Tagged with " chasm"
May 2, 2010 -

The Chasm to Prince George

I read for several hours Saturday night, well past sunset, and as it got chillier I moved to the bed where I read some more, until almost 11. I was given some great books by a supplier at the gas station, a fellow Quebecer in exile, including a trilogy that I have wanted to read for some time. A quiet night at the Chasm was the perfect time to start on them!

There was a surprise waiting for me in bed:

it's rare I catch them together like that!

The night was dark and cold; I slept like a log and woke up around 6:30. It was very cold in the rig, so I climbed down, turned on the furnace, then went back to bed with my book for about a half hour until things warmed up.

I went out for a brisk walk to the creek and back before breakfast, savouring that crisp cold Chasm-morning air, listening to the ravens caw and watching the light change over that vast green hole I love so much.

morning at the Chasm

path down to the creek

Breakfast was a good cup of coffee and half of Mrs. H’s banana bread. Yum!

I rolled out of the Chasm around 8, after dealing with a leveler that jumped up after I rolled off it. It jammed itself in the dirt and wedged in next to the exhaust pipe. I surveyed matters for a second and decided that forcing Miranda forward would at worst knock my exhaust pipe loose.  It didn’t, but the leveler nearly snapped in two!

There was a lot of ground to cover today if I wanted to get to Prince George at a reasonable hour, so I drove straight through to 100 Mile House. I remembered from last year that the Save-on-Foods there has pretty good access and would be my best place to stock up on groceries before Whitehorse.

This is where my day went to hell in the proverbial handbasket (whatever that means). I had to figure out how to fit this:

awesome deals!

into this:

As it turns out, like so:

packaging takes up a lot of space!

I had checked the status of the freezer before going into the store, but some deals were just too good to pass up. The cashier swiped my member’s card first, so all my card savings were applied immediately, about $16 worth, bringing my total grocery order to $240, which was reasonable for what I bought. I find that Save-on’s prices are generally on the high side to make being a member seem like a good deal. I’m not sure what they get from members since the card is free, but occasionally the card makes a huge difference, like it would today. Once my order was tallied up the cashier added my members only coupons that are applied on top of the card discount. My total dropped down to $175! They claim that I got a $64 discount, but I think it was closer to $40 compared to no frills stores. Still a good deal!

And I might have done well with the freezer and fridge, but I ran out of pantry space and had to tuck excess stuff into the ‘spare’ cabinet under the dishwasher. Note to self: that’s where the chicken gumbo’s at! 😀

I got some work done in the parking lot there, but it was very busy and I decided to try my luck with the internet at the next rest area at 108 Mile House Ranch. There, I got a slow signal and was able to put in a good hour’s worth of work before having lunch.

Then, I drove. The sinuous roads of the Cariboo slowly gave way to the longer straight stretches of the Fraser Fort George. The weather alternated between blue sky and torrential downpour. Miranda groaned when going up and purred going down and everything was right with my world. I was heading north and everything was going so smoothly.

I was due for gas when I hit Quesnel, but there is only one gas station there I like and it was very busy. There was a note in last year’s Milepost that there is an easy access Race Trac station in Hixon, about halfway to Prince George, so I decided to push on to there. This was something I would never have done without a firm grasp of Miranda’s range vs. mark on the gas gauge. I have a 200L tank and took on 195L in Hixon!!!

From Hixon, it was an easy haul to Les’ spread outside of Prince George. I didn’t trust my GPS and decided to find his place by memory, remembering that I had to ‘turn left at the road with a friend’s name, right at the pink barn, and then keep left.’ I got there without incident (thank you, awesome brain cells!) and went down to the house. No one answered, so I unhooked and got Miranda squared away and reasonably level. I was just about to go back in when I heard noise from the house. I must have been quieter than I thought!

We caught up over a couple of beers then Les came up to look at my water heater and changed the probe. It performed perfectly for him but conked out minutes after he went home. Figures!

I’m so glad to be here and to have a day’s respite. I’ll put in a couple of hours worth of work tonight to finish up the week and tomorrow I will get a head start on next week’s since internet/cell access is going to get iffier and iffier. I’ll be moving out Tuesday; a day off is going to be welcome. I haven’t been on the road that long but the last few days have been very full.

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May 2, 2010 -

Déjà Vu Between Nanaimo and the Chasm

Being very tired, I decided to go to bed early in Nanaimo, so I hit the sack around 9:30. I also figured that it would be a cold and noisy night and that the longer opportunity I had for shut eye, the better. Well, the joke was on me. The Nanaimo Walmart was super quiet, much more so than Croft’s driveway! I slept soundly until about quarter to four, rolled over, and slept until 6:30.

