At present, (Monday Sept 9) we are in Cranbrook (16 kms east in Fort Steele)and have found an Internet Cafe.  We spent a very enjoyable morning tromping over the site of Fort Steele and  shopping in Cranbrook. Steak and Prawns for din din tonight.  It is now 4:00 PM, and I am trying to get the majority of this done as quickly as possible so please excuse the spelling errors etc etc etc.

Well, here we go (Sept 3).... Tuesday morning bright and early ... well we wanted bright and early but we settled for 9:45 and showers.  Elsie had taken a lot more stuff out to the "Folly" on Sunday so that, "it would be easier to load on the Tuesday departure.  But, good ole Elsie by Tuesday morning, had sufficient stuff lined up at the top of the steps waiting to be put into the truck, that it could have kept a small military contingent alive and comfortable on a 6 year search through the hinterland of Africa.  Still the pile grew and grew until I had visions of the "Folly", with bumper scraping the road, attracting the unkind attention of every gendarme between here and Ontario.  Finally the gods of "you never know, we might need it", were eventually appeased, and we loaded the dogs and headed for Langley. The Folly was being stored for a short time at Travelhome RV on the Langley by-pass where we bought him. We will have to find a place to store him on a more permanent basis on our return from this Odyssey.....

Seeing that today was a rather important day, albeit in the past, for me, it felt especially good to be heading away from North Vancouver.

The trip up the Hope Princeton was slow and steady.  The hills to Manning Lodge were steady and long, but I didn’t push the truck.  We did a steady 100 kms on the flats and didn’t drop much below 70 kms on the steep parts. Why rush, we thought as we are now ..... RETIRED eh!

We paused at Manning Lodge and noticed the devastation most of the local pine trees around.  The Forester I asked, said that it was the result of the Pine Dung Beetle, and the dead trees just appeared after the snow cleared.  What a mess and, according to her, there currently were no plans just what to do about the dead trees.  What a damn shame!  I sure hope that they figure out how to stop it before we lose all our pine trees in BC.

We finally arrived at the WildRapids RV Park in Osoyoos, and we did indeed have a pull through site .  Thank Gawd!!   We pulled in and registered and drove to the site.  This is where we learned yet another trailer lesson. After hauling the thing 400 kms, we screwed up in 30 feet.  I pulled it in, looked around and things looked hunky dory.  We disconnected the truck and started to pat ourselves on the back.  Big Mistake!!  We began by putting out the den slide, then connected the water, sewer and electric. Then we moved on to the last step ... putting out the main slide.  Quelle Disaster … we were about 1 or 2 inches too close to the post from which we get water.   So, the main slide could not extend completely.  The solution …. to disconnect everything and back the Folly out and do it all over again.

This we undertook to do.  We disconnected the sewer, the water and the electric, and then reconnected the truck.  All went well till we tried to  back up the damn thing.  Elsie yelling from the curb side and then from the sewer side and then finally rubbing her face and maoning "no" "no" "no" and then the dreaded words ..."oops sorry". We are still in the learning process here, and the whole process of properly positioning the Folly will take some time. Finally,  we got things straightened out, disconected the truck and then re-connected the seer, water, and electric.  We were very tired on starting the procedure, and our nerves were certainly stretched to the limits at the end.  But, we survived because ..... "we are retired"!!!

That night, Elsie took the dogs for their “dry out” walk before bed. She happened to pass a site just up two sites and over one row from us.  The person sitting at the fire looked familiar so she called out, “Jack” … Mr. Swanson????”  Sure enough, it was Jack Swanson with whom Elsie had worked at the Board.  We knew that he was somewhere in the area at some RV site but did not know which one.  Our first site and we already knew someone.

