Airstreaming to Alaska – Chapter 9: Victoria to Mackenzie

Posted August 29, 2022 – Narrated by Carmen
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Airstreaming to Alaska

Chapter 9 of the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series.

“The gate of heaven is everywhere”

The beauty of driving overland to Alaska is getting there.

Like Heaven Tramps tripping along from glory to glory, each new leg of the journey prepared us for the next pearly gate.

Lillooet⁩
‎⁨North of Lillooet⁩, ⁨British Columbia⁩, ⁨Canada⁩

I once saw this ad: “Seventh Heaven Travel – because the urge to go to a better place is older than Moses.” The lively brochure went on to explain that heavens 1 to 6 aren’t chopped liver either.

Horseshoe Bay
North of Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia, Canada

Progressive heavens came from ancient desert nomads who expertly drafted a cafeteria of unique final destinations to satisfy a variety of after-lifestyles … Bright warm sunny heaven, starry-starry night heaven, foodie heaven, whoopee heaven, choir heaven, misty heaven, snowy heaven, crystal clear watery heaven … all neatly displayed beneath elaborate bejeweled domes.

They even included an exciting point system to encourage heaven hopping.

Lillooet⁩
‎⁨South of Lillooet⁩, ⁨British Columbia⁩, ⁨Canada⁩

We traveled north through British Columbia crossing over land and sea from one sublime realm to another saying, “Pinch me,” at every turn.

D'Arcy
Near D’Arcy, British Columbia, Canada

Two weeks from solstice, with night all but banished, we raised stabilizers to leave Victoria. Jim grabbed his dogeared copy of Milepost (The Bible of North Country Travel which he’d studied for over a year) and graduated it to the cab of The Beast.

milepost

From here, we set aside 4-3-2 comforts, and our once-in-a-lifetime summer sightseeing adventure began.

With her silvery skin bursting with top-notch Victoria provisions, we pulled Beauty out of our beach hide-away …

mill bay
Mill Bay, British Columbia, Canada

and headed north toward Nanaimo

nanaimo

where we caught the ferry

nanaimo ferry

to Horseshoe Bay, near Vancouver, British Columbia.

horseshoe bay

and skimmed along the coast on Hwy 99 …

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british columbia

Whistler

to Whistler, a lively, youthy, upscale ski resort and village.

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We settled in for a week of pristine alpine camping …

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Our campsite at Riverside RV Resort

and world-class cycling trails.

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Enjoying a hearty Inuksuk Welcome

Whistler is a bonafide cycling heaven.

We rode here…

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whistler british columbia
whistler british columbia

and, we rode there.

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We even went biking with the bears.

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whistler british columbia
Bear graffiti
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Share the trail. When Jim rounded a corner he almost collided with this oncoming bear!

Bears are a valued part of the Whistler community. The region is also proud of its eagle habitat.

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Public Art is a blessing of British Columbia culture and identity.

As the official body-guards for an eight-pound, sun-worshiping chihuahua, our hands were full.

Pico survived the urban bear and eagle capital of the world to celebrate his 14th Birthday in Whistler, British Columbia!

Success deserves reward.

We rode to the village mall …

whistler british columbia

for hand-crafted baked goods …

pints of cheer …

and about $200 bucks worth of long woolen underwear – as we had, by mid-June, given up on the fantasy of warmer days ahead.

We trialed our new underwear on the Peak-2-Peak gondola.

whistler british columbia
whistler british columbia
whistler british columbia
whistler british columbia
whistler british columbia
whistler british columbia
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Patio view from the Lodge
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whistler british columbia
The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games were held in Whistler
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We were perfectly comfortable! Jim even enjoyed a cold beer in the snow.

whistler british columbia

The next morning we fueled up The Beast …

Watch out, in Canada Diesel fuel is marked yellow, not green!

and set out on a hazardous but gorgeous mountain pass …

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british columbia
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which led us down to a peaceful valley …

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Seton River, British Columbia, Canada

where kind locals offer generous pours of fine B.C. wine.

