Our RV Travels

Updates on our Full-Time RV'ing lifestyle. Feel free to add your comments, replies and stories of your own.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Mountains to Sea Travelcade

Mountains to Sea Travelcade
July 25 Hill Spring, AB

We were in the 3rd group out of the campground this morning leaving at 0850. We again traveled through country that was so scenic that it takes ones breath away. Lots of crooked roads and some hills, but not as bad as our previous moves. We stopped to rest and get coffee at East Glacier, MT. Then we were supposed to take Route 49. But there was a low underpass that made me nervous and I had seen a sign saying the road was posted for a maximum length of 21’ and width of 8’. As our rig is over 50’ long and 8.5’ wide, our group opted to continue on US2 to Route 89, then head north. I guess the other groups took the suggested route and made it OK - they said the posted road was not Route 49? We made another rest stop in St. Mary, MT where several units added fuel, as this was the last chance in the United States. We decided not to as we had fueled yesterday. The countryside on the eastern side of the mountains flattened out considerably.
None of us had any problems with Canadian Customs so proceeded to Cardston, AB. The land here is mostly rolling cropland and pasture. The farms look well cared for and prosperous. At Cardston we ate lunch in our trailer while some went into the dining room at the Remington Carriage Museum. At 1330, we gathered in the Museum and divided into 2 groups. Our group was taken on carriage rides around the grounds, which are quite beautiful. Then we replaced the other group in the theater where we viewed a video on carriages. After that we were given a guided tour of the Museum where over 200 carriages are on display. More models and styles than one can imagine. Some very basic wagons and some were very exclusive transportation. After the tour some of us went to the shop where they rebuild units as needed. - Very interesting.
By 1600 we were all on the road again for a short trip to the Great Canadian Barn Dance and Resort. There we got parked and set up - I discovered that one of the stabilizing jacks on the rear of our trailer had gotten damaged at Cardston. Fortunately we had a spare, so I replaced that then got ready to go to the Barn for a Roast Beef supper followed by entertainment. The family that owns the Resort is very talented and played and sang a variety of country music. The group consists of 2 brothers and the son of one. The son’s wife and her father are also in the group as well as 2 children aged 6 and 14. All are very good and the 2 boys and their mother have fantastic singing voices. One of the brothers is one of the best guitar players I have heard in many years. So we had a great time there and several of our group were recruited into part of the show. After a bit of visiting and watching the sunset over the mountains we called it a day.


  • At 9:44 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    July 26 Hill Spring, AB

    We left our campground at 0800 and traveled by carpool through some very lush farmland. There were large grain and hay fields. Grain is not quite ready for harvest here, but haying is going on at a great pace. Our first stop was Fort McLeod where we were given a tour of the Oldest RCMP Fort. Some of us have done it before, but still interesting and we had time to cover some things we had missed the other time. Then we watched the Precision Riding demonstration where 8 cadets ride an array of performances to music. This is always great to watch. Then we went to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump. We got lunch in the cafeteria there and took it to a private dining room. After lunch a Cree Indian guide gave a talk and video in the theater. He then gave an excellent tour of the jump area with a talk on how the Indians drove Buffalo over a cliff where they could be processed for the 150 different items needed for survival on the plains. He then guided us through most of the museum and told some interesting Indian tales. After some more “On our own” time, we returned to the city of Fort McLeod. There we were given a tour of the Empress Theater. This is the oldest theater in Alberta opening in 1912 and providing entertainment ever since. In addition to movies they have live entertainment at times. In addition to local stars many well know performers have appeared there. We were also shown a silent movie “How Fort McLeod Came to Be”. This was a comedy performed by our guides. Then we were told about a ghost named Ed that haunts the theater. He seems to be only mischievous as no one has been hurt by his pranks. We were then on our own so shopped a bit and looked at the buildings on Main Street before getting supper in one of the restaurants there. Then a return to the Great Canadian Barn Dance campground to relax.

  • At 9:46 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    July 27 Hill Spring, AB

    At 1000, we gathered to carpool, we drive and carried 3 others with us. We went to Waterton Lakes National Park where we first stopped at the Visitor Center for information and photos. We then proceeded to Cameron Falls to view the great scenery and take more photos. From there we went to Lake Cameron where we enjoyed a picnic lunch surrounded by scenery I cannot describe. Mountains and forests surrounded the lake. The far end of the lake was just over the border into Montana as were the mountains at that end. After that we were on our own, but most of us went into Waterton Townsite to ride around the village and get some ice cream. Before returning to the campground we among most of the group stopped at the Prince of Wales Hotel. This was built in 1927-1929 by the Great Northern Railway and was the only hotel in Canada on the line. It was the height of luxury in the form of an Alpine Chalet. The lobby windows look down the lake to the mountains. After viewing and shopping the gift shop, we decided to return home.

