Friday, November 29, 2013

Kootenay Lake ~ SS Moyie ~ Kaslo, BC

We have visited Kaslo, BC several times in the past and have always enjoyed this lovely little village on the Kootenay Lake at the junction of Hwy 31 and 31A.   I have written about our previous visits in Kaslo, (you can click here to see more), but there is always more to see and enjoy.  Our visit today is a bit overcast but the sights of early snowcapped mountains are amazing to see.

Mt. Loki in Purcell Mountains 
The Vimy Park sits at the edge of town on the water and is also home to the Kaslo Municipal Campground for the RV’ers travelling this way.  The location is within walking distance to downtown and offers great views no matter where you are parked. Mt. Loki, (elev.2779 m. – 9117 ft) part of the Purcell Mountains was surrounded by clouds on our visit but offers a beautiful sight anyway. 
SS Moyie Steamboat and Museum in Kaslo, BC 
We’ve never had the tour of the SS Moyie before and today was going to be the day that we get to see the beautiful old passenger sternwheeler as she was in all her glory.  This National Historic site was first launched in Nelson, BC in 1898 and retired in 1957 after steaming the Kootenay Lake for all those years. 
Steering wheel of the SS Moyie, Kaslo, BC
The SS Moyie logged almost a million miles of travel and memories during that time, carrying generations of families making the Kootenay Lake area their home.  The legacy continued with families and workers, as well as soldiers from both world wars.  The story is told with photos and a video that are seen when you visit the visitor center nearby.
Trunks in storage in SS Moyie
The SS Moyie restoration was a volunteer project that took years of hard work to get to where she is now and restored to the Victorian design she originally had.  We enjoyed seeing the beauty of that era and have to marvel at the job well done by this small community of Kaslo in their accomplishments with this sternwheeler.  
Kaslo River follows Hwy 31A
We left town and followed Hwy 31A to see all the wildlife and beautiful scenic sights offered along this road that connects Kaslo and New Denver.  We’d last driven this section of highway pulling the RV, following the Kaslo River which travels about 48 km. (30 mi) to Kootenay Lake.  The Kaslo to Sandon Railway once made its’ way through here to deliver the silver mined in Sandon, in the Silvery Slocan area. There are many marked trails along this old railway trail.  Click here to see our recent visit to Sandon. 
Red-tailed hawk searching for prey
We’d been told there were all kinds of wildlife to be seen along this section of road but the only wildlife we did see was this hawk, circling overhead on one of our stops to enjoy the views.  We didn’t get to see what he was looking for but with water nearby, there is no doubt there were many little critters down there. 
Hwy 31A roadside 
We were able to see a small beaver dam on the river running through this area.  I don’t know the reason the water took on such a turquoise color in some spots but it sure did look pretty on this flat area among some trees.  The Kaslo River is fed by a lot of creeks running off both sides of the highway all through this area.  
Beaver lodge near Kaslo River
Another claim made was that we’d see the “biggest beaver lodges”.  Maybe that is true, this was a pretty big beaver home that looked like it had been there for awhile.  We didn’t see any of those hardworking beavers who are our Canadian national animal, but they tend to be nocturnal.  Signs of their work is more likely to be seen than they are. This was just not a day for wildlife viewing. 
Cloud shrouded Selkirk Mountains 
As much as this was not a day for wildlife viewing, we were not disappointed in the sights we did see and enjoy.  The day was chilly, not a typical early autumn day; the snow was not too far away, although that is not unusual for this time of year and we saw more beautiful snowcapped mountains.  We had a great day of sightseeing.

We’d now completed the ‘Silvery Slocan Circle Route’ and have seen the sites from New Denver, Sandon, Nelson to Kaslo and around on Hwy 31A almost back to New Denver. We have more Kootenay roads to cover and share from our travels in the Fall of 2013 as well as many from the past visits. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sandon ~ New Denver ~ West Kootenays, BC

Day 2 of our West Kootenay tour began with some blue sky and sunshine which was a lot prettier than our trip to Nakusp the day before.  After a breakfast at the hotel, we began our next adventure following Hwy 6, which will take us to the Sandon Ghost Town and into New Denver for a visit before we reach our final destination of the day in Nelson, BC.

