I’m posting this from Coos Bay Oregon. This RV park has a fast internet connection and WiFi. As before, I’m way behind so this will cover a lot of territory.
Terrace August 9.
Tuesday we played tourist while the truck was being worked on. The Ford dealership, gave us a small loner car so we decided to make use of it and see the sites in Terrace.
This area has been inhabited for more than 10,000 years. Terrace was built within Tsimshian territory in 1910 and was first called Little Town. It was later renamed Terrace, because of the natural terraces cut by the river. The major industry was logging but only one operating lumber mill survives. There is another mill that may begin limited operation in the future. Two Canadian divisions were stationed in Terrace during WWII, and in 1944, elements of the division, staged the longest and largest mutiny in Canadian history.
We started by having breakfast at the Best Western and then Visiting the George Little house. George Little is a Terrace pioneer and usually recognized as its founder. His house has been well preserved and is a popular attraction.
George Little House
A black and white photo, circa 1915, shows the George Little house in the distance behind two wagons stacked with huge Sitka Spruce logs. Spruce was used extensively during WWI in airplane manufacturing. These are very large logs, four to five feet in diameter.
From the George Little house we went up the hill to the Heritage Park Museum. It was founded in the early 1980's by a group of volunteers with the goal of interpreting, and preserving the history and culture of the Terrace region.
The museum consists of eight log buildings which house the many artifacts collected over the years. Each of the buildings was disassembled in their place of origin and reassembled on the museum site. In addition to the heritage buildings, there are two sheds that house a collection of artifacts. The objects vary from business equipment like adding machines, typewriters, a newspaper printing press, and farm implements, to a full PBX telephone board. A little bit of everything is represented. A broad cross section of 1900 to 1940's technology is provided with this collection.
Some of the preserved cabins.
View from back of property.
Days of steam boats in Terrace,
The buildings and sheds are spread over about five acres of lawn. The property was a dairy farm from 1905 to 1936, and During WWII was the site of Terrace’s army hospital. We wandered around, in and out of the buildings, looking at stuff we grew up using, or saw in our grandmothers houses. It’s a very well maintained museum, well worth spending a couple of hours visiting.
About 65 miles from Terrace, are two native villages with notable totem poles. Gitwinksihlkw, a.k.a. Canyon City, and New Alyanish. Gitwinksihlkw is Nisga’a for “Place of the Lizards” which refers to large lizards believed to have inhabited the area before a volcanic eruption roughly 270 years ago. The lava beds look a great deal different from what we are accustomed to seeing. They are covered with a white lichen which gives them a soft mounded appearance, like piled up dirt clods than sharp rocks. The highway is being rebuilt from the beginning of the lava flow and is creating a lot of dust. At first, I thought the lava was covered with a layer of road dust. On closer examination, the rocks are regular old lava, and jagged, as you would expect. But from a distance they’re hard to recognize as lava.
Nisga’a lava beds.
We stopped at the Nisga’a Park Campground and Visitor Centre. This is a well-kept park, with wide access roads and generous RV parking spaces, not a bad spot to spend a few days.
Nisga’a Park Campground
What we came to see, the totem poles, wasn’t disappointing, although the villages are run down and poorly maintained. I should be accustomed to this by now. I don’t think we’ve been through many villages that are neat and orderly.
Totem pole in front of school house.
Bridge to village.
All in all, our stay in Terrace was just fine. The RV park is one of the best we’ve been in. We relaxed and saw the sights.
From Terrace we had planned on driving down 97, in the direction of Vancouver. But, the truck is giving me fits, so we stopped in Prince George to have it looked at, this is after two days in the garage at Terrace. We arrived in Prince George on Friday and I made an appointment at the Ford dealership for Saturday. I sat there all day while they worked on the truck. The TV in the waiting room was tuned to the PGA golf tournament so I spent the day doing what I would have at the RV park anyway. After running tests, the mechanic decided that the turbo/blower was at fault, and put in a new one.
So far, two mechanics, in three shops, have replaced the EGR valve, a wiring harness that was under recall, a heater hose with a chaffed spot that could have leaked coolant, the turbo/blower, updated the blower hose assembly (also under recall), reprogrammed the chip sets, and fixed a minor oil leak. All to no avail, the truck still runs ragged at times and pumps out black smoke on occasion.
