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  • Day23

    VANCOUVER TO MISSION VIA DEWDNEY

    June 16, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    We must have looked a strange set of travellers trudging up West Pender Street with Ross out in front pulling 2 very large bikes bags followed by Ellie wheeling 2 suitcases, giving one bike bag the occasional kick when it didn't run straight and Tony and I following up the rear with our luggage. We successfully reached, the now familiar, Waterfront Station, caught Skytrain to the airport where we collected our mini van which would be our means of transport for the final sector of the holiday.

    We successfully navigated our way out of Vancouver through suburbs with familiar sounding names such as Surrey and Langley and eventually joined Highway 1. Back in the day, our memory of Highway 1 was a one up, one down road with opportunities to drop off at little road side diners but now it is a busy major 4 lane highway and you need to turn off to service areas so no quaint diners for a coffee stop. When we reached Hope we stopped for lunch, unfortunately there was too long a line to get seated at the first restaurant so the only other option was Tim Hortons. Ellie was keen to take a mini detour to visit the first "Dewdney site" which was Dewdney Avenue, just a regular residential street, the locals must have wondered why a car full of tourist turned up taking pictures at their road sign, Japanese style!!!! For old time's sake we left Hope via the Main Street which was the only street on our 1st visit.

    We turned off onto Highway 3 and the road narrowed and had less traffic, of course we still had lovely scenery. We entered Manning Park and stopped off to speak to Mr Ranger and get a map. We had a few more miles to get to the Cascade Recreation Area where a walkable section of the old Dewdney Trail began. When we reached the parking lot we weren't disappointed there were signs and notice boards about Edgar and his trail so lots of photo opportunities for us latter day Dewdney's! The Dewdney trail came about as in 1894 the 49th parallel was established as the United States/Canada border and most of the trading routes originated in the United States and there was a lack of good routes from the Canadian Coast into the Interior of British Columbia this was of little concern until gold was discovered in the late 1850's. In order to maintain British control over the mining it was decided to build a trail within Canada and the contract for building it was given to Edgar Dewdney, a civil engineer. The trail was hoped to be large enough for a wagon but in places it was only suitable for pack mules. It seemed as each section was completed, gold or other minerals were found farther into the interior and the trail need to be extended. We walked a short section of the trail, initially down to the fast flowing river then farther into the wooded area. We found some fur scattered on the ground which we wonder if it was the remains of a bears breakfast! The trail seemed to fork and the Dewdney section seemed more overgrown but, what could have been the Whatcom trail, was clearer, but by this time we did seem to be lunch for the local mosquitos so we decided to head back to the car.

    We headed into the unincorporated small 'town' of Dewdney, found the historic pub called The Dewdney Pub and checked we had a reservation for dinner tonight. We then took a photo of the Dewdney Elementary School followed by a visit to the Dewdney Store. The store, which dated back to 1891 and became a post office in1917 and is the oldest Post Office in BC, was a little down at heels looking, with a broken electric sign flapping in the slight breeze and paint peeling off the sidings but the lady inside was most helpful and gave us information on films that has used the store as a location (including one with Richard Gere), she also agreed to give 2 postcards to the post mistress the next day so they would have a Dewdney stamp on them and finally she served us some delicious ice cream. Thinking we had found everything Dewdney, we set off for the hotel in Mission but then came across Dewdney Recreation Park and boat launch which we had to visit and en route we found a few more houses in the 'town'. We took a few more pics and received a few more mosquito bites before retiring to the car for protection.

    We did a quick change in the hotel then set off to the Dewdney Pub for supper and some country music played by The Dusty Something Band! The pub had a charity event on so it was packed out with 'locals', no ethnic mix here, just down to earth cowboys enjoying the food, booze and country music. The band included a lady wearing cowboy boots and some of the guys had cowboy hats on. Their first number was an Eagles song but before they could finish their amplifiers had caused a power cut but they got the show back on the road and the music continued. The food was good and Els and Ross enjoyed the local beer. We found out from our very helpful waitress that the Liquor store attached to to the pub sold Dewdney Pub tee shirts so Ellie and I both bought one. Great evening, pub lived up to expectations and we felt we had experienced 'real' rather than tourist Canada.
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