Monday, October 26, 2015

Back to the Mainland

After crossing Vancouver Island from Duncan to Port Renfrew, we carried on along the coast of the south end of the island through Jordan River and Sooke.

I checked out Belcher Bay and went for a short hike along the coast before finding a quiet spot on a nearby mountain for the night.

While three friends in the area were all out of town or unavailable, I did manage to get together with two lovely young ladies in Victoria for lunch as I was passing through.

About that time, I noticed that the calendar was still ticking the days off and it was getting  closer and closer to the day when snow might start falling again around home.  I also had a request for some more aerial photo work back in Alberta.  So with that in mind we headed for the ferry …

In the tight passage between Galiano and Mayne islands we first met a tug with a barge load of gravel.


Then, another BC Ferry came into view right on a tight corner!


For a while there, it was headed right for us!IMG_0104

And then passed by us on the port side.IMG_0106

Once on land again, the GPS was ignored and we followed the signs (!) to the trans Canada Highway and headed east.  Beyond Hope (the town that is), we took the less travelled route through Princeton, Hedley, and Keremeos.  Traffic was light, the fall colours were out which made for a pleasant drive on a road that I realized I had not previously driven!

There were still a couple more ferry crossings to go in this trip – for a total of 12!

We got a front seat on this short ride across the southern end of Lower Arrow Lake.


A quick side-trip to check out St. Leon hot springs was cut short because it appeared that it would be relatively crowded during the nice fall weather.IMG_5063

The final ferry ride, and 12th of the trip was across Upper Arrow Lake.IMG_5065

The ‘fuel pirates’ were ripping people off with the fuel prices in Revelstoke.  It was $1.15/L when I headed for the coast, and up to $1.20 on my return a few weeks later. Prices were not even that steep at the north end of Vancouver Island!  By comparison, the price in Calgary was $.89, and around here it is still $.92/L  I realize that BC has higher taxes, but that is ridiculous.

Once back home, it was time to unload and winterize the truck camper, and start gearing up the 5th wheel for the southward migration.  My friend Don, from Driving Miss Donna stopped by and gave me a hand taking the camper off and moving the propane heater over to the 5th..

The weather was remarkably warm and sunny for this time of year, and even though the leaves are all gone, there was time to get up in the neighbourhood and take some fall photos.


As soon as the last photo job is out to the way, or at the sign of the first snowflake, you can bet we’ll be on the road south.  In the meantime, Hailey is enjoying the time at home and keeping all the local mice well behaved.  For the first time in quite a while, I guess you could say that the blog is right up to date!


Meanwhile, south of the line …

Wheeling It  Nina & Paul  have been in the Williams area, planning to visit the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

Bayfield Bunch are enroute from Ontario to Arizona, one Cracker Barrel at a time!

Jean and Skip have been checking out the Lake Havasu area

Wandering Willy is making his way down 395 in eastern California, perhaps with Death Valley in his sights.

Looking forward to seeing everyone down south this winter!

Friday, October 02, 2015

Too soon to head South!

With work done (at least for this year), and still a bit early to head south for the winter, there was only one viable option.  A roadtrip!  But to where?  Out came the maps and Google Earth.  East? West? North?  After the little snow flurries at camp, I didn’t think it made much sense to head north and likely find more of the same.  That left east or west …

But as usual, I headed out with no real plan in mind.  I started out a bit to the south, but plans to meet up with friends in Calgary or further south did not work out, but at least I got to check out the new Bass Pro Shops at the Cross Iron Mills.  The thought of hot springs then came to mind, and since there are not many (any?) in Saskatchewan, before I knew it the truck had turned towards BC.  Weather was cooling off before departure and in a rare pre-emptive strike, I got busy one day and winterized both the fifth wheel and the truck camper!  As luck and poor planning would have it, the very next day I loaded up the truck camper, and watered it up for the trip.  We made the big pull over Roger’s Pass without the big diesel even downshifting, and visited a friend for the night in Revelstoke.  Diesel prices in Calgary had been 88.9/L, and Revelstoke was 115.9/L, so we upped the fuel economy and found cheaper prices in Kamloops.  Missed meeting up with some friends in Kamloops as I passed through, and took the less-traveled route towards Merritt.  By that time, it seemed like it might be a good plan to push on and get through the downtown Vancouver traffic on a Sunday afternoon, BUT a convenient, scenic little lake side spot scuttled that plan.  Weather was doing it’s best to be damp and raining, but that’s not much of a concern in a cozy camper.  It was just getting dark, when I noticed Hailey intently staring out the back window.  Sure enough, there was a very small black bear out there, feasting on the berries in the bushes!


Unlike the 5th wheel that has a shower on board and an ample supply of water, the truck camper does not, so we are always on the lookout for a convenient place to shower.  We stumbled onto a very nice aquatic centre in Hope, and had a sauna and a hot tub to round out the deal.

We paid a surprise visit to that elusive, stealthy Wandering Willy on our approach to Vancouver, which put us right in the middle of rush hour to get through the city!  Luckily, there were few delays in the direction I was headed, but there appeared to be several multiple mile long backups in the opposite direction.  We kept right on going onto the Sea to Sky highway, all the way right up to Squamish.


Hailey says it is about time we got on the road again.  Enough with all those darn helicopters!IMG_4846

After visiting with friends for the night in the Squamish area, and checking out their new sailboat, it was time to hit the road again.  But then a Facebook friend who lives in the area, whom I haven’t seen in years noticed I was in the area, and called me up for a short get-together.  I think what I need is an app linked to Google Earth that plots everyone’s address from my address book on google earth or google maps, so I always know who lives in the area I’m traveling.  That way, I would not miss as many friends or get reminded later who I should have visited!

Anyway, that still left a bit of time for a short hike up the bottom of the Squamish Chief, which incidentally is more very steep stairs than anything else.  That got the lazy legs humming a bit.

We retraced our route back down the Sea to Sky and got us on a ferry boat at Horseshoe Bay and headed across Howe Sound to Langdale and Gibson’s – home of the long, long running Beachcombers TV Series.   Did another short, steep hike there up Soames hill, for a nice view of the harbour, and rewarded my efforts with some ribs and beer at Grandma’s Pub – right across the road from Molly’s Reach (from the TV show).  IMG_4871IMG_4869

On the way back to the truck, we found the Persephone on blocks by the street.  Lots of boats to check out at the docks


And another hike down to Smuggler Cove Provincial Park – where rum running boats used to hide out during prohibition while delivering to the US!IMG_9734IMG_9730IMG_9721IMG_9716IMG_9718

After a few days on the road, the rains let up and the ‘Sunshine Coast’ lived up to it’s name.  We were usually able to locate remote, scenic, free spots to camp along the coast, but it would have been very difficult to do the same towing the 5th wheel.  We picked up some small grocery items in Sechelt, and found yet another great rec centre with pool and hot tub – on special at $2.! 

As we continued northward along the coast, there was yet another ferry to get us across Jervis Inlet.  But first – Egmont, and the famous tides of the Skookumchuck Narrows!