July 30, 2004

Oliver to Victoria

July 27, 2004
En Route to Victoria

Slightly worse for wear after the long night, we struggled to get some miles under us before relinquishing to the naps that we so desperately needed. We made it to Yard Creek Provincial Park. Yet another immaculately maintained Canadian park. After a 13-hour nap we were rejuvenated, fully recovered and ready to imbibe again. Lucky for us we were headed directly into the "wine making capital of Canada". We spent the night at the City Park in Oliver, B.C. in the Okanagan Valley. We got a bit of a late start so we only managed to tour one vineyard, but that was probably for the best since our livers needed a break.

Tinhorn Vineyard.

Yesterday was a long day, we drove for about 5 hours, then probably another 2 hours trying to navigate through Vancouver. I have heard nice things about Vancouver and we thought dinner in Chinatown might be cheap and entertaining.

Well if there is a nice part of the city we managed to miss it. Instead we found the seediest part of town which abuts Chinatown. Once we got through the crack alley with our wallets and souls in tack we decided that perhaps cities and RV's don't mix. Off to a smaller town for us. This decision landed us in Steveston south of Vancouver and en route to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal.

Steveston is a cute tourist/ fishing town which fancies itself a fish and chips Mecca. We had some fish and chips, and it was pretty good. Camping in and around Vancouver is expensive so we opted for the ferry terminal parking lot.

Aside from a few ferry horns, the litany of sea gull cries and the overhead lights, it made for a lovely and very convenient camping spot. Currently we are waiting in line to board the ferry which will whisk us away to three much needed days of rest and recuperation. Mostly we just can't wait to not have to drive for three days.

In Victoria now...
Here are some pictures that we took yesterday. So far we are really enjoying our mini vacation from vacation. Last night we ate dinner in Chinatown, and I am happy to report that is was much less eventful than our last attempt at dinner in a Chinatown. Today I sit sipping tea and taking advantage of the Ramada's wi-fi hookup to post this, life is good.

The view from our room.

Victoria in front of the Legislative Buildings

Top of the Legislative Buildings

Totem poles and the Empress Hotel

Even the truck is getting a little vacation.

Note: I will not be posting expenses this week because this is a special week. Our stay in Victoria was my birthday gift to Dan, back in April. Sufficed to say we have gone way over budget this week. :)

Last night's moonrise.

July 29, 2004

The Great White North

July 19, 2004
Nelson, British Columbia

From Schweitzer (note corrected spelling) we ventured into Sand Point, Idaho and visited another high school friend of Dan's. Courtney and her family took us to Sand Point's public beach, we had a lovely time playing in the water with her kids and basking in the hot Idaho day. Sandpoint is a neat town, positioned on a huge lake with views from everywhere and a good ski area right up the road. It is a bit too large for our liking, but it seems like a really nice place to live.

From here we headed west into Washington, which allowed me to add another state magnet to our almost completed map of the western U.S. We crossed over the Canadian border around 7pm, which is a late night of driving for us, and rolled into Rossland after 8:00. Rossland is currently #1 on our winter ski town list. Red Mountain Ski Area is legendary and the town is very quaint.

We camped at the base of the ski hill. Val, our hostess, was very helpful and filled us in on Rossland in the winter and our housing prospects, should the camper not be a suitable Canadian winter abode. Her place, Red Mountain Village, is cheap at $10 Canadian for a primitive spot, or $20 for a full hook-up, especially when you consider that it is AT the ski area. Her hospitality definitely makes this place worth spending a night or two.

We had intended to spend two days in Rossland, but a day was enough to hook us in. Nelson was only 60km down the road so we decided to skip ahead, thereby gaining an extra day and allowing us to slow down the pace a bit. It just so happens that we hit Nelson during Street Fest, which we would have missed had we waited another day. Street Fest is a street performer's festival.

And not the street performers who paint themselves silver and stand perfectly still all day, but the true vaudeville types. It was great entertainment.

This morning I write from the City Tourist Park in downtown Nelson. This campground has the feeling of a youth hostile, people are packed on top of each other and the facilities are pretty run down. However we are back to the location factor,this campground is about 4 blocks from the main street in town and it has views of the Kootenay Lake. For $18 Canadian we have electric and free showers.

