Anybody been out to Bella Coola on the BC coast? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-23-2015, 12:46 PM   #1
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Anybody been out to Bella Coola on the BC coast?

Bella Coola is at the end of the Chilcotin Hiway, about 300 miles west of Williams Lake. The drive includes the dreaded Freedom Hill, or about 40 miles of steep unpaved road, up and over Heckman Pass, the summit of which is right about 5,000 feet. Lots of woods, bears, and beautiful scenery.

The Chilcotin Highway

Has anybody here been up that way with a fiberglass trailer? We will be towing our 16' Scamp deluxe with a Toyota Highlander AWD.

I've searched the forum with not much result and would love to ask a couple questions about folks' experience.

Thanks in advance

Chuck
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Old 11-23-2015, 08:15 PM   #2
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I thought I'd look on youtube for ya.
Watched this one, interesting.
There are several vids I just searched hwy 20 bc Canada
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:44 PM   #3
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Yeah, pretty cool, huh? Hopefully it won't be foggy when we're going over Heckman Pass. I'd hate to miss all that scenery.

Anybody want to recommend some good campgrounds or parks between Williams Lake and Bella Coola? Any sights to not miss?

Thanks,

cg
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:45 AM   #4
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It was many years ago when my brother and I and our two wives went into Bella Coola. It was a beautiful drive over some fairly high plateau country, with gorgeous mountain and valley vistas. The drive down the hill is quite steep, and if I remember correctly there were about seven switchbacks on the hill going down into the valley. Make sure your trailer has good working brakes, as you will need them. At the time, the road down was gravel, and I assume it still is, but it was in good condition. There was an undeveloped campground near the top of the hill. I believe it may have been a forestry campground. It was where we camped, and it was nice, but there were no services. We were self contained, so that was no problem. There are probably campgrounds in Hagensburg, and Bella Coola. You could try Accommodations BC and tourism BC to see what they can tell you about campsites in the area. Enjoy your trip.

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Old 11-24-2015, 11:45 AM   #5
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Hi Chuck,

Stop in at the Forestry office in 100 Mile House, or Williams Lake. They'll have lots of good information for you. You'll be in breathtaking beautiful country. Haven't driven a trailer down or up Heckman's but it is done all the time, just take it slow and you'll be fine. A great stop is Chris Harris' Studio, at Mile 105 turn east through the Monical ranch. Chris is a photographer and has a website where you can see where you'll be driving through. Look up Farwell Canyon, it is just south of Highway 20 at Alexis Creek. And don't miss the Gang Ranch! Homesick! And Tatlayoko Lake!
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Old 11-24-2015, 01:59 PM   #6
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Hi Beardrum, Haven't been there, yet, but just spent 3 months and 12,700 km on a road trip to Inuvik, Northwest Territories where half our time was on roads like these, and worse!. Towing my 13 ft. Trillium with my 2006 Toyota Tacoma - 4WD 4cyl. without any major issues.

Weather can change things as we had to abandon one gravel road side-trip due to the road conditions after a day of heavy rain which can happen any time of the year in B.C.

The issues we encountered: broken front windshield on truck; loss of spare tire from back of the trailer after 45 miles of the worst washboard I've ever seen in 50 plus years of driving. It broke the welded post, chain and lock and disappeared somewhere; the rivets on the gravel guard on the trailer window loosened up considerably from all the rattling; holes in fiberglass on trailer front from spitting rocks - good mudflaps on the truck, but.... Some sort of solid protection needed as I had sprayed 3 coats of that rubberized rocker panel stuff on the lower half of the trailer before we left, but it didn't help. Well maybe it did. We might have had the holes sooner otherwise!

Preventive things we did before the trip:

- new tires for both truck & trailer(10 ply Rotiva AT Plus & 8 ply Marathons)
- 2 extra spare tires for both
- replace hoses,belts, filters, fluids, plugs, thermostat
- headlight covers - heavy duty clear adhesive vinyl
- R & R all windows and resealed with ProFlex, not silicone!
- towing mirrors - that got loose, so took zap straps to anchor
- tow strap - 20 ft. 5000 lbs.
- 12V tire inflation compressor
- water bandit - for taps without threads, or threads that didn't work
- solar tabletop lamps - no drain on batteries.
- propane safety check
- hitch receiver lock and hitch pin lock
- air horn and bear spray

Of course because we had done all this we ended up not having any operational issues on the whole trip. I'd heard that the gravel on the Dempster Hwy. was shale and really good at slicing tires hence the 10 ply. Speed is factor on those roads too.
Climbing hills like the one on the Freedom Hwy. was a slow process with a 4 cyl. but it was quite comfortable, especially since my vehicle is a manual transmission. I like the engine braking effect coming downhill too since I don't have brakes on my trailer yet.
It's a bit wearing driving for a long time on those types of roads where there are blind corners, dust, fog, road hazards, etc. so we took plenty of breaks to enjoy the scenery. Some roads we went on were single lane with just two muddy ruts. On those, I drove slowly "off centre" to keep the trailer from getting high centred. That an using the 4WD - either 4 high or 4 low depending on the circumstances.
I feel you can go anywhere as long as you use commons sense and go slow when needed. The "Hill" should be quite feasible. We only dropped the trailer and did a day trip on gravel without it once because we couldn't get it on the ferry across the Mackenzie River due to the dirt banks and low clearance.

