Whizzing Through Washington...

I am a fan of alliteration and today was a whizzing 290 mile Washington wandering.

After giving up our one lime to the USA border agent (no citrus regardless of its origin), we headed into the Evergreen State.

Chuckanut Drive is the best street name we've seen in awhile.
Here is our tour of Seattle. There's the Space Needle, kids.
This building had us both ask, "What the heck?" For those who don't know, it is the landmark Lake Union Steam Plant building, constructed from 1914 to 1921 by Seattle City Light. This historic place houses ZymoGenetics, Inc. And what the heck is that? ZymoGenetics, Inc is one of the oldest biotechnology/ pharmaceutical companies in the USA (1981), based in Seattle. The company is involved in the development of therapeutic proteins. Cool stuff from the freeway!
Up here, in the Pacific Northwest, these guys are everywhere in late summer. The crazily tangled, dense vines grow at a mad pace on any abandoned patch of land, also making concerted efforts to take over yards, parks, even buildings. The plant itself — the Himalayan blackberry — was introduced optimistically, back in the day, by the otherwise sensible Luther Burbank. Turns out it’s invasive, reproducing through multiple and nefarious means: The canes sprout and arch, spawning “daughter canes” just by touching the ground, while roots send out “adventitious shoots,” also known as suckers. Gardening books use euphemisms like prodigious and extremely vigorous. A cane can grow more than 20 feet in a year. It was frustrating to drive at 60 MPH and not get to pick some, thankfully our campground had these nefarious balls of yum.
Home for tonight is at Paradise Point State Park, Located 15 miles north of Vancouver and just east of I-5, this 88 acre woodland park is the ideal option for us who need a night of rest as we travel the Interstate, fighting traffic we haven't seen for weeks. 

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Blazing Through BC...

There's something about knowing you're going home that makes you want to get there. So we put mileage on, while enjoying the sights framed by the windshield.

Rising temperatures and smoked filled skies were a large part of our 385 mile drive.

Lumber is big business in these parts. We shared the road with a number of lumber trucks.

We mentioned the fires in B.C. while driving to Alaska in July. The province had over 300 wildfires this summer. I had no idea of the impact until we drove through various places, all with "Welcome Home" banners everywhere. One town had to evacuate everyone for 11 days. It was really a terrible time for all. Residents are back home now but it is still extreme fire conditions. Yikes.
Yet the scenery was exceptional, for the most part.

For some reason, this just cracked us up. We were happy to know we had a choice. Funny stuff (we went via the 1).
I liked this piece of property. In the early 1860s, the Cornwall brothers came looking for gold, but quickly realized that the best way to earn money was in supplying the gold miners. So they acquired much of the land in this vicinity and established the Ashcroft Manor ranch. This roadhouse still stands as a reminder of the heritage along this important transportation corridor.
Before each tunnel, there was a sign that demanded, "Remove Sunglasses". I didn't catch the sign but I thought Hell's Gate tunnel was cool.
Having just passed Boston Bar we decided to continue to Hope for the night. I like to say "There's always hope". Now I know it to be true because we're sleeping there.

And if anyone is curious, American Costcos make much better pumpkin pie. Don't get me wrong, we'll eat this one but don't be too envious.

“That's why I love road trips, dude.
It's like doing something
without actually doing anything.” 
― John Green

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Our Yellowhead Highway Day...

Our route today took us on the Trans-Canada Yellowhead Highway for 298 miles of picturesque countryside. What was originally a fur traders' route for the Hudson's Bay Company in the early 1800s has become the perfect road to continue our amazing journey home.

Sadly, while driving this beautiful route, we saw many signs warning about the dangers hitchhiking "It ain't worth the risk Sister!" This road has the nickname of Highway of Tears. From 1969 to 2011, there have been a series of murders and disappearances. The region is plagued with poverty and lack of public transportation, forcing its occupants to turn to hitchhiking as a form of transit. After we saw the first warning sign, we saw two people actually hitchhiking. What a sad history for such a spectacular roadway.
Moving beyond the sad history, we made a left tour to examine this spectacular church.
What a treasure the village of Gitwangak (Kitwanga) has- the wonderful St. Paul’s Anglican Church (1893) with its tall steeple and Gothic stain-glass windows (some of which were imported from England and are more than 400 years old). Treasures really are found in the most surprising places.
We took another detour to cross the Hagwilget Canyon on one of the highest suspension bridges in Canada (a 1-lane bridge). So breathtaking.
Crossing the canyon allowed us to visit Hazelton, one of the oldest settlements in Northern British Columbia, with its European settlement dating back to 1866.
Its First Nations history was expressed in Gitemakaldo's Nose Like Coho totem, crafted in the late 1800s, it is one of the oldest to survive.
Hazelton's history was diverse. Being strategically located on the Skeena River, it became the head of navigation and played host to more than a dozen sternwheelers throughout the next twenty-two years.

In Houston, we stopped at the World's Largest Fly Fishing Rod (60 feet). It's hard to tell but Steve is 'fishing' with it.
Okay, so this might be the weirdest stop we made today. This monument was located in Tintagel (pop 209), a railway and logging settlement (1915), named after the castle in Cornwall where King Arthur was supposedly born. So what are we looking at? Well, in 1967, Britain's Ministry of Works sent a 45-kg stone from the castle, as a Canadian centennial gift to BC. It was installed here in a roadside cairn. Yes, I touched a rock that once formed part of the Norman walls of King Arthur's castle. Weird right?
Dinner was at the Costco in Prince George. If you recall, the last Canadian Costco also served poutine (a dish originating from Quebec, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy) but I merely photographed it. This time we devoured it and it was as great as we had hoped.
The large plate of YUM was only $3.75 USD.

One of the big reasons we stopped here was because I had a strong feeling they would have pumpkin pie since Canada's Thanksgiving is on Oct. 9th. Look! I was so dang right. For those who know us, it is a Red Letter Day when the Costco pumpkin pies are in. Woo hoo!
We knew these pies were large, but we had no idea that one would not fit comfortably in our camper's fridge. We had to take out a shelf from the door to make it fit. "Where there's a will, there's a way!" Pumpkin pie for breakfast!

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450 Miles of the Cassiar Highway...

Wanting to take a different road home, we turned south on Highway 37, and ventured onto the Cassiar Highway. Completed in 1972, this mostly asphalt-surfaced road was generally narrower than most 2-lane highways, with little or no shoulder. With easy curves and some long straight stretches, we found it to be a pretty awesome path on which to spend two days traveling.

Last night was spent on Boya Lake. What a spectacular setting. Wow.
Can one have a favorite caterpillar? If so this Lophocampa maculata is mine. I think it's because he reminds me of a bumblebee.

Morning, at our campsite, could not have been more beautiful...
And chilly!
This was an interesting find and rates a "Who knew?". With 90% of the world's jade currently being supplied from British Columbia, we had to stop at Jade City, located on our path. For over forty years and four generations, jade has been mined here. 

 And how cute is this little guy? Can anyone tell us what it is?
This creek is named after George Eastman, of the Eastman-Kodak fame, because he was a fan of hunting and fishing here, before the road was even constructed (c. 1920s).

Today was our best day yet of seeing wildlife along the roadside. We counted seven black bears. They looked healthy and happy. What an added gift to our last days in Canada.

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