Like Déjà-Vu All Over Again

Shortly after my last post I headed outside and stuck a hair dryer between the rig and the valves in the hope of thawing them out. Then, I got the car loaded with the bike and auxiliary propane tank. I was ready to deal with the kayak when Donna, who always has impeccable timing, came out to help. She got to work on my valves while I did some other prep and Ken helped me try to fill my fresh water tank.

The rig was ready by about quarter to eleven or so and I rolled down to the office to get propane. That took a bit of time since they seem to have a problem with the nozzle that screws onto the propane tank. I then went back up the hill to fetch the car and say my teary goodbyes after Donna helped me adjust my mirrors.

I gassed up at the Husky and rolled out of Osoyoos for hopefully the last time in my life at bang on noon. ETA for Tradex: 6PM.

Miranda performed well on the very sinuous highway 3A that took us through Keremeos, Princeton, and Manning Provincial Park. It’s a frustrating drive because you crawl up a mountain only to come down the other side. It got a bit slick near the top, so I inched my way down. I appreciate that the long queue behind me didn’t honk when it finally got a chance to pass me! My memories of the last time I did this are pretty fuzzy, but I know that today’s drive was very easy compared to that of two years ago!

Like last time, I ended up driving straight through. I got cell reception at Hope, so I was able to check the time and was shocked: it was 3:30 and I was less than an hour from Tradex!

We pulled in at just shy of 4:30 in waning daylight and I was quickly able to match reality to the maps I’d looked at. I parked but did not unhook just in case. Since it was still quite early, I decided to see if anyone was in at the administrative office. There was, and she knew nothing about the arrangement made for me to park here until I can move to power hookups on Thursday! I just had to say the magic words “I’ve been driving my RV all day and I just want to stop!” for her to agree to sort it out in the morning. So, I went back to the rig and moved to a flatter spot (I’m on grass), then unhooked.

It’s unusually cold here, too, and I’m going to be without power for three days. I’m therefore focusing on heat and my phantom draw exclusively. No lights, no water pump, no computer charging. So, decided that I might as well start off strong and not heat until as late as possible since I was only twenty minutes from Langley where there is a Montana’s right across from a movie theatre. I figure that it’d be safe to go back there after two years.

It’s amazing how much easier this gets every time I do it, with ‘this’ being the whole packing up and driving off after a prolonged period of being parked. It’s also amazing how different the rig is now than it was when I arrived in Osoyoos four months ago. I had to move all of half a dozen things and I was set up the same way I am when I’m parked.

The next few days are going to be manic! I have an early morning interview each day and I need to go to Surrey tomorrow to pick up some things I need for the show. I’ll post all the juicy details as soon as I can!

Déjà Vu Between Nanaimo and the Chasm

Being very tired, I decided to go to bed early in Nanaimo, so I hit the sack around 9:30. I also figured that it would be a cold and noisy night and that the longer opportunity I had for shut eye, the better. Well, the joke was on me. The Nanaimo Walmart was super quiet, much more so than Croft’s driveway! I slept soundly until about quarter to four, rolled over, and slept until 6:30.

I got up at 6:45 and went off in search of coffee (no propane, so couldn’t make my own!). The Walmart opens late, at 8, so that McDonalds wasn’t a possibility. I was going to cave and go to Timmy’s when I saw the familiar green and white of a Starbucks. There, they didn’t have the dark roast I favour so they made me an Americano for the same price. I love when that happens!

The streets were fairly quiet when I set out around 7:30 and it was an easy drive to the ferry terminal. Most of it was downhill, so I practised gearing down and did quite well. It had cost me $193.65 to cross in October and $214 today. Insane! I could tell they disbelieved my claim of 50′, but I had my receipt from October and was ready to show it, however I was processed without any undue fussing.

It was a short wait, maybe a half hour, at the very most, to board. There were a couple of sharp turns, but also plenty of manoeuvring room. I applied the parking brakes, hugged the kitties, and headed up to the passenger decks.

I hadn’t brought any magazines this time, so I treated myself to a copy of Woman’s World onboard, mostly for the crossword and recipes. We had a smooth sailing with mostly clear weather, but boy was it windy! I made the mistake of going on deck without putting on my coat first and it just about blew out to sea!

