Once Hailey got all the mice on the home place trained again, there was not much reason to stick around. I finished all the aerial photo work that was available this fall, everyone who was going to visit had done so, and the good weather was not going to last forever.
We were going to miss the many turkey suppers at local community halls, and a couple pieces of mail failed to arrive, but we may have saved a few turkeys, and the mail will still be there in the spring!
At any rate, the ‘alarm cat’ got me up early in the morning, and by 2 pm we were on the road. It took a bit of time to drain the water lines, add some antifreeze to the drains, turn down the heat, plug in the back up electric heaters, drop the blinds, empty the fridge, but most of the stuff was already loaded in anticipation of such a departure.
Hailey didn’t have all her border crossing paper work in order, so we stopped at the vet on the way through town to get her shots. She has a very, very short fuse and you don’t want to be anywhere close to her when she loses her temper, so I have the vet waiting with loaded needle when I whisk her in. When the vet approached her with the stethoscope, I had to insist on the needle first; any other examination would be a bonus. After the needle, she did get to listen to a low growl with her stethoscope, but when she offered Hailey a treat, that was the last straw! I managed to get her back out to the parking lot without anyone bleeding, and she pulled me to the safety of the trailer sitting there!
After that we were on the road for real. Southbound to the trans-Canada highway, then west through Banff we went, before turning south through my old stomping grounds of Kootenay National Park. Nice to see a lot of wildlife fencing under construction, as well as numerous wildlife underpasses. That should provide some welcome relief to the wildlife mortalities on the highway. When I worked there, picking up the smashed remains of the park’s wildlife was a daily ritual – while the park did not seem to have the courage to ‘request’ some of the speeding drivers to defend their negligence before a judge. The way I saw it was that the reckless speeders should ‘contribute’ to building fences and overpasses!
At this time of year a couple decades ago, there would have been herds of a hundred elk grazing roadside, as well as deer, moose and various predators. I didn’t see a thing. They might be closing the barn door after the stock have all escaped?
It was dark by the time I was immersed in the soothing hot waters of Lussier Hot Springs, an 18 km gravel detour off the highway south of Fairmont. The springs suffered some damage last winter when an ice-jam clogged up the adjacent river, but BC Parks seems to have done a great job repairing any damage and improving the walkways and rock work. While enjoying the stars from the hot pools with a cool beverage in hand, I decided that the winter travel season had officially begun!
Next day, after another early morning dip and these photos, it was back out to the highway, an on southward through Cranbrook, and down to the US border. Got into a bit of a conversation with the customs officer about working in fire lookouts and flying UAV’s, but then another vehicle showed up behind me, and we had to cut it short. My kind of border crossing!
Since then, we’ve spent a couple of nights in the rain near Sandpoint, Idaho, with a nice view of the Pend Oreille river, and then on a south-westerly direction through Washington state. Only a few times has the sun peeked out, and the rain almost constant, but no snow or freezing temps, so I’m happy with that.
Continuing south-westward on I-90, then onto 395, we decided to have a look at the town of ‘Warden’, to the west. Just past there are many public fishing access points indicated off the road and we took one to a deserted spot on the south end of Warden Lake. Back on the road, we crossed the dam creating Potholes reservoir,
then checked out Potholes SP.
It seems like a very nice and well maintained park, with prices to match. Fall colours were out, and the sun came out as well!
After that it was more of a zig-zag route down through Othello, then down and across the Columbia River – which is not that huge at this point, before it is joined by the Snake River.
Shooting south across I-82, and down through Sunnyside, we saw a tiny sign in Bickleton, indicating the route to Roosevelt, down on the Columbia River proper. Good thing too, as the GPS wanted to plot a route there almost 4 hours longer!! Whomever designed the next section of road was clearly drunk or stoned, as it winds aimlessly back and forth across the open rangeland, with a 30mph curve at least every mile! Luckily there was no traffic to be seen, and the pavement was excellent. I have never seen as many wind turbines as here – there were hundreds, as far as the eye could see! And they had them all running full tilt, making it extremely windy as we approached the river .
That’s it for now. Oregon in sight!