Canada 2017 – Vancouver

15-17th July, 2017.

Returning the motorhome to Traveland in Langley was as uneventful as the pickup and we were soon in a taxi heading to our hotel in Vancouver where we would spend two nights before our flight back to Brisbane.

The view from our hotel room.

Once again we decided to take a Hop On Hop Off bus tour as we find these the best way to get a good overview of a city. Our first hop off point was at the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The first few photos were taken in the public gardens outside the walls of the authentic garden.

Entering the Classical Garden we joined a tour that had just started. Everything inside was brought from China while the public garden outside is made up of replica pieces.

I’m sure this dragonfly is a local.

As was our guide.

Leaving the garden, we walked through the Chinatown district to the Gastown Heritage district.

Steam powered clock in Gastown.

Back on the Hop On bus overlooking Lions Gate Bridge.

The next morning was our last day in Vancouver but our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until almost midnight so after checking out of our hotel, which allowed us to leave our luggage there, we walked to Granville Island over Granville Bridge.

Exploring a path.

Great views back to the city.

The public market had our mouths watering reminding us of the Victoria Markets in Melbourne and the Central Markets in Adelaide.

Some of the displays defied gravity.

NZ oysters at a great price.

It seems that silo painting is everywhere. This cement works is right in the centre of things.

The aquabus ferry was a much more pleasant way to cross the river than the bridge.

I wonder if we will ever see this in Australia.

From the ferry terminal we headed back to Davie Street which had plenty of restaurants and cafe options for lunch. After lunch we collected our luggage and walked to the light rail station for the trip to the airport.

Goodbye Canada – waiting to board our flight home.

The final leg of our trip. Ignore the hours – it took us 5 days to get from Peachland to Langley. We covered a total of 4200 kilometers in the motorhome during our 30 day hire period.

The End!

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Canada 2017 – Othello Tunnels

12th July, 2017.

A place of interest not far from Hope is the Othello Tunnels, a series of 5 tunnels and several bridges formerly part of the Kettle Valley Railway running in almost a straight line through a gorge. Opened in 1915, the line was decommissioned in 1989 and is now a walking trail.

I was surprised to see so many tour buses and tourists when we arrived as I had not realised what a popular destination it was. However, the location has been used a number of times in film productions, perhaps most notably in Rambo: First Blood in which Sylvester Stallone can be seen hanging off the cliff while being attacked by a helicopter. Thanks to Wikipedia for that bit of information.

It was quite a hot day and this leafy shade made for a pleasant walk to the tunnels.

There were stunning views down into the gorge from the bridges.

An amazing feat of engineering.

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Canada 2017 – Hope

10-14th July, 2017.

Over the weekend we became increasingly concerned about the wildfires that were closing whole areas of central British Columbia. We were due to return the motorhome to Langley near Vancouver on the 15th and already the southern road from Penticton through Princeton was closed. This left only the road west from Kelowna, through Merritt and over the Coquihalla Pass to Hope as our escape route. Wildfires were already affecting the area north of Merritt and we feared we could be cut off if we delayed leaving Peachland any longer. So we made the decision to drive to Hope to wait out the remainder of our motorhome rental.

We weren’t able to get out of the smoke until the highway was at a fairly high altitude but the drive was uneventful apart from a traffic jam east of Hope. The Coquihalla Campground had good reviews so we tried there first and they were able to give us a site for 4 nights only but we decided to take that and worry about our last night later. It was a huge site for our rather modest vehicle, surrounded on three sides with trees allowing us to feel that we were out in the bush somewhere.

The campground was situated beside the Coquihalla river making it a very pleasant location with plenty of photo opportunities. We walked across the bridge intending to look for a Geocache. Naturally, we didn’t find it but the search took us through a pretty area in the woods.

Like so many of the small towns that we came across, Hope has given itself a point of difference with more than 30 chainsaw wood carvings dotted around the town and we spent a morning wandering the streets and photographing some of them. We were amazed at the fine detail that can be achieved with a chainsaw.

Hope is situated at the confluence of the Coquihalla and Fraser Rivers which form a large lake beside the town.

We enquired again at the campground office about a site for the night of the 14th and they found us one. As we had to pack up the motorhome to move sites, we decided to spend the day at Harrison Hot Springs, as it had been recommended as a place to see, before returning to our new site at the campground.

Purely by chance, we happened upon a craft market along the esplanade.

More chainsaw carvings.

I bought the only souvenir of the whole trip at this stall. A rather expensive leather backpack made more expensive because the displayed price did not include tax! Ouch!

