Day 7, October 17, 1997: Dawson Creek to Quesnel, BC

I finally decided on this town as a destination for no other reason that I had never heard of it before. It turned out to be a pretty good blind choice since it is rather attractive and I wound up with a dynamite motel room I can highly recommend the Talisman Inn in the unlikely event that any of you happen through this town.!

Starting out in Dawson Creek this morning was quite pleasant. Temperature had dipped to freezing overnight and there was a little frost on the car but it was bright and clear. I drove through a largely agricultural high-prairie area. Not the most exciting scenery imaginable, but I did snap one picture for the record. Hard to decide whether grazing cattle or rolls of hay is the more stimulating picture.

Later on I got off of the prarie and into some more mountainous country and some interesting river scenes. Stumbled across a sign for "Fort Sasquatch" and had to investigate further. Turns out that it is a B&B virtually hung over the East Pine river. Looks like it could be an interesting place to stay during warmer weather.

Drove through Chetwynd, BC which is the "Logging Capital of Canada". If you don't believe their claim, they have large signs on the road into and out of town to tell you so. Actually, for a logging town, it looks quite appealing. Housing is modern and they seem to have enough stores and entertainment to make it liveable.

Heading up into the mountains a bit later on I came across tall gates like those at a railroad crossing. Only thing is that there was no track. Finally it came to me where I had seen things like this before: in the high Sierras in California. They were snow gates which are closed when the local authorities determine that trying to clear the roads is a losing proposition. In the Sierras they block off 10,000-foot passes and the ones here were blocking a much lower area but perhaps they get worse snow here (or have a lower tolerance).

Saw my first real waterfalls on this drive. Something called Bijoux Falls. Quite pretty but getting close enough to photograph it was a pain. The spray was freezing cold and the rocks were slippery so I didn't try for anything fancy. Also noticed that the place in the parking lot where the Miata was parked showed signs of recent water flow (wet leaves and twigs in trails) and decided that the recent "El Nino" rainfalls that hit the BC coast yesterday must have gotten over the mountains a bit.

Went through Prince George but wish I hadn't. The best thing about it was the leaving. This is one of those places that "jest growed" and is all the worse for it. Ugly, foul smelling, and noisy pretty well describes how it impressed me. Guess you could say that Prince George is like a blister on the earth raised by the friction of commerce.

I got into Quesnel in time to eat and take a strenuous walk. There is a nice riverside park here along the Fraser River. About 1km down the trail from the motel there is a footbridge across the river although I only went about half-way across.

Pictures today include the falls , an agricultural scene and the view from Fort Sasquatch. The other shows the view from half-way across the footbridge, the trail in the park, and the bridge itself.

Commentary: drivers up here are an interesting bunch. They don't give a damn about speed limits for example but seem oddly polite about it. Up in Anchorage, drivers are constantly in "digital communication" (signals made by the raising of a single digit, readily convertible to the two-digit English encoding). Up here they have been tailgating me constantly as I cruise along exactly at the speed limit and occasionally do some foolish things to pass me, but not one has given me the universal greeting in passing. Strange...

One last item. I drove into something really wonderful today: autumn. Down here in Quesnel, there are still leaves on the trees and plenty of flaming foliage. It certainly isn't Vermont and the primary color is yellow but it is a vast improvement over anything I've seen in a while.

Tomorrow we will definitely press on into the US of A and possibly do our first visiting of the trip as we continue the next leg of our 12,000 mile solo tour driving on the edge of the US.


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