    Then in the evening we had our meeting planning the move to Calgary tomorrow and Carpool assignments for that stop. A campfire followed that where we sang songs, exchanged jokes made Smores and just visited.

  • At 9:47 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    July 28 Calgary, AB

    We secured the trailer inside and out and got hooked up, and then we had breakfast served by the staff of the Great Canadian Barn Dance in the Barn. Then finished getting ready to depart with the first group at 0830. We made a short stop in Pincher Creek then a lunch stop at Turner Valley. We started out in lush farmland then took the Cowboy Trail north. This was through beautiful rolling grazing land, then back into grain and hay fields. We were within sight of the Rockies off and on during the trip. We arrived at Callaway Amusement Park Campground early in the afternoon and got parked and set up as quickly as possible. At 1430 we carpooled from the campground to Canada Olympic Park. There we were given a talk and video then went our separate ways. Most of us headed for the chairlift to take a ride to the Ski Jumps. These are impressive on TV and from the chairlift. However at the top, we went to the tallest tower where we went up to the observation deck. From there one could see what the jumper would before he started. A guide gave a talk on the jump and how they do jumps even in the summer using artificial materials instead of snow. The view of the park, city and surrounding area from there was fantastic. Of course there was some shopping in the Gift Shop and some checked out the Cafeteria. Then many of us went to the Ice House where after a long delay, we saw several athletes practicing the Luge. Rides there are available, at additional cost to our admission, which was paid from our Kitty, but as far as I know none tried it. Then we came back to our trailer to take it easy.

  • At 9:48 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    July 29 Calgary, AB

    We walked to the Office area where a Tour Bus was to pick us up at 0830. However the was late and we were early so had quite a wait. When we departed the campground the driver headed East instead of West. But she turned around at the next exit and we got on our way. We proceeded through lush grazing lands and grain and hay fields. Then we entered the high meadows in the foothills that were ablaze with beautiful wildflowers and had the Rockies for a fantastic backdrop. We continued to climb into the mountains, stopping for photo opportunities a couple of times.

    Our first stop was at Moraine Lake, which provided us with a lovely scene even though it was very crowded. In addition to photos and just admiring the beauty, we did some shopping in the Gift Store and got some snacks. Then we proceeded to Lake Louise. Again there were large crowds, but the beauty of the lake with icebergs in the background made this stop well worthwhile also.

    From there we returned to Banff for a fantastic Buffet Lunch at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Not only was there a great variety of food, but also it was presented in a Gourmet manner that was very attractive. This was followed by a guided tour of the hotel, which is Ultra Deluxe. This was one of a series of hotels built by the Canadian Pacific Railroad in the heyday of rail travel. I imagine that only the very rich could stay there then as it is pretty much the same way today with rooms priced from over $200 to over $2000/night. I have no idea of the price of the buffet lunch as our leaders arranged that and it was included in our Kitty Fee.

    Before returning, we were driven past the Golf Course in case there were Elk there to view. However there were none so we took in several more photo stops. We did see some small wildlife and some saw one Elk. After leaving the park on the way home a herd of Mountain Goats was spotted near the road. We haven’t seen a great amount of wildlife so far, but enough to make it interesting. These included ground squirrels, marmots, prairie dogs, deer, bear, elk and mountain goats. After being dropped off at the campground a bit after 1800, we returned to the trailer to rest as Loretta was feeling a bit under the weather and I have had a toothache for several days that really acted up today.

  • At 9:50 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    July 30 Calgary, AB

    At about 0830, we rode in the carpool to downtown Calgary where we parked at McMahon Station. We walked to the Metro Transit and took the train to Center City. There we walked to the Calgary Tower where we took the elevator to the top. It used to be the tallest structure in Calgary and still provides a great view if the city and surrounding area. From there another walk of several blocks to the Devonian Gardens. This is a beautiful inside garden on the top floor of one of the downtown buildings. Loretta was getting walked out, so passed on the gardens but I took lots of pictures. Then another block through the beautiful downtown area to the Spaghetti Factory for lunch. Lots more pictures on the way. Unfortunately Loretta and Madeline Meyer’s entrée was badly overcooked. Ours was good and they said that the salad, bread and coffee were enough. Now we had to walk back to the Metro where we boarded the wrong train. The one we got on only went a few blocks to the end of the line. So we returned, changed trains and found that again we were on the same line. The motorman on the first one was quite surly and gave us incomplete directions. This time with the help of other passengers, we got on the correct train and returned to the station we had first boarded at. Loretta was pooped and in a lot of pain by the time we walked over the footbridge to the lot where our vehicles were parked. So when we got back home it was R&R time. Also time for some more pain medication for my aching tooth.

