This morning we woke to 42 degrees F. in a rest stop in British Columbia a few miles from the Sumas border crossing. A cold, crisp morning with blue skies and sunshine. Last night we met (in the British Columbia rest stop) a man going camping with a friend in Idaho and a couple headed home to Vancouver Island. Being from British Columbia, they had lots of suggestions of what we should see in the short time we are here as we travel through to Alaska. Many of their suggestions were in our plans but it is nice to know they thought those places were worth seeing. We did add a few spots to our plan at their suggestion.
Hope, British Columbia
We spent most of the morning in the town of Hope. It’s a small town to start with and this is Sunday so there were few folks around. There’s lots of “Chain saw art” on display all around the town so we spent some time viewing each of the sculptures. They are perfectly done and lovely. Apparently this is where some of the “World Class Chain Saw Carving Competition” winners are displayed. Hope is a pleasant little town and is surrounded by beautiful views of the Cascade Mountains.
The joke around town is if you go east of town, “you are beyond Hope”. Yuk, yuk. The joke is referring to a place just east of town. The site of a horrendous rock slide the took the lives of four souls. There is a viewpoint there and the amount of “slide” is incredible.
Manning Provincial Park
Last night, we were encouraged to travel east for a while on Route #3 (known as the Crowsnest Hwy.) that runs somewhat near the US/Canadian border between Hope and Princeton, BC. One of the spectacular places on route #3 is Manning Provincial Park that straddles the Cascades. As in Oregon and much of Washington, Manning Provincial Park has water. There are small creeks, small water falls, larger creeks, larger water falls, snow and lakes. The park is huge and route #3 runs through 36 miles of it. This is a wonderful park to explore and there certainly is wild life here.
To say Princeton is small is to understate the case but it has spunk. They hold some festivals/shows here, have a pretty good restaurant scene and are quite friendly but it is really all about the outdoors. We are boondocking (free parking) in a gravel lot just off route #3 overlooking part of the town and behind a small food store/Husky gas station. N49 degrees 27.144′ W120 degrees 31.477′ We were told “Everyone parks there overnight, no problem”. Gas price here comes to about $5.59 American/gallon , cash. Think you get a better exchange rate with your credit card.
On edit: The town of Princeton has free wi-fi and it is strong. No pass word required.
British Columbia, Canada
We crossed the USA/Canadian border last night at Sumas, Wa. After a long winding ride from the Rest Area north of Everett, Wa. to Sumas, Wa. Not sure, but we think our GPS got confused. It took us along a beautiful scenic route, winding in and out of residential and farming areas and gave us a real tour of the area. Of course, it took us at least three times as long to get to the border crossing but we don’t care about time now that we’re retired. They say the Sumas crossing is usually less crowded than other crossings but crossing into Canada is new to us since there have been many changes and restrictions due to 9/11, so we have nothing to compare it to.
When we approached the border crossing it seemed very crowded but the lines move fairly quickly. Our turn at the window: asked if we had guns, pepper spray, bear spray, etc. then it was on to fruits and vegs. Turns out that apples are forbidden fruit to bring across the USA/Canada border. We ended up throwing away a whole bag of fresh apples we had purchased the previous day. Seems a waste but they say they need to protect their crop from infestation. I guess the bad apple bug doesn’t fly across the border without checking with customs. Getting across the border took less than a half an hour.
There were lots of beautiful places we saw for boondocking in southern British Columbia but it is not allowed from what we’ve been told. There is no rule against staying overnight in the rest areas though and some RVers we met from British Columbia said that in Canada, as in the US, Walmart, etc. are usually OK for overnight.
We spent the night in a rest area after crossing the border. We were tired from many hours of driving and it was already past dinner time for us. It seems there are two kinds of Rest Areas in British Columbia; first there’s the “business rest areas” which probably wouldn’t be so great for overnight parking and there regular designated Provincial rest areas that look much the same as the rest areas in the states except the RVs and the trucks are in seperate locations. So far, the designated Provincial ones seem to have free dump sites and fresh water but not sure that is a constant.
We’re interested in Astronomy so we were excited to learn there was to be a “Super Moon” on May 5th. The moon was supposed to be closest to earth last night, so we watched for it to rise. Oops! Too much cloud cover to catch the rising moon but did see it when it peeked out from behind some clouds a few hours after rising. Beautiful. There were some Canadians that stopped in the rest area to set up cameras to catch the Super Moon.