Vancouver to Whistler
We didn’t even try to pronounce some of the names along the way (in the native Squamish language).
Whistler is an interesting winter sports resort town. In the summer it seems to mostly cater to mountain bikers. There are bike shops everywhere and a mountain that is dedicated to trails, with lifts to take you and your bike to the top, with a number of trails taking you back down to the bottom. And the bottom of the mountain has various less dangerous trails for the younger bikers.
The hotel we stayed in was really nice and we had a great view from our balcony:
Whistler to Prince George, British Columbia
Lots of beautiful scenery along the way…
Our motel in Prince George had one interesting feature… the bathroom wall. It is solid glass.
Fortunately if you shut the bathroom door properly the glass becomes opaque. Something we had to find out the hard way. Definitely gave Vyv something of a shock.
Prince George to Bell 2, British Columbia (literally in the middle of nowhere)
Gas stations are few and far between here so we were a little dismayed when two towns (towns is a bit of a generous description - really just a gas station and maybe a convenience store) in a row had empty tanks. Fortunately we saw a small handmade sign leading us off the main road to a rundown convenience store in a native settlement that had gas.
The lady there had to pump the gas by hand as a lightning strike a couple of weeks ago had taken out their phone lines and all their electronics, including pump controls.
Just as we got back in the car we noticed a coyote walking down the road.
At Bell 2 we stayed in a large log cabin that was divided into 4 units, but we were the only ones staying in it. It was a very, very quiet night and we didn’t see any bears there although we were told they do wander around at night.
There was even quite a good restaurant as part of the cabin complex and we ate well.
Bell 2 to Whitehorse, Yukon
It was a very dreary day with low clouds and intermittent rain. We were surrounded by mountains most of the day but couldn’t always see them.
We had seen a black bear crossing the road the day before, but today we stopped right in the middle of the road, as there was absolutely no traffic, to watch and photograph this bear foraging along the roadside.
For hundreds of miles there was no sign of habitation but there were these long-drop toilets every 100km or so. That was some relief!
We stayed one night in Whitehorse in a cabin which had been described as a Spa Resort. Really it was a couple of log cabins recently built in the owners backyard. Mind you the backyard was remote and surrounded by trees. The cabin was very nice, it was amazingly quiet and we had a great night.
It only gets dark here this time of year for around 4 hours a day, and even then it isn’t real darkness it is more like 4 hours of dusk. Here is Vyv sitting on the porch trying to log in to Facebook at 11.30pm.
We have had almost no cell coverage since we have been here, unless we were in a decent-sized town (which there are few of) and if you can get wifi it is mostly dial-up speed. I gave up trying to upload photos to my blog for days. Even sending an email was painful. Facebooking was out of the question!!
Whitehorse to Anchorage
We were warned that driving from Whitehorse to Anchorage in one day is not recommended. They said it is a very long drive, there is little habitation and the roads are terrible. But what do the locals know? We got up early and left at 5.30am, and actually it it is a very long drive, there is little habitation and the roads are terrible.
And there are no cars. Plenty of wildlife along the way though:
This bear was wandering through the Fireweed that grows all along the road.
Fireweed is very pretty and is everywhere, but is not the State Flower. It might as well be though as the locals harvest it and use it to make chocolate, soaps, skincare, jams, breakfast syrup and all sorts of strange concoctions. It is very tasty.
A little further down the road we came across these two bears at the side of the road (what is it with these bears and their fascination with the side of the road?):
Vyv wound the window down to photograph them and the cloud of flies that were hovering around the bears decided the open window was an invitation to visit. A few minutes of “Chase The Fly Out The Window” ensued.
The roads were really bad up until we reached the US border into Alaska, then they became smooth and well-maintained… for a few miles. Then we played “Dodge The Pothole” for many more hours.
Despite the rough driving we really enjoyed the trip, but were glad to reach Anchorage at about 8.30pm.
Retail therapy: Shopping at Anchorage’s largest mall, 2 minutes from our motel.
We caught a train from Anchorage to Whittier, a small town on the coast with 300 inhabitants, 200 of whom live in this building:
There are two types of weather in Whittier. Bad, and terrible. It rains most days and has such a consistent cloud cover that it was used as a weapons development area for the military decades ago as it was considered a town impossible to bomb because rarely could it even be seen from the sky.
Keeping up with tradition it was cold and wet when we got there, and got worse as we left.
We went on a day cruise from there to view the Surprise Glacier. Even though the weather was terrible and I took these photos in the fog and rain, it was quite an experience.
On the way back the boat crew made us all margaritas from glacier ice they scooped up from the sea. Yes, even Vyv had one. I offered to finish her’s for her but no luck.
We enjoyed the trip but decided that we probably wouldn't ever go on any long train trips. It can get quite boring despite the scenery.
We got back to the train station at Anchorage and by the time we walked back to town to have dinner it was 10pm and wouldn't you know it, everything closes at 10pm. We eventually found the ONLY place that served food at that hour, a busy and noisy bar & grill and had to sit at counter next to the grill and watch our dinner get cooked. Was better than average pub grub though.
We eventually got to bed at 1.15am, still daylight outside, and were woken up by a very apologetic cleaner at 8.30am.