Friday, April 14, 2017

Home, then on the road again!

Being back at home was nice – for a few days.  Then reality struck like a winter snow storm.  Okay, it actually was a winter snow storm.  It went from only a few patches of snow on the ground to a winter wonderland in the matter of several hours.


Sure glad I spent all that time washing the truck …


In spite of all the snow, the local library was still open for business!


Not unlike the Bayfield Bunch, there was a bit of a reason why I ended up home so soon.  Yes, it was getting too hot at Lake Havasu, and yes the snow at Whitmore hot springs area hastened my travel, but there was also a law firm that really wanted to hear from me!  When their efforts to ‘compel’ my appearance seemed to be going nowhere, they changed tactics and tried the carrot on a stick approach.  They actually offered to fly Hailey and I home from California, but eventually we agreed that they would pick up the tab for all my fuel if I returned in time for their court case.  And they did.  Then they paid all my expenses to travel from home to central BC for the case.  I had planned to leave the fifth wheel behind and take the truck camper, but as luck would have it, they moved the case up a few days and I was stuck trying to put the camper on in the snow at –10C (25F).


So … earlier than expected, Hailey and I were back on the road!

Travel conditions were good, but there was lots of evidence of recent avalanche activity in the high mountain passes.



They got us a nice cat-friendly hotel room …


… but I knew we would both be more comfortable in the camper in a quiet location on the shore of a nearby lake.  I was happy to use the shower in the hotel however as my truck camper does not have one, and was still winterized anyway. 


I made my first appearance in Supreme Court of BC, with 6-7 lawyers, 2 court staff and a judge.  No one else.  All that to hear me read from my notes and tell them that I could not remember much about a traffic collision I was called out to attend – 9 years ago!

Once done with that, and nice expense cheques in hand, we were free to seek out new adventures.  Unfortunately the weather in the whole area was cold and rainy.  But after finding a nice riverfront spot along the West Kettle river, the sun did make a brief, partial appearance.


We headed south, down along the US border, through Grand Forks and Christina Lake, and Castlegar.  I was headed for a very remote forest service campsite on the shore of Lower Arrow Lake, but it turned out to be much further than expected and the road conditions deteriorated enough that we just chose a deserted roadside spot with a nice view of the lake.


It was a very narrow, one lane road, clinging to the edge of the cliff in many areas.vlcsnap-2017-04-09-19h21m28s505vlcsnap-2017-04-09-19h22m52s685IMG_7551


Next, we headed down to Trail, BC, where I lived for a short time long ago.

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And then we moved further south along the Columbia River to the US boundary to where the Pend Oreille river joins the Columbia after passing through two hydro dams in quick succession.


There is a one-lane bridge leading down to the 9-5 border crossing.vlcsnap-2017-04-09-19h19m27s382

Weather was a mixed bag; mostly overcast, rain and cool.  When the time came to depart, word came that road conditions on high Koootenay Pass were turning ugly, so we retraced our earlier route up through Castlegar, then on north through Silverton, New Denver and Nakusp.  There are several hot springs in the back country in this area, but most are high elevation and the roads proved unfavourable for travel, so we pushed on across the Galena Bay ferry and up to Revelstoke for the night.

The ‘alarm cat’ woke me early in the morning, so we made it home again – just in time for the next round of snow storms ;-(

No ‘plans’ to go anywhere for a while, but with the camper already on – you just never know!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, B.C., Alberta and we’re home!

After a couple of days of soaking in the hot springs near Bridgeport, California, there was a change in the weather.  The road had been partially washed out since I was there in the fall making it a rough trip.  With fresh rain falling, I did not want to risk further problems, so we pulled up stakes and headed out.  For a change we headed back into Nevada right away and continued on that side of the line all the way north of Reno.


Campspot back  in Las Cienegas National Conservation Area


It was pouring rain as we pulled into Susanville, so there was no real incentive to stick around and try to enjoy the area.  The route from here to the coast follows a high winding mountain route, so the advent of trees again is a nice change after months in the desert.  Dropping down into the central valley at Red Bluff we were soon up in the high country again in the Shasta Trinity forest – the same route we came across back in November.  I recalled a high remote pull-off at the summit that was full of drug interdiction vehicles last time, and used that as a nice spot to overnight.



At least the rain had mostly ended by morning and the sun was doing it’s best to shine through.

Because of all the rain and snow in northern California of late, most of the creeks and rivers were running high, and there were numerous small mud slides along the road.

We made it back to the coast near Fortuna, and spent a couple of days listening to the surf pound at night before the weather deteriorated once again.

A few paragliders were taking advantage of the ocean breezes to do some ridge soaring above the south spit.


Must have been crab season as quite  few boats were out checking traps, and trying to safely cross the bar back into the safe waters inside.



The weather was not that nice and the forecast for the next week was even worse, so the original plan to slowly work our way up the coast was out, and a speedier more direct line was in order.

As is common on the coast, sections of the road are continuously slumping, and falling into the ocean.  So the repairs and rebuilding is also a continuous process.  This trip was no exception.


We scooted up the coast with some fairly long days, often passing by good spots where we had often overnighted in the past.


There are some impressive bridges along the coast in Oregon, including those at North Bend, Reedsport, Waldport and Newport.


From there we took an inland route through Portland, and eastward up the Columbia River.




We stopped for the night at a usual place next to the John Day dam on the Columbia river.  The spillways were really going full force, and the current was strong below the dam where there are usually large back eddies. 

Another long day on the road found us making it across the border with no hassles, and parking between the snowbanks at friend’s St Marys River B&B near Cranbrook, B.C.

One more day on the road found us back at home after over 5 months away!  It was a relief to see that there was virtually no snow left in the yard, and the high security gate (!) had protected everything inside.


It wasn’t long before the heat was turned back up, the water turned back on and everything was just as we left it.  Hailey spent some time outside, but seemed glad to be home with many more rooms and a basement to prowl, and many sinks to drink from!  With lots of coyotes around, she has not been keen to go outside since then.

A quick calculation showed that we had traveled a grand total of 18,399km or 11,211 miles over the winter.

I decided not to go back to my recent summer job with Alberta Forestry, so hope to spend much of my time on the road this summer as well.  But don’t expect much from the blog till we do get back on the road.