Title of picture

Winter sunrise, Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Fort Steele Historic Park

We packed up again this morning and the coach was back into the shop by 9:30 am. As it was going to be a few hours we decided to tour Fort Steele Historic Park as Freya was allowed to come and it is hot out again. It took us 2 hours to tour the town .... more than we wanted, but we sucked it up and kept on going as we had no home to go back to. Ray is really going to pay for this now and have to take one of "Alice's little blue pills" to survive this many days out of our routine.  Fortunately we finished walking around the place as the clouds opened up just as we reached the car. We may go back and do just the steam train, a 20 minute ride around the place in the next couple of days.

Hi Ya Freya!
These guys were pretty curious about the dog too.

Fort Steele offers wagon rides as well as steam train rides here ... all at a cost of course. The steam train was out of service today and we could not take Freya on the wagon.

Even the employees were trying to stay in the shade.

We checked on the coach at about 12:30 and they were "waiting for the okay from the Extended Warranty people and BCAA for the tow damage. It turned out that not only did the idiot that towed us wreck the exhaust pipe for the generator and bend the steel angle iron holding up the generator he also cracked the lower fiberglass cap with his impatience of unhooking the coach from his apparatus which we witnessed. Anyways BCAA paid the portion of our bill to fix the exhaust pipe and angle iron to the tune of $700. We still do not know about the cracked fiberglass and would not get it fixed until September. The extended warranty company is still fighting with Freightliner about not wanting to pay the whole bill less our deductible. Horse Shi....... Freightliner people have been awesome and I would recommend the guys in Cranbrook to anyone needing Cummins Diesel Care. Anyways, they let us leave today and we are back at Fort Steel Resort for the night. I managed to be able to book for three more days but in a 30 amp site as it is the long-weekend and we do not know which direction we are going in yet. Ray's mom seems stable at home. Ray is couched here for now and other than moving to our new spot tomorrow we are not going anywhere. Later this weekend we may drive to Kimberley and see the mine museum and train ride. We shall see.

Here is a picture of where we take Freya for a swim and throw the chuck it for her, a two minute drive from the campsite.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

We are finally fixed!!! and the Cranbrook Railway Museum Wednesday

The coach went into the shop at 8:30 am this morning as the parts were arriving a little later in the morning and they were going to fix the generator support angle iron and check the exhaust pipe for the generator while waiting. Parts were installed and we got the coach back temporarily for the night so we could go to a plug in site and dump. We found space at the Fort Steel RV Resort, 18 km up the highway. The towing caused damage to the front frame holding up the generator and the generator's exhaust pipe. This was discovered when the technician wanted access to the computer port to check out the A/C that is accessed in the generator compartment. He discovered the drawer would not slide open. Good thing it was discovered as we would have blindly carried on. Also the exhaust pipe was pinched and split, so we might have had trouble done the line with the generator. We will have to go after BCAA for this charge and they will have to go after the tow company. Hopefully this works out. Unfortunately, Freightliner had to outsource the exhaust pipe and the dummies bent up the new pipe the wrong way after taking their measurements so we have to go back for a couple more hours tomorrow before we are good to leave. Freightliner is also having some difficulty with our extended warranty people so hopefully all will come out to our benefit in the end or it will cost us more $$$. The service manager believes that insurance companies play like this in hopes that we just throw our hands up.

One of 3 cracks in the fiberglass front cap.
Ray and I spent a couple of hours this morning while the coach was in the shop, touring the Railway Museum in Cranbrook for something to do before it got hot out as Freya had to stay in the car. Wow, it sure was nice to see all of the old train cars. They had several cars completely refurbished to 1929 standards and even had a 1907 wood train set with four cars. 2 of the cars were recovered from being used as cabins on a lake in Michigan so they were in much better condition.

Cranbrook Train Museum
Model Train Display
Here are some pictures of the 1907 Soo-Spokane Wooden Train Set.

The next pictures are of the 1929 First Class Trans Canada Train Set. They had the interpretive one that was not refurbished and one set that was refurbished with original pieces. Because in the 1940's they were all refurbished with lead paint because the old varnish did not last and it had to be done 3 to 4 times yearly in the 30's so they finally painted all that glorious wood. Lots of work stripping it and bringing it back to it's natural beauty. It is all Honduran Mahogany.

