All You Need is Gas & Good Tires...
Ok... as of reaching 100 Mile House, I have successfully completed a total of 3163 kilometres traveled in British Columbia.
*albeit 516km of that was spent in a ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert... but I STILL traveled it!
I found a decent motel (Super 8) and got a nice meal of yoghurt and pre-packaged grapefruit segments to satisfy my evening hunger pangs...
I poured myself a glass of red wine... and promptly crashed out for the evening.
Solo party life on the road is lit.
You wouldn't think that day after day, driving around, taking pictures and superficially exploring beautiful British Columbia could be this debilatating... but let me assure you right now, it really is.
I normally pride myself on my inability to sleep in... and usually, on any of my previous travels, one can find me up & out quite early, eager to start the day and not let a moment of exploration pass me by.
Not this vacation.
My favourite part of this holiday has been lazing in bed, scrolling through the monotonous and trivial addiction of social media, until I feel a nagging obligation to get up before I am literally kicked out.
I excuse my laziness with "I must need the rest," and that seems to appease.
Much to my delight, the Super 8 was offering free continental breakfast, which was more of "grab and get out", rather than the lovely banquet experience they had originally presented it as when I checked in. Nothing says "come back again real soon" like a small carton of apple juice and a pre-wrapped omelet."
Every breakfast item on the buffet table was wrapped perfectly in plastic and each guest was given 5 minutes alone, to pick out their items and get back to their rooms.
If I could turn back time, I would have heavily invested in the plastic market... in January.
*Hand sanitizer too.
Instead of remaining on the #97, I decided to veer off on to a secondary road that would lead me across to Little Fort. This was the #24 and it took me through small communities such as Lone Butte, Sheridan Lake and Roe Lake.
Becky wasn't expecting me in Kamloops until much later in the afternoon, so I had a little bit of time on my hands... and, as per my luck lately, the weather was cooperating, once again!
Should I head in to Wells Grey Provincial Park?
The day was still young, the sun was shining and I had heard tales of some magnificent waterfalls in the area.
Wells Grey is home to 39 waterfalls.
I saw one,
I would have like to see more... but when I haphazardly glanced down at my fuel gauge... I was on E.
Errrrr.... why do I always do this???
SUCH an idiot.
I will never know why it is such a struggle for me to keep gas in my car.
I could have turned around and headed back to Clearwater for gas... but I was already so many kilometres away. I had to settle on seeing one waterfall. Spahats Creek Falls.
It was a five minute stroll to the boardwalk view point that provided the best viewing opportunity... and the waterfall was beyond impressive. Leaping out of a gap in the canyon and in to a wider gorge, this powerful waterfall stood between 75-80 metres tall.
Embarrassing as this is to admit, I enjoyed seeing the beauty of Spahats... but honestly, all I could concentrate on was the frostbite settling in to my feet.
Today I decided that I was going to dress for the vacation I wanted...
After all, I am supposed to be in Cuba right now...
*Hence the three bathing suits.
I wore a summer dress and flip flops.
This fashion faux pas didn't last long. I had to seriously, and quickly, rethink this foolish decision and once again, regurgitate a version of the same outfit I'd been wearing for 2 weeks. Pants, hoodie, socks, shoes.
My mind, and my heart, are not yet ready to give up summer, whereas my feet were willing to let it go immediately.
I drove a few more kilometres up through the provincial park, but eventually had to turn around if I had any chance of making it back in to civilization with an ounce of petrol. I have never actually run out of gas... but have come ridiculously close... and I know that it won't be long until fear become fruition.
I stopped at a little roadside diner called The High Five. This place drew me in with their bright lights, neon signs and variety of vintage signs that adorned the exterior.
Also... I wanted lunch.
Inside was decorated much like that of an authentic 50's or 60's diner. Retro signs, a jukebox and diner booths made you feel like you had stepped back in time. Had I not been alone, I would have felt the overwhelming urge to split a milkshake with someone, or cut a rug to an old Buddy Holly song.
As I waited for my feast to arrive (and believe me, it was a beef dip feast), I sat and enjoyed the vintage harmony hits & d0o-waps by the likes of the Everly Brothers, Paul Anka and Chuck Berry. It wasn't until Goodnight Sweetheart by The Overtones came on that I started to get annoyed with my temporary time travel.
The guy sitting in the booth behind me began to sing along.
We were the only two people in there.
Then a spider fell on my leg... and that was my cue to finish up my feast and go. While I had been eating my lunch, the heavens opened up and the rain came teeming down. Safe, and away from risk of saturation... I waited it out and once it was over, I hit the road again.
Always being in the mindset of "the road less travelled...", no matter how sketchy the road is or how much trouble I could potentially be putting myself in...
I turned at Barriere and took the Westsyde Road, which appeared on Google Maps to, more or less, run parallel to the North Thompson River.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
It was another gravel road.
From first turning on it, it headed up, up, up... really up... very much up... and then up some more. The road climbed the mountainside for 4 kilometres.
Did I mention the gravel road?
I can not say, with full certainty, why this did not deter me.
I just kept going... hoping that my wheels could endure the road conditions.
I discovered later that the mountain is called Skull Mountain. Having had known that earlier, I'm sure would have been deterrent enough.
Regardless of spending another hour+ of my time "going slow," it was glorious driving through the brilliance of the mountainous fall colours again. The road winded its way through forests, farmland, dude ranches, mountain cottages, scenic viewpoints,.. and I was really beginning to put more & more confidence in to the 4WD capabilities of my little red racer...
When I finally came to the bottom of the mountain, the paved road began again.
I made a brief stop at Privato Winery, a boutique river valley vineyard just outside of Kamloops, and enjoyed a glass of their esteemed merlot... rich with the nose of chocolate covered cherries, leather and blueberry.
That's what they told me anyway.
I would have been ecstatic sipping on just about anything at that point... lazing there in the garden, watching the chickens scurry around, taking selfies and congratulating myself for having made it over Skull Mountain.
I deserved wine.