After two relaxing nights in Smithers at a campsite alongside the river, we packed up Stevie and the dogs and continued on to Terrace. Once there, we booked a spot at the Ferry Island Campground and then headed to town for supplies, and, oh! What’s this….. another brewery?? Why, yes indeed, it is. (OB: greeeeat, now you’re going to be loving beer as much as you already love wine. That’ll be awesome for both your wallet and waistline!) We dropped our laundry off at the laundromat, where they offer a wash and fold service. We were more than happy to spend a few extra dollars rather than having to sit around the laundromat watching machines. (JB: you might wanna be mindful of that carefree spending habit, Jer…. you’re unemployed now, remember? Jer: yes, but beer….. JB: ok, you win!)
With the laundry being handled, we drove over to Sherwood Mountain brewery for some samples. The beer was excellent and partnered well with the snacks we brought from Stevie. We both agreed that the best brew was their Skeena Sunshine Saison so we left with 2 large bottles, 2 new glasses to drink from, and a new sticker for Stevie! The sticker count continues to climb, thanks to several of the breweries! And one yarn store, of course. 😊 We took the dogs for a stroll, picked up our laundry and then headed back to the campground for a pleasant evening. (OB: really? That campground was creepy AF. Jer tried to tell ghost stories, the jerk!)
The next day (Day 16), we set out for Prince Rupert on a gorgeously clear and sunny day. Most of the province and into Alberta is bogged down by smoke from the many, many forest fires burning throughout BC, so it was such a reprieve to be driving through a clear area. We have seen several of the fires along the way, and been caught up in the smoke, as Jeremy mentioned in his last blog entry. But, the stretch between Terrace and Prince Rupert was clear the day we drove.
While visiting Dana in Prince George, I had mentioned to him that Pepper was having a difficult time settling down on our driving days. She was always cramming her way between Jeremy and I in the front seat and seemed to just stand there staring at his feet while he drove. We figured she was trying to determine how his feet were making her house move! So, Dana grabbed a scrap piece of plywood and cut us a dog-gate to put between us and Stevie’s living quarters while driving. We’ve named it “De-Fence by Dana” and so far it’s working well. Pepper seems less stressed and now sits on the couch looking forlornly our way. It’s a step up!
As we drove towards Rupert, Saela jumped up on De-Fence by Dana, which is out of character for her, so we figured she probably needed a bathroom break. Luckily for us, there was a rest stop just 400m up the road. As Jeremy turned Stevie into the rest stop, we heard a really strange noise. At first, I thought it was some train track machinery I’d seen, but we quickly realized the noise was coming from Stevie. As we’d made the turn, one of the outside storage hatch doors came unhinged (JB: not unlike you, Jer!) and was dragging along the pavement. The wood and screws holding the door onto Stevie have seen better days – showing some signs of wear and tear, earning the name Stevie maybe from Steven Tyler and his hard-core livin’ back in the day rather than Stevie Nicks???
As I dealt with the dogs and their bathroom break, Jer jury-rigged the door back into place (JB: old stupid piece of shit camper that’s falling apart while we are driving I mean really wtf were these morons thinking that they could just travel across the country in a vehicle almost as old as them and everything would be fine I mean come on that’s just pure stupidity and I bet… Jer SHUT UP JB!) and we kept a close eye on it as we finished the ride into Rupert. Once there, we stopped by Home Hardware and he came up with quite a clever solution!
After Stevie was dealt with, we went into my favourite part of Prince Rupert – Cow Bay. We’d read online reviews about Dolly’s Fish Market so we bee-lined it there for lunch. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! It was so damn good. I had the crab mac & cheese and Jeremy had a 2 piece halibut and chips. He says it’s the best fish and chips he’s ever had – even did a Yelp review! And…. the mac and cheese had 4 kinds of cheese and huge chunks of fresh crab meat. Yes, that’s crab spelled with a ‘c’ not a ‘k.’ I’ve seen so many restaurants, especially sushi joints that offer “krab rolls.” (OB: that shit is “krappy krab!”) We were so impressed with Dolly’s that we’ve already made a reservation for dinner the night we get back to Prince Rupert off the ferry! (OB: y’know there are other good restaurants there, right? You could have tried a different one. *eyeroll*)
After lunch, we wandered over to…. wait for it….. another BREWERY!!! (Jer & JB: Yay!) The brewery in Prince Rupert is called Wheelhouse Brewery. Jer and I both love the nautical theme. I tried their Trade Winds (ginger beer), Flagship Pale Ale and Scurvy Dog Spruce Ale, but I think my favourite sample was the Gillnetter Golden Ale. We love that their beer is served locally, including at Dolly’s and on the BC Ferry route. And guess what? Sticker Butt!! The Wheelhouse Brewery sticker has us up to 8 stickers on Stevie’s bumper – five of which are from breweries! We also had a great chat with a lady we met there by the name of Sandy. She just happened to be the sister of someone Jeremy worked with in Nanaimo for a number of years – small world, eh?
