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Fall Fling

Road Trip - September 2014

Fling: a short period of unrestrained pursuit of one's wishes or desires.

Does that count for road trips? I would think so. I'm getting on the road again before the snow flies and old man winter puts me under house arrest for six months!!

2014 - Fall Fling Photo Album

Sunday, Sept 7, 2014 - Calgary to Christina Lake, British Columbia
Highways today were Hwy 2A south through Okotoks, hwy 783 south, west on hwy 543, south on hwy 22 and finally west on hwy 3 to Christina Lake. Google Map
The drive was very relaxing. Roads were good, no construction and very little traffic. Weather was bright and sunny. All in all a good day's travel. I stopped at the New Horizon Motel in Christina Lake then headed to Grand Forks for a much anticipated bowl of "borsch".

Grand Forks, B.C.

Before stopping for supper, I toured around town and found these three deer relaxing on a front yard. Beautiful. They were wary of me, but not wary enough to get up and run. Check out the spots on the Bambi!

Monday, Sept 8, 2014 - Christina Lake to Leavenworth, Washington
Highways today were Hwy 3 west and hwy 41 south to the border then hwy 21 south and hwy 2 west to Leavenworth. Google Map

Danville Border Crossing

Crossing into the US was a bit unnerving this morning. It's been a long time since I've been made to feel like a criminal. I guess it was my turn this morning. You know you don't have anything to worry about. You know you're not smuggling contraband or drugs. You don't even have alcohol or smokes. You know they wont stop you from entering the States, but the search through your luggage and strange questions nevertheless leave you a bit shaken.

Devil's Elbow Wildfire

About 10 miles north of Keller I drove through a recent fire area. It felt like I was on another planet. Everything was still black and it appeared like the fire was put out yesterday. It almost was.

The fire is a complex of four blazes collectively known as the Devil’s Elbow Complex fire. It started by lightning on August 2. Hot and dry conditions, combined with unstable weather patterns hampered efforts to contain it. By the middle of August 27,000 acres had burned.

Keller Ferry

I've driven on parts of Hwy 21 but not all the way to connect with hwy 2. What a nice surprise this route turned out to be. This very beautiful drive passes through the Colville Indian Reservation and right in the middle of it there was a Ferry crossing over Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake/Columbia River. A truck, another car, and me - we were off.

The ferry run has been in operation since the 1890s and under state control since 1930. During that time, five vessels have served the crossing. The current ferry is the M/V Sanpoil. It was christened, received a tribal blessing, and began service on August 14, 2013. The name "Sanpoil" is an Anglicized version of the name of the native peoples of the surrounding area and is the name of the river adjacent SR 21 to the north of the ferry.
The climb after the Ferry was quite spectacular. With hairpin turns, steep grades and several areas of drop off sides, I quickly went into "don't look mode". The view from the top was just as spectacular. This picture is take about half way up.

Two quilt shops and only 230 miles later, I decided to stop in Leavenworth instead of going to the coast. I've blown through Leavenworth couple of times now so decided it was time to stop and explore the town. I'm staying at the Best Western Icicle Inn. I don't know what the other hotels in town are like, but this one is really nice. I'm glad I stopped.

I drove around town, wandered through the unique shops and restaurants along Front Street, stopped at Safeway, found another quilt shop, and headed back to the hotel for dinner.

Leavenworth, Washington

The first route across Stevens Pass was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1892 and the townsite of Leavenworth was established the same year. Leavenworth became the headquarters of the Railway providing timber and supplies for the Railway and quickly established services for it's workers and families. Leavenworth flourished until the railroad relocated to Wenatchee in the 1920s.

