Monday, September 17, 2018

Crofton ~ Cowichan Valley ~ BC

Crofton, BC is a small seaside town hidden from the busy highway traffic on Vancouver Island.  This allows for a quiet picturesque place that we’ve enjoyed in the past as well as again this summer.  Work brought us here in 1999 and we parked our RV at Osborne Bay RV Park then and here we are again to see our grandson play lacrosse in the BC Summer Games being held in the Cowichan Valley!  The park hasn’t changed but the most amazing thing was that we were still in their computer system!

Ferry at Osborne Bay, BC
We had a great view of the BC ferry docks from our RV spot, and were able to watch it come and go to Salt Spring Island.  Previous to 1955, this ferry dock was a smelter wharf and also used for shipping logs out of the area before becoming the dock for BC Ferries.

Shoreline on Osborne Bay
The RV Park sits right on the water of Osborne Bay, which can be seen to have black sand.  This was said to be due to the residue left over from the smelter which was founded in 1902.  This smelter closed in 1908 and Crofton became a dying town until the railway was brought in by the early 1930’s and that was when the Osborne Bay Wharf was originally built.  The town of Crofton is now the site of a pulp and paper mill which opened in 1957 and continues today.

Crofton Community Seawalk
Crofton celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2002 with the completion of phase one of the seawalk.  The Crofton Community Centre Society had planned this project for quite some time and by 2014, all three phases, a distance of over one kilometre, had been completed.  It makes for a great walk and is used by many.

Museum at Crofton, BC
The museum borders the little park that sits overlooking the water.  It was the original school that was built in 1905 and used until a new one was built in 1950 and it became an annex to that school.  In 1985 it was moved down the hill to this location where it was restored and became the museum.  I spent some time in there talking with a very interesting volunteer.  He was not a local pioneer but had been here a long while and knew his history.

Saltspring Island
The ferry terminal being in Crofton, continues to attract a lot of tourists on their way to Saltspring Island with some staying to enjoy time in Crofton, also.  This ferry will cross over to the village of Vesuvius, a twenty minute ride.  We went for a great fish and chip dinner at the busy restaurant over there.  On these beautiful days, we are able to see this location from our RV Park.

Osborne Bay RV Park
We are crossing the Southern Stuart Channel heading back over to Crofton on the ferry.  This channel was named after Captain Charles Stuart who was in charge of the Hudson’s Bay Co. post in Nanaimo in the mid 1800’s.  We can see the Osborne Bay RV Park, our home for the week and the spit which offers moorage for boats of the guests. 

Maple Bay
We sure did time our visit nicely for weather, summers are beautiful on Vancouver Island, .  We took several drives on the country roads leading us down to the water and so many marinas.  This is Maple Bay, just south of Osborne Bay on the Stuart Channel, too.  We ran out of time for seeing them all but there could be another visit in the future.

Genoa Bay
Genoa Bay was at the end of this road and the home of so many large boats, boat garages, and several floating homes.  The marina includes a cafĂ© with a very great sounding menu with local seafood that make ones mouth water just thinking about it.  Genoa Bay feels like the kind of place one would want to spend time in if you were a boater or sailor.

Cowichan River

We drove out to Cowichan Bay and Youbou to see their sights.  There weren’t too many opportunities to see the water, with homes and trees along most of the water.  On our way we saw a sign showing there was the Skutz Falls on the Cowichan River so we decided to include that on our tour.  We did take the long way around, signage not the best but finally found the parking lot and walked across the bridge and saw some sunbathers floating down the slight slope of ‘falls’. Research after our visit says there is a fish ladder beside Skutz Falls so it turns out that we weren’t looking at the Falls at all, and in my disappointment I thought it was just low water issues! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Fort Langley to Webster's Corners, BC

A visit to the picturesque town of Fort Langley is like a flashback in time.  It is the home of the Fort Langley National Historical Site and the buildings are of historic heritage.  New ones must also build to those qualifications.  

