Friday, July 26, 2013

Last Day, Part II

Too many photos for one blog post, so here is some of Thursday.  Our bus picked us up at 7:15am and we headed to the ferry for Vancouver Island and our trip to Victoria and Butchart Gardens.  What a fabulously, scenic route,
This ferry carries tens of tour buses, as well as trucks and cars.  Huge would be a good word to describe it.

We went first to the city of Victoria - a really charming, olde-world style city.

After the requisite shopping and wandering, our bus took us to Butchart Gardens - renowned gardens north of the city (gorgeous any time of the year, but outstanding on this trip)

Everyone was pretty quiet on the ferry and bus ride home.  Everyone was quite tired but delighted with our lovely day.

So today, Friday, we made a short trip to the Holland Shopping Center - a shop [winkletje] in New Westminster (next-door to Burnaby where we are staying).  Of course, we found a couple of things we couldn't live without and several that we could pass on.  [We have been told, tongue-in-cheek, that B.C. stands for "bring cash" and perhaps it's the truth.]  So we only bought a little, but did also have a very fun chance to meet the president of the "Netherlands Association "Je Mainutiendrai".  The volunteers of this organization maintain a Dutch Library in the shop - books are available for anyone to take and/or donate.  So I have an Annie Schmidt book for me to work on translating.

The rest of the day has been spent cleaning, tidying, and generally getting the RV ready to head out again tomorrow morning.  We have met some delightful folks on this trip and hopefully can catch up with some of them this next week in Seattle and maybe sometime in the future.  What an adventure we have had!

Last Day of our Canada RV Adventure

Today has been a very nice, quiet day.  Everyone is doing catch-up, some chores, relaxing, etc. etc.  There is nothing planned today except for a dinner tonight.  So to back up a bit:  on Wednesday we had a city tour of Vancouver (city) by bus, with a number of interesting stops along the way.  One of our first stops was in Queen Elizabeth Park, fairly early
Vancouver skyline

Early morning Tai Chi exercise

We then headed into Stanley Park with a stop at the Totem Poles,

Our next stop was across the Lions Gate Bridge to the Capilano Suspension Bridge.  [thanks, but I don't do high, wobbly bridges.]  It was pretty and very interesting.

We then traveled to Granville Island and their delightful market.  Found some great lunch grazing and some wonderful artisans, plying their trades.

A.J. and Pat

False Creek ferry boats

We arrived home a tired bunch, but what a great day.  Thursday would begin with a 7:15(am) start.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday evening

Well, I do have some catching up to do.  So on Friday we left Jasper National Park and drove about 74 miles (119 km) to Valemount.  It was kind of out in the middle of no where, but a very nice park (Yvonne you can write this one down) Irvins Park & Campground.

We were there early enough to get a couple of loads of laundry done (hurrah, more clean clothes - it is the little things that make you happy when you are out in the RV).  Our four leaders prepared dinner for us and we had a very fun evening.

The next morning was our long driving day - 260 miles to outside of Cache Creek, B.C.  Finally connected with Highway 99 (in the direction of Lillooet - isn't that a wonderful name?) to a place called Hat Creek Ranch.  It is a place that has actually been located there, as a road house, in the late 1800's.  There were no hook-ups (electricity, water and sewer) so we all parked in a big field with all our RV's in a kind of a circle, with a big open space in the center.

You can see there isn't much there (a la eastern Washington, brown hills with scrub).  It was quite warm and without any where to plug it, no air conditioning or fans.  But we did all survive.  And at our nightly meeting Elaine and I were totally surprised with birthday cake and ice cream and cards.  It was very nice.

The next day we drove from Cache Creek, BC to Rosedale, BC.  But along the way, we made a stop at Hells Gate.  This is a very narrow passage of the Fraser River between mountains on one side that are part of the Cascade range and the other side which is part of the Pacific Ridge.  [and for me who doesn't usually do heights, it was something else.]  We got in the tram at the top and headed down,

This was our lunch stop.  Very nice, too.  And then continued on to Camperland RV Resort.  (OK, but nothing to write home about, but it did have water, electric and sewer.)  We are now in Burnaby, B.C. (outside Vancouver).  Adventures abound.  More later.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday's day-end report

We are overnighting in Valemount, British Columbia.  We drove out of Jasper National Park this morning.  Everyone has been really trying to see "critters" and thus far our list includes: birds, squirrels,  coyotes, 1 black bear, 1 elk and 6 or 8 big horn sheep.  We even got up quite early one morning and headed out looking, but  were only able to spot the bear.  Several folks had seen moose and elk, but they avoided us.

