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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

A St. Stephen kind of day...

What do I mean by a St. Stephen kind of day.?

Keep on trucking! And that’s what we did today!

St. Stephen’s ‘mini me!’

I was awake very early this morning and when I couldn’t get back to sleep because the trains were keeping me up, I did everything I could to make enough noise to get Richard to wake up!

Finally at 7:30am I couldn’t take it any longer. I wanted to get going so that we could hopefully stop during daylight to stretch our legs. My knee has really flared up and is swollen from the lack of activity, and the best thing for me is to walk, when we stop driving.

We left Acacia Grove RV park at 8:33am and we were on the road again!

The mountainous area as we left Acacia Grove RV park in Spences Bridge. Notice there is a distinct lack of trees in this area!

These mountain roads freak me out a bit when it looks like the road is going to go over the cliff!

About 20 minutes after we left Spences Bridge we saw the historic plaque for ‘The Last Spike’ in Craigellachie, B.C.

The Last Spike of the CP Railway was the ceremonial final spike driven into the CPR at Craigellachie, B.C. At 9:22am on November 7, 1885. It was driven in by Donald Smith who was the railway financier, marking the end of a saga of natural disasters, financial crises and even rebellion that plagued Canada’s first transcontinental railway from its beginning. The last spike remains a symbol of national unity in Canada. At the time, the railway‘s completion fulfilled an 1871 commitment made by the Canadian federal government to British Columbia that a railway would be built joining the Pacific province to Central Canada. The promise of a transcontinental railway had been a major factor in British Columbia’s decision to join the Canadian Confederation. However, successive governments mismanaged the project and by the original deadline of 1881 little of the railway had been completed, resulting in threats of secession by some British Columbia politicians. The work was then assigned to a newly incorporated CPR company, which was allowed an additional ten years to complete the line, and they did it in five. Maybe we should have them in charge of the vaccine rollout and we would vaccine plants up and running in months instead of years, and have everyone with both vaccines in their arms by June 2021.... I digress...back to our day....

We had great driving weather today with the temperature up to 11C and a hazy, no sun kind of day. The roads were dry and there was not a lot of traffic on the roads given that it was Good Friday.

We stopped for lunch in a gas station parking lot in Sicamous, B.C. We have a lot of leftovers that I made for the purpose of being able to have a quick meal on the road. Richard is eating homemade quinoa salad and slow cooked Korean beef ribs which I made a few days ago. As long as Richard eats well, he can drive for a long time!

Our destination was Golden, B.C. where we were to spend the night at the Golden Golf Club and RV Park.

We had one short delay on our drive which was this truck on the side of the road, with traffic down to one lane in each direction, to pass the truck.

We were not sure what happened here but it looked like the truck caught on fire. Richard thought the truck was carrying potatoes but I can’t tell from the photo.

I thought these signs were kind of interesting. Usually that sign would mean ‘goat working’ on the side of the road, but in fact there were goats, but they were grazing.

Just their backsides unfortunately.

We went through the Selkirk Mountains today and over the Summit of Rogers Pass at 1,330 meters as we went through Glacier National Park. Rogers Pass is the lowest route between the Sir Donald and Hermit ranges of the Selkirk, providing a shortcut along the southern perimeter of the Big Bend of the Columbia River form Revelstoke on the west to Donald, near Golden, on the east. While the transcontinental advanced across the prairies, the railway sought a way over the unexplored Selkirk mountains. In April 1881, CP offered Major A.B. Rogers naming rights and a $5,000 bonus to locate a pass. Walter Moberly had discovered Eagle Pass just to the west and based on suggestions in Moberly’s reports, Rogers started out from what is now Revelstoke, up the Illecillewaet River. Running out of food, the party almost reached the summit but turned back feeling reasonably confident that a pass existed. Returning in 1882 from the east, Rogers reached the point where he had stopped the previous season, confirming the pass location. Rogers refused to cash the $5,000 cheque he was given for finding the pass and instead framed it upon his wall until CP General Manager Cornelius Van Horne offered him a gold watch as an incentive to cash it. There is quite a bit of lore around this story so I’m not sure if Rogers ever did cash the cheque, or just got a gold watch instead!

We passed through many areas today where we saw signs for avalanches. To stop avalanches from closing the roads these very cool concrete snow sheds have been created. The snow just slides over the shed and doesn’t close the road.

As you can see there is snow in the mountains still. We were very glad the roads were nice and dry and there was no snow falling on us as we drove through these very windy roads today.

A lot of ice was hanging off the cliffs on the sides of the road.

We finally arrived in Golden about 4pm this afternoon (with the time change of 1 hour) and since we needed some diesel fuel, we pulled into the Esso Travel Centre to put $300 of fuel in Newman. We did not fill up as we know diesel is generally cheaper in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Stopping to fill up before we headed to our campground for the night.