This week is dedicated to finding the ski area where we will be spending the winter. We intend to visit, Kimberly, Banff/ Lake Louise and Kicking Horse after which we start heading for Victoria and 3 days 2 nights in a B&B there. It is hard to believe that we have been full-timers for 6 weeks now and away from Durango for over a month. Only a few more weeks and we’ll be on the Grand. Time is flying.

This week also marked our first bouts of homesickness. We both miss our friends and the routine of normal life a bit. Not enough to go back or anything, but enough to give us moments of pause. Thanks to all our buddies who are emailing us frequently, we love hearing from you.

July 21, 2004 Fairmont Hot Springs

There is a ferry outside of Nelson that boasts that it is the "longest free ferry in the world". Works for us. It allows a traveler to continue on HWY 3 despite a rather large lake that would otherwise make this difficult to do. Aside from saving us from having to retrace our route and adding a few dozen miles to our trip, this ferry ride is a treat because of the views. If you get to ride the ferry might I suggest you do so in a 12' tall camper. This way, even if you are parked in the middle of the ship, once you crawl onto the roof you have the best view in the place.

Once on the east side of the lake we consulted our books to see where we could camp. Our Passport America book let us know that there was a campground right down the road.

So we spent the night at Cedar Grove in Gray Creek. Our hosts Ken and Lyn were great and even had us over for a campfire, which I reminded Ken wasn't a good habit if he wanted to increase his fire wood sales. This campground had bocce ball, badminton, a beach and was located on a creek complete with waterfalls. We got an electric hook up here and our cost came to $8.50 Canadian. We couldn't have been happier. The low rate is a result of our Passport America membership. P.A. is an RV club which gets you a 50% discount at their member parks. So far we have only stayed in two P.A. parks but both were treats, and we have almost saved enough to pay for the membership.

The beach at Gray Creek

Random tourist trap on East Kootenay- this house is made entirely out of formaldehyde bottles

We made a pit stop in the town of Kimberley which has been re-vamped to look like a Bavarian town. It was very cute.

All of their hydrants are painted like this.

The ski area looks like fun; it bills itself as a "family resort" which we read as, heavily groomed. Probably it is worth a day or two of skiing this winter, but not a home base.

Onward from Kimberley to Fairmont Hot Springs. We had set our hearts on spending a day at the springs before we read our Lonely Planet Guide, which has this to say about Fairmont. "If you head north from Canal Flats (the headwaters of the Columbia River) on Hwy 95 you'll come to what is essentially a giant sinkhole for tourist dollars- complete with golf courses, a 311 spot RV park, a private airplane landing strip, a small ski hill, plenty of shops an restaurants, the resort lacks anything low budget and caters to high-end, short-term vacationers with plenty of money to spend". Uh-oh.

Well too late we were here. We decided that if the $21/ night primitive camping fee included passes to the springs then we could splurge. Well of course it doesn't, but as I was learning this another woman was learning that she and her kids were not welcome in the park with just a tent. Tents are only allowed in conjunction with an RV. Ding-Ding! Ma'am would you like to stay with us? We have an RV. So it came to be that we are camped next to Loraine and her sons Levi and Cody from Edmonton. This little arrangement not only made the campsite affordable for us, but Lorraine showed us where the free hot springs are. Now for my photo montage of the various springs available here. In my humble opinion, anyone who pays to go to the "sardine pool" is out of their bloody mind.

Free Pool

$10 Pool

Free Pool

View from our camp spot.

Other Items:

We intend to put camper friendly recipes on here from time to time. This section of our blog will be entitled Cheap and Easy.
Here’s the first one.

Cheap and Easy Salmon Times Two.
Ingredients: Approx. Cost:
One can salmon $2.00
(Preferably sockeye or at least a wild Alaskan variety)
One package cream cheese $1.00
Dill weed n/a (you should already have some)
Cucumber $ 1.00
Crackers $1.00
Eggs (4) $ .50
Toast (4 slices) $ .50
Total: $6.00

Here’s what you do. Mix cream cheese, salmon and dill in a bowl, until smooth and pink. Slice ½ of the cucumber, (save other half for that week’s dinner salads). Set aside a little less than half of salmon mixture. With the remaining portion, spread on crackers and top with a cuke slice for an easy lunch.
The next morning scramble 4 eggs and add the mixture for a salmon scramble, serve with toast.
Average meal cost $3.00.

Also we will publish helpful travel hints as we learn them, this section will be called….

