Location, Location, Location

Hi – given that I’m now a couple of weeks (of 5) into this, thought I would do one post covering the trip so far, which of necessity, will be quite long, and then do pretty much daily posts where possible.

Sunday 10 June 2007

Arrived Vancouver airport after a ten hour flight that turned out much better than I had thought. I’d booked a seat on a sort of Canadian easy jet (canadian affair) and thought it might be quite grim – In fact because I’d booked what they call premium economy, the seat was actually ok.

I’d had my first Mr Bean moment leaving Gatwick – I’d left a batch of bananas in my main bag after it was loaded onto the flight and spent most of the flight worrying that they were going to ripen and leak into my bag or someone else’s – thankfully they hadn’t!

On my first drive around the US  I was staying at an hotel in Louisville and was still taking in the novelty of the whole experience.

After several trips to the front desk within the first couple of hours to ask particularly silly questions, I suddenly had this insight that they probably thought of me as this slightly weird English bloke a bit like Mr Bean, who goes round fiddling and playing with everything.

I still  have to stop myself from pushing the emergency button on escalators when I’m going up and down them – since then I quite often catch myself  having ‘mr bean’ moments.

After a particularly officious customs officer, I say that because of her grilling me about what I do for a living, went and booked into my Travelodge in Richmond which was fine, better than my Travelodge in East Croydon where I’d spent the previous night and must have the distinction of being the only motel/hotel in uk that doesn’t have a phone in the room.

Felt quite jet lagged for next three/four days – picked up my hire car (sadly not a hummer) and decided on day two to jump in at the deep end and do a drive into Vancouver city centre – which was fine.

Ended up in Spencer Park, partly by mistake, but which was stunning.

Came across a kiddies train ride through the park which I took great pleasure in joining as the only unaccompanied adult !

Left Richmond on Thursday 14 June and headed over to North Vancouver, where I’d intended to spend  a few days. Decided instead to head north and hopefully will have time at end to get back to Vancouver Island and Vancouver itself.

The views of Vancouver from West Vancouver were again stunning (I’ve loaded all photos to date directly into photo album or at least will have in the next couple of days )

Drove off from North Vancouver on Friday 15 June, through Whistler and up to Williams Lake, where I spent the night in what I thought at the time was the noisiest motel I’d ever been in.

Leaving North Vancouver and the drive up to Whistler was amazing (apologies for all the superlatives) – looked like the scenery out of The Man with The Golden Gun, that was shot in Thailand, all these little Islands !

About halfway up the scenery changed from all lakes and mountains to looking exactly like upstate New York and Vermont.

Drove onto Burns Lake the following day 16, where I stayed for a couple of nights.

Quite a small town – really nice and laid back, like so many Canadians – the motel owner told me that their experience of being affected by global warming was that during the winter, the temperature was only -30c, where it used to get to -50 quite regularly !

Drove on to Terrace on Monday 16, where I stayed till Friday 22 June – driving into Terrace, the first thing that hits you is a WalMart, which is quite  a strange thing to see half way up Canada.

I really liked the town itself.

Quite small without a small town feel – people really nice and easy going, very gentle atmosphere around the place.

Drove into Kitimat, which had the most amazing views I’ve ever seen – unfortunately the weather was so bad it was difficult to photograph it.

Went into Prince Rupert, which I thought I’d really like – in fact found it really depressing, not quite sure why – its an old docks town and feels quite run down.

Spent most of the day wondering if I’d contracted west nile virus, having read about it in a local paper, as I felt really spaced and had been besieged by mosquitoes in Burns Lake – realised later that I was just really dehydrated and several gallons of water later felt fine !

I was slightly unsure which way to go next . My plan was to go north to the Yukon + Alaska up the Cassiar Highway and on to Whitehorse.

Problem was, on checking my lonely planet and various websites, they all said this route was the last frontier of Canada, effectively Canada’s outback + Lonely Planet said not to even contemplate the journey without two extra fuel containers and spare tyres.

Gave the impression that its pretty remote, which it is ! Decided to go for it anyway and in fact, although it is quite remote in one sense,virtually no-one live here, its more than do- able.

The road to Stewart is again stunning with glaciers, waterfalls etc etc.

Spent one night in Stewart (which was enough), old mining town, popped into Hyder, just to say I’d been to Alaska – unfortunately no immigration + therefore no passport stamping, but I do have  a photo to prove it !

Drove onto Dease Lake where I am currently staying and writing this.

Northern BC feels very remote, not so much in terms of people , but in terms of the feel of the land, quite beautiful.

Am off to Whithorse tomorrow + the Alaska Highway, 600k’s !

 

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