The First Real Trip - Part 2
We decided we didn't need to go to Fort Steele Heritage Park because we had seen it before. We chose to go to Kimberley instead. It's about a half hour drive from Fort Steele. The weather is beautiful again! When we got to Kimberley, we discovered a Sullivan Mine Tour. It includes a ride on the little train that used to go around the Happy Hans Campground where we stayed years ago.
The whole tour is about 1 ½ hours. The train takes you up to the mine and into the mine shaft. The train is met by a man who worked in the mines for years. He explains the process and demonstrates some of the equipment. Then everyone gets back on the train and it takes us up to the bottom of the ski lift. Building and growth seems to be a common theme everywhere in the south of the Province - Kimberley is no exception. Condos and beautiful big houses (similar to Whistler) are going up on the side of every hill. The train then goes back down to the mine, through the mine tunnel and back to the station. Well worth seeing if you're in the neighbourhood!
The other great thing about Kimberley was in a kitchen shop where we found our favourite melamine stirring spoons. We bought out the supply. We came back through Cranbrook and loaded up the freezer from M&M's. This will be mostly "emergency" for when we can't BBQ!
The high (or low) point of the Fort Steele campground was the fact that the front leveling hydraulic jacks kept sinking into the ground. We noticed it first the morning after we got there. Larry would be pushing the button to bring the front level down and it would be fine for a minute then with a thud the motorhome would stop moving up. Sure enough the ground was very soft and we made quite a few holes in the ground before we found solid ground. Each time we had to bring the slides in start the diesel engine, bring up the air pressure and then move forward or back. Fun!
We left Fort Steele on August 8 with Balfour our next destination. Along the way at places such as Moyie and Yahk, we noticed many lots for sale along the river, seemingly in the middle of nowhere (this is foreshadowing!). We stopped at one of our favourite places - the Columbia Brewery - in Creston, for the usual tour. Our tour guide told us that she had had a few jobs such as teaching English in Thailand but her dad was never prouder than when she told him she had a job as a tour guide at the Columbia Brewery! There has been some expansion since the last time we were here - such as adding a Can Line. This Brewery is the only brewery in North America which can brew and bottle or can all its product. They are able to process a million cans a month. Good samples too!
The theme for the driving time during the next few legs of our trip is winding roads, up and down and around. The drive up Kootenay Lake is beautiful. The end of it is the free 35 minute ferry ride across the lake from Kootenay Bay to Balfour. It was quite windy and rough but the ferry weathers it well. We arrived at our campground in Balfour around 3:00.
By 5:30, we had dubbed this part of our trip "The Great Levelling Fiasco". The ground was so uneven. With one placement the back had to go up so far the jacks couldn't reach. Finally, with the help of the guys at the site who brought big pieces of wood, we had to put the front up to make it level. This meant the step was about a foot and a half off the ground. The guys brought a couple of wooden platforms that enabled us to get into the motorhome; Larry still with some difficulty. We cut our visit here short even though it was a pretty spot. You'll see from the photo that we looked very small beside the front of the coach. Everytime we heard a noise we thought the thing was falling over!
On Aug 10 we left for Nakusp, by way of Kaslo and New Denver. 10km out of New Denver we saw another bear at the side of the road. Of course, the camera wasn't ready! More winding but beautiful country, except for the construction outside of Kaslo. This remains the only part that was experiencing construction that we've seen. Amazing! This night we stayed at Three Island Resort, 13km east of Nakusp. This is a beautiful campground (and yes, level!) right on Summit Lake, which isn't even on the map. Apparently there were a mother grizzly and her cub living at the other end of the lake, but we didn't see them. That afternoon we drove to Nakusp Hot Springs to try them out. Very nice! It made us miss our own hot tub. We wouldn't have minded staying longer at this site, if only we'd known ahead of time.
On Aug 11 we headed for Vernon. We are now traveling along the Arrow Lakes and took the little cable ferry from Fauquier to Needles. We stopped at the Gold Panner Café outside of Cherryville for lunch. Surprisingly good! Still lots of winding road but the motorhome handles it well.
From August 11 to August 15 we stayed at the Swan Lake RV Resort north of Vernon (this is where the foreshadowing comes in). While we were there, we discovered that the lot we were staying in was for sale. After a little negotiation, we have purchased it effective August 31. As you can see from the photos we have a nice view of the little lake. And it's level! Explored around Vernon while we were there - again, lots of building going on. People seem to be obsessed with a view - whether it be of a lake or a town or nothing much at all - they like to be on top of hills.
We've met several of our new neighbours at Swan Lake, also owners, and have contact information for them and may see them again down south. One of our neighbours is going to cut our little piece of grass when it needs it.
On Aug 15 we traveled to Bridal Falls where we will stay until Aug 21. We've discovered that road vibration has a tendency to loosen things. Just out of Merritt, the visor over the passenger window, decided to come half way down - the screw just fell out - so Maureen had to sit on the dash and hold it until Larry could safely pull the coach over - which was quite a way. Also when we got to Bridal Falls, we discovered that one of the pantry shelves was coming apart so that had to be fixed.
As we write to you today, Aug 19, from Bridal Falls it is finally raining, which is what we're used to out here. Yesterday, we went to the mud drag races in Chilliwack and sat through some nasty rain showers. We went again today and have pictures and a video to show for it!
Talk to you soon!