Thursday, July 29, 2021

Still on the road - Blog almost real time!

While still camped on Revelstoke Lake in British Columbia, I noticed a bit of a change in the wording of their signs over the years. The 'old' sign lists all the various offences that you might commit - very authoritarian.
The new sign, which is actually a 'fire ban' sign, politely suggests reporting 'non-compliant activity', not offences!

After that trip, we made it home and stayed a bit over 24 hours to mow the grass, do laundry, and have a shower!  Then it was back out to Abraham Lake to meet up again with Don & Donna (Driving Miss Donna)  It was the same place we camped back in May, when the ice was still on the lake.  We did a few day trips, and some hiking .. 
Siffleur Falls

After that short trip we again returned home to take care of the essentials.  But, not having to unload or re-load much, we kept this turn-around to only about 21 hours, and we were off again, to points unknown.

It seems that east was the predominant direction this time ...

We passed by Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan - where Kevin & Ruth used to spend their summers keeping the place ship shape.



Next place we saw was the iconic elevator at Dog River, err Rouleau, Sask. where the long running comedy Corner Gas was filmed.  Not much left there now, except for the locations in town.


Before long, the time zone changed, the paved road shoulders disappeared, and we found ourselves in Manitoba!  Many moons ago, I was the webmaster for the fledgling North American Game Warden Museum (then called the North American Wildlife Enforcement Museum) located in the  International Peace Garden south of Boissevain, Manitoba.  I have never been there in person, and that record was doomed to continue :-(  The physical entrance is actually between the Canada and US customs, but as I was about to turn in, a signboard informed me that if I did so, I would be subject to all the covid restrictions, as if re-entering the country, which might include a covid test and possibly a 14 day quarantine!  I immediately made a U-turn and then had to pass through Canadian Customs, where they assured me that was still the case despite recent loosening of restrictions.  


We continued east, and came across this little campground with prices more in line with what I'd be willing to pay - that is if I needed power, or liked staying in campgrounds, which I don't! 


Where we did end up 'camping', Hailey was surprised to see a black bear wander by in the morning!

This particular 'camp' spot was also a favourite spot for some of the locals to dispose of waste materials.  There was a nice pile of old asphalt shingles that I drove over - twice, before wondering it there were also shingle nails there?  Sure enough, I pulled out my big ground magnet (usually used for US desert camp spots where they like to burn old pallets), and collected close to a pound of old nails.  Still can't believe I didn't get a flat from that, as shingle nails with the big heads are the worst possible kind of nails.
We stopped for breakfast in a Provincial Park day use area.
 Before long, wouldn't ya know it, we crossed another provincial border and found ourselves in Ontario, and all the rocky outcrops of the Canadian Shield.  
Had a good visit and coffee with another retired park warden while passing through Kenora.  He had to leave his island retreat on Lake of the Woods and boat to shore to meet me at Tim Hortons!

We checked out a number of Ontario parks along the way.

And a good collection of back roads and trails ...

I'm always amused at where they put the 'guardrails' on Ontario highways.  There are hundreds of miles of highway, bordered by some of the nastiest bedrock in the land, right off the shoulder of the road.  Big ugly square and jagged blocks of rock.  If you hit one, that would be the end of you.  But NONE of them have guard rails!  However, every smooth grassy slope leading away from the highway, usually down into some nice soft trees (!) is protected (?) by three strands of clothesline strung between some toothpicks along the shoulder!

Exhibit 'A'

Exhibit 'B' 

Not all roadside spots welcome overnight camping ... 

I spent a night in one lovely little picnic areas on a lakeshore.  

After a leisurely breakfast, I was pulling out, soon after a passing motorcyclist pulled in.  As I passed, I gave a cheery wave - only to be met with a steely gaze!  Oh well, I guess he's having a bad day, I thought.  As I pulled back onto the highway, I saw the large signs that said - no overnight parking!  Oops - but the road I had come in on had none of those signs ;-)

To be continued ...  ;-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Camping in the Revelstoke area!

The end of June was upon us, and it was time to hit the road again for another camping trip!  Last time, it was to Saskatchewan, so it was British Columbia's turn again! 

