1st - 31st July 2017 - Oregon - Washington - BC, Canada

Saturday 1st July

Our journey continued along the I-84 into Oregon. The south-east region of the state is classed as High Desert and spreads like a wide finger west towards the Cascade Mountains. Driving through the region it looks like moorland with green rolling hills and irrigated valleys.

Walmart in Island City to stock up and stay over in the car park for the night.

Sunday 2nd July

The terrain changed to pine covered hills as we continued west before descending into vast grass covered plains.

Just outside Pendleton we saw warnings for low visibility due smoke. There was a grass fire raging at the side of the road.

Turning onto the I-82 we crossed the mighty Columbia River into Washington, past the McNary Dam.

Vineyards started to appear as we entered Washington’s wine region and the Yakima Valley where we tracked along at the side of the Yakima River until we reached the small wine producing town of Prosser.

Wine Country RV Park, our base for the next few days.

Peter and Suzan had passed by on the highway and arrived just before us. We were having a reunion, it was our first meeting since we parted in San Diego back in March. Since then they have been to Minnesota where they bought a shiny new Newmar Essex RV.

For dinner we went to the smart Wine O’clock Bar and Bistro, just a couple of miles away from the RV Park. We sat outside on the patio with a view over the garden and the golden coloured Horse Heaven Hills in the distance.

Tuesday 4th July

We got on our bikes and went into the nearby town of Prosser to see the 4th July celebrations.

The Yakima River.

The Kiddie Parade

Classic Car Show

Prosser City Park

The Little Miss Prosser Pageant

Wednesday 5th July

One of the neighbours, Ken from Kentucky with his peregrine falcon and Harris’s hawk.

Thursday 6th July

Wine Tasting.

We headed north west along the valley to the Rattlesnake Hills and the Zillah wine making area. As well as wine the valley is a big fruit and hop producing area, cherries are the latest harvest.

Our first stop was the Severino tasting room which is in a traditional wooden farm house. A family owned winery, the vineyard was planted in 2005. Our host, Nikki, told us all about the operation and wines we were tasting.

A nice array of red wines.

Two Mountain Winery.

Time for lunch.

Bonair Winery.

A European style winery with beautiful grounds, French type chateau producing good white wines.

A good day out at these family owned wineries. We met some nice people who enjoyed what they did and loved to talk about their passion for grape growing and wine production.

Saturday 8th July

Back to Wine O'clock for dinner.

Sunday 10th July

Back on the road today returning just across the state border into Oregon.

Crop spraying.

Boardman Marina Park.

Peter and Suzan are already here meeting up with friends, Dave, Barb, Cindy, and Brian.

Th RV Park is right on the banks of the Columbia River.

The Columbia River Heritage Trail runs through the RV Park.The path of an old road runs right into the Columbia River.

Our last night together. We have spent an enjoyable couple of days. Humans and animals alike had a good time.

Thursday 13th July

We said goodbye to everyone this morning. Peter and Suzan are heading west to Long Beach, where the temperatures are in the chilly zone of low 60’s F. We are moving north into Canada.

Back across the Columbia River into Washington.

As we progressed north along SR 17 we came to a series of lakes along the Grand Coulee.

Leaving the lakes behind we climbed up to grassland, scattered farms, moor like and then arid terrain.

Crossed the Columbia River again at Bridgport with views of the Chief Joseph Dame.

Very pretty valley with fruit trees and grape vines growing on the slopes. Here we turned onto highway 97 and followed the Okanogan River along another scenic valley to our destination at Omak.

Friday 14th July

After an overnight stop at Walmart in Omak, we got back on the US 97 north alongside the Okanogan River to the US/ Canadian border towns of Oroville and Osoyoos. It was a beautiful morning as we passed through fertile valleys, pine trees, ski towns, fruit tree orchards and vine groves.

The border crossing was quiet and after being asked a few questions by the border control officer we were on our way into British Columbia.

The first town over the border.

About 20 miles north of the border is the town of Oliver where we booked into The Orchard RV Park. The park is like a garden with lots grass and fruit trees, plus a swimming pool. Our hosts were LA and Eric who were very friendly and helpful.

