Canada British Columbia: Kamloops to Vancouver Island

Three easy days through very pretty countryside, good roads and good weather.

3nd August Kamloops

On the way to Kamloops we happened across a little motorcycle museum, just in the middle of nowhere and what a great little museum with a very interesting proprietor.

We stayed in Kamloops with Tammy and Ted. Tammy is the coursing of Joern best friend from school. What a great couple and boy can Tammy cook, we rolled out of there.

4th August Hope

On the way to hope in one of the small towns we passed we saw one of those massive haul trucks and excavator, made into monuments. I’ve seen them on TV but never in real life so it was really interesting to see them in real life. OMGAWD they are HUGE, and this is the old generation I believe they now get bigger. We happened to also meet the son in law of the last driver of the haul vehicle. He told us that his dad in law, now passed away, was very proud that his old truck was now a newly painted monument. He also told us that his dad in laws, perhaps not so proud moment was the day he reversed the thing over a pickup truck that had stupidly parked behind it on the excavation site…squish like a bug

Hope is an interesting town for different reasons to what we thought, or to any other town we have seen in BC. It is the town where the movie Rambo was shot but is now a bit run down. It also has more homeless people / beggars than we have seen in any BC town other than Vancouver. In fact we have only seen homeless people in Vancouver and Hope. It is always interesting to me to see the other side of pretty when you visit a country, it makes it real and less of a fantasy.

What I did like about Hope were the number of wood carvings, you see them all over Canada and these ones are particularly nice. One of the reasons we came to hope, other than it being the perfect mid-point to stop between Kamloops and Tsawwassen (where we catch the ferry to Vancouver Island) was to see the gorge from the Rambo movie, but unfortunately it is closed to all traffic and hikers due to some massive pipeline being built through it. In the movie it is the Chapmans gorge, but it’ actually the Othello tunnels of Canada.

Saw this poster in one of the cafes we stopped in and it reminded me of the best quote ever, from Olav the Lutheran paster we met, he said ‘’There are really only 2 not 10 commandments. Love god and don’t be an asshole’’  Classic.

The 2nd picture one relates to the tragedy of the first Nations children forced to go to boarding schools and the atrocities and deaths that took place. This not only happened in Canada but in the USA as well and if just shocking.

5th August Victoria

The drive from Hope to Vancouver was really uneventful and a bit boring on the motorway especially compared to everything we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks. The ferry to Victoria though was lovely, the islands are beautiful and reminded me very much of Norway.

Once we arrived in Victoria on our way to the Airbnb we had booked we decided to ride into Victoria centre to see what it was like. As we got closer the sky scrapers loomed and the traffic got thicker. Stopping at the, what felt like, hundredth red light Joern turned to me and asked ‘’are we really doing this’’ to which I replied a firm ‘’No’’.. bit cities uuuugghhhh you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Needless to say we turned tail and headed straight to the Airbnb. We then went for a walk along the coast, spotted a rabbit and porpoise and some lovely coastline and huge mansions.

Canada British Columbia: Glacier National Park

Went for a great hike in Glacier National Park today. It was, according to the Canadian Park ranger, a gentle hike. Only 5.6kms round trip, but DAMN it was steeeeep, but so worth it. The views just magnificent and the lake, ever so pretty. No bears though.

As usual words cannot do the scenery justice and neither do the photos but here are the best ones of the day.

Canada British Columbia: On the road again

30th July Road to Grand forks

Sadly leaving Toad Rock we hit one of those hot hot days I’m not really getting used to. We rode past Christina Lake and it was the first time a lake gave us no reprieve from the heat which was a whopping 41degrees. Although the scenery was beautiful, I hardly looked at it. Unfortunately, this time I really struggled clearly either not drinking enough water or too much water and not enough electrolytes, but boy by the time we got to the hotel I was just out of it and felt completely drained. All I could do was sit in the air-conditioned room, watch TV and recover.

In the morning however we had a nice ride through some lovely scenery and quaint little towns where we stopped for coffee and met more friendly people. In Salmo we stopped at the Dragonfly Café for coffee and the walls was covered with the most beautiful photos and paintings from local artists. Art is something there is no short supply of in Canada. There are murals in every town and artwork from local artists displayed in even the smallest one moose town. I just love it

Christina Lake just before Grand folks

31st July Vernon

Heading to Vernon and another scorcher of a day. On days like this I end up missing a lot as I find it hard to stop to take pictures or visit small museums etc, just wanting to be on the road and get to our destination. Once we arrived at the airBnB though we were in for a great surprise.

