Saturday, July 8, 2017

North of the 45th

How our mornings typically go

I asked Dorothy if she knew what the 45th was? She said she had heard of it, but did not know. So if you don't get the reference, no big deal.

It seems that anytime we have encountered the Snake River, a few miles later there it is again. Hence it’s name. We are parked in a COE park where the Snake meets the Columbia.

The Snake River is a major river of the greater Pacific Northwest in the United States. At 1,078 miles long, it is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, the largest North American river that empties into the Pacific Ocean. Rising in western Wyoming, Yellowstone, the river flows through southern Idaho, then through the rugged Hells Canyon area via northeastern Oregon and the rolling Palouse Hills, to reach its mouth near the Washington Tri-Cities area, where it enters the Columbia.
The COE has numerous parks along the Snake. Since we do not fish and the scenery is not much we have no interest in them. Still a great resource. We got done what we needed doing, an oil change and stocking the larder.



We are parked at a COE campground on the Snake in Washington. The is a $24 a night park, which means $12 on the geezer card. BUT, the attendant said because Dorothy is handicapped, it was half off the half-price or $6. We have used COE dozens of times in many states, but this is the first time we have encountered this. New policy?  Does she misunderstand the policy?

When we checked out at Costco, I was asked if I was a Washington resident. I said No, then she asked if I was an Oregon resident. I said I was from Alabama. We paid no sales tax. Again, another first. I asked about this and it works that if you buy it in Washington, but use it in Oregon, there is no tax.

We took a short drive up the Snake and found HUGE tracts of land under cultivation. Corn, onions, potatoes, all kinds of apples, grapes and blueberries. We picked a pound and half of berries for $3. Still early for cherries and melons.

We chatted with a couple opal diggers at the hot springs in Nevada last week. Both around 30 and both teachers She taught HS math and he did History. We were surprised and gratified to learn that history was still being taught. And get this, he writes his own curriculum. And the shocker, they live in Spokane. Yes, liberal Washington, a sanctuary state where the Governor, Jay Inslee, mocks the President daily.

There is too much daylight. Damn DST. I can barely stay up to 9:30 and it’s still light. It’s light at 4:30 am. It will be worse the farther north we go. Now as the days are getting shorter, perhaps I will get some relief.



We enjoyed two days of temperate weather, then the heat wave returned. One might think a park three miles from the largest power generation in the US would have electricity. But, no. We endured the heat the last day of June, but left the otherwise delightful park on the Columbia River and headed for Kettle Falls and electricity. Only one night available here, so I guess we will head into Canada July 2. 

There are a lot of rednecks in Washington. Most have loud trucks. The other day one parked next to us. Young kid, about 30 I guess. We noted a construction generator in the truck bed and knew we were in for it. Sure enough, at 5:30, he fired it up. I went out and he turned it off before I got close to him. His excuse was “The dog took a shit and I wanted to charge my batteries”. He went back inside his trailer and did not come out until after we left at 8.



We parked our weapons and a case of wine in Washington.

Dorothy was talking to a guy a few weeks ago who self-identified himself as Spanish. He came here legally from Mexico as a young man. [Most American’s think of those in Mexico as brown. The only brown ones are those the Spanish did not murder] He said he was an entrepreneur and will be leaving California for Arkansas to start a new business. The taxes are too high and the regulations too cumbersome for him.

Sunday, July 2
Holiday madness is over, for us anyway. We crossed into Canada this morning at the Cascade crossing. This is a low use crossing - there was no one ahead or behind us, so he asked us every question in the book - except about liquor. Then he called someone and said we needed to have our kayaks inspected for zebra mussel infestation. So we stopped at a marine inspection station and waited about 45 minutes while they inspected, detected…. our boats. No mussels were found.  They conferenced and decided to give them a much-needed bath inside and out using a pressure washer with steaming hot water. They really needed a bath after going through all the dust, a thousand miles since Lake Powell. Then they filled out an 8 x 14 inch three-part form describing what they had not found and said we could show it to any other inspectors to certify our crafts are mussel-free.

The heat wave followed us across the border. It’s hot. So we have to have hookups. That means $40+ a night. There is no break in the heat for the next 10 days so we will move north fast to Prince George where the temps may be tolerable in the afternoons. The park in Vernon was plush, owner lots like Jojoba Hills. 