Gee I wish I knew that: Visitors to Canada are entitled to a tax rebate on the 7% GST taxes you pay when you make certain purchases. In order to qualify for the rebate you must make $200 worth of qualifying purchases during your visit. Then you simply fill out a form, which is available at most Visitor’s Centers and mail it in along with your receipts. GST is clearly marked on all receipts where it is charged and this can add up quickly since there is a GST tax on fuel and most items other than food.

Extra Foods and Canada’s Real Discount Store (the name being an apparent jab at the Wal-Mart next door).
If you can find one of these stores with a gas station adjoining then you will earn 7.5 cents in groceries for every liter of fuel you purchase. Case in Point yesterday we spent $56 on fuel and earned $6.60 in groceries, you are given a receipt that works just like cash inside the store. Just to make this deal even sweeter their gas station had the cheapest diesel we’ve seen so far in Canada at .63/ liter.

July 21, 2004
Fairmont Hot Springs Day Two.

We decided to have a layover day today. A trail map we had seen had a “cross country” trail listed, we took this to mean Mtn. Bike friendly. After breakfast we set out on the “Red” Trail. There are many trails here, White Trail, Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green Trails. The Red one however, was the only one designated cross country and it lead up to the ski area, so we chose it.

At this point it is probably prudent for me to define my trail ratings. I use a modified scale apparently, because all of the guides I have seem to not view trails as I do. As a result I often take what they consider to be an easy trail and I bump it up a few notches. Basically my ratings go like this.

Easy: converted railroad beds, possibly paved, relatively flat, up hills are not long and down hills are not bone-jarringly scary. Generally through town to a bar or restaurant.

Easy +: Not entirely flat, somewhat challenging up hills, enough to make you sweat but quickly followed by down hills which cool you back off. Some obstacles may be present, such as sand, mud or downed trees, which require one not adapt at the art of clip-less pedaling to dismount for short periods of time.

Moderate: Up hills are equal to or slightly more than down hill portions. An up and back trail falls into this category. Up hills should last no more than 45 minutes before a nice flat stretch. Moderate trails may require short periods of hike-a-biking due to sand, mud or need to catch one’s breath. Pride saving excuses like, “just wanted to check out the view” or “wow never had a cramp come outta no where like that before” are to be used in these instances. Additionally Easy+ can become Moderate trails if it has recently rained, you are riding with your dumb pro mountain biking friends, or you had too much to drink and/ or too little sleep the night before.

Moderate+: The upper echelon for me. This means I walk almost as much as I bike. Or as I like to call it, “hiker assisted biking”. Basically there had better be something pretty damn cool at the top to get my ass up there, otherwise be prepared for me to whine the whole way. However, these trails seem to always pay off in spades, with an amazing view or the feeling that I am getting better at this godforsaken sport and that my asthma-impaired lungs are somehow rejuvenating themselves. These rides once completed make me understand why people pay two grand for something you then have to pedal uphill. This is of course assuming I did not crash. When a crash occurs, these runs become Dan’s fault, and provide further proof that he is trying to kill me.

Difficult: Best summed up with my standard response: “If I wanted to go for a hike I wouldn’t have brought my @#$%* bike!”

Alrighty then. Now that we have established the ground rules I can tell you about our ride today. The Red Trail is a double track loop trail which starts in the parking lot. From there you have the choice of riding up the dirt road or up the double track, which we would have known if we’d remembered the map. Since we did not, we road up the road. This portion fell into the Moderate to Moderate+ section, because I did not know how long this route was and was quickly bored with climbing up a gravel road. Once at the ski are we found the real Red Trail and followed it for about 9km. The trail is truly beautiful and it rates a Moderate on my scale. There are really rocky portions which I walked, because “I wanted to more closely inspect the geological features”, Dan rode, because he can. This trail lets you off almost at the top of the ski lift. We hiked up the rest of the way, the views were stunning.

Our ride down was on a 4x4 road, which was a bit rocky, but still only a Moderate. I was feeling pretty confident in my ability to handle the trails around here so we opted to try the Green Trail. Verde es malo! The Green Trail’s description boasts a chance to take a close-up look at the area’s vegetation. Yeah- could that be because you are bushwhacking for 3.1km?? So after this “trail”, (and I use that term lightly), we decided a nice soak in the hot pool was in order. Now nicely tanned and warmed, we are preparing a dinner of chicken fajitas and enjoying our campsite for another night.