Fort Berens Estate Winery

fort berens winery
fort berens winery
Fort Berens Estate Winery in Lillooet on the Gold Rush Trail

Then, an afternoon nap …

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before pressing on to Clinton

clinton british columbia

Clinton

clinton british columbia

where we pulled in to The Road Kill Grill for the best bite you’ll find here or there on the highway.

road kill grill clinton british columbia
road kill grill clinton british columbia
The owner, Michael…
road kill grill clinton british columbia
granted permission to sign our name on the ceiling
road kill grill clinton british columbia
road kill grill clinton british columbia
road kill grill clinton british columbia
road kill grill clinton british columbia
I think this dessert was called Dream Sex In The Berry Patch

That night we settled into a free campsite where a gentle thunderstorm serenaded us to sleep …

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british columbia

Prince George

The following morning we set out for Prince George where we stocked up on DEF, paper products and organic provisions at Walmart where we met our first caravan of Alaska-bound travelers from The States.

walmart prince george british columbia
9PM in Prince George!
Travelers from my birth town in Alabama! They even know some of my relatives!

Still overfed on Roadkill, Jim whipped up a light smoked salmon party tray because overnighting at Walmart is always a Living in Beauty celebration …

and (since this is Gold Rush country), we pulled the blackout blinds and lit up the wide screen with Paint Your Wagon. Better than a night at the drive-in! Thanks Walmart!

I like surprises and Jim’s the surprise guru. As we left Prince George the following morning, I had no idea where the road would lead, but I knew it would be special because this was Surprise Travel Day when I say, “Take me, I’m yours!”

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And a well chosen route it was … mysteriously sparse of traffic with bare minimum signage.

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It might have been sorta creepy, this hundred miles of Highway 99 to practically Nowhere. But the bonny blue sky – with treetops swaying in the breeze like those Jacquie Lawson dancing paintbrushes rendering their finishing touch to the fairytale clouds.

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Mackenzie

At midday we arrived to the small village of Mackenzie.

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Turning off the highway onto a logging road …

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we spotted a cow moose …

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and a young bear …

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before arriving to Alexander Mackenzie’s Landing Recreation Park, named for the Scottish explorer and fur trader in honor of his 1789 expedition.

mckenzie british columbia

With the reservoir at it’s low pre-season level, the choicest waterfront site was ours to take. We set up camp for seven days FREE of charge.

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In this little sliver of B.C. paradise tucked into The Rocky Mountain Trench, I half-expected to see a lion lying down with a lamb.

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mckenzie british columbia
Doorway view
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Window view

Our senses reveled in the wonders of nature …

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cow moose and calf tracks
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mckenzie british columbia

and the universe as we experienced our first midnight sunsets …

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mckenzie british columbia
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and felt gloriously, exotic and brave on the frontier.

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mckenzie british columbia
mckenzie british columbia
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Of course, our solitary life was mostly illusion …

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Only ten minutes north, the friendly community of Mackenzie … with restaurants, cafes, shops and a community center with library, free public WiFi, an indoor pool and the World’s Largest Tree Crusher

mckenzie british columbia worlds largest tree crusher

provided all the necessary services to support our reverie.

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Mackenzie was the ideal wilderness experience we needed to break us in for a summer in North Country.

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Inquiries about the existence of true wilderness in the Anthropocene era resemble ideas on the existence of Heaven. A sustainable environmental vision for the future, and an afterlife in Heaven are compatible. Each one describes the other. Even with wide-ranging differences in geographical and cultural identity almost every one of us, worldwide, knows wilderness when we see it and the recognition brings us to our knees.

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(on the Whistler bike trail) Almost every church I attended as a child had a mural like this behind the baptismal pool.

Heaven they say is also a Land of Peace and brotherly Love, a sanctuary without war, starvation, hate, cynicism or harsh language. It is a resting place where the best in Man and Nature commune in harmony with the Creator. This universal idea has held firm across belief systems for thousands of years.

