Life as an earthnomad

“Mama, we have a problem!”

“Zoe Zoe, it is snowing!”

I am slowly waking up and calculating how many hours we can drive today, and how far we can get. But after Finn’s exclamation both Antoine and I are instantly completely awake and looking outside. Indeed, the landscape around us has turned into winter wonderland. Overnight, and quite unexpectedly are we facing the narrow Cassiar Highway covered with several inches of snow. This road has no shoulders and drops off 5 feet straight down at places. The hills are steep and as far was we can see from here, nobody is plowing the road.

Last night we barely made the first 50 miles onto this deserted road through British Columbia, veering off from the Alaska Highway. It was a quick decision to overnight at a rest stop, and continue early in the morning. We have no cellphone reception and no way of knowing what the rest of the road is like, short of what some other drivers who take a break at the rest area tell us.

We are trying to make a (non)informed decision. Heading back to a somewhat larger highway, where we know how steep and windy the first 50 miles will be? Continue south and just find out as we go?

At this point Finn storms into the living room (our bedroom) and shouts: “We have a problem! Do we still have carrots, because we have to make a snowman!”

As quickly as we can, we get dressed, eat some breakfast and start driving through the snow. We will make it at least to the next place where a few people live, which is only 15 miles from here. The snow is quite deep in places and we do not at all feel comfortable pulling this 9000 pound trailer through a blizzard. The tires on our truck are brand new and rated for snow, but what can you do if the whole trailer starts slipping?

Checking fuel levels in Good Hope Lake in an above ground fuel tank

In the nearest settlement, we top off fuel and decide to continue. Apparently everyone is surprised by this unexpected early snow. An attendant at the gas station is measuring how much is in his tank by putting a long stick into it from above (it’s an above ground tank). It’s as if he is checking oil but then on a very large scale. He has a spectacular view of the mountains.

Not too far down the road we hit Jade City. It is a town consisting of approximately one house (as far as I can tell, I may be exaggerating here) and they sell jade. Oh and there is a large sign by the road about free coffee. Antoine heads inside for the free coffee, and to admire the cute store. A trucker who has been talking to other truckers on the road with their trucker ways of doing so, lets us know that the road gets better further south.

Indeed, the storm calms down, the road starts clearing up and eventually the sun breaks through. We let a sigh of relief, only to find out that one of our wheels is unusually hot. (We lack a purchased monitoring system, so after ruining several bearings, hubs and a spindle, we check by hand.) Next thing to take care of. Coffee anyone? Or is it time for something stronger?

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  • sherri holt

    Good morning FEBVRE family. This is Sherri from Safelite. I spent some time looking over your website and I have to say this is the most amazing thing I have seen in a long time. What a wonderful thing you are showing your children. I love it. Wish more people were like you guys. Enjoy your adventure and keep posting pics.

  • Phoenicia Oyeniyi

    What an adventure you and your family are on. I cannot imagine how cold it must be in Alaska but your daughter looks well wrapped up in the photograph. I am sure no two days are the same. Your family life certainly sounds fun. I was slightly aghast that your nearest neighbour is 15 miles away and you said “only 15 miles away!”

  • Tushita Raghuvanshi

    This sounds seriously a breathtaking experience, I know it must be difficult at first place, but having such an adventure in a lifetime is a great adventure to remember and smile about later in the life. Alaska is one of the places I really want to explore. Keep Going.

  • Doreen Pendgracs

    Hello Chantal and welcome to the BHB group! It sounds like you are on quite the adventure with your family. I’ve never heard of the Cassiar Highway, but do love every inch of British Columbia that I have ever visited. Happy travels and I look forward to reading more.

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