Today was the prettiest drive yet. Enough trees and mountains for anybody!

There were some rough patches of pavement, several areas with construction taking the road down to one lane, a few steep grades (and when they say “80km maximum,” whoa do they mean it!). My planned second gas stop was out of gas, so the last 100 miles made me a little nervous. That’s just because I’m paranoid, though; I was above half a tank. I pulled into Fort Nelson at just over 1/4 tank. Things were fine. I guess I figured there’d be mountains and construction, or something. But I’ve definitely learned my lesson. I have all of tomorrow’s gas stops listed out, with the two I like best highlighted and plenty of backup plans, in case they’re out. (Not sure they’re the cheapest, but one has the word “toad” in it, and the other claims to have tasty buffalo burgers.) Since I paid $1.25 a liter, just now, the whole concept of “cheap gas” is kind of foreign. I hear it gets less expensive from here on; we shall see.

My first stop, today, at Fort St. John, was nice, as promised. Aaand… that was my only stop. I’m not sure why I decided “They don’t have gas” meant I couldn’t get out of the car, but I did. That’s a definite way to make even one of the shorter days of the drive seem long–having learned that lesson, I made myself a list of pull-offs with nice views and even one with a .6 mile hike, for tomorrow. It may be too cold to leave the birds, honestly–I have it on good authority that it snowed a couple of days ago in one of the areas I drive through tomorrow, though odds are it’s already melted.

I’m a little nervous about tomorrow’s drive. It’s one of the more mountainy days. And at roughly 320 miles, it isn’t precisely short. But I’m planning to start early and take my time, so it should go fine. The Milepost makes it sound like sheep just stand around on the roadside to be gawked at, along with buffalo, caribou, moose, and bears. We’ll see. I’m not going to try to take wildlife pictures, unless something walks out of the woods while I’m already at a pull-off. But I’ll keep my eyes open, both for things in the road and for things along it.

There are still a fair number of people on the road, even though it’s the tail end of the tourist season. It’s not what you’d call congested, but there’s a reasonable number of cars. And RVs. And gas trucks. The signs claim there are log trucks, but I haven’t seen them.

I tried to listen to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets today, but it was too painful. I hate Lockhart, and I hate Dobby, and I hate that whole bit with taking the flying car to Hogwarts. It’s my least favorite of the books. (Sorry, if any of you are fans. I agree that the ending is pretty fantastic.) I may start it back up tomorrow, or I may stick entirely to music. Today, I filled in with lots of Cake, the Joss Whedon musicals, and the Spiffy CD (CMU AB Tech’s sound check CD, which is … eclectic).

And now, pictures!

The first two [if it ordered them right this time] are from a pull-off half-way down this insane curvy grade thing. I thought the bridge looked neat. I don’t know how many details of it you can see, but there’s a gas processing facility there. The striped “bridge” next to the blue bridge is a pipeline. (Dale, if you zoom in on the picture, full size, all the way to the right (above the branches) are two of those “towers with fire at the top” I was talking about. Anybody: what purpose do those serve? Why would gas places want to burn anything off?) The next is a cliff I thought was pretty, though it got a little washed out in the photo. The next really didn’t come out the way I’d hoped–very few of my in-car pictures do, since I’m looking at the road, not at what the camera’s showing–but I thought it was probably worth sharing, just so you could see what I was trying to do. :) And the last is one of the mountains I saw, early on. Rumor has it I drive through that range tomorrow.

Wish me luck!