WE ARE BACK IN THE LOWER 48



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MONDAY - We had just 39-miles to travel this morning to reach the Canadian/United States border, but we had a planned sightseeing location to check out before we got there.

We thought we had seen all the fruit and vegetable stands there were to see yesterday, but that paled in comparison to what the last 39-miles of BC-97 had in store for us today. On both sides of the road were vineyards and gardens from the road shoulders to the foot of the nearby mountains.

Just too beautiful not to show and about the only acreage where there weren't vineyards.

That's a lot of grapes hanging below the vine, just waiting to be stomped into wine.

Had we not got off the highway to check out our sightseeing destination...

...we would not have seen these magnificent views of the vineyards below.


High up above the town of Osoyoos, BC on Route BC-3 and just 4-miles from the border, is the Spotted Lake, known as Ktlil'k to the First Nations People of the Okanagan Valley. The lake is a cultural and ecologically sensitive area, and a traditional medicine lake for the Okanagan Syilx people.

The lake can be viewed from behind a fence that has very limited parking at the site.
Watch for this gate and look for a place to pull over.

The First Nations People's belief is that each of the different circles
holds its own unique medicinal and healing properties.


Coming back down to the highway to start heading towards the border we of course made two more stops at a pair of fruit stands and purchased another small stash of fresh fruit. Let's hope they don't ask how much fruit we have in THE POD when we cross the border ten minutes from now.

Upon arriving at the border we were asked all the usual questions and then the big one we were dreading, "Do you have any fruit with you today?" My reply was simple, "Just what we purchased in the last hour." Without batting an eye he said, "Welcome back to the United States." He never asked what kind or how much fruit we had, so why ask us in the first place? My guess is he just wanted to know if I was being truthful when answering all his other standard questions.


Once across the border we travel south for another 22-miles before turning east on SR-20 in the town of Tonasket. After making the turn the roadway immediately started an upward trend into the mountains. It's roughly 84-miles between Tonasket and Kettle Falls, where we're headed, and the second half of that distance, roughly 35-miles from Republic to Kettle Falls is called the Sherman Pass Scenic Byway.

Sherman Pass is located 5,575 feet above sea level and is the highest roadway in the entire state of Washington. Had I researched that in advance I may have been better prepared to drive across it today. As it turns out, on our way down from Sherman Pass we had to pull off the road and let the brakes on ROVER cool down.

While we were on the side of the road Tricia made some sandwiches for lunch, which meant the 30-minutes went by quickly. Once back on the road the shuddering feeling was gone from the brakes and we safely arrived in Kettle Falls. We haven't experienced brakes overheating like that since we were on the Blue Ridge Parkway back in 2018.

Just on the other side of the bridge over the Columbia River is our destination.

A waterfront view and plenty of wide open spaces.

Our office and dining view for the next three days.



WEDNESDAY - Yesterday we did absolutely nothin', nada, zilch, zippo!

Today however is a different story. Today we have a sightseeing destination in town, a diner where we'll have lunch, a geocache to find and a 12-mile trip to the next town down the road to the Walmart, so I can pickup my prescriptions.

Sounds like a lot, but it won't take long to get it all done. Oh yeah, as a bonus we may even find somewhere to refill one of our propane tanks.


Our first stop was our sightseeing destination, The Old Apple Warehouse in Kettle Falls.

The building started out in 1907 as the name implies, it was an apple warehouse. Produce laden wagons would enter the building from the side, unload their wares, which would later be loaded onto train cars on the adjacent railroad tracks.

Business was good until 1939, that's when the Grand Coulee Dam was constructed across the Columbia River some 100-miles downstream from Kettle Falls. Construction of the dam caused most of the furtile valleys which contained many apple orchards to become submerged. Apple and other fruit production in the area was never the same again and by the 1990s the building was all but abandoned.

The building was sold to new owners and repurposed into what it is today, an antique mall and local artisans workshop area. There are over thirty small individually owned businesses, sometimes as small as 6x8 feet, where items are sold somewhere between yard sale pricing and truly collectible antiques.

