Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back from BC, BC.

Back from Bella Coola, B.C. that is!

Once again, I have waited too long to blog this, but at least there are lots of photos to save the day.

After my $112. fill up with diesel in Bella Coola, we headed out and back up the big hill into the Chilcotin once again.

A nice McClinchy river-side camp spot beckoned us on the way after passing through Nimpo lake.  The mosquitoes were few and the firewood plentiful, so it was right to sit outside beside the fire, while listening and watching the rambling river.


I was not sure if the postal strike had ended or not, but there was certainly no one on duty at the places I found!


Another small coffee shop was not sure if it was open or not?


I stopped at another empty little campground further along the river where Hailey was outwitted by the little chipmunks. In both photos the chipmunk is directly above her on top of the fence!


Speaking of fences, they sure like their fences in Chilcotin and Cariboo.  There were many styles, but almost all made from wood poles.  There are also lots of modern barbed wired fences, but they are not so photogenic.  Most are made from round logs, but a few are split pole varieties.


Back in Williams Lake, I visited the very impressive visitor centre.  While the building itself is pretty spectacular, they have a beautiful log cabin built right inside the main building!


I probably should have stopped in here before the trip out to the coast Winking smile.  The visitor centre also had a good supply of free wi-fi!

Nearby, in the wilds, I discovered a colony of marmots who were not that shy about having their photos taken.


Actually, in this case, the ‘wilds’ was located less than 100’ from the back of the Walmart.  Rather strange place to find marmots I thought, but it looked like perhaps their original home had been destroyed when tons of rock was removed to build the store.  They had taken up residence in a pile of post-construction rock rubble. Incidentally, I worked with the folks at Allstays on my ‘Overnight Parking Walmart’ app on my iphone, to correct the location shown for this store – which was several miles away.  They now show the correct location on the map.  It is a new area, and my Tomtom was confused as well.

The next night I headed a bit south to Green Lake, and found this group of eagles sitting in trees along the lakeshore.  I was able to take photos through my spotting scope.


On the way back, I found the diesel for sale at $1.17/l at the Flying J east of Kamloops, using my gasbuddy app.

I’m a long way from an English major, but it still bugs me when some folks who should know better try to add new words to the language.


If you don’t see the problem with this sign, perhaps you should consider some high school! (Now I’m likely to have people point out my mistakes and typos – of which I make a lot).

I even checked the dictionary on this one, to make sure it was not an ‘American’ spelling (like: neighbor, center, labor).


Often used by people who have no grasp of the English language. The correct spelling is "Paid", which is of course the past tense of the word "Pay".

After a quick visit in Lake Louise, I was glad to find lots of room at one of my favourite camp spots on Abraham Lake – not far from home.


I have been at my ‘home without wheels’ for a couple days of mowing and laundry, and am now ready to hit the pavement and gravel again.  Last time was west.  This time could be north!  Stay tuned …

Friday, June 24, 2011

The road ends at Bella Coola!

A quick check of the weather forecasts showed me that the lousy weather was not quite as bad to the west, so with a tank full of Alberta diesel, off we went.

A quick overnight stop at a friend’s in Valemount seemed to confirm the reports of better weather – or at least less rain.  So of we went southward on the highway heading for Kamloops.  There was a brief stop at the Wells Gray Park information center in Clearwater, but the rain had started again, so we continued on westward.  Fuel and supplies were available in Williams Lake, as well as a free RV dump and water tap at the rodeo grounds.  There was still time to head further west that evening, but after finally locating the elusive Walmart – which has a somewhat phantom address in Williams Lake – it was decided to spring for a backroads mapbook.  An impressive thunder and lightning show was put on at dusk, and camping on a dead-end road next to Walmart seemed in order.

In the morning, we were off to the Chilcotin – an impressive area of scenic ranchlands and wilderness on the way to the coast.


About half way to Bella Coola on the Pacific coast, it was time to start looking for the ideal overnight spot.  There were a number of recreation area signs along the road, so it was decided to check out a likely looking one.  Of course, I expected it to be ‘just over the hill’ from the road, but when we headed in to find Big Stick Lake, it turned out to be about 10km in from the highway, on a decent, but deteriorating bush road.


As the waterholes got deeper, I was glad that I did not have the 5th wheel on this mission!


I had a scenic lakeside spot all to myself, and 136 million mosquitoes, half of which managed to find their way into the camper at some point.  There were fresh moose tracks on the beach, and by morning, there were even fresher ones!  Temperatures overnight dropped to 2C, which neutralized the outdoor mosquito population for a while, but did nothing for the warm indoor population.  Hailey did her best by catching and eating some, but there were lots left for me too.  I think a vent on the stove vent was stuck open, providing an open invitation to the little blood-suckers!


Since it was the longest day of the year, it was light early, and so with coffee in hand, we departed before the hordes thawed out.  I think these horses were spending time on the road to avoid the little predators?


Approaching Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, it was evident that the area had endured some very large fires and floods in the past year or so.


There is a section of gravel road west of Anahim Lake for about 60 km, but it was very well maintained, smooth and water trucks kept the dust to a minimum.

Next, it was down the ‘big hill’ so much talked about by travellers and bloggers.


It was interesting in places – specially when I met a couple of loaded deck trucks coming in the other direction!  In the narrowest spot.


Before long we were at the bottom and back on pavement for the final run in to Bella Coola and the Pacific coast.CIMG5677CIMG5678CIMG5680CIMG5681CIMG5682

As expected, the town was small, but bustling with activity, and lots of fishing boats tied up at the docks.  Fuel for me was ‘only’ $1.34/litre, so $112. provided a fill-up.