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The Northwest USA in 15 days

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Day 12: The "Going to the Sun" Road

The morning started with breakfast at a restaurant that was situated over a creek running to the river through town. I now cannot remember its name! Nevertheless the view was rather nice:


We decided that we'd go with the basic plan of going to the Glacier National Park again. We had been there in 1995 when we had toured the Pacific Northwest. We would try to see if there were place to sleep in the park, or very nearby. So we set off up Route 200. The first stop was the National Bison range. We had been there in '95 as well, and had seen a herd of bison right up next to the car. this time we felt we did not have much time, so we went in, did the short loop, saw nothing and left. I did feel that I should take a representative shot of the area, and this is it.


Next stop along the way was the Nine Pipes National Wildlife Refuge on the Flathead Reservation. For those that do not know, the Flathead are an Indian People of the Salish Group who live west of the Rockies. They are allied with the Kootenai people and connect up with folks in Canada. The obligatory picture of the refuge follows


From here the trip went straight north to reach Polson, which is situated at the very southern end of Flathead Lake. The picture below simply does not do the view justice as one comes over the rise and the lake suddenly lies in front of one. It stopped me dead in my tracks.


Flathead Lake is a huge attraction and all manner of would be "Little House on the prairie"-seekers from New York, Connecticut and Canada are flocking there to build million dollar homes on the lake. The Real Estate people are selling a sort of "Return to Montana" dream by which the buyers get to believe they are cowboys, when in fact they grow berries there and get surrounded by the normal herd of supposed artists. Forgive my cynicism. The place is beautiful, but it really gets me how the New York/Connecticut "Don't trespass" culture has insinuated itself along the lake while the super rich cling to their rocks over the water and keep any of the nation from actually seeing the lake. The picture shows how pretty it is:


I checked my cynical perception with the folks where we stayed that night and they burst out laughing and said: "You got that one right, allright!. No-one from Montana there."

Next we arrived, rather late in the day, at West Glacier and booked into a not so great motel that had a rather nice view of the Rockies. After that we set off into the park, and stated up the "Going to the Sun Road". One rides up the river valley for a long long time, something like 20 miles, and then the actual climb up the mountain starts. Here is the view on the way up:


About halfway up, at a switchback, there was a bus stop ( for the park bus that takes pedestrian visitors). Waiting at it was a bunch of youngsters with two men in charge. After a while one of the men approached me fro a ride up to the top, because they had hiked down and had to go get the vans on top of the mountain to load up the kids. So he got his ride, subject to frequent picture stops. On the way up South Africa, Canada and the USA were discussed. On his question of how I view Bush, my response was "I do not believe he has the highest IQ of all the presidents you have had, but his heart and his n*ts are in the right place". This was accepted with great mirth and agreement...he was from Ohio.

Eventually we arrived at the top. I believe that, over the intervening years, the US and Canada have kind of united the Waterton Lakes Park in Canada with the Glacier National Park in the USA. As a result, we were met by both flags at the top. I figure this place must therefore be the it is the apex of the "Going to the Sun Road". :D


The trip down was uneventful and the sun was low on the horison, so pictures tended to be hazy and silhouetted. Eventually we got back down and, just before Apgar main camp, we stopped to take this picture of the mountains over Lake McDonald.


So ended day 12 on which we did not get to go to the sun. We stopped around 93 million miles short. However, we saw beautiful countryside, birds, and some rather majestic mountains....and yeah, there was still pain, but it was now second nature...especially on top of the mountain.

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Day 13: Canada! Oh, Canada!

At breakfast we decided that we'd now make our way back into Canada. To see other good stuff in the USA, we'd have to go pretty far south again, and that seemed unrealistic. Also, if need be, I could look up a dentist in Creston, just across the border, though I was a HUGE lot better and it was now clearly a single tooth that bothered me. No more stabbing brain with a sypathetically swollen face. In fact, no more aspirin required. So we set off for Kalispell and Libby along US Highway 2.

This was mountain country and looked a lot like the Canadian Kootenay. I enjoyed the ride. It is duly marked in one of our Road Atlases as a scenic drive. Just outside Troy, where we got our last cheap US fuel, one finds the Kootenay Falls.


