Our rest day at the Walmart parking lot in Dawson Creek was cold, wet and windy, a perfect day to stay inside and get some things done. I went through my fridge and cooked up some meals for us to eat as we travel. There's something quite satisfying about pulling in to a lovely lunch spot and having a warm, homemade meal.
Our next planned stop was Fort Nelson about 280 miles from Dawson Creek. Before we got on the road, we needed to fill up with diesel, empty holding tanks, take on fresh water and find a place to hook up Toadie. We had made a reconnaissance trip the day before to make sure we knew the ins and outs of the places we needed to go. We like to make sure Scoopy will easily fit and also determine when and where to hook up.
While we were taking care of those tasks, Bill and Kelly stopped by the visitors centre to check out the movie about the building of the Alaska Highway. Once they realized it was an hour long, they decided to stop in on their return to the US in the fall. So by 9:15 a.m. we were on our way.
It was a few miles beyond Fort St. John where just days ago a raging fire had shut down the Alaska Highway. Once it was reopened, pilot cars led travelers through thick smoke. What a difference a day of heavy rain makes! As we passed unaccompanied through the affected areas, the fire was reduced to a few smoldering piles. There was lots of blackened forests and a couple of structures that had burned, but we did not have to deal with flames or smoke. There was not a fire or emergency services truck in sight.
With the exception of a couple of rough patches and construction areas, the highway to Fort Nelson was one of the best we had traveled. Nonetheless, 280 miles in a big rig on a two-lane highway that can best be described as "undulating", up and down, around the curve, over the mountain, over the river, around the bend, up and down...still takes time. We arrived in Fort Nelson just before 4:00 p.m. And by the way, in all of those 280 miles, despite multiple signs warning us to beware of wildlife on the road, we didn't see so much as a flippin' squirrel.
We pulled into the Visitors Centre hoping we could park there for the night, but we found several signs stating "No Overnight Parking". It's always such a bummer to see those signs! We went inside to talk to the folks hoping they would take pity on us since it's so early in the season, but we had no such luck. In the end, we decide to continue on to Muncho Lake Provincial Park, 120 miles down the road.
We assumed that 120 miles would just be more of the same, but it most assuredly was not. Just a few miles outside of Fort Nelson the road turned narrow, the vistas loomed larger and finally, the wildlife became more abundant. With multiple stops for photographs, it took us nearly four hours to reach Muncho Lake Provincial Park, making this our longest travel day yet. Along the way we saw five black bears, two moose, three porcupine, and one caribou. So, worth it!
We pulled into the MacDonald campground on the north side of Muncho Lake and couldn't believe our choice of sites! There are only 15 here, and all of them are right on the lake. We chose sites that provide an open sky for our solar panels, and with the least vegetation between our rigs and the lake. We drove Scoopy nose-in, while Bill & Kelly backed Queenie into her spot for the best view out their large back window. (Yes, I have named their rig Queenie. I couldn't help myself. She's a beautiful rig and she needed a name. :)
Today is our second day here and we're enjoying glorious sunshine. Our wildlife count has gone up sigificantly, but I'll let the photos do the talking. We are here for four days. Our only Internet connection is from the Northern Rockies Lodge less than a mile from us. Unfortunately, the Wifi is only for paying guests, so we had an expensive lunch in order to acquire the code. After this entry, I'll not be posting again until we get to Watson Lake on Friday, but I might have more than one post by then!
See you from the Yukon!