Excitement was growing as we saw that the end of our journey was in sight! We had a smooth departure for what was supposed to be our third-to-last day. The U-Haul tire was still not staying inflated, so we called U-Haul’s roadside assistance for help, again.
One challenge, which would persist for the rest of the trip, was spotty cellular coverage. We needed to try to have conversations near towns, since service would often drop out in-between. We explained the situation to U-Haul, and they made arrangements for us to go to Kal Tire in Fort St. John, a few hours up the road. Kal Tire was efficient and considerate, and found that the tire was ok but the fill valve needed to be replaced.
Sarah and Ilana made good use of the waiting time, and did a supermarket snack run. Ilana was extremely sad that she didn’t have enough time to go to Starbuck. We gassed up, and also made a trip to Canadian Tire.
On the road to Fort Nelson, we started seeing some great wildlife by the side of the road. We were getting further north, and the population density was far smaller.
We had planned a shorter driving day to Watson Lake the next day, so planned to get up a bit later the next day.
Just like Greg and Ilana’s 2003 trip from Efland, North Carolina to Fairbanks, we had difficulty finding a place to stay in Ft. Nelson. Originally, the crew was going to stay at a hotel/motel in town, and Greg and Ilana were going to camp at the ballfield (as they did on the 2015 trip). However, due to wet clothing and cold temperatures, it was not desirable to camp out. While Sarah drove the Subaru, Ilana was in touch with the Ft. Nelson Chamber of Commerce, where the wonderful person at the other end did some research on where we could stay with 24 sled dogs. There seemed to have been miscommunication with some of the places because they thought we wanted to bring all 24 dogs inside! The Super 8 said we were welcome, but would have to book 6 rooms to accommodate 4 dogs in each room.
After looking through the Ft. Nelson Accommodation list that the Chamber of Commerce sent, we found a dive motel called the Blue Bell Inn, where 24 dogs was “no problem!” We drove to the Blue Bell in and paused. We then drove to the overflow parking area of the Ft. Nelson Visitor Center where the Chamber of Commerce person said we could camp out; however there were “no camping” signs all over the place. We dropped dogs to feed them and then headed back to the Blue Bell Inn.
There was an RV area at the back of the Blue Bell Inn, so it was a good place to drop dogs in the morning!
[This is Post 8 of 11]