Fort Langley storefronts
The Hudson Bay Company established a fur trading post near this location and was the first to bring business here.  By 1830, it had become a major export port.  The destination for the salted salmon in barrels made from Douglas Fir, plus cedar lumber and shingles was the Hawaiian Islands.

Fort Langley Historic Site of Railroad Station
The Fort Langley Railroad station is at the heart of the town and is the home of the museum and a gift store.  It also has a rail car and caboose that can be visited.  The volunteers of the Langley Heritage Society put a lot of time restoring and managing this historic site and that shows with the lovely grounds and displays that are seen.

Gasoline Alley
There is no lack of independent businesses with eighty of them lining the tree lined streets.  There is such a variety to choose from, unique stores as well as services and restaurants.  No chain stores are to be found in Fort Langley.

Tree lined Glover Road
A major sawmill opened in 1921 and it pulled the area out of a very long struggle with years of the threat of invasions, Gold Rush days and the arrival of the railway early twentieth century that removed the jobs of the port.   These Horse Chestnut trees were planted along Glover Rd., the main entrance to Fort Langley in 1921 and still stand strong and welcoming after nearly 100 years.

Community Hall and Library
The Fort Langley Women’s Institute founded the Fort Langley Community Improvement Society in 1924 in order to build their Community Center.  This grand building was completed in 1932 as the Community Hall and is well used to this day.  It has been featured in several film and television series.

Stately home of history
I wasn’t able to learn any history about this building which is home to a business now, but it is very stately looking and I could not resist showing this beauty.  It would likely have been the home of one of the wealthier families in the town!

Bedford Channel at Fort Langley
The Bedford Channel separates the mainland from McMillan Island, which is accessible by the Jacob Haldi Bridge from Fort Langley.  We started over hoping to see the old ferry terminal that would take passengers to Albion on the other side of the Fraser River, but hadn’t realized that it was no longer accessible since the opening of the Golden Ears Bridge in 2009.

Albion Ferry Landing
We then crossed over the Golden Ears Bridge to find the museum of Maple Ridge.  A lot of the Webster family history is recorded here but not accessible to us without an appointment so after a short tour of the museum, we went onto find Albion, another family connection.  It is now a very industrial area as well as a Fisheries and Oceans branch. 

Webster's Corners School
Webster’s Corners was named after the pioneer James Webster who is Keith’s great grandfather.  There is very little to mark the corner on Dewdney Trunk or the history that would come with it other than the school built on the corner that carries that name.

Mt. Baker
I have a hard time bypassing snow covered mountains without taking several photos.  This is Mt. Baker, which sits just across the border into Washington State and can be seen in the distance in the photo taken at the old Albion Ferry landing.

Monday, August 27, 2018

BC Highways ~ Merritt ~ Hope Princeton

We are on the road again.  We have several plans ahead of us, the first one beginning with a trip on roads not travelled for years and we’re looking forward to seeing unfamiliar beautiful BC scenery.

Merritt Highway
We begin on a more familiar road between Kamloops and Merritt, less hills to climb than the Coquihalla and great scenery to view.  This takes place the beginning of July, before we were having to deal with any forest fires bringing smoke to the area.

Flooding of Stump Lake
Between the spring runoff of winter snow and the rainy times we’ve had so far, the lake is still very high and actually seeps across the highway nearby, I missed that shot.  Picnic tables at lakeside ahead are well under water but it won’t be long and all will be different.  The water level will recede and it will be as good as ever.

History in a barn
Once we reach Merritt we follow the Coquihalla Connector to 5A South and now we are on those very unfamiliar roads.  If memory can be trusted, we believe it was 1966 we last used this road.  This barn may not even have been built at that time, it was so long ago!! We were driving a truck and not a covered wagon, though.  LOL  I cannot resist taking photos of old barns, buildings and fences.  The scenery is lovely and green at Aspen Grove.

Allison Lake
We pass Allison Lake which sits roadside in the narrow valley.  We are enjoying these sights before we arrive at the remains of a big forest fire here which prevented us from the visit we’d planned for Tulameen last year.  Such a shame to see those sights and all losses and tragedies due to them.

