Dawson Creek to Prince Rupert
The drive to Prince Rupert to catch the ferry for the Alaska Marine Highway started with the repeat trip down Highway 97 to Prince George before picking up Highway 16 over to Prince Rupert. The highlight to Prince George was passing over Pine Pass, which was snowing on our trip up. It was clear and the views were beautiful. The skiers that we have talked to said the ski area at the summit has some of the best powder skiing on the continent.
Passing through Prince George we were able to stock up on a few items at Costco and
headed towards Smithers, BC. The rivers were flowing very fast, flooding in some areas and we were stopped twice by road crews working on areas where the flooding was over the roads. Upon reaching Houston, we took pictures of the worlds largest fly fishing rod; this being one of the top destinations for fly fishing. As we approached Smithers the 8,000 foot Hudson Bay Mountain and ski area hovers above the town. We drove through the town which had a real alpine feel to it and headed north to Glacier RV Park for the night. The park overlooked a glacier on Hudson Bay Mountain.
In the morning we started out for Prince Rupert and experience some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. As a child, John remembered his father going on a fishing trip up to the Kispiox river for salmon and steelheads. The old town of Hazelton was on the river and we drove down to see the river traveling over the bridge pictured at the top of the post; here are the mountains that overlook the bridge. Traveling on to Terrance we stop for a hamburger and the woman waiting on us asked where we were going. We told her Prince Rupert to catch the ferry for Alaska. She suggested an old hotel in Rupert called the Ocean View if we need a room. Her son Lloyd worked the front desk.
We started the 90 mile drive to Prince Rupert and it was sensational. Michelin rates this drive as five stars and it is well deserved. Arriving in Prince Rupert we found an interesting small city that grew from lumber, fishing and grain shipping. The environmentalists in Canada, having put restrictions and rules on lumber and fishing have caused the city to shrink from 39,000 citizens in 1991 to about 19,000 today. They still process fish and the city has an occasional smell about it from the processing of fish heads to get the oils out to make the oil pills that we all use for better health. One of the locals referred to it as the “smell of money” for the jobs and income that it creates for the community. During World War Two, over 10,000 American troops were stationed in Prince Rupert.
The first night we stayed at the local RV park near the ferry terminal. It was well maintained and very pleasant. Having been in the RV since leaving Willie and Cathy’s we decided that a night in a hotel would be a good break. We went to the Ocean View and introduced ourselves to Lloyd and got the small suite that his mother had recommended, Room 1. The room rate was $85, how could you go wrong it was delightful overlooking the harbor. It seemed like mansion after spending so much time in the Roadtrek. We then went to dinner in the restaurant, stopping at the bar and speaking with the owner Don, a commercial fisherman. He suggested the veal and the halibut bits. We ordered one of each and enjoyed a bowl of their seafood chowder and Manhattan clam chowder. The food was awesome. The hotel was a diamond in the rough and those that helped us, Lloyd, Tina, Amanda and Don could not have been nicer. After dinner we had a wonderful conversation with several of the Ocean View regulars. They had great tips on things to do while in Alaska.