Woke this morning to a temp. of 33 degrees F. Boondocked, undisturbed all night, in a gravel parking area in Quesnel. There are no signs for “No overnight parking” and in fact it says “Free Parking”. We finished doing some surfing on the internet in the evening using the visitor center free Wi-Fi. After 8:00 pm, we moved to our overnight site (GPS location N 52.97654 W122.49319). This morning around 6:30 am, we moved back to the visitor center parking lot to use their Wi-Fi for following the stock market while we had breakfast. There’s a river walk near the visitor center and we spent about an hour this morning roaming around the river walk and part of the town.
Gas prices in Quesnel were 129.9/liter to 132.9/liter regular. We found the lowest price for gas on line and headed there before taking off for Barkerville.
Barkerville is about 50 miles east of Quesnel on route 26 and is a famous gold mine town. There’s a mountain caribou reserve along the route but we did not see any caribou. We did see a black bear though, right on the side of the road. We looked for other wild life along the way but we think they would be more likely seen in the early morning. Barkerville is filled with historic buildings along a short dirt road and right now there’s still snow next to and behind the buildings. There is no snow on the roads at all. The town is gated and you pay an entrance fee to tour the buildings. It will be open to the public on May 19th. Even though it wasn’t open for business and all the buildings were closed when we were there, we were able to wander around the little town looking in windows and enjoying the place. It was kind of like Disneyland only it is a real, mining town from the 1800′s. Gold was discovered nearby in 1862 and this town sprang up as part of the gold rush. The drive there is beautiful on a good, two lane road with a few short 8% grades. We can see why this is a popular place to visit.
Woke to a temp of 33 degrees F. at the Williams Lake visitor center. I must admit, taking a shower and washing my hair when the outside temp is 33 degrees F. is not very appealing. We very rarely ever run the heat at night so it takes a few minutes to get the motor home warm (or at least not freezing). Yes, we cranked up the heat and ran the hot water heater, but still, getting the air temp to 63 and slowly climbing takes the fun out of hopping into the shower. We always take navy showers to conserve water but they leave you wet and cold while your scrubbing yourself. OK, that’s enough whine. We managed to get the job done without using too much of our propane.
There’s a free dump site in the Williams Lake Stampede Park right off 97 and 20, about a mile or two from the visitors center. There are two dump stations and you can also get potable water there.
Soda Creek Village–
We had hoped to go to Xatsull (a First Nation Heritage Village we will try to visit on another trip) but since we didn’t have good directions to get there or an address to feed into the GPS. The GPS must have looked down from the sky and chose a likely path for us. Uh, oh! As soon as we made the turn, as instructed by the GPS, we knew it was wrong. Apparently, the GPS did not realize there were a few ranches and many miles between the route they sent us on and the correct route. This has happened before so we knew this was a possibility but we decided to follow the road anyway to see where it would lead us. Some Lazy Daze motor homes are rated for treking so why not go for it. It turned out to be an eleven mile gravel road that ran through beautiful ranch country mostly along the Soda Creek. What a serendipitous adventure. Our motor home is small enough to turn around in most places but we’re glad we continued. We travelled very slowly and thoroughly enjoyed all that we saw. Even met one of the Ranchers and chatted awhile. He was driving his ATV to move some bulls along the gravel road to the next pasture and we had a chance to watch his two Border Collies do their work. Those two dogs hurried the huge bulls along and guided them into the pasture. All the rancher had to do for this part of the day was to fasten the gate so the bulls didn’t wander onto the road. He said he couldn’t do this work without these smart dogs, and all this for a few bowls of dog food and a pat on the head.
By late afternoon the temp. outside was in the mid-sixties and it was sunny all day. The town of Quesnel has a pleasant museum next to the visitor center. The visitor center has free Wi-Fi. The museum was recommended by Mike and Teri Church in their book “Pacific Northwest Camping Destinations’. We poked around in the museum for quite a little while then walked to the nearby cemetery. The oldest date we saw on a tombstone was in the 1800′s for birthdates and all had died in the 1900′s. So it was not a very old cemetery. Behind the cemetery are two covered ice skating rinks where much hockey is played in the winter. Today the rinks are being used for a car and a home show. Too bad, would have enjoyed watching some hockey.
Gas prices seem to be going up the further north we go. In Soda Creek gas was $5.20/gal. reg. We will get gas in Quesnel in the AM. Don’t know the going rate for gas in Quesnel but we will get the bad news in the morning. We’re told it is wise to travel on the top half of the gas tank as sometimes the stations can be wide spread.