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.
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.
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.
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!