We walked through the entire building, both street level and basement level, but thankfully found nothing that we couldn't live without. We saw many items that we might have purchased had we a real home to furnish, but we live in 216 square feet of "home on wheels" and just don't have the space needed to display these kinds of treasures.

JUST AS A SIDE NOTE: We were in the basement looking around when a train slowly passed by outside on the tracks. Everything in the basement started to shake, rattle and roll from the vibration. Dishes, glassware and metal pots and pans began making what could only be described as an unorganized symphony of sounds. It was quite an eerie experience being in the basement of a 100+ year old building that was making all that noise.

The side wall cafรฉ entrance into The Old Apple Warehouse.

The building is at least 10-times deeper than it is wide.

The tail end of the train that was creating so much chaos in the basement.


Right across the street from The Old Apple Warehouse is a gas station that sells propane. We filled up with $4.79 gas, that's the most we've ever paid in the Lower 48 states. Our previous high was $4.19 back in May just before we crossed the border into Canada. I don't even want to talk about the price of gas in Canada and Alaska!

We then got our propane bottle filled before heading down the road to Walmart to pick up my prescriptions. Of course we also spent nearly $100 in groceries and had to return to THE POD to get some items into the refrigerator.

After unloading the groceries we were off to Sandy's Drive In in Kettle Falls for lunch. They are known for having the freshest hambugers in the area. We both got a different variety of a hamburger, Tricia a mushroom/swiss and me a traditional cheeseburger, plus we both got fries, all for just over $18.00, that was the best part for me.

JUST ANOTHER SIDE NOTE: While eating lunch in the diner it was strange watching the TV news from the northeast corner of the United States (Washington) and seeing the southeast corner of the United States (Florida) being battered by Hurricane Ian. We're hoping all our friends and family in Florida are safe and dry this evening!

Now with full bellies the only thing left on today's list was to locate a geocache. That wasn't hard to do, there is one hidden just a half mile down the road. We were able to drive to within 150 feet of the geocache and located it in no time.

Nothing to do now except return to home base and write this blogpost.



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CANADA: THE OKANAGAN HIGHWAY



SUNDAY

WALMART SUPERCENTRE


STORE #3070 - PENTICTON, BC

BRITISH COLUMBIA

DESTINATION: THE LOWER 48

97% 3
COMPLETED - 1310 miles=(2108 kilometers)39 miles=(63 kilometers) - STILL TO GO

The Canadians sure do have a propensity for wanting to give their highways nicknames. The 117-mile long stretch of Highway 97 from Vernon to just past Osoyoos at the U.S./Canadian border is known as the Okanagan Highway.

We've read that some of the finest fruit and vegetables grown in Canada are from this region. By the shear number of wineries and fruit stands we passed on the road today I think I would have to agree. We stopped at two farmer/fruit stands today and scored a bounty of fresh food.


Now it's time for all you retail gurus to guess what we spent on all this farm fresh food today.
The one who guesses closest wins a prize!


Make your guess in U.S. dollars, because I've already done the conversion from Canadian.


When we first turned south on Route BC-97 today we saw the aftermath of a rather large forest fire they previously experienced in this region. Nearly every tree was burnt to a crisp for over two miles of our highway travels. It was sad to see and must have been horrifing to have lived through it. The fire jumped over that rather large body of water and the roadway because both sides of this small canyon were burnt.

A little farther down the road and it was as if nothing bad had ever happened. We even saw a few trees with redish fall colors at the top.

We only passed through two better than average sized towns today, the first one being Vernon, which is the northern end of the Okanagan Highway. This is where we stopped at the first of two farm stand stores and purchased half of what you saw in the photo above.


The town of Vernon goes all out to beautify their downtown streets.


Everywhere you looked there were flowers.


Traffic control boxes get wrapped in an apple print to make them blend into the scenery.


The next large town we passed through headed south was Kelowna. Kelowna is at the center of the 84-mile long Okanagan Lake which is 2½ to 3-miles wide at most spots. Vernon is the north end of the lake and Penticton, where we are planning to spend the night, is at the south end of the lake.