We had our GPS set for the Golden Golf club & RV park and after we had stopped for fuel, we headed straight to the golf course. We turned down a windy road which was also kind of rough and bumpy to get to the golf course. The next thing we saw was this narrow one lane bridge, made out of wood, that had no weight restriction sign on it and we had to cross it! Richard looked at me and said “Are you kidding me?” The entire time we were going over this bridge I was hoping that the bridge held up and didn’t collapse.

After another 2.5 km of very bumpy roads we pulled into the Golden Golf course parking lot. The RV park had been before the golf course, but there was a sign saying we had to check into the golf course before going back to the RV park. Richard jumped out of Newman and headed into the pro shop, only to find that the place was all locked up. He came back to the RV on his cell phone, trying to get someone at the golf course to answer. Nothing! Just then an employee of the golf course saw our dilemma and asked us what the problem was? Richard said to him “We have a booking for the evening and we were wondering what spot we were supposed to be in? I did not have the confirmation # or the site number in the RV Trip Wizard software program unfortunately which was an oversight on my part and so we were both confounded as to why we thought we had a booking if the golf club didn’t have any record of us staying there tonight. Anyway, the guy said “we’re closed at 5pm’ but you are welcome to spend the night in the parking lot of the golf course. After thinking about it for about 2 seconds we decided to pull a St. Stephen and keep on driving! Richard wanted to go to Radium and I said “Why don’t we just go to Fort Steele where we are staying for the next 2 nights?“. I got on the phone with Fort Steele and they were able to accommodate us as long as we arrived before 9pm. I punched the address for Fort Steele into the GPS and our ETA was to be 7:55pm, and away we went!

While we were driving to Fort Steele I was thinking about our reservation at the Golden Golf Course and why I didn’t have any record of it in RV Trip Wizard. I then decided to search my email by “Golden Golf Club” and sure enough on February 24th, 2021 I had used their booking software on the golf club’s website to book us spot 22 and was charged $23 on my visa. After seeing this I emailed the golf club requesting a refund since no one seemed to even know that we were coming today, and there was nothing in our confirmation that said we had to be checked in before 5pm. Let’s see how that goes for us!

As we were approaching Radium Hot Springs, which is 105 km south of Golden, B.C. Richard said to have my camera ready because there were always Rocky Mountain Long Horn Sheep grazing on the side of the road. In fact, in the traffic circle approaching the entrance to Radium is this very large Sheep’s horn!

Unfortunately seeing Long Horn Sheep in Radium today was much like our experience in viewing whales in Tofino....there were none to be seen!

Just in case you wanted to see what the Long Horn Sheep look like!

So just as our GPS planned for us, we arrived at Fort Steele Resort, near Cranbrook at 7:55pm.

The sun was to set this evening at 8:17pm so we did not have a lot of time to get Newman set up, while we still had some daylight to get set up in. The campsite we were assigned was 114 and was a 30 amp site with full hook ups. When we looked down the road to get to our RV site, there was a very large truck blocking the road. The park wasn’t full though, so Richard drove through one RV site and across the road and pulled into our site. Now here is where the problems start: Jerry’s battery was dead and we needed to unhook the car because we didn’t drive Newman in close enough to the sewer dump station. So as Richard is cursing in French, he got the Dewalt battery pack out of the back of Jerry so he could boost Jerry and I could start Jerry up. Then he had to move Jerry out of the way, so he could back Newman up and get him closer to the sewer dump area. Oh my goodness! After we were all lined up with sewer and power, I went inside to get dinner going. Thank goodness for leftover homemade hamburger patties and a bag of salad! Richard popped his head in and asked me to try the water tap. There was no water! OMG!! Richard called up to the office and he was told that apparently the maintenance person had just told the check in clerk that there was a problem with the water in our entire row, but it would be fixed by noon tomorrow. Just what we didn’t need after driving from 8:30am (Pacific time) this morning to 8:30pm (Mountain time). The good news is we have our onboard water to use, so despite not having the best water pressure, we have water and will be able to function until the RV park fixes things up by noon tomorrow. If they can’t get it fixed, I guess we will be moving sites, since we are here for 3 nights and we need water!

What a very long, long day! We did 732 km today and through the mountains, which isn’t the easiest driving either. Richard sure is becoming a more confident RV driver and I think he has learned a lot from hanging around with St. Stephen! Now we can relax for a few days with no driving. I’m glad we get to spend some time with Richard’s son Jonathan, his wife Christal and our grandson Owen over Easter. It will be nice to see how much Owen has grown since we last saw him in November!

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