013. Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park

The Liard River Hotsprings are a popular stopping place for travelers on the Alaska Highway. The springs are open 24 hours a day with a huge parking lot. When it fills up travelers can park across the highway in an overflow lot. Many travelers stop for a soak in the springs, get back in their vehicle and continue on their way.

While Henry took care of some maintenance on the truck and trailer, I grabbed my camera and went exploring about 10:00 am. The parking lot was filled with RV’s already. Just a short walk along a boardwalk and you are at the Beta pool. There is also an Alpha pool which has hotter water but it was closed when we were there. There is a viewing platform up some stairs above the Beta pool to see the Hanging Gardens.

After a buffalo burger for lunch at the Liard Hotsprings Hotel across the highway from the park, we took a drive in search of some of the Wood Bison herd that lives in the area.

Another soak in the hot springs was a perfect ending to the day.

Day 28: Wildlife Sightings on the way to Liard River Hotsprings

Day 28: Wednesday, June 12, 2013. Ft. Nelson, BC to Liard River Hotsprings Provincial Park, BC. Site 42. 190 miles traveled.

What better way to relax after 28 days on the road than to soak in hot springs? That hot water was just calling to me all day. To get there, we had to travel 190 miles of winding roads to cross the Rocky Mountains.

While driving along we were on the lookout for wildlife. And there was plenty to see.

We had made reservations to stay in the Provincial Park – like a state park in the U.S. – and didn’t know what to expect. There were no hookups so we would be using our generator for the first time on this trip. When we saw our site, we were so glad we had decided to stay for 2 nights. With a long, very wide gravel pad and picnic table all surrounded by trees and wildflowers, it was the perfect place to take a break from traveling. A soak in the hot springs was a perfect ending to the day.