Driving through Vancouver to our destination for the night we travelled over the Port Mann bridge. This beautiful structure is a toll bridge in the Greater Vancouver Area but no more stopping to pay the toll. You can pay it online with your license place and a credit card. If you don’t, you will be sent a invoice for the toll.
Leaving this afternoon we drove through the bountiful agricultural areas just east of but included in some of the communities east of the cities. You will see fields of many different crops.
We were shocked to find that Cache Creek had been evacuated due to wild fires that had quickly started in many areas in the interior of BC. The one we had spotted on Thursday shortly after it had started had grown exponentially and many more were active as well. Unfortunately, our motor home was now behind closed roads and we were unable to retrieve it. This has necessitated an additional night in Kamloops hoping that we will be able to reach it in the morning. If not, we may have to leave and come back to get it next weekend. Hopefully not, as that would be more miles than we were planning on!
Before we left Lillooet in the morning we discovered a Farmer’s Market on an empty lot just across from the Municipal offices. It was a busy place that morning and included some intriguing crafts, baking and sewing.
We also found a unique place to enjoy a game of golf. The Lillioet Golf Course just 6 km outside of town is part of an active sheep farm!! Yes, you will have sheep out on the fairways keeping the grass mowed. Seemed to be a popular place and we will have to check this course out on another trip through the area.
We had driven this road some years ago in our car. We had also been told that the highway had been upgraded and we wanted to see if it was now suitable to take RV’s on this scenic drive to the coast. It was nice to see that the road has indeed been upgraded all the way. Although we did see RV’s on the road, they were mostly smaller Class C types. There is a quite a steep climb and then hill to go up and down in the first approx. 20 kms west from Lillooet. After this there are some hills and steep climbs but the biggest one is the long hill coming down to the Pemberton Valley. All grades on this road seemed to be marked 10% or 11%. Surprisingly, we did see a couple of tour buses and a couple of big trucks so it is possible for larger vehicles to make it but personally I would hesitate to drive a bigger RV on that road mainly due to the hills. Nevertheless, the views along the road were beautiful! There were some campsites along the way as well, which I did not remember from our previous drive on this highway. I assume that they only have unserviced sites but would be beautiful spots to stop and camp. Lots of visitors are treated to a beautiful part of British Columbia by making this drive part of their vacation. It is not a long section of highway, basically just a 100 km. but do not think that you will be driving this quickly. We did make several stops along the way for a better view but you are driving slowly so this drive will take you the better part of half a day to go from Lillooet to Pemberton then several more hours to Whistler and North Vancouver. We also stopped at Horseshoe Bay to see if we could perhaps see a ferry in the terminal. Alas, one ferry was just leaving. There was another coming in quite soon after but we did not get photos of that. Of course, as soon as you get close to the city the traffic gets thicker. The road seamlessly changes to Hwy 1 which is the major freeway through the entire Vancouver and Greater Vancouver area.
Another beautiful blue sky morning! But even at 7:30 a.m. we could tell it was going to be a scorcher of a day today. We went up to the Williams Lake Golf Club first thing this morning to chat with the Golf Pro and take some pictures. Another beautiful course, up on the hillside looking over the city. The early golfers were there getting ready to get their game in before it got too hot.
I was looking forward to the drive south, counting down the miles following the reverse of the gold miners, 150 Mile House, 100 Mile House, etc. These were important markers and rest stops along the way for the miners on their way up north to the gold fields. Communities formed around them and their history is still told in the little museums. Stop and see the information in the Clinton museum and find out how camels helped out in 1862! Soon after leaving Williams Lake we found a gem of a lake, Lac La Hache! On a day like today all I wanted to do was climb into a canoe or kayak and paddle around the lake. While in 100 Mile House we noticed and so did everyone else, the smoke of a forest fire to the west of the community, close to one of the big forestry mills that is part of the community’s economy. Turned on the news tonight and they were following the story. Praying that the firefighters and bombers are able to get it quickly under control. The Cariboo-Chilcotin area is always dry, that’s not surprising but, that area could sure use some rain! There are lots of small lakes and wetland areas which is great but the hills and forest are very dry.
We decided to drop our motorhome off in Cache Creek and do a loop through Lillooet, Pemberton, Squamish and eventually stop to see some family in the GVA. The drive to Lillooet is scenic (as advertised) and gives you scenic shots of beautiful water time and a taste of what the Fraser Canyon will be like. That’s all for today, talk to yo’all tomorrow!