There doesn’t seem to be an exact pattern of failure. The only thing that is consistent is a tendency for the engine to start surging, blow black smoke, lose a bit of power (like the engine is not shifting and starts to lug), and then coughs, with more black smoke. This can happen while going up a grade or running on the flat. I’ve tried to nail it down to the regular driving mode or the Tow Haul mode. But there doesn’t seem to be direct correlation to that either. I’ve driven it all the way from Prince Rupert, more than 800 miles, and it still runs like a top most of the time. Not one mechanic has told me that serious damage to the engine might result if I continue to drive this truck with the mystery malady. However, I’m not sure I want to drive it the remaining 1500 miles or so, home. I was going to take it into a Ford dealer in Vancouver, but the dealer I contacted, wanted me to leave the truck all day so they could look at it. Most of these dealers don’t offer loaners and I’m not going to rent a car if I don’t have to. We’ll drive on down the road and try Portland perhaps.
Where was I? Oh yes, from Terrace to Prince George, not much scenery. We stopped in Clinton for the night. The RV park was run by a real hustler. While we were trying to make up our minds about his evening buffet, he told me he was of the Republican political persuasion. When I kind of scowled, well maybe I growled, he quickly became a Democrat. And, when I mentioned that I was from T or C, he said he wanted to buy an RV park there, and asked us which one in town would be the best to purchase. We did have his Buffett which wasn’t all that bad. The other option was a Chinese American greasy chop stick down the street.
From Prince George to Clinton we drove by several lumber mills. The Clinton RV park is just off the main road and while we sat sipping our wine in the shade, we watched about four double trailer trucks per hour, loaded with lumber, heading south. In Terrace, once a logging center, there was one working mill. I guess the logging business is now divided among these small mills strung along the valley.
Tuesday morning, we left for Vancouver on highway 97 to Cache Creek where we picked up Canada One. This was another unexpected scenic drive.
From Clinton, for about 40 miles to Cache Creek, is forested. Starting at Cache Creek, the terrain turns into rolling, grass-covered hills, much like Montana. The highway parallels the Thompson River through a narrow valley, which, turns into a fairly deep canyon. Along the east river bank are train tracks and0n the west side of the canyon, more tracks. I still don’t know if this is the same line, or if the West side tracks are mainly used as a train siding.
Anyway, the canyon provided some unexpected scenery. The canyon faces are steep and rocky, with many rock slides cascading down the slops, like water falls, only rock. Ever so often, the train tracks would run through a short tunnel. Rather than cut the rock face away, which would have been easy enough, tunneling through the rock provides a rocky roof that diverts any slides over the tracks onto the river bank. Slide areas are numerous along some portions of the canyon face. It must be a maintenance headache to keep the tracks open.
One of the many lumber mills along the way.
There were several small forest fires burning on the mountain sides; helicopters, equipped with water buckets, were trying to put them out. A chopper pilot would fly into the canyon, water bucket dangling from a very long cable, drop the bucket into a swift moving portion of the river, hover while the bucket filled, and then fly off. I couldn’t get in a good position to take a picture of this operation. Too bad, it was interesting. I kept wondering what kind of quick release the pilot had, in case the bucket snagged on a rock.
Every three or four miles there would be a fruit stand next to the highway. The stalls sold fruit and fresh produce. Fruit stands are common in this country, but they seemed out of place in the canyon, where there were no orchards or truck gardens.
As I wrote, this was a bonus drive. We both decided that, some day, we’ll return to this area and explore it further.
Vancouver BC August 19.
After seventy-six days, and 10,315 miles, we’ve made it to Vancouver BC.
We finally found the Peace Arch RV park in Vancouver, and missed only one turn doing it. I did a bunch of whining; the traffic is atrocious in Vancouver. Every street seems to be clogged, and the freeways are like major roads everywhere, bumper to bumper. As compensation, the RV park is very nice, wide spots, big clean fifty cent showers, and space to walk the dog.
Wednesday August 17, still in Vancouver.
We visited the University Anthropological Museum on the campus of University of British Columbia.
Of all the museums we have visited in the last three months, this has the largest collection of native artifacts. It includes artifacts from Canada, Alaska, the American Plains Indians, and several pacific island cultures.
