Saturday, 16 November 2013

From Penticton to Vancouver

We had been warned to avoid Highway 3 across to Vancouver as it was twisty with steep grades. Therefore from Penticton, we went back to Kelowna, and across 97A to Merritt. We climbed about 20 kilometres on a divided highway to the Pennask Summit, at 1728 metres.  Across the summit it was like a meadow, with a lot of clear-cuts and several patches of snow.
The Penask Summit
The trip down was 5% and 6% grades, but fairly straight.
A long down hill
Downhill, and right back up...

We took the Coquihalla Highway out of Merrick towards Hope.

This was built from Kamloops as a toll road, as an alternate the Trans Canada, which follows the Fraser River. It is no longer a toll road, but is a good, divided highway with more climbing, winding sections, and long down-hills,
Going down...
often through treed valleys. We learned that if a hill has a name, Beware! It will be steep! One of the steepest, and most winding was the 8% descent from the Coquihalla Pass.

The road into Hope twisted and turned, and went down for about 40 kilometres.
Long winding hill
Still going down...

Down into Hope- construction here too
The drive from Hope through the Fraser Valley was pleasant through a wide valley with mountains on either side.
Finally- a wide valley...
The Fraser- a flat stretch
Since it was by now late afternoon, we decided to stay in Chilliwack at the local Walmart. There were 7 or 8 other RV’s staying there too.
Since our light was now working, if you tapped it, we decided to go to Porteau Cove Provincial Park north of Vancouver, and to use this as a base to visit Vancouver and Whistler. The drive through Vancouver was on a beautiful, divided 6-lane highway. Although for much of the time, there were trees on both sides, so you couldn’t see much of the cities.

The Port Mann bridge over the Fraser River is beautiful (it should be, it’s a toll bridge!).

Driving under the Port Mann  Bridge
and off to West Vancouver

Sea to Sky Highway to Porteau Cove

Rock cuts on the Sea to Sky Highway too

We had a beautiful site in Porteau Cove, right on the pebble beach of Howe Sound.
Our welcoming Bluebird at Porteau Cove

Our site backing onto Howe Sound

The view out the trailer window
It was low tide when we arrived, so there were lots of dead salmon and jellyfish, both white and red. Apparently, the red jellyfish are poisonous and can ‘sting’ even when they are dead! One poor dog got too close and, one very swollen paw, a trip to the vet and many antibiotics later, he might have learned his lesson. We walked up to the public dock, where there are several informative signs explaining the ecology of the area, and several raised platforms with benches, so you can enjoy the beauty up and down the Sound.
Divers' Buoys to the north on Howe Sound
Off the end of the dock, is an underwater park for divers to explore, including three sunken ships and artificial reefs.
The view to the South from the dock

After dinner, I discovered some water under the sink. We took everything out of the cupboard and dried the shelf. We tried to see a leak, but none was apparent, so we put a towel down to check. Sure enough, next morning the towel was damp. It looked like the connection under the sink, but we couldn’t reach it to check any further, so we decided to monitor it.
We visited Squamish a couple of times, to visit the Visitors’ Centre to get info, to use the wifi, and to enjoy their excellent lattes and cappuccinos. There were two laundromats in town, so we were able to get everything washed and most of it dried. Drying things which can’t go in the dryer is a bit of a challenge. We had shirts and socks hung all over the trailer at night! During the day, we used our portable drying rack outside. After the laundry, as we were headed back to the car, we saw some excitement in the laneway behind the main street. There was a bear cub in the lane rummaging for food. It was joined a few minutes later by another cub. When we looked around, we discovered the mother up the tree, just watching the cubs play. There 10 or 12  people around by this time, and one of the men who rode up said he had put some apples out for them that morning.
One Bear

Two Bears

And Mama Bear keeping watch
Another day after our wifi check, we went to Shannon Falls just south of Squamish. This is a spectacular sight as it cascades down the granite rock-face in a series of waterfalls.
Shannon Falls

Just south of Squamish, is Britiannia Beach, and the Britiannia Mine, which, in the early 20th century was the largest copper mine in the British Commonwealth. The miners lived together in their own town, up the mountain above the mine. The only link with Vancouver, in the early days, was by ship as there was no road. Although it mined mainly copper, gold and silver were side products. The mine tailings were run through a wool blanket which caught the gold flakes. We had a 2 hour tour and talk by ‘Miner Lora”, our guide, as we climbed aboard a mine train and rumbled into a real mine tunnel and then into Mill 3,
The site of Mill 2

Mill 3

The Forgery

Some of the Core Samples from the mine- all numbered
to discover the inner workings of the massive mill building, once the heartbeat of the Britannia community and today one of the last remaining gravity- fed mills in North America.
The stairs straight up to the top- no railings when it was a working mill.