When traveling this region you'll need to make up your mind which side of the lake you want to be on because there's only one bridge over the lake and that's in Kelowna, right in the middle.


Another long sloping entrance drive into the town of Kelowna.


William R. Bennett Bridge, a former Premier of British Columbia and native of Kelowna.


What do you do if you live in Kelowna on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in September?


Or maybe you're more into sailing up and down the 84-mile lake.


Just on the other side of the bridge is West Kelowna. This is where we stopped at the second farm stand store, Paynter's Fruit Market, which had a much larger selection and you can see the groves and gardens where the fruit and vegetables are grown right behind the market.


Right behind the market are acres of product being grown fresh for your selections.


Even today in late September they were out working the fields.


A short while later and we were looking for the cheapest gas in Penticton and it just so happens to be located across the street from Walmart, where we plan to spend our final night in Canada (this season anyway).

If all goes according to plan we'll travel the final 39-miles down BC-97 and cross the border into the state of Washington and the Good Ole' U.S. of A, thus ending our summer north of the border.



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CANADA: CARIBOO HIGHWAY (SOUTHERN ½)



SATURDAY

THE HOME DEPOT


STORE #7144 - KAMLOOPS, BC

BRITISH COLUMBIA

DESTINATION: THE LOWER 48

86% 14%
COMPLETED - 1162 miles=(1870 kilometers)187 miles=(301 kilometers) - STILL TO GO


There was still a heavy fog over Williams Lake as we started our travels today at 9:00AM.


An hour later we had left the fog behind and faced clear blue skies for the rest of the day.

The first ¾ of today's route we were still traveling south on the Cariboo Highway, passing through communities like 150 Mile House, 100 Mile House and 70 Mile House. There were other communities with Mile House in their names like 141, 122 and 108 Mile House.

These are all names that inform a stampeder how far north of the roadhouse in Lillooet (Mile 0) they had traveled. These names of course were first used back in the 1850s when thousands of men were headed north in search of gold, which is why this stretch of road is also referred to as The Gold Rush Trail.


A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY:
I started thinking, wait a minute, why are all these names in miles?
Hasn't Canada always been a "metric" nation?
Shouldn't they be called 241 Kilometer House and so forth?

Turns out Canada didn't officially become a fully metric nation until the 1970s, although it had been widely practiced here since the 1870s. The naming of these towns along the Gold Rush Trail predate the metric usage in Canada by 20-years. I found an interesting article that was written just last month, if you care to read it I'll place a LINK HERE.

DID YOU KNOW the United States, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) in Southeast Asia and Liberia on the West African coast are the only countries in the world who use the Imperial System for Measures (i.e. miles-yards-feet-inches, gallons-quarts-pints and tons-pounds-ounces and such)?



Approaching the town of Clinton on a 4-mile long 8% downward slope. That'll test your brakes!


Once we reach the southern end of the Cariboo Highway in Cache Creek we will turn left again and begin traveling east on the Trans-Canada Highway 1 for the last ¼ of today's route.

This is where the landscape made a dramatic change. We were no longer traveling north/south down through a wide valley between two mountain ranges. We were now traveling east/west and going across the grain so to speak, traveling up and over the mountains we've been seeing all day.


It's hard to believe there's still corn in the fields, I imagine they'll be harvesting it soon.


A small glimpse of the 300+ mile long Thompson River along Trans-Canada Highway 1.


Upon arriving in Kamloops, BC we did what we usually do, filled ROVER with gasoline before parking for the night and then checked to see if there was anything interesting within walking distance of our location.

In order to break up our chain of nights in Walmart parking lots I called ahead to The Home Depot Store here in town. I asked if I would be permitted to park overnight in their parking lot and was told as long as it was for "just one night" it would be fine. Thanks Home Depot!

Of course when I arrived I went inside and got the name of the manager I spoke with, just in case any problems arise later in the evening. I'm hoping there is a lot less activity in this parking lot tonight than we seem to be experiencing in the Walmart parking lots.



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TWO PEAS