Similiameen River
We’ve spent a few days at Tulameen and are now once again on the road for the next leg of our summer adventure.  We have now passed Princeton, which is a very nice little town, after a brief stop for fuel.  As is typical for summer trips, road construction briefly holds us up but we soon carry on alongside the Simlkameen River.

Similkameen Valley
The valley opens up and we see green hills and blue skies ahead.  The traffic appears fairly light until we meet up with more construction traffic but it’s a nice day for the drive.  This was part of the gold rush era and village of Blackfoot was established nearby for those coming to make lots of money.  It didn’t last long as it was a fairly minor gold rush in 1860.

Manning Provincial Park
The Hope Princeton Highway passes through Manning Park, one of many provincial parks in BC.  It was named in the memory of Ernest Manning, the Chief Forester of BC 1936-1941 when he died in a plane accident.  He was part of the teamwork responsible for establishing several provincial parks in BC.

Rugged mountains
 I found this story too interesting to ignore.  Persistence pays.  Quoted from Wikipedia.

“Six years after being one of the original participants on the Similkameen Rush, "Jackass John" returned from prospecting in Montana and the Kootenays. He mined on the same spot where he had made $40 in two days during the original rush and in fourteen days had taken $900. He enlisted three friends and worked the mine; historian H.H. Bancroft notes that the four partners sluiced $240 in three days.”

The Hope Slide

The Hope Slide on Johnson Ridge of the Cascade Mountains occurred in January 1965 and was the second largest landslide ever recorded in Canada.  Two slight earthquakes registered hours previous to the slide discovery but are not given total credit for the slide.  The slide did push mud and water from Outram Lake, just below it, with such force against the other side of the valley that it registered “seismic signatures interpreted as earthquakes”.  Sadly four lives were lost and only two of those were recovered.

Aside from the history of the Hope Slide that took lives and left a very ugly scar on the mountainside, the Hope Princeton drive is very pretty and the roads were good, too. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tulameen~Coalmont, BC

We had planned on spending a few days in Tulameen last summer but the forest fires were close so we decided we would wait for another year.  This year the plan was made and anyone we spoke to about going had only good words to say about Tulameen.  We were excited to meet up with our friends there and enjoy our stay.

Tulameen River
We passed through some very pretty scenery, still lots of green in the surrounding hills and no fires in the area.  It had been many years since we had travelled on this stretch of highway so all sights were new.  We leave the main road at Princeton and head up to Tulameen.

Tulameen Valley
The drive to Tulameen was pretty, at least from a passengers viewpoint.  We were making our way on some narrow roads high above the Tulameen River but with not a lot of traffic and paved all the way, an easy drive, as long as the driver keeps his eyes on the road! lol 

Coalmont Welcome Signs
Coalmont was the first sign of a settlement and whoever paints their signs has a good sense of humor.  There were a few of them that caught my eye. 

Downtown Coalmont
 I am not sure what this small group is about but the Post Office, moved here from another sight, no longer has the ‘Post’ but is an office.

Historic Coalmont Hotel
The old Coalmont Hotel would have some very interesting stories to tell if she could talk.  Coalmont was established in 1911 at the end of the Granite Creek gold rush and with the mountain of coal bringing many.  The population in Canada at that time was 7 million and 103 of them lived here.  There were still 100 residents in 2011 for their Centennial year when there were now 34 million in Canada.  The little town of Coalmont just wouldn’t die.

The Last Resort
There is a provincial park at Tulameen, very well used but we chose the Last Resort RV Park.  It is small but a nice spot not far from the Otter Lake, basically in the town area and with very hospitable hosts.  We had some chilly windy hours but most of our stay was warm and we had a great time.

Otter Lake
Otter Lake is quite a good size about 6 km long and is lined with many holiday cabins as well as permanent large homes.  The weekend was very busy with power boats and seadoos but for our walk along the shores, it was a calm quiet lake.  The fishing is also good but one must bring their own boats, we found no rentals there.