Echinacea flowers.

 

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Canada 2017 – Peachland

6-9th July, 2017.

One of the things we were most looking forward to during our 30 days motorhoming around western Canada was catching up with old friends, Johanna and Mike. We got to know each other in the early 2000s through an International Women’s Club based in Zug, Switzerland of which Johanna and I were both members, but we last saw them in Brussels where they moved to from Switzerland before returning to Canada around 2004.

Leaving Swan Lake fairly early, we planned to take a quiet road south following the western shore of Lake Okanagan north of Kelowna, however, our plans were thwarted when we came to a sign announcing the road was closed to traffic due to roadworks between 9.30am and 3pm. This forced us back to the highway north of Vernon and down to Kelowna. Traffic was very heavy though moving along but it certainly was not very picturesque. Once we had left the city behind and as it was still quite early, we decided to drive down to the town of Penticton at the southern end of Lake Okanagan.

We walked to a park by the lake before settling in a nice restaurant for a light lunch.

Johanna had organised that we could park the motorhome in their community’s RV parking area which certainly made things easy for us and we spent the rest of the day and evening catching up on old times.

As the Lake Okanagan region is a huge wine making area, they were keen to take us wine-tasting at some of their favourite wineries.

Looking over the lake from the eastern bank at Mission Hill Winery.

Preparations underway for an evening concert by Michael Bolton in the grounds of the winery.

The scent from these blossoms was wonderful.

Next stop was Quail’s Gate Winery.

Once again a beautiful location on the lake.

Loosely translates to “I’d rather be drunk and happy than sober and dull” at Little Straw Vineyards.

Time to taste some wine.

Tonight’s wine sorted! The Viognier Auxerrois was a winner!

There was another vineyard but no photos from that one.

Back at Peachland, we had a look around their small town and had a beer at a local restaurant which brought back great memories of our years in Switzerland.

Back at Johanna and Mike’s house, Erich took these photos of the rugged terrain of the opposite lake bank.

We spent a quiet next day at their home with only the following photo taken from their front patio later in the afternoon. Smoke from wildfires to the north was beginning to impact the area.

Lunch at the Gasthaus where we had our beer on Friday was delicious.

What else but Schnitzel and a wheat beer.

Canada Geese by the lakeshore.

We could have been in Bavaria but this is downtown Peachland, CA.

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Canada 2017 – Wells Gray Provincial Park to Vernon

4-5th July, 2017.

Despite the dozens of mosquito bites we took away from the Wells Gray Provincial Park, we thoroughly enjoyed our two nights there and were glad we made the detour. We retraced our route south to Clearwater and then continued south to Kamloops. The further we went the drier the terrain became. We were still following the Canadian National Railway and saw the Rocky Mountaineer in a siding to the north of Kamloops.

The closer we got to the city, the more the traffic increased and the more barren the countryside became.

I had plotted a route that would avoid the city centre as we had no interest in seeing it. We stopped for lunch at an A&W fast food restaurant on the eastern loop road where we had free internet to plan our stop for the night.

We settled on the small town of Chase which had a small RV park run by the Lions Club. It was right on the river and a decent spot for a night but once again not much of significance nearby.

Erich captured this young Bald Eagle in a tree near our campsite.

Next morning, we continued east along the river stopping in Salmon Arm to sort out a few things and then continuing to Sicamous where we turned south in the direction of Vernon. This was a really pretty drive along the rivers and lakes but not too many places to stop for photo opportunities.

As it was nearing lunchtime, Vernon looked like an interesting place to stop but the traffic was really heavy so we weren’t keen to hang around. We spotted a seafood restaurant in a shopping centre with plenty of parking space and while we had a very nice lunch, I consulted maps and iPad apps looking for somewhere to stay that night. We had passed a couple of RV Parks on the highway that looked really crowded and I wasn’t hopeful of finding something nice. One RV Park that took my eye was on the western side of Swan Lake just north of Vernon. It was a pleasant drive on the western side of the lake from Vernon away from the highway and the RV Park was able to fit us in for the night. It was delightful and we had a great chat with our Canadian neighbours who even brought us back some lovely fresh cherries from their shopping foray later in the day.

What a gorgeous outlook from the water’s edge at the RV Park.

We had this view until quite late in the afternoon when another van took that spot.

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Canada 2017 – Wells Gray Provincial Park

3rd July, 2017.

Following a dreadful night being kept awake by about a million mosquitoes in the motorhome, we decided to explore further into the park. Not far back on the main road north was the turn off to Helmcken Falls, at 141m the 4th highest waterfall in Canada. It certainly was impressive.