Woke up this morning and it was calm! A beautiful blue sky day! We had experienced a couple of days of quite strong breezes in the Dawson Creek area but this morning it was calm! We drove down to the unexpected jewel of a lake right beside Mackenzie, Morfee Lake. It was a gorgeous morning! The reflections in the water, the sun shining, the quiet… I could just imagine how that would change as the two beach areas would have kids playing later in the day as families come down the hill for a picnic and a splash.
It was back on the road again and as it turned out, it was a day of water. As we drove, there was usually water beside us, looking so nice and refreshing. We went through all the major communities on the highway and even there, there was water. This photo to the left is the mighty Fraser River as we crossed over it in Prince George.
We stopped at McLeese Lake rest stop and watched a variety of activities going on on the lake; there was water skiing, fishing, kayaking, and even a loon swimming around.
Finally, we reached our destination for the evening, Williams Lake. We got a site at the Williams Lake Stampede Campground. Can you spot us in the picture?
I guess that this day has been one of our longer driving days but we have seen so so much!! It was a beautiful day and the scenery was too! We stopped in at the Fort St. John museum and one of the different things here is this derrick. Some museums would think that this isn’t old enough to be considered but it totally suits Fort St. John which has as its slogan the “Energetic City”. Leaving Fort St. John you come to Charlie Lake. This lake sticks in my mind as one of the very few times I saw my husband waterski many years ago. Brings back good memories!
We then turned off of the Alaska Highway onto Hwy 29 a lesser known route that connects Hudson’s Hope and Chetwynd and the Hart Highway. There was less traffic, both vacationing and commercial, on this stretch of road but the Peace River Valley is there in all its glory, as you follow along all the way to Hudson Hope. Not far from Hudson Hope is the WAC Bennett Dam. We did not take time to go to the dam today. It is a wonder to see and they have guided tours of the dam. Both of us have seen the dam previously and felt that our travel time is getting short so miles needed to be made. This dam creates a huge reservoir lake, Williston Lake which reaches back many miles up the river valley. We continued along and came to Moberly Lake and then Chetwynd. This community is famous for its World Championship Chainsaw Carving weekend which is held each year in June. The winning carvings have been placed all along the highway and they are AMAZING! I have included a couple here and I will show more in my social media posts to come.
As we left Chetwynd it seemed to me that all of a sudden we were in the land of tall trees! All the different trees were much much taller! Not sure what creates the difference but it is noticeable. You are again following a river, this time the Pine River.
It struck me as we were driving that it is the Pine River and Pine Pass but I had not seen any pine trees… I guess I’ll have to look up the background of this area’s name. This next section of highway doesn’t have much cell service as you go over the Pine Pass but not to worry, it is a great drive all the way. We made a stop at Bijoux Falls. These falls are in a cozy little spot just off the highway and everything smelled and sounded so good in there. I love the smell of mountain trees and water.
We have never been to the community of Mackenzie. We pulled into town this evening and will look around some in the morning. That’s all for today folks!
This being a long weekend made today another slower day for us in regard to promotion of the route to municipal offices in the area. We checked out a couple of places in Dawson Creek and then seeing as my husband came from “these here parts”, he still has some family in the area. This was a great opportunity to connect with them again and see more of the Peace River Valley views along the way. The day was very windy all day, otherwise it would have been a nice day to try one of the golf courses here in Dawson Creek or just outside the city. Tomorrow we will be back on the road and continuing our journey into more of BC and continuing our promotion of the Northern Woods & Water Highway. We are hoping to work with more BC communities and create some ideas for circle tours etc. in the future. When we got back to our motorhome for the evening, there was a beautiful sunset. Again the campground is full with people from a wide variety of places.
Left behind the beautiful Peace River valley at the Town of Peace River and headed through Grimshaw, Berwyn, Fairview and then reached another beautiful historic park located in the Peace River Valley, being Historic Dunvegan located right beside the famous Dunvegan suspension bridge which spans the Peace River.
This park has some historic buildings here from the late 1800’s and an interpretive centre with friendly staff who are happy to let you know about the area. The park has beautiful picnic areas, a campground and located right beside is also Dunvegan Gardens.
Well tonight we have reached the official end of the Northern Woods and Water Highway as it reaches Dawson Creek which is well known as being Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway. One of the first things that we saw when we pulled into town was the beautiful grain elevator which is now an Art Gallery.