A short distance beyond town we got onto route 1 and approached the border post near Creston, BC. The scenery started taking on that picture-perfect-Canada appearance that characterises rural BC.


The border post had a sign warning of have to be kidding me. There was one other car, which moved off as we approached. The young lady at customs wanted to know how much we had bought and how long we had been away. The answer was $109 and 15 days. She just told us to go.

Just outside Creston we turned west on BC Route 3 and headed up the Kootenay Pass. This is a rather steep pass. Some distance up it, there is a very nice rest site, where I took the following picture


That day ended in Nelson. We arrived relatively early, but the temperature was 38C...and it was seriously muggy. We just collapsed inside the very nice motel room . The place was operated by a Dutch lady and it showed. Very nice. Price was very nice also...$80-odd Canadian.

That evening we went down to the town to go and eat and then strolled along the waterfront. next moment an Osprey did a superb dive at the water for a fish, and I managed to kind of get him in one of the 8 shots I managed to get off in about 3 seconds:


SO ended Day 13, on which things turned rapidly Canadian, even in the USA. We were back in Canada...HOME. Admittedly, it was Nelson, which, as the folks from Creston will tell you all, has more weird characters per square foot than Vancouver...but it was Canada.

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Day 14: Beautiful British Columbia

Those are the exact words at the top of all BC car license plates. They are correct.

On this day we decided to make Osoyoos our next stop. Osoyoos ahs the reputation of being the hottest place in Canada. It is situated in the last tiny little bit of the Great Basin that stretches into Canada, extending up along the Okanogan River...or the Okanogan, as it is called in the United States.

Our route was entirely obvious. We'd follow Route 3, the Crow's nest Highway, named after the Pass of the same name over the Rockies, further east long the route. As Fate would have it, we had done the bit of Route 3 located east of Nelson. However, we particularly wanted to see Trail, for reasons I'll explain when we get to it in this journal. I should also mention that my sufferings were a thing of the past. It just felt a vaguely sensitive if I bit on one particular tooth. It would appear that the proximity of BC had cured me somehow(!?)..or fear of the dentist maybe ? :D

So we set off towards Castlegar on Route 3A. This is truly beautiful territory and well worth the visit. The first picture was taken simply on a rise outside Nelson, looking back towards the town and the distinctive red road bridge at the town.


A little bit further along the Kootenay River, which the road pretty much follows, was this distinctive and beautiful scene. However, the authorities in BC do not regard it as significant in any way, and therefore there is no safe way anywhere near it to stop. I believe I walked back about 3/4 kilometre to go and take it. We moved slowly that day...too many things to take pictures of.


Our next stop was Castlegar. It is a nice midsized BC interior town, but there was zero distinctive about it that we could discern, except for a bit of curious history, which I am keeping for something else on SACanada. I promise you I took nice pictures. We turned south for Trail, which is pretty close to the border of the USA. Soon after we got a family of deer trying to cross the road, and I managed this shot. This really made me feel like we had been to Kruger:


Our interest in Trail was based purely on the fact that both our professional careers had an involvement with Trail. This was where the Research labs of the company Cominco were located. The headquarters is in Vancouver, and they have operations in a few countries. This is one on Canada's big mining operations.

In the early 80's, shortly after I joined my previous employer in SA, the challenge was to make a certain high tech material based on elements being mined by Cominco. The only non-USA place where we could source such high tech materials at the time, was Cominco. Jeanne attended a conference that was attended by various US folks and by the research chap from Cominco, who had mastered the technique for making it. That was where she ran into the severely chilled out BC phenomenon for the first time. All the other guys appeared in suits at the time...he rolled up in his jeans and T-shirt, holding a mug of coffee...real Canadian. We really wanted to see the place that had played such a key role in our lives. And this was it. I never thought a working mining town could be so pretty...just replace the Cominco works in the picture by a medieval castle in your mind.


The river through town is the actual important Columbia River, on which so much of Northwestern history is based. It is what made Washington and Oregon states in the USA. Here, at Trail, it is not yet a huge massive river, but is bigger than any SA one. We crossed it to get the view back.