This piece was found in a chicken coop!
The handcrafted inlays are beautiful.

The rest of the day we spent at a park a short distance from the shop under the trees throwing the ball for Freya and buying some KFC for lunch. Ray even had a rest on the grass on his back. We finally got the coach back at 5 pm and headed out to Fort Steele.  A lovely RV Park and it is bloody fantastic to have 50 amp service as it is 33 degrees outside not to mention dumping after two weeks on the road. Last night the temperature did not start dropping until 9:30 pm and it was still 20 outside at 11:30 pm. Looking forward for AC all night!

We also heard from our daughter Kristi today, who went to visit Ray's mom this morning and take her to a scheduled doctor's appointment before heading over to the island. She opens up her new OBGYN practice on Monday in Nanaimo so cannot stay. Mum was feeling poorly yesterday but did not want to go to the hospital as she had the appointment today. Kristi took her to the appointment and Mum was sent by ambulance to the hospital with acute renal failure and dehydration. She had not been drinking anything yesterday as she was feeling poorly and it just made her other problems much worse. After giving her a liter of fluids  she was feeling much better so they sent her back home. Fortunately she has a friend in her building who checks up on her otherwise they probably would not have let her come home today. But she is very stubborn 92 year old, so who knows. The doctor is now going to start the process of Mum going into assisted living which she would like. Hopefully this does not take too long. The earliest we could head back to Vancouver is Friday morning and it would take us 2 days. So we will see how she does tomorrow. She really wishes just to "wake up dead" at this point, often talking about that she is ready to go. Mum told Ray for us to stay the course and continue with our plans and that she is fine but you never know so we are at another crossroads as to what to do. Coming back and finding a place to stay would also pose a problem with the summer and lack of RV sites available. Fortunately my Dad has settled in well with his caregiver Larny and they both are doing fine. They also have the help of his nurse and good friend, Bev.

We were hoping to visit Fort Steele Historic Town tomorrow but since the coach goes back in and we could only get a site here for 2 days only ?????? don't know.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Scouting out Forest Service Sites on Lake Kookanusa

Ray and I decided to drive to several forest service sites along Lake Kookanoosa, towards Fernie, which was supposed to be our next destination. All of them were a bust for our size or too many trees so our solar would not work including Englishman Creek Rec Site and Gold Bay Rec Site. Most sites were too far from the water as well for Ray to launch his pontoon boat to fish. Bummer. I decided to stop and check out Kikoman Creek Provincial Park to see the site I booked on line and had to cancel due to the breakdown. It would have been acceptable although getting down to the lake was fairly steep so no floaty boat here either. We spent several hours checking all of this out and were glad we did as we had to come up with a plan B, especially as this is the long weekend and "there is no room at the inn!" in most cases. We were supposed to spend a month in the area. The day was tough on Ray so he was couched for the rest of the afternoon and night. Glad we went and saw instead of just showing up! Did not even take a picture!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Road Tour to Premier Lake and back through Kimberley

With the Freightliner shop closed on Sunday we decided to take the opportunity to scout out a few forest service sites and Premier Lake Provincial Park as possible destinations for us when we come back through this area at the end of July, beginning of August. We knew it was going to be a longer day for Ray but I always like to scout out the area before we commit with our large coach.

We drove up Highway 93 past Fort Steele and checked out Wasa Lake Provincial Park first. The campsite is across the highway from the Lake and is a standard provincial park heavily treed. The lake seems to be used mostly for water sports rather than fishing so strike that one off.

Next stop a bit further up the highway was Premier Lake Provincial Park turn-off. The Lake is 15 km up the road that is paved and then there is about 7 km of good gravel road that has had the calcium chloride treatment so no dust and the drive in from the park is back to pavement. The campsite is above the lake but there is a large dock to moor your boat. There are lots of campsites that would fit us in the trees, but they do have one loop of about 10 or so campsites that are out in the open that would work for us. Most of the sites are first come first serve as well. (61 sites and only 20 reservable) $25/night. Ray and I saw fish jumping and apparently the fishing is good. The colour of the water was amazing.