Selkirk Mountains at Summit Lake, BC
Fresh snow means it is getting colder but it’s dressing up those mountains to look even better. We did stop at Summit Lake to take in the wonderful view with the welcome sun shining on us.  This is also an important breeding sight for the Western Toad.  There are times during the year that traffic will be stopped in order to protect them and let them cross the highway on their way to or from the lake to breed then return to their habitat; this happens three times a year. 
Klondike Silver is still occasionally used
We left Hwy 6 at New Denver and went up Hwy 31A to the ghost town of Sandon.  That town has a great history and one you can learn by visiting the museum there.  We had only planned to look around the one place that was open but we didn’t realize the museum has no heat, so much for warming up on a cold day! 
Silversmith Powerhouse, Sandon, BC
The fee into the museum included a tour done with photos. Andrew, the tour guide definitely gave us our money’s worth and shared lots of history about Sandon.  The town once had 5000 residents but now has only 12 who live here.  The Silversmith Powerhouse is the oldest operating hydro station in BC and supplies hydro to Sandon.   
Main Street Flume of Sandon, BC
 These are the remains of the wooden flume that channeled Carpenter Creek through town for almost 60 years.  The structure was covered by a wooden Main Street after the fire of 1900 but the flume survived many spring run-offs until a log-jam destroyed it in 1955.
Molly Brown's Brothel
 In the 1890’s, this was one of many bordellos in Sandon.  The history of this silver mining town would not be complete without acknowledging that these were a big business in those days.  This is being restored now and is a private home so no tour offered.  
Slocan Lake at New Denver, BC
I don’t recall the elevation of Sandon but it is high and it was darn chilly when we were there.  We soon headed back down to New Denver and spent more time at the peaceful looking Slocan Lake on the Mori Lakeside Trail.  It was not warm but was quite a change from the visit in rugged cold Sandon. 
Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, New Denver, BC
 The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre is dedicated to remember the 22,000 displaced persons during WW2.  12,000 of those were sent to internment camps in remote areas and this was one of those camps.  In 1992-1994 it became the memorial centre and has since been designated as a national historic site of Canada in 2007.  
Gardens of Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre
 We were one day late to visit the Nikkei centre as they closed for the season at the end of September but we were able to look inside the gates and feel the memories of the tragic events that created this camp.  
Kohan Reflection Garden, New Denver, BC
There is also the Kohan Reflection Gardens nearby on the lake and that is open all year. We walked around this peaceful area to enjoy the serenity offered in a Japanese garden.  The work is done by volunteers and reflects some of the history of the Japanese people. This is located adjacent to Centennial Park and the Municipal campground.

Our road trip continues.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Arrow Lakes ~ Nakusp, BC ~ Kootenays

We love rv’ing but that was not to be our mode of accommodations on this tour of the West Kootenays.  With one RV, four adults and the park we’d considered was closed for the season, motel-ing it was to be.  This worked out just fine for everyone but it also reminded us of how spoiled we are to have our own RV to live in on our other travels. 

Snow on Mt. Sproat of the Selkirks
 It was the end of September so we knew we could be facing some cooler temperatures.  I wouldn’t say we were prepared for snow but we were enjoying the scenery it created and the photo opportunities it offered.  The snow level was high enough and far enough away to think we’d not have to walk through it, which we didn’t.
Ferry crossing to Galena Bay, BC
Our first morning gave us lots of black clouds as we travelled Hwy1, stopping for lunch in 3 Valley Gap on one of their last days of the season.  Their heritage ghost town was closed so we carried on Hwy 23 from Revelstoke to ride the ferry from Shelter Bay over to Galena Bay
Clouds over Upper Arrow Lake, BC
The ferry ride is free and leaves Shelter Bay every hour on the hour with more rides added during tourist season for this 20 minute trip.  The ferry departs on the half hour from the Galena Bay side. The view today is rather limited due to the dark clouds but it also makes for some wild looking skies.  As much as I love blue sky and sunshine, this adds a different twist to the scenery. 
Ione Falls at rest area on Hwy 23
Once we arrived onto the Galena Bay side of the lake, Hwy 23 continues and follows the Upper Arrow Lake.  We stopped at the Ione Rest Area for a look at the 60’ Ione Falls that is at the back of the park. It is a small park and unless you know the waterfall is there, it can easily be missed as you drive by. 
Nakusp Promenade on Upper Arrow Lake
The town of Nakusp is the first overnight stay of our Kootenay trip.  We checked in then headed down to the waterfront.  The promenade follows along the entire length of the town with a sandy beach at the Nakusp Recreation Park at one end and the marina at the other end with sights to enjoy in between. 
Arrow Lake and Nakusp, BC
We had visited Nakusp before and I was anxious to share the beauty of this view of the lake before the threatening rainfall began. It was a cool late afternoon but the view was worth it. There are homes that line the edge of the park that runs along this waterfront and we marveled at this incredible view that they could enjoy every moment of the day. 
Red foot bridge leads us into the Japanese Gardens
Japanese Gardens in Nakusp, BC
There is a very long Japanese history in the area and that has been honored with a Japanese Garden overlooking the lake.  We spent some time in there as we made our way along the promenade. 
Spicer Gardens in Nakusp, BC
Although fall brings a slow end to a garden season, there were some pretty blooms to enjoy under the pergola of the Spicer Garden along the promenade at Nakusp.  We stopped to enjoy some of the blooms we saw there. 
"Deepening Peace" by Toru Fujibayashi of Nakusp, BC
We stopped to enjoy this sculpture but it had no name on it.  I found another sculpture the following day by Toru Fujibayashi and it was through some research on this artist that I learned that this sculpture, “Deepening Peace” was his and that it had been dedicated only the day before our arrival.  I’m sure it will soon have a plaque to name the talented artist and the name of the sculpture.