    Loretta made supper here, and then we had our meeting to plan the next few day’s activities. We move with the first group for the rest of the Travelcade as I am Head Parker and Loretta is a Checker the rest of the way. Tomorrow we leave at 0800 for Spruce Grove, AB (near Edmonton).

  • At 9:51 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    July 31 Spruce Grove, AB

    We left with the first group at 0800 and had beautiful weather most of the trip. Just a little sprinkle of rain for a while. We stopped for coffee at Tim Horton’s in Olds, AB and a rest stop at the Visitor Center near Red Deer. We arrived at Glowing Embers RV Park near Spruce Grove at about 1330. As I was a parker and Loretta was a checker, we quickly parked our rig and got ready for the other groups to arrive. This park is well laid out and on backing in on the “blind side” even though all our spaces were back-in sites. There was quite a delay before everybody arrived and I took the opportunities to unhook and get our trailer set up.

    When everybody was parked and I assisted on getting power to one rig with problems, I went to the office. There they dialed the dentist in Edmonton Mall for me, but they were getting ready to close and would not open till Tuesday, as Monday is a holiday here. The girl there did give me 2 numbers and informed me that if neither could give ma an appointment to just walk in as they would have to take care of me. Between little sleep last night and toothache all day, I was pretty well beat. I called the number that she said to call last, and they said that they couldn’t get me in today, but gave me an appointment for tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon. By then it was time for Happy Hour. So I went to the trailer to get Loretta as she is suffering from a cold and was also zapped out.

    After Happy Hour and some announcements, we went to Spruce Grove for supper and some groceries. Got back in time for a birthday party with cake and ice cream for the 3 birthdays we have had so far. Loretta opted to stay home and go to bed early. After the party and some visiting, I came back home to catch up on our bookwork and rest myself.

  • At 1:11 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 1 Spruce Grove, AB

    Loretta was feeling poorly yet, so I attended the Travelcade Church Service by myself. Then after coffee, we joined the Carpool to Fort Edmonton. We drove ourselves as I had a dentist appointment at 1330. At the park, we boarded a steam train that took us back into the early settlement days of the area. We walked to a replica of the fort that once stood there and toured the buildings and rooms there. It was a Hudson’s Bay Company trading fort and not designed for battle. Our guide gave descriptions and the reenactments there gave us insight into the life of the trappers. From there we proceeded to a typical homestead house and buildings. Next we entered a typical street of 1885. Again the tour and reenactments were very interesting. Onward we went to a 1905 street. There the buildings were more modern and automobiles and a trolley were in operation. I was somewhat disappointed in a couple of items. First, some of the materials used were much more modern than the period that was being represented, also there was food of the various periods being prepared. But we were too early to get any samples. The last stop we made was the Fort Selkirk Hotel where we purchased our lunches.

    I don’t know how long our group stayed, but we left early as my appointment time was nearing. We inquired in the lobby as to the best way to return to the entrance and were told that the trolley stopped out front every few minutes. However while we were waiting, a Fire Engine of the period came by and we were given a ride back to near the entrance. Then we drove to the location of West Edmonton Emergency Dental Clinic. Upon finding the building, we discovered all doors were locked. I walked across the street to the Goodwill Industries where they allowed me to use the phone. I called to get an answering machine with the message that due to unexpected conditions they were closed for today. A real disappointment as we would have enjoyed more time at Fort Edmonton Park.

    So we drove around part of the north side of the city then returned to our campground stopping for fuel on the way. I am not sure of the exchange rate right now, but the fuel prices do not appear to be anywhere near over $2.00/gal that we had been told to expect. I expect that when the credit card bill arrives, I will find the price somewhere between $1.60 and $1.85/gal. We were paying more than that before leaving the States and expect even higher when we return in the state of Washington.