After this we went out a massive unending hill to get to Rossland, 2,000 feet above. It is truly worth a visit. The town is simply pretty. I drove around the town to get the perfect spot from which to take this picture, which really represents the town for me. We had lunch in Rossland at a small streetside cafe. Even at that altitude (around 3500 feet) it was really very hot.


Leaving town we climbed and climbed and climbed and I took the following shot back over the Rossland and Trail area.


After this we drove through very nice areas, including Christina Lake, which is right on the US border, ultimately getting to Grand Forks. Here we got fuel and tried an ice cream was bitterly hot. I took lots of pictures, but I thought I would be overloading folks here if I posted them.

The next significant point was when we started climbing out the Anarchist Mountain outside Rock Creek; itself an interesting little town that could probably do with a makeover into a typical "historic cowboy/mining town". As we went out the mountain, I took this picture back over the Kettle River Valley.


On top of the Anarchist mountain I took one of the pictures that I have come to really associate with this trip. Even though the trip was to the USA, this day in BC was causing me to take more pictures than anywhere else on the trip.


Finally we started to descend the mountain to Osoyoos. I am sure quite a few people know this view from the top of the mountain down to Osoyoos below in the terribly hot valley.


Rolling into Osoyoos, it was evident that there was not a bed to be had anywhere under any circumstances. We had lost track of time, place and country, and it was , in fact, the Friday night of the BC Day long weekend...this is the highest intensity public holiday in BC, being in the middle of its sunny period. Certainly, it appeared that all the people of BC were in the Okanagan that night. We were running out of time and I told Jeanne that we may have to ride for home...some four hours away. So we drove on towards the connecting highway near Penticton. Lo and behold, at Oliver there was a motel. We stopped by. Yet again it was run by a Dutch Lady. She ignored me and ignored me and ignored me while talking on the phone...I very nearly left. Then she hung up and I asked whether they have a room available...the answer was "Yes, strangely, I do". It was perfect, but she knew her price. It was more than $100CAD.

So ended the 14th Day; A drive through Beautiful British Columbia. By now I was perfect as far as pain and the such was concerned and was firing on all cylinders.

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Day 15: Back to Deep Cove....home!

The plan was to stay on Route 3 all the way to Hope in the Fraser Valley. We had done this road before in 2001, going the opposite way. However, it had been raining at the time and so, for a major part of that trip, we did not see much. This day was bright and open.

The first stop along the way north to the connecting road ( 3A) was Vaseaux Lake Provincial Park in the Okanagan River. I have always loved this spot. It feels a bit like Little Karoo. In fact, the entire southern Okanagan does. It is the dry countryside combined with vineyards and fruit orchards that create the effect.


We did a quick detour to an overlook just outside Penticton, so that Jeanne could get oriented with the lay of the land and the general situation of the town. We are considering retiring either there or on Vancouver Island, if places in either location are at all affordable by the time our turn comes. The picture shows the southern end of Lake Okanagan.


Next stop was Keremeos, which claims to be the roadside stall capital of Canada. Certainly, there were many stalls and there were endless cars...all with BC plates. The Okanagan is clearly a Vancouver phenomenon that is not shared with other Canadians. At Osoyoos folks had tried hard to make everything sound Spanish, playing on the Mexican/desert theme. It does not quite wash for me. The Okanagan is getting seriously overhyped. There must be more to life for these folks....surely!!? I was looking for kaalgatperskes, but these were uniquely measly. So I bought zero. Jeanne bought some stuff....mostly bottled preserves. However, at Keremeos was a huge slide against the mountain. THIS was something worthy of a picture. So, THAT will be my image of Keremeos.


The m=next stop was Hedley and its mining history. However, I'm sure you’ll forgive me by now that we did not spend more than the merest of minutes there. There is only so much that one can absorb in terms of supposed deep history relating to wayward Irishmen and other rowdy folks. After a while the whole packaging wears very thin. At Hedley it was threadbare.