Ray and I would consider coming here for a week.

Back to Highway 93 we turned towards Canal Flats and tried to see Johnson Lake Rec Site. A goat track so we did not even get to the lake. Very misrepresented in the Backroad Mapbook.

Another few kilometers back towards Cranbrook, is the turn-off for Larchwood Lake Rec Site. This site is up behind the Skookumchuk Pulp Mill on about 3 km of gravel that had been treated and about 2 km that was not treated up to the lake. Fortunately the lake was far enough away that you could not smell the pulp mill, unless the wind turns southeast, or hear it. What a wonderful little lake. There are 21 sites available for $14/night. We spoke to the camp host, Paul, and he mentioned that it does get pretty busy. He kindly gave us his phone number so we could check if anyone was leaving or there would be any room before making the journey up there with the coach.

One of the upper campsites that we would fit in and with a great view.

Back to the highway again and then taking the cut off to Kimberly there is another recreation site called Hahas Lake Rec Site. Again a lovely lake but the camp sites are very small and the road in is very rough. I think the coach would have hit a bunch of low hanging branches if we even attempted it. We did however see the most interesting fishing craft. Maybe Ray's next floaty boat????

Getting hungry so we continued on the highway into Kimberley. Ray and I walked the Platzl and decided on lunch at the Stonefire Pizzeria. Lovely pizza and great Fernie craft beer. Most of the businesses were closed as it was Sunday and I think that they do not really ramp up for tourists until July.

You pay $1 and the "cookoo" comes out yodelling.

Sitting here I heard the cookoo clock a lot with people coming by and putting the money in so they could take pictures.

On the way back to Cranbrook we stopped at the Riverside Campground and any size rig would fit. A lovely campground, it looks to be ex-Provincial Park with power added to some sites. The highway back to Cranbrook follows the St. Mary River with open vistas of the Rocky Mountains, gorgeous. Back at home, we fired up the generator to cool off the coach ... it was 85 degrees inside. With 3 heat pumps it only takes 15 minutes to bring the temp back down to 73. Ray went and laid in bed for a couple of hours to get control of his pain, while Freya and I enjoyed the shade outside. A lovely day in spite of our breakdown. Tomorrow laundry at the laundromat for me.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Broken down just outside of Creston BC

Ray and I pulled out of Nelson about 10 am yesterday, in the rain. We had to wait for the pile of gravel to be smoothed out that the campground people dumped in front of us the day before. The rain pretty much quit after about an hour on the road as we went way up over the Kootenay Pass, summit at 1781 metres (5843 feet). We cruised down the mountain into Creston and stopped at the A & W for lunch as they had a large parking lot adjacent to it. Back on the road we headed out of Creston, about 10 km and Oh Oh!!!!! Ray lost power, a bunch of warning lights came on so we pulled over as quickly as we could off the highway. We looked back and it looked like smoke coming out of the back of the coach. Ray ran out with the fire extinguisher, I grabbed my purse and Ray's wallet and the dog and we all ran outside. It turned out to be steam, not smoke coming from the radiator. We've had no trouble with this coach going up and down mountains in the 3 1/2 years we have owned it and we had it completely checked out before coming home in the states so ?????

The people of Creston are very friendly. We had a man and his wife stop and ask us if we wanted to drive just a short ways (about 1000 feet) to their house and park to let it cool down off the highway. We followed them and they fed us coffee. Russ and Maxine Romano even offered for us to stay in their driveway if we could not continue. Notice the jug for water for us. They also have a house in Yuma so we will look them up next winter. Hard to believe he just had his 80th birthday!