Sandy seemed very pleased to be here. So pleased that it called for a good roll in the luscious grass.

There is quite a big Indian population in Oliver and opposite the RV Park was an impressive looking Sikh Temple.

Our site was shaded by a cherry tree that had lots of ripe fruit. Eric told us to help ourselves to the fruit and we gathered a fine crop of large red, sweet and juicy cherries

We are lucky enough to have three lots of friends living in the beautiful Okanogan Valley, that we originally met up with in Baja.

This evening we saw Jane and Peter. They have an interest in one of the local vineyards and arranged for us to have a wine tasting at the Black Hills Winery. We had a cabana at the side of the swimming pool with views of the surrounding vineyards. Our wine host was Gord who introduced us to the wines on offer for the tasting which we followed with something to eat. It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening in lovely surroundings and it was great to catch again with Jane and Peter. They are off tomorrow with their RV to spend a couple of weeks on Vancouver Island.

Saturday 15th July

The weather is hot, up to 94F today, therefore, we made good use of the pool in the morning.

In the afternoon we went out for a drive into the hills behind the town.

Osoyoos Lake.

Back into Oliver and a visit to the Dubh Glas Distillery. A craft distillery making whisky and gin. We met artisan distiller Grant Stevely who explained the distilling process and plied us with several tastings. Our drink of choice was the Noteworthy Gin.

Here is Grant signing our bottle of Noteworthy.

A drink at the Firehall Brewery and Bistro.

Sunday 16th July

Today we moved on north along the valley for 18 miles to Kaleden. On the way we passed Vaseux Lake before travelling through the small town of Okanagan Falls. Just past the town we turned off west onto highway 3A to our campsite at Twin Lakes Golf Course. The golf club is set in a deep valley and surrounded by hills.

This evening we went to dinner at Laurie (alias Grumpy) and Monica’s lovely lake side house with spectacular views across Skaha Lake. We were treated to a wonderful meal and had a really enjoyable evening catching up and having a few laughs swapping travel and RV stories.

Monday 17th July

Woke up this morning to smoke haze in the valley and clinging to the hills. There have been a number of wildfires further north and the smoke is drifting.

Went into Penticton, quite a large town positioned between Skaha Lake and Okanaghan Lake. We found a dog friendly brewery at The Cannery for a drink and lunch and a then a dog friendly beach for Sandy to run along and have a dip in Okanagan Lake.

Tuesday 18th July

Before we left the campsite this morning we met Stan and Annette. They had arrived in a smaller version of our RV the FR3. 25.

A last run through the forest before we move on.

Left Kaleden to travel 120 Km north along highway 97 to our destination at Kekuli Bay Provincial Park and to meet up with Nancy and Bob.

We followed the west shore of Skaha Lake which was covered in smoke haze and visibility across to the hills on the east side was low. Nevertheless, the sun was out and it was warm and there were plenty of people out on Skaha Lake Beach.

We followed Okanagan Lake through the towns of Summerland and Peachland until we crossed the lake at Kelowna.

Kalamalka Lake.

We met up with Nancy and Bob, who had already set up camp, and spent the afternoon sitting outside catching up on what had happened since we last saw each other.

The campsite is set in a beautiful spot on the hills overlooking the lake. There is still quite a smoke haze in the air from wildfires that had recently been extinguished in nearby Lake Country.

Wednesday 19th July

My birthday! Went into Vernon a town about 14 kms north of the campsite. Had lunch at the Sir Winston’s Pub.

In the evening friends of Nancy and Bob, Frank and Hilde, came over for dinner. They are from The Hague and spend nine months of the year in North America. Bob had been salmon fishing last month off the west coast of Vancouver Island and for dinner we had delicious barbequed salmon. What a good evening we had, great company, lots of fun and plenty of laughs.

Thursday 20th July

Went onto Lake Country to the Greek House Restaurant. We haven’t had Greek food since Dawson City in the Yukon, there the owner came from Mikonos. Three of us had moussaka and Nancy had lamb, all delicious.

