Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Weekend RoadTrip

I had a few days off over the weekend and an invitation to meet with some friends down near Cranbrook, BC at the St. Mary’s River B&B, a brand-new facility run by friends Doug and Dale Martin.CIMG1405

It is located in a wonderfully scenic spot on the banks of the St. Mary’s river in Wycliffe.CIMG1410 

We spent a couple of days visiting and catching up on the news, while enjoying a pig roasted on a spit, and a few cool beverages.  CIMG1412

The weather was perfect for the get-together and it was good to catch up with old friends.  CIMG1409

They had a lot of friends and relatives visiting, so I was happy to stay out in the camper with Hailey, the travelling kitten.

CIMG1411Afterwards, I checked out my backroads mapbooks, and decided on a route leading west from Kimberley, to Grays Creek, on the southern end of Kootenay Lake.


After dropping other friends off at the airport in Cranbrook  so they could fly their light plane back to Calgary, I headed out under some threatening skies.


There was some short-lived heavy rain and some hail to dampen the dust, but it cleared nicely for most of the trip.

CIMG1418CIMG1414CIMG1421CIMG1415CIMG1419CIMG1420Near the far end of the road, I had no sooner passed a fellow stopped on the roadside with a very flat tire – when I had one of my own!

My truck alerted me to a low tire on the right rear, so I jumped out for a look and it was going down so fast that I hardly had a chance to pick a safer flatter spot to answer the big question!  The big question was whether or not I could get access to the spare tire with the camper on and the tailgate down?  After waiting out yet another rain shower, (and reading the directions), I found out that I could indeed get the spare off, though I had to use a small wrench to spin the tire-lowering rod instead of the tire iron.CIMG1424CIMG1426

After that minor excitement I rolled in to Crawford Bay, where the free ferry across the lake is billed as the ‘longest free ferry crossing in the world’.  The small town was absolutely packed with people as they were hosting the Starbelly Jam Music Festival! It was about to end, so the lineups at the ferry terminal were hours long instead of minutes.  But I was in no particular rush, so in due time we were aboard for the 40 minute crossing on the ‘MV Osprey 2000


I was impressed that my Tomtom GPS unit kept on course, even while on the ferry!CIMG1433

A nice lake view camp spot was located on the far shore in time to watch an impressive show of lightning across the lake.  CIMG1439CIMG1406

In the morning, a tire repair shop in Nelson patched the flat tire and put the spare back in place.



From there the route was northbound through Slocan into Nakusp, where another music festival was just over, threatening more huge ferry lineups across Arrow Lake into Revelstoke.  Fortunately, I found a backwoods hotspring to soak for a while until the lineups had somewhat died down.

It was good to get back into the truck camper again after spending my last few months on the road last spring in the 5th wheel.

Plans are to head out to another lake to join other friends next weekend, this time back in the fifth wheel!

It’s looking like sometime before this year is out, I will be free to finally start travelling full-time, without interruptions to go back to work.  Really looking forward to that, I must say!

Till then, keep on reading!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hard at Work!

Who would know a month would pass before I got around to another post.  I think it was perhaps seeing Wandering Willy posting again that spurred me into action!  Of course he has been off the air a lot longer than I, but it is good to see him on the road again.

Meanwhile, I have been working full time again, and been trying to move more of my stuff to my post-work location.

Overtime this summer has been good so far, so I don’t mind working for a while, but I’m getting itchy feet to get back on the road again and see some new sights.  I managed to get out on a couple weekend expeditions, but they will have to wait for the next post.

Most of my work involves grizzly bears at this time of year.  Early one morning I had a call about a sow grizzly and two cubs near a local resort on the lakeshore.  I got there a bit too late to see the bears, but I was not far behind them as I tracked them down a shoreline trail.  They had stopped for a drink, then continued on leaving wet footprints on the trail!

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Later on, one of the helicopters we use had a slight ‘incident’, and it was decided to haul it to helicopter hospital for a precautionary check-up.  I have flown on this machine many times, but have never seen it in the air without a pilot before.  Or, without any blades, which were taken off to facilitate the move.CIMG1359   CIMG1368 CIMG1375CIMG1376 CIMG1377

The next incident involved both bears and helicopters.  One of our unruly bears discovered that he (or she) could break into facilities in the backcountry and get a feed of oats and other horse feed.  So we had to fly in to check and repair several of these locations – and install electric fencing to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.  (we used a different helicopter)

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The bear was quite intent on getting in, and spent a lot of time and energy doing so, in spite of some doors and windows being lined with sharp nail points as a deterrent. It left some nice muddy paw prints all over the walls.

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I guess this is the sign of a bad day if you are a long-haul trucker?  I came across this scene last week along the Trans Canada Highway.  I’m not sure what the cause of the blaze was, but it may have been as a result of overheating from a long hill climb.

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These deer bucks thought they were hiding from me, but I guess they had forgotten that they had grown some new antlers this summer!  They’ll have to go to deer-stealth summer school I guess ;-).