July 22, 2004
Banff to Lake Louise

Now we’re off to Banff. Along the way we stopped in the town of Radium Hot Springs to visit the Forest Service Information Center. There we purchased our Canadian Parks Pass.

Our route this weekend will take us through four National Parks. We began by driving through Kootenay, N.P. The southern entrance is immediately followed by Sinclair Canyon which is spectacular. From there the drive takes you through majestic mountain ranges, past a turquoise blue glacial river and among abundant wildlife. We headed for Banff first.

Banff is a beautiful town mostly due to the surrounding scenery, but the town was built it would seem to cater solely to tourist dollars.

Once you get out of the downtown area thought there seem to be plenty of hiking trails and recreational opportunities. The ski area looks like fun. It is smaller than I thought it would be.

We saw this Big Horn Sheep on the drive up to the area.

Lake Louise by contrast is the largest ski area in Canada, but unlike big American ski areas this one has no condos or trophy homes. This is a result of its being inside a National Park. At the base area there is one large lodge and that’s about it. We found this to be rather refreshing. Finally I had to pull my husband away from the trail map where he had been standing drooling for far too long. This area looks amazing, tons of bowl skiing and four faces to choose from.

As if it isn’t enough to have a huge not overly developed ski area with the terrain to back up its claims, the view from the mountain is enough to convince everyone they should ski there. From the base are you can see two glaciers and an Icefield.

Last night we camped at the Castle Mountain Campground between Banff and Lake Louise. Cost $17 Canadain plus $6 if you want a fire permit, but that comes with and unlimited supply of cut firewood.

Gee I wish I knew that:

A few last notes on Fairmont. If you go, get a non-serviced spot for $21/ night. Then once you get to the obvious RV spots, keep going to the right past the pavilion onto a, hard to see, gravel road which will take you to the secluded and wooded campsites, some have views of the waterfall.

The free pools are cooler than the pay sardine pool, I’d guess 90 degrees, there are at least 7 pools along the path, 2 above the falls and 5 below. Also there is an old bath house above the check-in booth which has 4 bath tub like pools. We didn’t go into them but they looked fine to us.

Canadian Parks Pass: An annual pass for two people runs $89 Canadian. However they offer a sort of try before you buy program. If prior to purchasing a pass you enter a National Park, get a receipt for your entry fee, if within the next month you decide you want to buy the pass, give them your receipts and that amount will be taken off of the pass cost. For instance when we went into Waterton we paid $10 for park entry, so our pass cost yesterday was $79.00. Also you can upgrade your pass at any time to include the National Historical sites for another $30.
Here are this week’s expenses.
Fuel $ 101.62
Groceries$ 48.01
Liquor $ 17.00
Treats $ 5.00
Repairs $ -
Camping $ 96.80
Park Fees$ -
Other $ 9.34
Total $ 277.77
Remainder $2.23

The ‘other” was for propane. In almost 5 weeks of full time living in the camper (you’ll remember one week we were rafting) we only used $9 worth of propane- this is remarkable to me, since we use it to run our fridge, stove, and hot water heater.

WOO HOO $2.23 left over!

July 23, 2004
Lake Louise to Golden

We were treated to this view on our drive. There were four cubs in all, only two made it into this picture.

While in Lake Louise we drove up to both lakes. Moraine is infinitely more beautiful and much, much less crowded than Lake Louise.

Moraine Lake

After a few minutes with the hoards up at the Chateau on Lake Louise we were ready to be alone again, so we rode our bikes along the river tail. This one rates a nice Easy on my scale, with one section of Easy + where the electric anti-bear fence is a bit too close to the trail. The rivers here are the most surreal blue color I have ever seen. I now know where the fashion color palette of the 80’s came from, this place is a vivid collaboration of teal, yellow, green, magenta and red. My wildflower pictures never do these sweeping fields justice, but take my word for it they are breathtaking.

The ski area looks amazing, but there is no town here, no place to live in the winter unless you are an employee. As a result of this we figure there is just no way that we could spend more than a week there.

We had another night to spend in the National Parks so we chose the Hoodoo Campground in Yoho N.P.

En route we stopped by the natural bridge which was so cool. Here the Kicking Horse River is choked down to go through a small slit in the rocks. It goes from maybe 30’ wide to about 5’ wide. Dan tried to scout his kayak route but then he thought better of it.

