|Even though it has only been about 3 weeks, so much has happened since our last update that I'm not sure where to begin. Our 2600 mi./5 month British Columbia/Alberta trip has been reduced to 300 mi./1 month. We are heading back to the States tomorrow.
We are currently in a little town called the Village of Clinton. It is along the Cariboo/Gold Rush Trail (Hwy. 97). It's amazing how much this part of the country reminds us of eastern Nevada and parts of Arizona...mountains, trees, and sagebrush...very arid. This is cowboy country. We are surrounded by cattle ranches.
I've attached a few photos taken since we left Hope. First, we stopped at Hell's Gate. The tram ride down to a restaurant on the other side of the gorge looked like fun, but I had my fill of crossing deep ravines when we were at the Capilano Suspension Bridge so all we did is take a couple of pictures and continued on up the road. We spent a few days at a Provincial Park along the Thompson River in Cache Creek. Check out the awesome Osprey nest we discovered while out geocaching and another shot of us taken by a local councilman we ran into while geocaching in Ashcroft. We took a side trip to Kamloops and passed by this huge open pit copper mine. We saw similar mines in southern Arizona, but this is the largest mine of this type in Canada, and one of the largest in the world. The Highland Valley Copper Mine stretches for miles.
Anyway, here we are in Clinton. We have been here for 2 1/2 weeks. Our plan was to drive from Cache Creek to Williams Lake on Friday, May 15th. We had only traveled about 35 mi. and as the highway passed through Clinton, a motorist passed us and waved us over to tell us that the Saturn we tow behind the motor home was on fire!!! We were able to put the fire out and unhitch it without any damage to us or the motor home. This is a very small town and the local tow service arrived before we even had a chance to call them. We have no idea what happened, but somehow our brakes had locked up and overheated. The fire destroyed our front axles, ball joints, brakes, wheels, tires, etc. We parked our motor home at an RV Park right along the highway within walking distance to a local grocery store and figured we would just be here for a few days until our insurance company decided whether or not to repair the car.
Now, to add insult to injury, Scott started feeling lousy over the weekend. He developed a Pilonidal Cyst which abscessed. For those of you who have never had a Pilonidal Cyst (I have and it hurt like hell), they are usually located right on the tip of the tailbone. Well, unfortunately for Scott, his was located slightly lower...he is affectionately calling this "Area 51". So here we sat....no car and no cell phone signal. Lucky for us, we had a wonderful couple from Colorado parked next to us over the weekend. They were planning to leave Monday morning to continue on their journey to Alaska. Instead, they put their jacks back down, unhitched their trailer and drove us 40 miles north to the nearest hospital. Thank God for fellow RVers. In the emergency room, the doctor lanced and drained the abscess, but the infection was so severe that she admitted Scott overnight. They provided me with a cot in his room and the next morning I went to a local Ford dealer and rented a car to bring us back home.
While we were still at the hospital, we got a call from our insurance agent advising us that the repair estimate on the Saturn was more than the car was worth so they were going to total it. This forced us to make the decision to abort the trip and head back to Washington. There is no way we could continue our trip without a vehicle for sightseeing. The cost of a vehicle, plus very high sales taxes and the red tape it would take to buy one up here and take it back across the border just wouldn't be worth it.
Scott has spent the past two weeks taking antibiotics and warm sitz baths (he is now convinced that we should put a bidet in the motor home). We saw the doctor today and she said the wound has closed enough and the infection is gone so we got the green light to travel. So we dropped off our rental car and took the Greyhound bus back to Clinton.
We will head back to Hope tomorrow and on to Anacortes, WA on Thursday, June 4th. We figured that we would just hang out in northern WA for the summer since we had already scheduled a State Park hosting assignment on Whidbey Island beginning in October. But the other day, we heard from a WA State Park Ranger that was looking for a host at a park near Olympia in July. So our current plan is to spend June in Anacortes, host in July, and probably return to Anacortes for August and September.
Last, but not least, I was most sad about discontinuing our trip because I was really looking forward to seeing bears feeding on salmon in the river that divides Hyder, AK from Stewart, BC. But the other day we took a drive through a provincial park just a little north of here, and I spotted this young bear in the woods....so all is not lost!
For those of you who travel vicariously through us, sorry that you won't be spending your summer in Canada this year.
Kris & Scotty