Friday, August 31, 2018

Touring around south-eastern BC

Before leaving my camp spot along the Pend Oreille river in the west Kootenays of BC, I was fortunate enough to watch this family of Otters patrolling along the river bank.


Smoke was still thick throughout the area, as these photos from one of the dams show.


As expected, I was able to access my AT&T data from my impromptu camp spot south of Trail, BC, and the same bunch of wild turkeys kept Hailey’s interest.  With my cheap US data plan, I was able to watch the football game online, as I don’t generally carry my TV sat dish during summer travels.IMG_00111

After a quick dump and fill in Trail, near where I used to live, we were off for Rossland and headed over to Christina Lake.


A bridge along the way proved a good photo subject, though the winds were a bit gusty for comfortable flying.


Much of the usual great scenery as we proceeded west just north of the US border was obscured by the smoke that had now been continuous for over a week.  Approaching the hill down into Osoyoos, the road has to do some amazing hairpin turns.  There is a lake down below, but with the smoke, it is barely visible.

vlcsnap-2018-08-30-15h56m26s343vlcsnap-2018-08-30-15h54m28s945vlcsnap-2018-08-30-15h55m06s484vlcsnap-2018-08-30-15h53m36s747Down on the lake, there is a campground out on this long spit of land extending most of the way across the lake.


In spite of the smoke in the air, the lake and the area was buzzing with boats and vehicles, so we headed up in to the hills near Oliver to find some peace and quiet.  At the start of the road, there were remains of some previous campers who didn’t have a good day.

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The road in to Burnell Lake was a bit on the rough side for the camper, and there was some other campers already there, but fortunately, no generators or noisy folk.  Periodically however, a helicopter would transit by with it’s water bucket hanging below as it went for fuel before working on one of the nearby fires. 

I didn’t know there were turtles in the area, but there was quite a group hauled out on this old dock.


I was trying to determine what had caused the drag marks across the dusty road – when I finally decided that it must be a snake track!

IMG_9984_1 (13)IMG_9984_1 (14)Apparently not everyone in the area is in favour of a proposed National Park!

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Continuing on northward, we next stopped near Penticton.  We were up on a forest service road well above the city, but the smoke was just as thick.  In the morning, I was disgusted to see a fellow in a Mercedes towing a trailer full of construction debris stop across the road from me and proceed to dump it all off the edge of the road.  He didn’t see me, but I got lots of photos that I quickly passed  them on to the Conservation Officer service – including the offender’s licence number.  I hope he ends up in court.


Next, it was on up into Kelowna.  Rumour has it there is a lake somewhere nearby, but with all the smoke around, I can’t confirm that!  But it didn’t stop the enjoyment of an evening’s food and entertainment at the ‘Ribfest’, with some local friends.

Heading back east from Vernon, there was time to check out a few lakes that I had not been to previously.  Mabel lake had a very nice beach and campground (not my style, of course), but roads north from there were closed because of more fires in the area.  A worthwhile stop at Shuswap falls and the hydroelectric dam provided a nice break from the smoke.


Next on the list was Sugar lake.  Most of the road in is paved, but the last few km turns to rather rough forestry road.  It was getting late, so we decided to stay in the campground there, and ruined our camping budget with a reasonable $12 charge!  Again, a nice little campground, especially for family camping, but not our usual remote style.

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Near Monashee pass there was a small lake just off the highway more our style.  There was a bit of rain overnight, so the amount of smoke in the air was a bit less.

vlcsnap-2018-08-28-18h55m30s220IMG_4774IMG_0067IMG_4776IMG_4778IMG_4779More later, when I have time and bandwidth!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Back on the Road– iPhoneX dies for third time in four months.


After a while at home, Hailey tired of deer hunting, and ‘helping’ me on the computer, so I knew it was time to leave again.


Well, it didn’t take long back on the road to find the first problem.  Stopped at the local fuel emporium to discover that I had no fuel filler cap in place!  Oh great!  I thought there was an engine light that came on when the cap wasn’t on tight enough or something?  Maybe that’s only gas engines?  A quick stop at Canadian Tire and that was taken care of.

For a change of scenery, we left the Trans Canada highway and headed down 40 through Kananaskis country.  Scenic drive, but even mid week a lot of people and vehicles around.  Further south down in the Highwood section, it was much quieter and more enjoyable.  There was even some animals along the road, some not that willing to share.


Others, were more than willing to give up the right-of-way


When it was time to find a place to camp overnight, a nice flat spot by the river came into view.