Spotted s couple of beautiful deer on the road

Although most airBnBs seem to be as expensive than hotels many are good value for money and just fantastic and this one in Vernon, hosted by Rick, was one of those gems. What a stunning, large, spotlessly clean, gorgeous place. Rick was also a super host and we had some great chat sitting out on the terrace once it cooled down. His wife also makes great banana muffins. The place had a giant TV and while escaping the extreme heat we watched the Grey Man on Netflix. I haven’t watched a movie in ages and it was so much fun just curling up on the couch drink coffee and indulge in a Netflix.

We ate breakfast on the terrace and were entertained by a myriad of birds. Beautiful blue headed mountain birds, some small little sparrows and doves including a ring neck dove. My best was the very brief visit by a hummingbird one of my favourite birds. The funniest was the red breasted bird who found some worms in the garden. He had quite a job getting the worms out and I could only imagine the poor worm gripping the roots of the grass and holding on for dear life, but worms are no match for hungry birds. We were then visited by a mommy quail and her six little babies- The all came to shower in the sprinkler system and then have feast on the bugs they scratched out of the flower beds. Mommy quail then flew up to the bird feeder where she sat proudly and alertly watching her little brood, but with no fear of us. I could have watched them all day, but we needed to head out.

1st Revelstoke

Driving to Revelstoke was a lot better as the weather had started to get cooler. We did however have to wait 2.5hrs for a ferry as it was the last day of a public holiday and the queue was so long we had to wait for the 3rd ferry to get on. It was however not a total waste as we got to meet some nice people and got a great tip for Vancouver Island where we’ll be in a few days. Everyone was really friendly and jovial with no one complaining about the wait just all taking it in their stride and making a fuss of all the friendly dogs.

Another great wall mural, this time in the tiny town of Nakusp

Finally Revelstoke

Old bridge to Revelstoke

Canada British Columbia: Toad Rock campsite in Kootenay bay

The Glass House, The Kootenays

The road from Kimberley to Kootenay Bay is amazing with gentle twisties and very little traffic, perfect for me. We stopped to see the glass house which was built with 600000 embalming fluid bottles.  Well worth the short stop, very interesting and with a great view of the lake.

The Glass House

Toad Rock, The Kootenays

On the ferry to Kootany Bay we met Olav and Reg two biking Lutheran pastors and great guys. They are also staying at Toad Rock so we met up for dinner a couple of times and they were great company. Such nice, friendly guys with some great stories. Definitely not the stereotype pastors which were a joy to find, just real, down to earth people. I may not be religious but when you meet people like this who live their faith it’s certainly restores your trust in humanity and in this case the clergy. Sometimes when I travel, I meet people who I wish lived in the same country as me and Olav and Reg are those people, I hope our paths cross again in the future. Reg is also a member (and past president) of the Guardians of the children group, one of the biker groups that help abused children including supporting them in court. Such an amazing calling.

I’m not 100% sure how to describe Toad Rock Motorcycle campsite. It is the most unique place I have ever stayed. Every campsite I’ve been in has been friendly, and when you see bikers in a campsite you always chat and most people are really nice. As Toad rock is all bikers you take these friendly camping encounters and amplify them 10x, that is toad rock. It is also a little crazy and fun. You don’t walk past a single person without getting a ‘’Hi, how’s it going, where you off to, where are you from, what you riding etc’’ and it does not matter where you are from, how old you are or what you ride. Throw in a few funny characters and friendly dogs and you can’t help but fall in love with this place.  I can understand why so many people come back year after year.

28th Sandon, The Kootenays

Initially Joern and I decided to take a day off the bikes, do our laundry, catch up on downloading photos and just chilling. However after being told about Sandon we decided to take a ride out. At which time I discovered that when a Canadian says ‘’it’s just up the road’’ they mean its 70kms up the road not the 20 I’d estimated. However the road was just perfect, beautiful twisites with NO traffic and I just got into the zone and loved it, that feeling where you are just flowing.

