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Once again, the nightmare of a wildfire descended on the central Okanagan, reminding us of the horrendous 2003 wildfire that forced the evacuation of almost 28,000 people and destroyed 239 homes. This time though, the fire was very literally around the bend from us in Trader’s Cove, a small neighbourhood just north of us, overlooking the log booming grounds right beside the park. The fire was just behind a ridge, but just meters from houses.

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This time though, we took advantage of our location and retirement lifestyle to grab our chairs and become onlookers as the aerial battle began.

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At first, it was just a helicopter bucketing water from the lake and dropping it near the fire-fighters on the ground.

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It didn’t take long for the small water-bombers to show up.

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7249Watching the three fly down to skim the water and then zoom up to drop their loads was a fascinating show, as these pilots follow each other in quick succession. Look how close they get to each other!

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We know the homeowners were unsettled, but the speed and intensity of the firefighting response must have been comforting. Eventually, the bombers pulled back, but the helicopter continued for some time, and the on-the-ground crew stayed on overnight. No homes were lost, and the news reported that the fire was caused by an unattended campfire, left by someone who was rough-camping up the hill. They left their tent and possessions behind and as far as we know, they never did identify themselves, likely because of the criminal charges and the cost of the firefight that they would have to face.

Stay tuned…

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Many of our friends have heard us express dismay at the lack of decent RV parks in the Okanagan. Thus, we began our search for a place to park our home this summer back in January, and finally managed to secure a spot at a new park in West Kelowna, Raven’s Nest RV Park, which was just being built last fall as we left. When we rolled in, we were a bit disappointed that the whole ‘park’ was nothing but paved roads, gravel and a framed but unfinished washroom/laundry facility. The sites are actually quite narrow and the majority of tenants appear to be lower-income and living in RVs that have become permanent homes.

We sighed, and set up our site, since there are actually no affordable alternatives in the central Okanagan, due to the short, very lucrative, tourist season. For example, our two neighbours, including the small motorhome, are set up permanently.

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2910We did our best to make the most of what we had, but it was still cramped.

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After two months in the gravel pit (as we called it), we were visiting our good friends of Maxx Trails fame in their new location as Park Hosts at Bear Creek Provincial Park. They walked us down to another site that they said was open, since the Relief Park Host who had been there, had moved on. With their encouragement, we applied for the job and to our delight, were invited to live in one of the most beautiful campgrounds in the Okanagan! We moved the following day!

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What a difference! Green trees, a lake and burbling creek, lots of trails, shade from the hot Okanagan sun… and full hookups, all for performing 30 volunteer hours per week picking up litter (which we always do anyway) and sorting the returnable beverage containers.

We are in heaven! Watch for more posts as we enjoy the park, the wildlife and the lake.

Stay tuned…


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Back On The Road

We had two nights at home and left early in the morning for our trip to the Edmonton area to visit our youngest, his fiancé and admire their new home. We stayed a night in Canmore, having learned last year that we’re too wise (old?) to make the drive in one day. Of course, since we drove through several mountain ranges, the scenery was spectacular, even if the weather didn’t always cooperate.

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5943We were fortunate to see some elk in Banff National Park on our way to Canmore, a lovely small town just on the eastern edge of the park.

5158Canmore is definitely tourism oriented, surrounded by the spectacular Rocky Mountains and home to some interesting public art.

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4344Interestingly, Murphy was originally reluctant to approach the grizzly, but eventually tried to get it to play.

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We thoroughly enjoyed the drive and the visit, and were delighted to spend some time with old friends, who happen to be cousins, on our way back.

Kelowna to Edmonton

Arriving home once again, Navigator pointed out that, of the last 15 days, we had spent six of them sitting in the car. No wonder we were sore and stiff!

Stay tuned…

 


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It’s Been a While…..

It’s been about ten weeks since we last posted an update, and we’d thought that it was simply because we weren’t doing much that our readers would find interesting. However, looking through the photos today, we can mention a couple of items.

However, we also did some travelling. Shortly after our return to the Okanagan, we had a call from great friends on Vancouver Island, inviting us down to help to help build a new deck on their cabin. It’s a beautiful place and they’re a lot of fun, so we jumped in the car and headed across (Chauffeur loves the ferry trip!), arriving just in time to pack up and travel to the lake.

West Kelowna to Horne Lake

Even in rain, it’s beautiful!

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4811Luckily, once we started to work, the weather improved.

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4016We were even blessed with a rainbow!

0441We had a great time, worked our bums off, ate great food and with all the fresh air and exercise, slept like babies.

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5632Sadly, we had to get home since we were leaving the following day for a trip to Edmonton, Alberta.