Disembarking was equally easy and I found myself on the east-bound Transcanada. I took a moment to say good-bye to the Pacific Ocean since my life on the road has thus far been working out as planned. If the trend continues, I will not see the Pacific again for several years. But salty water still beacons in 2010, when I will dip my foot in the Arctic Ocean!

When I came to the Island in the fall, one of my reasons for choosing the Sea to Sky highway was to avoid having to cross the whole of the GVR. I debated crossing back to the Mainland from Duke Point, but that would have put me in the bowels of Tsawwassen and I wasn’t convinced that navigating through Delta and New West was going to be any easier than sailing down the congested Transcanada through Vancouver. I decided to take the most direct route, armed with my knowledge of the route and the exits that would, hopefully, remind me when to bear left.

Getting through Vancouver turned out to be easy. Sure, there were a lot of cars and everyone merging on the highway expected me to slam on my brakes for them, but I was calm, remembering that this was nowhere near as bad as was crossing Montreal with only Miranda!

I had to stop at the Ikea in Coquitlam and Google Maps made this seem like an easy thing to do, just a blip off and on the highway. Ha ha ha ha. The Ikea does not seem to have any overheight parking whatsoever. I turned into an open area of parking and could not see any place to park, much less turn around, so I kept going down the main laneway. It led me to three choices: turn left to a covered structure much shorter than Miranda, unhook and back up out of there, or go the wrong way straight down an entrance that would take me back to Lougheed highway. I picked that option and got a lot of honks even though I was not blocking traffic and was in a position to make a turn into the right direction of traffic once all the cars passed.

Back in the mad rush of traffic, I decided to try parking near Rack Attack, remembering from last year that there was street parking there. Well, there was a police auction yet again and one side of the road is now blocked to parking. I circled right around the Ikea and decided to take my chance at the Canadian Tire nearly a kilometre away. There, I found a place to park with an easy exit, so I locked up and schlepped to the Ikea.

There, I was reminded that I hate shopping at Ikea nearly as much as I hate shopping at Canadian Tire. I had a clear shopping list and it still took almost an hour to find the right floor and section, then get some help to locate the items in question. I wasn’t even remotely tempted to shop for myself by the time I had my friend’s stuff!

Mission accomplished, I slung the heavy bag over my back and marched back to the rig. The things I do for my friends! 😀

The feeling of déjà vu was very strong as I headed back out onto Lougheed highway to catch the exit for the Transcanada. I remembered from last year that I had to be in the left lane and ready for some very tight turns, so it was smooth sailing out of Coquitlam and an easy drive to Chilliwack.

I also remembered from last year that the Husky at the corner of Vedder and Luckakuk is super convenient for gas and propane, so that was my next stop. I goofed and went to the cardlock propane tank, but was able to circle back to the correct one within the parking lot. From there, I just had to move up about five feet and over two to gas up. The propane cost $40 and I put in almost a 100L of fuel at 105.9 (same as on the Island, gah).

I thought of getting groceries in Chilliwack, but when I saw how hard it was going to be to get out of the Husky I changed my mind. I just had to do a right hand turn, but the traffic was solid. Every time it cleared after a green light another wave of cars would pull up from the previous light. I needed all three lanes of traffic to stop and let me in so I could do my turn, but everyone was too selfish to do that. I sat there for about twenty minutes, not willing to risk an accident and force myself into traffic, when a red Jeep cherokee stopped and waved me through. I started the turn, as sharply as I could, but I really did need all three lanes. I was blocking the first and part of the second as I turned and two cars in the second and third lanes just whizzed by me honking instead of taking two seconds out of their day to let me through. Soon as they were through I hit the gas and was able to complete my turn, finding myself in the wrong lane for the onramp back onto the highway. Thankfully, I was able to get over once I’d cleared the intersection and was finally on my way!

Once I hit Hope and turned onto the Gold Rush Trail, I was able to assess how I feel about being back on the road. I was relaxed and happy. Ikea notwithstanding, none of the day had required white knuckled driving and Miranda was practically purring.

