Reach the Beach – Day 4 (Tuesday)

We had our tour of the third and final campground just before lunch. It is a gorgeous property, but small (just over 2 acres). We think that the buildings were constructed in 1999. That was probably when the hook-ups were installed. Most of the equipment was removed by the previous owners (compressor, tools, appliances, mattresses, and even picnic tables). There are 3 hotel rooms and 1 suite. Also, there is a special campsite for a campground host and a bonus site near the entrance by the hotel rooms.

Surprisingly, the house and hotel rooms are in great shape. No one had gone in and ransacked the place. Having a hotel is a little stressful because of the whole bedbug issue.

Riverhaven: office, house, motel

Riverhaven: office, house, motel

One of the motel rooms

One of the motel rooms

Kitchen of main house

Kitchen of main house

The campsites are quite close together, so there isn’t much privacy. Neither of us liked that. It is different than government campgrounds. I suppose private campgrounds have to cram as many in as possible so that they can make a living.

The hook-ups are all very modern; however, many were on the wrong side for trailers. Our friend Rick, who has stayed there before, explained that this is because many motorhomes like to nose in rather than back in. That makes sense. It would take some juggling when people call for reservations.

Hook-ups

Hook-ups

Since every site has full hook-ups, the wash house is small: only 1 toilet and 2 showers in each room.  This is all part of the main building.  You enter into a room where the washers and dryers once were.  To the left is the women’s washroom, and to the right is the men’s.  Both washrooms have tiled floors with modern fiberglass shower stalls.  These were among the top washrooms that I’ve seen in a campground.  Nothing was done as an afterthought.  The whole complex was thoughtfully planned.

One of the shower stalls in the men's washroom

One of the shower stalls in the men’s washroom

Diversification of Income

Below the utility room, there was a room that was only accessible from outside, down some sweet stone steps.  Now, I am no exotic gardener, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t used to grow mushrooms.  What do you think?  I think we could grow our own strain and call it “Riverhaven Heaven Bud.”  We wouldn’t need to use the Airstream like Ricky and Julian did in Trailer Park Boys.

Root cellar

Reach the Beach – Day 3, Part 2

We had a lovely drive through the Okanagan today.  Heading to Hedley!  We stopped at the Airstream dealer in Penticton to get a few more LED interior lights.  There is also a dog park across the street, so it was fun for the whole family. We turned off on Highway 3a to get to Hedley on Highway 3.  The Similkameen Valley is gorgeous.  We have never travelled here before.  It is rolling and winding with rugged rocks and sage brush.  There weren’t as many ranches as I would have expected for such scenery.  When we got to Keremeos, we saw many young people with big backpacks and dogs also carrying little backpacks.  When we got to our campground, we asked the host about this.  She said that most of these kids are here from Quebec to pick in the orchards.  As soon as they arrive, they try to get a dog.  WHY??  She had no idea; however, the local humane societies have all stopped adopting to these seasonal workers.  The dogs looked happy enough, but it is HOT here and it is only going to get hotter and drier.  Do the dogs go into the orchards during the day?  We have no idea. We got some luscious fruit at a roadside stand: fresh juicy cherries and tart apricots.   We eventually made our way to Hedley.  It isn’t far from Penticton, but it is slow going around all the rolling hills.  We are staying at the campground next to the one we are going to see tomorrow.  There is a fence separating the two.  Talk about close competition!   Will Riverhaven be River Heaven? Poppy gives this campground 4 paws up.  We walked down to the river and she enjoyed splashing around.  The babbling river masks the highway noise.  It smells green here.  I wish I could post smell-o-vision.  This is a little touch of paradise.  This is the view from our bedroom window:   After dinner, we walked over to see the campground that is for sale.  We will officially see it tomorrow, but we had to check it out today.  When we looked over the fence, the campsites didn’t look too shabby.  There were very few weeds.  However, upon entering from the front, you can see the effects of abandonment.  The weeds were bursting through the stone pathways.  We really wondered how things went down last August when it was foreclosed.  The guests put their garbage & recycling in the appropriate bins, and there it has sat.  One campsite had children’s water toys left behind and garbage bagged up, but not deposited in the bins.  It is a reality check to see someone else’s hopes and dreams dashed. A glimpse from over the fence: 

Reach the Beach – Day 3

Campground #1.5 

In the morning, I checked my email, and the agent had sent a message that the neighbouring campground may soon be listed and that we should check it out.  We had planned to go anyway to see the competition.  We knew it would have the same noise issues, but it also had beach access to draw in more customers.  We are so glad we went.  We parked along the highway and immediately noticed the campground was full, and there was a 25 foot Airstream parked there.  Things were looking up!