Continuing on towards Clearwater Lake, we came upon this fellow strolling along the road. I wasn’t too happy about Erich winding down his window to get these shots! However, the bear took absolutely no notice of us while we watched him for a couple of minutes.

Next stop was Bailey Shute, a truly impressive part of the river where the water rushes down over the rapids and salmon meet their demise in their attempt to get upriver to spawn. I can imagine it could be very attractive to bears in the spawning season. Fortunately, we hadn’t reached that time yet but I was looking over my shoulder during the whole kilometre or so walk through the woods to the lookout point.

Looking upriver.

The photos cannot do justice to the majestic sight we saw. The power and sound of the water was breathtaking.

Are there bears in there? Fortunately we didn’t see any.

While I was on “bear watch”, Erich got a few macro shots.

Clearwater Lake Campground was certainly packed but looked like it would be a lovely place to stay. We drove out to the boat ramp but there was not a lot to see.

We had lunch at the log cabin cafe but were plagued again by mosquitoes. We could have dined under protection though.

These birds (humming birds) remind me a little of our Rainbow Bee-eaters.

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Canada 2017 – Valemount to Wells Gray Provincial Park

2nd July, 2017.

With another early start, we continued south to the town of Clearwater where we stopped at the Visitor Centre to ask about the road north to Wells Gray Provincial Park where we hoped to camp for a couple of nights.

A quick stop on the way to Clearwater.

We were advised that camping at Clearwater Lake was fully booked but that Pyramid Campground would have sites available so after fuelling up we headed north. Shortly after entering the Provincial Park we turned off to have a look at Spahats Falls just a short walk from the carpark.

It was lunchtime when we returned from the Falls walk so we decided to get a sausage each from this stand owned by a Belgian chap. We had quite an interesting chat with him and also a young Australian couple who were also waiting for their lunch.

Next stop was the campground where there were quite a few suitable sites. After selecting one and paying our fees we decided to backtrack to see a waterfall we had passed along the way.

The river thundered beneath the one lane bridge but we had to drive further back to a path that would take us to the falls themselves.

Dawson Falls

We settled back at camp for a quiet evening but unfortunately, the mosquitoes were plaguing us and, even worse, had got into the motorhome making for a very uncomfortable night.

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Canada 2017 – Jasper to Valemount

1st July, 2017.

Canada Day dawned overcast and raining. As we needed fuel and retail outlets, as far as we knew, would only be open till midday we made an early start from Jasper Gates RV Park. Fuelling up near Hinton, around 18kms to our east seemed like the best option even though we planned to continue our journey west and back into British Columbia. After a lengthy delay at the bowsers we eventually were back on the highway heading in the direction of Jasper. The weather began to lighten a little and as we neared Jasper we encountered a whole lot of vehicles stopped beside the road. We soon spotted a herd of what we think were female Caribou because they had no antlers and because we had seen a large male Caribou complete with antlers in the same area the previous day. Unfortunately, we weren’t in a position to stop that time.

This time we were able to safely stop but the herd was quite a distance from the road so good photographs were a bit difficult.

Once through Jasper we were heading west over Yellowhead Pass with the road following the route of the Canadian National Railroad which, as well as being a busy goods route, carries the Rocky Mountaineer tourist train. The skies were still overcast but even so, it was a pretty drive.

The weather lightened as we stopped at the Mount Robson Visitor Centre but it was so crowded with people attending their Canada Day celebrations that we just took a few photos and continued on our way planning our overnight stop in Valemount.

I took the following photos from the motorhome with my iPad so the quality is not great. I really missed having a camera on this trip!

Once again Valemount didn’t quite live up to the tourism blurb that I had read but we found a nice RV Park that was not at all crowded. There was nothing worthy of photos around the town but Erich had a walk in the woods near the RV Park in the afternoon and captured a few nature shots.

In town, we had a great dinner at the Caribou Grill where we were served by an Australian girl who had just moved to the area with her boyfriend. We all had a laugh when we asked what a New York Strip Steak was and she had no idea. It was delicious though!

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Canada 2017 – Icefields Parkway Part 2

30th June, 2017.

It was another glorious day for the second part of the Icefields Parkway heading towards Jasper. We got off to an early start hoping to beat those pesky tourists to the good viewpoints.

The view from Goats and Glaciers Lookout.

Athabasca Falls. The force and sound of the water was amazing.

