Sunday, May 28, 2006


Have spent the last 4 days in Glacier National Park in Montana. Weather has been pretty grim for most of it so we haven't got out and about as much as we'd hoped. Had one great afternoon when we rode out on the bike, then hiked out to a lake surrounded by snow capped mountains and several hanging waterfalls. The park as a whole is still largely closed. The 'Going to the Sun' road which travels 50 miles across the park east to west and crosses the continental divide at 6600ft is still closed because of snow and even when it's open it's not suitable for RV's (Although we could have used the bike!). Instead we drove the long way round to the east side of the park. Landscapes in the east and west sides of the park are dramtically different - completely different ecosytems and scenery so it was good to see both (what we could see anyway between the blanket of mist, rain and low-lying cloud!). On our way round we saw our first Grizzly Bear! Very exciting stuff and since we were in the RV felt completely safe. He was walking alongside the road so after we stopped we had a good look (before some twits in a car pulled up and got out to get closer to him - are they stupid or what?!) Just brilliant! This evening we've just pulled into Whitefish - a small town on the edge of the Rockies, looking for something to eat...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Nelson, Ainsworth Hot Springs & Creston

Spent a couple of nights in Nelson in the Kootenays. It's a small town of about 9300 people but quite hippy-ish and trendy. Lots of good pubs and cafes. Friday night we got tickets for a great show called the Cherry Bomb Burlesque. Just brilliant and so difficult to describe. Half dozen girls singing and dancing a huge range of material. Quite saucy, cheeky and hilarious but definately not too rude.

Went out on the bike for another long ride-out around the area. The added bonus of this area is that it's got lots of Hot Springs! We visited Ainsworth Hot Springs. Main pool was about 98 degrees! It also had some wicked caves. Surprisingly large and horseshoe shaped, the water was quite shallow in places and most people tended to just walk round them. The walls were smooth from all the mineral deposits and there were some ledges that you could sit on. The water in there was about 104 degrees which was really really nice!

Moved onto Creston on Saturday afternoon. This is our planned border crossing. Firstly though this weekend they have their 'Blossom Festival' so we decided to see what was on. As we were ordering pizza Saturday night I noticed a 10km run advertised for the following morning. Foolishly I showed it to Chris. Less than 12 hours later we were up bright and early and registered to do the run (how daft am I - should've kept my mouth shut). Actually though we both were very pleased with our achivements. Chris easily beat his previous time and I must've been running on turbo-fuel - Still can't quite believe it but beat my Sun Run time (less than a month ago) by 6 minutes!! Annilated my previous Personal Best from Cyprus days by over 2.5 minutes. Walked around the rest of the day chuckling to myself!

That afternoon we went to a street fair in downtown Creston. They had an old car show and a Chilli cook-off. This is a big thing over here, lots of competitions all over the country and all taken very seriously! Got to sample all the green chillis - nothing like chilli we've had before but delicious all the same! has lots of recipies and stuff!

Time to bid our goodbyes to British Columbia, Canada for the time being. Crossed the border into Idaho this afternoon. No problems at all - passed through very quickly and stopped the night no more than 10 miles south of the border at a Forest Services campground. As we drove into the site spotted a Moose! Had a campfire and a few glasses of wine to celebrate a new 6 months of adventure in USA!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Okanagan

It's hot, hot, hot here. Didn't really realise till we got to the area that it's so much warmer than Vancouver area. All week the temperatures have been in the 30's which is nice. Gorgeous weather and we've been out and about lots on the bike. Mostly visiting wineries - lots of them! And of course they all give tasters! Several have patio bistro/restaurants and we have tended to get suckered in to eating lunch while we're out which is great - wonderful food and of course the perfect wine to accompany it! And views to die for - overlooking the vineyards and the lake.

It's not all drinking (well, ok it pretty much is) Did do a long day's climbing at the Skaha Bluffs which were great - not too busy and again more great views of the lake. I have now pulled something in my shoulder so it did stop us going out for a second time. Yesterday we drove down south to near the border to a place called Osoyoos - it's desert country - in fact the most northerly part of the Sonora Desert and it's even hotter. I was out running this morning at 7.30 and was struggling - and I'm not getting up any earlier than that to avoid the heat - ooh good - any excuse to stop the exercise regime!!

We have had fun and games with a few on board stowaways - mice! Eaten us out of house and home (5 bags of nuts completely emptied out) We set a trap and heard the rustle but the bugger got away the first time, Chris got up to reset it and we sat in bed and waited - cheeky bugger just walked on by right in front of us! Still later that night we did awake to the sound of a snapping sound and - bam - one down...we're pretty sure there's at least another - either that Chris has taken to eating tortilla chips by delicately chewing through the packaging in the dead of night! Need to buy some more traps today...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

On the road again

Finally we have left Cultus Lake for good. Sad to have left but very excited to be back on the road. The weather is glorious and everything is great. Today we have driven 200 miles east to the interior of BC to an area called The Okanagan. It's famous for being BC's premier wine region, it has some top class climbing bluffs, beautiful lakes and orchards. It's also much warmer here in the interior. Right now it's a hot summer breeze blowing outside and we're just off to find a campsite for the night (have stopped briefly at a tourist info and wine centre to stock up on useful info!)

