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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Kind of like a Gene Autry song!

”I’m back in the saddle again. Out where a friend is a friend. Where the longhorn cattle feed. On the lowly gypsum weed....”

But instead of cattle we have.....


We are in the middle of no where tonight!

And yes that is a train going by...that close to our RV site. Oh well, its only for one night, so let’s hope the trains lull us to sleep!

So let’s back up a bit here on our 1st travel day with Newman and Jerry in a very long time!

We were heading out early this morning from Lighthouse RV Park in Fanny Bay, to catch the ferry at Duke’s Point, south of Nanaimo. We were trying to leave by 8am, but things always seem to take longer than we think when we’re heading out. We bid our farewells to our neighbour Jim from Fernie, and Matt the RV Park owner. I think they will miss us. We were kind of like the furniture after 4 months!

Richard drove up the lane way at the RV park, avoiding the pot holes and the over hanging branches on the trees (which need to be trimmed Matt). Jerry had spent the night out in the front of Lighthouse RV Park, so he was ready to pull up behind Newman, as soon as Newman was in place.

Richard double checking the hitch and the braking system on Jerry before we hit the road.

The weather was very overcast this morning, but no rain and as Richard said, “Good driving weather!” We ended up leaving around 8:09am and our other neighbour with the Prevost headed out before us, but they were going to the other ferry in Nanaimo, heading to Horseshoe Bay.

We arrived at Duke’s Point around 9:30am for our 10:15am ferry crossing. There was quite a line up of trucks and RV‘s to wait in line with.

LIne up at the Ferry for oversized vehicles.

When we got to the ferry cashier, she told us that they had a ferry disabled at Departure Bay (where our neighbour the Prevost was heading) and there were people trying to come over to Duke’s Point to get on our ferry, and they were turning them away if they didn’t already have a reservation. Good thing we booked our ferry back on February 24th, as today definitely was moving day on the Island. A lot of folks were heading out for the Easter Long weekend with their RV’s and people like us who had been on the Island all winter, were leaving the Island.

The ferry ride was pretty uneventful with no whales to see out the ferry windows. The most exciting thing about the ferry was the amazing gift shop!

I would actually wear this outfit! ‘Stylin’!

Quite a nice selection of clothing on the ferry from well known brands! It was crazy to have such a good selection of clothing on a ferry?!!

I bought Richard a new belt. I didn’t know he needed one but this one is an “Adventure Belt” and since we’re embarking on a new adventure today, I thought this belt with the pine trees on it looked like something he would use. The belt actually has no metal so it is perfect for those airport screening devices. Once we start travelling on planes again I’ll make sure he wears his ADVENTURE belt!

Heading off the ferry in Tsawwssen, on the mainland of B.C.

We stopped for lunch in the parking lot of Tsawwassen Mills, Outlet Mall. I made us some sandwiches quickly, while Richard turned the propane back on in Newman. We were asked as we went onto the ferry to turn the propane off, which meant our refrigerator started to beep, since it works on propane when we aren’t plugged into an electrical outlet. Richard knew how to turn the fridge off from the inside of the fridge so we didn’t have to listen to it beeping.

We left Tsawwassen Mills with our eyes wide open looking for a gas station with a propane filling station that was easy to access. We were sitting at only about 1/4 of a tank of propane because the Viper fuels truck broke down this week, so the propane truck didn’t come to Fanny Bay before we left. We knew we could get propane on the mainland, so we really weren’t that worried about stopping before we got on the ferry.

We stopped in Hope, B.C. to get propane at the Esso Station at Silver Creek Travel Centre. Apparently this travel station is the biggest on the mainland of B.C. It was nice not to worry about how to get in and out of the station to get propane, because we are about 60 feet long, so its not the easiest ‘train’ to manoeuvre when we need to do a fill up!

We went through downtown Hope as we drove on Hwy 1 East. It seems like a century ago that we we stayed in Hope for two nights when we were heading to the Island. We saw some of the wooden carvings that we had walked around taking pictures of last November as we drove through on Hwy 1 East. Back then I could barely walk around the town, and Hope was the first place we ever hiked to see a waterfall.

Hope, B.C. November 24, 2020. Our first hike!

It was a lot warmer today as we went through Hope, with temperatures of 11C and a nice sunny, blue sky.

We went through quite a few tunnels today. So many that I lost count of them all!

We had decided to drive Hwy 1 East through the Fraser River Valley area instead of going the #3 Crowsnest Hwy that we had taken before, as we had been told by our neighbour Jim and St. Stephen (who just drove it) that it was an easier drive, with less elevation changes.

The stunning Fraser Valley.

The road hugs the side of the mountain and at the top of the mountain the topography changes and it becomes very dry and desert like.

Tank Hill Underpass for the CPR. We noticed at one point today that the CN rail tracks were below us and the CP Rail tracks were above us. Given the elevation that we were at, it is definitely a crazy feat of engineering to have rail tracks going along the side of the mountain and both CN& CP rail lines having tracks!

The Fraser River. The site of the famous Fraser River Gold Rush. In 1858, around 30,000 gold seekers flooded the banks of the Fraser River from Hope, B.C. to just north of Lillooet, which was the first significant gold rush in the Province. Although the gold rush dissipated by the mid-1860’s, the Fraser River Gold Rush had a significant impact on the area’s Indigenous peoples and resulted in the Fraser Canyon War. Fears that the massive influx of American miners would lead the U.S. to annex the non-sovereign British territory known as New Caledonia also resulted in the founding of British Columbia as a colony on August 2, 1858. By the mid-1860’s the Fraser gold rush collapsed and B.C. sank into a recession.

Richard asked me if I wanted him to stop when we saw the signs for ‘Hells Gate’. The attraction was closed and we were making good time, so I said we didn’t need to stop. I found these photos though of Hell’s Gate online.

Hells Gate.

Hells Gate is an abrupt narrowing of the Fraser River, immediately downstream of Boston Bar in the southern Fraser Canyon. The towering rock walls of the Fraser River plunge towards each other forcing the waters through a passage only 35 metres wide. For centuries, the narrow passage has been a popular fishing ground for Aboriginal communities in the area. In the past, European settlers also began to congregate in the summer months to fish. In 1914 a large rockslide trigger by the CN railway construction led to an obstruction of the passage for Pacific salmon needing to swim upstream to spawn. Salmon had difficulty passing through the now swifter water and were appearing in increased numbers downstream below the Hells Gate passage and in tributary rivers and streams they had not inhabited before. In the winter of 1914 debris removal began and in 1915 the river was pronounced clear. There is now an air tram, observation decks and an education fisheries exhibit at Hell’s Gate, but everything was closed today, so that’s why we didn’t stop.

We were getting tired pretty tired by 5pm tonight as we had been up at 6:30am and on the road since just after 8am. Luckily I had booked us an RV camp in Spences Bridge for the night and we arrived at 5:20pm. Spences Bridge is where the Transcanada Highway crosses the Thompson River. Spence’s Bridge location is very mountainous with higher elevations part of the Interior Plateau. The east side of the Fraser River is here as part of the Clear Range, a mountainous southwards extension of the Fraser Plateau located in the angle of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers.

Nlak’pamux Church, Spences Bridge, B.C. I took this shot as we were driving by and I was pretty happy with how it turned out!

And finally the end of day 1 on the road! We saw the sign for our RV park; Acadia Grove RV park which is along the banks of the river and it would appear BOTH train lines! Oh well, we are tired and we will sleep well tonight listening to trains and singing “I’m back in the saddle again”....since we will be doing this all over again tomorrow as we head to Golden, B.C.

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