The Great Trail on the KVR passes by Otter Lake
The old railway bridge at the end of the lake is part of the old Kettle Valley Railway and the Trans Canada Trail used as a bike trail for the adventurous.  The 18 km of the Trans Canada Trail from Princeton to Coalmont is considered by some to be the most spectacular portion of the whole KVR bed, running through the Tulameen River Valley and open year round.

Tulameen Museum
The little school, built about 1920 was moved to this location and restored in 2000.  It is the museum and full of antiques, which we viewed through the dusty windows.  The museum was not open and showed no signs it would be.

Downtown Tulameen

Tulameen, known as Otter Flats during the early days has an interesting history.  The first European to cross the Cascade Mountains was a Hudson’s Bay employee looking for a route to take the horses over so furs could be moved from Fort Kamloops to the coast.  Thanks to the native guides who showed the way, he was able to do that.  Once he got to Otter Lake from Fort Hope, Similkimeen Chief Blackeye told him the easiest way over the mountains and the ‘Blackeye Trail’ became known as the ‘Brigade Trail’ from 1849-1860.  This allowed the fur trading to survive in BC.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

BC Summer Games ~ Vancouver Island, BC

For many of us, summertime means sunshine and travels along with lots of other wonderful things. With the BC Summer Games being held in the Cowichan Valley this year, we had a very special reason to go so decided to take the RV and visit Vancouver Island to watch our grandson compete in field lacrosse at the Summer Games.

Vancouver coastal view
The coastal views are amazing and we had blue sky and sunshine for most of our visit.  There might come a time that I feel I have taken enough photos of any given place this beautiful but I doubt it!  The next one I take could just be a bit better!  Look at all those layers!

BC Ferry 'Coastal Inspiration'
The main means of travel to the Island is by ferry.  Due to taking the RV across on the ferry during the busy summer season, we reserved a spot to avoid making a long wait at the terminal.  This has to be done a few weeks in advance in order to make sure there is room for reservations and it only cost $10 so is well worth it.

Town Crier at Opening Games
Shanel Protap, the sportscaster of BC Global News did a great job of hosting the ceremonies and kept things moving once it began.  Due to the heavy traffic for the area, certain persons were held up which caused a delay for this celebration.  This Town Crier announced the Ceremonies to begin.

The athletes have arrived
The Opening Ceremonies were held at Laketown Ranch at Youbou.  This incredible stage and set up was perfect to host the huge crowd that would be there to welcome the 3000 athletes, coaches and helpers that were here to compete in the BC Summer Games.  The excitement with these young athletes was evident as they all marched onto the grounds in front of the stage.

O Canada
These three ladies sang our national anthem and I do not believe I have ever heard it done as beautifully as this was done.  One sang in English, another in French and one in their native tongue.  It was incredible, I only wish I had been recording them.

Dancing ceremony
Next we saw a welcoming dance done by several dancers of all ages which was a powerful and exciting dance to watch.  The enthusiasm and talent they display makes one want to join in.  I love to see the costumes and especially enjoy the little ones doing their dance.  There were several dance styles done onstage including Highland as well as modern dance done by local dance groups.

Poet Shane Koyczan
Shane Koyczan is a Canadian poet and writer who recited his poem for the televised 2010 Winter Olympics and was amazing.  I was thrilled to see him perform at these BC Summer games, he is such an inspirational poet.  I felt he was definitely targeting those teenagers with words of wisdom but unfortunately, it was quite long and it seems that many of these excited teens on the verge of some very important events were not able to concentrate on what he was telling him.  As excited as I was to hear what he had to say, I, too, lost concentration about half way through.

Olympic swimmer Brent Pratap
The evening was getting long and chilly and many of the spectators had left due to the heavy traffic volume they would have to deal with leaving the Ceremony grounds.  That did not discourage Brent Hayden from telling the crowd about his struggles as a child to even learn to swim let alone expect to win an Olympic medal, but he never gave up and did exactly that.

Bronze Medal winners
After four hot days of practice and games, our grandson and his team won the Bronze Medal for Field Lacrosse.  They worked hard and made us all very proud of their sportsmanship and talents.  Congratulations to the coaches and their team!  Well done!