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Jesus – a famous backcountry wilderness enthusiast – said Heaven is real, it is present, it is now. All we have to do is open our eyes and take the leap.

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That’s wild!

In memory of David Heath who made Heaven his home.


Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series



If you want to see our exact route, click here.

*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.


36 thoughts on “Airstreaming to Alaska – Chapter 9: Victoria to Mackenzie

  1. It is great to be able to travel, especially when you can carry your house with you.
    I notice that you drive a Ram diesel. Mine is a 2017 with the 6.4 hemi. I have pulled our 21ft StarCraft all over the western part of the USA. About 40k miles or so.

    1. Hey Gary!

      RVing is the way to go. You have your own bed, bath, kitchen, wardrobe and no need to leave those fuzzy or feathery muzzles behind. It’s a lower maintenance than traditional housing – healthier and cleaner too – both for yourself and the environment. When it’s too smoky to breathe, you just leave. If there’s construction next door – spewing dust and allergens – you pull out. If bad weather is on the way, you get outta there. Unlike all but the most expensive “green homes” RV’s are designed for fuel and water efficiency. And as for carbon, they’re much cleaner than flying, hoteling and cruising. Sailing might be a bit cleaner, but I’m a seasick navy brat, so RVing it is!

      Our Ram has some drawbacks – recalls and the turbo replacement – but we still love it. I can’t handle gas fumes so, for now, the Clean Diesel is the only way to go. Someday, when the industry catches up with this alternative lifestyle (which is rapidly gaining in popularity) we will upgrade to an electric towing vehicle.

      So far, in six years of full-timing, we’ve traveled 58,000 miles. Now that we’ve seen most of the U.S we’d like to draw our annual mileage down. Our travel goals are constantly changing but for now just being places we’d like to explore more extensively is the future plan.

      Thanks for joining us, Gary! It’s a trip to have you with us!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. C’mon, Jana! Planning the break is part of the joy of the journey. I journaled the first seven months of our preparation to travel full-time. Exciting times!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

      1. My husband and I met you in Wisconsin in Door County Fish Creek Campground and we have been following your travels! We aspire to travel and see America! Be well and keep doing what you love.

  2. Congratulations on your travels up North! Looking forward to the next Chapter. Happy to note that there were no words of “breakdown,” “equipment failure,” or other calamitous issues arising on the journey to the land of eternal sun (at least during the summer ;~) ).

    1. Thank you, Kevin! Great to hear from you. We plan to turn south in a week or so. It will be a relief to get past Tok to Destruction Bay. The roads were epically disastrous this year!!! We’ve met many travellers with broken axels and worse. Slow and easy is the only way …

      Thanks so much for being with us!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey John!

      “Stay tuned,” Jim says. He’s already writing the blog.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  3. I never knew Alaska had purple squirrels ! How fun. 😎 Continue to enjoy your travels through ‘heavenly Alaska, USA.’

    1. Haha! No stopping Purple Squirrel, she always arrives first 🐿 😊

      Great to hear from you, Joe! I should hire you as my proof reader (and listener).

      Hugs to Ronnie & the pups

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Oh, thank you Teresita! You inspire us to greater heights. Thank you for journeying with us!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Julia!

      You are so nice to say so. Every day is a gift. It’s our pleasure to document each one as best we can.

      We’re delighted to have you aboard!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  4. WOW I had to read it twice…beautifully spoken…Love you guys, thanks for taking us along… Pastor Uly & Margie

  5. We just returned from a 3 month R/T through Canada to Alaska. British Columbia was our favorite Province! The Canadian people are the friendliest people in the world! We loved Seward, Alaska!

    1. Hey Lori!

      Thank you for the wrap-up of your 2022 Alaska trip! We’re still HERE trying to make up for the rainiest August in 40+ years. It rained the entire week we were in Seward, still I managed to kayak the fjord a bit. Yes, we love Canada for so many reasons. The culture, the scenery, the fresh air, the B.C. cherries and Peaches&Cream corn, and the community centers with indoor pools … We love it all!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. And, hopefully, you will make it before the glaciers are gone. I hate to stress that, but they are a major feature of the region.

