“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?
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?