It didn’t really feel like we were on our way until we climbed into the truck at Dawson Creek and headed north on the Alaska Highway. We were committed.
We had agreed from the beginning that we had to go in a figure 8: Campbell River, Tierra del Fuego, Campbell River, the Arctic Ocean and home. Its been over 3 years since we pulled into the driveway in Campbell River, exhausted, jubilant and ready to get to work after traveling from home to the tip of South America, by car and ferry. Its been a long 3 years, and we have seen a lot of changes, and we started out this trip exhausted and determined to get away from work. We were both so tired we could barely function. We had no plans except to run away. North to Alaska. Well Alaska was the original plan, but since last spring when they completed the road from Inuvik, North to Tuktoyaktuk.
We left 16 days behind schedule, and on the Thursday before a long weekend. Traffic was insane. We over-nighted in Victoria, completely spoiled by my brother and sister-in-law, then got as far as Kamloops. Kamloops was in full summer long weekend mode. Visitors overflowed from the nearby Merritt Festival, there was a Powwow, and there wasn’t a space at a campsite, a hotel, a resort, a vacant field anywhere, and when our GPS took us to what it said was an RV park but was actually a mobile home park full of police cars, we turned to the only thing we knew: the airport. The airport had a big sign saying, “Truck and RV Parking”. We followed the sign. It was a very pleasant spot, beside a golf course and within walking distance of the Terminal. It was grassy, discrete and a very good spot to spend the night.
The next day we got as far as Hinton. We still hadn’t been able to escape work. We stopped for lunch in Valemount and were besieged by calls. I wolfed my veggie burger and frantically used my cell phone as a hotspot to provide Wi-Fi, so I could remotely access our server in Campbell River to email a fuel receipt to a German pilot currently in Wisconsin who needed it to settle his aircraft rental account. When our server rejected his German email address, I logged into and sent it from our home email, which also rejected it, so I sent it to the aircraft rental agency in Wisconsin whose address I googled. Amazing technology. We were tense and tired when we got to Hinton, and once again we ran into holiday crowds and no room anywhere. This time we knew what to do.
The Hinton airport is a gem. There was one lonely plane and a completely empty terminal. A sign gave the phone number of the airport manager. He told us camping at the airport isn’t usually allowed, but because of our aviation connection, and our advanced years, he relented. So, we slept under the flashing beacon, surrounded by wild flowers.
From Hinton we drove to Dawson Creek for a visit with Bill’s sister and her husband, who live on a hill in the country.