Westward across British Columbia

Trip Start May 09, 2009
Trip End May 27, 2010

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Where I stayed
Prince Rupert Campground

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Sunday, July 26, 2009

We left Jasper on 7/26 and headed west to Prince Rupert where we were catching the ferry to Alaska.  Highway 16 is a scenic highway that provided gorgeous scenery for most of the drive west. 

We arrived in Prince Rupert a day early, on 7/29 and checked into the only campground in town.  We weren’t sure if we would even get a site, because the owner seems to have no system for reservations – he didn’t give a confirmation # when we reserved it, didn’t ask for a credit card and didn’t refer to a reservation list when we checked in.  We did end up getting a site, although the campground was mediocre at best – for example, hot water in the showers is turned off between 11 AM and 6 PM (not at night when it would make more sense!!) and then when you did get to take a shower, the shower floors were filthy (thank god for flip-flops!). 
What was of more concern was that we had talked to the owner previously about storing our car and camper there while we were on our ferry trip but he would not give specifics to Jim during their previous phone conversations.  Once we got there, he quoted us a rate of $20/day for storage.  Since we would be gone 8 nights, this would be $160 total – still cheaper than taking the car/camper with us, but pretty exorbitant nonetheless.  An employee at the Visitor Center came to our rescue.  He gave us a list of storage alternatives (none were acceptable due to location or lack of security) but also told us that the BC Ferry Terminal now had secured parking.  This ended up being the perfect solution – they are right next to the Alaska Marine Highway (ferries) Terminal and only charged us $35 total to store both our car and camper for the 8.5 days we would be gone.

From the travel guide hype, we expected more from Prince Rupert than there was.  Its best feature is an area called Cow Bay (so named because cows being brought in had to swim across the bay) where the Visitor Center, a few restaurants and shops are located.  Its a little cutesy with barriers painted like cowhide and a purse shop called Udder Bags.  Near Cow Bay was the Museum of Northern British Columbia which featured historical exhibits on the Tlingit tribe and European settlers of the area.  The rest of Prince Rupert seems economically depressed with a somewhat run-down downtown area.  I had the pleasure of doing laundry at a downtown laundromat where half the machines were broken and apparently weren’t in line to be fixed any time soon. 

We managed, however, to fit in a hike to the Butze Rapids.  Unfortunately, we were too late to see the featured presentation - the rapids reverse themselves during the transition from high to low tide and vice-versa.  Nonetheless, the rain forest setting made the hike worthwhile.

After three days there, we were ready to head off on our Alaska adventure.  More to come…
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