~Wednesday, September 21, 2022~
Day 829 (Travel Day)
Day 93 of Alaska Trip
Checking out of Liard Hot Springs Campground by 11:00, we hit the road for a 250-mile day to get us halfway to Dawson Creek. The thought did cross our minds to double up our mileage for today, but we’re right on schedule, so why push it? Our hope is that we don’t encounter the unfamiliarity of smoke once we get east of the Rockies.
Once again, the highway was all ours with the gorgeous backdrop of a bright blue sky and the display of oranges and yellows on the maple and aspen trees. And in between the Fall display is a very healthy vibrant green coniferous forest as far as the eye can see. Wouldn’t it be nice for all forests to look this good? When it came time to cross the Liard River, never did we imagine it to be so big, as was Muncho Lake. The Liard River flows southeast into British Columbia on a course of 693 miles, and at its widest is 400 feet. Muncho Lake can be as deep as 700 feet and displays a perpetual jaded blue hue as a result of copper oxides that leach from the surrounding bedrock. Both were beckoning us for a boondocking night’s stay, as the offer was quite tempting. But we must keep moving.
We’ve certainly missed a few simple pleasures since being up in the Last Frontier, one of which was our satellite radio. Actually, I’m not sure why we’re getting reception in Canada, and not in Alaska. In any case, we welcomed our Bluegrass and Sports Radio selections with open ears!! It wasn’t unusual to see a number of wildlife caution signs along the way such as bison, bighorn sheep and moose. Though we didn’t encounter either of those, we DID get a quick glance at 2 bears along the side of the highway. Well, o.k. Maybe we did see a moose…..its antlers anyway, as a hunter proudly displayed his prized trophy on the top of his Subaru Outback. I guess it is that time of year isn’t it? As expected, we came to a few construction zones along the Alaska Highway, much of which was loose gravel. Here we go again. Just as we were about to get back on pavement, a speed demon 4WD jerk was coming from the opposite direction, shooting up gravel into the air with nowhere to land but the front end of any oncoming vehicle, like ours.
What’s having another crack in the windshield? They’re mementos of the trip you say? We’d prefer a different sort of keepsake I think. Now we have the joy of watching it make its path across our windshield, at least until we get back to California. ‘Ya know…..maybe there’d be far less windshield repairs if they always had a pilot car monitoring traffic through those construction zones, especially the ones with loose gravel. Unfortunately, Hank’s turning over 72,000 became overshadowed by this little mishap.
Our planned stop in Fort Nelson to take care of business turned out to be a real successful one. In fact, it may be at the top of Jeff’s pit stop list so far. This visitor center had it all……free dump station, potable water, trash, and get this……free firewood!! Only in Canada! Gas is still really high at around $2.15/liter ($8.00/gallon Canadian or $6.00/gallon U.S.). From there, we were able to drop off our used motor oil from our recent oil change at Dalex Auto Service. And just 2 minutes from that….. a post office where I could finally get my Canadian stamp to mail Devin’s belated birthday card. And as if things couldn’t get any better, we were taking in the 75-degree temperatures. It was as if we were on another planet since it had been so long that we felt a warm day. Mind you, we haven’t had much of a “summer” in terms of temps in Alaska, with the majority of our days hovering between 55-60 degrees. In fact….the last time we experienced this welcome warmth was in Chicken, Alaska. Thank you Fort Nelson for the summer weather and helping us check off a few items on our to do list!
75 miles later, Jeff and I made the turn off for our night’s stay at a funky, Prophet Airstrip in Peace River, B.C. It seemed we were the only RVer’s to come up with the brilliant plan of staying there, as all we saw was a row of 5 or 6 empty pickups parked for what I believed to be a long hunting weekend. It had that kind of vibe anyway. We had read reviews about a former provincial campground that is directly behind the airstrip that offers a better alternative for RV rigs like ours. They were right. It was a nice, level spot, not too far from the lake, and probably the quietest campsite we’ve ever had the pleasure of staying…….just us with the imagined moose hunters.