We finished our promenade walk without rain and although we didn’t take in any of the other Nakusp sights or activities, there are plenty to enjoy and the natural hot springs would be the biggest draw of this day but the heli-skiing will be happening soon, too and they say it is the best! 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Balboa Park ~ San Diego ~ California

Balboa Park is in the heart of San Diego and is so rich in architectural design that you might think you are on another continent!  The beautiful buildings are all around us on this lovely sunny day and I am enjoying the gorgeous details of each one of them.

The buildings are a beautiful sight
The streets of Balboa Park, San Diego,CA
Balboa Park is one of the top attractions in San Diego and that will be of no surprise when you see all that it has to offer.  There are over 1200 acres known as one of the nation’s best parks and it is full of beautiful buildings, green spaces, gardens, fountains; the list goes on and on. 
The details are endless in this design
Facade of Spanish-Renaissance designs in Balboa Park
The development of the park began in 1868 as a city park with improvements done over time but it was when San Diego was to host the Panama-California Expo of 1915-1916 that many more changes happened as well as the renaming it to Balboa Park.  
The Promenade connects several of the museums and studios
The Pomenade in Balboa Park
More buildings were added for the California-Pacific International Expo of 1935-1936 and most of those buildings are still standing today, some damage had been done by fire to others.  The Spanish-Renaissance style is the beautiful architecture you will see and this was the first time it was used in the U. S.  The details are incredible. 
The Lily Pond is one of two in front of the Botanical Building
The Botanical Building and Lily Pond
The Botanical Building was originally meant to be a train station for the Santa Fe Railroad but the iron skeleton was purchased by the Expo and then assembled here to house the botanicals.  There are over 500 species of tropical and subtropical plants as well as seasonal flowers on display.  
Water lilies are blooming amid the reflections on the pond
Reflections and water lilies
The Lily Ponds were used as a rehab swimming pool during WW2 by patients of the Balboa Naval Hospital when some of these facilities became used by the hospital.  400 beds were placed in the San Diego Museum of Art and the nearby House of Hospitality became a dorm for nurses.
Artwork can be found throughout the park, framed by the towering California Building and Tower
The California Building and Tower
The California Building and Tower stand out above the crowd.  They were built for the 1915 Expo and it is home to the Museum of Man.  The tile work on the tower may draw your attention to the bell tower where inside there is a 100 bell symphonic carillon that plays Westminster chimes that are absolutely beautiful to listen to.  The bells operate automatically every fifteen minutes.
The California Building houses the Museum of Man
Museum of Man in the California Building
There is no shortage of beautiful sights to enjoy no matter what your tastes dictate.  The culture offered is so varied with music, art, history and culture. There are over fifteen museums in Balboa Park as well as theatres, meeting rooms, performing arts venues, artist’s galleries as well as the San Diego Zoo. 
A close-up of the details of the architecture
Architectural details and the hawk of California Building
There is so much to see that you will definitely need more than one day to see all that this beautiful park has to offer.  Note the details in this architecture, and the hawk that we watched as he helped himself to someone else’s nest.  We were happy to see in the closer inspection of the photos as he flew away that all he got was dried grass.
The stage and design of the Pavillion that houses the organ
The Spreckels Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park
The Spreckels Organ Pavillion is one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs.  It was disappointing that we wouldn’t be able to see a performance here and we can only imagine what the pipe organ actually looks like behind that wall on stage.  
The tram circles the Balboa Park Plaza
The Tram in Balboa Park Plaza
The admittance to this park is free as well as the tram ride but there is a cost to visit the museums and other shows and facilities here.  All of our time here was free and we got to see so much.  It would take another visit and another time to see the attractions that we missed this time.
Some of the flowers and a fountain found in Balboa Park
Flowers and fountains in Balboa Park
There are several restaurants within Balboa Park or you may want to take a picnic to enjoy one of their many grassy areas within the park. They’ve recently set up tables with umbrellas for anyone to sit and enjoy the Balboa Park Plaza, which until recently was filled with cars. There are several free concerts throughout the summer time that would make great evenings of entertainment.   