The Hoodoos Campground is being “re-constructed”, this apparently means that it is just chained of for the season; we saw no evidence of repair or construction. We have heard from many along the way that the park system up here is hurting for funds, just like the U.S. parks. Anyway they turned the picnic area into a makeshift campground for the time being. No shade but easy access to the Hoodoos Trail.

We rode our bikes the first 2km, through a thick lodge pole forest with a very rooty trail, a Moderate on the scale. From there we left the bikes to hike the last 1.6 km which are straight up hill.

Back at camp we organized a rip roaring game of Ultimate Frisbee with a motley crew of Germans, Swiss, two kids from Belgium and ourselves. The language barriers proved to be a bit rough, so we paid little attention to the actual rules of the game, just throwing, running and periodically cheering whenever someone ran anywhere near our imaginary end zones.

Onward to Golden, home of Kicking Horse Ski Resort. Golden has a campground right in town which makes it really easy to park the rig and ride our bikes everywhere we need to go. This first day in Golden was spent scouting out the ski area and having some much needed tidy time in the camper and at the Laundromat.

Back at camp we were treated to group after group of paragliders landing right behind our campsite, you can see one in the background if you look closely. Also a heard of big horn sheep climbed the cliffs directly across the river from us. All this and electric and water for $17 Canadian.

Golden has fabulous whitewater and challenging mountain biking. We opted for a Moderate + ride through the Moonraker Trails area. This ride was fun, but so rooty and log choked that we walked as much as we rode. It would have been really enjoyable were it not for the mosquitoes. Here’s a thought- how’s about the government takes just a small portion of the 88 billion dollar defense budget and pours it into the eradication of the mosquito? Really I think this could make for a happier world. I know it will never happen, the Calamine Lotion and Deet lobbyists will see to it that my anti-mosquito initiative dies in committee, but I can dare to dream.

We met a lady from here while we were soaking in the springs the week before, when we told her we were headed for Golden she asked if we were going for Golden Daze. Of course we had no idea what this was, so we played it cool and said “what’s that”? Well as we came to find out, this is a party primarily for locals, which was born out of an old end of the season rafting company party. Over the years it has grown, but it is still a very intimate affair. A local guy, George, throws a giant bash at his house in the mountains and hires some fairly major band to play. This year the band was…. Spearhead with Michael Franti. Well it just so happens that I love, LOVE this band. Did I mention that I love them? So I write this from the aftermath that was Golden Daze, sitting in a random field just outside of town. I am joined by about 800 other campers/ concert goers. The concert/ party went from 6pm to 6am, it is now 10:30 in the morning and the fact that almost all of the 800 are awake and moving is very impressive to me. For those of you who know me, you will be proud and amazed to hear that I made it until 3:30!! This was hands down the greatest concert I have ever been to, a small outdoor concert, but with big concert lighting and sound and where the band played for four hours straight.

I am really starting to wonder how in the heck we get to be so lucky? I don’t know what we did to earned the right to take a year off, while meeting the nicest people and having the most amazing experiences. I don’t know what I did, but I intend to keep doing it.

July 25, 2004

Outta touch in the great white north

Howdy folks. We are stockpiling tons of great photos and tales from the last week or so, but Canada doesn't seem to wanna let us hook our laptop up anywhere so we can't get all the juicy details from there to here! Keep checking back- as soon as we can we'll post a really long one we promise.
Cheers to all. R+D

July 21, 2004


Per a reader's request this page should now archive weekly so it will take less time to load. Thanks for the head's up- hope this helps. We are at the Fairmont Hotsprings in B.C. and I cannot hookup my lap top here- so no post along with this bit of house keeping, but soon come:)

July 16, 2004

Bozeman to West Glacier

July 12, 2004 Bozeman to Freezeout Lake

Red Lodge, MT.

