On Saturday (7/17) we left the campground and I drove for the first time. I was helping move the rig up so that Eric could pick up some blocks we put down and I just kept driving. The Cassiar was the perfect road for me. It's remote and not crowded. I drove about 160 miles and I think I did pretty good. The kids said it was a smoother ride than when dad drives, but I think they were just trying to push his buttons.
The Cassiar is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and we highly recommend it to anyone traveling north. It gets a bad rap of being a hard road to drive. The top part is in the Yukon and has some issues, but it's far better than parts of the Alaska Hwy. There was a horse in the road at one point that would not move. I had to inch forward and keep honking the (regular) horn to get it to move. We saw lots of bear scat on the road as we approached the junction to Stewart-Hyder, but only saw one small black bear. Stewart-Hyder is very interesting. It's at the top of the Portland Canal which is the most northern ice-free port in Canada. There are several glaciers in the area. Hyder is a funky little town on Alaska. The US does not maintain a customs station but Canada does. It didn't make sense to me but someone explained that booze and cigarettes are tax free and a lot cheaper so it's truly about customs and not immigration. When we left Hyder the custom's officer got into our RV and asked us lots of questions.
We stayed at a cute little RV park called Camp Run-A-Muck. They have WiFi, but the connections were SUPER slow so all I managed was to update my FB status. I did do a few loads of laundry since we have full hook-ups. On Sunday morning we got up and went up to the Fish Creek bear viewing platform. Thd salmon have not started running yet so the bears were not out. We were a little bummed that the salmon are late this year, but it was still a neat place to visit. Parker said he wants to work there someday. We also drove up to the massive Salmon Glacier, which is the largest glacier accessible by car. It was an amazing site. Dori & Park has some fun playing in some snow.
We got a late start out of Hyder and drove 200 miles to Smithers, BC. What a cute town! We stayed at the municipal campground. We were SOOO tired and all headed to bed a little earlier. For the 2nd night in a row, it actually got dark.
Yesterday we got an early start out of Smithers and our plan was to drive east to Prince George and then head toward Japser and Banff. We were traveling up a hill (using the passing lane to pass a logging truck) and the RV lost power. It was a super tense moment but Eric was able to get it started before we started rolling backward or someone hit us. We immediately made the decision that we needed to turn south toward the US at Prince George and avoid the mountains. We stopped in the visitor center parking lot for lunch and I went in and asked about our driving options. They agreed that with potential issues with the RV that we should not go through the mountains as there are very few towns.
We headed south out of Prince George and decided to go as far as possible. When we stopped in Williams Lake to make dinner we decided to push it to Kamloops. We knew it would be about 10pm before we got there. We had more issues with the RV the last hour before we stopped. It was hilly, curvey, and dark and it got quite scarey when the RV died and wouldn't start right away. We managed to make it to Kamloops and parked in the Costco lot for the night. We did talk to another RVer who gave us some advice about our rig and the best route to the US. We had planned on taking the freeway south, but the man said that it cuts straight up through the mountains and we should avoid it.
Eric didn't sleep well and was up right away this morning, which woke me up. We decided that we needed to find a shop to take a look at the RV (maybe bad fuel or need an oil change?) so we headed out right away. There were several truck shops about 1/4 a mile from Costco, but the RV died trying to get there. We parked it in a lot, unhooked the Jeep, and Eric went around to several shops in the area. We found a place that thought they could take a look at the rig around 9:30, which is actually right now. With the wait it cut out this morning and we couldn't get it to start again for about 5 mins (3 times!) we realize we won't be back in the US by lunch as we hoped. We were really hoping to make it to the US and have someone take a look at it there, but we can barely make it 2 blocks without it dying. It seems to be some kind of electrical issue. We think it could be related to the ignition switch, but we aren't sure. We called Eric's dad this morning and he wasn't quite sure what the issue is. We kept the call short since we have to pay roaming in Canada.
Right now I am about a mile away from the truck shop at a McDonalds with the kids. There is no WiFi here so we are about to head to Starbucks to see if they have WiFi. Hopefully the RV is a quick and cheap fix (I won't hold my breath) and we can be to the US by the evening.
**Will update photos & video when we can!!**