Here’s a video of that location, shot with Mavic Pro Platinum

Highwood River – YouTube

Smoke was somewhat less overnight, but soon increased the next morning, effectively hiding all but the closest scenery.  Discovered that Longview had fast 100Mbps speed on LTE, so made use of that for a while, though my laptop didn’t want to use the phone’s hotspot for some reason.  Once we hit the Crowsnest Pass we turned west, topping up the fuel and beer supplies before the higher prices in BC. Diesel was a decent 122.9/l.  Once again we stopped to visit Doug and Dale at St. Mary’s River B&B west of Cranbrook.  This time, with a working phone (!) they had a little warning at least!


On the way westward towards Creston there were a few potential camp spots to check out, but none exceeded minimum qualifications, so we kept moving.  About that time, my brand new 1 month old iPhoneX decided to re-open it’s bag of tricks and use the old ‘no service’ trick once again.  As you may recall, my previous 3 month old iPhoneX did the same thing – twice, and was replaced by Apple finally.  Trying to re-set the phone back to new was the best option, but after entering the usual passcode, the phone demanded a ‘restrictions’ code, which of course I didn’t ever set!  Drove into a Tim Hortons, got on the wi-fi and called Apple via Skype. Followed their instructions, but the phone still demanded the impossible restrictions code and would not budge.  After hours on the phone and finally getting to speak with a more knowledgeable supervisor, he decided that the only way to cure the problem was to download a fully new operating system for the phone (2.78Gb) and start over.  Fine.  Started the download on Tim’s wi-fi.  It was calling for a 6 hour download time!  After a couple of hours parked outside Tim’s I felt that my welcome might be wearing thin (or I could find faster internet elsewhere), I moved us down to the Library.  It was not a real fast signal, but at least they have tables and plug-ins outdoors, so the wi-fi was available after hours – which it was now.  I had ‘paused’ the download, but of course it decided to start all over again.  Then, after an hour or so, it started over again.  I guess we are staying in Creston for the night!  By 9 or 10 , depending on your time zone, the download finally finished and my phone was restored to working order – for now.

After finding a quiet spot out of town to spend the night, we were back in town in the AM when the Apple rep called me, as promised.  Since they have no idea what might be causing the problem, one of the solutions was to reset the phone completely, so it would hopefully get rid of the danged restrictions code.

Meanwhile, due to a forest fire in the area, the highway I had intended on taking was now closed indefinitely!

The Visitor Centre in town was gracious enough to allow me to sit on their sofa and use their wi-fi this time.  So, for several hours I sat there watching the slow progress bar at less than a snail’s pace.  Finally managed to have some breakfast by 3PM.  Then I discovered an electronics store just down the street who promised me the fastest wi-fi in town, so we moved down there for a couple hours.  They had to throw me out when they closed, so then it was back to the good old standby – the library!  I was in constant contact with the Apple reps throughout all of this, and I now have their direct phone #’s.  Then the phone restored itself from iTunes and got hung up – so it would not make or receive phone calls, and would not connect with wi-fi, so I could not even call Apple on Skype.  I had to pull out my old IPhone 5 and call on Skype to leave messages!

By this time, there is no longer a need for case #’s or any introductions with the Apple guy – we know each other well.  I find out that he is somewhere down on the east coast of the US, and he finds out that I am in BC.  Turns out he even knows about Kokanee beer and the Sasquatch.  I tell him that I am literally 100 yds from the Kokanee brewery across the tracks from the library!  And I plan to go on a tour and sample some beer as soon as this phone fiasco is over! 

EVENTUALLY got the phone restored to new and back to my previous night’s camp spot by 10pm.  In the morning – back to the library again to download most of my apps to make the phone useful again.  Plans of a brewery tour afterwards were kaiboshed when I find out that tours are not conducted on weekends!

At least by this time the highway closed due to the forest fire had re-opened.  Two nights and three days spent in Creston – thanks to my iPhoneX.  This is in addition to the previous problems I had with it’s predecessor which involved 10 hours of driving out of my way to get that one replaced.  Thank goodness for retirement flexibility.  The entire country is covered in smoke now, and even fresher smoke an some flames were evident as we drove the previously closed highway sections.

Finally back to our intended route we headed out from the border crossing station at Selway following the Pend’Oreille river on an increasingly rough road towards Waneta.

One of the first potential camp spots was down a rough road of undetermined length to the water’s edge, so we took advantage of our technology and sent the UAV over for a look.


There was lots of room and only one other camping rig down there, so we drove down for a look.  We didn’t end up staying there, but did enjoy a very refreshing swim in the river.vlcsnap-2018-08-19-11h42m34s981


Finally we did find a nice waterfront location, though the smoke was thick enough to obscure almost anything.DJI_0285

And, just down the road and across the river is the US boundary, so my Mobley device will be able to log on to my unlimited data plan when I head out in the morning!