Sandon is an old silver mining town which got washed away in a big flood in the fifties and is now just a ghost town with a couple of museums. It houses the oldest power generator still in use in Canada. It is driven by hydro power from the river flowing right under the building and generates 150KW. It looks and sounds like something you would expect to find on the Nautilus and was designed by Nikola Tesla himself. It was installed in 1902. The old power and voltage meters are still there and it is not housed meaning all the mechanics with bearings and all are exposed. It is like a living thing and an absolute joy to see if you are just a little interested in mechanics, as Joern is.

Not much left of the town today.

The road too and from Sandon

29th Kaslo, The Kootenays

Another relaxing day. Today we went to the Ainsworth hot springs which were great. The hot springs are in a small cave in the shape of a horse shoe which you walk through. It’s dimly lit but light enough. Now I really mean a small cave and yet going in is so out of my comfort zone, as I do not like small dark places, but I did it. I also did the freezing ice-cold plunge pool afterwards and like the cave once you’ve done it two or three times it gets a lot easier.

Cave at Ainsworth hot springs. Very much lighter looking in the picture which is not mine but taken off the internet.

After that we went to Kato for lunch and a really super nice hike along the river. We got caught in the rain and soaked through, but after the hot weather we’ve had for the last couple of days it was very refreshing. The hike was great though and we got to see the Koots a series of fun sculptures hidden in the woods, but still no bears.

Joern making contact with the Koots

Kaslo is home of the S.S. Moyie the oldest intact passenger steam ship launched in 1898, but sadly under renovation so we were unable to go aboard. We did however take an interesting stroll around the cute town and met a few friendly people and dogs. We also came across the most unique car ornaments I have or probably will ever see. Kudos to the owner, clearly a star wars fan.

I’m really loving this place and it’s friendly people. I just don’t want to leave but there is so much more of BC to see that once again it’s time to move on. Kaslo is now the 2nd town in BC that I could move too in a heartbeat, Kimberley being the first.

Canada British Columbia: McBride to Kimberley

Heading to McBride we stopped along the way to visit the Ancient forest. What magnificent majestic trees. I love forests they are my favorite places in nature so this walk was very special to me

Met Loren, from Thunder-N-Chrome in McBride. He does custom bike designs and has a coffin shape trailer on his bike. The artwork was spectacular and he was super friendly guy, as we’ve discovered Canadians are, especially the bikers.

25th July Jasper and Saskatchewan crossing

WOOOW DAMN this place is beautiful in fact the only good word to describe Jasper national park is magnificent. My jaw dropped every time I turned a corner. The pictures just don’t do it justice and yet as they say ‘’A picture paints a thousand words’’ so all I can really do is post a few of the many many pictures I took.

Met two Brazilian bikers who live in San Francisco and are travelling through BC for a few weeks. What great guys so friendly, but then again I’ve never met a Brazilian that I haven’t liked. We also met the happiest dog in the world. 13 week old German Shepard mix, with a great owner who was more than happy to share puppy time with us.

Joern always said that if he append a restaurant he’d call it Something else, so guess where we had lunch in Jasper once we saw the sign. Lunch was a huge plate of very yummy spare ribs.

26th July Kimberly

Stopped in a nice AirBnB for the night in Kimberley, what a cute little town. We’d been craving Burritos for a few days now and imagine our joy when we stumbled on a Burritos this way sign and boy where they good 😊

Canada British Columbia: Fort st James

I have a cousin in Fort st James that I have not seen since 1991 when I visited Vancouver during my gap year.  Jerome is my mom’s sister’s son and immigrated to Canada in 1990. When Jerome saw on facebook that I was travelling through the USA and Canada he invited Joern and I to come visit and boy does he live in an absolutely idyllic place. A small friendly very outdoor oriented town right on the lake.

The history the settlers in Fort st James is shocking and has certainly left it’s mark on the local first nation tribes, a lot however is being done to rectify the situation and the new elementary school is a great step.

Jerome is a 100% outdoors person regardless of season he does it all, he used to kayak for the British national team and took Joern and I out on the lake.

 I was a bit nervous as I had images of myself tipping over in the middle of the lake and I’m not a strong swimmer. It was FANTASTIC so much fun, great exercise and good food stopping on a small beach to cook some smokies (sausages) and marshmallows, such fun. The highlight and reason we went out on the boats was to see the ancient pictographs painted on the rocks, so interesting and a fun way to see such an attraction.