I got up at 6:45 and went off in search of coffee (no propane, so couldn’t make my own!). The Walmart opens late, at 8, so that McDonalds wasn’t a possibility. I was going to cave and go to Timmy’s when I saw the familiar green and white of a Starbucks. There, they didn’t have the dark roast I favour so they made me an Americano for the same price. I love when that happens!

The streets were fairly quiet when I set out around 7:30 and it was an easy drive to the ferry terminal. Most of it was downhill, so I practised gearing down and did quite well. It had cost me $193.65 to cross in October and $214 today. Insane! I could tell they disbelieved my claim of 50′, but I had my receipt from October and was ready to show it, however I was processed without any undue fussing.

It was a short wait, maybe a half hour, at the very most, to board. There were  couple of sharp turns, but also plenty of manoeuvring room. I applied the parking brakes, hugged the kitties, and headed up to the passenger decks.

I hadn’t brought any magazines this time, so I treated myself to a copy of Woman’s World onboard, mostly for the crossword and recipes. We had a smooth sailing with mostly clear weather, but boy was it windy! I made the mistake of going on deck without putting on my coat first and it just about blew out to sea!

Disembarking was equally easy and I found myself on the east-bound Transcanada. I took a moment to say good-bye to the Pacific Ocean since my life on the road has thus far been working out as planned. If the trend continues, I will not see the Pacific again for several years. But salty water still beacons in 2010, when I will dip my foot in the Arctic Ocean!

When I came to the Island in the fall, one of my reasons for choosing the Sea to Sky highway was to avoid having to cross the whole of the GVR. I debated crossing back to the Mainland from Duke Point, but that would have put me in the bowels of Tsawwassen and I wasn’t convinced that navigating through Delta and New West was going to be any easier than sailing down the congested Transcanada through Vancouver. I decided to take the most direct route, armed with my knowledge of the route and the exits that would, hopefully, remind me when to bare left.

Getting through Vancouver turned out to be easy. Sure, there were a lot of cars and everyone merging on the highway expected me to slam on my brakes for them, but I was calm, remembering that this was nowhere near as bad as was crossing Montreal with only Miranda!

I had to stop at the Ikea in Coquitlam and Google Maps made this seem like an easy thing to do, just a blip off and on the highway. Ha ha ha ha. The Ikea does not seem to have any overheight parking whatsoever. I turned into an open area of parking and could not see any place to park, much less turn around, so I kept going down the main laneway. It led me to three choices: turn left to a covered structure much shorter than Miranda, unhook and back up out of there, or go the wrong way straight down an entrance that would take me back to Lougheed highway. I picked that option and got a lot of honks even though I was not blocking traffic and was in a position to make a turn into the right direction of traffic once all the cars passed.

Back in the mad rush of traffic, I decided to try parking near Rack Attack, remembering from last year that there was street parking there. Well, there was a police auction yet again and one side of the road is now blocked to parking. I circled right around the Ikea and decided to take my chance at the Canadian Tire nearly a kilometre away. There, I found a place to park with an easy exit, so I locked up and schlepped to the Ikea.

There, I was reminded that I hate shopping at Ikea nearly as much as I hate shopping at Canadian Tire. I had a clear shopping list and it still took almost an hour to find the right floor and section, then get some help to locate the items in question. I wasn’t even remotely tempted to shop for myself by the time I had my friend’s stuff!

Mission accomplished, I slung the heavy bag over my back and marched back to the rig. The things I do for my friends! 😀

The feeling of déjà vu was very strong as I headed back out onto Lougheed highway to catch the exit for the Transcanada. I remembered from last year that I had to be in the left lane and ready for some very tight turns, so it was smooth sailing out of Coquitlam and an easy drive to Chilliwack.

I also remembered from last year that the Husky at the corner of Vedder and Luckakuk is super convenient for gas and propane, so that was my next stop. I goofed and went to the cardlock propane tank, but was able to circle back to the correct one within the parking lot. From there, I just had to move up about five feet and over two to gas up. The propane cost $40 and I put in almost a 100L of fuel at 105.9 (same as on the Island, gah).

I thought of getting groceries in Chilliwack, but when I saw how hard it was going to be to get out of the Husky I changed my mind. I just had to do a right hand turn, but the traffic was solid. Every time it cleared after a green light another wave of cars would pull up from the previous light. I needed all three lanes of traffic to stop and let me in so I could do my turn, but everyone was too selfish to do that. I sat there for about twenty minutes, not willing to risk an accident and force myself into traffic, when a red Jeep cherokee stopped and waved me through. I started the turn, as sharply as I could, but I really did need all three lanes. I was blocking the first and part of the second as I turned and two cars in the second and third lanes just whizzed by me honking instead of taking two seconds out of their day to let me through. Soon as they were through I hit the gas and was able to complete my turn, finding myself in the wrong lane for the onramp back onto the highway. Thankfully, I was able to get over once I’d cleared the intersection and was finally on my way!

