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Tuk 2018 – Day 1 – Great time in the car

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Tuk 2018 – Day 1 – Great time in the car

Despite day 1 of the trip actually being on day 2 and being in a car and not on bikes, we had a great time. We actually found that we stopped more for touristy things and photo ops (like the trestle) than we would have on the bikes. And we very much enjoyed being able to easily talk to each other about things we saw, and to plan out other stops along the way.

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I had driven by a sign on the highway in Whitecourt saying “Canada’s Best Bathroom” a few times and figured this was the trip to find out what made this bathroom the best. It was at an Esso rest centre that can been seen from the highway on the south end of town. Besides the bathroom, you can order a pizza, get a Panini/soup combo, or an assortment of not too bad convenience store hot food. The bathroom was truly the nicest gas station bathroom I have ever seen, beats the bathroom at most restaurants I’ve been to. Let us know what you think?

The next bathroom stop, not so much. We stopped in Fox Creek at a gas station, and Linda used the men’s room (not like we think there should be a difference) as the women’s had poo everywhere.

Next up was Dawson Creek, mile zero of the Alaska Highway. We stopped for a photo op at the mile 0 sign, something neither of us had done before, then headed out as we wanted to get past Fort St John. We did make it past and ended up at a gem of a campground. Inga Lake regional park is a primitive, mostly unmaintained park with around 18 sites. There is a short 2km road to get to it from the highway. Unfortunately, the road is also used by heavy oil patch vehicles and was in rough repair, with some of the ruts in the gravel/dirt road being 6-8 inches deep. We were told that repairs had been done this week and that earlier the ruts were about a foot deep.

We got there early enough to get a site with a view of the lake. As an added bonus, there is no fee to camp there. But, there is also no potable water, so we were pretty rationed having only 2l with us. But dinner was fire roasted hot dogs, followed by roasted marshmallows (yum), so no dishes involved. Enough water was saved for coffee and wash up in the am.img_1430

There were some very nice folks there who were kind enough to loan us an ax to split the campground provided poplar logs, since we had only brought the hatchet we would have taken on the bikes. The guy that loaned us the ax also brought us some dried fire-wood he had and some charcoal to get the fire going. Another fellow brought us some spruce logs that were a bit easier to split than the poplar.img_1432

It had been an early start to the day, and neither of us had slept well, so it was an early night for us. We packed it in shortly after 9. It was a good sleep, but we found the air mattress was a bit cold over night so night 2 we will have a blanket on top of it. All in all a good day.

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You only said we couldn’t go upside down.

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(edited 30 to add video)

Have you heard about mountain coasters? They consist of a very long length of pipe, winding down the side of a mountain and anchored into place. Then you take a small plastic sled with some running gear on the bottom and attach it to the pipe, add a handle for breaking and you have yourself a mountain coaster.

Mountain Coaster Sled

Mountain Coaster Sled (cc) Wiki Commons

Since I first heard of these I knew I needed to go on one, and was very pleasantly surprised when I saw a ticket package for “The Pipe” in Revelstoke. The catch though, is that Linda hates roller coasters. She says it’s because she doesn’t like to go upside down. So armed with that caveat, I suggested we should pick one up, it was for two trips on the mountain coaster (which doesn’t go upside down), and a gift card for the restaurant. I’m not sure if I just got her at a moment of weakness where the idea of hurtling down a mountain on a little plastic sled some how sounded appealing, or if was just because we had only recently moved back within spitting distance of the mountains and was up for an adventure. Either way, I didn’t ask twice and tossed the card into the shopping cart.

Once we got home and read the fine print, we discovered it was only good for one person. Gee, I guess we have to go get another and have 2 trips each. But, if the first ride was too much, then instead of a second coaster ride we could instead take the upper gondola to the top of the mountain. And, there was that $25 credit for the restaurant for each of us so that made the deal great.

When we were looking at when we should make the 4 hour trip, we were looking for events that we might be able to couple it with and were thrilled to find that we had not missed the Horizon’s Unlimited Travelers Meeting in Nakusp. It is a gathering of folk who either already do, or want to, travel to far away places on motorbikes. Perfect, we can add an extra day at the beginning of the trip and kill 2 birds with one stone.

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Williamson Lake Camp Ground

As it was only a 4 hour trip to Revelstoke, we decided to leave right after work to avoid using an extra day of vacation leave. That would have worked great except for few of things. First, rush hour traffic was insane, so it took us an hour just to get out of Calgary. Second, it is Canada’s 150 anniversary and all of the national parks are free to enter so the tourists are here in droves, and lastly it have been a horrendous summer for forest fires in BC. All of these things managed to add an extra couple of hours to our trip, so we arrived at out campground in the dark after the office had closed.

Some incredibly helpful campers helped us navigate to our site, and setting up by the light of a head-lamp isn’t actually all that bad. Particularly since we did a dry run the night before in our backyard. The campsite was great. Were were right on Williamson Lake, and there was enough ambient light that we could see the stillness of the water, with the trees being reflected, see the milky way, and listen to a waterfall across the lake while eating our craft dinner. It was quite delightful.

We wanted to get an early start in the morning, but not enough to set an alarm. Nature took care of that for us though, both with the sun and “nature calling”. We were quickly packed up and on our way to Revelstoke Mountain Resort. We were a bit worried about leaving our helmets on the bikes, and the luggage that was only strapped onto the bikes, but we needn’t have been. Everything was still there when we got back.

A friendly staff person at the hill pointed us in the right direction and we were quickly on the gondola heading up the hill. The view of the Columbia river and the mountains was amazing. Unfortunately, this is the moment where Linda says, “Did I tell you I’m afraid of heights”! She still managed to enjoy some of the view, but I was worried about the whole sitting on a plastic sled and going down the mountain thing was going to work for her.

I worried for nothing because fear or not she was bound and determined to go down. We both enjoyed the ride, but used the break more than we had hoped. We headed back up the gondola to use our $25 vouchers for brunch, which was exactly $25 LOL. It was a very nice buffet though, and the view from the deck was worth the price.

We headed off for our second run down, both of us determined to have a faster run than before. I shaved some time off, but Linda did amazing, arriving at the bottom hot on my heels. We thoroughly enjoyed the morning, and would definitely suggest putting it on your list of things-to-do if you are doing a trip through the Canadian Rockies and BC Interior.