July 27 Williams Lake and Quesnel – The gold rush trail

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Tonight I am in a campground near Barkerville, the historic town. Tomorrow I will get an early start before the sun gets too hot and see how much of the gold rush town/museum I can see. There are over 125 buildings and exhibits there. It could possibly take all day. Vincent and I are settled down for the night and I am wondering about campers. I always assume people come to campgrounds to get away from it all but tonight along with the lazy hum of the mosquitoes and the breeze moving the branches, I can hear generators purring. These are brought along so that the camper can enjoy all of the comforts of home in a campground that has no electricity. Luckily there is no one too close to me so if I pretend, I can imagine that the sound is the distant rush of a river…or maybe thunder.

Me melting into the pavement

Me melting into the pavement

Today I left 100 Mile House in time to be in Williams Lake for noon so that Vincent could get the problem with his eye looked at. He feels great now and signals turns with random abandon just to get the feel of his new switch. I had a guy honk at me today… I have had to have words with poor V. I hate to spoil his fun.

In the Williams Lake area I passed a herd of cattle running along side the road. I couldn’t imagine what would have them moving so fast on such a hot day and then I saw two riders herding them. It was just like the movies, dust rising in a cloud and the thunder of hundreds of hooves. I wished I could have stopped and taken some pictures but there was no pull-off spot. Williams Lake is in cattle country and the museum in town has a whole floor dedicated to the Cowboy Hall of Fame (lots of cowgirls in there too). It is remarkable to think that in this day and age of farmers struggling to keep alive that there really are people still riding the range.

Quesnel Info Centre Miner

Quesnel Info Centre Miner

I had planned to camp just outside of Williams Lake so did a small shopping for the meals I would need. Somehow on the way past I missed the unmarked turn off and we ended up in Quesnel. I spent very little time there as it was getting late and I wanted to be in a campsite soon. I talked to an enthusiastic Info Centre worker and she sent me to Cottenwood to a campground there simply because it was close to Barkerville and not too expensive. Imagine my surprise when I got there at 6:15 and found the place locked up tight for the night. They close at 5 and bar the gate. If you are in, you aren’t going anywhere and if you are out…out you stay. I was disappointed and tired by then but my map showed a provincial campground almost at the gates of Barkerville so I headed there. It was a good choice. It has real (coin operated) hot water showers and shady sites. I was very happy to actually be parked and able to finally eat super.

Now as I think about the day I am surprise. I breezed through so many places today. If my trip were to go this way, I would see all of the country in no time. No contacts in a town mean that I just see the museum, maybe chat a bit with someone there and head out. I am thinking that I am not finding out much about some of the communities that I skim by.

I always knew that I liked driving but driving this way is really fascinating. I am amazed every day to see the different geographical features. The road seems to change hourly from Mountains to valleys, rolling valleys to deserts. Today I followed the Fraser River for a time. The mighty Fraser. I keep crossing it. I wonder (I guess I should have paid more attention in geography) if I will come to its source. Of course that is not my aim but I will ask someone if they know where that is.

Fraser River

Fraser River

Driving in BC is fast. Too fast. Of course with the vast distances people are covering I guess it makes sense but as a rubber necked tourist, I don’t want to go 100 on the roads. First, I am not used to 2 lane roads with occasional passing lanes, like 69 to Sudbury, being so darn fast. Second, I can’t see everything I want to see at that speed.

Oh well, no complaints. It was a nice day for driving. I kept seeing signs that said “road slippery when frosty” and I was glad it wasn’t slippery or frosty. Tonight it cooled off fast. I don’t know if that is because I am finally a bit north of the heat or if it is because I am getting used to the temperatures. What ever it is I like it.

As I curl up to sleep I am thinking of Desiree, Dave and Story who left yesterday for an 8 day paddle up the Yukon River to Dawson. It was drizzly when they left but Bree tells me that Story had some rocks and was playing with them in the bottom of the canoe. I wonder if she has her own paddle. I talked to Christopher just before they left. He was going too. I told him to have a good time and ride shot gun for Story. It seems like an ambitious trip for an 18 month old but I am assured that it is going to be fun and safe. Gee, that is what I told my family. I am looking forward to hearing that they are home on August 4th.

I will try to post this tomorrow from the Quesnel Info Centre on my way back through.

4 Responses to July 27 Williams Lake and Quesnel – The gold rush trail

  • Gail says:

    Ahh Vicki….asking a question in your blog such as “I wonder if I will come to (the Fraser River’s) source?’ had me going to google to check where the source is.
    ” Its headwaters are just northwest of Fraser Pass, which forms the first part of its course before its descent at Valemount to the Rocky Mountain Trench through which it runs northwest via a region known as the Robson Valley.” Valemount is on highway 5 south of Hwy 16 at Tete Jaune Cache. As the crow flies, Barkerville is almost due west of Valemount.
    Hope your day is a good one
    peace, gail

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Gail. Internet access of hard to find and limited. I appreciate your search. I am in Prince George and apparently the big river through town is still the Fraser. I’m on it.

  • Janice says:

    Hey Vicki
    Well I was away for two weeks and I came home to a slew of wonderful updates from you. I was tempted to sit down and read them all at once but I paced myself knowing there was much to be done after two weeks of camping and dealing with a dog that came home form his holidays with fleas! Yuck.
    …and so I told myself if you do two loads of laundry or if I got out to fill the fridge with groceries, or bath the dog or what ever then I was allowed to sit down with an espresso and maybe even a chocolate and sit back and enjoy the adventures of Vicki and Vincent. It worked! I got all of those chores done (well almost there is still some laundry down there calling me) and I got to read all of your postings on your blog!! What a wonderful treat!
    So glad to hear Vincent’s surgery went well and everything is working tickety boo.
    Talk soon

  • Marjorie says:

    Hi Vicki
    This is my first time checking in as I haven’t received any of your entries. I subscribed again and “it” said I was already subscribed….oh well.
    Anyway, I was thrilled to see you were in Barkerville today. You are not too far (relatively speaking) from my brother’s place in Houston. I hope you took his phone number with you. (Ian Leslie) I didn’t get to Barkerville when I was up there, but my parents and Ian have been there a few times. It lookes like you are having a wonderful trip, but I haven’t had time yet to read all your entries to catch up.
    Take care.

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