Having lived in Prince George for many years, the real adventure began in Terrace, west of which was virgin territory for me.
After spending the night catching up on email at the Copper River Motel & RV Park just east of Terrace, the next day we continued westbound along the gorgeous Skeena River to Prince Rupert from where we would catch the ferry to Juneau.
The second longest river entirely in British Columbia, Canada, the Skeena is important to B.C.’s commercial fishing industry — but from what we saw, it was important as a beautiful place to relax and have fun along the many huge gravel bars.
Arriving in Prince Rupert, we checked in at the Prince Rupert RV and then headed down to Cow Bay, where we had lunch at Smile’s Seafood Cafe – the most highly recommended seafood joint in PR.
Well, I have to agree with one reviewer who wrote this about Smile’s on TripAdvisor:
Smiles was once an institution, but if you eat there now, you belong in one. It’s located over the water, with decent views, and in its heyday, it was known for fresh local salmon, halibut, crab, etc., served in healthy quantities by attentive and cordial staff. Those days are gone. What you get now is crammed-together tables, poor service, and the kind of seafood you can get in Nebraska.
To borrow from one of my mother’s Dutch expressions, you would have needed a bike to travel from one clam to the next in the gloopy, tasteless mess that passed for chowder.
To get to the chowder however, you first get to choose to seat yourself at one of several tables still occupied by the previous clients’ leavings. Service might have been better if there was a plan in effect for staff, i.e. a dedicated cash/hostess and if waitresses didn’t also have to bus tables. Waiting 5 minutes to place a refreshment order after acquiring one’s own sticky menu from the pile, then another 5 to pay for the pleasure detracted from what might have been an average experience in an historic (but somewhat grimy) restaurant.
Other than that slight disappointment, we spent the rest of the day roaming about town stocking up on needed/forgotten trip supplies such as rubber boots, Canadian beer and reading materials.
We didn’t get into the latter that evening, as we were fortunate to spend it chatting and sipping Sumac Ridge port with Tristane and Celia, a lovely young couple from France who had cycled from Anchorage to Prince Rupert via the Stewart Cassiar Highway.
Sadly, I don’t have a picture of them.
Fortunately, I didn’t make that same mistake with the rest of the folks we met on our trip, whom you’ll meet in the next posts about our Alaska and Yukon adventure.