We arrived in Jasper before 10 a.m., parked on the main street and wandered down to the Visitor Information Centre which was very busy. The Jasper Skytram was on our agenda so we picked up a brochure about it and then headed out to the base station in the motorhome.

In contrast to the Lake Louise Gondola, this was much shorter and steeper.

The view from the top.

The town of Jasper in the centre.

I did see one of these critters but was not fast enough to take a photo.

Looking down on our motorhome on the descent.

Our next plan was to drive out to Maligne Lake, around 50kms from Jasper and perhaps take one of the hourly boat cruises. It was quite a nice drive, some of it along another lake and we had to stop for bighorn sheep on the road but despite the fact that there were three large carparks at the lake, there was not a single space for us to park so we turned around and retraced our route back to the main highway, feeling very disappointed.

We knew we had no chance of finding anywhere to camp in the Jasper area so we headed east in the direction of Hinton. Snaring Campground about 20kms from Jasper was full but there was an overflow camping area which we drove around looking for a decent spot. It was all very barren with no shade so we decided to risk finding somewhere better. Jasper Gates RV Park just outside the National Park looked like a possibility and we were very lucky that they had a spot left but only for that night but that suited us.

Not a bad place for a night.

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Canada 2017 – Icefields Parkway Part 1

29th June, 2017.

After the drizzly day yesterday we woke to glorious sunshine again and quickly packed up and headed back through Kickinghorse Pass and then turned north onto the Icefields Parkway, 227kms of road also known as Highway 93. Having studied the map I was a little concerned that we might be travelling this road in the wrong direction to be able to pull off at all the suggested viewing points as most of them seemed to be on the left . We did have to miss a few places as we weren’t able to safely turn off and some where there were so many vehicles already parked that there just wasn’t enough room. The stops early in the morning were much less crowded.

Bow Lake.

Looking down on Peyto Lake. It was a very steep walk up from the car park to this point but the view was worth the effort and the lake was the most beautiful colour.

This is roughly the route we took from Revelstoke to Peyto Lake.


We chose Honeymoon Lake Campground for our overnight stop and there were plenty of campsites to choose from, although not close to the lake. It was not too far to walk to get some good photos of the lake.

Walking the circuit road back to our campsite, we checked out the Canadian version of a camp kitchen.

Very prominent signs everywhere about not leaving out “attractants” because of the bears and very large fines for anyone who does. The site next to us had a couple of tents in it and the occupants had gone away somewhere. When the rangers came to check the site, they confiscated quite a few items, making a list of everything they took. We don’t know if they issued a fine but they certainly take the issue very seriously.

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Canada 2017 – Yoho National Park

28th June, 2017.

Leaving Canmore behind, we decided to drive back into British Columbia over Kicking Horse Pass to see the Takakkaw Waterfall in the Yoho National Park. Once again there were massive roadworks taking place making it a slow trip. We headed to the Kicking Horse Campground where there was plenty of free space. On enquiring about taking the motorhome to the waterfall the Ranger told us that we would have to reverse up the switchback due to the length of the motorhome. Um, no, that’s not going to happen! So we contented ourselves with a nice quiet day instead.

I think this little guy is a woodchuck aka groundhog, a member of the Marmot family. So cute!

It was a damp, drizzling day, not inviting for a walk. Nevertheless, Erich decided to do the “Walk-In-The-Past” Trail, a 5.2km return walk to a disused railway track rising 141 metres along the way.

Crossing the current railway track along the way.

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Canada 2017 – Banff, Lake Louise & the Bow Valley Parkway Part 2

27th June, 2017.

Moving on from the bear, we arrived at the Lake Louise Gondola which is quite a distance from Lake Louise itself.

We had the choice of taking a gondola or a chairlift to the top. Remembering Swiss chairlifts and how nimble one needed to be to get on one (they literally sweep you off your feet!), I chickened out and we took the gondola.

The attendant had told us to look out for a grizzly mother and her two cubs around pylon 16 and there they were.

The view from the top was quite breathtaking.

Lake Louise can be seen in the distance just at the start of the line of trees on the right.

Zooming in on Lake Louise and the famous Fairmont Chateau Hotel.

One of the attendants took this photo of us with Lake Louise in the background.

 

 

I was more adventurous on the return journey as the attendant told me they slow down the chairlift in summer time.

We were lucky enough to see the bears again but much further down the mountain this time and better able to photograph them from the chairlift.

We had lunch at one of the cafes at the gondola base station but there was not much else to see so rather than wait for our Hop On bus we took the free shuttle to Lake Louise Mall.

Bear spotting is a popular activity here.