Ray called Freightliner in Cranbrook for some advice as to what to do. They told us to try refilling the radiator and see what happens and come to them in Cranbrook for a flush and more coolant to be added. We filled up the radiator reservoir and started the coach ... no lights so we started back down the highway. We only made it about another 2 km, if that, and the same thing happened so we pulled off the highway again. Ray phoned Freightliner again and he said we would need a tow, but they had no one available. Thank God for BCAA RV Service. BCAA had someone there to tow us within an hour. While we waited, 2 more people stopped making sure we were okay. Ray and I had to unload part of the car into the coach so there would be room for Freya. By this time it was 4 pm by the time the tow truck arrived. Of course we were barely off the highway and the speed limit was 100 km. Not the safest place to be! It took the guy over an hour to hook us up. Apparently you have to drop the driveshaft to be able to tow it. He was a little "stout" and could barely get under the coach. Lots of "blue air" was coming out from under the coach. He complained there were 18 bolts to undo.... turned out there were 4.  However these would not budge so he had to call another guy who was smaller and to bring a torch to heat up the nuts to get them off. Chris also had to cage the brakes as we had left and when Ray disengaged the Parking Break the wheels didn't release. What a mess. He told us to go to Cranbrook ahead of him as he would be a couple of hours behind us and we were 90 km from Cranbrook.  Most of the time this was going on I made Ray sit in the car reclined as our day just got extremely long.

Poor Kastle

We drove into Cranbrook and found out where the Brew Pub was, called The Heid Out, and then gave Freya a walk in the park. Back to the pub so we could have dinner where the food was excellent and the beer even better ... at least something turned out okay today. Ray and I had the special which was 8 oz Prime Rib ... Yummm. We did notice some plates of Fish and Chips go by that were huge ... maybe next time.

After we left the pub, Ray called the tow truck and Chris said he had just arrived at Freightliner and was unhooking so we hurried over to meet up with him. Fortunately damage was minimal from towing ... bracket from the generator exhaust was broken and the front fiberglass bottom edge was scraped a little. 

Cranbrook is on Mountain time so it was 9pm (8pm Pacific time ) before the coach was ready to open up for the night. Ray went directly to bed while I set up a little.

Saturday afternoon, Curtis, our mechanic, came over and put the drive shaft back, unhooked the broken fan belts so it would not try to turn and uncaged the brakes so we could move to another spot in their lot off the road for the rest of our time here. 

Before we moved to the new spot, he diagnosed our breakdown and it turned out that the housing the air compressor for the air conditioner fell cracked and fell onto the engine and trashed the fan belts, hence the overheating. Bottom line 2 major problems, one that they can fix easily with parts available and one that requires parts from Tiffin they think. We will either be on the road Tuesday afternoon or could be a week??? I think most of this will be covered by our extended warranty. If getting parts and repairs take longer than Tuesday we will have to arrange for a pump out as we came here expecting to dump in Cranbrook with both black and grey tanks over half full. Note to self dump every time before leaving no matter what. We may have to go to the aquatic center for showers but unfortunately the pool is closed for maintenance until July 1st so no hot tub for Ray.

I had to cancel reservations at the RV Park here in Cranbrook and took a big hit cancelling our proposed 2 night stay at the Kikomen Creek Provincial Park on Lake Kookanusa. Boy provincial parks really nail you, first with reservation fees ($6 per night) and then if you cancel less than 7 days before the reservation date they take 1 night plus the reservation fee for 2 nights $12 so for an $82 original charge for 2 nights we only got $35 back. We had hoped to stay there for 2 nights to check out 3 forest service sites to see if we could get in for a couple of weeks. At least it is not costing us anything to stay here at Freightliner but the view kind of sucks.

Taking up the tile floor cutout in the bathroom to access the motor sure was a pain in the ...... but Curtis carefully worked it and managed to get it out. The first time we had seen our motor from that vantage and I think the first time it had ever been opened since we purchased the coach. 

 Camp Freightliner

So that is what is under the floor!

Before lunch since we had some time, so Ray and I took the short drive up to Jim Smith Provincial Park 4 km from downtown Cranbrook. This old homesteader house with it's cold storage built into a small hill was on the road to the lake.

Note that the ramp to the far left is under water from the recent rains.

The campsite had several sites that would fit us but little sunshine. There also was very poor access to the lake from the park side so not somewhere we would go.

So making lemonade out of lemons, dep we have several things planned to see while we are here, stay tuned for pictures. Again, thank goodness for BCAA which will be getting at least a 6 hour charge at $180/hr  for the tow into Cranbrook (90km) and extended warranty because I think this is going to be very expensive.