Friday, August 12, 2016

Alaska Adventures Part Fifteen - Last of Canada

The next stop on our big summer adventure was Radium Hot Springs in British Columbia, a whopping 64 miles from Golden, BC. Whew, those long drives are killer! We were booked into Radium Valley Vacation Resort. A camper we met in the horrible campground in Golden recommended this place to us. Turns out it was a good recommendation.

Columbia Valley View

Deer Along the Roadside

Check-in time wasn't until 1 p.m. and we had a hour or so to wait. We drove a little further south into the town of Invermere so George could get a haircut. Talk about insanity! It was so busy with all of summer tourist and the lake looked like a zoo with boats zipping about.

We returned to the resort to check in and whoa! What a ritzy "campground" that was. We started off in site #99 for one night knowing we would have to move to another site the next night. We were just happy to have a place to stay. We also added a third night to our stay here. Most of the sites have their own private cabana and gas grill. The entire resort was neat and clean. I almost felt out of place here with See-More sporting a new layer of grime. We had the okay to give the trailer a bath right at our site. Yay, a clean trailer again! Best of all, it was the second day in a row with NO RAIN!

We moved the next day to site #90, right along the bluff overlooking the Columbia River valley. Nice. The cabana came in handy since it decided to rain a little. And it stormed the next day really good, even knocking out the power. It was an inopportune time, too, since we had clothes in the dryer that ended up still damp. George got us a refund and we re-ran the load through the dryer.

Our Site Along the Bluff

Our Cabana

View From Our Cabana Deck

There is a nice hot springs in Radium, or so we were told. We planned on visiting the hot springs, but it was so relaxing at the campsite that we stuck around there instead. Maybe next trip.

We departed Radium and journeyed south towards Cranbrook. This would be another long strenuous driving day. Oh, maybe 60 or 70 miles to travel. Along the way there were cool hoodoos just south of Fairmont Hot Springs. We also passed Columbia Lake, the headwaters of the mighty Columbia River. The same Columbia River that flows through Washington state and empties into the Pacific Ocean and forms part of the southern Oregon/Washington border.

Columbia River in BC

Columbia Lake - Headwaters of the Columbia River

Columbia River Drainage

Hoodoos From a Distance in Fairmont Hot Springs

More of the Hoodoos

Reminds Me of Castle Parapets

We planned on staying two nights at Premier Lake Provincial Park. The park was 15 km off of the highway. The further we drove, the more we wondered what we would find. Hopefully it would be a quiet place. Uh, wrong! The campground was packed with other campers. The loops were tight turning with a bigger trailer but we managed to get ourselves maneuvered around and back out of the park. It was a no-go for us there. Time to find a new campground.

We figured (hoped) we would find something once we got back on the main highway south. And we did just a few miles down the road at Springbrook Motel and Campground in Skookumchuck. This place wasn't too bad. A little highway noise, but the site was spacious and there was a fire pit for George. We found our friends' home near Wasa Lake and made plans to meet up again the following afternoon. Oh how I wished we could have stayed at Wasa Lake Provincial Park. However, I thought there wasn't any camping there, just day use. Wrong! It would have been much closer to our friends' house. Live and learn.

Skookumchuck Statue

We visited Cranbrook and a quilt shop there (Surprise!). Close to that store was a train engine on display. Actually it was two engines. The main engine #4090 was put into service in 1953. Just a short year and half later, misfortune struck. The engine was hit by a snow slide and pushed into Kootenay Lake in British Columbia.  The second engine, #4469, doesn't have a cab and was controlled from another engine. Neither 4090, even after being repaired, or 4469 lasted long in the inhospitable conditions of the west. The terrain and general conditions were very taxing on these first generation engines and the crews didn't have many kind words to say. In 1957, the engines were sent east to Ontario. Both were retired from service in 1977 and retained by Canadian Pacific for historical purposes. After being acquired by the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, they were moved to Cranbrook in 1992. An exterior refurbishment and painting was completed by the Rotary Club of Cranbrook Sunrise in 2015.

Also on site here were a restored train station and water tower from the surrounding areas.

Front of Engine 4090

Engines 4090 & 4469

Elko Station

Water Tower Door

Water Tower

We met our friends for dinner in the nearby town of Kimberley. We learned Mike's family has a long history in this town and the surrounding vicinity. Kimberley used to be an old mining town until the mine closed and they transformed the town into a year-round tourist destination. In the winter, there is a ski hill visible from the town. They have a Bavarian theme going and a nice platzl or plaza where a couple of blocks are closed to vehicular traffic. There are plenty of things to do in Kimberley including an underground mining railway so we have to come back here again.

Sullivan Mine Display

Bavarian Style

Cuckoo Clock on the Platzl

On the ride back to our campsite, we saw twenty deer! The one below was spotted earlier in the day.

Mule Tail Buck

After leaving the Cranbrook area, we will be returning to the U.S. somewhere along the Montana border. And hopefully, we will be leaving the almost daily rain shower back in Canada!

Our Last Sunset in B.C.

Finally, here is a truck camper that has been heavily modified. We spotted it in Cranbrook.  The last "weirdness" from Canada.

Oh, What Have They Done to This Truck Camper?


  1. Oh those long long travel days! (Funny, but we loved days like that!) Pet peeve all those years when we pulled a long 5-W was those old campgrounds with narrow streets and tight turnings) ... especially when they were advertised as 'big rig friendly' -- different for a motor home than a 5er. Anyway, glad you had fun in BC and you saw some beautiful scenery.

  2. What a wonderful trip all of you have had!! Thank you for sharing it with all of us. And how great to spend time with mom. Glad you have all these pictures to add to the awesome memories you have. Love you all, have a safe trip home!!

  3. So many great photos! And the history!
    I'm been to a lot of RV parks, but I've never seen one with cabanas.


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