The parking is also free at Balboa Park and there are several parking areas.  Check out a map before going if you’re driving to be close to the area of the park you wish to visit. It is a large park! 
My suggestion is if you visit San Diego, be sure to set aside some time to visit Balboa Park and spend some time to enjoy all that it offers.  The San Diego Zoo is there, too. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Point Loma ~ Sunset Cliffs ~ San Diego, CA

Point Loma is said to have the best sunset views so that was on our evening visit list. We had no real knowledge about Point Loma but a great sunset is always worth hunting down. A city map is always a great thing to have when visiting a new city and we’ve put ours to good use. We set out for our early evening drive to find the best sunset!
The San Diego Bay looking towards Point Loma
Three harbour patrol boats on San Diego Bay
Point Loma, which is a Spanish word for “the hill” is on the peninsula that separates San Diego from the Pacific Ocean.  This seaside community, seen here across the San Diego Bay, basically fills the whole peninsula but our focus was to drive to the southern tip for that sunset.  

Green and rocky point beyond the gate to Cabillo Memorial
Cabrillo Memorial on Point Loma, CA
We soon learn that we are not going to get to that point, which is the home of the Cabrillo National Monument on a Federal Reservation as the gate has closed for the night.  This point is historically important as it was where the first European expedition came ashore in 1542. It was disappointing to learn this too late to visit, but it is definitely on the list for our next visit to San Diego, it sounds like a must-see.

A windblown tree stands guard over the cemetery overlooking the San Diego Bay
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on Point Loma, CA
What an unexpected yet incredible sight we see as we drive along Catalina Boulevard.  This cemetery was established in 1882 and was renamed to be the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in 1934.  It covers over 77 acres along both sides of this drive.  There are over 100,000 graves of eligible veterans and their family members.

Rows and rows of white headstones show the final resting places of thousands of veterans
Thousands of headstones in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Point Loma now houses two military bases, a national monument as well as this national cemetery out on the point.  The community also has a university as well as residential and commercial neighborhoods. We brought out the trusty map and drove from here through the seaside town to find another spot to enjoy the sunset.

The rocky cliffs can be seen as the waves crash along the shoreline
Sunset Cliffs on Point Loma, San Diego, CA
We would miss the sunset if we didn’t get moving so no time was wasted to find another location. Sunset Cliffs was a great find! A full parking lot is usually a good sign that we’ve found a popular spot but a smart one for a sunset, too. The name tells it all!

The setting sun casts a warm glow on the cliffs of Point Loma
The evening sun on Sunset Cliffs
We could look to the north or to the south and see the Sunset Cliffs as a nice warm glow and the waves of the Pacific Ocean splash up against the rock; what a great way to end our day of sightseeing. We watch with several others who have come here to enjoy the last few minutes of the day.  
Pelicans can be seen flying over the horizon
Pelicans fly over the Pacific at Point Loma, CA
We saw a flock of pelicans make their way past our viewpoint.  They formed a single file line and quietly flew by.  They were the brown pelicans that we’d seen in other areas on our travels, not the beautiful white ones we’d seen recently seen at the Salton Sea.  I am a pelican fan, they follow penguins, my number one favorite bird.  Trouble is, penguins just never fly by!  I digress, back to the sunset!

Visitors stand at the water's edge to enjoy the last of the sun
Visitors enjoying the setting sun
There were several people down on the lower level where the waves were splashing against the rocks, but we chose to stay up top and enjoy the view from here.  The sun was casting an orange glow on the rocky banks of the Sunset Cliffs.