So, we carried on. Princeton was used as the lunch and refueling stop. Then we set off further westwards to the Manning Provincial Park against the slopes of the northern limits of the American Cascade Mountains. There we took the side road that goes all the way up the mountainside to get a view over the Cascade mountains. The next picture is the view from up there looking back to some degree. The "pretty" red colouring in the pine forest, is actually the devastating mountain pine beetle damage that one hears of on CBC. The folks that have been protecting the forests have basically done TOO good a job. In the process they have protected too many pines that are over 80 years old. The Mountain Pine Beetle goes preferentially after these older trees. Having had a few super-hot seasons, the beetle numbers have exploded and they have simply gone after their natural food...old pine trees. The Conservation guys have now made peace with this phenomenon. They have stopped trying to fight the beetles and are just simply trying to out-harvest the beetles, felling trees a an astronomical rate. They hope that one or two cold seasons will reduce the beetles so they do not go too much after younger trees.


The next picture is a view of the actual American Cascade peaks, a few miles away.


At last we made our way down the apparently endless downslope of route 3 and joined Highway 1 at Hope. We were now about 90 minutes from Vancouver and only the open floodplain of the Fraser lay before us. To our left were the dense rainforests of the mountains, harbouring such sights as the bridal Veil Falls. We were back in the Real Pacific Northwest.

A few miles down the road we went past Chilliwack, which is like a huge vegetable farm for Vancouver. I just though that, even in the matter of agriculture, the BC operation was kind of pretty.


After this, it was a long line of 120 kph traffic to get back home, where the rest of the family was waiting with coffee and dinner! We were back Deep Cove. It was great!


So ended our 15 day roundtrip through Northwestern United States.

I'm sure we missed a lot. I'm sure we could have enjoyed Yellowstone if we had tried to book ages ahead, knowing we'd be there. Somehow, the trip would not have been as enjoyable. All in all, we loved the trip and came back refreshed.


1. The new car behaved brilliantly. I got 10km/litre ( 23 mpg) on average. On really bad trips with 9,000 foot passes, it fell to 22mpg. On flat open road it was 24.5 mpg. It was comfortable to travel in and could be packed and used very nicely. I'd happily recommend a Highlander 6cyl 4WD to anyone.

2. The dentist saw me on Tuesday morning. That day turned into two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, the latter a double root canal of three hours :);) . I was back there on Friday for another two hours. Man oh man. There is no more place to inject me that is not raw...and then he hit the nerve as well...ahhh MAN!!. This always happens on holidays somehow. But I suffered it, because I had enjoyed out trip. I'm still on antibiotics as I write this. Sorry for the dental detail, but part of this trip really happened through a haze of pain.

3. If you are going to drive across the USA, do not take a detour off the highways. Our exploration of Oregon and Idaho caused South Dakota to be the limit of our trip. Had we not done that, we might have made the Great Lakes.

4. Only Texas knows what steak is. If anyone wants to prove me wrong, they can now do so at their expense.

5. I do trust that these two pages do not clog your system. They have a lot of photos and several megabytes of data. Folks in SA may have considerable trouble over dial-up connections.

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Dear Harry.

Hi, I just registered with the SA Canada forum yesterday. I am an ex-SA artist living in Ontario, for over 3 years now. I was told about the photos you had taken so I registered to take a look at the beautiful photos and I would like to ask your permission to paint some of the exquisite landscapes you have managed to capture so well. Please let me know if this would be ok, and i could select the ones i would like to paint and forward them on to you. Many thanks. Brigitte Winchester, Ontario, Canada.

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only a pleasure ma'am. I'd love to see the result.

The originals were actually taken at a much better resolution of 1504 X 1000 as opposed to the 721 X 480 of the versions that I posted. I also compressed the little guys, so the quality is actually down a lot.

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Harry, jy maak my so lus om in die kar te klim en te ry en te gaan sien wat jy gesien het. Jou fotografie is absoluut stunning!

Sterkte met die tand!

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Dankie, Talita!