We spent last night in front of Dan’s high school friend’s house in Bozeman, Montana. Stacie was a wonderful hostess and gave us a bike tour of her town, complete with our first visit to a bar in over a month.  After the buckets of Corona we had a BBQ at Stacie’s. 
Today we had a few repairs to deal with.  Our hot water heater had been bleeding water non-stop every time we turned it on, and following the “belching” directions in our manual was having no affect. We went to Big Sky RV- which we would recommend should you be there and need parts- they were very helpful.  For $23.99 we got a new valve and the problem seems to be fixed.  However none of the three shops we visited today seemed to carry the refrigerator cover that we lost somewhere between Yellowstone and Bozeman.  So, I fear that more RV stores are in my immediate future. We are learning rather quickly that an RV is really a boat with wheels and it requires constant upkeep and maintenance.
This evening finds us at Freezeout Lake Wildlife Management Area, along HWY 89, about 100 miles south of Glacier. Freezeout is a cooperatively maintained bird refuge. A co-op between the state and Duck’s Unlimited.  This place is a birder’s, or bird hunter’s, paradise. This evening we took a mountain bike ride around the refuge. Believe me there is no shortage of bugs for these bird to eat, after our ride I knew what my windshield feels like after a day of travel. But after we squeegeed the bugs off of ourselves we were treated to an amazing sunset, complete with ducks flying overhead and serenading birds. This site is free and located right off of 89 between Fairfield and Choteau- It is a great place to spend a night as long as it isn’t duck season, when I must assume this place is packed.
July 13, 2004
Glacier to Waterton or Which Way Do We Go Day.
We woke up to bird calls at Freezeout Lake. It had been a lovely campsite, but we were headed for Glacier so we hit the road.

Our plan, as much as we ever have plans, was to drive across the Going to the Sun Road, through the heart of Glacier ending up in Whitefish for the night.  We had heard that our camper was small enough and that we would be permitted through. Apparently we heard wrong.  The guard told us to remove our racks- you know the infamous double-hitch system, and then we’d be short enough.  We did so in the Visitor’s Center parking lot.  Then we decided we’d better consult another park employee since the camper’s ladder pushed us JUST over the 21’ limit. Apparently the fine for driving a too-long vehicle over is $500. In other words enough for us to be damned sure we meet the criteria.
This is when we learned the real rules. 21’ long, 8’ wide and the real spoiler for us…10’ tall. Alrighty then onto plan B.  Oh wait we never really had a Plan A, so B is nowhere to be found.
After a lunch of once dropped nachos (this is not some anchient family recipe, this means I dropped them on the floor and implemented the 10 second rule) we decided “hey we’re 28 miles from Canada, screw the U.S. parks and all there “no swimming in our rivers, no vehicles over 21’” rules.  So I write this from Waterton Campground on the Canadian side of the International Peace Park.

We did go down to Many Glaciers before we left the U.S. Side.

The view of Many Glaciers.

These are called Grinders and you can hire them to give you a tour of the park if your rig is too big.

Here’s what I find to be bothersome about the Peace Park. According to all I have read this was supposed to be a sort of cooperative park between Canada and the U.S. Well the U.S. seems as ethnocentric as ever.  Case in point… Once we realized our change in plans I went into the U.S. Visitors Center and asked for info on campgrounds on the Canadian side.  No can do, I was told.  To be fair I haven’t checked on U.S. pricing over here, but I can tell you that the folks at the Visitor’s Center, and really all over, have been amazingly helpful and friendly. Even the guy at the border filled us in on ski resorts for our winter excursion.Overall the Canadian side of the park is as beautiful and is more laid back than the U.S. side.

Waterton Lake.

The town of Waterton

Waterton Campground is the most expensive one here, but as every real estate agent knows it is all about location, location, location. We are mere steps from the charming town of Waterton, which has all of the amenities you could need.  The steep camping price of $17 U.S. is somewhat offset by the proximity to town, positioning on the lake and the free showers.  We are having a nice bottle of Shiraz, a going away gift from Keith and Landa (thanks again) and a pasta dinner, complete with Canadain Smokies (a sausage not an illegal substance ;)while toasting our first night north of the border.
Don’t worry we aren’t leaving the U.S. for good just yet, this is just a round-a-bout way of getting to Whitefish, MT, which we will do tomorrow or the next day- or so the “plan” goes. 
July 14, 2004
Waterton to Fernie.
We have been playing a fun game as of late, we like to call the “how many cans can you use game”. This game stems from my inability to throw away cans of food that had been hiding in the pantry of our home in Durango for years.  As a result we have many cans in our pantry.  We try and use at least one for each dinner.  Well Dan stepped it up a notch today and tried to use a can for breakfast.  The result was pineapple pancakes. Should this blog eventually result in a guide book, rest assured this recipe will not be in there. 
After this lovely meal we decided to ride Crandall lake trail. 