The next day, we spent setting up things in the RV, leaving messages for Carol McGhie, shopping and talking to Jack.  It turns out that he had been going to that same RV site for over 30 years and now that he is retired, he is the early security man for the entire park.  He works from 10 to 3AM ... the owner does the early morning shift.  All camp fires must be out by 11:00, and his job is to make sure they are dowsed well.  He also makes sure that the noise is gone by 11:00 PM.  Not a nice job in the summer  months with all the kids etc. wanting to party.  But, he seems to enjoy doing it, and I guess that it gives him a project for the summer.  He did mention that the cost to keep your rig there from Easter to Thanksgiving (6 months) was $1,600.00 which included electricty.  Not a bad deal if you want to spend your time only in Osoyoos.

Friday we left for Grand Forks.  In order to get out of the Osoyoos site, we had to back the Folly up several yards and then pull sharply to the right.  The procedure was done faultlessly, I humbly admit.  I was worried about the hill out of Osoyoos (Anarchist Mountain) as Larry Sunell had told me that he had to drop to 1st gear and struggle up with his gas truck and fifth wheel.  It is a very steep hill that seems to go on forever (3500ft at the summit). As we have a longer rig than Larry, I was worried how the truck would do.  I was impressed.  I certainly did not push it, and the truck managed a pretty steady 80 km until we hit the switchbacks.  We had to drop to 40 km for those and then the truck easily climbed back up to 70 or 80 kms.  The right truck was chosen it seems.

On arriving at Grand Forks, we found the Riveria RV site and pulled in.  The owners were away in Winnipeg for a wedding, and Norm was in charge.  He is a Doug Palsson (an ex-teacher from Argyle) look-a-like and act-a-like.  He gave us Site 1, and believe it or not, we pulled in with no problem.  He was quite a talker who apparently was a retired Victoria Cop and was doing this shift as a favour for the owners.  The site is no flaming hell, but it is close to town and right on the Kettle River.

We unhooked and went into town to do some shopping.  As we visited the local Tourist Info place, we found out that the next day, Saturday, was the local Fall Fair in Grand Forks.  Things were looking up … just there and already a neat things to do.  I have included the pictures from the parade in the Pictures 2002 Page.  This will be the first parade we have seen since we accidently stumbled on the Calistoga California Summer Fair in the early 80's.  We were really looking forward to the next day.

We had asked Norm if there was a great Douhkabour restaurant in town, and this he supplied gladly.  The Chef’s Garden  3miles west of Grand Folks at the Rilloken Market was supposed to be the best place in town. That evening, we drove up the the restaurant full of hope. Was he ever right!  The waitress was a short stocky blond girl with legs like a plow horse.  Needless to say … good Russian peasant stock.  She advised us that the portions were huge, and she suggested that we share the Combination Plate. But we just had to have Borscht as well!!! I had a large bowl and Elsie had the regular.  Included with the soup was a huge pile of homemade Russian bread and lots of local butter. It really was a fantastic meal in itself.  The Combo plate was huge with two large perogies, two large cabbage roles and a bread looking thing that was stuffed with beans.  She was right … good thing we were sharing ... I certasinly could not consume one of those by myself.  For dessert we had a pancake like thing stuffed with cottage cheese covered with strawberry jam and sour crème.  On the side was pickled cabbage.  It too was superb!  Once again, the Paynter luck holds .. only away for several days and already packing on those carbohydrates.  Just wait until we hit the "Lobster World".  We rolled ourselves out of the place and into a light rain storm.  It seems that in this area, the weather blows up in the afternoon and sometimes a shower is attached.  No problem though as it didn't last more then 10 minutes.

I kinda tied the rain in with the conversation that we had to endure while sitting in the restaurant from a loud couple sitting across from us. They were on their cell phone and obviously felt that they had to shout.  Apparently, some relative in Toronto had just had a heart attack and dropped dead on the spot.  They were heading out in their trailer to attend the funeral in Toronto. Earlier, just as they entered the restaurant, they asked us if they were in Creston.  We said no … Grand Forks.  They seemed  a little confused with this, but they knew the number of the highway they wanted to take to Spokane.  A kid at another table told them where that road was, and they seemed to be re-assured somewhat. 