We will go check this out tomorrow morning. We are settled into the Mile 0 Campground right in town and were thrilled to see all the different licence plates on the motor homes and campers from all over the United States and Canada. We took a quick walk around the campground and counted units from at least 6 different provinces, 15 different states and 1 international licence plate from Switzerland. It is so interesting to talk to people and learn where they are from and all the places they have travelled. Dawson Creek is probably the one place that you will find such a huge mixture of people from different places as some prepare to go up the Alaska highway and some are coming back down.
There are lots of activities going on around here, mostly in the park down by the river. Once again, this is a community that we called home for a few years so today we have a chance to catch up on some visiting and what’s been changing and happening around town.
Each year in early July (actually this next weekend, July 7-9), there is the Gold Cup Jet Boat Championship Race tour that comes through Peace River. You can sit along the banks of the river in several areas and watch the shorter circuit races which can be amazing to see. There is also a longer river race which goes all the way from Peace River to Dunvegan and back which takes several hours.
With the weather that we have been having while travelling on this trip we haven’t had a good evening to sit outside by a campfire so that was definitely on the agenda for tonight. It was a beautiful summer evening and marshmallows were toasted to perfection!! I avoided thinking about the fact that I didn’t need to be eating all that sugar but they were yummy!
We also realized once again as we have been travelling, how much difference it makes being up north and here in Peace River the addition of being on the western side of a time zone. This picture (sorry it is a little fuzzy) was snapped at 11:00 p.m. The sun had just set and it was still quite light out. Big difference between 11:00 p.m. in Nipawin, Sask. and here but still the same time of day due to Daylight Savings Time.
Just west of Faust, as you get closer to the west end of the lake, you will find the community of Joussard, mostly houses and a newer resort called Shadow Creek Resort & RV Park & Marina.
Turning north off of the Northern Woods and Water highway for a little side trip takes you to Grouard, which has a Native Cultural Arts Museum. A little further around the corner of the lake brings you to Shaw’s Point which is another large summer resort with everything you could possibly want/need there.
Back to the highway we again stopped at a little road side store, Ruby’s Gas & Store in Enilda. There is also another full service campground here that is much quieter due to being a short distance away from the lake action. If you are through on a Saturday there are farmer’s markets to take in and enjoy the wares.
I stopped in McLennan at the Kimiwan Bird Walk. This community is well known for the number of species of birds that make this wetland/lake area home. The founder of the Northern Woods & Water Highway route lived for many years in this community and you will find a cairn located at the Kimiwan Bird Walk/Railway museum area commemorating his efforts to get this Highway Route recognized by the Provinces.
Back into farming country and the French communities of Donnelly and Falher (very well known for the honey produced here). Both of these communities have municipal campgrounds with full service sites.
Going toward Peace River, (another of our stompin’ grounds) you come to Nampa. They have a new building just on the north side of town that holds the Museum, the Village Office and a great restaurant called Farmers. I was there in the middle of the afternoon so not a great time to sample a meal but my server made me a great vanilla latte (over ice – c’mon, its summer!!).
We are spending the weekend in the Peace River area, took in a round of golf last night at the Mighty Peace Golf Club and watched the Canada Day fireworks at midnight. All day long there are 150th birthday celebrations going on here and in every community. Enjoy our country’s great birthday!!
The RV park lady at Blueberry Hill RV park highly recommended going for a round of golf at the Athabasca Golf Club across the road. We already were planning to do that because we knew that it was a good course. It was beautiful! Very well maintained and beautiful surroundings. We left there wishing that we had chosen to do 18 instead of just 9 holes.
We continued on up the highway toward Slave Lake. This section of the highway does have more truck traffic but it wasn’t bad. We stopped at the Island Lake Store along the highway and also along the highway to take a few aerial photos of Ghost Lake as you can’t see much of it from the highway.
Slave Lake is a busy community with the beginning of many fishing resorts/RV parks along the lake. Anything you need can be picked up in town and there are many beaches to enjoy some sand time. Many of the resorts have boat rentals. We went in to check out one of the resorts in Slave Lake, Big Fish Bay Resort, just on the west side of town. Lots of improvements being made here and very friendly operators.
Carrying on down the lake we stopped at Spruce Point Park, this is one of the larger resort areas. All the resorts mentioned in the blogs are listed on the Campground listings in the Highway Guide so that you can call or look them up on the web to find out their amenities.
Don’t miss out talking to some friendly people by skipping by the small stores along the highway. This is where you will hear the best stories around!
We reached the Hamlet of Faust, the year round population isn’t big but it swells considerably during the summer with 5 resort/campground areas in town or very close by. We went to BayShore Resort and heard that the fishing is great, everyone was catching lots this spring. If you have your boat with you, there are a lot of resorts that have private marinas.