Saturday, June 02, 2007


Scenic British Columbia

If you love scenic places and haven't been to British Columbia, you are missing out. Highway 97 runs from Chetwynd through Prince George and on down to Cache Creek. The first half of that trip took us back across the Rocky Mountains again - offering sightings of a few bears, moose and elk. Traffic, though, started to increase, with more double-length logging and lumber trucks slowly crawling up the steeper grades. Prince George is a busy, growing logging town, lush and green in the early spring. The roads are lined with the first hint of the miles of duplicate franchise-restaurants-box-stores-strip-malls that constitute the roadside economies of every major city across the continent.

By now we have become "one with the flow" of hundreds of trucks running north and south all day long.

A few hundred miles south of Prince George is Cache Creek where we pick up Highway 1, which runs along the Frasier River Canyon for the next 150 miles or so to Hope. At the northern end the mountains lining both sides of the river are covered with cacti, with only a few scattered pine trees. South from Spence's Bridge, where we stopped for the night, the terrain gradually returns to pine forests, and by the time we reach Hope it has become dense rain-forest.

Train tracks line both sides of the river, with the north-bound trains running up the eastern side and south-bound trains returning down the western side. Long trains, often carrying up to 100 cars of double-decked containers, one every 15 to 30 minutes all day and all night. I was amazed at the size, length and frequency of trains running up and down this valley. That is a lot of stuff being shipped... must be extremely busy at the rail-yards at either end.

At Spence's Bridge, we stopped at a place called Acacia Grove RV park, which is a small oasis in the desert just beside the river (and train tracks). The campsites are scattered beneath the acacias and occasional pines. Such a peaceful setting, but sadly for the owners, not very well known. With spaces for about 40 campers, there were only 5 or 6 the night we stopped. Not surprisingly, a For Sale sign hangs at the front gate.

We stopped early for a relaxing afternoon and evening. With a site facing the river and no neighbors nearby, I decided to bring my cello outside. I setup in the grass beneath the acacias and spent an hour and a half playing without headphones. While the headphones are necessary to get a "cello sound", without headphones you can still hear the stings - somewhat faintly. It actually helps my intonation to have to concentrate a bit to hear the sounds.

Floyd likes the outdoors.

"I don't like tunnels."
The next morning we finished that incredible canyon drive to Hope, and continued west on the freeway toward Vancouver. At Abbotsford, there is a cutoff to the US border, where we crossed with little delay into Sumas, Washington. A few more hours brought us to Seattle after 5 days and 2,500 miles. We're staying here for four or five days visiting our oldest son, A, who lives in the Capitol Hill area with his girlfriend. We've spent a lot of time in Seattle over the years, so we really don't do much "touristy" things anymore, although we will take the Boeing Plant Tour. Z wants to see Pirates 3 at a "real movie theater".

I've never seen a guinea pig on a leash before. Too cute.
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