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Carson's Alaska Newsletter #25
Location: Birch Bay, Washington Date: Sept. 3-8,2003
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On the Road with Fred and Barb - Newsletter #25

Sept. 3-8. Quesnel, BC to Birch Bay, WA, USA

Although we had hoped to visit the Okanagen Valley, the fires are still burning around Kamloops and Kelowna. There are over 400 fires burning in British Columbia right now. Last night, 40 new ones were started. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and more than 250 homes have already been lost. Everything is so dry - they haven't had rain all summer (we got it all!). So we changed plans and headed south along the Fraser River Canyon. What a beautiful, but sometimes white knuckle, drive. The road is narrow and windy, following the river. A smoky haze hung over the canyons and our first campground stop in Clinton. But once past Hope it's been clear.

Hell's Gate Tram and suspension bridgeWe stopped at Hell's Gate, where the river passes thru a narrow canyon causing harrowing rapids. A Tram takes passengers from the roadway down to the water level. Hell's Gate rapids and fish laddersThere's a fish ladder that's been built to help the salmon get through and a really interesting video depicting the life cycle of a salmon. The photography was National Geographic caliber, with close-ups of salmon spawning in shallow creek beds. We walked across the suspension bridge that spans the river right over the rapids. Very impressive.


Minter Gardens Lady SlipperOur next stop was at the Minter Gardens. This was billed as rivaling Buchart Gardens in Victoria and we were not disappointed. Fred was in heaven as next to fishing, his favorite pastime is photographing flowers. Minter Gardens DahliaThere's a great path that winds thru the property so you can see all seven of the theme gardens. Minter Gardens PeacockWe especially liked the way they had built floral arrangements in different shapes, like a peacock,the Canadian Maple Leaf and even southern belles.



Minter Gardens FlagWe crossed into the US on Sunday at the Abbotsford border crossing. Stopped at the duty free store and got the refund back on all the GST taxes we had paid on campground fees, $58 worth. Had only a 10 minute wait at the border but as we had expected they did come in to look in the refrigerator and freezer. Had a couple hot dogs and half a lemon they took. Fortunately, we had been warned so had eaten up all the other beef beforehand. Didn't know about the citrus ban. We saw other RV's having their outside compartments searched so we were lucky they only wanted to see our frig. Didn't even look in the icemaker where we had lots of salmon!

As much as we love British Columbia and enjoyed our visit to Canada, we are glad to be back in the good old USA. No more lunies and tunies, speed signs in Kilometers, produce prices per kilogram and fuel in litres. (We were disappointed that fuel prices aren't much better in Washington then they were in Canada). We were looking forward to getting satellite service once again but somehow our satellite director box isn't working. Motosat is sending us a new one by UPS so we hope that solves the problem.

We will now be staying in various Thousand Trail Campgrounds in northern WA and will wind our way down to Oregon in a couple weeks.

Lessons Learned:

You can't fill or refill a US written prescription in Canada. Have to go to a Canadian doctor to get it rewritten. What a pain and an extra expense. Most of our medicine is filled via a mail order service but we were told that even that can be a problem as it may get stopped by customs. Bottom line: make sure you have sufficient medicine before you visit Canada.

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