I wondered why we were the only ones getting off there; everyone else continued on to Lake Louise Chateau. It didn’t take long to work out why! The “Mall” was just a tourist trap of shops and restaurants all jammed with people.

We had a while to wait for our Hop On bus so we went for a short walk to get away from the crowds and found this river rushing past the back of the shops.

Our next stop was Moraine Lake on a dead end road. Attendants man the turn off and close the road to incoming traffic when it is too congested at the lake car park. We were so pleased that we were on the bus instead of in the motorhome.

We finally made it to Lake Louise where it was once again teeming with people. There was even a wedding taking place at the Chateau.

Taking a break beside the lake.

The Hop On bus took the reverse route back to Banff, picking up and dropping off passengers at the various stops and dropping us off again at the railway station where we waited for our transit bus to return us to Canmore. It was a fantastic day and we felt the Hop On Hop Off bus tour was the ideal way to see all the sights.

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Canada 2017 – Banff, Lake Louise & the Bow Valley Parkway Part 1

27th June, 2017.

As mentioned in the previous post, not being able to stay at Banff or Lake Louise turned out for the best for us. Both places were teeming with people and we certainly would not have enjoyed staying in either place. Instead we “commuted” to Banff on a Roam Transit bus from Canmore for the princely sum of CAD6 each, each way. It was only a 20 minute trip and the bus stop was just across the road from our camp site in Canmore.

This electronic board kept updating with the arrival time of our bus and it was spot on.

This bicycle repair station was located on a cycle path close to the bus stop. Quite ingenious.

Erich got to enjoy the view in comfort.

We booked the Hop On Hop Off Banff bus tour which picked us up at the railway station in Banff where our transit bus dropped us. Stopping at Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise Gondola, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake along the Bow Valley Parkway, it gave us the opportunity to get off where we wanted to explore and then catch a later bus to our next stop. It really was a fantastic way to see all those sights without the hassle of driving ourselves.

One of the distinctive yellow school buses used by the bus company. They were ideal to photograph wildlife from as the top part of the windows drop down to allow unrestricted views and it was always easy for us to find our bus.

First stop was Johnston Canyon and around 1.5km walk to the lower falls.

We were so pleased that we got there before the hordes arrived. The walk back to the bus stop was like swimming against the tide!

We could have done a longer walk to the upper falls but it was going to be a long day and we didn’t want to exhaust ourselves too early. Another couple from our bus did the extra distance and said the lower falls were nicer than the upper falls so we were happy about that.

With around a half hour before our next bus was due, I was able to surf the internet using the free wifi from a tour bus parked close by while we enjoyed a coffee.

This old timer was parked in the car park.

Back on the bus, it wasn’t long before we saw our first wild bear of the day. When wildlife is sighted it is common for all vehicles to just stop in their lane with hazard lights flashing. Fortunately this was not on the Trans Canada Highway. The following shots of a Cinnamon Black Bear were taken from the safety of the bus.

We were told this was the best time to see bears as early in the season they come down to the valleys to feed on the dandelions growing close to the roads. As the season goes on and dandelions begin flowering higher up the valleys, the bears retreat to feed on them there and are less likely to be seen by tourists.

Next stop – Lake Louise Gondola.

To be continued…..

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Canada 2017 – Blairmore to Canmore, Alberta

25th– 26th June, 2017.

Having studied the map to find the best route north whilst avoiding Calgary, we decided to take the Kananaskis Trail, a road that is closed from 1st December until 14th June. We really had no idea what the road would be like but it turned out to be one of the highlights of the whole trip; a great road and fantastic scenery.

Our rented motorhome parked in a rest area along the trail in the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park.

The view from another rest area.

Our destination for the night was the Mount Kidd RV Park, located just outside the northern boundary of the Provincial Park. It was huge with hundreds of unpowered sites but even so we had a lovely quiet site where the squirrels kept us entertained. This fellow looks so surprised to see us!

This was the view from the RV Park the next morning.

Leaving Mount Kidd, we made use of the 8 bay dump point, the biggest one we saw on the whole trip.

As mentioned in a previous post, we did not prebook any RV Parks on the whole trip which turned out to be a mixed blessing when we arrived in Canmore. Canada Day is 1st July and this year is the 150th anniversary of federation so we were coming up to a major holiday and long weekend. Every RV Park in Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper was booked out already so we decided to stay 2 nights at the RV Park next to the Canmore Visitor Centre so that we could explore Banff and Lake Louise from there. As it turned out this was a blessing in disguise for more of that in the next post.