Our adventures and enjoyment of this trip really continues.  We weren't sure before we began if this would be "our" thing, but we are traveling with 22 rigs (20 motorhomes and 2 fifth-wheel trailers).  Most of these people are very interesting, well-traveled folks with many great stories to share.  I guess it means that should we be traveling the U.S. we might have some more folks to visit.

And so, here's Thursday's adventures and a couple of photos from today.  A tram ride up to 7400+ ft.  We had breakfast up there.

then in the afternoon, we drove up to Malign canyon and lake.  
Unfortunately, this takes waaaaay too long to upload photos, so more pictures will have to wait for a quicker connection (somewhere).  I can report an interesting story, Malign creek actually used to run underground, but over the eons the water wore the rock away and the top rocks feel through and thus, uncovered the creek.  This is part of what you can see.  Our guide told us that 2 years ago there was so much snow that during the spring melt, the water was up to the level of that tree you can see between the rock walls.  That is a huge difference, heh?  We ultimately drove up to Malign Lake, which virtually dries up during the fall and winter and then re-fills in the spring.  We went out in a boat on the lake.  It has already gone down about 1 foot.  

Today we left Jasper and headed southwest into British Columbia.  Tonight in Valemount, BC.  Tomorrow we are headed to Cache Creek.  Fun, huh?  More photos when we get some faster internet.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday - no, not much internet is available

Takkakawa Falls

The days are whizzing past.  We are mostly staying in national parks and thus no wi-fi is available.  Today it is a visit to an Internet store.  So here is a sampling of the amazing things that we are seeing.  Can't remember where I left you - we visited Canmore, Alberta.  Then we had two days in Lake Louise and now we are in Jasper.  This is about as far north as we will travel, then we will start our journey west and south.  I have to say a big "bravo" for Fastasy RV Tours - thus far everything has been great and we are having a fun time.
Overpass built to allow animals to cross the highway

Just everyday scenery as we drive along

Hike up Johnston canyon to see the falls

Moraine Lake

Friends Janine and Bob, lunch buffet at Chateau Lk. Louise
Lake Louise
Chateau Lk. Louise
It really is amazing.  Just another day in paradise.  A quick visit to the Columbia Icefield, Athabasca Glacier,


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Good Sunday morning in Canmore

We have been adjusting to NO internet access.  We are way used to it, in our normal everyday world.  So we're dependent on things that are fully downloaded, so we can read at night.

But on to our adventures.  We are staying in the very sweet town of Canmore, just a little south of Banff.  Banff is the really larger, much more tourist-y town.  Canmore is a bit like Estes Park, if you have been there, in Colorado.  So we have wandered through the town, even the quilt store,

But I'm getting ahead of myself, I guess.  As we left Fort McLeod we stopped at the Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.  (isn't that  a name?)  I believe it is a direct translation of the indian language name,
In the time before the natives had horses, the way they captured and killed buffalo (their major source of hides, meat, bone - for tools, etc.) was to drive them over a cliff.  Once the stampede began, the buffalo were unable to stop and fell over the cliff.  In fact, it was fast and relatively easy once the process began.  Interesting.
So, then, back to driving to Canmore.  The scenery is spectacular.  These Rockies are much more rugged and jagged even than Colorado.  The floods in this area that you may have read about were really devastating and in fact, Canmore, was totally cut off for 4 days.  Food and medicines had to be helicoptered in.  The long, long process of clean up is, of course, still happening virtually 7 days a week.
Yesterday we drove into Banff National Park and did a short hike up Johnston Canyon, to the lower waterfalls,

Today we move north to Lake Louise for two days.  Will catch up as soon as we can find adequate wi-fi.  After that it is on to Jasper.  Adventures await.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cranbrook to Fort MacLeod

WiFi here is a little "iffy" so here's crossing my fingers that things will work right.

Let's start with a spectacular late evening sky (in Cranbrook)

Nice, huh?  This morning, in brilliant sunshine we took off heading north and east into Alberta.  Our journey began through the mountains, and how really lovely they are,

I am pleased to report that through the mountains, with pretty full tanks and towing a car we were getting over 9 miles per the gallon.  All things considered that isn't at all bad.  We crossed Crowsnest Pass and entered Alberta.

We passed the Frank rock slide (the worst in Canadian history) and then the landscape changed into grazing and agriculture land.  It was windy and there were lots and lots and lots of wind turbines.

After a time for setting up and applying lots of bug spray (to deal with the hordes of mosquitoes that seem to especially adore me - I'm totally chewed up) we did drive into the little town and visit the Fort itself.  Interesting exhibits.  This was the home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police starting in about 1899.