  • At 1:12 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 2 Spruce Grove, AB

    We all gathered in the Meeting Room near the office for breakfast. We had Omelet in a Bag, Coffee, Juice and Toast. Very good and enjoyable visits also. We also made our Carpool selections for tomorrow. I tried to call the dentist, but found they opened at 1000, so waited and called again. I was told to just come in when I could, so we got ready and headed to West Edmonton. There after a bit of delay, my tooth was x-rayed. Dr. Ryan Grant (whom had studied in Nashville, TN) then came in to tell me that due to the swelling, nothing could be done today. He felt that a root canal or extraction is in the offing. He prescribed antibiotics and pain medication and indicated that it probably would continue to feel better for now. However if it gets to acting up again, we may have to return to Tennessee upon our return to the States to get it tended to.

    We then went to the Edmonton Mall where we were lucky to find a parking spot near Sears. They were remodeling, and Loretta was told that the beauty shop was closed. Their girls were working at The Bay, so she went there to get her hair set. I walked most of the second floor of the Mall, which took over an hour. By time I returned, Loretta was waiting. We spent a bit more time in the Mall, and then went to Joey’s Seafood Restaurant nearby for dinner. Then after a stop at Wal-Mart go get my prescriptions filled, we returned home. I was in some pain and pretty well beat by then so took a nap before returning to the Meeting Room for an evening of Joker and visiting. Afterwards we visited with some other campers on walk back to our rig.

  • At 1:13 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 3 Spruce Grove, AB

    We left on a carpool at 0900 to Center City Edmonton. There we divided into 2 groups. The first group went to the Provincial Legislature building and ours to the Provincial Museum. We were early, so walked around the beautiful grounds and I took pictures of the surround area, the buildings and gardens there and some of the many sculptures. Once inside we were given a guided tour of one of the galleries by and excellent guide. This gallery covered wildlife and birds of Alberta as well as information about wildfires and avalanches. When the tour finished we spent about another hour in the other galleries there. They covered many subjects from ancient history of the continent and Alberta up to one gallery on the Genome, which I found very interesting. We could have spent days there, but had to meet in the Museum Café at 1200 for Soup and Sandwich served buffet style. In addition we had drinks and deserts.

    Then in the afternoon we switched places and our group went to the Provincial Legislature. Loretta was pretty well tired out, so returned to the campground with another couple. One of the Avioners had strained his back and they were going to take him to a chiropractor, as they did not tow a car behind their motor home. Again we were early so was able to again view the beautiful gardens and photograph the building and area. Some of us walked past (some through) the pools to the other side of the plaza to the Visitor Center to view that, shop in gift shop and use the washrooms. The pools were interesting works of art and many children were using them to cool off in. Back inside the Legislature Building, we were given another guided tour. It is a very beautiful and interesting building, and in addition to information about that, we were given information about the art inside and the operation of the Alberta Legislature. After finishing the tour, we returned to Glowing Embers Campground. I dumped our tanks, filled the water tank and secured the hoses before taking some time to relax and catch up on our records in the computer. Then in the evening we went to the Meeting Room for our meeting about the move tomorrow. That was followed by a visit from 2 members of the Edmonton Police Department K9 Unit. We moved out into the yard where a demonstration was given of the skills of one of the dogs. Very interesting. Then some returned to the Meeting Room for Joker and others for other activities. Loretta is hurting, so we came home and she went to bed.

  • At 1:14 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 4 Spruce Grove, AB

    We departed our campground with the first group at 0800, as we are Head Parkers for the balance of the Travelcade. We made one stop for rest and some got snacks along the highway at a small Fuel stop. While there, a young lady came over to ask questions about our truck and look at it. We had a very interesting visit as she informed me that she works for a custom farming operation. But she said business is poor right now. Due to the Mad Cow scare up here, most beef cannot be exported to the United States. Therefore beef prices are badly depressed and most farmers do not have enough money to hire outside help. We also made a stop for fuel and brunch at the Husky Fuel Stop in Hinton, AB.

    We continued on to Whistler Campground in Jasper National Park near Jasper, AB. This was a beautiful trip starting in lush farmland, then proceeding into rolling hills and timber country and ending in the beautiful mountains of the National Park. Everyone got into the campground and parked successfully. Then after getting set up (not much to do as we have no utilities here), I resecured the satellite receiver in place as it was starting to move around. Then we gathered for a supper prepared by our Cooking Crew. They started with delicious Onion Rings for appetizer followed with hot dogs, baked beans and assorted finger foods and relish trays. We had a great time rehashing the day’s travel and generally visiting. Several of us had spotted wildlife along the way to talk about also; the most noticeable were lots of Elk. In fact some came very near one of our rigs. After getting our carpool assignments for this stop, we departed our various ways for the evening.