But, back to the phone call … obstensibly they had been trying to get in touch with some other relative or another to share the bad news, and had been playing telephone tag all afternoon.  They had left that morning from somewhere in the Vancouver area and arrived here before the fellow's return call finally caught up with them.  Well, after a long conversation that was loaded with guilt implications that the other guy did not return calls as responsibly as he might, they finally hung up.  The wife then took over and called Toronto and told whomever there … it was someone who was acting as co-ordinator of the festivities I guess… that they had finally heard from the miscreant, and he had totally broken down and could not talk. Hmmm, thought I, someone sure had a long 15 minute "talk" with someone.  When all this was finally done with, the waitress showed up with their meal.  They apparently, were used to the Ukranian way of cooking perogies and not the Russian.  After a few sarcastic shots, the jerk settled down to eat his Russian dinner.  This human drama turned out to be better than dinner music in a sad sardonic sort-of-way.

On the Sunday, we were to leave for Fort Steele (Cranbrook).  Our spot in Grand Forks in which we parked, was a little on the bias so that re-attaching the truck was a manoever that required finesse.  Were we up to it .... YES.  We backed down a bit and then slowly, slowly worked our way up and around to the main drive.  In doing this, we missed a very large, and very solid, rock wall, another 5th wheel, and a rather sturdy looking building. Are we getting cocky or what?  But as usual "pride cometh ..."

We had just gone down the road about 10 minutes, and I had a sudden worry about the black control knobs on the side awning rails.  Did I do them up enough?  So … we pulled over on the side of the road, and sure enough, I had forgotten to tighten them.  They were so loose that I could not tighten them unless we undid the awning and readjusted it.  What a bummer!  I had to cut off the Zap Straps, loosen the awning and let it down almost the whole way.  Then, as Elsie held the strap, I had to play with the wheels till they tightened.  All this fun while we were stopped on the highway in a not too large widening in the road with all kinds of traffic constantly wizzing by. Eventually, it was done, and we could head for Passes: the Blueberry Paulsonand the Salmo Creston.  They was enough "fun" to look forward to in one day.  We didn't need anymore mistakes!

Once again, the truck worked well.  The Blueberry Paulson was steep and had a few sharp turns, but no surprises.  The Bombi Pass, 1600 m, was no problem also.  The last pass was the Salmo Creston, 1775m, and I remembered it from years ago.  But, there were no large problems; the truck seems to like to climb these hills in 3rd gear (out of 5).  One thing that I am learning very quickly is that the real problems are not with going up the hills, but rather going down them.  The Allison transmission seems to be one hell of a lot brighter than I am, so it would down shift automatically as required.  Just how it knows when to do that, remains a total mystery for me.  But what the heck ... if man knew it all then what are women for????

We arrived in Fort Steele and have lucked out.  The campsite is huge .... actually it looks like the front field of some farmer set up and has 109 beautiful, long pull throughs.  There are horses, emus, goats and very loud donkeys running all around us in fields.  There sure are not many people here, so it is quiet and beautiful.  As I said at the start of this rather long epistile if I only could find a Roman to write to, I would make history.

After setting up teh Folly and having a quiet night, we went to the Fort the next day.  I hope to include some of the pictures we took here, but it will depend upon time.  We have decided to stay for another night here and push on to Alberta on Wednesday AM.

The weather here us unbelievable .... may be 24 in the afternoon and 14 at night.  This is paradise.

I see that the neighbours have built a fire outside their unit. .... Must visit them.  He is a retired teacher who is spending 3 to 4 months here volunteering at Fort Steele Historic Village.  He plays the role of the hardware merchant, and she plays the school marm.  An interesting pair....

I'll write more if I get time tomorrow and hopefully upload all this junk in the Internet cafe later tomorrow afternoon.

Having fun and wish you all were here ....nah, I'm only just saying that.


Joe, Elsie, Barley and Hops

on the road somewhere in the Ozarks of BC


If you want to get intouch with us: Joe and Elsie


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