The city struggled until 1962, when, on the brink of extinction and facing Ghost Town status, the Project LIFE (Leavenworth Improvement For Everyone) Committee was formed and it was decided to transform the city into a mock Bavarian village to revitalize its economy. Leavenworth was reinvented and today, with a population of 1900, Leavenworth welcomes over 2 million visitors a year. City of Leavenworth

Tuesday, Sept 9, 2014 - Leavenworth to Langley, B.C.
A lot of highways today. Travel was slow. Lots of driving time but not very many miles. Hwy 2 west, hwy 522 south, hwy 527 north, I-5 north, hwy 2 east, hwy 9 to the Canada/US border, hwy 11 north, hwy 1 west, and hwy 10 to Langley. Google Map

Bothell Washington

My first stop was the Country Village in Bothell, Washington. Unfortunately the Weed Patch is gone. Also, unfortunately, the quilt store is still there. I'm not sure where all the roosters were. I only saw a couple. The weather was overcast so maybe they were all just sleeping somewhere.

Shopping complete, I stopped at the Outback for lunch and continued north on the Bothell Everett Highway.

Highway 9 was slow going but very scenic. The 100 miles to the border took about 3 hours but the time spent was was worth it - especially since I avoided I-5. The few miles I was on it north of Everett, what enough for me.

Originally I planned to catch the Ferry from Anacortes but timing didn't work out so I decided to take the Tsawwassen Ferry tomorrow. I passed back into Canada at the Sumas/Huntington Border Crossing without any hitches. I had quite a bit of quilting material but I was still within my limit. This border agent seemed to understand "road trippin'" as he didn't bat an eye when I explained I was actually going to the Island, via Leavenworth and Bothell!!

I'm staying at the Best Western Langley so I'm only 30 miles from the ferry terminal. I plan to catch the 10:15 ferry.

Wednesday, Sept 10, 2014 - Langley to Parksville, B.C.
Roads today included a Ferry Trip. Hwy 10 west from Langley, hwy 99, hwy 17, the Ferry, then hwy 19 and 19A to Parksville. Google Map

Queen of Alberni

M/V Queen of Alberni named after the town of Port Alberni is one of two ferries that operate between Tsawwassen south of Vancouver and Duke Point in Nanaimo, B.C.

Queen of Alberni was built in 1976 by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. in North Vancouver. She joined Queen of Coquitlam and Queen of Cowichan also built in that year.


The life of Queen of Alberni has seen quite a few mishaps.

  • On August 9th, 1979, the vessel ran aground on Collision Reef in Active Pass. Many cars and trucks were damaged when the ship tilted over.
  • According to a newspaper article, a man fell off the Queen of Alberni while in dock on Boxing Day in 1986 and was killed by the ferry's propeller.
  • Misfortune struck again on June 16, 1989 when ship smashed into the dock at the Departure Bay terminal in Nanaimo.
  • Another accident would come at 8:08 am on March 12, 1992 when the Queen of Alberni and a Japanese bulk carrier Shinwa Maru collided.
  • On December 14, 2001 Queen of Alberni got caught in a heavy wind storm which turned a regular 2-hour crossing into a 7½-hour ordeal.

I'm glad I didn't read about the accidents until after I had crossed safely!

Parksville, B.C.

I booked my motel and called Larry and Agnes from the Ferry Terminal so they knew I was on my way. I put in my request for a "Larry barbeque" and looked forward to visiting Beach Acres again. Once I was booked into my cabin, I headed into town for groceries then off to visit with Larry and Agnes. They came to the cabin for dinner and we visited until 9:00 pm. Of course, I was treated with one of Larry's famous barbeque steaks.

Beach Acres Resort

Beach Acres Resort in Parksville, B.C. is on Rathtrevor Beach on the east end of town. The cabin I have this time is described as Partial Ocean View. It has two stories with the main bedroom on the ground level and a huge loft with more beds. The upper balcony overlooks the ocean. Very nice. I'm staying for two nights at the Resort. Beach Acres Resort

I'm Jinxed

Back in Canada - I turned on the news!! For the last few years, every time I leave on a trip in the fall, I'm plagued with bad weather - freak storms and horrible roads. I've been shut down twice having to wait out storms. I was pretty confident when I left on September 7th that there wasn't a chance that I would have any problems with weather this time. It was early enough in September and it was 75°. While I was rolling through Washington and B.C. enjoying the wonderful sunny weather, unbeknownst to me Calgary was under siege - by a most unwelcome guest.