Not being in tune with the calendar, I didn't realize that it was a long weekend coming up, so the traffic was a bit on the heavy side.  While Hailey has spent most of her traveling career in the front of the truck with me, she really hates being moved back and forth.  So lately, she has been riding in the camper, where she has access to her food, water, litter box, and a wider variety of places to sleep.  But on this trip, as we descended into Golden, the outside temps were approaching 40C, and it was just too hot for her.  I was surviving in the cab with all the windows down (I'd rather have fresh air than A/C), but instead of enjoying the breeze, I found her wrapped in blankets! So finally it was time for her to join me in the front with the air conditioner keeping us appropriately chilly.  I often use a spray bottle to 'mist' her with water in hot conditions, which she protests, but secretly appreciates!

From Revelstoke, we headed south and took the Shelter Bay ferry to one of our favourite off-grid camping spots.  Lake levels were extremely high as a result of all the hot weather, so there was no beach at all - water reaching right into the trees.  But at least with my inflatable kayak, I am able to get out on the water.

View out the back door!

That structure is on a dry sandy point, when the water levels drop later in the summer.


The weather was nice, so I slept in my hammock in the trees.  Fire hazard was high and there was a fire ban, so there was usually a daily visit from the local Fire Warden, as well as an evening visit from a couple of Conservation Officers - so we had a good discussion of people we both knew.

After a few days there, with no cell service, it was time to make contact with civilization again.  After a short stop back in Revelstoke, some reprovisioning, and coffee with another retired park warden, we headed out again, this time to the north.


Revelstoke Lake stretches for over 100 km, and has a great variety of boondocking spots, as well as a provincial park campground, and a couple of designated recreation sites.  Over the years I have camped at a lot of them, but am still discovering new and better ones every time!

There is active logging occurring on both sides of the lake, so there are several of these barges used to ferry logging trucks and equipment to the far side of the lake.


Unlike many lakes in BC, there are essentially no cabins or other developments along it's hundreds of kilometers of shoreline.

Fire hazard was still extreme, and we were camped at the very north end of the lake when a lightning storm passed through.  As I watched one evening at dusk, a huge bolt of lightning hit the slope just down the lake from me, and sure enough, a few minutes later, a relatively large area was in flames!  As a fire lookout, I have seen this quite a bit, but in this case the area burning appeared larger than just a single tree.  I debated breaking camp and trying to find some way to report it, but then realized that no one is going to take action on it till the morning anyway, so I may as well wait and see what developed.

Sure enough, in the morning I could see nothing there, even with binoculars.  But I know that these fires can easily smoulder in the ground for hours or days till conditions are right. With no cell service withing 120km, I set off in search of some way to report it.  There were some other fires in the area, and I had seen a small cluster of tents just north of Mica dam (BC version of a fire camp, I guess!), but no one was around there, and I did not see any Forestry vehicles.  I stopped in at Monashee (heli-ski and hiking) lodge, sure they must have some sort of communication - but there was no one around!  I was trying to send a Facebook message to Forestry - using their wi-fi when a fellow walked up from the direction of their heli-pad.  Sure enough, he was a helicopter pilot working on the area fires!  So I was able to pass on all the relevant information to him, and showed him where to expect fire that afternoon.
A couple days later, another Fire Warden visiting my camp confirmed that my reported fire had indeed become an official wildfire, and it showed up on their fire app, when I eventually got back into cell coverage.

The north end of the highway is being re-paved presently. I guess this is for access to the dam for maintenance etc?  It certainly makes access to all the great camp spots easier.  Ironically the pavement ends just past the dam, and 200 yards further down the rough gravel road is a sign saying that that's the end of the road!  So essentially, the road is paved - to nowhere!

There is a very rough forestry road past that point, including some rec sites, but I still find it quite ironic, and possibly a wasted expense?

Mica dam, at the north end of Revelstoke lake.

Where are we off to next?  Stay tuned! Hint: Hailey says we haven't been to Manitoba in at least 10 years!

Spider - on the world wide web!