      Wishing you God Speed!

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  6. Those bears!!!! Wowzers! The first one was WELL fed, and the second was like “come on over! I’m not gonna hurt ya!” Jeez Louise… Just incredible stuff.

    And the campsite views and scenery? This trip is living up to its billing in big ways.

    Happy Birthday, Pico! Living the dream and looking sooooooo good. Love that photo!

    1. Thanks for the Pico birthday wishes. One more year till the learner’s permit 😜 Just don’t tell Thor that he sings with his mommy and daddy, okay? That would make him snarky for weeks.

      Oh, this trip has had its ups and downs but British Columbia never disappoints. And – though it’s totally different – we also fell for Yukon.

      Oh yes, those bears. The young one was rubbing his butt across the gravel road like a dog or cat does when the anal glands are impacted. Poor lil’ guy. I hope he’s not suffering with that issue anymore.

      Great to hear from you, Laura!

      Viagens seguras e felizes!

      Carmen@LIB

  7. Looks like BC did not disappoint! We enjoy following your travels and the style of your blog. The way that you describe and chronicle your adventure is inspiring – not to mention the photos! Keep it up… we are following along. Safe travels!

    1. Thank you, Jim! We are delighted to have you on the LIB Forever Caravan! We’re looking forward to hearing more from you.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

    1. Hey Jody! Thank you for joining us for Pico’s Birthday Song. That lil’ camper just loves a good group sing-along around the fire or anywhere. I’m sure we’ve kept the neighbors up at night 🤣

      Sorry it took so long to respond. We’re having our last Alaska hurrah at Chena Hot Springs (very remote, no cell signal area except at the lodge where it’s still very weak) and it feels like a second honeymoon ♥️ This place is amazing and Autumn is so magical here … and very short! So, heading south in two days … after a few more soaks 😜

      xoxo and Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  8. Thank you guys for the time and energy you put into the pictures and audio!! I had never listened to the audio till today. And your voice Carmen, is so enjoyable to listen to as I look at the pictures, very professional and easy to listen to! We have had our airstream now for one month. Taking close trips and staying close to our grandson…..but someday soon, we’ll leave the nest for a big adventure. We appreciate your efforts with great gratitude! 🙏🏼

    1. Thank you Pat! There’s nothing like the feeling of having your rig outfitted and poised toward the place of your dreams! Congratulations and may we meet up the road some beautiful day.

      Safe & Happy Travels!

      Carmen@LIB

  9. How wonderful. Absolutely breathtaking. Loved the tribute to Dave at the end.
    The pristine wilderness left Sam awestruck. Heaven in harmony with earth. Creation at its best. She is gobsmacked.
    Wonderful photography and descriptions. My only complaint is showing the food and wine without sharing it personally
    J and S

    1. Thank you, Funniest Man in San Diego and the Best Santa in The World.

      We are in Sam Land. I can’t tell you how many times I think of Sam when I’m trying to explain Alaska with my camera and words. She could draw this place … oh wow.

      Creation IS the best. Everything we call heaven is here. Thomas Merton and many other theologians say the world is a reflection or a mirror image of Heaven. In any case, as mortals, the Earth is all the Heaven we have. If we don’t keep The World in the best condition we can how are we to explain Heaven to our children and their children …? Pictures and videos won’t do the job. No matter what religion you are, it’s in the best interest of people of faith to preserve wilderness.

      I miss David, Beth, Allen and Carrie and his grands are in our prayers. But David is in HEAVEN! … Whoa.

      We love you two so much! xoxoxoxo

      BTW, We are in North Pole checking out your reindeer, sleigh et al. It’s looking good for take off in a few months. We will send the report soon.

      xoxo,

      Carmen@LIB

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