Once I hit Hope and turned onto the Gold Rush Trail, I was able to assess how I feel about being back on the road. I was relaxed and happy. Ikea notwithstanding, none of the day had required white knuckled driving and Miranda was practically purring.

The kilometres ate themselves up as I pushed north, marveling at the changing landscapes. I pulled over a few times to stretch my legs and admire the view, but drove determinedly to the Chasm. I had been tempted to stop to do some work, guessing correctly that I wouldn’t be able to at the Chasm, but decided that I’d just take Saturday off and catch up at Les’ Sunday and Monday.

One of the reasons I gassed up in Chilliwack was that I did not want to have to do so in Cache Creek. I’ve stopped there twice for gas and have had three accidents almost immediately after. I never thought I was superstitious until now!

I would have liked to arrive at the Chasm with beer and a treat for dinner, but it wasn’t looking up for that, so I was delighted to find a small food store at a Shell gas station next to a liquour store in Clinton, just a few kilometres from the Chasm turnoff. I was able to park on the street right in front. Awesome!

While small, the grocery selection was thorough and prices were competitive. I picked up a cucumber, red pepper, package of fancy sausages, sour cream, and sun dried tomato tortillas to make wraps. The liquor store didn’t have cold beer, so I put my six pack in the freezer. Having spent most of Friday with the fridge on battery power, everything was still frozen and there wasn’t much catchup to do once I turned it over to propane. The fridge had warmed just enough to make defrosting it easy.

It was nearing if not past six when I turned off to the Chasm and drove the seven bumpy kilometres to the turnoff. It was in great shape, albeit as unlevel as ever. I put the passenger side up on two sets of levelers; it wasn’t quite enough but okay for one night.

Like last year, it started to snow the second I got settled and began to prepare dinner, then the sky cleared. I made sure the fridge was working and tried the water heater, but it’s definitely toast, so getting the part for it will be a top priority once I get settled in Dawson.

I really hadn’t expected to have internet at the Chasm, so I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t. I settled down to write this entry, had a wash, put on my new jammies, and curled up in my recliner with a good book.

Being back on the road is awesome. What a difference a year makes.

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Apr 26, 2010 -

Finetuning Departure Plans

Six months and ten days ago I pulled into Croft and Norma’s driveway. I am expecting them any time today. I am a little boggled that so

much time has passed. That’s the thing about life, it slips by quietly  and quickly; the only way to slow it down is to account for every single second of it. The end of October straight through the end of January were just about scraping by in a weary sort of daze, but February, March, and April sure have been manic!

I’m well on my way to being ready to go. There is still an hour or two’s worth of work to be done inside Miranda to get everything secured. Outside, the most pressing thing is to flush my fresh water system and fill my tank with that sweet Campbell River water I will miss so much.

My departure plans are evolving and I am starting to favour a mid-morning Friday pull-out, with an overnight in Nanaimo. There is a ‘ten-minute’ oil change place here in Campbell River that I would go to first since both the motorhome and the toad need new oil. They would also check the tire pressure for both vehicles, so it would be a convenient stop. The very friendly person I spoke to there said that I shouldn’t have too much of a wait, if any, before noon on a Friday. The estimates were reasonable and I reiterated several times that I just need oil changes since both vehicles had thorough checks last fall. These places always check other things for the price, like the tire pressure and other fluid levels, but I wanted to make it clear that I’m not paying for anything other than the most basic package. It’s these basic packages that make me reluctant to learn to change my own oil; for an extra $25 or so, all the basics are taken care of and I get a heads up on other things that may need to be fixed that I would have missed myself. I’ve never had a problem with these quick-lube places pulling the wool over my eyes and having a $50 oil change turn into a $100 job full of useless upgrades, although I have had one turn into several hundred dollars worth of necessary work!

From there, it would be a leisurely drive to the Walmart in Nanaimo. I just called them to ask about overnight RV parking and the answer was “no problem, just park at ‘the top’ near the road.” I had considered having my oil changes done there, but their service bays do not take motorhomes.

Being in Nanaimo Saturday morning would allow me to take an earlier ferry, most realistically the 8:30, which would put me on the Lower Mainland by late morning. I could do my Ikea stop, take on propane and fuel in Chilliwack, and then shoot straight up to the Chasm at a leisurely pace to arrive by dinner time. This would save me a day on the road, but, most importantly, a lot of stress and a huge to-do list on the day of departure. I could then spend two nights in Prince George and from there savour the rest of the journey north, no matter how much, or little, time it takes.

I will confess to being more than a little eager to be settled in my spot at Bonanza and back to the manic pace of a Klondike summer, and that this eagerness is slowly overtaking any desire to explore. I’ll see how things are once I hit the road.

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