As you enter the museum, the first large gallery houses totem poles, house poles, house boards, very large ceremonial food bowls, masks and other large items mainly from north west coast natives. Some of the artifacts we’ve not seen before, except in black and white photographs taken while villages were still occupied. They must have a very aggressive team of anthropologists scouring the country side looking for artifacts. Many totem poles were weathered and had obviously been dug up or retrieved from the forest. Other items must be on loan from private collections; they’re so well preserved. The shear abundance of items may rival any similar collection, such as the Smithsonian’s.
Small part of collection.
Part of the mask collection.
Raven setting humans free from the clam.
Reconstructed Longhouse and Totem Poles.
A very extensive research collection is on display. The items are grouped by region, or culture, and presented in display cases. Each item has a serial number which is referenced in one of the research catalogues placed conveniently on pedestals throughout the display area. If you wanted to research the various cultures in Canada and Alaska, as well as some pacific islands, this would be the place to start.
As usual, I was impressed with the artistic imagination, and the skill with which sophisticated motifs are applied to most artifacts. Even such ordinary items as wooden eating utensils, are sometimes engraved with various decorations. Native groups in the southern coastal areas of British Columbia had to expend the least effort and time gathering food. They were able to spend winter months in relative leisure, telling stories, dancing, making art objects and in general relaxing. This less stressful life stile, gave them time to carve large, time-consuming totem poles, weave baskets and apply their craftsmanship to sixty foot longhouses. The northern natives struggled the entire year to stay alive. Even so, almost every object was decorated, and their carved figurines and scrimshaw are small and portable. Different cultures and life styles, but a similar dedication to artistic expression.
August 18, The Butchart Gardens Victoria BC.
Let me add it up. BCFerries, $57.80 – The Butchart Gardens $22.00, each – Lunch $35.00 – BCFerries $57.80 again – for a total of ... TA TA ... $194.60. The most expensive three hours of entertainment we’ve had in many years. The world famous Butchart Gardens were to be one of the high points of our trip. The very last must see on our itinerary; it was worth it.
Leaving the parking lot, a sample of what's to come.
I like reflective pools.
Any time we get within thirty miles of a formal garden, municipal, or private, we visit it. These gardens are in a class of their own. As you enter the gardens, you leave the normal chaotic world of constant motion and slapdash planning, into a thoughtfully planned, controlled environment. This is a soft, brilliantly colored universe, composed of flowers, trees, grass, and small ponds. A lot of thought has gone into planing what gets planted, where, and with what other plants. Individual planting beds have there own color schemes. And, like a large patch work quilt, each separate composition, blends into the overall design.
Part of the extensive crew keeping things ship shape.
The different planting areas are connected by meandering paths that let you view the plants from several directions. Paths are intertwined so you tend to wander in circles. When you stop and look back in the direction you just came from, you see a new garden. And, trying to remain unobtrusive, seaming to conceal themselves in the foliage, one or more gardeners, raking, snipping, edging, picking up unsightly bits and pieces, making sure the grounds are kept fresh and presentable. A small army of gardeners continuously manicure and pamper the plants and the ground they grow in. If you look really hard, you may find a withered petal or leaf, but not many.
I took about 2oo photos of the gardens, but I had a tough time finding views without people. There are hundreds of visitors walking the paths all day long. At the main gate, you pay the entrance fee and are given a map of the gardens. If you follow the arrows and signs, you’ll see every flower and blade of grass. I think we took about three hours to wander through the fifty-five acres. A barren limestone rock quarry has been transformed into vibrant, colorful, breathtaking gardens where you can get away from most of your worldly concerns for a few hours. We wish we lived closer to the gardens and could wander through them during the changing seasons.
Tuesday, August 9, 2005
Took the pickup to the Ford dealership to have a computer check done as suggested by the mechanic in Prince Rupert. While installing a couple of recall items, they found a hose which needed to be replaced. The replacement part had to be flown in, so they gave us a loner to drive until the pickup was fixed.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
After breakfast, stopped by the home of Terrace’s founder George Little. The house, built in 1912, contained interesting photos depicting the town’s development and featured the logging industry in which Mr. Little was active. We then visited the Heritage Park which featured log buildings which had been gathered from around the region to be preserve for posterity. The buildings ranged from a miner’s cabin to a hotel and a dance hall. Period equipment and furnishings were housed in the buildings. Of interest was a time clock made by IBM in the 1930s and used to track workers hours in a mill.
