Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nakusp to Vancouver Return Road Trip,Thanksgiving Weekend

Laura and I were sad to leave Bear Ridge Cabins in Nakusp. We’d so enjoyed our stay.  My cockapoo, Gilbert had surgery planned for Thursday morning so we decided to give two days to the trip home just in case of any unforeseen developments.  I loaded the truck while Laura cleaned out the refrigerator and checked the cabins one last time. Little blind Gilbert was not leaving from beside the truck always afraid he’ll be left. But 8 am we were all in the front seat and heading out towards Nelson and Castlegar.  We passed through Nakusp one last time liking the little town and hoping for more returns with more time.
The highway #6 south along Lower Arrow Lake was picturesque with fall colours. We liked the little town of New Denver on lovely Slocan Lake remembering it from previous visits.  The highways were not very busy at all. It was overcast with some sunshine and blue sky breaking through.  Generally a great drive. I was relieved when we reached highway #3a and weren’t at risk of taking the wrong turn away to Nelson.  Laura liked the town name, “Thrums”.
Castlegar was a classic old fashioned Canadian town built up along each side of the main street with newer malls added. I knew a trucker who got his license there and liked the town folk a lot. It had that homey feel.  I actually saw some wild turkeys  in the town. The Columbia River running through town was magnificent.  For me this was a real river with depth and breadth whereas a lot of the rivers we see are shallow fast and more like creeks than what I think of as rivers.
I wanted an elk tag for hunting but they were sold out at Canadian Tire but we got a Macdonalds breakfast to go and headed on.  I loved the countryside beyond Castlegar, rolling hills, logging roads off the highway. We took one in hope of finding a  grouse but came to snow covered roads and decided against going further with the truck.  The Honda Pioneer 500 would have done well but I wasn’t that invested in a long hunt to unload the machine. More exploration orientation. Certainly a place to return to for hunting and camping.
I passed the turn off to the skiing town of Rossland and the town of Trail where I’d worked at the hospital so enjoying the doctors and patients but finding the administration so unappealing.
The vistas along the highway, pines and spruce, open green fields, reds and golds and oranges of autumn,  were all a visual delight.  Syringa Provincial Park was so inviting. I fantasized of returning for future RV trips to this beautiful countryside.
Grand Forks was our favourite find. What a splendid town. Laura and I thought we’d move here in a second it was so inviting with everything a country person could want.  I am definitely coming back. We’d loved Kelowna for it’s city charm but Grand Forks had everything of country elegance and character a body could desire. The Kettle River is a great little river and the fields and forest about were a mixed bag of possibilities for hiking and hunting. Everyone we met was pleasant and there were some fine old houses that hearkened back to another earlier very prosperous time.  Lots of building going on now suggested it was into another upswing of prosperity.
The Crowsnest Highway #3 took us on through pretty little Greenwood to Midway where to our surprise there was a border crossing and custom station. Beyond that was Osooyoos with all its development, summer vacation spots, speed boats and flourishing wineries.  We stopped at MacDonads for burgers and Gilbert was delighted as always with their paddies.
 We passed again through Keremeos.  We stocked up on fruit and apple juice at Guppal’s Produce (Paul and Sarbjit -  The peaches melted in my mouth. Laura loved the apple juice. The Ambrosia apples were ambrosia.  With out venison to share from this hunting trip I bought a huge bag of apples to bring home, not returning empty handed.  Gilbert slept and cuddled on the seat beside us.
Near Princeton at 5 pm I took a logging road in the backwoods.  A grouse stood on the side of road waiting patiently while I turned off the new truck, this time making sure it didn’t alarm,  loaded the 20 gauge and stepped outside to take one shot. This was all mostly for blind Gilbert’s benefit. Once I’d fired and the grouse had flopped to the side, I lifted Gilbert down from the truck. He stumbled onto his face in his haste then ran off the side of the road falling into the brush while I called and ran the other way  towards the bird. He eventually got back to the road and came running to my voice and the smell of his favourite bird dog bird.  He pounced on the grouse  with delight a d  was licking the bloody head and poopy bottom. What dog heaven! I was so happy for Gilbert and he was so gleeful.  He’s been a bit morose with blindness and the headache of glaucoma so it was great to give him this joy.  Laura and I were screaming “Good dog Gilbert’ and he was trying to get at the grouse.  It was all very exciting.
Back in the truck and further along the logging road a mule deer ran across the road. I took the 30:06 rifle from Laura and ran to where it was still standing not 50 yards off the road looking back at me. A female. I didn’t see any other deer around it so crossed the road to check it’s back trail. Males commonly herding the females follow. I glimpsed a flash of movement but no more.  Back in the truck we found our way off the logging road at dusk and headed on to Princeton and through the town west.
It was dark and raining as I headed through Manning Park onto Hope.I cleaned the grouse at a rest stop with a bear proof garbage bin for the waste. . I also walked Gilbert who finally had a big poop after all the cheese he’d eaten and the tramadol pain meds.  I certainly was glad to be out of the widing roads and on the highway back to Vancouver. Unlike returning on weekends, traffic wasn’t bad at all.
Soon we were home and unloading the truck thankful that Eric from Starfleet RV Repairs had fixed the heating problem  I was exhausted. “You drove for 12 hours,” Laura said.  Thankfully the 2017 Ford F350 Lariat Edition truck is a joy to drive.
George, her cat was ecstatic to see her and crawled right into lap upsetting her boyfriend Gilbert no small amount. We ate Kraft Dinner and watched an episode of Blue Bloods with Tom Select to wind down.  After that I sure liked crawling in bed.
 What a great drive. I love circle drives and this Vancouver, Kamloops, Lumby, Nakusp, Castlegar, Grand Forks, Princeton Vancouver is truly one of my all time favourites.  My mind is alive after seeing so much of God’s Country BC. So good for the soul.  Thank you Lord.

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