Nimpo Lake to Whistler, BC
We said farewell to Frank and Kelly and continued our journey of the BC Discovery Trail heading to Whistler, B.C. We drove along Highway 20 through the Chilcotin Country past Tatla Lake, and turned off the main road onto Farwell Canyon Road to take a more scenic drive in the heart of the B.C. Chilcotin District. The road is gravel for 117 km, it’s a narrow dusty road, unless it has been raining, then it turns to thick mud which we experienced, but the views are stunning. We saw the huge sand dunes along the Chilcotin River, supposedly one of the largest sand dunes in B.C., and the hoodoos along the Canyon. We stopped to check out an old abandoned homestead down by the River. Continue reading
Ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola
A beautiful red/orange sunrise appeared at 5 AM, as we left to catch the ferry to Bella Coola. The Discovery Coast Passage route is served by the BC Ferries, Northern Sea Wolf, from June through September only. We booked on June 11th and we were so lucky to be able to get the last car space on the ferry on June 26th, as it holds only 35 cars. The ferry leaves the Port Hardy Terminal at 7:30 AM but you have to be there at 5:30 AM to get in line. From the time we left Port Hardy we were floating through unsurpassed scenery, as the fog slowly lifted and the views became more spectacular. This crossing to the mid-coast ranks among the world’s most scenic, as we cruised the Queen Charlotte Strait we saw sea lions, dolphins and even Humpback whales playing in the ocean. On the ferry there was a restaurant with great food, a passenger lounge, and outdoor seating on the top deck, where we spent most of our time. Cruising up the Burke Channel toward Bella Coola we were in awe of the snow capped mountain ranges on the mainland; it was similar to cruising through the fiords in New Zealand. Then we reached the North Bentinck Arm, the inlet where the town of Bella Coola is located. The almost 12 hour ferry trip passed so quickly that before we new it we had arrived at the Bella Coola Harbour Wharf. The fishing boats were right next to the ferry and we watched the fishermen unload their catch for day. We drove through Bella Coola to the Mountain Lodge where we stopped for the night, and they have a restaurant, called the Brockton Bistro where we had a delicious dinner. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
The Discovery Coast Circle Tour: Part 1
Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal to Port Hardy:
This summer we decided to take time to explore BC, our beautiful province. The best way to see all that British Columbia has to offer is to take the Discovery Coast Circle Tour, roughly 1400 km (870 mi) of driving and 16 hours of sailing. We left Vancouver from the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and stopped at Salt Spring Island to visit my sister then took the Vesuvius Ferry to Crofton where we began our drive north on Vancouver Island. We stopped for lunch in Sayward, located about 1 mile inland from Kelsey Bay. The village is named after William Parsons Sayward, a successful lumber merchant from Victoria, who came here in 1858 from California. We found a little gem of a cafe in Sayward, the Straits View Cafe, with a view of Johnstone Strait, and excellent food. I went wide and had fried BC shrimp for lunch and we shared one of their famous homemade pies for dessert. After lunch we wandered down to the Kelsey Bay wharf, once the southern terminus for the B.C. Ferries Inside Passage route until 1978, when Highway 19 was extended north to Port Hardy. Now it is a convenient stopping point for sport fishing and eco-tourism. Continue reading
On May 15th, 2019, we drove to the Yellowstone’s Edge RV Park, 35 miles north of the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. It’s a beautiful RV park located on the Yellowstone River and our site was on the banks of the river. Every morning driving to Yellowstone we would stop at the Wild Flour Bakery & Cafe in Emigrant, in the heart of Paradise Valley, for a delicious breakfast of Prebird Scramble or Hipster Toasts. On our first day into the Park we stopped at the Roosevelt Arch, a “rusticated triumphal arch” at the north entrance; to take photos of this magnificent stone archway without crowds of people. Construction of the arch began on February 19, 1903, and was completed on August 15, 1903, as President Theodore Roosevelt laid down the cornerstone. The top of the arch is inscribed with a quote which reads:
“For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” Continue reading
On May 9th we decided to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park, comprising of three geographically separated areas of Badlands in western North Dakota, and check off another National Park on our map. It was a three hour drive from the Elkhorn RV Park in Spearfish, where we were staying, but we won’t get this close again. The Park, established in 1978, has a South Unit and a smaller North Unit about 80 miles north, we just visited the South Unit near Medora, North Dakota. We stopped at the Visitor Center on I-94 West, where we first got a glimpse of the amazing Painted Canyon and the Badlands. Roosevelt first came to the North Dakota badlands to hunt bison in 1883 and he fell in love with the “perfect freedom” of the West. At his request, ranch managers built a 1 1/2-story cabin complete with a shingled roof and root cellar, the Maltese Cross Cabin, where he lived from 1883-1884 before he was President, later he built the Elkhorn Ranch (we did not have time to visit it) 35 miles north of Medora. In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the nation’s 26th President and one of its greatest conservationists.
“I would not have been President had it not been for my experience in North Dakota.”
