Thursday, August 12, 2010

Alcan Roadtrip: Day 1, Silverdale, WA to Prince George, British Columbia

We began our trip by leaving my parents house in Silverdale, WA, and heading to the Kingston-Edmonds ferry, which looks like this, for those of you not familiar with the Washington State Ferries:

Armed with our copy of The Milepost ("Since 1949, the Bible of North Country Travel"), we started along the Western Access route to the Alaskan highway.
This book is seriously the best thing ever. It literally documents almost every mile of the major routes through Canada and Alaska, which is quite reassuring when you can see nothing but trees for miles on end and, for all you know, you could be driving in one gigantic circle.

The Western Access route starts north on I-5 through Bellingham, but instead of crossing the border in Blaine (the most popular crossing for going to Vancouver), it goes east to Sumas. There we crossed into Abbotsford, British Columbia, once I informed the border patrol that I was headed through to Alaska, that I was moving there for a year to work as a law clerk, and that I wasn't carrying any weapons.
We then started our long drive through British Columbia, and I quickly realized that despite my stereotypical view that all Canadians are peaceful, complacent, government-loving socialists, rural Canada is pretty much just like rural America, complete with trucks way larger than necessary, signs ranting against the federal (and provincial) governments, and a lot of Choose Life billboards. But that's okay, because I enjoy rural America.

We stopped for lunch when I got really excited about this sign:

You see, after 7 years in California, I have trained myself to say "soda" instead of "pop," because Californians seem to have a big problem with that. I don't know why I didn't realize that Canadians also say "pop," given that all of the states where people say that border Canada, but I was proud to see the dialect of my youth be legitimized by another country. Here is my dad, enjoying our delicious - and properly named - lunch:
We stopped later at the Hell's Gate Air Tram at Fraser Canyon, where we elected not to spend $20 each riding a glorified ski lift to a gift shop at the bottom of the canyon, but did enjoy the views of the canyon from above.
We ate dinner in Quesnel, which (like a lot of towns in rural British Columbia), looked like it stopped in time a few decades ago (the sign is for "Quesnel Little League," in case it's too hard to read in the small picture). Quesnel was really cute, and one of my favorite towns on the trip.
Finally, we spent the night in Prince George, but since we were still far enough south that it was dark when we arrived, I didn't take any pictures. That's all for my Day 1 post! Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a chance to finish organizing my photos and write posts for the other 4 days we spent on the road (we're in Anchorage now).