Drove north on the Nisga’a Highway to the First Nations villages of New Aiyansh and Gitwinksihlkw to view their totem poles. Found only one totem pole on the grounds of the New Aiyansh government building. Later found out that other totem poles were housed in the lobby of the building. At Gitwinksihlkw village there were two fine poles. One in front of the elementary school and the other in front of the recreation center. Also, there are four poles guarding the auto bridge over the Nass River. Both Stan and I have developed an appreciation for the artistic expression displayed these huge carvings.
The highway follows the Kitsumkalum River into the mountains to a large lake of the same name. From there it goes over a rise to follow the east shore of Lava Lake and then the Tseax River into the Nass River valley. Lava Lake was formed by a dam from a lava flow which occurred about 250 years ago. The lava beds are covered by moss which softens the sharp edges of the boulders making them look like puffy balls piled up on the ground. Took the side road to Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park and Visitor Center before going on to New Aiyansh. Nice campground and picnic area. The highway is newly paved most of the way to Lava Lake and is under construction the rest of the way. The mountain scenery was superb with hanging glaciers overlooking beauteous lakes. BC has certainly put us into scenic overload.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
On our way at 7:45 AM. More mountain scenery until we got to the rolling hills of the upper Bulkley River valley and into the lake country of the Endako River and onto to Vanderhoof. This is cattle ranch country as well as timber lands. The air carried the perfume of new mown hay being harvested in large fields bordering the highway. Was sad to see the devastation caused by the pine beetle on the lodge pole pine trees. The forest in this part of BC is of mixed tree species, so this kill off is not as devastating to the flora in this region as in areas where lodge pole is predominate. Not a pretty sight in any case.
Decided to call it a day at Daves RV Park east of Vanderhoof. This is a pretty park with a lovely flower garden on the grounds. I found it interesting that the summer season had not progressed inland as much as on the coast. The coast was definitely showing signs of the coming fall. Not so noticeable in Vanderhoof. They had an excellent laundry facility so took the opportunity to empty the dirty laundry bag. Temps were in the upper 70s, so enjoyed setting outside until sundown.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Got on the way early. Not long after getting on the highway, the pick up started making funny noises again. More frequently, and along with the noise a lunging motion developed as if the motor was missing. Decided we had better stop in Prince George to have it looked at again. Guess we will be spending the weekend there. After missing the street leading to the Blue Spruce RV Park and going around in circles to get back, we settled in and Stan went off to talk to the Ford people. While Stan was gone, I cleaned up the trailer and mopped the floor. Was just finishing up as he got back. He had arranged for an appointment for tomorrow.
I took Sheila for a walk while Stan watched the US Golf Open. The street to the rv park becomes a road into a green belt area. A very good place to walk the dog. Wild flowers are still in bloom. Clover was thick along the roadside. The scent was almost overpowering. Sheila really enjoys sniffing around in the green undergrowth as we go along. I enjoyed the shade created on one side of the road by the tall trees. Walked about a mile before turning around.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Hung around the trailer while Stan took the pick up to the Ford garage. Got caught up on the journal, did my nails, watched golf. Stan got back in a foul mood. After spending six hours at the garage getting a new turbo installed, the pick up started acting up again on his way back to the rv park. We have decided to just go on under the theory that after having three different Ford mechanics work on the pick up, there probably isn’t any major problem to be concerned about.
Decided to go out to dinner at a downtown establishment. As we were pulling into a parking spot across the street from the restaurant, a RCMP paddy wagon pulled up behind us. They were there to pick up a drunk who had passed out on the street. After taking care of their charge, the two Mounties (a young lady and young man) took the time to walk over to welcome us to Prince George and warn us that if we were going to leave the windows cracked for the dog’s comfort, we should move the pick up to a secure parking garage down the street. They told us that there were many street people in the area and open car windows would be too much of a temptation. Even though we were just across the street from City Hall, we took their advice. As we were leaving the restaurant, the same two were turning the corner and stopped their vehicle to chat with us again. Their friendliness and helpful concern cheered us up from our funk over the pick up problems.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
Went to Walmarts to get Stan a new watch. His old one just quit. Stopped by a fruit stand selling Okanagan Valley produce to pick up some cherries and new red potatoes. The peaches were still a little on the green side. Went back to the trailer to watch the finish of the golf tournament. During lulls in the action, Stan spent a good part of the afternoon figuring out how to set the date and time on his new watch.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Started early on our way south. Highway follows the Fraser River south to Williams Lake and then veers southeastward to 100 Mile House before continuing south. The flora of this region is mostly cedar, spruce and pine with some birch, alder and cottonwood mixed in. Much of the forest had been cleared for cattle ranching. There were thousands of acres of hay fields being harvested. The hay is bailed in huge rolls (5 to 6 feet in diameter) and stacked at the edge of the field. Some of the stacks were quite impressive. South of 70 Mile House the plant life changed to the dryer climate vegetation of sage brush and Ponderosa Pine. The pickup was still having coughing fits every so often.