We met the owner.  He and his son purchased it 3 years ago.  Back then, only about 8 sites were usable, but they expanded up the hill.  It is 13 acres with beach access.  The highway is actually ON the property.  It was never expropriated by the government, so that is a concern.  The highway separates the campground from the beachfront house.  Campground patrons walk across the highway to get to the beach at the house.  There is also a dock.  The owners divided the house into 2 apartments and rent those out.  

The campground was full because they have mostly seasonal sites.  The people rent for the season, but most only come on the weekend.  We talked to a couple who stays for the whole summer.  They have had the same site for 2 years, and they have added rockery, planted a small garden, built an Inukshuk, and added solar lighting to the nearby outhouse.  What great customers!  

The current owners cut more campsites into the hill, and the higher you go, the quieter it gets.  It was much more peaceful.  

The icing on the cake is that it has a large sheltered kitchen with a pizza oven!  Yes!  They also had a sink with a propane hot-water-on-demand unit attached to the side of the building.  We don’t know yet what it will be listed for.  I left my camera in the car because I hadn’t expected to get a tour by the owner.  Paul took a few with his phone that we may upload later.

Reach the Beach – Day 2

We got an early start today.  We made it out before all the Floridians at Wal-Mart in Airdrie.  I think the cold kept them snug in bed.  We heard their generators, but saw no signs of life.  There were about 12 units parked at Wal-Mart, including a horse trailer, and several were from Florida.  

When we travelled through Banff, the temperature reached a chilly 4C.  We wondered if the rain would turn to snow, but it didn’t.  As soon as we reached Rogers Pass, the clouds parted and the temperature rose dramatically.  We reached an altitude of 1330 m.  The new truck performed flawlessly with the Max Tow package. Paul hardly needed to use the brakes.  The engine never got hot.  The transmission was great.  The Airstream brakes never heated either.  Whew!  Downhill to the coast from here.

  
Somewhere near Golden, the truck passed the 40,000 km mark.  We have travelled 1155 km so far.  It was also somewhere past Golden that I discovered that Poppy had a tick in her ear.  We stopped near Revelstoke for lunch and tick removal.  The poor girl is still nervous while travelling.  Such a contrast to all of our previous fluffy family members.  Daisy is the Queen of Chill. 

Campground #1:  Monte Lake

Will this campground be life-changing?  Could we the next proprietors?

There is so much potential, but we don’t think this is the one for us.  Why?  Well, the highway is both the blessing and the curse.  You need good exposure to attract customers, but for those of you who know us well, noise is a deal breaker.  The campground is quaint.  Yes, it needs work, but that is something we are more than willing to handle.  In fact, we could have it spiffed up in one season.  It is well-treed and there is a nature trail running through the upper 8 acres.  It is peaceful and quiet up in the back area, but we think it would take too much effort (and destruction of trees) to develop it.  

About the campground

Positives: It is nicely laid out.  The sites are tiered into the hill.  Most sites are pull-through.  Almost every site overlooks the lake.  The washrooms are clean and serviceable.  There is an attractive office and recreation room.  We didn’t go inside the house, but it seems adequate.

  
Negatives: The infrastructure is old and will need repairs.  The office/ recreation room building needs new siding.  Expansion will not be cost-effective.  It is lakeview, but not lakefront.  However, the critical issue for us is the noise from the highway.  

We sat outside, listening to Antsy McClain, drinking wine, looking at the lake, and wondering if we could live here.  Was this worth such a big move and expense?  What would it take?  (What would Ron Howard’s brother do? — Antsy fans will know what this means.)  We decided to email the real estate agent to tell him not to drive all the way out to show us the house tomorrow.  

  
Tomorrow we head south through the Okanagan to see Campground #2.

Reach the Beach – Day 1 (Saturday)

When we left Saskatoon, it was raining, but warm.  We have not had rain in approximately 6 weeks, so it was greatly needed.

 
The Hobie  fits well; however, it is a high reach for Paul.

We thought we might see the Teletubbies here:

  
We hit a few storms on the way to Airdrie.  It was fairly cold in Alberta.  The big girl wanted a cuddlefest all night, but we sent her to the sofa after a while. 

Day 1 was pleasantly uneventful.  Tomorrow we will push the performance of the new truck.  We will also see Campground For Sale #1.  I’m very excited.

Open road

Flat

This is one of the first adjectives that Canadians use to describe Saskatchewan.  Yes, it’s true that some areas are fairly flat, but in actuality, Saskatchewan has quite a diverse topography.  While we don’t have the Rocky Mountains, we have rolling hills.

You can see your dog running away for three days!

He ha ho!  I guess we could.  These wide open spaces give me a sense of freedom.  How can you feel boxed in when you see scenery like this?

I can see for miles!

I can see for miles!

We grew up in the Niagara Region.  Oh, it is a lovely place!  However, when we saw the beauty of the prairies, we were smitten.

Saskatchewan is the Land of Living Skies.

I thought it was fitting to open my blog by showing the world the open roads of this great province.  Your Airstream is welcome here.