The photo below is the calm after the storm. After parking in our spot we decided to deploy the electric awning for a little shade. However, 5 minutes later a mini-tornado swept through almost taking the awning with it. We had to stand in the doorway of the van hanging on to the awning to prevent it blowing back over the van roof. The little plastic clips that held the awning legs in place when the awning was closed were never to be seen again and we had to make temporary repairs so that we could get the awning closed again. The photo shows some of the debris blown down from the surrounding trees. The whole episode was over in about a minute and covered an area probably 10 metres wide with us right in the middle of it.

Looking across the Trans Canada Highway, Canmore from our campground.

This curious bird hopped around us for a while.

More photos taken from the campground.

A monochrome version of the photo above.

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Canada 2017 – Fort Steele to Blairmore, Alberta

24th June, 2017.

Another beautiful clear day and a few early morning photos before we packed up to move on.

We were once again heading east and I was reading the tourism literature we had collected from a Visitor Centre looking for what might be interesting to see along the way. The town of Elkford at the end of the road north from Sparwood sounded like it might be worth a visit. The drive up there was quite pleasant but despite the literature making it sound interesting it was just a mining town without any features at all. So we retraced our route to Sparwood, another mining town, where we refuelled and decided to have lunch at a “Tim Horton’s” restaurant many of which we had already seen on our travels. It turned out to be just another fast food restaurant and not a particularly good one either.

We crossed the Crowsnest Pass into Alberta and headed to the town of Blairmore which was close to the highway junction with the Cowboy Trail which we planned to take north in the direction of Calgary before turning off onto the Kananaskis Trail, closed between December and June, which would take us through a couple of Provincial Parks before meeting up with the Trans Canada Highway between Calgary and Canmore.

The strangely named Lost Lemon RV Park was our choice for the night. The owners were a Swiss couple who had moved to Canada in 2003 to buy the park.

While I caught up with the washing, Erich was out and about with his camera getting some shots of the Rockies and the area around the Park.

The stream running behind the park looked fairly benign but this plaque tells a different story.

Almost everywhere we stayed during our trip had a railway line nearby and Blairmore was no exception.

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Canada 2017 – Golden to Fort Steele via Kimberley

23rd June, 2017.

After an early visit to the dump point to empty the grey and black water tanks and a quick refuel of the motorhome, we were soon motoring south with no set plan apart from following the road. We had thought that Radium Hot Springs would be an interesting place to look around but there was not much to the town and certainly nothing of interest to us so we didn’t stop. The town of Kimberley required a slight detour off our route to Alberta but it sounded as though it could be worth a visit. As we had been in the Kimberley area of Western Australia last year, we were keen to compare.

The mall area is certainly very “kitsch” but we enjoyed it all the same.

We had lunch at the Bavarian Schnitzel House where the owner brought out this array of homemade mustards to complement our schnitzels, a few of which we sampled. The vivid green Madagascar Peppercorn mustard was very good.

This impressive pedestrian bridge spanned a creek running through the middle of the town.

We now planned to spend the night at Fort Steele but rather than retrace our path, we decided to do the loop through Cranbrook as the camp ground we had chosen was to the south of the Fort Steele township.

Shortly after leaving Kimberley we came to the village of Marysville where the Mary Falls are just a short walk from the main road.

We found our way to the Fort Steele Campground where the owners proved to have a sense of humour. Apparently, campers regularly get this campground confused with the one in town. No reservations here and cash only. It was quite rustic and though there were other campers, we were around a corner completely on our own, just the way we like it.

The weather was inviting for Erich to take a walk with his camera before we settled down for a quiet evening.

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Canada 2017 – Summit Lake to Golden

22nd June, 2017.

Leaving Summit Lake Provincial Park, we drove west towards Nakusp and then north for a couple of hours to reach the ferry crossing from Galena Bay to Shelter Bay on the Upper Arrow Lake. This is said to be the longest free vehicular ferry crossing in the world. We arrived just in time to be the last vehicle aboard.

This tanker was refuelling the ferry as we made the crossing.

The scenery was spectacular and the crossing very smooth.

Approaching our disembarkation point at Shelter Bay.

Our loose plan was to head to Revelstoke and decide what to do once we checked out the town. Our first stop was at the Visitor Centre where we bought a map of a few self-guided walking tours. We have always found these to be a great way to see a town. Unfortunately the route we chose looked better on paper than in person and after wandering around for a while we abandoned the exercise and found a place to have lunch and contemplate our stop for the night.

Following are a few photos from our short walk around Revelstoke.

