Tuesday, July 22, 2008

After a year of waiting, it was finally time to pull up stakes and head out to the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, in Merritt, BC.

This year the headliners included the Judds, Hank Williams Jr, The Wilkinsons, Dierks Bentley, Sugarland, Sara Evans, and many many more. The Brent Lee Band did not make it this year, but we had one of the beer garden acts 'Lester' camped with us in the campground. He's up for an aboriginal people's choice award, and you can vote on his link above.

But I digress.I headed out from home with the camper on the truck on Tuesday. I visited a buddy in Revelstoke on the way through, then stocked up on groceries and supplies in Kamloops.

I was looking for a quiet spot to spend the night, knowing the next few nights were likely to be anything but quiet!
So I avoided he Coquihalla highway leading out of Kamloops, and instead took the old highway 5.

Sure enough, I located a quiet little lakeside spot to spend the night, even if it was a bit too close to the road.

It was windy at night, but nice and calm in the morning, and I spent some time watching a pair of loons on the water, as well as a vocal bald eagle who surveyed the scene from an old snag on the shoreline. Something like a sparrowhawk was also patrolling the area.

Wednesday it was on into Merritt, where I filled up some 5 gal jugs with water to use for our camp shower. I found most of my usual camping group all set up and ready to party.

I leveled the camper and set up the wire fence around the truck so that Harley would have a shady place to roam and keep an eye on all the action.
Turns out, there would have been room for the new 5th wheel, but the camper works just fine and is a 'veteran' of several past festivals and was certainly cheaper to haul about. The new truck is performing flawlessly and motors up the Roger's Pass and Coquihalla hills at 1500 rpm without even downshifting! Impressive.

It was not long before the traditional jello shooters were being served up!Several times I hiked up the hill to the former site of 'tent city' to survey the area of our campground and the main stage area. Because of a new format, attendance appeared to be way down from past years? Time will tell if the higher prices will make up the difference.
The campground gradually filled over the next couple days, but never got full even on Saturday.

As is my custom, I pulled up stakes (and fencing) and headed out for home on Sunday, unfortunately missing acts such as George Fox and Sara Evans :(

Harley was glad to get back on the road again, and we were both glad for a little bit of peace and quiet after fairly continuous music and action for 5 days.

I'd like to thank Mastercard for suspending my credit card for noticing that I had 'purchasing fuel at Petro Canada', which they thought was a sure sign that my card must have been stolen? Huh? Fortunately, my home voip phone e-mailed me the voice mail, so I suspected something was amiss before I tried to use the card. What bugged me was being on hold for 20 minutes with their security department before I gave up on the first call.

I fuelled up at the new Flying J outside Kamloops and finally got through to MC who dutifully reinstated my card!

The fire trucks went whipping past me just out of town, and it looked like a grass fire was out of control along the highway. It was very windy, but I guess they got it under control as I did not hear more about it on the new later.

It was a tough 3 day work week when I got home.

Next entry - some boating on Lake Minnewanka - and another trip out to the homestead!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Well, it took quite a while; and there were a few false starts, but I finally had the time to hook onto the new fifth wheel and take it for a short run. The rig itself was all ready to travel from the start, but it is all those little things you need to have along that make the trip work.
So, there I was, emptying drawers and cupboards from the camper, and dumping them in what I thought were equivalent locations in the 5er! Of course, there is a LOT more room in the fiver, and you still have a virtually empty truck box to deal with, so some of the optional items - like firewood - got to come along for the ride even if I did not use any this time. Too windy at the best times for a fire.

We headed up on the Icefields Parkway from home, stopped for a photo op at Bow Lake, and continued on out to Abraham lake outside the national park - where most of the camping is Free!I picked a spot I have stayed in a few times before. Great view all around, if a bit exposed to the west wind. No bugs, tho!
View south from the slideout.
Another shot, showing some of the neighbors - who told me that they have been camping here for the last 20 years.

Harley was glad to be along as usual, and he seemed to get over the excessive space with not too much difficulty.Laying in front of the fireplace!

Checking out the mattress. It seemed to meet his approval.Then of course, there are a myriad of exciting new compartments to be checked out.

(Click on any photo for a larger view)

As usual, my camera was attracted to the bumper crop of Tiger Lilies in the area.

Some of the butterflies were also attracted.

All in all, the first run with the 5th wheel went very smoothly, with no major omissions or problems. It still needs to have a power inverter installed so I can use a few more 110V items, and it wouldn't hurt to have some solar capability, and some of those 6V golf cart batteries.
Because of the wind, I never had a chance to deploy the awning, but everything I used worked well, including the shower - with a skylight!
I couldn't get any wi-fi signal at the 'usual' location, but much to my surprise the phone in my truck worked just fine. Still not sure if it is finding a distant cell signal, or whether it is using satellite! Forgot to test it in a 'guaranteed no cell service' area on the way back home.

Next entry: Back to the camper, and the Merritt Mountain Music Festival.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

How the time flies when you are at home, slaving away at work! Nothing spectacular to report, but some nice scenic shots that you just might enjoy?

When loading up dead moose on the roadside, you can stumble on some nice fields of flowers ...
Went for a hike up the Little Yoho Valley, past Marpole lake, and past Twin Falls.

This was a 'work' patrol, by the way, just so you don't start to think I would do these things just for fun.

Twin Falls (in case you couldn't guess!)
I was also out at my Sundre place - to cut the grass, of course, and we made a side trip out to the Ya Ha Tinda ranch. There we did a short hike to check out Bighorn falls - that I last visited on Christmas day, when it was mostly frozen.

Harley knows there are a lot of dogs out at the ranch, so he opted to take an easy day off at home.I also had to spend a few hours (working again) up at Moraine lake last week, so I snapped a few quick pics there as well.
Part of the scene that used to be on the back of the old $20 bill ...

I finally got around to taking the new 5th wheel on a shakedown weekend trip, and spent my first nights in it, so that will be updated in the next entry.