Knick, Knack, Chilliwack...we're almost home!

Trip Start Jun 01, 2009
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23
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Trip End Sep 22, 2009


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Where I stayed
Cottonwood RV Park

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Monday, August 24, 2009

August 23, 2009 (Sunday) – Chilliwack, BC (175 miles)



From Quesnel, we ventured on to Clinton, BC and stayed overnight at the Clinton Pines RV Park. From our site we had a good view of the blaze on the other side of the mountain and the constant drone of helicopters beating the air into submission and carrying bucket after bucket of water.  I'm not sure where they found the water…..sure seemed like everything was pretty dried up to me.  Most of the marshes and small lakes were nothing but dried, cracked mud and all the vegetation on the hillsides was crisp and brown.  Little wonder there were fires in the area.  We met a very nice gentleman, originally from Finland, but now a resident of Vancouver.  He assured us that the winds were blowing away from us and I guess he was right….we survived.  The smoke and setting sun sure made a pretty picture though.

Today, we traveled on to Chilliwack.  Most of the drive was spent traveling through Fraser Canyon which meant we were constantly ascending, descending, twisting, curving and turning.  I lost count of the number of tunnels we went through but I think it was seven. Sometimes there’s no choice but to blast a tunnel through the rock if you want a road.  As we approached Hell’s Gate, Wendell asked if I wanted to stop and ride the tram.  My eyes gave him his answer.  He managed to get me on that thing two years ago and once was enough.  Even though the fudge at the confectionary on the other side was good, it wasn’t worth another tram ride.  Hell’s Gate is the narrowest point on the Fraser River.  A sternwheeler, the Skuzzy, was used to haul supplies for construction of the road and railway in 1882. It was hauled through the narrow "Hell’s Gate" by ropes attached to the canyon wall by bolts. You often see brave rafters come through the pass; it appears they will dash themselves against the rocks and then the current makes a hard turn.  I’m sure it’s a ride to remember but you would never get me on it.

Chilliwack is a short distance from the U.S. and Canadian border but we didn’t want to make a long day of it or encounter a busy weekend border crossing. We’ve decided to spend two nights here and tomorrow I plan to tour Minter Gardens and perhaps we’ll take a drive out to Bridal Veil Falls.  There’s also downtown to explore, so I’m sure we’ll keep busy.

August 24, 2009 (Monday) – Chilliwack, BC

The gardens were unbelievable!  And I couldn’t have ordered a more perfect day to visit.  Being Monday, there was no crowd and the temperature was in the lower 70’s without a cloud in the sky.  I wandered the 32-acre grounds for several hours.  I took lots of pictures and have uploaded them to my account at Webshots.  If you like that sort  of thing, and I know many of my girlfriends do, click here:  http://community.webshots.com/user/dpool291 .

Chilliwack is such an unusual name for a town but I found out the word Chilliwack is the name of a local Indian tribe as well as a geographic description of the area. Originally spelled Chilliwhack, this "Halq'emeylem" word means "quieter water at the head" or travel by way of a backwater.  Now, I suppose that has something to do with the Chilliwack River.  The area is big time agricultural due to its moderate climate and all over British Columbia we saw advertisements for “Chilliwack Corn”.  We haven’t purchased any yet, but sure would like to before we leave.

Our campground is very nice and came with an added benefit:  Blackberries!  Yesterday afternoon when I took Nitchie out for a walk, I spied a few hanging through the cyclone fence near the maintenance area and took a handful back to Wendell.  Nitchie and I continued our walk and found that the berries were everywhere…hanging in huge clusters like grapes from the vines along the creek.  Wendell went back and picked a few more and we had them with our breakfast this morning.  After I returned from Minter Gardens, we both went out with a plastic bag and came home with a generous helping of huge, sweet berries.  I suggested cobbler, but Wendell wants his with cream and sugar.  There is probably enough berries for both but after baking two loaves of bread and preparing a quiche for our dinner, I was tired of cooking…so it will be berries and cream.

Tomorrow, we’ll cross the border and enter Washington.  We’ll be stopping for five days in the Seattle-Tacoma area and hope to stay at the FamCamp on McChord AFB.  We have friends in Seattle and Dupont that we will be visiting and I’m sure we’ll find a number of other activities to keep us entertained.  There’s always the Space Needle to visit and the Fish Market….in between the commissary and laundry.  Yes, it’s getting time to do that lovely chore again but at least, we won’t have to feed the machines with loonies and twoonies.  That’s one and two dollar Canadian coins for you that are unfamiliar with Canadian currency.  Most of the park laundries cost a twoonie ($2) to wash a load and a loonie for 15 minutes of dryer time.  In other words, that’s almost $6 for a load of laundry.  On base, I can do that same load for $2.  Wendell plans to use the last of the accumulated loonies and twoonies at the Duty-Free store. 

See you on the other side!
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