Tuesday, May 5, 2009

First Blood

We drove to Bellingham and purchased our last U. S. gas for $2.19 a gallon at Costco. We then headed toward Sumas and the border crossing on Highway 539 (follow the signs).

The Canadian border agent asked us where we lived, how long we'd been in Washington, several questions about firearms and tobacco, and how long we'd be driving through Canada. The motor home in front of us was going through a pretty thorough search.

I suspect some of it is the "luck" of the draw, and it was our lucky day. We were soon on our way and minutes later merged onto Trans-Canada 1, heading toward Hope, B.C. and the Fraser River Canyon.

We stopped in Hope for an hour or so to exchange some U. S. currency for Canadian dollars. (We got about $114 C$ for each USD.)

Petrol was $.98.9 at the first gas station. The second station was charging $93.9, about 20 cents a gallon cheaper. We didn't buy yet as we had barely depleted our 60-gallon tank.

Hope has an easily-accessable, friendly-staffed visitor center right off the main highway. We walked the six or seven blocks to the CBC Bank on 4th Street, passing intricate wood carvings everywhere. It seems that Hope considers itself the "Chainsaw Carving Capital of Canada".
Sounds reasonable to me.

I'll post some photos of the carvings tomorrow.

Hope was the setting for the first of the Rambo movies, First Blood, filmed there in 1982. Watch it again if you're really bored, and pay attention to the scenery and weather. It has been known to rain in Hope

It started to drizzle while we were walking back to our RV and by the time we headed up the Fraser River Canyon, things were getting pretty nasty. It was as if a lid of wet clouds was packed in over the canyon and shedding their excess moisture in buckets.

We worked our way up the canyon, along with scores of long-haul truckers. Fortunately, unlike many years ago, there are plenty of pull-outs and passing lanes to minimize the annoyance.

The canyon scenery is awesome. Fraser River has carved deeply into the terrain leaving a narrow waterway at its bottom. In places, the river's fury is almost scary. Tour operators offer jet boat and rafting excursions. At Hell's Gate, you can take an air tram over the river.

There are seven tunnels carved through solid rock along the sheer cliffs; one of them ranks among the longest in North America.

Gradually as we gained in altitude, the sky cleared, the vegetation changed from rain-forest to high-desert with tumbleweeds blowing around in the wind.

We decided to spend our first night in Cache Creek, about 120 miles north of Hope. We had dinner at Hungry Herbie's, home of the Monster Burger. A tasty treat, but like most food along the highway, a little more expense than in the U. S. One larger burger which we split, two citrus coolers and an order of fries set us back $17 CSD, about $14.50 USD.

It's worth it though, to get the free internet they offer.

Gas here is actual a penny a liter cheaper than in Hope - $.939.

Keep in mind that the liter is larger than a quart, so four of them (at $3.76 in Cache Creek) costs about $3.30 USD and at 1.1 US gallons per Canadian Imperial Gallon, the actual cost is about $3 per gallon. (I'll check my math later).

We're off to find an RV park for the night.


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