1997 RV Trip to the Rockies
Back to Canada
Coquahalla Pass
Fort Steel
Yvonne in jail, Fort Steel
Rockies, near Banff
Emerald Lake
Freezing in Merritt
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We decided to go to the Rockies really late in the season, we had arrived back in Vancouver in late September, and after seeing a bit more of the area around Vancouver - and staying in Canada to experience our first Halloween, we left for the Rockies late in October. By now it was quite cold, especially for people like us who had never yet experienced a northern hemisphere winter, in addition, we were in a motorhome.

We knew the route from Maple Ridge to Hope well as we had already been there earlier in the year with my sister Charlotte and her husband, Peter. From there we decided to travel via the Coquahalla Pass, a very steep mountain pass on the Trans-Canada Highway. Thankfully our Ford powered motorhome had plenty power so we cruised up the mountain pass on the good road at a respectable speed with the speed cruise set to 60m.p.h. Our first stop was at Merritt, a small town between Vancouver and Kamloops. That night we froze - it was the coldest night we had experienced so far in the motorhome - and little did we know there would be plenty more such nights. That night we had ice on the windshield and no central heating, due to me being a little stupid. I thought the central heating did not work - I had tried it just after we had bought the motorhome in Miami, but because it was so hot there it did not start as the thermostat was set below the ambient temperature, so, mistakenly I assumed the heater did not work. After this freezing night we went in Merritt early the next morning and bought an electric heater. Later that afternoon I decided to 'play' with the temperature control unit on the central heating - voila!, it worked - so from that night on we had plenty heating and we were never really cold again - inside the motorhome, even when all our water pipes froze in Golden a few nights later.

We stopped at the Wal-Mart at Kamloops to stock up with groceries. By now we were shareholders in what we consider to be the best retail outlet in the world. The service, price and selection of goods they sell is legendary - we love them! The whole way through the 'states we had stopped at Wal-Mart's to stock up, occasionally we stayed overnight in their car park, with plenty other RV's as well.

We knew British Columbia had plenty lakes, but never did we expect to see just so much water, on our way to the Rockies. One of the most impressive is Shuiswap Lake, which had hundreds of house boats on the water and on the hard, ready for winter. On the right is a photo of Shuiswap showing the many houseboats still in the water.

Kicking Horse Pass was the next highlight. In freezing conditions, it was snowing heavily, we left the warmth of the motorhome to watch the longest train we have ever seen wind its way up this pass. The incline is so steep that inside the mountain the tunnel is built like a switchback, thus allowing the trains to get over the pass in a relatively short point-to-point distance. It was fascinating to see.

Emerald Lake was stunningly beautiful, the water was a clear turquoise colour and the snow on the mountains made the scene appear to be a real Kodak picture postcard moment. It was freezing, Yvonne is standing in the centre of the photo, she was so warmly dressed with so many layers of clothes she looked like the Michelin Man.

After leaving Banff we decided to go back to Vancouver using a different route, through Fort Steel, a fascinating old village which is now a museum. It even has a jail (prison), I locked Yvonne in the only cell.

The train museum at Cranbrook was very interesting, well worth visiting. A ferry trip across Kootenay Lake (which was free), was very pleasant.

We stayed in Osoyoos for a few days as we enjoyed being on the lake in a very good RV park with only 1 other RV in the park. By now, most RV parks were closed after the season so finding parks was getting quite difficult and as it was now very cold we wanted to be in a park to have power. Osoyoos was quite different, after the long trip down the mountain pass into this town we were astounded to see the difference in the vegetation. It was brown as opposed to the green one sees everywhere else. It was almost like we had entered a desert - it obviously has its own micro-climate. This photo was taken late in November, on the road out of Osoyoos towards Vancouver.

Although we did this trip in just over 5 weeks, to do it properly and at a leisurely pace, one could take at least 3 months to experience all that beautiful B.C. has to offer.