I try to live a good life, being kind to the environment, respecting other people, but put me behind the wheel and I am an unabashed, carbon emitting speed freak who isn’t adverse to swearing loudly at idiotic, brain transplant drivers. And I was given TWO opportunities to indulge this weakness recently in the form of two different road trips because someone was kind enough (or crazy enough) to lend me their car. Yeeeeeehaw!

Road Trip One:
Vancouver – Hope – Princeton – Oosyos – Kettle Valley
One of the toughest things about these trips has been some of the many similarities in scenery to South Africa. I had major rushes of homesickness as it seemed impossible that we wouldn’t round the corner and be in Hermanus, or the Karoo. Very weird. Essentially both trips were in Gold Rush country and some of the highlights for me were:
Hedley: tiny town, not much there, but a spooky looking old mine on the side of the hill, resembling an ancient mountainside village.

Midway: The Husband’s ancestors were among the first white settlers here. We tried not to think about any atrocities they may or may not have commited in being so, and instead checked out the cool little museum there. There is a copy of a photo of some of the ancestors in the museum and family rumour has it that the woman in the pic was the first white baby born in the area. The museum has a really interesting array of artifacts and the area is fascinating.
Greenwood: A regte egte Wild West town. Cool old buildings and a main strip that looks like something out of Doctor Quinn: Medicine Woman. Although Jane Seymour was not there, there is a section of a movie set still left from where they shot Snow Falling on Cedars. Sadly, about 90% of the town is for sale. Every bulding just about had a For Sale sign – a definite indication of the times. We actually noticed so many ranches and houses for sale on both trips; a definite reminder that outside of the big cities, this recession is real and present for many people.

Johnstone Creek and Kettle River Parks: Our place of rest was Johnstone Creek Provincial Park. Massive thunderstorm the first night and a lot of rain. This is when I realised that I am nothing more than a fair weather camper. I was grumpy and miserable and threatened mutiny unless the weather changed. The Husband was patient as ever. The weather did clear and we had a great time at the river, though he insisted on traumatising me by repeatedly jumping off the old rail way bridge at the Kettle River Park.

Oosyos: We had a lovely day at the lake and I really liked the surrounding area like Vasseau Lake and Oliver, but Oosyos is sadly a resort town – packed to the brim with partiers and strange RVer types. I wouldn’t want to stay there, but great for a day of swimming. Interestingly, the unfriendliest staff at a restaurant that I have come across in BC so far – Smitty’s (now renamed Shitty’s forever more).

The Husband has been camping around this area since he was a wee one and it was great to be able to see all these places he has told me about, and to see somewhere different. Of course, on our way home, we stocked up on juicy Okanagan peaches, cherries, blueberries, necatarines and plums (also in a vague attempt to eat something other than trashy padkos).
Road Trip Two:
Vancouver – Whistler – Pemberton – Lillooet – Cache Creek – Juniper Beach

This time the temperatures were higher, the landscape was desertier and the need for cold refreshments even greater. We were still on the Gold Rush Trail and this time headed north (the other trip was south east, largely right along the US border).
Some of the trip highlights:
Juniper Beach: The campsite we stayed in is apparently right in the area classified as the official desert. Hot hot hot! There was a great swimming spot and the campsite was right on the Thomson river, so nice cold water to cool down (even at 8am when it was already blazing). We had the company of a nice young Dutch couple who had been to South Africa the one night and in geenral it was a peaceful campsite, if a little crowded because of the BC Day long weekend.
Hat Creek Historic Ranch: Surprisingly untacky tourist spot. The farm was established in 1861 by Donald Mclean (a chief trader for the Hudson Bay Company) and who recognised that he could make good money off the gold miners, traders etc who were travelling around in the area. He started a stage coach, too, and was doing pretty well until he was killed while riding in a posse. He had three different wives (we didn’t last very long in those days) and interestinlgy all his wives were native. His kids, therefore, were “half castes” and were not fully accepted in society, although back then there were a lot of interracial marriages for the purposes of better local relations. Apparently two of his sons were bosbevok and terrorised the area, murdering constables and stealing horses etc. They were known as the Wild Mcleans. Apparently they were eventually caught and hung in New Westminster. There is the original log cabin and Hat Creek House which was converted into a hotel later.

Marble Canyon: Really beautiful spot with pristine lakes.

Savona and Kamloops Lake: Good swimming. Didn’t find Kamloops the city particulary attractive though.

In general it was just so good to get away and see some different scenery, explore a different part of the province and get out of town. Wishing I had a car all the time to indulge my passion for road trips (sorry, Mother Nature).
Now of course, back to reality and catching up on (blegh) work.