Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Day 4: Terrace BC – Granisle BC

Yes, I know this instalment is late.  This is because the Granisle Resort’s network connection is flakier than a crumbly flaky chocolate bar wrapped up in a stale croissant, playing that Small Faces album.  I could not even warn serial fussbudget Miss von Brandenburg by e-mail.  Nor by text, because my steam-powered Nokia can’t get a signal west of Prince George.  Soz.

Praise Jah!  It was not raining this morning, no, but this being British Columbia and not that far from the coast, this state of affairs cannot be guaranteed to remain stable.
Anyway, today is a Big Day, because we are going to visit another country viz. USAnia.  There are many ways to get to USAnia from Terrace, of which the simplest is to hop in one’s private jet and fly south, but I let the under-gardener use the Citation while I’m away so had to opt for Plan B N X, which involves driving to Alaska.  Most of Alaska is both Very Big1 and Very Far Away but there are bits of it which are not so far away.  The downside being that these are mostly not accessible by road.  But Hyder AK is, so we will go there.

Emily, natch, wants me to retrace along Highway 16 and then head north, and squeals like an electronic supergrass when I head in the opposite direction and off up BC-113 a.k.a. the Nisga’a Highway, named for the local First Nation.  This passes lots of mountains and rivers and lakes but they are mostly invisible because:
  • It is raining, or
  • There is an abundance of mist, or fog, or the exhalations of the earth, or
  • There is a tree in the way, or
  • All of the above
Remember, if you can see the mountains...
There are also the Nisga’a Lava Beds, which do not look very comfortable.
After the lava beds the Highway becomes noticeably less, er, high.  Let us just say that BC muck is a pale imitation of Colorado muck when it comes to adhering to the flanks of a motor-car, which is why we do not (yet) have a Mudstang II.  Also see Fig. 1, as for most of the way up Highway 37 I couldn’t see the mountains so it probably got washed off.

Highway 37 turns right at Meziadin Junction and bogs off to the Yukon and, eventually, Alaska Proper.  Turn left and you get Highway 37A, which goes to Stewart BC and Alaska Minor.  There are BEARs here, and I know because I saw one cantering across the road.  At Stewart you also meet the Pacific Ocean, which I aten’t seen since 2010 because I couldn’t see out of the plane window on the approach to Sea-Tac.  Here is a The Pacific Ocean:
Drive past the ship and go round the corner and there is a sign saying “Welcome to Hyder AK”.  You can actually go quite a long way into Alaska and see glaciers, and BEARs, but the roads are terrible and I have a long way to drive yet.  So here is a Post Office.  In Alaska2.
Woo-hoo!  State #49!
Back into Canada and a Man with a Gun interrogates travellers in case they are smuggling whiskey, tobacco, guns, explosives or BEARs across the border.  I am not.  Back through Stewart and Meziadin Junction.  I stopped to look at some scenery:
Glacier.  Canada.  Tuesday.
Now, over on yacf there is a long-running topic called “Today’s Motorised Moron”.  I scored three today:

In third place, the muppet who stopped in the middle of the road to take a photo of the Hyder border crossing.  It will still be there if you nip round the corner, park somewhere safe and walk back, clot.

In second place, the numbskull who stopped just past the crest of a hill to look at… a glacier.  Very slow things are described as “glacial” for a reason.  If you go two hundred yards down the hill there is plenty of space to pull off the road and the glacier will not have moved a distance discernible by the naked eye.

But the winner is the dunderhead with the caravan.  The southernmost forty-odd km of Highway 37 have been recently given a coat of fresh chip-seal or, put another way, small rocks.  DwC has been following a motorhome over the new chip-seal for exactly quite a long way, but has not tried to overtake.  Instead he sits right on the motorhome’s rear bumper, but with his rig straddling the centre of the two-lane road so as not to be in the firing line.  And as I start to overtake both, he starts to drift further left.  I do not think he is trying to overtake at long last because his shitty pickup would need the entire Province to pick up the required extra speed.

The horn going off under his elbow appeared to wake him up.

So now I am at Granisle.  Well, I was.  To get here you turn off Highway 16 at Topley and drive 50 km into the wilderness, where you meet Babine Lake, which is 180 km long and very wet.  Here I have what is essentially a one bedroom flat, with full kitchen, bathroom, lounge ect. ect. and a view out of the French windows which makes the lack of a working Intertube connection a mere trifle.
For fifty quid.  Read it and weep…

P.S: Just been out for a fag.  It’s raining.  Bum-grapes!
P.P.S: Day 5 to follow after I have bought some milk.

  1. And Texas can get stuffed…
  2. Hyder is actually slightly less far north than Edinburgh.


  1. You expect intelligence from a motorist?

    1. Up until now Canada has been notably free from motorised morons. And the two on motorbikes today were BRITONS chiz.