This map shows our route to this point. Ignore the driving time. It took us a week to get to this point.

After lunch we decided to press on to Golden over Rogers Pass in the Glacier National Park. There were massive roadworks all the way through the pass which meant that we could not stop for any photo opportunities and the windscreen was far too dirty to get any decent shots from the vehicle.

We were able to book a spot in the Golden Community RV Park situated right on the edge of the Columbia River. Unfortunately, the railway line was directly on the opposite bank and was quite noisy. We walked back into town along the river to have a look around but there was nothing very remarkable about the town.

More Swiss connections with Canada.

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Canada 2017 – Castlegar to Summit Lake via Kaslo

21st June, 2017.

Before our departure from Castlegar, Erich had time to take a few more photos.

Today’s route would take us to what looked like being an interesting town, Nelson. Along the way we stopped to take some photos of a hydro-electric installation on Kootenary Lake south of Nelson.

Unfortunately our timing was not favourable as it was market day and the town was teeming with people. Nelson is a very hilly town and we could not find any suitable parking within a reasonable distance of the town centre so we just kept going, planning to stop in the small town of Kaslo if it looked appealing.

It did turn out to be a very attractive little village where we had lunch and restocked with groceries.

Some very pretty architecture as well. The City Hall circa 1898.

The town library was located in the basement.

A fancy looking resort further along the lake.

“reserved”

From Kaslo we headed west in search of a camp spot for the night with the intention of spending our first night in a Provincial Park with basic facilities such as bins and drop toilets. Along the way we stopped to take a few photos of the river rapids which ran close to the road.

The system for Provincial and National Parks in Canada is very well organised. Some parks are on a first come, first served basis and others can be booked online. In the latter case, a ranger puts a “reserved” or “available” sign on each camp spot so it is simply a matter of walking or driving around to find an available spot. As we only planned on staying one night, this site backing on to Summit Lake suited us perfectly. The ranger called around later in the afternoon to collect our camping fee.

Looking across the lake from our campsite, there is an RV Park on the opposite shore.

Around the other side of the park there was even a spot for swimming or a picnic.

Obviously a popular fishing and canoeing spot as many of our fellow campers had boats.

How wonderful to wake up to another beautiful day.

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Canada 2017 – Osoyoos to Castlegar

20th June, 2017.

I was a bit ahead of myself with the previous post and should have saved the photos of the views leaving Osoyoos for this one. Never mind. There is no shortage of photos!

Our route from Osoyoos took us further east and almost parallel to the US border, located just to the south, until we passed Grand Forks where we turned north towards the town of Castlegar, our planned stop for the night. We arrived at around lunchtime, had lunch in a very nice Greek restaurant (The Wandering Greek Oven) and went for a walk around town. It’s great to see these small towns making an effort to attract tourists. In this case the Sculpture Walk was well worth a look.

Each sculpture is accompanied by a plaque explaining the meaning of the art work.

I’m not sure about this one.

Castlegar is located at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers as referenced below.

We set off to look for an RV Park for the night and were very happy to find the Kootenay River Kampground (sic) situated right beside the Kootenay River. There were various warning signs about the dangers of swimming in the fast flowing river but the water would have been much too cold in any case.

Again we had a lovely grassy green site with plenty of room even though the park was almost filled with the huge 5th wheelers that are so common in Canada. This little bird hopped around outside our van for a while.

The grounds were beautifully kept making it a pleasure to stay there.

Our spot for the night.

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Canada 2017 – Keremeos to Osoyoos

18-19th June, 2017.

Having studied the map and making the decision that we would keep heading roughly east, we drove only around 40kms to the lakeside town of Osoyoos, which we quickly discovered was a popular tourist destination. There were a number of RV Parks but they all looked very full, cramped and not at all appealing. There was a small provincial park on a peninsula jutting into the lake that looked like it might suit us but all the sites bordering the lake were booked and our only possibility would have been to pull up along the edge of the access road. Not our idea of a nice spot. However the caretaker gave us a tip for an RV Park located on the lake, though a fair drive from town, where there would be plenty of room and where she said they “snowbird” over the winter months.

Armed with this information, we headed back into town to have lunch and stock up on groceries. The RV Park turned out to be ideal with plenty of space available and we were able to get a spot close to the laundry so I could catch up on the washing.

Although our site was not close to the lake, we had some pleasant walks to the water’s edge for lovely views across the lake.

It was always fun to watch the squirrels busily going about their business.

As we were in no real hurry, we decided to spend a second night there and discovered a small Mexican themed cafe where we had an early dinner on the second night.

