Camping at Nk’Mip, Osoyoos, BC

October 15-18, 2018

IMG_8949

Back in April, we made a reservation at Nk’Mip (pronounced: ink-a-meep) for October 15-November 15 because we needed somewhere mild to settle before heading south. However, we no longer needed the reservation. Nk’Mip wouldn’t allow us to transfer our reservation to a friend and we couldn’t cancel and get our $100 deposit back. We love that campground, so we decided to head out in the Chinook and use up the $100. We got a site right on Lake Osoyoos. The weather was grand and the view was spectacular. We got in some hiking and biking and had a visit with Len and Marj, friends from our Airstream club.  Len and Marj are from Moose Jaw, SK, but they stay in Oliver, BC for the winter.  They took us out for a delicious dinner in town.

Paul de-oxidized and polished the Chinook:

Enjoying beautiful autumn weather at Lake Osoyoos:

Walking the trail in the park:

Little Joe:

We saw this tiny fiberglass egg with Saskatchewan plates in April when we were here, and it was here again!  It is significantly smaller than our boler.  Here is a link to factory website: Weis Craft Trailers

IMG_8966

Fall Colors on the Similkameen Rail Trail

October 2018

IMG_8941

The Similkameen walking and biking trail starts just west of Keremeos and extends east to Cawston. It used to be an old rail line but was converted into a trail. We started walking this trail regularly since October 5, the day after Daisy died. It gives us a private area to walk and talk about how much we miss our dear girl.

(Please click on a photo to enlarge.)

Lots of color

Finding geocaches and a llama

Happy Poppy

IMG_8922

SaveSave

SaveSave

A Taste of the Valleys

2podskeremeos

Panoramic picture by Rick

IMG_8778

After we had settled into our park for a couple of days, our friends, Rick and Lynne, dropped by for a visit, so we had 2 atomic pods on our site! We had a fun time touring the local wineries and cideries in the Similkameen and Okanagan Valleys. Most of the wineries did not charge a tasting fee. Lynne and I were so happy that Paul and Rick took turns being designated drivers (or as my friend Brenda says, “devastated drivers”). Let the tastings begin!

View of Okanagan Lake from Naramata (NE of Penticton)

Of course, it wasn’t all about the wine and cider. We also visited a historic site in Keremeos: The Grist Mill. The miller was so passionate and animated. He is actually an architect who moved here to reconstruct the mill from bits and pieces. He studied other mills of the period and talked to every expert he could find. He was full of interesting stories about how they acquired parts for the mill. There were so many series of events that took place and they found actual parts from this original mill at local farms.

IMG_8746

The Grist Mill, Keremeos

One story was particularly interesting to me. A friend of the miller is a local artist. She had a desk that she had planned to use in her studio, but decided against it. She asked the miller if he would be interested since it was probably of the same vintage as the mill. He brought it back to the mill and the wood pieces of the desktop were the same size as the wood on the walls. OK. That was a nice coincidence . . . or so he thought. Then he considered where the original miller would have placed a desk. He could only fit it behind the door. When he put it in place, the water marks on the wall matched the shape of the desk! This was the original desk! This is just one of the many stories he told us.

You can buy flour milled here because it is fully operational. Of course, dogs aren’t allowed inside the mill, but they did allow us to sneak them onto the grounds.

 

From Prairie to Rockies to Valleys

September 1-6, 2018

IMG_8658

Back in April, we toured 2 RV parks in the Similkameen Valley (west of the Okanagan). We were looking to purchase an RV lot to satisfy the residency requirements in Canada. On the day we arrived back in Saskatoon, we got a call. A couple was selling their lot at one of the parks. They sent pictures and we bought it sight unseen. So, we’ve owned an RV lot in the Similkameen Valley since April, but we had never visited it until now (September). We are still officially Saskatchewan residents. We will decide next year if we want to officially become BC residents.

On Labor Day weekend, we started our trek west – Paul drove the truck and Airstream with Daisy, and I drove the Jeep with Poppy. We chose the northern route (through Edmonton) in order to visit our friends, Mary and Tony.

IMG_8674

Jasper National Park

This was the furthest I have ever driven. I have been known to nod off at the wheel (highway hypnosis – “you’re getting sleepy”), so I keep my trips to under 3 hours. Driving in the mountains with trees lining the highways is very hypnotic, but I kept that shiny atomic pod in my sight.

We knew that forest fires were still burning in BC, but didn’t expect them to be so close to our RV park. As soon as we turned onto Hwy 3 towards Keremeos, we could see flames and so much smoke!

What a warm welcome!

 

Okanagan, OK!

April 10-15, 2018

We spent our first night back in Canada at the Husky truck stop in Osoyoos, and then we travelled west past Keremeos. We wanted to see two RV parks that have lots for sale. The first one is a cooperative and we needed to do an interview and be approved by the board. This park has been on our radar for over a year now. A friend went out last year to investigate it for us and gave us positive feedback (thanks Gregory!). We really liked it, but we aren’t thrilled over the lot that is for sale. The other park is not a co-op. We liked the amenities, but it is a larger park, so we are concerned with how busy it will get in the summer.

 

We found a free campground on Crown Land (this is like BLM land in the US) right between the two parks. It was very convenient. The campground is rustic (no facilities), but it is right on the Similkameen River. There were about 6 or more sites, and some were big enough for a longer trailer. We had the place to ourselves. Unfortunately, it was incredibly windy the entire time, and we did have frequent rain showers. We really pushed our water conservation limits. We lasted for 5 nights with only 38 gallons of water!  However, staying this close to both RV parks gave us a good idea of the area, and we like it.