Tired out after a hard day at the lake.

Friday 21st July

Bike ride alongside the lake on an old disused rail track.

One of the local Marmots, lots of these little guys about.

Our last night with Nancy and Bob, we had dinner at camp.

Saturday 22nd July

After four very enjoyable days and jovial evenings we said our sad goodbyes to Nancy, Bob and dogs Alyssum and Jack.

We continued on the Okanagan Highway 97 north, through lush valleys and pine covered hills. East of Kamloops we got onto the Trans-Canada Highway to take us west to Cache Creek.

Kamloops Lake and a long train snaking alongside the water on the far side of the lake.

Arrived at Brookside campground in Cache Creek mid-afternoon. The area had recently suffered from outbreaks of wild fires. When we called ahead we were advised that at the moment, the fire seems to be contained and the air was clear of smoke. We were relieved to see that indeed the skies were clear and a beautiful bright blue. The campsite had plenty of empty spaces. No doubt due to the recent fires.

Went into town and stopped off at The Oasis Hotel bar for a drink. Cache Creek is a small town that has about a thousand residents. At the bar we talked to a couple who had just got back to their home in Cache Creek after being evacuated for 12 days because of wildfires.

Part of the hotel building is Mannies Restaurant where we went for another Greek meal.

Sunday 23rd July

As the day went on we could smell smoke and the sky gradually disappeared above the smoke haze. A strong wind got up buffeting the trees and no doubt fanning the flames. By early evening we had blue skies back but still a strong smell of smoke in the air. We are keeping a close eye on the situation via wildfire websites, particularly checking on the status of the fire near us in Ashcroft.

Wildfire map showing the fire areas.

24th July

Woke up to a cold (50F) but sunny morning with no smoke in the air.

Got back on the road this morning, taking highway 97 north out of Cache Creek to pick up the 99 south on our way to Vancouver.

Deep gorges and high waterfalls.

Passed through Lilooet where Bob was born. The Fraser River is wide here with the town built up on the high banks and the British Columbia Railway line alongside. Situated between deep gorges it is a spectacular sight from the Twenty Three Camels Bridge, the highway bridge across the Fraser River.The town started in the mid 19th century when the Cariboo Gold Rush got underway. I understand that camels were used as pack animals during the gold rush days

The Old Suspension Bridge

Outside town we came to the bright blue waters of Seton Lake, before starting the climb through high heavily wooded hillsides with deep gorges, waterfalls and shallow creeks of crystal clear, sparkling water. The road was good but with plenty of bends and the gradients were steep at 13%.

A precarious job, climbing the rock netting.

Duffy Lake

As we continued along narrow winding roads through the pine trees we could see snow capped mountains in the distance, giving the whole place an alpine look with 15% gradients!

When we got back onto flatter ground again we entered a very pretty valley through the towns of Mount Currie and Pemberton.

As we headed towards Whistler we got back into steep gradients before finally arriving in Squamish and our campsite, WhistlePunk Hollow RV Park.

The park is surrounded by snow capped mountains and has good long , wide sites. Cost per night 51.00 dollars + tax.

This evening we went to the Watershed Grill for dinner and sat outside on their patio at the side of the Squamish River.

What a wonderful drive we have had today. The route south down the 99 is spectacular.

Tuesday 25th July -Thursday 27th July

We have spent a couple of days doing chores, lots of laundry, office type stuff and some DIY. We now have some very useful shelves in a tall cupboard that we have near the door.

One of the tasks I have been doing is trying to find some travel insurance which also of course incorporates the all-important health cover. Our travel insurance finished this month and it has got difficult to renew or replace. The main obstacles being: if you are already out of your country of residence, the length of time you have been out of your country of residence, your age. After much perseverance, I eventually found a company in Germany called CareMed and they were excellent.

There are lots of bike trails here. Unfortunately, we didn’t get very far, we both had punctures and eventually walked back to the RV Park, no amount of hand pumping air into the tyres worked.

