It was impossible to get any work done parked in Fort Nelson. I parked along a side street, but there was a lot of pedestrian traffic of the youth variety and they were very rude and curious. Even though I had the blinds down, kids stopped to knock on the windows and once I heard a boy say “I think the car’s unlocked!” (it wasn’t). So, feeling a tad disgruntled, I rolled out of town.
When I passed in May the turnout that was my destination last night, it was exactly the same as in May of ’09, a nice pullout a good ways from the road with trees offering privacy and noise reduction. Unfortunately, the tree cover was thinned over the summer, but the turnout was still the best choice between Fort Nelson and Dawson Creek. I remember very clearly how hard I looked for a suitable place on my way up the Alaska Highway the first time!
It was just past five by the time I was set up and dinner was foremost on my mind. I opened the fridge to discover that an entire jar of French’s mustard had exploded over every single thing in my fridge. Getting a picture was the last thing on my mind; turmeric stains something awful!!! It took almost an hour and two rolls of paper towels to get the fridge spic and span. I tripled my use of the time by defrosting the fridge and also clearing out older products.
Next came a quiet evening–a nice dinner, a movie, and then to bed early (9) with a book since it was getting chilly and reading in bed under the feather duvet is so much nicer than sitting by a cold window in the study! I thought I would conk out early, but I read until well past 11 (darn that John Grisham!) until my iPod Touch ran out of juice!
I awoke this morning to sleet. When I finally worked up the gumption to get out of bed, I didn’t dawdle since I suspected the weather was going to get worse. I was right–sleet quickly turned to snow, thick flakes that melted when they hit the pavement but otherwise coated the trees and shrubs. The sky was grey and heavy. I debated whether to pull over or push on, and chose the latter since visibility was okay and the roads weren’t slick. I aimed for the Walmart in Fort St John but hit it much too early to stop, so I continued on to the Walmart in Dawson Creek where I am parked for the night.
There was one long muddy stretch that was a bit tough and covered the rig in a viscous layer of sludge, but otherwise the drive from Fort Nelson to Dawson Creek was good. I stopped for lunch about a half hour out of Fort St John to discover that my tube of honey mustard had decided to attempt suicide by jumping out of the door to the bottom of the fridge. The salsa either couldn’t live without the mustard or wanted to make sure it succeeded and jumped after it. The heavy glass jar of salsa landed on top of the tube of mustard with enough force to blow off the cap and squeeze out the contents all over the bottom of my fridge. The jar didn’t break, but the cap flew off and thick chunks of tomato and onion joined the honey mustard. Yum. 🙁
At least, it was only the bottom of the fridge that I had to clean this time… And I might be out of French’s plain mustard and honey dijon, I still have six other kinds of mustard to get me through to the next grocery day. Yes, I had eight kinds of mustard in the fridge. It’s my favourite condiment. 🙂
Coming up to the lunch stop, there were several signs announcing ‘severe grades ahead’, the kinds of signs that are badly needed on the Sea to Sky highway! Shame on BC highways! These ‘severe grades’ were just 8% slopes and I rode them down in D2 with no use of the brakes whatsoever, shaking my head at the two RVers who passed me at the crest of the hill, started down it at full speed, jammed on the brakes at the first turn, and then rode down to the bottom with the brake light on. Last fall’s incident sucked, but I really am glad it happened.
Tonight’s game plan is to research the first phase of my detour. I would like to get to an RV park in the vicinity of Jasper tomorrow (Hinton, perhaps) and then spend two nights there, giving me a full day to explore the town. It would be a long day (equivalent to Dawson City–Whitehorse) and will take me on a secondary road, Alberta highway 40, so I want to research this road to make sure it is RV suitable (thank you to Mile by Mile!). When I debated going through there in ’08, many readers left me some suggestions, so I am also going to consult the notes I made back then.
It’s pretty exciting to be going east tomorrow into Alberta, but I am acutely aware that I am entering the Canadian equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle and I will be on my guard.