April 16-18, 2018

Nk’Mip Campground, Osoyoos

After roughing it for 5 nights in the wind and rain, we needed to get to a campground to dump wastewater, fill with fresh water, and recharge our batteries. We had only planned to stay at Nk’Mip for one night, but this place is too wonderful for a short visit! It is clean, spacious, and manicured, and best of all, it is located right on Osoyoos Lake. There were many lakefront sites open, but we opted for a site higher up, overlooking the lake, but more sheltered.

 

Nk’Mip is a huge complex which includes a campground, winery, golf course, restaurant, and resort. It is owned and operated by the Osoyoos Indian Band. This is the place to stay if you are in Osoyoos. In fact, we have already reserved a site for the fall before we cross back into the US.

 

We were delighted to see all the cacti in the park as well as quail because we have been missing Arizona. Osoyoos is on the edge of the Sonora Desert. We can walk about 3 kms along the lake to get to town. This is something that we have not been able to do all winter – leave the Chinook parked and walk to town. It is so precious to watch the ducks pairing off and enjoying the lake. We also saw our first robin of the season. Travelling north and experiencing spring arrive in many locations along the way was something we won’t soon forget. On this leg of our trip, we witnessed the orchards started to bloom.

We continued east on Hwy 3 (The Crowsnest Highway).  The grade out of Osoyoos is steep, but it provides a good view of the lake and Nk’Mip.

 

Licence Plates and Slogans

As we crossed the border, we were greeted by a sign:

“Welcome to BC. The Best Place on Earth”

Err? What?

Then, I immediately noticed some BC licence plates that more closely resembled many US plates. They have a photographic image in the background rather than just a simple graphic in the center. I like them. However, the slogan made me gag a little. They also said: “The Best Place on Earth”.

best-place-on-earth-unveiling

Image from The Tyee

Yes, BC has natural beauty, but it is far from the best place on earth. I’m wondering if there will be a new campaign for more realistic slogans.  Fill in the blank:

The _____________________ Place on Earth.

Most expensive

Most taxed

Money-Laundering-Friendly

I had to get online because I had never seen plates like these, nor had a seen that slogan on travel guides I’ve received from BC. Well, it turns out that this slogan is actually old and being phased out. (Really? I wonder why.)

Here are some quotes from Bob Mackin at The Tyee:

How could a province with a misery-filled neighbourhood like the Downtown Eastside and a nation-leading child poverty rate ever call itself best-on-Earth in the first place? How did the politicians and bureaucrats decide to deep-six the slogan? . . .

“Yes, I am proud of the province and I think it’s the best place on earth, but it was probably not the best way to attract people from other parts of the world who think their little section of the world was the best place on earth,” Chandra Herbert said to Bell. “I’m just wondering: is ‘best place on earth’ shelved for now, and we’re now not going to see that anymore, and we’ll see ‘Super, natural B.C.’ in its place?”
Bell answered that “Best Place on Earth” was a “broader brand” used only in B.C. “to help motivate British Columbians.”

Ah ha! So there you have it! It was to motivate British Columbians. Jobs are few, pay is low, and housing is high, but this is The Best Place on Earth!

I’ve made no secret that we would like to move to BC to extend our shoulder seasons, which is essential as full-time RVers, but BC, you make that hard with your delusions.

Yakima, WA: Birthplace of our Chinook

April 8-9, 2018

Due to the rain on the coast, we decided to head inland and enter Canada in Osoyoos. Rain is messy to deal with in an RV. Our next stop was Avery Park near Wishram, WA. This is a beautiful free campsite on the Columbia River. The area is government property and free to use, but during the salmon run, it is closed to the public and only the local native tribes can use it. There are picnic tables, fire-pits, pit-toilets, and a garbage bin. The problem with the site was the trains. All. Night. Long.

After a sleepless night, we moved on to Yakima. We had heard on the Chinook forums that an RV shop, Aubrey’s, bought as many Chinook parts as they could when the company was liquidated. The parts manager, Carolyn, was most helpful. We were able to get new lenses for our porch and patio lights, but we had no luck on getting a step replacement.

Yakima had this old-school McDonald’s restaurant and a car wash for my dad’s GTO.

We camped overnight at Cabela’s and then made the final trek north into Canada.

Re-entry into Canada
April 10, 2018

In Canada, everyone jokes that B.C. stands for Bring Cash. B.C. has lots of economic woes, and so it taxes the heck out of its citizens.

On the US side, two US agents boarded the Chinook and opened drawers and doors. They were friendly enough, but I’m not sure what they were looking for since we were leaving their country.  Then, we travelled on to the Canadian border guard. It was our lucky day. She was wonderful! Because we have no space, we didn’t really buy any goods, but we did have alcohol. We rattled off our amounts. We were over our limit of 1L each (we had 7L total), and we were expecting to pay the duty. Most of our friends cross in Coutts, AB with much more than 7 liters and just pay the duty. It works out to be a big savings even after paying duty. Well, this border guard said that she was going to give us an education that day (and not charge us) and advised us to cross in Alberta or Saskatchewan next year. She said that in BC, the duty is (are you sitting down?) $1.50 PER OUNCE over your 1L limit! If our vehicle had BC plates, I don’t think we would have been so lucky. Lesson learned: Never ever ever cross into BC.