Friday 28th July

Back on the road this morning. Travelling down highway 99 alongside the beautiful blue waters of Howe Sound towards Vancouver. Howe Sound widened as got nearer the city and from the road we had views of the tree filled city below.

We are staying in West Vancouver at Capilano River RV Park. Price per night is 70.00 dollars minus our 10% Good Sam discount. The campsite and nearby Park Royal shopping complex are owned by the Squamish First Nation tribes. The RV Park is in a good position near the Lions Gate Bridge, a suspension bridge spanning the first narrows of Burrard Inlet over to the City of Vancouver.

Sandy seems quite keen on the kennel in the dog park.

Debbie and Dave are in town, we haven’t seen them since leaving Baja, where we had lots of laughs and good times together and we're looking forward to seeing them again. They are here to meet up with family and friends for their annual get together picnic and Bocce tournament on Sunday. They are staying with friends Blajka and Lubo who kindly asked us to join their family with Debbie and Dave for dinner.

Blajka and Lubo live in North Vancouver, a nice area about 15 minutes from the RV Park. It was great to see Debbie and Dave again and we were very warmly welcomed by everyone. There was nine for dinner, including Lubo Junior, Radi (eldest son) and his wife Veli. Lubo, Blajka and family came to Canada from Bulgaria about 17 years ago. Blajka and Debbie became friends after they met as volunteers during the Vancouver Olympics. The family were so hospitable and we had a very sociable evening of great conversation, good humour and a wonderful dinner - best moussaka we've ever had.

Saturday 29th July

Debbie and Dave arrived at 0830 to take us on a grand tour of Vancouver.

First stop, over the Lions Gate Bridge to the historic Stanley Park. This a large green space around a promontory in the heart of Vancouver surrounded by water with tall trees, beaches and mountain views. Vancouver is a bike friendly city with bike trails everywhere. Around the park is the Seawall, a long waterfront path for biking, walking and jogging that extends out of the park into a 28 km seaside pathway. As it was Saturday morning the Seawall was busy with Vancouverites enjoying the summer sunshine.

Stanley Park - views across the narrows to Ambleside.

Rose Garden.

Black squirrel, breakfasting on a butterfly.

Vancouver City.

The Vancouver Rowing Club.

First Nation totem poles

Lions Gate Bridge with North Vancouver in the background.

Cricket in the park. There are a lot of English scenes in this park.

Girl in a Wetsuit sculpture. Likened to The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.

Next, onto Vancouver City and its skyscrapers.

A-maze-ing Laughter, bronze scultures in Morton Park.

Across the Burrard St Bridge to Kitsilano. This is a pleasant district of nice homes, a relaxed atmosphere, green spaces, beaches and museums.

Saturday morning exercise by the beach.

The Vancouver Planetarium with its stylized crab sculpture outside.

Kitsilano Yacht Club for lunch

Kitsilano Beach

Back across the Lions Gate Bridge.

We followed Marine Drive out to the Caulfeild Park area where there were great views across the water to downtown Vancouver.

Lovely secret cove.

This is a very picturesque area of West Van that has a quiet English rural feel.

We were so lucky to have a born and bred Vancouverite to give us this fantastic tour of a beautiful city.

Sunday 30th July

Bocce Tournament in historic John Lawson Park, West Van.

Debbie and Dave arrived early to capture our space in the park. The park is next to a drift wood beach with good views of Lions Gate Bridge.

Gradually everyone arrived, with picnics in tow.

Let the games begin

Lions Gate Bridge

Debbie and Lubo Jr carried away the tournament cup.

What a fun day, beautiful weather, great picnic spot by the water and we got to meet lots of Debbie and Dave's family and friends.

Monday 31st July

After a truly memorable weekend in Vancouver we leave to make our way south towards the US border and the Parkscanada RV Park in Delta. On Wednesday we will be taking BC Ferries from nearby Tsawwassen to Duke Point, Vancouver Island, where we will meet up with Debbie and Dave again at their home in Chemainus.

Opposite the RV Park is a new shopping mail called Tsawwassen Mills. We took advantage of the opportunity and spent the two days here shopping, particularly as our favourite shop, Bass Pro, was there on site.