The beef and chorizo burgers were nice and spicy and I enjoyed my Mojito.

A revelation for us was the prevalence of “full service” (power, water and sewer) sites at the majority of RV Parks throughout Canada. We have only come across this once in Australia, at the G’Day Mate Caravan Park in Alice Springs. It became obvious to us that all RVs (motorhomes, caravans and 5th wheelers) in Canada are fitted with both grey and black water tanks so emptying these tanks is never an issue there. This park was the first that we booked with full service as we were getting due to empty our tanks.

So much easier and more pleasant than having to empty our caravan toilet cassette.

The drive south-east out of Osoyoos was quite spectacular with great views back over the town and lake.

This peninsula is a small provincial park with RV camping but was fully booked at the time.

The RV Park we stayed at is in the centre bottom of this photo running in a straight line left to right from the lake.

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Canada 2017 – Bridal Veil Falls to Keremeos

17th June, 2017.

Leaving Bridal Veil Falls, we decided to drive approximately 50kms north of Hope to have a look at the Hell’s Gate Airtram spanning the Fraser River. It was a pleasant drive with the river in view for most of the way.

Photo from the bridge crossing the highway to the upper terminal.

On arrival there was nothing to see without taking the gondola ride of around 200 metres across the river to the lower terminal. It really was quite spectacular gliding down over the waters gushing their way through the narrows.

Waiting for the gondola to dock at the upper terminal.

At the lower terminal.

Looking across to the lower terminal from the suspension bridge with the concrete fishways in the foreground. The fishways were built in the mid 1900s following rock slides in the early 1900s that prevented the salmon from venturing upstream to spawn.

The first of many bowls of delicious seafood chowder that we enjoyed throughout Canada.

A closer look at the fishway on the eastern side of the river. Quite ingenious.

A partial view of the fishway on the western side of the Fraser River.

As we ascended to the upper terminal again, a freight train wound its way along the eastern bank.

Most of the gondolas that we travelled on in Canada had a Swiss connection.

As we had no plans to head further north on this road, we retraced our route back to Hope and continued east while I studied our various apps and camping literature to find somewhere suitable to stay. We decided that Keremeos looked a good prospect distance wise and it had an RV park on the western side of town that had good reviews. What a great little find the Eagle RV Park turned out to be. Lovely green grass and drive through sites. The only drawback being that it was around 3kms to town if we wanted to have a look around. Rather than pack up the motorhome and drive in, we decided to walk along a disused railway track that had been turned into a cycle/walking track which would lead us right into town. It was obviously not that well used and certainly would have been a challenge for anyone on a bicycle but negotiating it on foot was not too bad. We passed between many of the fruit orchards for which this area is famous.

As we came into the populated area of town and cut across to the main road, this wood carving took our eye.

We took the advice of the RV Park manager and headed to the Branding Iron Restaurant for dinner where we had one of the better meals of the whole trip. Having seen that the walk back along the main road allowed us to stay away from the traffic, we decided it would be interesting to see all the fruit barns selling local produce along the way. Unfortunately no photos.

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Canada 2017 – Vancouver to Bridal Veil Falls

15th June, 2017.

Having finished our time in Victoria we now had to get to Vancouver to collect our rented Motorhome. Again there were a few choices but taking the BC Ferries Connector worked well for us. It was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel to the BCF pickup point in Victoria and then about an hour’s drive north to Stanley where our bus drove onto the ferry that would bear us to Vancouver.

Once again the weather was less than ideal but it was a pleasant crossing and interesting to see all the small islands we passed on our way to the mainland.

We were dropped at the central Railway Station where we were collected by taxi and driven to Langley, approximately 45 minutes drive away, where we were to collect the Motorhome. All went smoothly with the pickup and we were soon on our way to stock the larder and find somewhere to stay for the night. A combination of rain and a certain amount of angst driving in unknown territory meant there are no photos at all for the rest of that day. We found an RV Park on the outskirts of Fort Langley, a very pretty town with some interesting buildings. You will have to take my word for that. We walked to the local pub for dinner that night and had our first experience of taxes and tipping Canadian style. We never did get used to the advertised prices not being what we ended up paying. As far as we could establish the only commodity or service that included tax was fuel. Everything else had tax added on to the advertised price and then tipping was on top of that.

16th June, 2017.

We had a rough itinerary in mind but had nothing pre-booked until our return to Vancouver on July 15th so we more or less followed our noses for the whole trip. I had read about Bridal Veil Falls on a friend’s blog so we headed east on back roads using an iPad app ca