Stay tuned…

 


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Closer and Closer…and HOME!

While enjoying our time in Chelan in the Okanogan (the American spelling) Valley, we are so close to the Canadian side and home, with family and friends to see again we decided to move a bit further north to the border town of Oroville for two more days. The morning we left Chelan, Murphy once again positioned herself for the all-important watch for the killer squirrels…

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She got so involved in her duties that we just had to let her outside for last one walk. She amazed us once again with her speed as she darn near caught one, and those things are FAST!

Chelan to Oroville

We’d always driven right through the town of Oroville, stopping only to eat at Trino’s, our favourite Mexican restaurant. This time, we decided to spend a couple of nights boondocking at Blue Lake, a Washington State Forest and Wildlife site we found on www.FreeCampsites.net.

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Blue Lake – Picture from Washington State Forest and Wildlife

 

While no RVers had reviewed the spot, the state’s website showed a nice lake nestled in the hills just a few kilometres from town. What could be better?

Unfortunately, none of our research prepared us for the road. Climbing steadily from the Similkameen River through vineyards and orchards, we gained 229 m (752 ft) in just a few kilometers, climbing a 10-12% grade. And, once we got to the top of twisty, winding road (the reason we ignored the “Trailers not Recommended” sign), we found there was no level place to park. Worse, and to Navigator’s horror, the lake was still frozen! We turned around and came back down to River Oak RV Park, located right on the Similkameen River.

We explored the town a bit and sadly, learned that Trino’s was closed for the winter. However, we did walk the riverside trail that turned out to be part of the Pacific Northwest Trail, which stretches 1930 km (1200 miles) from the Pacific Ocean on the Olympic Peninsula to the Canada-USA border crossing east of Glacier National Park in Alberta/Montana.

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Unfortunately, the weather was cool and damp, but we’re hoping for some nice Okanagan sunshine by the time we cross the border for our next RV park in West Kelowna.

We crossed the border on March 29th and headed for Raven’s Nest RV Park in West Kelowna and here we are!  Home at last.

 

Oroville to Kelowna

We will be posting sporadically as we do and find interesting things to tell you about.  Have a great summer everyone!

Stay tuned…


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Chelan, the Little Town on the Big Lake

We dry-camped at a casino in Yakima, Washington, the headed north in rain, low cloud and mist to Chelan.

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Yakima to Chelan

We’ve often travelled through this area, with the exception of one night while on a motorcycle trip, but many friends have told us how nice it is. Since the weekend forecast was favourable, we decided to book three nights at the city-owned RV Park right on Lake Chelan and within walking distance to downtown. What a great idea that was!

We ended up with our big rear picture window looking at an unobstructed view of the park, lake and mountains.

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Lake Chelan is a natural lake which was dammed in 1927, adding another 21 feet to its highest level. It’s pretty big; 81.3 km (50.5 miles) long, with a maximum depth of 453 m (1,486 feet). In fact, its deepest point is 118 m (388 feet) below sea level. It’s the third deepest in US, and the 28th deepest in the world. To compare, Lake Okanagan is 135 km long and 232 m deep.

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The lake level varies greatly between spring and fall, as we learned on our first morning walk and found a swimming ‘pool’ sitting high and dry and the docks of a marina suspended in air.

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It’s so easy to build a breakwater when you can walk to it, or laying concrete for a new boat launch….

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The city’s old downtown is cute but small, with public art on many corners.

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Murphy is not too sure about this cat.

 

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The town also has some good ideas about helping pedestrians.

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We were particularly impressed with their idea for helping pedestrians cross the street without investing in a costly traffic light.

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There are also increasing signs of spring. We were awakened by the calls of the robins, and more flowers are appearing.

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We leave on Monday to dry-camp for a couple of days and then we will cross into British Columbia on Wednesday.

Stay tuned…


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Walking Around (the) Bend

This is the second time we’ve visited Bend, and both times the weather has been chilly. Regardless, we decided to venture out for a drive, and began with a short trip to the nearby town of Sisters. We’d heard it was an artsy type of place filled with galleries and street art. Unfortunately, it was so chilly we simply drove through and although we didn’t take any pictures, we saw enough to entice us back. Plus, there’s a cute little RV park right downtown!

By the time we’d returned to Bend, the weather had improved slightly so we decided to visit the Old Mill District, which is a glitzy new riverfront commercial area developed where there were once only sawmills and associated industries.

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Along the way, Navigator delighted to spot some signs of spring…

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We’re hoping these signs continue to appear as we head north to our next stop in Lake Chelan, Washington.

Stay tuned…