23 June 2012

Motoring on the A13

Here's the southern end of the Cassiar.
I was going well past Stewart and Hyder.
But not really. Instead I've spent the past two days rolling up the Cassiar Highway, which is by far the most beautiful, interesting stretch of (mostly) asphalt I have ever driven. For you New Orleans types, thing of a road about the width of one side of the neutral ground on, say, Napoleon.

That's the highway.  People in huge trucks drive on it at a great rate of speed.

Fortunately, I think I saw fewer than 15 cars in the space of two days of driving. This is one reason to take it instead of the Al--Can highway: fewer folks puttering along in rented RVs.

Not to say that I'm exactly tearing up the road. My speed made good is slower than I care to report. But I'm not in any rush, really. I dawdle. I get out and talk to people. I stop at rest areas and take pictures and make coffee on my camp stove. It's nice when the rest areas are as pretty as the ones in BC.

There's no phone signal. At all. Not just "roaming"-- no signal at all that my phone recognizes. I'm hoping it picks up something again when I cross into Alaska sometime tomorrow evening. But lots of places have WiFi. Which is why I get to send and receive emails from time to time...

And I've been passing the time listening to audio books on my Kindle's Audible account. Pretty neat, actually. However, my choice, while fun in many ways, is worth a review later. Keep an eye out.

This is a rest area in BC.
(As beautiful as the scenery is, the food: not so much. Lots of fried stuff on toast. I ordered a lunch special at a roadside grill. The special was a "steak sandwich." Sounded fine. Ordered it "medium rare" when they asked. Odd. It turned out to  be a slab of beef on a piece of garlic bread. The salad was out of the bag, with french dressing out of the little peel back containers. Sigh.)

Whitehorse, though, is not bad at all. I'm staying in the NOLS staff house, which is very handy-- and the chance to shower and clean up a bit has been VERY welcome. Next, I must find some laundry...

I've been camping. Last hotel I stayed in was in Prince George. It was expensive, and kinda ratty. I've slept better in my tent, despite the depredations of the hordes of mosquitoes in British Columbia and the Yukon.

Did I mention that the roads in the direction I'm going just opened a few days ago? The rivers have been flooding like crazy up here, wiping out several small communities (you might imagine I feel a sort of kinship, although it's not the fault of the Canadian government that these places flood...). Getting to Alaska from Whitehorse, I'm told, has been a bit of challenge. The waters in most places have receded over the past week, just in time for me to pass them. But the rivers have been stomping. I looked in at the Stikine and the Fraser in particular. Yikes.

It took all my mature discipline and restraint not to jump on one of them. I had to remind myself that I didn't know them, didn't know what they do in flood, and didn't know how to get back to my car if I did.

But on the way back...

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