Mill 3 - Built right into the rock face
Mill 3 is the only one remaining: Mill 1 was replaced when it was no longer large enough, and Mill 2 was destroyed by fire. It was fascinating to walk through a piece of history, and read peoples' accounts of their lives.

We also spent a day at Whistler. On the drive up, we stopped at Brandywine Waterfall. This is a spectacular, Niagara-type of waterfall, with water tumbling off a rock shelf, down to the floor of the gorge.
Brandywine Falls
We drove up to the Olympic Park, but it was still closed. On the way down, we saw another bear beside the highway, roaming through the tall grass. The centre of the town of Whistler is really a series of smaller shopping and lodging plazas along a winding pedestrian road.
Whistler street

The Olympic Rings at the Medal site in Whistler
At the end is a mountain with a chair lift and a series of trails for mountain bikers. There was quite a crowd, from beginners to experts enjoying the challenging trails.
Mountain Bikers Haven
We decided to drive up to the Sliding Centre, as a man we’d met at Britiannia Mine said the International Luge practice trials were to begin today. We got up there in time to “see” six or seven Lugers. Actually you hear them, then see a blur, then hear them again!

Looking up towards the start

Looking down
Oh yes, and we saw another bear on the way up! This one was in a field beside the road and just across from a large house.
Water continued to seep from under the sink, so we figured we’d better get it fixed, and made an appointment with the Airstream dealer in Langley. Porteau Cove is so popular that there was a lady waiting with her chair at the end of our site when we got up. She checked to be sure that we were leaving, and then promptly put her chair by the table to indicate the site was taken.
As the repair time depended on the seriousness of the leak, we decided to stay at the Burnaby Cariboo RV Park. It is clean, well kept with level sites, an indoor pool and hot tub, a roof patio, a small gym, an RV wash bay with a platform to get to the top, and a truck/car/trailer wash area.
Hedges divide the sites for privacy

but they are close together...

Roof-top Patio above the pool

Run Around Sue has to be cleaned too
It was ideally situated to take the Skytrain to downtown. It was a 15-minute walk, or a 5-minute walk and a bus ride to the nearest station.  The leak turned out to be a loose fitting, so was a quick fix [once they found someone with a small enough hand to get in, under and up to tighten it]. We had more time to sightsee.  One evening, we took the Skytrain in to meet a friend for dinner at Granville Island. We ate at a wonderful seafood restaurant, right under the bridge. We went back to spend some time wandering around the Island, investigating the innumerable shops.


Another day we took it in to meet a cousin for lunch, and then walked around Canada Place, and Gas Town.
We could not leave Vancouver before we visited Stanley Park. We were amazed that there were still beautiful flowers in the gardens.

 As we were walking , admiring the beautiful scenery, and the size of the trees, we spotted a bald eagle.

The size of many of the trees amazed us

As we walked around the NE side of the Island, we got a different view of the city, and saw the magnificent totem poles.
Vancouver skyline

Canada Place from Granville Island

Bbeautiful Totem Poles
There is lots of autumn yellow and gold, but little red in the West. There are some maple trees which have been planted, some Japanese Maples, and some sumacs. I was amazed at the size of the maple tree leaves.
The one on the right is the size of an Ontario Maple Leaf
It was time to leave Vancouver, so we decided to take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. We started out in bright sun....
Paying for the Ferry

Driving onto the Ferry

Leaving Vancouver for Nanaimo in Sunshine

But, what is that????

1 comment:

  1. glad that you are having a great, non-eventful drive. [no problems]
    Photos are fabulous.
    Hope both of you are well; and enjoying the closeness of the journey. [each other]
    were there any stops in Washington?
    Christmas Bazaar, by the way, has come and gone. Thank God!
    Take care and drive safely. Lots of love, P & C.