Washington state and the Canadian Kootenays

Midsummer Sunday was really nice. We went to have a look at the premises the day before to make sure to find the place but it was raining heavily at the time. So we went to a camping site close by and recharged our batteries and made some laundry. It was a nice camping site with a small fish pond with ducks and all. There were plenty of big mobile homes all over the place. Refreshing showers and bath for all of us and we felt ready for Midsummer celebrations.



Sunday morning after breakfast we went to celebrate Midsummer, the emigrant way. They had arranged it surprisingly well with folkdance, music, maypole and dancing. There was a Viking boat on display and plenty of flowers. Sun was shining and it was the best weather we have experienced so far.




Midsummer queen and princess (below).


Completely satisfied with the day, including several hours at the playground, we went back towards Seattle again and following day had a look at a statue of the first European in America. The old Viking Leif Eriksson stood statue in the harbor with a Christian cross (!) around his neck. There is another one in Trondheim and one in Greenland. They will eventually build one more at the east coast of Canada where he and his family lived for about five years 1002-1007 A.D. before returning back to Greenland again.


Next day we went back to REI and bought some bicycle accessories and then went to the bicycle shop and collected my new bicycle. It is a dedicated touring bike , Surly Long Haul Trucker. It is made for heavy duty service with 36 spokes in each wheel, 27 gears, front and back rack, and long fenders. I swopped the saddle and the handle bar for my own choice. It feels good and runs great! Then we left the coast and headed inland. Found a nice spot to camp and woke up to a wonderful morning by the river.


Played with Nina along the water during the morning and then continued east along Highway 2 to Skykomish. There we spotted several trains, both passenger and freight trains. Impressive with the dubbeldecker wagons. I counted 121 wagons in one container train with double stacked containers. That would be some 484 TEU’s in one train! When will we ever see something like that in Sweden, where a full length container train does not take more than some 88 TEU’s as it stand now? 


In the afternoon I fitted Nina’s seat to the bike and we went for a ride around town. She enjoyed it plenty and me too. Then we took off and came in to some tough driving up to Stevens pass. There was still some snow up there so we stopped to make snowballs.


Then it was downhill to a rest area where we had showers and stayed overnight. Following morning we continued to Leavensworth, which is a europeanised small town with signs in german. I went for a two hour bike ride while Lucy and the kids took a walk along the riverside. It was a nice setting with mountains all around and we found a really nice playground for Nina to play at.


We continued east and stopped by the river to have lunch. Nina found a friend to play with and I arranged a tarpaulin to cover the bicycle in the back of the RV. We stayed there best part of the afternoon then continued to Chelin.



In Chelin we met a couple of women that bought their second hand RV the day before and asked for advice how to use some of the equipment. Nina was really happy to play with their cat and dog. We chatted away an hour or so and then it was time to go to bed. Woke up to another nice and sunny day. We went a short drive north to Pateros and stopped to have breakfast. I assembled my front and back lights on the bicycle while Nina played at the playground and Lucy took Pim in the stroller for a walk along the river, where she saw a small snake. Then we had some lunch and enjoyed the nice weather and green grass in the park.



It was late afternoon when we continued to Republic where we had decided to stay for 4th of July. Found that they really catered for mobile homes there. They had arranged a special parking place by a park for overnight parking with free electricity hookup. A few hundred meters away was a free sani-dump. We also got free fresh water and filled up our tank. We like Republic! In the evening we watched Tintin movies on the laptop. In the morning I went for a bike ride with Nina but it started raining so we went to the library instead. There they had plenty of toys for children and Nina wanted to stay forever.


Then it was 4th of July and we went to a nearby park by the water. Really nice weather the whole day. Nina was playing in the water. Lucy and Pim went for a walk and I took Nina with me for a bike ride. She fell asleep straight away. Luckily I make good use of the tiltable child seat where she sleeps very well. We had barbeque with hotdogs and after dark we drove up the hill for a good view of the fireworks across the lake.




In the morning we headed for the Canadian border at Grand forks. Nice to read signs in kilometers instead of miles again. Today also marks halftime for our time over here. We have been here one and a half months and have another one and a half to go. I am really looking forward to the mountainous areas of BC that we are now going to travel through. We had no trouble in passing the border and went to do some grocery shopping in Grand forks. Continued to Lake Christine for the evening.

There was a nice picnic area by the lake. We had breakfast and then Nina went to play with the water along the sandy beach with some other kids. In the afternoon we went up in the mountain for a ride with the bicycle on a ‘rail trail’, an abandoned railway bank converted to bicycle path.


At Castlegar we got the first experience of the record flooding BC has got at the moment. Rivers are superfull of water. We could not even use the path along the river as it went straight into the water. They had, however, a nice playground with splashpool in Castlegar were we spent the afternoon, to Nina’s satisfaction.


We continued to Nelson. A really nice town by a narrow lake. Parked under a bridge for shade as it was 35 degrees and sunny. Went for a stroll along the lake shore and saw first a battleship and then a very old tram. Had a look at downtown Nelson with shops and restaurants. Spent most of the afternoon at the shady playground.


Next it was Monday and time for Pim to get his second obligatory vaccination. We took him to the local public health clinic and they assisted us straight away with an injection. In the evening we went to a parking high above the town. There was a nice ‘rail trail’, an abandoned railway bank turned into a bicycle path. Lucy took Pim in the stroller and I went with Nina on the bicycle. It was a really nice evening with a great view of Nelson along the track. Then I left Nina with Lucy in the mobile home and went on my own as far as the track took me and back again. With Pink Floyd’s ‘Delicate sound of thunder’ in my earphones from the Ipod, I could have gone on forever…

Next day we checked in at Nelson campground the recharge the batteries and do some laundry. I took Nina with me on the bike to a nearby pool a couple of hours. I did not notice the lady behind her on the photo at all. We came back and had lunch at the campground and then Nina got to play with some ‘streetchalks’ on the cement. The result was rather artistic!


A good nights sleep did us well and we woke up to another beautiful hot day. We checked out and went to the ferry, to cross a lake. Stunning views of the mountains around.


We went south to Creston where we found another playground with splashpool. It is amazing how well maintained all the public areas are in BC. Good, new equipment at the playgrounds where ever we go. Unfortunately Creston also offered a lot of mosquitos so we continued to Cranbrook the following day.


Found another splashpool and also another park that made me wonder if we were in Canada or Sweden. ‘Viking youth park’ with a Saab 900 turbo parked in front of it! In the evening Nina and me went to the indoor swimming pool. It was really nice setup for kids with wavemachine, waterslides, and plenty of toys.


Following day Nina and me went to the 'Museum of Railway Travel' where they had some old luxury wagons on display. Lucy took Pim for a walk in the stroller I went for a bicyle ride in the evening. Next day it was time for some maintenence work on the mobilehome by replacing a cover on the roof.


Then it was time to start the part of this trip that I have been looking forward to the most - the Canadian Rocky mountains. Half an hour out of Cranbrook and there they were, the impressive mountains. After an hour or so we turned onto a gravel road and went some 20 shaky km up to Lucier hot springs. We had lunch and then went for a bath in this wilderness pool just by a river. Sun was shining and life was good.


We camped overnight at a backroad and went for another bath in the morning.


Now we are looking forward to exploring more of the Rocky mountains and visit other hot springs along the way.