A boat travels across the horizon under the setting sun
Setting sun in San Diego, CA
The clouds were laying over the horizon but that gave us some great views, with the evening sun burning through giving the reflections on the water.  It was a great sunset and a perfect way to end this wonderful day in San Diego.

See more of the San Diego Bay when you click here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dave's Goat Walk ~ The Log Barn 1912 ~ Armstrong, BC

We recently stayed in Armstrong, BC at the Royal York RV park while in town for a weekend watching our grandson’s lacrosse tournament.  As tournaments will go, we had time to do some local sightseeing and decided to go out to the Log Barn and visit the goats.  If you’ve ever driven the beautiful green valleys following Hwy 97A between Salmon Arm and Armstrong, you will likely have seen it.  We've driven by but never stopped to check it out.  Today we did.

This multi-attraction includes a fruit stand
The Log Barn 1912 ~ Armstrong, BC
What began as a small family fruit stand has stood the test of time and grown to be a very interesting place to spend some time at and wander at your leisure.  The Log Barn 1912 offers a very wide spectrum of attractions which almost makes it hard to label.  The name doesn’t tell the whole story so a visit is a must.
The dinosaurs greet  you as you enter the yard for the Log Barn 1912
Entrance to Log Barn 1912 on Hwy 97A
The Log Barn 1912 has a great selection of special Mennonite sausage, cheese, pies, jams, jellies and the aroma as you enter the barn will definitely catch your interest.  They have tables to sit at and enjoy some of their home baking.  The fruit also looked yummy and their gift shop offers several interesting things.
There are a wide variety of animal ornaments to greet one on this visit.
Dinosaurs, Giraffe and ships
There are so many different things of interest that I am sure all ages will find something to enjoy, whether it is the antique buggies and equipment scattered around the yard or the dinosaurs and other large animals, young and old will want to spend some time here.
The goats enjoy their viewpoint
A resident goat on Dave's goat walk
The big attraction may be Dave’s Goat Walk.  This was built so that it allows the goats to walk up a wooden walkway to the top and then roll the wheels to bring up the treats that visitors put into the cups at the bottom.  
Goat gets his own treat by spinning the cup up.
Goat lifts his treat up by turning the wheel
This fellow used his foot to move the wheel so that it brought the cupful of treats up to him, and he was pretty busy there when several visitors were refilling the empty cup on its return at the bottom.  It was hard to see exactly all that the goats would do to make this happen but they certainly seem to have figured out.
The goat knows how to turn the wheel to bring up his treat in the cup
Goat turns wheel with his chin to get his treat
This goat seemed to dominate the goat walk while we were there. He is one of the bigger ones and he sure did appear to take this work seriously. I am not very familiar with goats’ behaviour but I think this one is the boss.

The goats wait their turn getting up the walk
They line up for their turn at the wheel
There does seem to be some protocol among the goats.  These ones were patiently waiting for their turn to go up the walk.  They stood here for quite a long time while we were there, and just watched what was going on around them, knowing that if they’re patient, they may just get a chance to get to the top of the walkway.

These goats had a short stay at the wheel before the big goat returns
Their turn is over and they scurry down the goat walk
When their opportunity came, they scooted up there and hoped to get some treats but competition was strong, their time was limited, and before long, the ‘boss’ was coming back across and they wasted no time in scurrying back down the path!   It was pretty funny to watch and I would have liked to hear their dialogue!        

This appears to be a pregnant pygmy goat
Watchful eye of the goat
The gate is there for everyone to go inside their pen and pet the goats.  They enjoy the company, especially if you have treats in your hand.  The goats will even check out your pockets, so be prepared for their attention, which could be a bit scary for the little visitors.

The goats in the pen are waiting to receive their treats
Goats clamour at fence for treats
There is a dispenser to buy goats feed for 25 cents and these goats are well aware of that when people gather at their fence.  They are ready for any and all treats that their visitors might offer them, and the biggest goats win.

This goat is relaxed and enjoying the warm sun
The smile of a happy goat
I found this one lying away from the crowd and soaking up the sun, face lifted up to get all those rays and I do believe she even had a smile as she seemingly posed for this photo.  I think I see some signs of aging on that face which may mean there is wisdom behind that smile that may even explain why she seems oblivious to anything but the warmth of that sun, it does feel good.

Visitors are welcome Monday through Saturday from 7am to dusk all year and on Sundays, as well, during the months of June, July and August.


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