So far, this section of BC looks like Montana. But it is filled with people. The number of Harley’s per capita is at least triple that of the US. Perhaps, because gas is $3 a gallon? But, the lakes are full of boats. So maybe not?

Monday, July 3
A short jump to Cache Creek and a Provincial Park on the fast running Thompson River. No remarkable scenery noted along the way. Surprisingly gas is less here than it was close to the border.

Tuesday, July 4
We drove four hours, a long day for us, to get to a cooler clime. It was only 84 at 3:30, so it was worth the effort. 

The scenery, so far, remains unremarkable. It looks a lot like northern Arkansas to me, just swap out the conifers for leafy trees. North of the town of 150 Mile, the traffic thinned out and the drivers were MUCH less aggressive. The principal difference in the scenery is that there are lakes and lakes and lakes. We parked on one lake in the town of Quesnel. Boondocked in a field for $20. Shade trees and a
light breeze. 

Since everything is metric here, why are towns named for miles?

Wednesday, July 5
I saw a picture of Lake Bowron and it looked like just a lake I was looking to paddle. A family from Wales parked close to us and chatted us up. They, the couple and their daughters, 18 and 20, had just completed a 10-day circuit around the several lakes. He showed us the place we could go for access.



Our colds were no better today, so we opted for a short drive to Prince George and got hookups for two days. It looks like the heat will break Saturday for 10 or more days. Our dry hak-hak cough is getting old.

This is as far north as we will get. The rest of the trip will be to the west.

I had forgotten how “chirpy” Canadians are. They always seem to be in a good humor. If you say Thank You, they respond My Pleasure.

The denizens or Prince George bear no resemblance to those in other towns we have come though. These folks would be right at home in downtown Las Vegas. A sketchy bunch.

We tried to buy The Original Bug Shirt as the forecast for biting bugs west of here is grim. Alas, they are sold out.

Gas is 37 cents less a gallon way up here than it was near the border.

Saturday, July 8
The day broke cool. YEA! We have not had a cool morning in weeks. The high was 82. I felt better too.  
We tried to buy bug shirts, but they were sold out in Prince George.

We wondered if we would have a problem getting a site moving on a Saturday. It was not a problem at Beaumont PP on Lake Frazer. A huge lake, 20 miles long, but dwarfed by the adjacent Francois Lake, five times as large. It takes big lakes to hold all the snow melt.

We got a decent site, but none are on the water. I had thought we would finally put the kayaks in today, but due to the size of the lake it just did not look inviting. I am so difficult to please. 

We think Canadians RV more than American’s.

Bell Canada services Verizon here. You are limited to 500KB a day.

Sunday/Monday, July 9/10
As we approached Smithers we finally found some mountains. Some with snow. We parked for two days at Tyree Lake PP. Expensive for dry camping, $21, but the sites are large, level, private and manicured. Drycampimng is more in Canada, considering we we pay zilch in the US. But hookups are less in Canada.

We finally got the kayaks wet and had our first encounter with loons. Our colds continue to make us feel drained of energy. The hak-hak cough has been with us for over a week and I expect it will be two weeks before we shake it. So not feeling all that perky, we found a decent waterfall, that was only 15 minutes up a steep trail. I figured I had a 50/50 chance of catching the falls in the sun. I lost the wager. It was an eastward facing falls.




I missed some great shots of the Loons while figuring out why it would not focus. The macro focus switch has been flipped. Meanwhile, the loon was going bananas because Dorothy was so close. It would dive, surface, extend herself and flap her wings.

Tuesday/Wednesday, July 11/12
Parked on the Skinna River near Hazelton. A First Nations operated campground. The Indians here do not compare at all to the Plains Indians. The lands are communally owned but may be bought and sold to another tribal member. They want no assimilation. Things are going well for them. Nice homes. Educated. No junk cars in the yard. They are friendly, polite and speak British. Well, it sounds different to my ear than Canadian.


We were car touring and wound up on a dead end street. Dorothy was driving, so the turnaround was slow. One of the men got out of his car, greeted us and asked if he could help us find our way.  An hour later we heard a car horn. Dorothy thought she was being honked for going slow. Nope, the same guy, he wanted to make sure we had found our way.

Maybe the sun will pop out tomorrow and the clouds will lift off the mountains. Even better would be the damn cold goes away.