Leaving Nugget City as suddenly as I did ahead of the major dip in weather was a wise decision brought on by the not-so-wise decision I made last fall to stay at the RV park in Oliver. Whadya know, the gal can learn from her mistakes.
The owners were very understanding of my decision and paid me promptly. By the time my water hose was thawed and I’d taken on water and dumped my tanks it was close to 2PM. It was a beautiful, clear day; perfect driving conditions.
I decided to head south via route 37, the Stewart-Cassiar Highway. I’d heard mixed reviews about this road, with some people saying that it is a muddy, rutty mess while others claimed that it had much improved over the years. What finally made me decide to take it is that the Alaska Highway would have taken me more east than south and over high mountain passes while the Cassiar was almost a straight shot south, bettering my chances of finding improved weather conditions after only a few hours of driving:
I hadn’t driven more than 5KM when I crossed over into British Columbia for the final time this year. As I stood there, between the signs on each side of the highway welcoming travelers to BC and the Yukon, I faced my adopted territory and thought of McArthur, vowing that I would return.
The first section of the Cassiar was very scary. It was narrow, slippery, and steeply uphill. One particularly nasty incline made me consider turning back, but I’d done enough research to know that the worst was behind me. After, there were a lot of hairpin turns, but it was smooth going. The landscape was a kaleidoscope of emerald pine and amber poplar, snowy peaks and rocky hills. I could not stop gasping at the sheer humbling beauty of it all.
All the literature about the Cassiar and many signs along it state that it is unlawful to overnight anywhere but in established campgrounds. The only reason for this that I could find is that there is a concern about bears. I’m told that ‘everyone’ ignores the rules and boondocks on the Cassiar, but I decided to at least try to be legal. It was easy the first night since the Milepost mentioned a Lions Club campground with unserviced RV spots just south of Dease Lake on the Tanzilla River, roughly 200km from Nugget City. It sounded idyllic and the 10$ per site was a price I felt comfortable paying to avoid having the RCMP possibly ticket me.
The campground was indeed very beautiful, with sites tucked in between trees along a roaring river, but to call the sites RV spots was really stretching it. I would say that Miranda at 31′ was the absolute biggest RV I’d recommend trying to squeeze in there, and I only found one site wide enough for her. Moreover, the back-in only sites aren’t even remotely level.
I unhooked and then tried to manoeuvre Miranda into spot number four. Even though the site was super wide, I could not get her into it because of trees on the opposite side of the laneway. I noticed a clearing ahead and decide to turn around and approach the site from the other direction. This worked like a charm and Miranda slid in fairly easily.
This is where I came up with an idea that is really going to help me with my backing up. I’m going to get some bright flagging tape to tie around items I want to avoid. I notice that when I’m backing up I have a hard time identifying in a mirror the objects I’m trying to avoid, and my relation to them, especially if the objects are trees and there are a lot of them.
Once Miranda was tucked away, I tried to get her level, but failed since her muddy tires kept sliding off the the levelers when I tried to put her on more than two. The fridge was level enough, so I didn’t push it. I was only there for a night after all.
I spent a quiet evening reading a fantastic book I picked up at the Dawson dump called Parrot Pie for Breakfast. It is an anthology of first hand accounts of pioneer life written by women from the early 1600′s to the mid-1900′s in places all over the British Empire, from Burma to Sierra Leone, Canada to Australia. This book occupied several evenings after my departure from Nugget City.
I made chicken, potatoes, and veggies for dinner and used a new toy I picked up during my last shopping trip at the Dawson thrift store, a vegetable steamer. It’s one of those things I couldn’t justify spending 10$ on but thought would come in handy if I ever found one cheap. I used it to cook frozen veggies and it was the ideal method, rendering them nice and crisp.
Miranda history was made that night. I checked her useless sensors just for fun and for the first time, the grey and black tanks read empty!