Friday, May 05, 2006


What a week this has been! We're just lovin' it (as McDonalds would say) The weather has been incredible all week and we've been so busy and done so much and have been surrounded by such outstanding scenery. Rather sad to be moving on. After a long winter in BC it seems such a shame to moving on just as it all gets good, but then there's so much more for us to see and do and we're looking forward to all that aswell.

We left Porteau Cove campground this morning and drove up the road to Murrin Lake Prov' park - site of some more top class Squamish rock climbing. The wall we climbed is right next to the park - check out Harvey in the background as Chris rappels down at the start of our day! Spent most of the day there which was great. Helped boost my confidence - the first time without an instructor at hand and actually I successfully climbed a higher graded pitch than before so I was rather pleased with myself.

Finished off the day at the cinema - new film out with Robin Williams called 'RV'. Bout him and his family taking an RV roadtrip - lots of disasters and mishaps. Very amusing but then we've become such spotters I can't neccessaily recommend it to all you 'normal people'!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Hiking the Chief

The Stawamus Chief is a rather large granite monolith towering over the town of Squamish - it's about 2000 feet high and that's a vertical height from it's surrounding area which is at sea level so you can imagine it's quite impressive. Outrageously popular with rock climbers we're not quite up for the challenge just yet so stuck with the 'easy' option of hiking up the back of it. Hah! The trail is only 2.5km but the elevation gain is lots! The trail isn't so much a trail - more just a boulder field with a few tree roots thrown in for good measure to trip you up and make things just a little more awkward and tricky-going. The views were outstanding and worth the trip. We lounged quite a while in the sun eating our lunch and getting harrassed by a pair of chipmunks desperate to nibble on our nuts! The trip down was even worse and even my knees were wibbling with the strain. To celebrate our 'achivement' we felt it neccessary to pop into the Howe Sound Brewpub (Again - that's about the 4th time in the last week - we're nearly regulars!) and admire the view of the Chief from the base - awesome!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Awesome bike ride-out

Have been staying in the most stunning campsite - Porteau Cove Prov' park on the sea to sky highway - halfway up to Whistler from Vancouver. It's one of the few access points into Howe Sound and has a fishing pier, excellent scuba diving (apparently - couple of ships and a manmade tire reef) and campsites that sit right on the edge of the rocky beach. We've had campfires each night and we get the sunset right before it disappears behind the distant Coast mountains - it's been such lovely weather too - 70's during the day and we feel the heat of the sun right until it disppears.

After our train ride we did a quick night in Vancouver and then blew $$$ on lots of lovely new climbing gear from the big outdoor co-op shop in Canada (MEC - great place!). Talk about taking the plunge - but then you can't climb unless you have the gear so I darn will enjoy this new sport! We came up to Porteau Cove last night.

Today (Wed) went on an awesome bike ride - lovely weather for it. 270 miles and my backside is utterly numb (give me a Ducati pillion ride anyday over the Buell!) From the campsite up the sea-to-sky highway passing through Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton and eventually Lillolet. A small town in the middle of nowhere - but had a great rest and lunch in a German(?) bakery in town. The scenery en route was incredible - pastureland, mountain passes, frozen lakes, snow-capped peaks, rugged ravines and valleys, brilliant blue glacial lakes and waterfalls - it had it all! Great twisty roads for burning off the chicken strips on the rear tires but we never went fast the scenery was too distracting.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Whistler Mountaineer Train

Enjoyed a wonderful lazy day today on the inaugural journey of the Whistler Mountaineer Train journey. From North Vancouver up to Whistler (obviously!) it took about 3 hours with breakfast served by some very nice attentive 'on board attendants'! We knew the train tracks followed along some spectular scenery as the road tends to follow the same route but it's even better when you're not driving yourself. First we passed through West Vancouver (now that's where we want to live - when we win the lottery!), then up along the Howe sound - the most southerly fjord in North America and since it's a Fjord the it's very dramatic scenery. We passed through Squamish - (checking out the previous days climbing spot!) and then through the Checkamus Canyon and on up to Whistler - snowy peaks wherever you looked. In Whistler we had time to stroll round the village and have a bite to eat before making the same journey in reverse. It was a great way to sit back and nurse our aching bodies with minimum effort required by us. Quite special as it was the inaugural journey for the company - everyone got special edition pins and some dodgey media attention which we tried to avoid!