The Devils Tower National Monument was our next adventure, only one hour drive from the Elkhorn Ridge RV Resort in Spearfish, SD. The Devils Tower also known as Bear Lodge Butte, by the Native Americans, located in the Black Hills of Wyoming. It rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, and stands 867 feet from summit to base, the summit is 5,112 feet above sea level. Quite an impressive monolith. Devils Tower was the first US national monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The name Devil’s Tower originated in 1875 by Colonel Richard Dodge, and the Native American names include “Bear’s House” or Bear’s Lodge”,”Tree Rock”, “Aloft on a Rock” and some others. There are many theories as to how Devils Tower was formed, the latest theory suggested that it is a volcanic plug, or the neck of an extinct volcano. The first known ascent of Devils Tower occurred on July 4, 1893, by William Rogers and Willard Ripley. They built a ladder of wooden pegs driven into cracks in the rock face, a few of these pegs are still intact and are visible from the Tower Trail. We hiked along the 1.3 mile trail discovering the many shades of the rock columns, and watching the climbers ascending the rock. The Tower is sacred to several Plains tribes, and therefore the climbers agreed not to climb during the month of June when the tribes are conducting ceremonies around the monument. It was a beautiful day exploring Devils Tower and the land around it. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
On our way to South Dakota from Colorado our GPS in the RV took us on a dirt road for 16 miles, where we did not see another vehicle, and don’t know why it took us this route. It was terrible for both the RV and the Jeep’s hood were blasted with rocks. Finally we arrived at the KOA in Hot Springs, thankful to be there after the worst drive ever!! Hot Springs does have warm springs which were considered sacred by the Native Americans. The city of Hot Springs developed in the 1880s as a resort community, with visitors drawn to the restorative and curative properties of its mineral springs. One can visit the hot springs today at the Evans Plunge built in 1890, with its naturally warm 87 degree spring water. We walked through the historic city center taking many photos of the beautiful wall murals and many unique sandstone buildings. Hot Springs is also home of a US Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital, designated a National Historic Landmark in 2011 for its architecture and history. We walked up the hill to view the hospital, formerly known as the Battle Mountain Sanitarium, the 100-bed center was built in 1907 to treat former soldiers suffering from rheumatism or tuberculosis, believed to be treatable by the region’s mineral springs and the thin dry air. Continue reading
On May 3rd we left Breckenridge and drove the Sherpa over the pass to Loveland, we were so lucky that it didn’t snow, as the pass was closed a few days later. We arrived at the Loveland RV Resort and are staying here for 4 days while we explore the area north of Denver. Our first venture out was to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the day. The Park was established on January 26, 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson and the CCC built the automobile route in the 1930s. This Park is one of the most visited in the National Park System, in 2018, 4.5 million people entered the Park. We stopped at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center – a National Historic Landmark designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, to get information about the Park. We were not able to do any hikes because of all the snow, but could drive along Trail Ridge Road, stopping to take photos of the many elk still in their winter coats, and to see the views from the Overlooks of the mountain ranges. Continue reading
April 24th, we arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado, staying at the Tiger Run RV Resort for three days, rated a 10-10-10 RV park by Good Sams. The elevation of Breckenridge is 9,600 feet above sea level, and we felt the altitude as we walked around the town visiting the many shops along Main Street. The historic buildings with their clapboard and log exteriors add to the charm of the town. One morning we took the gondola up to the ski area where they are still skiing now. The ski trails were first cut in 1961, and Breckenridge Ski Resort has made the town a popular destination for skiers. Another day we drove along Interstate 70 to the old town of Idaho Springs. The local legend is that the name of the city derived from annual visits to the radium hot springs made by a Native American chief and his tribe who journeyed from there each year from Idaho to bathe in the magic healing waters. We walked around the historical part of town and stopped for lunch at Tommyknocker Brewery, that has been crafting award winning ales and lagers for over 20 years. We enjoyed some of the freshly brewed beer, the Blood Orange IPA. Idaho Springs was first settled by prospectors back in 1859, during the early days of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush and today there are still ruins left from those mines. We saw the Charlie Taylor Water Wheel built by miner Charlie Taylor in 1893 to power a stamp mill. It was moved to this site by Bridal Veil Falls in 1948 and restored in 1988. Continue reading
Gunnison River at the base of Black Canyon of the Gunnison
We left Cedar City, Utah, on April 18th and drove to Grand Junction, Colorado, the drive through the mountains along Highway 70 was really beautiful. We checked into the Junction West RV Park for a week. Our first sight to explore was the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, where we saw the steepest cliffs, oldest rocks, and the craggiest spires in North America. The Black Canyon is so named because its steepness makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate into its depth, and parts of the gorge only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day. At its narrowest point the canyon is only 40ft wide at the river. However, we were there on a cloudy day so it was mostly grey in color from deep in the gorge to the sky above. The Black Canyon was officially discovered by Captain John Williams Gunnison in 1853, who was leading an expedition to survey a route from Saint Louis to San Francisco. He was killed by the Ute Indians later that year, and the river they named the Grand was renamed in his honor. In 1881, William Jackson Palmer’s DENVER and RIO GRANDE Railroad, (a narrow 3′ gauge rail line) had reached Gunnison from Denver to provide a link to the burgeoning gold and silver mines. And on August 13,1882, the first passenger train passed through the Black Canyon and continued service until the route was finally abandoned in the early 1950s.
“Such a feat of railroad engineering probably can not be found in the world”.