Visiting Saltspring Island
A short ferry ride over to Saltspring Island from our RV Park for a family dinner at Versuvius before they all headed home was a nice way to wind down our exciting week.  We’d seen all the games our grandson had played in and were ready for a relaxing week to come.  All that excitement wears us grandparents out!

The Cowichan Valley with all their organizers and volunteers did an incredible job of hosting the BC Summer Games!  The only sport we saw was the Field Lacrosse so can only speak for those facilities but the field was beautiful with artificial turf!  They did an amazing job at everything we saw.  Many kudos to them all!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Covered Bridges - Cottage Grove - Oregon

Cottage Grove, Oregon is a town just off of I-5 and we’ve stopped to stay at a small RV park there several times over the years.  We’d never spent time there other than an overnight stay so knew very little about the area.  I happened to read that it had several covered bridges in the area so that changed my whole idea of Cottage Grove for our next visit. 

RV park in bloom
We stayed in our favorite small RV Park on arrival with the intent of staying for two nights in order to be able to visit all the covered bridges in the area.  The sun was shining and the blossoms were in bloom which is not the norm when we visit, usually at a different time of year but makes for a perfect day today.

Currin Bridge Built 1925
I am not sure why, but I find these old covered bridges worth visiting and photographing.  They are not a common sight in our part of the country, we’d seen them while visiting Eastern Canada but saw very few otherwise and perhaps that is why.  Whatever my fascination is about, I took pictures of all of them while Keith patiently drove me all around this area in Oregon.

Mosby Creek Bridge Built in 1920
There is really very little difference between them other than their name and slight changes in construction.  Some have windows, others have not and then some had shutters, making it more attractive.  Some are still in use for vehicles while others are only for foot traffic.  No matter, they are all interesting and have their own charm.

Stewart Bridge 1930
There seems to be several possible reasons why covered bridges were covered.  They did protect the wooden bridges from deteriorating too quickly.  They added support to the structure to maintain the safety for longer.  It was even considered better when herding cattle across so they were not frightened by the moving water below.  Whichever reason, they all sound possible to me.

Unity Bridge 1936
Our visit to Cottage Grove was at the beginning of March so the trees were only beginning to show new life but the sunshine and locations made for a fun photo shoot day.  These are country roads well off of the main highway so it took a bit of map reading to find them all but we seemed to cover a lot of ground and found several.  I am sure it would have been easier with a tour map but this was fun.

Pengra Bridge Orig. built in 1890
 All of the bridges found in Lane County have been rehabilitated or restored and became safe to cross whether by foot, bicycle or vehicle.  The grants from Oregon Covered Bridge Program helped fund restoration for most if not all of the Covered Bridges in the area.

Dorena Covered Bridge 1949
The Dorena Covered Bridge, crosses over the Row River and the road ends here at a small park with amenities where people often gather for weddings and events.  The Dorena Reservoir was engineered in 1946 and therefor the bridge needed to be built to give access to the Star Ranch, which led to the bridge often referred to as the Star Bridge, as well.  The townsite of Dorena was then moved due to the Reservoir.

Centennial Bridge 1987
Within Cottage Grove town, they have a foot bridge that is called the Centennial Bridge built in 1987 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Cottage Grove.  Volunteers used recycled timber from two other bridges.  This bridge rests on abutments from an earlier Main St. Bridge and spans 84 ft.

Chambers Covered Railway Bridge  Built in 1925

The last train passed thru the Chambers Bridge in 1951.  It became a danger to collapsing so was rebuilt in 2010 to be the only remaining covered railway bridge in Oregon and at that time, one of only eight left in the entire U.S.

We enjoyed our day of touring the covered bridges of Lane County in historic Cottage Grove, Oregon.  The 48 km (30 mi) loop around the Dorena Reservoir connects them.  This is the largest collection of covered bridges west of the Mississippi River, including the only remaining railroad covered bridge and they are all visited by many history buffs each year.


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