  • At 1:15 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 5 Jasper, AB

    We woke to a light fog, but clear skies and no wind. However the sun soon was shining on the top of the mountain where we will be taking the Tramway to on the morrow. As we are dry camping here, most of us gathered at Gene Blasé’s trailer where they were using his generator to make coffee.

    At about 9AM, we departed Whistler Campground in a carpool towards the Columbia Icefield via the Icefields Parkway. This was a beautiful ride through scenery that words cannot describe. (I racked my brain for a word to use here without avail). The roadway followed the river, which at sometimes was rushing with glacial runoff and at other times disappeared underground.

    Our first stop was at Athabasca Falls for viewing and photographing from several vantage points. Some of us were even treated to a beautiful rainbow in the mist. Next we stopped at a viewpoint to photograph Kerkeslin Mountain and the surrounding area as some of the beautiful wildflowers that were in bloom. Then a side trip to Sumwapta Falls. While nowhere near as impressive as the previous ones, the stop was still very worthwhile. And it was a nice walk to stretch our legs again.

    Then on to Icefield Centre, where after parking our vehicles, we gathered inside for lunch in one of the dining rooms there. Then a little time for looking at the displays before time to get onto a Brewster Tour Bus to take us to a location near the Athabasca Glacier. Our driver David was good and very informative as we traveled to that location. He pointed out trees that were over 300 years old and only a few feet tall and some that were not much taller that were estimated to be over 800 years old.

    There we boarded a SnoCoach (also operated by Brewster) for a ride onto the glacier. As we left the terminal area, we descended an 18% grade (what a ride) then through a pool of water to clean dirt from the tires - they don’t want dirt on the glacier to attract heat and speed up melting. Then up onto the glacier ice. Our driver Monica filled us in on the history of glaciers, especially this one and the Columbia Icefield, which feeds it. She parked and we disembarked to take a short walk on the surface of the glacier. As there was melting of the surface, it was quite wet and I am sure most of us got chilly feet. We also tasted the water from a small stream there - very pure tasting. Monica informed us that where we were standing the ice was thicker than the Eiffel Tower is tall - over a thousand feet. But it is melting faster than it is moving, so receding at a rate of about 30 feet per year.

    Then back to a bus to take us back to the Visitor Center. Going down the glacier ice, Monica gave us a sample of “Flat Out” speed. Wide open she got the SnoCoach up to 18MPH. She said she has been clocked as the fastest driver in the team at 18.2MPH. Another thrill was going back up that 18% grade to the terminal area. We had a different bus on the return trip, but Allen again filled us with lots of facts and interesting information. The whole trip was a fantastic experience and we were able to see and photograph things that we never would have been able to otherwise.

    After arriving at Icefield Centre again, and shopping in the Gift Store, we boarded our vehicles and returned as we saw fit. Some may have stayed to spend more time in the Gift shop and viewing the displays, others may have returned to the campground about 60 miles away. Others including our carload proceeded on into Jasper to get a view of the town and get our evening meal. It was a long, but fantastic day and I am sure everyone enjoyed himself or herself beyond description.

  • At 1:16 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 6 Jasper, AB

    Our low battery alarm went off at 0220 this morning. I got up to find the furnace trying to run, so shut it off. But the alarm kept sounding so I didn’t sleep well at all. After getting around, the sun was lighting the mountaintop and the upper Tramway Terminal very well. There were some clouds but they appeared to be no problem. I started the truck to charge the trailer batteries some and turned the furnace back on to warm the trailer a bit for Loretta.

    At about 0745, we carpooled to the Jasper Tramway. We were a bit early, but the only way we would be able to all get up to the top at the same time was to be waiting when they opened as it is first come - first served and they do sell tickets ahead. So we went up in the first 2 trips along with just a few others. At the top, we had a buffet breakfast, admired the scenery and took pictures. As the light and clouds changed, the scenery seemed to change also. It was a great vantage point to view the area from as we were near the peak of the mountain and far above the valley floor. The city of Jasper looked like a small model town from there.