Any questions, feel free to ask. Still working on my photos from the trip!

Barb
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Old 11-24-2015, 02:15 PM   #7
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Chuck you do know that there is a ferry that runs from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island? I very nice ferry ride, should you decide not to do both ways on the road.... added bonus is you would get to tour Vancouver island as well.
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:38 PM   #8
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The big gravel road tough I hear parts are paved now.

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Originally Posted by beardrum View Post
Bella Coola is at the end of the Chilcotin Hiway, about 300 miles west of Williams Lake. The drive includes the dreaded Freedom Hill, or about 40 miles of steep unpaved road, up and over Heckman Pass, the summit of which is right about 5,000 feet. Lots of woods, bears, and beautiful scenery.

The Chilcotin Highway

Has anybody here been up that way with a fiberglass trailer? We will be towing our 16' Scamp deluxe with a Toyota Highlander AWD.

I've searched the forum with not much result and would love to ask a couple questions about folks' experience.

Thanks in advance

Chuck
: haven't been down that road for at least 30 years and it was always kept in good shape except for winter on Freedom Hill, only way in winter is snowshoes.
I would put a rubber rockgaurd treatment or something like that to the front bottom half of the trailer to protect it from flying gravel. I have been told that is partially paved But if you phoned the RCMP or Visitor Centre in Williams Lake I'm sure someone there would be able to tell u the condition of the road, Best time is June, July for longer days, August, but snow can fly anytime after August.
Have fun I know we did.
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Old 11-24-2015, 05:59 PM   #9
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Unhappy Highway of Tears

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highwa...y_of_Tears.jpg

I realize it is Highway 16 north of 20, but one never knows.

Here is another website:

http://www.visitthewestchilcotin.com/Road-Travel.html
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:16 PM   #10
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I don't think a Ferry goes there From Port Hardy

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Chuck you do know that there is a ferry that runs from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island? I very nice ferry ride, should you decide not to do both ways on the road.... added bonus is you would get to tour Vancouver island as well.
:I believe it goes to Pr Rupert, BC but I could be wrong. It used to stop at other locations but they cancelled some of the stops in the past few years.
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Old 11-25-2015, 03:59 PM   #11
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I also believe they stopped going to Bella Coola
We did the Port Hardy to Price Rupert & Hwy 16 ,then 97 to hwy 1 with a trillium and a SUV over the summer.

I don't think a Ferry goes there From Port Hardy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carol H
Chuck you do know that there is a ferry that runs from Port Hardy on Vancouver Island? I very nice ferry ride, should you decide not to do both ways on the road.... added bonus is you would get to tour Vancouver island as well.

:I believe it goes to Pr Rupert, BC but I could be wrong. It used to stop at other locations but they cancelled some of the stops in the past few years.
Stude
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Old 11-25-2015, 04:40 PM   #12
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BC Ferries Schedules: Discovery Coast Connector<br>(Summer Service along BC's scenic Mid Coast)

I would recommend taking the ferry from Bella Coola to Port Hardy, because driving west towards the coast mountains, having them come closer as you go, is wonderful.
Bring TIME because there is a lot to explore. Nemaia Valley going to Chilko Lake. You will not be sorry, Big Sky country/ Chilcotin is beautiful!
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Old 11-25-2015, 08:47 PM   #13
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If you have a choice for the ferry dates, choose one that stops at Ocean Falls and Shearwater. The trip into Ocean Falls and back is spectacular. Shearwater is a stop along the regular route.
I have a cabin up in Haida Gwaii (formerly Queen Charlotte Islands) and I take the ferry up to Prince Rupert every year. It's the world's cheapest cruise. If you need a place to stop on your way up or down Vancouver Island I'm just North of Courtenay. It's a 3 hr. drive to Port Hardy from here.
The Nemiah Valley is on my list. They have a rodeo there in the summer that I'd love to see. It hasn't been that long that there has been road access into there.
Enjoy whatever route you choose, but the 'circle' route with the ferry is the best. Any questions I'll try and answer for you.
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Old 11-26-2015, 07:33 AM   #14
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Do stop at the Visitor Centre in William's Lake. It is an awesome log building designed by the "Timber Kings" from the tv show. The folks are very helpful and will let you know all the places to camp in the wider area. Have a great time. It is a beautiful area of Canada.
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