Day Two – British Columbia, Fraser River, 400 miles

Before I get started on Day Two, I actually need to wrap up the rest of Day One. The motel I stayed at last night apparently forgot to feed their chipmunks that turned the wheel that operated their internet, so I got frustrated with the wifi signal and gave up.

As I mentioned, I took the ferry Salish from Port Townsend to Coupeville. As we were pulling away from the dock, I saw these little birds hanging out:

I am not a bird expert by any means, but I’ve never seen a bird quite like this before, although for all I know, they are as common as pigeons in Port Townsend. They look very much like ducks, but they are almost all black. I googled “black ducks” and found some pictures that look a lot like this, but not exactly. So, if someone wants to enlighten me in the comments, that would be great!

I made a few stops between Coupeville, where I got off the ferry, and the Canadian border, which partially explains why I got to Canada so late last night. The first stop was at the Admiralty Head Lighthouse, which isn’t quite as impressive as the Portland Head Lighthouse we saw in Maine last year, but it is still very cool:

This is actually the second lighthouse built on Admiralty Inlet, built in 1903. It’s been decommissioned now, and is used as an interpretive center now. Interpreting what? I have no idea – it was closed up tight by the time I got there.

The Admiralty Head Lighthouse sits in Fort Casey State Park. On the way out of the park, I had to stop and wait as a small herd of deer walked in front of me. They did not seem to be concerned that I might be a hunter looking for venison.

She’s so posed there, she almost looks like she’s stuffed, but I promise she is real.

Heading north, I crossed Deception Pass, so named because Captain George Vancouver said it deceived him into thinking that Whidby Island was not an island at all, but a peninsula. Of course, the Coast Salish natives had been living in the area quite happily for thousands of years, but it is Capt. Vancouver’s name that has stuck. If you ever have a chance to drive over the Deception Pass Bridge, stop on either end and take a look at it:

There’s something so symmetrical and lovely about the construction of the bridge that I stood and admired it, listening to the rushing of water far below, for several long, happy minutes.

Okay, that finally catches us up on Day One!

Day Two had absolutely zero tourist stops, and a lot of driving over twisting mountain roads. I started in Langley, BC, and finished in the town of Quisnel, BC, a distance of 690 kilometers, or just under 400 miles.

Which brings me to my next thought. I’ve had to do way more math in the last 24 hours than I am used to. Since America stubbornly overcame the desire to convert to the metric system back in the seventies, I spent much of my mental energy today converting things into numbers I could relate to.

A kilometer is .62 of a mile. That’s a little difficult for my feeble mind to do on the fly, though, so I figure it at two-thirds of a mile and then take a bit off. It’s not exact, but when I’m just trying to find out how far away the next bathroom is, it doesn’t have to be exact. Until it does. Dum dum DUM!

Even pumping gas requires me to figure things out. When I filled up this morning, gas was 1.16 per liter. Is that more or less than what I paid at home? Each liter is approximately 1/4 gallon. So, that comes out to $4.64 per gallon. Holy cow, that’s a lot more than what I pay at home. But, of course, there’s more math. I have to take the exchange rate into account. Today’s exchange rate shows that each Canadian dollar only costs me .75 American. That comes out to about $3.50 per gallon. Which is exactly what I paid when I filled up at home. Sometimes, it’s not worth the effort to figure these things out.

All this brainpower does explain why I feel so tired tonight, though. As a writer, I’m not really used to actually thinking.

In any case, I started out the morning on a freeway, which I kind of hate, but there was no alternative. At least it was a freeway that had gorgeous scenery towering up on all sides of me:

I drove through fog-shrouded hills and mountains like that for several hours this morning. It didn’t suck.

Soon enough, the freeway petered out and I spent the rest of the day on two lane roads heading north. I had a pretty long-term relationship with the Fraser River, which twists and winds along BC Highway 1 for many miles:

The Fraser River is about the same color as Dawn’s coffee after I put the creamer in it each morning. Here’s something I noticed as I stopped to take that picture: how unbelievably good the air smelled. I live less than a half mile from the Pacific Ocean. Our air is pretty much perfect. And yet, there was something so clean and pristine about the air here in British Columbia that I noticed it.

I love it when something reaches up and surprises me. That happened late this morning, when I pulled off to get something to drink out of the cooler. Dawn made me promise that I would keep the cooler in the back of the Emerald Bullet, so I won’t be tempted to try and fish a water or pop out while I am driving. I dutifully pulled off the road and looked down a little ravine to see this:

An amazing little cemetery that I never would have seen if I hadn’t pulled off the road in that exact spot. It’s a mixture of old and new graves, although the oldest only seemed to date back 100 years or so. After seeing graves from the 1700s in Salem, Massachusetts, I am tougher to impress. Still, as always, I found headstones that tugged at my heart:

Yep. that got to me.

I stopped for a late lunch in a little wide spot in the road called Spences Bridge. (No apostrophe, just like Harpers Ferry.) Old building always catch my eye, and I pulled off specifically to look at this:

It had obviously once been an old church, but now it looks like it might be used as a residence. Whichever it is, I loved the look and the aged feeling of it.

I passed by lakes for much of the rest of the afternoon, and most of them are still frozen. It may have been in the mid-fifties today, but these lakes haven’t given up their ice yet:

I had hoped to make it to Prince George today, but between getting a slightly late start because I wrote the blog this morning, and the fact that I had to keep pulling over to gawk at the scenery, I just didn’t make it. Not worried about it, though – as always, it’s about the journey, not the destination.

At some point tomorrow, I will finally get to the Alcan highway.

Cheers, and safe travels!

Shawn

 

15 comments

  1. Oh Awesome, you picked my name Emerald Bullet! Happy travels. I get to see it all over again through your camera lens. Please don’t miss Barkerville. I hope it’s open. Start looking for little black bears, unless they are still in hibernation.

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  2. So pleased that we get to see what is important to you. I am happy it is the journey not the destination that we are lucky enough to go on with you! Safe travels to you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I did this very same thing a few years ago and loved it… Mine was the southern US up the east coast to Canada. Wow, what memories. I am so enjoying it through your eyes. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Quesnel, not Quisnel. Yeah, I have to see it on the map to get oriented. 🙂

    I know what you mean about doing the math. While I generally figure I’m better off not knowing how the gas prices compare, when I’m driving in Canada I’m constantly converting distances and speeds. The technique I’ve always used is to use the speedometer. My car’s has both mph and kph, so if I wondered how far 100 km was I’d look at 100 kph on the speedometer and see that it was just a little bit more than 60 mph, so 100 km was 60-ish miles. However, that car got murdered one snowy day a few months ago and my new car has a digital speedometer. Not sure what I’ll do my next time to Canada now.

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  5. Enjoyed your post once again. My daughter took me to Deception Pass during one of my visit. The hiking around there is breathtaking! We even walked across part of the bridge — SCARY! Wow, that deer looks awfully furry. Must be her winter coat? Oh my, the teddy bear at the base of Alexander’s headstone made my heart hurt. So sad. Life is a gift. Thanks for your post and photos. Continued safe travels!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Years ago, I walked out to the middle of Deception Pass bridge where a group of people were admiring the view out to the open water. One lady had a purse over her wrist. As she shifted to look in another direction, her purse slipped off, opened and fell, what seemed so slowly, to the water with its lighter contents (mostly paper money) wafting out and swirling into the water. It was fascinating to watch. We all hung over the rail until it was over.

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