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Eating our way up Highway 97

Vancouver, Canada
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Eating our way up Highway 97

We are headed out on a driving trip later this month. Would much appreciate some advice on following questions -

1. There is an ice cream stop between Cache Creek and Clinton that some posts refer to from time to time. Is that the Horstings Farm? Or ??? Someone mentioned recently that they had found it closed on the particular day they went by. Has anyone else been by recently?

2. Does anyone have a favourite restaurant in Prince George? We are looking for something in a mid-price range for dinner when we stop overnight. Can be ethnic.

3. We'll probably be in Smithers for lunch. Where would be a good place to stop?

4. On a different topic, has anyone been through Clinton this past week or so? What is the forest fire situation like? Is there a lot of smoke in the air?

Thanks so much for the help.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

Unfortunately, I can't help you out with questions 1 - 3. I've driven between Prince George and the Okanagan many times, but each time I do, I bring along a packed lunch and just stop at rest areas/viewpoints along the way. I'm sure someone will be along soon to help you out, though.

As for forest fire information, the BC Forests website has up-to-date and thorough information: gov.bc.ca/emergency_response/…index.html The biggest fire near Clinton is the Kelly Creek fire. The web page for that one is bcwildfire.ca/hprScripts/… . It looks like Clinton is under an evacuation alert (meaning they must be prepared for an evacuation order), but the good news is that the BC Interior is supposed to get some rain this weekend. Hopefully that will help the fire situation throughout the Chilcotin & Okanagan.

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2. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

The beginning of Aug, we had a lunch at a funky little place in Smithers on Main Street (right side as you head from the highway to the Railway Stn) called Kokopelli. It was good - and busy. We also had dinner at the Sushi place on the other side of Main St, but I can't remember the name. Very good at any rate.

I was the one who said the ice-cream place was closed when we went through Clinton.

How far are you going past Smithers, or are you? If you are going farther, do stop on the side of the road in Moricetown where the 1st Nations fish with dip nets in a narrow cut of the River. Quite spectacular.

Don't try to find someplace good to eat in Houston - the "best" place (or so we were told) was pretty pricey and not really very good at all. We'd have been better off at Subway.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

Just came down from Williams Lake on Tuesday. On the way up, it was a little smokey through Clinton, then totally cleared up as we climbed the hill, but hit thicker smoke as we drove into 150 Mile that stayed with us to Soda Creek. Next morning, it was clear and beautiful - wind must have shifted. On the way down, no smoke through Williams Lake, but then 100 Mile House was smokey. Stopped overnight at Green Lake (the dead pines through that area was just shocking), then on through Clinton and south with no smoke issues. Really depends on the wind. But anyway, all it really did was make things a bit grey and dark and fantastic colours on the sun and moon.

Clinton is surprisingly busy, if you are used to driving through and seeing three people, as it is providing the incident centre, so there are lots of cars and people around.

The little ice cream place in Clinton is as you get towards the north end of town. Horstings Farm, just on the north side of Cache Creek, also does good ice cream. Didn't stop at either one on this trip, but both appeared to be open.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

Thanks to you all. This is very helpful.

I guess I should have used the title "Eating our Way up Highways 97 and 16". The Prince Rupert/Terrace area is our final destination. We're not sure whether, to come back, we will take the ferry down to Port Hardy or retrace our steps.

We did a similar trip in 2007 - taking the ferry from Port Hardy up to Prince Rupert and then driving down. It was a beautiful trip, although, as you say, V-67, it is so sad to see all the dead trees as you travel further south.

We discovered a most interesting book at the library - "Exploring the Interior County Roads of British Columbia." So we hope to get off the main roads a bit this time - exploring the hoodoos around Kamloops (thanks to all the information provided by BCBoy in another thread) and, depending upon the forest fire situation, taking the road from Williams Lake to Clinton that goes through the Gang Ranch. There is a photographer - Chris Harris - from around the 70 Mile area who takes the most amazing pictures of the Chilcotin grasslands. However, it will depend, I guess, on the status of the fire near Clinton later in the month.

So, there are two places to get ice cream along that road beyond Cache Creek. We'll have to look out for them, as well as the restaurants mentioned.

Thanks again.

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5. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

When we went your same route the beginning of Aug to see our daughter in Rupert, we came home on the new ferry.

It's pricey, but it was nice. SInce it leaves at 7:30 AM and arrives in Hardy at 10:30 PM we didn't get a stateroom, but we did pay the extra $30 each for the lounge. They give you water, cookies and little bags of chips plus a voucher for 1 hot drink, but there are nice reclining loungers and a full view. It was raining for us and we noticed that if you sit off centre because of the angle of the front windows that the rain cleared off them better than the front flat windows.(You select seating). Also, it's much quiter in there and the air conditioning is better because when you go out of the room to eat or wander around, the rest of the seating areas soon smelled like a teenagers bedroom!

I would suggest taking some snacks like bananas or muffins because the food is typical ferry food and not cheap. The fancy restaurant has a breakfast and dinner buffet that is absolutely horrendous pricing considering you are just sitting around and not working up any appetite. Menu looked good, but we settled for burgers and the like.

By the way, Smithers is a wonderful little place to stay - it's so clean and tidy. If you golf, they have a great course which was in impeccable shape.

Rupert has a restaurant called PegLegs right on the water - they make pizza with bannock -- kind of different. The cruise ship is in on Thurs afternoon and the downtown is swarming.

