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Carson's Alaska Newsletter #24
Location: Quesnel, British Columbia Date: Aug. 27-Sept. 2,2003
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On the Road with Fred and Barb - Newsletter #24

Aug. 27-Sept. 2 Smithers, BC to Quesnel, BC

Aug. 27-30 Prince George, British Columbia

Driving into Prince George we were excited to see a Wal-Mart and a Costco. We were getting low on some basics that we like to buy there and hadn't seen a Wal-Mart since Whitehorse and a Costco since Anchorage. Amazing how we gravitate to familiar things even while searching for the new and different.

Prince George is the third largest city in British Columbia, yet it has a small town feel. And lots of beautiful parks. Fortunately the weather was gorgeous for a change so we took advantage of the ability to enjoy the outdoors.Waterspray Park We took the Heritage Trail walk along the Fraser River, passing through two of the larger parks. In one, the Rotary Club had built an amazing playground for kids as well as a waterspray park. We had fun watching the little ones running thru the sprinklers that were timed to go off at different times on the various shaped sprinklers.

This is the time of year when local fruits and vegetables are ready for picking. We stopped at one of the farmer's markets and loaded up on fresh picked corn, tomatoes, peaches, cherries and beans. So much better than the grocery stores. Speaking of good food, we discovered a new way to cook salmon. One of the grocery stores was selling a cedar plank with a salmon recipe so we decided to give it a try. You soak the plank overnight, then lay the salmon fillets on top with seasonings and put it on the grill. Gives it a great flavor.

Aug. 31-Sept. 2 Quesnel, British Columbia

From Prince George we started our journey south, stopping in the town of Quesnel. Fred's Rainbow TroutWhat a nice surprise when we drove into the campground. We had a large pull through site right on Dragon Lake. This is probably one of the nicest campgrounds we've been in - super clean, lots of trees and grass and a gorgeous lake. The campsites even have a cedar fence between sites for added privacy.Fred got the porta-boat down off the car, bought a BC fishing license and he hasn't been seen since! He had a ball trolling the lake, trying all his different lures. And he caught a real nice 18" Rainbow Trout that we cooked up for dinner. The rest he let go as catching it is what's fun. And again, the weather gods have been good - lots of sunshine and no wind.

Streets of BarkervilleThe reason we decided to stop in Quesnel is it is close to the town of Barkerville. Barkerville was a gold rush town in the 1860's .In its heyday it was the largest city west of Chicago and north of San Francisco.Barkerville Anglican Church, 1869 Today it is a provincial historic town with over 125 heritage buildings. We particularly enjoyed the old Chinatown section of town with its unusual shops and way of life. Barkerville also offers a live stage show. This one was very well done, lively and funny. We hiked up to the old courthouse where two actors played judge and bailiff, reminiscing about their experiences trying to keep law and order during the gold rush days. Again very well done.

Flower GardenOne thing we have been impressed with in all the towns in Northern BC are the flower gardens and hanging baskets that are everywhere. Quesnel has taken it a step further and lined the curb of the highway into town with colorful flowers. A nice touch.Pinnacle Park In between fishing excursions, we took a couple nice hiking trails around town. The River Trail is a 3 mile loop that runs along the Fraser and Quesnel Rivers. The hike into Pinnacles Provincial Park overlooked the city and gave us a nice view of the hoodoo formations.

Lessons Learned:

We've learned a couple new things about credit card usage in Canada. First, not every store takes Mastercard and Visa. Some take only one but not the other. Since we both carry Visa, though from two different companies, we had a real shock the first time the clerk said they only take Mastercard. The other surprise came when we got our credit card bills. We always like to use credit cards for purchases in foreign countries since the credit card companies usually give you the best exchange rates. But this time, one of our Visa's charged an extra 1.5% on top of every purchase made in Canada. Unfortunately we didn't learn this until this week when we got our mail. Guess I better start reading the fine print on those credit card agreements as they didn't do it last year.

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