The kilometres ate themselves up as I pushed north, marveling at the changing landscapes. I pulled over a few times to stretch my legs and admire the view, but drove determinedly to the Chasm. I had been tempted to stop to do some work, guessing correctly that I wouldn’t be able to at the Chasm, but decided that I’d just take Saturday off and catch up at Les’ Sunday and Monday.

One of the reasons I gassed up in Chilliwack was that I did not want to have to do so in Cache Creek. I’ve stopped there twice for gas and have had three accidents almost immediately after. I never thought I was superstitious until now!

I would have liked to arrive at the Chasm with beer and a treat for dinner, but it wasn’t looking up for that, so I was delighted to find a small food store at a Shell gas station next to a liquour store in Clinton, just a few kilometres from the Chasm turnoff. I was able to park on the street right in front. Awesome!

While small, the grocery selection was thorough and prices were competitive. I picked up a cucumber, red pepper, package of fancy sausages, sour cream, and sun dried tomato tortillas to make wraps. The liquor store didn’t have cold beer, so I put my six pack in the freezer. Having spent most of Friday with the fridge on battery power, everything was still frozen and there wasn’t much catchup to do once I turned it over to propane. The fridge had warmed just enough to make defrosting it easy.

It was nearing if not past six when I turned off to the Chasm and drove the seven bumpy kilometres to the turnoff. It was in great shape, albeit as unlevel as ever. I put the passenger side up on two sets of levelers; it wasn’t quite enough but okay for one night.

Like last year, it started to snow the second I got settled and began to prepare dinner, then the sky cleared. I made sure the fridge was working and tried the water heater, but it’s definitely toast, so getting the part for it will be a top priority once I get settled in Dawson.

I really hadn’t expected to have internet at the Chasm, so I wasn’t disappointed that I didn’t. I settled down to write this entry, had a wash, put on my new jammies, and curled up in my recliner with a good book.

Being back on the road is awesome. What a difference a year makes.







first glimpse of Vancouver!

first glimpse of Vancouver!





turnoff just north of Hope

turnoff just north of Hope


entering Ashcroft--back to desert after a winter in the rain forest!

entering Ashcroft–back to desert after a winter in the rain forest!





I'm just south of Cache Creek here

I’m just south of Cache Creek here

Chilliwack to the Chasm

The Gold Rush Trail!

My discovery of the day is that I can use the coffee grinder on the inverter with my new house battery!!!!!!!!!!

I left Chilliwack fairly early, before nine and eagerly pushed on past sort-of-familiar territory back to Hope where I finally began to head north! Of course, Transport Canada removes some of the thrill by labeling the highway direction as east.

This stretch of road is called the Gold Rush Trail. I cannot begin to describe the wave of emotion I felt when I saw the first sign welcoming adventurers heading north. I am certain that had I been born a century and a half ago, I would have been the same non-conformist heading north with her 1,000 lbs of personal goods.

I drove steadily, stopping occasionally to stretch my legs and take in the view.



















My longest break was at Hell’s Gate, after which I actually started to look for a place to stop for the day even though it wasn’t even eleven yet! I’d mapped out a couple of possibilities, but they were difficult to get into, so I pushed on, stopping just shy of one at a rest area to have lunch.

The scenery was breathtaking and as desert-like as I’d been warned. There were moments I could have sworn I was somewhere in the Mojave desert en route to Las Vegas!

Drama at Cache Creek

I stopped for gas in Cache Creek, which was much smaller than expected. On the way out of the service station, I clipped a guy’s mirror with the toad’s mirror. It apparently made quite a bang, but I heard nothing, just saw a a crazy looking livid man running after me yelling “YOU HIT MY CAR!” He was beyond reasoning with even though, after inspecting his car, it was obvious that the only damage was a tiny chip of paint lost on the mirror casing, The chip could only be felt, not seen, so, really, talk about over reacting! I had no damage.

Thankfully, his wife was able to diffuse the situation by seeing the damage done, not the damage that could have been done. I offered them a 100 bucks for their trouble, but she could see that there was barely a scratch on the car, nothing worth her husband’s undue fussing and she said that all was well. I still felt horrible, of course, but, really, that guy seriously over reacted!

Why Do I Trust Majel?!