A record snowfall crippled the City. Tree branches, still in leaf and heavy with snow, crashed down on vehicles, blocked roads and cut power lines. The Calgary International Airport reported 8 inches of snow over two days. In the city’s northwest some communities saw 12 inches.

And now, I still have to go over the mountains to get home. The good news - it could all be a distant memory by the time I head home on Friday.

Thursday, Sept 11, 2014 - Parksville, B.C.
I was up early this morning. I fell asleep reading and I don't think I even moved all night. Another sunny day and the ocean is sparkling. I poured a coffee and went out for a walk. There are several cabins right on the beach. It all seems like a movie setting or an advertising for something wonderful. It's just what anyone would imagine a beach house would be. I definitely want to get one next time.

Black Goose Inn

The Black Goose Inn is in Beach Acres Resort right next door to my cabin. It is in the beautiful Maclure House originally constructed in 1921. The restaurant is a British Pub Style (with a wee bit of Scottish thrown in). Black Goose Inn

I visited the Oceanside Village Resort this afternoon and toured through the condos for sale. They are really nice but there is a zoning bylaw that stops you from living 365 days a year in them. They are intended to be for vacation rentals. So much for that plan.

After an afternoon nap, I started to prepare for supper. Larry and Agnes visited again and Larry barbequed pork chops for us tonight. They have a bylaw in their building that bans barbeques so Larry was pretty happy to be in charge. He says he really misses having his barbeque. He was always cooking on it - even in the winter.

We called it an early night as I want to be up early to catch the 8:30 Ferry to Horseshoe Bay.

Friday, Sept 12, 2014 - Parksville to Salmon Arm, B.C.
Hwys today also included the Ferry and were 19A, hwy 19, and hwy 1. I planned on stopping in the Salmon Arm area so decided to take the scenic route through the Fraser Canyon rather than the Coquihalla Highway. Google Map
I was up early enough to catch the 8:30 am ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver. I was also up early enough to catch these two deer grazing behind my cabin. They didn't stick around long once they saw me.

Queen of Oak Bay

Named for the district of Oak Bay, M/V Queen of Oak Bay was launched in 1981 at Victoria, British Columbia. She normally operates on BC Ferries' Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay route, part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

On June 30, 2005, at about 10:10 in the morning, the Queen of Oak Bay lost power four minutes before she was to dock at the Horseshoe Bay terminal. The vessel became adrift, unable to change speed, but able to steer with the rudders. The ship slowly ran into the nearby Sewell's Marina, where she destroyed or damaged 28 pleasure craft and subsequently went aground a short distance from the shore. No casualties or injuries were reported.

On July 7, 2005, BC Ferries concluded that a missing cotter pin was to blame. The pin normally retained a nut on a linkage between an engine speed governor and the fuel control for one of the engines. Without the pin, the nut fell off and the linkage separated, causing the engine, clutches, and propellers to increase in speed until overspeed safety devices tripped and shut down the entire propulsion system. The faulty speed governor had been serviced 17 days before the incident during a $35-million upgrade and the cotter pin was not properly replaced at that time.

Salmon Arm, B.C.

I stopped for the night at the Best Western in Salmon Arm. I inquired at the desk as to the Salmon Run, but she said it's too early for them right now. Too bad, because this year is the big run. Karen and I were here for the run in 2010 so the eggs laid that year will be the salmon returning home this year - the end of their four year cycle. The next big run wont be until 2018 now. Adams River Sockeye Salmon Run

After supper, I drove around town and then to Sicamous for an ice cream cone for dessert.

Saturday, Sept 13, 2014

Only one highway today - Hwy 1. Google Map

I was up early and on the road by 8:00 am. The drive home was quite uneventful. Traffic wasn't really heavy but I kept getting caught up in groups then would break away and catch up to another group.

I used to think that the Alberta drivers on the road were the bad ones but BC has taken over that esteemed status. How they get away with speeding like they do is amazing. They all seem to be caught up in it too. I never saw one cop car from Vancouver Island to home. For sure, if it was me speeding like that I'd be caught. Only one other driver from Saskatchewan today was worse than the BC Drivers.

Next - 2014 - Southwestern


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