We did a little detour out to "Old" Hazelton as well and that was intersting - including the bridge you have to drive over to get there. It's one of a few made with pipe rather than cable or so my husband said as he'd seen a documentary about it not long ago.

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

Thank you for the additional info, IslandWest, about ferries, Smithers and food in Prince Rupert (will have to mark that PR restaurant down).

Yes, we will be stopping in the Hazleton/Old Hazleton/New Hazleton area. We missed seeing the Ksan Village in 2007. We went through in May and they were under "flood watch". Everything was being packed away in semi-trailers to be taken to higher ground. They were most apologetic. We did, however, see all the old totem poles in the field at Kispiox. They were quite impressive. We're looking forward to being back in that part of the province.

Parksville, Canada
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7. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

Itchyfeet

I was on vacation (Naramata - wonederful!) last week, ergo no response from me on this topic until today.

In Prince George I like to go to Tandoori Restaurant on 5th Avenue, right across from the Ramada Hotel downtown. Reasonable Indian food; we don't have much ethnic food in the north, so my taste isn't as discerning maybe as when I lived in the Lower Mainland, but it's good. Ric's Grill (ricsgrill.com), around the corner is more of a steak and chop house, but it's also very good. Cimo Mediterranean Grill and North 54 are also VERY good, owned by the same company, and are both downtown. north54restaurant.com

At home in Smithers, the Sushi restaurant is called Blue Fin. Another sushi restaurant (I know, what's with 2 sushi restaurants in little Smithers?) is opening further down Main Street and I can't comment on it. But Blue Fin is great. Not open on Mondays. I can also recommend the Trackside Cantina (on Railway, end of Main Street) in the old railway station. Good mexican food, but if it is busy the service can be slow as they have a small kitchen. And my final recommendation, also on Main Street is the Alpenhorn pub and bistro - extensive menu, good food. alpenhornbistro.com

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

Thank you, thank you Robinsegg. I did see your posts for information in connection with your trip and thought that you might still be away. I'll note those suggestions down.

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

We’re back from our trip and I just wanted to thank again everyone who responded to this and other posts for your suggestions. I thought that, in return, I should give some idea as to how things went, in case anyone is planning a trip up to the Prince Rupert/Terrace area.

We ate at a mixture of restaurant chains and individually-owned restaurants and coffee houses (as well as at an exclusive restaurant called “chez family”).

For dinners, we particularly enjoyed the following restaurants –

1. Kamloops – Hot House Bistro and The Dorian

2. Prince George – Earls (I had sworn off Earls several years ago after receiving really, really awful service at one restaurant in the Lower Mainland. We tried it going up because it was close to where we were staying and we were tired after 8 ½ hours of driving from Kamloops and coming back because we were full of the “Very, Very Chocolaty Brownie” – see below - consumed earlier in the afternoon and just wanted something light. We were pleasantly surprised by our meals and the quality of service we received both times.)

3. Smithers – Alpenhorn

4. Terrace – Don Diego’s

For lunches, coffee/tea, goodies, etc., we liked –

1. Clinton – the ice cream place on the north edge of town

2. Quesnel – Granville’s Coffee (sandwiches to go, coffee/tea, goodies)

3. Prince George – Voltaire’s Café (attached to a book shop – Books and Company)

– try the “Very, Very Chocolaty Brownie” – quite amazing, also there is usually something rather nice about a café attached to a book store.

4. Burns Lake – Redfern’s Coffee House (lunch) – they advertise as an Internet café also

5. Hazleton – Mercedes Beans (coffee/tea, goodies) and Trading Post (lunch)

6. Terrace – Elephant Ear (lunch, coffee/tea, goodies)

We did encounter some challenges in finding lunch on Sundays. Either the restaurants were closed for the day or we arrived just after they had closed for Sunday afternoon. If you are leaving a major centre to drive on a Sunday along this route, you might want to find a place that does sandwich takeout before you go.

For non-BC people, my BCAA map says that it is about 1600 km between Vancouver and Prince Rupert. Much of the road is marked 100 km per hour; however, there are many times when you cannot go this fast (encountered much road construction this time, as well as slower RVs and semis, and, of course, the reduced speed required through villages, towns and cities). We took four days each way, but these were not always full days of driving.

The primary purpose of the trip was to visit family in the Prince Rupert/Terrace area. We did, however, take a little time for sightseeing. This was not our first trip; we had already been up that way in 2007.

This time, we visited the Museum of Northern BC in Prince Rupert again, drove up the “Nisga’a Highway” to the Nisga’a/Lava Lands Provincial Park, visited the Ksan Centre at Hazleton (closed the last time we were up that way), saw the canyon at Moricetown (although there were not any fishers, we did enjoy the view), stayed overnight at Smithers/Bulkley Valley (Robinsegg - you live in such a lovely area of the province!) and did a couple of “back road” drives, first up to hoodoos west of Kamloops and then across to Cache Creek.

Thanks again, guys. Your help was much appreciated. (I’ll be posting some reviews of places we stayed when I get a chance.)

Parksville, Canada
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10. Re: Eating our way up Highway 97

Itchyfeet

thanks for the trip report! Yes, we are very fortunate to live in such a great part of the province. I posted something on Facebook the other day about a black bear in our backyard and got a very comical response from a college dorm mate who practices law in NYC. I replied that I have happily become a "backwoods" girl! Although, as you know, it's really not backwoods at all!