Just after that, I followed Majel’s directions to get to Chasm Provincial Park. Must. Stop. Doing. That. I drove I don’t know how far out of my way before I saw a turn around point then… I pushed on. The area was so pretty I hoped to find a turn off where I could spend the night, but the road was too narrow. At the next turn around point I came to my senses and doubled back to the 97, wasting I don’t know how much gas.

I saw a sign for another provincial park that was open and had room for RVs, but missed the turnoff. Signage is really, really poor and I wish I had a co-pilot. Sometime later, I saw the turn off for the Chasm lookout point and here I am. There is no sign saying no parking, so I’m staying. I am beyond beat; the Cache Creek thing ruined my mood. 🙁









Chasm Provincial Park

The chasm lookout is barely a turnout, just a strip of  muddy road and not a particularly level place to stop. I picked the best spot and staked my claim. It’s very isolated out here and it feels so nice to be by myself.

The chasm is breathtaking, one of those gems you have to find on your own. It is at least as gorgeous as the Grand Canyon! It’s the most awesome backyard I have ever had and my most successful boondocking experience yet!

I arrived here around 4 and had a pleasant, homey evening that concluded with my watching a movie on the new laptop. Love the new laptop!!!

































I Love This Life!!!

Greetings from the Fraser Valley!

Majel (the GPS) told me that a 9AM departure would get me here at 2. I laughed and figured 6 if I was lucky. Fate took that difference and split it; I arrived at 4.

I was up around 8 this morning since I didn’t have that much left to do and I didn’t want to wake up everyone since what I did have left to do was noisy. The RV battery wasn’t charged enough to crank the engine, so I had to take the trickle charger out, but it got the battery going in the time it took me to bring my trash to the dumpster. Hooking up the toad was surprisingly easy. I mean, really, really easy! Everything I’d worried about didn’t happen, so I had an uneventful ride out… once a helpful neighbour managed to pry my levelers off the very frozen pavement. 🙂

Google maps has a wonderful feature that lets you see topography. Using that, I was able to figure out that from Oliver almost all the way to Hope would be uphill into increasingly poor weather, but that the rest would be downhill into rain. Sure enough, that’s what happened. Part of the drive to Hope was of the white-knuckled, hands clenched around the steering wheel, variety, but only because  a lack of guard rails next to sheer cliffs made staying on the road the foremost thought on my mind. As I’d expected, the roads were fairly devoid of other drivers, which reduced the stress considerably.

I had thought to stop in Hope for a leg stretch before continuing on the final third of the journey, but finding spots to stop wasn’t easy and I wound up getting all the way to Chilliwack before I could stop and rest for a half hour!

No sooner had I entered Surrey than I had my closest call ever with Miranda. There was a semi driver ahead of me whom I think was either half asleep or inebriated. He kept on switching lanes with very little notice. I tried to stay as far behind him as I could, but he still managed to cut me off. Thankfully, Miranda’s brakes are really, really, really good and while I laid down a patch of rubber, I didn’t hit him. The only thing that budged in the coach was my spice rack, which spilled most of my cumin down the sink. 🙁 I try to find the humour in such situations. 🙂

The park is literally on the border with the US and had I followed the GPS directions, I would have found myself in line for customs! Thankfully, I noticed little signs indicating the detour to the park and followed them to avoid the long lineup that preceded my turnoff point just before the ‘all vehicles beyond this point must report to US customs’ sign.

Settling in was a non-event although the handyman insisted on guiding me in. I appreciated his help, of course, but told him that I have a hard time translating flailing arms with what direction to turn the steering wheel. Backing up is one of those things I can do only if I don’t think about it. So, getting in wasn’t as smooth as it sometimes is, but it wasn’t embarrassing. I just hooked up the propane and electricity since my water hose is now just 10′ long and I need a much longer one to get to their tap. This is something I’d expected, so it’s not a big deal. I have plenty of water in the holding tank and the temps being above freezing, the pump is working just fine!

The cats were great on this trip, Neelix staying close by me, Tabitha sticking to her favourite spot on the bed.

Foremost on my mind right now are dinner and a loooong swim. Pool’s open till 10!

The last three months feel far behind me already.