Our caravan stopped a few days in Hyder AK. We described this stop in our prior post. A perfect finish on Hyder AK and Stewart BC might be visiting Smithers and Prince George B.C. Our caravan stopped a couple of nights in Smithers in a nice combi RV and golf park just a little ways off the highway. Only one of the Airstreams was bonked on the roof by a stray golf ball, as far as we know. And it was here we had our caravan’s nice open house we wrote about here.
We’d been in the smallest and least functional town, and now we’re straight onto big towns. Only Anchorage and Fairbanks are likely any larger so these two are the third and fourth largest towns we’ve been in since Whitehorse at least. We enjoyed checking architecture in several neighborhoods and touring Smithers’ really cute downtown district, had great campfires, and fine weather still.
Prince George is fourth largest city in B.C., and surely offers more than we were wont to partake at this point in our caravan. A great advantage, though, is having a convention hotel with large dining and meeting space for our final banquet. The food and beverage folks set us up really well for this affair.
The caravan leader asked Jim to emcee. A lot of folks thought Jim likely to wear shorts to this dress-up occasion, even if he wore jacket and tie. You can’t tell from this photo, but he was really dressed up with slacks too.
They serenaded us throughout the caravan at our campfires and on our cruises. And they were well practiced for this great performance. Nanci and Tommy played a bunch of favorites and some originals too. The caravan was lucky to have them and Paul (and their ukeleles) along, and some of us are now attracted to trying to play the ukes.
It helped our mental health to get up, mosey around, have a cup of tea before heading out on driving days. We would sometimes leave almost an hour behind the last ones. Some of them stopped for sit-down breakfasts, we think. By lunchtime we often had caught up with too many of our group and couldn’t find a place to park. The later we left, the better chance some of the early folks might have moved on and made room for us.
Janine and Bob were our most frequent traveling buddies — we were all very content to let all the folks in a hurry go in front of us. Our driving/towing and rest-stopping styles were compatible, and we mutually eschewed talkiness on the chicken-band radios. Anyhow, in this picture Bob is demonstrating the difficulties Janine had following his guidance when she needed to back the trailer up more than the usual distance. It seemed pretty trying.
Judy and David and Barbara and Cal did a good job parodying group movement on the many sea life cruises our caravan took. Side deck space was limited, and the exciting side even more so. Then the other side would become exciting. Some were just trying to keep their lunch down and were far less interested in what lay beyond the railings. Everyone in the audience identified with the characters in this fun skit.
Another highlight was the Northern Cal folks demonstrating best Alaska travel couture. They had several great takes on some of the quirky weather and wild we endured. Mike models his mosquito-proof head cover, walking stick topped with a large sheath knife, bear spray can in a holster across his chest, binoculars, and a camera. He’s ready for any outdoor activity!
We had a great time, Jim really enjoyed emceeing, Shelley did a fabulous job directing the entertainment, the food was excellent, and the farewells were lengthy. How else can 72 people say “see you down the road” to each other? It takes a while, and was a fitting end to our great caravan.
Alaska was everything we’d heard and much much more. The WBCCI Alyeska caravan gets folks to all the best spots and a few others too. Travels with a caravan are nice because all the destinations are arranged as are the cruises and some of the meals. Caravans involve tearing down the tents and moving after fewer days than we’d stay, if on our own. This way, though, we get to see so many more places in only 63 days. We highly recommend the WBCCI caravan.
We’ll look forward to returning with another couple or two sometime before long, and stay longer in some places. Or maybe move there for a season?
Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
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