    Upon return to the campground, I took our truck into Jasper for a good (?) wash. It was very dirty from the last move as is our trailer. However the bay I got was out in the sun and when it dried off, there ware loads of water spots on it. So back to the campground to wipe it off with spray cleaner - looks sharp again. Then in the afternoon we carpooled to Maligne Lake - another pretty good ride through the beautiful area. There we took a cruise on the lake which was beautiful and informative. The cruise boat took us to where we were able to get pretty good photos of the glacier that feeds the lake.

    We saw some goats and other wildlife on this trip and have seen a fair amount as we travel, but no Moose. Lots of elk around our campground. One of our group asked where to see moose, and the tour boat guide said “in the stomachs of the wolves”. Guess they had quite a kill last winter. Before returning to the campground, our riders and we stopped in Jasper again for supper.

  • At 1:16 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 7 Jasper, AB

    We had put the slideouts in last evening, so I finished securing the trailer then took a walk till I dared to start the truck. Then did hookup while getting enough juice in the batteries to raise the landing gear, etc. At a bit before 0800 we left the campground and headed west. We made a short stop at the Visitor Center in Mount Robson Park to rest and get a snack. Then again just a break to stretch our legs at Blue River, BC. We arrived at our campground before noon with the time change to Pacific Time. After parking and unhooking, my parking crew and I planned the parking for the rest of the groups. As there was no need for most to unhook, we decided to just have drivers pull into parking spaces, as the utilities would be more accessible that way. During a lull between groups, Loretta and I went to the restaurant here for soup and sandwich.

    After everyone got parked the afternoon was spent resting, visiting, etc. I fired up our computer and got to work on the backlog of bookwork. I had very interesting visits with a couple of other campers while walking around. The son on one had been in a fishing boat that sunk in Maligne Lake, fortunately they were able to get to shore before hypothermia set in and flag down one of the cruise boats which rescued them. In the evening we were treated to a paddleboat ride around Dutch Lake. This is a small lake, and unlike the other lakes we have seen is not glacier fed. It was actually a very old volcano and the water is around 70degrees instead of the temperature in the 30’s like the others. After the boat ride, we had steak supper in the restaurant. This was buffet style with bread, salads, corn on the cob, and apple pie for desert. While there, we had our meeting to plan tomorrows move.

  • At 1:17 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 8 Clearwater, BC

    I walked around the campground and visited a while with a nice German couple. They shipped their motor home over here and have spent 11 months touring the US and Canada. In another month, they will load the motor home on a ship in Baltimore and return to Germany. We moved out with the first group at 0900. Our trip took us through rugged mountains, rolling hills and verdant farmland. We also passed through a large area that had burned last year. One town we passed by had to be totally evacuated at that time. Our planned stop was at Kamloops, however our leader had not been there since a child as he was detoured around the fire when scouting the Travelcade. So our group ended up taking a tour of downtown and a few wrong streets before ending up at the Safeway Grocery store that we intended.

    So by the time we had finished shopping and 2 units fueled the next 2 groups were in town. After leaving the city, we passed group 3 along side the highway. The highway from there on was much more hilly and crooked, but still through beautiful countryside. As we came closer to Cache Creek, the land began to appear more like the American west with sagebrush-covered pastureland on one side and fields of abundant alfalfa hay on the other. We arrived near Creek side Campsites and while waiting for the leader to determine the parking arrangements; one of our group discovered an air leak on one of his truck tires. We quickly got him into a parking space where he discovered the valve stem was damaged.

    We have been quite lucky as far as mechanical problems go. Our brake heating has seemed to disappear and I think it was exhaust heat rather than a brake problem. Another rig had a flat tire at the last stop and a third has had several problems starting with his furnace failing. He ended up by replacing the batteries in his trailer and truck as well as the alternator. I think we also have a defective battery in out trailer, but will wait till back in the States to take care of that.

    Parking was pretty much of a snap with most spaces being drive-through. However they were quite short and several of us did have to unhook. Groups 2 and 4 arrived in a timely manner, but group 3 had taken a side trip for shopping and was quite late arriving. After finishing out setup, we rested till early evening. Then we went to the pavilion to visit until the supper prepared by our Cooking Crew and some volunteers. This consisted of Sloppy Joes, salads, a relish tray and a variety of deserts. Our Church Service followed that then a bit of commentary about tomorrows move. After that several of us played Joker and listened to music provided by Don and Peg Alastra till almost 10.

