A Long Journey Done

I made it back to Osoyoos!

When we boarded the plane in Vancouver, we were warned that there was ‘fair’ visibility in Penticton and that there was a good chance we would have to turn back to Vancouver. That would have sucked! Thankfully, we landed without incident. Except for some turbulence over the prairies, the whole trip back was very smooth.

I used my baggage allowance to bring back some of the kitchen things I had in storage in Montreal; I’ll do a post about them once I’ve had some sleep. I was surprised that the boxes made it to Penticton, what with the tight connection in Toronto! We’d wrapped everything in foam and stamped the boxes fragile, but I was realistic about everything making it across the country on three planes in one piece. So, when I heard the distinctive tinkle of broken glass, I wasn’t surprised, but I was curious. I broke open the boxes tonight and discovered that what had broken was the only thing I didn’t mind getting broken. Yay to Air Canada getting priceless (to me) antiques (and modern stuff) here safely!

The drive home from Penticton went well, too, and Donna had staged a lovely homecoming, what with thinking to put on the porch light and remembering to crank up the heat! *hugs*

The kitties and I are very happy to find each other again. 🙂

It was a great trip. Certain happenings in the last couple of weeks have made this eastern jaunt a bookend to yet another chapter of my RVing life and tomorrow I will return to a life similar to the one I left a week ago, but different, too.

Well, I should have hot water by now, so it’s time for a long shower and to get my body clock back on track. It’s 3:30AM right now back east, but my normal bedtime here, so in theory I should wake up on time tomorrow. But I try not to think too much about such things; it’s been my experience that not dwelling too much on the time change is the best remedy for jet lag. Still, zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Tight Connection

Whew! I made it to Vancouver! There was only forty-five minutes between my inbound Montreal flight and my outbound Vancouver flight at Toronto… and we ended up circling the airport for nearly a half hour! I had only enough time to bolt to my gate and grab a quick bathroom break while the priority customers boarded. I have some checked luggage for this return trip and I will be very surprised if it is waiting for me in Penticton.

Security screening in Montreal was a piece of cake. I didn’t have to take off my shoes and I didn’t even beep when I went through the metal detector so I was saved an invasive groping by the staff. I paid for that dearly on the flight to Vancouver, however, since, despite my checking several times that I would have a window seat, I was seated in a middle one! YUCK! At least, we were in the emergency row, so the leg room was luxurious. My neighbour to the left was very cold and sighed each time I moved around well within my designated buffer zone. The neighbour to the right, however, was quite friendly (and generous with his cashews) and we shared a few laughs as my, thankfully empty, beverage glass kept on leaping off my tray! I was glad I’d brought a snack of dried fruit flat bread, cheese, and clementines since the options for food in Montreal were dismal and I didn’t have time to grab anything in Toronto.

YVR has a burger jointed called Vera’s where I caught a very late dinner. I’d been looking forward to udon at one of the Japanese kiosks, but that restaurant was clear across the airport. The veggie burger piled high with fresh veggies and the fresh-cut fries we’re a very yummy, and inexpensive, surprise, though, so I’m not disappointed.

I only have about a half hour left in Vancouver before we start boarding for Penticton. If everything goes well, I’ll be there in two hours and home in three. I miss my cats and my bed!

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

Travels Without Miranda, #7: Chicago’s Navy Pier, Illinois

Chicago is one of my favourite cities. It is vibrant, clean, friendly, and approachable. I’ve been there twice, spending a week in 1999 and stopping over on my Great Lakes adventure in 2005 to return to Navy Pier. I also went through O’Hare on my way to Colorado in 1996, but I’m not sure that counts. 🙂

Until I visited Chicago in 1999 I considered myself to be a country gal with little use for cities, finding them to be ugly. Vacations were meant to be spent in aesthetically pleasing places; I had only come to Chicago to visit a friend, otherwise I would have spent my travel dollars on a great camping excursion instead.

My week in Chicago changed my opinion of cities in general and Americans specifically. Until Chicago, I thought all American cities were like filthy New York City and all Americans like its rude residents. I still had a lot to learn about not making sweeping generalizations about places and people.

One of my last stops during that 1999 trip was Navy Pier, a tourist trap jutting out into Lake Michigan that is filled with souvenir shops and over priced food. It’s one of my favourite places in the United States. 🙂

I walked down one side of the Pier that day and up the other, stopping in my tracks as I did so to take in the sight of Chicago. It awed me. Glimmering obsidian sky scrapers shimmered against a perfect blue sky, their reflections bouncing off the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan. I was looking at a downtown traffic snarl at the same time as I watched volleyballers frolic on a sandy beach. Cities can be beautiful, I thought with awe.

(I went through a long spell of traveling without a camera)

(I went through a long spell of traveling without a camera)

Six years later, I decided to return to that spot on the Pier and it was as though time had stood still. Chicago was exactly as I remembered her to be and while a stay over wasn’t on the plate for this trip, I was reassured that my memories hadn’t been romanticized over the passage of time.

Chicago taught me that cities can be beautiful, a lesson that I clung to as I so desperately worked to fall in love with Vancouver.

Making Lemonade

Miranda was slated for brake surgery Wednesday and it would be an all day procedure. How lucky was I that the work could be completed right away? I met a lot of people over the summer who were stranded in small towns for weeks while waiting for parts. Mine, however, were readily available and en route just a few short hours after my arrival at Olemotors. As it turns out, some incorrect parts were received, but the correct ones were available in Whistler, 30km away, so the mechanic dashed there and back to get them, as well as a new tire, barely delaying the work. So, so, so lucky…

Having a day to kill and being a nervous wreck about the 130km still left before I got to Horseshoe Bay, I took off in the toad at first light and drove all the way to West Vancouver! The drive was sinuous, but nothing like the section from Cache Creek to Pemberton and I felt much better about pulling out with Miranda the next day.

It rained the whole way down but slowly started to clear up around noon so I decided to stop in Whistler, a ski resort town that will be hosting several Olympic events this winter. I wouldn’t have done so had I whipped by with Miranda, but I decided that I might as well play the tourist since I had all that time to kill.

This being the off season, Whistler was an eerie ghost town. The village, where all the shops and restaurants are, was very beautiful, but I had a hard time finding an substance, or sustenance.  I came away glad that I checked it down, but even gladder that I wouldn’t have missed anything had I just whipped by with Miranda. One thing that did impress me was the significant amount of free parking on the outskirts of the village. Whistler is definitely a town that encourages walking and there are a lot of places that are only accessible on foot.

It was mid-afternoon when I got back to Olemotors where work was just resuming after the dash for parts and would continue for a few more hours. I dashed out to the coffee shop for some time and also hung out in the break room at the garage. The brake job was completed by about 6PM, to my surprise, and Miranda was parked for me back in her spot outside. There were just a couple of hours worth of work left to be done; I would be able to roll out by 10AM the next morning.

Whistler had a lot of construction going on

Whistler had a lot of construction going on















Whistler (the red foliage was a nice treat, something we don't see much out west)

Whistler (the red foliage was a nice treat, something we don’t see much out west)







In other words: "Please come up here even though the traffic and security are going to be horrendous."

In other words: “Please come up here even though the traffic and security are going to be horrendous.”

Back at the garage, the sky was starting to clear. This is the same shot from last post, only the mountains are completely hidden by the fog!

Back at the garage, the sky was starting to clear. This is the same shot from last post, only the mountains are completely hidden by the fog!