Pictographs (rock paintings) can be seen in twenty-one locations on the north shore of Stuart Lake, between Fort St. James and Pinchi Bay. Accessible only by boat, these rock paintings depict animals, fish, birds, guardian spirits and images received in dreams. The paint used for drawing was a vegetable based vermilion which weathers quickly; archaeologists believe the paints date back to early in the 19th century.

Saying hi to some of the locals Jerome knows

Lunch on the beach 🙂

We ended our weekend in Fort st James with a great dinner cooked by Emily, one of Jerome’s friends. Emily had invited us to dinner with Chrissy, Charlotte and Sandy. What a great evening with great company the people in this town are really special. It was hard to leave as I could easily have stayed a few more days but the road calls…

Canada British Columbia: Barkerville and more

20th July Williams Lake

Lovely ride to Williams Lake what great scenery and cute little coffee places along the way. We stopped at a gas station and I saw a sign saying scenic route which made us wonder exactly what route we were on as it was already pretty scenic, but we decided to take it which was a good decision as it was so pretty. Canada, like so much of the US is mind bogglingly beautiful but once again different around each corner. We stayed in Williams lake with Cindy from bunk a biker and her friend Fritz. What a cool lady so nice, fun and interesting.

21st July – Barkerville and Prince George

Stopped in on the cute little town on Wells

Cindy recommended that we head to Barkerville, an old historic western gold mining town, on the way to Prince George. WOW this is by far the best old frontier town I have seen and an absolute must, certainly one of the highlights of my journey…but I guess I say that about everything as it seems to get better and better.

Once again we stayed with hosts from bunk a biker and really nice couple Bobbie and Gus and their gorgeous dog Gloria.

Canada British Columbia: Joern in Vancouver. Mike and Gail in Gibson

It’s seems like forever since I saw Joern and it’s so amazing to have him in Canada and ready to travel through BC with me. We had a great day exploring Vancouver. We visited Stanley Park to see the totem poles and also went to the science Park. I have never been to one and thought it was great, we enjoyed acting like kids again. They had a fantastic t-rex exhibition which I found particularly interesting. We wrapped the day up with a great meal at a really nice Japanese restaurant with Rich and Evey.

Totem Poles in Stanley Park

The t-rex and big kid playing sciency stuff

Great day topped off with a great meal

18 July

After picking up Joerns bike we hopped on the ferry and headed over to Gibson to visit Mike and Gail, who left Switzerland to retire back in Canada 2 years ago. It was great to see them and WOW what an amazing location, absolutely stunning. I’ve known Mike since 2007 when we met at Credit Suisse and he is one of the very few colleagues I have that has crossed the barrier into becoming an outside of work friend.

We had a lovely evening with Mike and Gail which started off with a BBQ and a couple fo steaks to die for, then ended up with us watching to sunset from the beach while Joern and Mike acted like skipping stone.. Boys. The day was topped off with a sighting of a a seal and a wild sea otter. Perfect I think.

The view from Mike and Gail’s living room in Gibson, even the clouds couldn’t spoil it. The next morning the sun was out and the view was stunning…and of course I didn’t take a picture,

19 July

We very reluctantly left Gibson, hoped back on the ferry to Vancouver and headed straight up to Whistler and then on the Lillooet for the night. BC is certainly living up to it’s reputation as a beautiful place.

Canada British Columbia: Vancouver

The last time I saw my school friend Evelyn was in Munich in 2003. Evey moved to Canada in the mid 70’s when we were in junior school. We have remained friends since the 1st day we met on the 1st day of school at the age of 6, and have managed to see each other every 10/15 years or so since then. It’s been totally awesome catching up and it feels like we saw each other just yesterday.

We spent the morning visiting the Fisherman’s Warf at Stevensons, very nice place with interesting museums about the fishing industry back in the early 1900s. We topped the morning off with coffee from Starbucks of course.

Joern arrives tomorrow and we will start our journey through British Columbia. We’ll be travelling for a month and I’m so looking forward to travelling with Joern again. I do have no idea if / when I’ll do more blogging … I’ll see depending on my time / mood 😊