  • At 1:18 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 9 Cache Creek, BC

    Parking had been very tight here and it was close getting hooked up again this morning. We got on the road with the first group a bit before 8AM. It was a beautiful day and the rangeland soon turned into river canyons. Canada 1 followed the Thompson and Fraser rivers, a good share of the time along the side of the mountains. It was very crooked and hilly which kept drivers on their toes. And Loretta doesn’t like heights so as she was on the river side was quite tense. There is a large landfill near Cache Creek and a fleet of 78 double semis run day and night between that and Vancouver. They gross almost 135,000 pounds (lotta garbage) and haul wood chips on the backhaul. One driver visited with us on the CB and warned us of some of the worst parts of the highway. Sure don’t think I would like that job in all kinds of weather.

    We made one short stop before arriving at the Hell’s Gate Airtram. Most of us parked in a lot some distance away and either walked or were shuttled back to the terminal. After a bit of looking around the top, we took the tram to the bottom and across the canyon as we felt fit. At the bottom was a lot to interest us. We viewed the raging river in the canyon from close up, fish ladders, beautiful gardens and some great chainsaw carvings. Most of us got lunch in the restaurant or at the outside dining area. And of course Ice Cream and Fudge from the vendor there. Some of us took in the Fisheries Museum and of course that opened into the Gift Shop. We spent about an hour there enjoying and photographing the scenery. Many others and I walked out onto the suspension bridge for photographs from directly over the water.

    Then we headed for North Vancouver, BC making only one short rest stop along the way. We continued down the canyon working our way down to river level by the time it became a fertile valley. There was a lot of farming there as well as residences and businesses. Traffic became heavy over 50 miles out so driving was somewhat white-knuckle at times. We did get a fantastic view of Mount Baker in our rear view mirrors at one time. Upon arriving at Capilano Campground we found that parking was very close requiring unhooking. Before we could get setup, the next group arrived, so for the next hour we were very busy checking them in and getting them into their sites.

    By the time we did get setup, it was time to join the others near the pool for Happy Hour. After that we drove Bill and Ann Werner for a trip to the Mall, which we found, was closed. We then drove around the area a bit locating a fine restaurant called The Keg where we had a delicious supper. We were tired out after such a busy and long day, so were soon in bed after arriving home.

  • At 1:19 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 10 North Vancouver, BC

    After breakfast, I checked the laundry to find it very busy. So I walked to the Mall and walked around that. Loretta wanted to get her hair set, but only saw one beauty shop there. I got a directory to bring back and found that there was 2 there and 2 in the North Mall across the street. So we went there where she visited the shop in The Bay. I walked that mall and shopped while waiting. Then we both walked a bit window-shopping. We took the overpass to the South Mall where we had lunch at the White Spot Restaurant. When we got back, the laundry was available so we then did our laundry. We came home to put the clothes in the proper storage places and relax a while. We waited till 6 for our Happy Hour and followed that with a Steak Supper prepared by our Cooking Crew. We had grilled and deep-fried steak, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, salads and deserts. Lee Roberts then entertained us with some beautiful harmonica music. The evening was completed with a “This is Your Life” get to know you program by our Entertainment Officer, Madeline. It was 9PM by then so home to rest for tomorrow’s tour.

  • At 1:20 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 11 North Vancouver, BC

    Our tour bus arrived a bit after 0830 and we left the campground before 0900. We were given a tour of over 5 hours of the Vancouver City area. We spent some time in Stanley Park, and then went to an area of small shops that had once been an industrial district. Then to the viewing level on the tower that overlooks the city. From there we toured the downtown area and returned to the campground through Stanley Park. We were tired, so rested a couple of hours before going out for supper and a ride through part of North Vancouver. After doing a few chores around the trailer, we joined the rest of the Avioners near the pool. There we had a discussion about a change in plans for tomorrow followed by a Yankee Swap. When it was all over, we had a couple of nice gifts. Before returning home, we visited some with Chuck and Zona Berry in their motor home.

  • At 1:21 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 12 North Vancouver, BC

    At about 0930 we rode with Chuck and Zona Berry to the mall nearby where we parked the car and joined the others who had walked or driven over. We boarded the bus to the Seabus Terminal at about 0945 and had a speedy ride there. Then a 10-minute ride across the bay in the Seabus. I visited with a local on the trip. When we arrived in Vancouver, we walked around the streets in the terminal area, exchanged some cash and had coffee. Then back to the terminal to catch the Skytrain to New Westminster. There we had dinner at the Old Spaghetti House. We returned by the same route with some stopping in Vancouver and others at this end of the Seabus terminal for shopping. When we got off the bus, we went to Dairy Queen in the mall for a Blizzard, as we understand the proceeds go to help needy children. We had a nice visit over them, then came home to relax a for the evening. Jim Thomas came by with an update on the History that is being prepared by each of us and I read up on that.

