Friday, September 01, 2006

A Passing Grade

11:00 pm Tuesday night. We are parked in a little provincial campground a few km outside of Castlegar, BC. Beautiful place, way off the road, so it's quiet. In the morning, while walking around, we discover a hornet's nest in a nearby barrel. The hornets are clustered on their nest, sleeping in the cold wet morning. Very neat!

The plan was to make it to Oliver today, but halfway through the day I realized that I'd told the RV resort that we'd arrive on the 30th - and today is only the 29th. Oh bliss. That gives us an extra day.

Believe me, we needed that extra day. We parked last night near Blairmore, so we'd be fresh before we tackled the big pass over the Rockies at Crow's Nest Pass. This is a big mother father of a hill, and the truck, which has now been named "Bouncing Betty" did only 40 km an hour up the steepest sections.

Coming down the other side was mighty exciting. Now Betty wanted to go 125 km an hour, and also fly, but Ian's firm hand on the gears and excellent use of the brakes kept us to a manageable speed. Just barely. (Later we realized that we'd had no trailer brakes during this entire descent. Gulp.)

We thought we were over the worst of it but when we made the turn for Castlegar we were right back on an 8% grade for km after km. It took us all day to make a couple of hundred km. By 6:00 pm we were knackered.

We stopped at the Visitors Centre in Castlegar to ask about campgrounds. They were closed. Their map was next to useless. We drove around an hour looking for a campground. It was getting dark when we finally found a provincial park - no electricity (no real problem) and no running water (damn). The campsite last night had no water either, so we are now on day three since our last showers. We don't smell so good and the gents are getting very fuzzy. But there's a single shower at the entrance to this campground, which Ian is enjoying right now. Tony and I will shower in the morning as we are too tired to walk that far tonight.

It's only about 225 km to Oliver, hopefully we *will* make it there tomorrow. Meanwhile, carping aside, this is a lovely spot. Heavily treed, with frogs peeping in the background and the perfume of wood smoke in the air. The leaves are rustling in the wind, the temperature is absolutely perfect and the only other sounds are the muted-by-distance voices and laughter of other campers. sigh

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