Tag Archives: Kamloops

Making the grade

Cayoosh Creek is far below

Cayoosh Creek is far below

On how steep a grade do you tow your trailer? We found our new high last week. Last week’s drive was one of the most beautiful and certainly the most harrowing we’ve experienced. Almost the entire distance from Kamloops to Pemberton the views were just absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Half the distance had excellent roads. The other half were the worst paved roads we’ve ever traveled, bar none.

Our route from Kamloops was Highway #1 to Cache Creek, then a short stretch north on #97 north to pick up #99 south toward Whistler. The bulk of #99 was narrow and without shoulder, and in countless places suddenly the road surface would be like a twenty feet long pothole, causing the truck and trailer to pitch up and down wretchedly. We were sure all the hangers would be off the closet rods and one or more roof lockers might be lying on the floor. But no damage whatsoever!

Highway #99 (if we should call this stretch highway) has at least a half-dozen one lane bridges over Cayoosh Creek, Gott Creek, and others. A few of these we found with new bridges under construction. We stopped for fifteen or twenty minutes while the flagmen decide whether northbound or southbound will have the route next.

The most challenging aspect of the drive was the steep grades. Our trip mapping program (by Trailer Life) highlights every section which has more than a 6 percent grade. Steeper than this can be a little challenging for some tow vehicles or motorhomes, you probably know. And how about ten percent, eleven percent, and fifteen percent? Yeah, really 15% grades. We didn’t know highways have these — or how we would manage. It was fine towing downhill in second and first gear, the engine provided almost all the braking we needed.

Amazing how CPR carved a railroad through

Amazing how CPR carved a railroad through

A couple of places we stopped for the view, it was just too great. Tremendously steep deep gorges, and peaks rising straight up above us. We were glad for the stops too. You know, grab some more cookies out of the pantry or maybe visit the washroom in the RV. A young couple on big motorcycles stopped at this outlook while we were there. They asked if we would snap their picture. So they returned the favor for us. We played tag with them the remainder of the trip to Pemberton.

Our destination was to have been Alice Lake, near Squamish south of Whistler. We had a little less than two hours remaining when we decided we just didn’t need to go so far. We had passed ourselves several times in the switchbacks and half feared the trailer would bypass us on a couple of the grades. We pulled into Nairn Falls Provincial Park near Pemberton. It is another very nice provincial park, if a little close to the highway.

The sites are large, nicely graded, and covered with fine crushed gravel like the sites at Paul Lake. The natural growth is much thicker here because the annual precipitation is double or triple that of the Kamloops area. So the sites have a little more privacy but it hardly matters at all — the peak occupancy is past. School started for September, the long weekend is over, and even the Europeans are probably flying home by now.

We didn’t know we would have so much “fun” driving . The views and landscape were worth it, maybe. But in retrospect, maybe it would have been more enjoyable and easier on the transmission and brakes to have driven Highway #1 the entire route through Vancouver. We could have gone up to Whistler another time, and the highway from Vancouver to Whistler is perfect, thanks to hosting Winter Olympics 2010.

We made the grades up and down, thanks to great engine, transmission and brakes. Next time we see a 15% grade warning we know a little of what to expect. Oh yeah, we won’t try this in freezing weather. And we would drive this route again, but perhaps at a lower speed than the posted 60 km/hr maximum to dampen the bumps a little.

Jim and Debbie
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©2009 Dreamstreamr

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Camp des loups or Tk’emlups; it’s Kamloops to us

Sep 7 2009
We departed yesterday from Canyon Springs between Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, B.C. Overcast skies, temperatures started out 9 C (48 F). A short drive to city of Revelstoke, stopped for gas and Tim Horton’s coffee and muffins. And caught an ark full of rain the entire gas stop. Boy do they ever need rain around here. Media have announced continued forest fires this side of our day’s destination, Kamloops. We hope the firefighters have the blessing of rain there too.

CPRs Last Spike

CPRs Last Spike

Next we enjoyed an impromptu stop at Craigellachie. We won’t offer a pronounciation — we’ve been offered two already. Significantly though, this is the site of the pounding of the last spike joining CPRs 2,000 mile transcontinental railway November 7, 1885. There is a monument, a view of the current version of the last spike valiantly trying to stay in the tie (you know someone must have made off with the first dozen or more), a little shop, and flush toilets.

The latter we have begun to appreciate more as the BC Provincial Parks have been lacking only in this. Although we have a flush toilet in the RV, we are in the midst of a dry camping six day run. No dumping, no taking on water. We have done up to four or maybe five days, but not six. So we’re using theirs, not ours. Do you know what will go first, fresh, rinse, or black water tanks? We’ll bring this up again in a couple of days.

Our driving weather was clear the remainder of the morning and warmed nicely to almost 18 C (64 F). We found Kamloops alongside the CPR rail line, right smack on Highway #1, and turned north then back east 20 km (12 mi) to Paul Lake Provincial Park. British Columbia did a fine job building up sites on loops terraced up the steep hillside. The roads are terraced, the sites are perched above and below the road for each loop. Each site is nearly level, well-drained, and only a little tight to back into.

near-desert Kamloops area

near-desert Kamloops area

Kamloops is an interesting place in Thompson Valley west of the Rockies. The area was long inhabited by the Secwepemc (Shuswap) Indians and invaded in the early 1800s by trappers and fur trading companies. Currently Kamloops is a transportation hub and home to several large industries including pulp, veneer, and plywood, cement, mining, and Thompson Rivers University. The University has ten thousand students and is the largest employer in Kamloops. But the area is semi-arid, and apparently receives less than .3 meters or 12 inches rainfall annually. So lots of sagebrush, cacti, and rattlesnakes, things we didn’t expect in supernatural British Columbia.

Lees-ure Lite Excel tent trailer

Lees-ure Lite Excel tent trailer

This morning, as we prepared for a day trip to Kamloops a tiny Lees-ure Lite Excel trailer pulled by a Mazda Matrix pulled in and parked just around the hill from us. Not just little, it is tiny. The total weight is 470 pounds, the tongue weight is 23 pounds. Our RV weighs almost 7,000 pounds and the tongue weight is 1,000 pounds. On the other hand, we have 180 sf, they have 38 sf.

They walked over and spoke, we learned he is an active ham in Kamloops. VE7ODS, Dave Sutherland, and Marg from Kamloops pull the little tent trailer. They drive up to Paul Lake PP to escape the heat — Paul Lake is 5 C (9 F) degrees cooler in the summer than Kamloops. We invited them to join us to chat after supper this evening, then we left for town.

The First Nations museum was closed — Labour Day holiday? — so we drove around Kamloops briefly then parked to walk about. The only things we found open were the coffee shops, drug stores, and groceries. Perfect! Our three priorities for today.

While Debbie shopped groceries, Jim caught up on email and updated our websitea little. Back to the RV, repackaging food for storage and fit into our compartments.

Dave and Marg visited a little while after dinner and entertained us with stories of how Dave came to Canada from Scotland, his call to the pulpit, their meeting each other, and traveling together with various modes of RV and tent. We enjoyed getting to know each other and will look forward to hearing from them again soon.

We played Rummikub until midnight, Debbie adding another victorious night to her scorecard against Jim. Poor Jim. But he does keep going back for another drubbing, so he deserves it.

Tomorrow morning we drive to Squamish, between Whistler and Vancouver, to Alice Lake Provincial Park. See you there!

Jim and Debbie
visit our website
locate us here

©2009 Dreamstreamr