Hopelik is komende Saterdag die einde van die pyniging. Vir wat dit werd is...dis nie 'n goeie idee om tweekeer in een dag tandarts-toe te gaan om klaar te kry met die storie nie. :):P

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Hey Harry, right now I have the scene from the movie "Ten" in my mind, when Dudley Moore went to the dentist, had a bunch of fillings done and then tried to drink a glass of brandy with another glass beneath his chin to catch the overflow. Damn that was hilarious.

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Yep, I remember "10", but my attention was on Bo Derek at the time. :angry:

Idiot that I was....

1. I go to the dentist and he tells me, after taking X-rays, the nature of the damage and presecribes antibiotics

2. In the same session he then injects into my "jawbone", "freezes" me utterly and fixes a tooth next to the actual one that caused the holiday disaster.

3. He then wants me back for the actual real double root canal on the "holiday tooth", after having had antibiotics.

4. I realise I want this done before going back to work, so I book the same afternoon....idiot...idiot...idiot....idiot! :P

5. I go home and grab a piece of toast ( Finally!...I was So-o-o-oo hungry)

6. However, I got a lot of stuff to do, so while I munch, I go out to our useless hot tub to change the filter. The lid on the thing pops off and sprays me with water.

7. Harry, unthinking fool that he is, is caught with food in mouth and promptly attempts unwittingly to chew and swallow his own frozen lip while catching the filter. :);):P:P:blink: !!

8. Little Harry here ends up a total mess and very sorry for himself! He looks like he lost a one-sided fight! Breafast tastes like iron.:unsure:

9. That afternoon I'm in the same chair for nearly three hours of double root canal with "freezing"injections in the same (now tender) place.

10. I finally escape, low on air and rather dizzy. Now way way way too scared to eat at all.

11. Third day from then I'm back in the same chair again. I can now speak without slurring. He injects and hits nerve.

12. After scraping me from the ceiling, they continue the root canal process another two hours.

13. Fortunately one's mouth heals very easily, but the antibiotics associated with the original damage helped a lot, I'm sure. Im OK!

14. This coming Saturday he fixes me up finally and I grow poor :blink: .

Moral of the story:

You can

1. fix a filter,

2. freeze your jaw or

3. eat your breakfeast.

You can even do two of those at the same time.

But you cannot do all three at the same time'd reckon my grey hair would have taught me that. What can I say?

Misery was Harry-shaped last week...and there I thought the second week of the trip was bad.

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Harry, thanks for the interesting journal and all the nice photos.

I did not read all of the text in detail due to the length. Writing it must have kept your mind off the toothache.

A couple of questions:

- did you get to see the "old faithfull" geyser in Yellowstone. Is it worthwhile to travel so far to see it. And thanks for the warnings about accommodation there. It is somewhere on my future plans to go there.

- I lost track of your vehicle problem you had initially. Is it all sorted out now. What was the final cause?

- Adding a map showing your route would help track where you went and get an idea of distance of these places apart.

There's no place like home!

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In reverse order:

1. I do not have Streets & Trips, and , when I checked on, they had a clear warning on copyright, so I backed off. When I finally lay my hands on S&T, I'll fix this up...but, I agree, I felt unhappy without a map.

2. The car problem some months ago was with the gear-shift which locked. They fixed that one day, many weeks ago. No further charge. The car handled herself very well overthis trip.

3. Old Faithfull we saw on two previous trips. It was located off our route for this trip. Yes, it is worthwhile visiting, but take up your spot on the bench about 45 minutes to an hour early, otherwise you see very little due to the throng of people.

The trip there from your part of the world is worthwhile...less so from the East, as they have to cross the entire Midwest , which is flat as a pancake. Folks from the western Free State might enjoy it more.

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Where I got somewhat confused (without a map) was your trip over the Glacier National Park. I assume you crossed over the mountains from west to east, and you must have seen some glaciers. I travelled that road from east to west and camped at the west side near a lake. I thought the road reminded me of the old Du Toit's kloof pass. Close to the cliffs and winding close by trees through huge forests. Before we entered the park we were hungry and stopped at a small town with a shop at the entrance advertising fresh home made pies. To our disappointment there were only pies made of various berries :)

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We went up from the west, and then down to the west again...we did not go over and down the east side!

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