Once we’d indulged our foodie and brewsky habits, we grabbed the dogs and went to walk through the Pacific Mariners Memorial Park. A few years after my dad’s boat went down in 1983, the Lions Club in Prince Rupert was working on establishing this Memorial Park, which includes monuments and a commemorative wall. Families of loved ones lost at sea were able to purchase a brick for the wall with their family member’s name and details. I remember, at the time, not really caring one way or another if my mom purchased a brick in my dad’s memory. At that young age, I thought…. we don’t live in Prince Rupert, why bother? But, now I’m so grateful that she did it. I have such respect for her thinking of me, of my memories with my dad, and for doing it for me, even though I was non-committal! While I don’t get to Rupert often, if I’m there, I go and see the park and my dad’s brick. Jeremy appreciated being able to see the space as well.
After a beautiful afternoon wandering in and around Cow Bay, we went to camp at the BC Ferry parking lot. On their website, they say you can camp overnight the night before your sailing. They fail to mention that the parking lot is gated and you have to be there before they end their shift. That happens to be at 4pm the day we drove up at around 7pm! (OB: mastering your homework, once again, I see.) So, with no competition in PR, we drove 1km up the hill to the only local campground. They WAY overcharge for their spots, and as you drive along the road, keen eyes notice that the campground is pretty much beside a landfill. They try to pretend the trees hide it, buuuuuuut….. Needless to say, we came, we slept, we left!
We spent much of Day 17 on the ferry. The last time we were on the ferry to Haida Gwaii was about a decade ago when Jer and I took the Inside Passage from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and then across to Haida Gwaii. Back then, we camped in the Port Hardy parking lot and the next morning as we waited to board the ferry, I grabbed the binoculars and said, “I wonder who I know waiting to walk on the boat.” Jeremy answered in JB’s voice, “you’re not going to know anyone.” Three seconds later, I’m naming about 5 of the people I see. That story has become one we laugh about and share when trying to describe for people just how small a place I’m from. This time, OB stood in my way: “No one knows you. No one cares you’re heading home for a visit. It’s tourist season. You’re now a “tourist” when you come here. You’ll know no one. You hear me? NO ONE.” And yet, as I took the dogs for a walk before we were to board the boat, who do I see but the dad of someone I grew up with sitting in a truck with the brother of another friend returning home from a golfing trip. We walked upstairs to get our cabin key, and whaddya know, there’s someone I went to high school with whom I haven’t seen since the early 90s. Take that, OB!
One tidbit we haven’t shared thus far is that we are meeting friends on Haida Gwaii, several of whom also grew up on the Islands. They haven’t told anyone they’re traveling up there, as they’re hoping to surprise a few friends upon arrival, so we’ve kept “mum” about it to help keep the cat IN the bag, so to speak. As I was sitting in the ferry cafeteria enjoying a cup of coffee before I lost internet service on my phone, I received a Facebook message. It was from my friend Lorne who lives in Masset. His words to me: “is that (mystery friend name #1) I see in Sandspit?” I tried to fake him out by spilling the beans that Jeremy and I were on the ferry from Rupert and I was hoping to see him in a few days and order some of his wife’s famous pizza. After a couple more exchanges, he asks, “Is that (mystery friend #2) as well?” I was texting, FB messaging and even tried calling to let my two friends know, “You’ve been spotted!” It’s not very often we’re happy to be out of internet service range nowadays, but drifting off the grid helped me keep my poop in a group!
OB: doesn’t matter, they’re still gonna think you ruined the surprise.
Jenn: no, they won’t. We’re FROM here, we get it. You can’t hide here! Plus, I didn’t ruin anything. They’ve remained nameless, even in this blog.
OB: nobody is reading your damn blog. I bet blogging is sooooo 2012.
We are close to docking in Skidegate as I finish this, and I’m so excited to be home on Haida Gwaii shortly!