We've been waiting a long time for this day and despite the heavy rainfall, it really couldn't have gone better. We left Bellingham at 10:02 am and an hour later we were sitting in line sneaking photos of the border guards.
There was a slight wait, but only because there was just one booth open. We rolled up to the window and handed over our passports to the officer. She was young, efficient and pleasant, but she was all business. She had the questions down pat and I guess I had all the right answers. She asked about our destination and whether or not we had plans to leave anything behind in Canada. She wanted to know what fresh fruits and veggies we had on board, and yes, she asked about alcohol, guns, knives, etc. There was one unusual question, she said, “What are you expecting to find?” I replied, “Beauty”, she cracked a smile. In just a few minutes, we were on our way. Easy, peasy. We went down the road a bit then pulled over to wait for our traveling companions, Bill and Kelly Murray. They, too, made it across the border unscathed.
Our first stop in Canada was Costco, but I had failed to check out Google Earth to confirm the parking situation. I turned blindly down a narrow side street to get to the turn-in and Bill and Kelly followed. By the time I realized there was no RV parking at Costco, we were already committed. Luckily, there was an abandoned garden center right next door, and while it wasn't huge, it was just right for Scoopy and Bill and Kelly's 5th wheel. It kind of reminded me of when we wheeled Scoopy, with Toadie attached, into a busy Trader Joe's parking lot in McKinney, TX. How we got out of that mess without calling a wrecker I'll never know, but we did, and without a scratch!
By the way, in case you were wondering, Costco in Abbotsford does not carry Tri-Tip. If I had known that, I would have stocked up in B'ham. But, oh well.
Soon after crossing the border Steven and I realized our GPS doesn't work in Canada. We had no idea. So when we left Costco, Bill & Kelly took the lead, as they not only have GPS, but the RV version, which will warn them of low bridges and the like. We were scrambling on the Walkie Talkies to figure out our rig height in meters! We also converted mph to kms and liters into gallons. Who says we never use math? Diesel in Hope is $1.00 CAN per liter.
There is a very small parking lot behind the Hope Visitors Center with room enough for two or three rigs and that's where we are parked for the night. We're right across the street from the beautiful Fraser River and just a block or two away from downtown Hope. It didn't take us long to walk nearly the entire town - I say "nearly" because we got sidetracked at the liquor store. And wow, yes, alcohol is expensive here! We bought one Bota Box ($40 CAN) and that's gonna have to be it until Alaska. The other "necessity" we purchased at a little outdoorsy store was a can of bear spray. We're not allowed to bring any across the border, so we had to buy it here. I hope we never have to use it.
Our solar has been amazing. Even with heavy clouds our panels kept the batteries charged at 100 percent until well into the evening. These long days make such a big difference, so we're fairly confident our plan to boondock our way to Alaska is doable. Just a couple of nights at the visitors center will pay for that wine. :)
We have a fairly long travel day planned for Thursday, 247 miles (397 kms) to Williams Lake. We have a Plan A as to where we hope to stay for two nights but no Plan B. Fingers crossed!