  • At 1:21 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 13 North Vancouver, BC

    Our tour bus picked us up at the campground before 0830 and we took a ride through a beautiful part of Stanley Park on our way to the Ferry Terminal. A coffee stop was made there, but we were too early, as they don’t open till 0900. So we rode through part of Vancouver suburbs to take some time, as our boarding time was 1100. The driver even took us past the house where Marnie Opstad (she and Tom are our leaders) lived as a child. When we arrived at the Ferry Terminal, we had coffee and looked around the gift stores while waiting to board.

    Our bus was the first in line, so we boarded very shortly after 1100. Once parked on the lower deck, we located seats in the lounge area. But soon went to the dining floor for lunch with several of our group. We then returned to the lounge area while many of the group went outside on the deck. It was a beautiful 90-minute ride, partly across open sea and partly through a large number of islands. After unloading at Vancouver Island, we were treated to a scenic ride to Butchart Gardens. The flowers and landscaping there are beyond description and there was no way we could begin to even pass through all of it in the couple of hours allowed by our schedule. I sure took a lot of pictures as Loretta was having difficulty and stayed near the entrance area. The original owners had quarried rock there, and the Sunken Garden was actually in the old quarry. We had to leave too soon as a whole day would not do justice to that stop.

    Our bus then took us to downtown Victoria. Most of the group departed the bus in Chinatown to take a walking tour to the waterfront. We opted to continue on the bus to the parking place in front of the BC Museum. As we only had a couple of hours we felt that the cost of the museum was too high. We thought we would take in the IMAX Theater there, but both museum and theater tickets were being sold in the same line. We felt that by time we were able to see the show, it would be time to board the bus again. So we decided to walk around the surrounding area. We had dinner at a nice restaurant, eating outside right on the waterfront. There we could watch the activities of both the boats and the people there. Then after a walk along the waterfront checking out a few of the many artists there, we returned to board our bus for the return home.

    On the way back to the ferry, we were again treated to a tour of more of Vancouver Island. We had quite a wait at the ferry terminal, but most were tired enough to remain on the bus. Our scheduled boarding time was 1900, but we were a bit late. Many ate supper on the return trip; we spent the 90-minute trip in the lounge area. But I did spend a good share of the ride on deck taking photos and admiring the scenery. We had been told there was a good chance of viewing whales on the trip, but saw none either direction. By the time we unloaded it was becoming quite dark so we then got the treat of viewing downtown Vancouver (and the surrounding area) all lighted up. It was after 2200 when we arrived back at the campground, so it was soon to bed after a beautiful but tiring day.

  • At 1:23 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 15 North Vancouver, BC

    Yesterday was a Free Day, so we slept in a bit after the long day before. Various members of the group went to assorted places of interest. However we just drove around West Vancouver then North Vancouver a bit. We located Capilano Mall and spent some time walking the mall window shopping and viewing some artwork there. After lunch at one of the vendors there, we shopped at the Wal-Mart, which was part of the mall. Later in the day, we had a small Happy Hour with several others then gathered at the pool for Name Bingo, cake and ice cream. A special treat there was a beautiful sunset - one of the best we have seen. We received information on today’s carpool then visited for a while before calling it a day. Stayed up late to see the news on TV about the Hurricane damage in Florida.

  • At 1:23 AM , Blogger Andy W2UCZ said...

    Mountains to Sea Travelcade

    August 16 North Vancouver, BC

    After coffee, I worked some on photo CD’s to hand out to the rest of the group. Found problems with the computer and shelf but will have to wait till I have more time to correct them. We then went to the Park Royal Mall where Loretta got her hair done, I walked, shopped and rested. Then we went across the street to the North Park Royal for lunch and some more shopping. Back home to stow the table and chairs in the trailer and work more on photo CD’s. After passing them out, we got ready to go to the Final Supper. Hale’s and Vorrah’s rode with us. We had a great supper and visit. Trish Abernathy and Iona Rainey came up from Washington to join us also. The program was great but short - mostly credits. An album of the Travelcade was presented to Tom and Marnie Opstad in appreciation for their leadership. Then back home to catch up on the computer records and relax for the balance of the evening.


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