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.

whistler british columbia
Enjoying a hearty Inuksuk Welcome

Whistler is a bonafide cycling heaven.

We rode here…

whistler british columbia
whistler british columbia
whistler british columbia

and, we rode there.

whistler british columbia

We even went biking with the bears.

whistler british columbia
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.

whistler british columbia
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
whistler british columbia
Patio view from the Lodge
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whistler british columbia
The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games were held in Whistler
whistler british columbia

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.

mckenzie british columbia

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.

mckenzie british columbia

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.

mckenzie british columbia
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
mckenzie british columbia

and felt gloriously, exotic and brave on the frontier.

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mckenzie british columbia
mckenzie british columbia
mckenzie british columbia
mckenzie british columbia
mckenzie british columbia
mckenzie british columbia
mckenzie british columbia

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.

mckenzie british columbia

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

mckenzie british columbia

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.

mckenzie british columbia

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.