We rode/ hiked up the first mile or so and then the trail mostly wandered through tight vegetation and a few scree fields yielding fantastic views. We rode back on the road which was a thrilling and very fast downhill back into Waterton. 

Once back at our campground we took a very short hike to a waterfall. One last shower and then we hit the road. 
We loved Waterton and really recommend it. It is defiantly the kind of place where you could spend a week doing nothing or running yourself into the ground, whatever your pleasure. If it had a ski area we may have never left.

Family outing in Waterton.
We drove along HWY 6 to HWY 3 both very scenic drives.  There is a huge wind farm (you know fields of wind mills) where the two highways connect and it makes even the flatter parts of the drive interesting. Stopped for lunch at yet another waterfall, this one had a windmill and four bison in the background. 

Used a can of tuna for that meal (Sid that one’s for you- I know you love when I reference food ;)
Then we crossed into British Columbia.  Our destination was Fernie but the signs beckoning us to the world’s largest truck in Sparwood were too much to resist.

After this minor detour we rolled into Fernie.  Seems it is their 100th anniversary so they are re-doing the main street in town. They are making it a pedestrian plaza, most of the stores are closed until the construction is completed, but we still got a feel for the town.  Dan bought me a Lonely Planet guide to B.C. since I didn’t have one and was feeling lost with out a relevant guide book to read.
We visited the grocery store here and learned that B.C. makes buying liquor almost as hard as Utah does- actually it may be harder up here because you can’t even buy 3.2 in the grocery stores.  So we had to improvise and make up yet another gin concoction that no one would ever put on a bar menu. Alas it gets the job done.

Tonight we are camped at the Fernie Mountain campground. There are tons of trails all over this place and I imagine we’ll ride a few tomorrow before we head back to the good ‘ol U.S. of A.
July 16, 2004
Fernie to West Glacier, via Whitefish.
Checked out the ski are in Fernie, and vowed to ski it this winter.  Had most of our breakfast food confiscated at the U.S. border.  Word to the wise, they are serious about Avian Flu there so no poultry products at the crossings.  Then we arrived in Whitefish, Montana. Everyone warned us how cold and miserable Montana can be and it has become a running joke for us.  So yesterday, as we were lying on the beach at Whitefish Lake, basking in the sun and the 96 degrees we joke that Montana sure is cold. 
We rode our bikes around Whitefish and then finally got in touch with our buddy Keith who invited us over to his humble abode in West Glacier for the evening.  We got there around 6pm. It stays light out until 10:30 around here so we decided to go for a little float. The kind guys at Keith’s place of employment, Montana Rafting/ Glacier Wilderness Guides, loaned us a boat and a shuttle vehicle and we were off. 

We floated the Middle Fork of the Flathead. It was a breathtakingly beautiful float and a wonderful time of day to get to be on the water. The rapids were tons of fun and old stories flowed as fast as the water. Afterwards we visited West Glacier’s local hot spot. A one room speak easy of sorts which boasts $1 Miller beer in a can.  That fits our budget!
For those of you who have never worked as a raft guide, you should know that it can be the most fun way you have ever spent a summer, but it is rarely, if ever, lucrative.  The company that Keith works for is located on what used to be a commercial campground.  Most of the guides live in the old campground and their “homes” are a medley of tarps, tents, old busses and then there is Keith’s house.  Keith lives in what was the campground’s restroom. 

The toilets and basins long since removed it makes for a veritable non-mobile camper, very similar to our own dwelling, but without the fuel bills.
Thanks to Keith and his cohorts for a wonderful float and a minor hangover.

Dan, Rachel and our buddy Keith.

Currently we are at the Switzer Ski Area outside of Sandpoint, ID. As it just so happens there is a Bluegrass festival here today and we do love that olde timey music so we are eating lunch and enjoying the music.

NOTE:Sorry to have posted the text w/o the pictures, Blogger changed it's format and my learning curve took a while to catch up. All is well again now.

Fuel $155.39
Liquor $29.00
Treats $25.00
Repairs $51.49
Camping $39.50
Park Fees$7.00
Other $12.00
Total $361.03
**In honor of our first foray into Canada we are posting our expenses in Canadian dollars. Actually that would be nice but it is not true, we went over budget this week, however, we are still under budget for the first 3 weeks so all is well.

Final Note: Thanks to, my Mom and Dad, Bethy, Heather's Britt, Brooke and Bates, Stella, Kendra and Kim for the birthday wishes.