Missed the street to the rv park where we had planned to stay, so decided to go on to Clinton rather than turn around. The owner of the rv park in the middle of town was quite a character. His office was in a shed attached to a patio deck where he offered BBQ dinners, which he said was the best in the province for, $9.99. It was very warm in Clinton when we got there. Rather than cook in the heat, decided to take him up on his offer. We would have had a better dinner if I had cooked, but it was good enough. Enjoyed the evening without any hassle about dinner.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
From south of Clinton, the highway follows Cache Creek to where it joins the Thompson River at Ashcroft. It then follows the Thompson River to where it joins the Fraser River at Lytton. We saw mountain sheep walking down the street in Spences Bridge. The drive through the canyons of the Thompson and Fraser was truly memorable.
The Thompson runs through desolate barren rocky mountains before it joins the Fraser. From there, the Fraser runs through a deep gorge with evergreen forests clinging to the steep sides; becoming a rain forest by the time it reaches Hope. In the Thompson canyon, the highway mostly runs at the bottom of the canyon close to the river. Down the Fraser the highway mostly runs above the gorge and through tunnels before descending to river level north of Hope. Forest fire smoke obscured much of the scenery. We think we will come back and spend some more time in this area when the air is not so hazy. With the pickup still spitting and coughing, we were glad to arrive safe and sound at the Peace Arch RV Park in Surrey. This is a neat rv park next to blueberry fields and far enough from the freeway to provide peace and quite.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Went to the Museum of Anthropology at the University of BC. UBC has an extensive collection of old and modern artifacts from northwest Native American cultures. There are totem poles, wood sculptures, ceremonial dress and masks, ceremonial objects, drums, textiles, basketry, and carvings in both wood and stone.
In the foreground, a large food bowl used in Potlatch.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Took the ferry over to Vancouver Island to visit the Butchart Gardens. The two hour ferry ride was worth the trip all by its self. The ferry is huge. I would guess that it can transport more than 200 vehicles. The route winds in and out of the gulf islands between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay. There was no wind, so the water was smooth as glass. All the sail boats were using power to move around. On the return trip there was enough of a breeze for the boats to move under sail. The day started out overcast and foggy, but cleared up by the time we got to the gardens.
Butchart is the most dazzling garden I have ever seen. I believe that visits at different times of the year would be required to fully appreciate it. The 50 acres of grounds are so well groomed that it is unlikely that one could find a faded flower or blade of grass out of place. Much of the garden was built in what was once a limestone quarry. This provided the garden architect many opportunities for dramatic landscaping. There are also several pools and fountains. The variety of flora runs the gamut of common flowers such as zinnia and marigold to exotics I had never heard of. The rose garden was past its prime bloom. However, the dahlias were strutting their stuff. Shrubs, ground cover, and trees are well placed and coordinated with the flower beds. The Japanese garden area was also well maintained, but not of the same artistic caliber as the rest of gardens. If one is in the southwest BC area, this garden is a must see.
Sunken Garden, our favorite.
Mixed planting to achieve cascade of color.
Friday, August 19, 2005
After the long day yesterday, we were not up to more sight seeing. So, we just hung out at the trailer.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Decided to go on to Portland. The drive down I-5 went well other than the pick up kept spitting and sputtering all the way. Stopped at the Ford service center in Chehalis, to consult with a mechanic on weather we should continue driving. He said that he did not think that driving on to Portland would do any harm.
I had a scratchy throat when I woke up this morning. By the time we got to Portland, it was getting worse. I guess if I had to get a summer cold, it is better to get it while we are going to have to stick around someplace to wait for the pick up to get fixed. It’s a pity that the place had to be Portland, which is a neat place to hang out when one is feeling up to it.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Sore throat is turning into a full blown cold. Will doctor myself today and tomorrow, hoping to shorting the cold’s life span.