Sunday, 11 December 2011

RV trip to the Sweetgrass Hills Day 4 and 5, Over and Out

We woke up in our day use-only spot to cold clear skies, but with a weather forecast predicting serious rain. The clouds were rolling in even while we did the breakfast routine.
The park rangers did come by just before we were ready to leave. We explained that we would have been happy to enrich the Province of Alberta by using an official camp site, if only they had not closed after Labour Day! They were nice about it and just told us to go forth and sin no more.
We were trying hard to do exactly that. However, the old Thing had other ideas. The back brakes were seizing up. It took Chris twenty minutes of patiently rocking back and forth before we had lift-off. Phew!
I am a born chicken, Chris is more adventurous. I did not want to be a spoilsport and held my fearful tongue. To my great relief the man himself decided to abort the plan to drive the Kananaskis road through wonderful wild country. Instead we would take 22, the more Easterly route through more inhabited country. And what was the point of driving further North if all we could see was clouds? We'll do it another time.
Typical landscape for route 22 not too far from Calgary. Some real bona fide ranches with lots of hobby acreages in between and the occasional monster home, see below.
I briefly dozed off, we missed the turn-off near Bragg Creek, and we accidentally found ourselves briefly on route 66 through the Elbow Valley.
Good thing Chris noticed we seemed to be going South, and what was this land doing getting wilder? It is splendid country with lots of river access, only an easy 2 hour or so drive from Calgary. Not a bad place to live at all! I cannot remember where exactly the picture above was taken but somewhere in foothills country. 
Anyway....Just for a change we drove home through Radium Hot Springs. I had hoped for a soak, but we didn't dare to park the Thing at close quarters, just in case it needed special measures to get going again. So on we went, making vague plans for a midwinter East Kootenay Hot Springs mini-vacation.
Shelter for the night was a commercial campsite on Columbia Lake.
It is owned by the local First Nations, formerly known as Indians. They have the good sense to ban jet skis from their beach, and they lease out lots to people for summer homes. Nice place with nice people. The picture was taken in the morning, notice the lake cloud.
Next: what does a mining town do when the mine closes? It goes Bavarian and turns itself into a tourist trap!
Kimberley had a bit of a sad end-0f-party September feel about it, but we could tell it would be a really nice place in season. I love the way they designed the main drag with lots of curves and plants and benches. 
This one is for Catherine the Sweet Potato Queen. Notice the doggy on the bench.
Almost home now. We took the ferry again, this time because driving the Creston/Salmo pass might require too much braking. On the way we passed by the place that produced brooms for Harry Potter.

This time I was ready for the Osprey! Only one but more visible.
We had to let all the other ferry traffic get off and do some back-rolling to get the brakes to release their death grip, but after that we made it home without further mishap.$

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