Scenery near Eden, New South Wales, Australia.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Eden, New South Wales, Australia.

Where are they going next? No firm plans, other than north towards Sydney, Australia.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Syringa Provincial Park...near Castlegar

Thursday November 8...7:15pm

Today was a fun day! We got up fairly early and hit the road right away. Drove for an hour or so and then stopped for coffee and breakfast. As we entered Creston, B.C., we noticed the sign advertising tours at the Columbia Brewing Company...the makers of Kokanee Beer!


Now, Creston is actually a fairly small town, and with the brewery employing about 100 people, they are easily the largest employer in the area. And Creston is also fairly blessed with reasonable weather and has orchards that supply cherries and peaches to the area. So it's a really nice town. Seemed like a place we could live, actually.

So we pulled into the brewery at about 10:00am. Creston is right near the time change area where it goes from Mountain time to Pacific time. So even though it was officially 10am when we were there, as we drove a little further west it became an hour earlier. We noticed the signs that said tours were closed for the season, but we thought we'd try and persuade someone to give us a tour anyhow. We went into the store area where they sell both beer and souvenirs, and as we were the only ones there, the lady there spent a fair bit of time talking with us, and even though we couldn't get a tour, we had a free beer each (yes, even Ruth...at 10:20 in the morning!) and she showed us a 10 minute video that told a bit about the history of Kokanee and the region. Funny thing was that they aren't licensed to sell beer at a bar...so they are obliged to give it away free if anybody wants one. However, they are licensed by the province to sell beer by the case, so even though it's made right there and there are no shipping costs or anything involved, they have to sell it at provincially mandated prices so the cost is the same as if you buy it anywhere else in the province. This, despite the fact that you can buy it in Ontario cheaper, and it is even cheaper in Quebec and it is even cheaper in the States, even though it has been imported by the U.S.!!...what a mixed up world we live in!!

Sasquatch footprint at the Kokanee Brewery

Sasquatch carrying a case of Kokanee

Kevin with the Sasquatch at the Kokanee Brewery

So we had fun at the Columbia Brewery and didn't spend a dime. The we had to head through another mountainous pass region. Going from Creston to Castlegar involves heading through a pass where you drive uphill for about 16 km's and then downhill for about the same distance. This is really easy in a car, but for a big heavy vehicle like a transport truck (or a 28ft motorhome!) it's pretty hard work for the vehicle. Sherman pulled through for us though. We did the uphill drive in second gear going about 60 km/h the whole way. And then on the way down we stayed in second gear using the engine as much as possible to brake the vehicle. Pretty slow going, but Sherman had to work hard enough to do it that way, so it's a good thing we weren't in any rush. On the way down I didn't touch the gas pedal for 13 km's!

Castlegar seems to be a nice enough place. It's kind of drizzling and cloudy, but it's about 9 degrees, so it's not bad. We found the visitor centre where they had a dump station that was still open. The women working there suggested Syringa Provincial Park (even though it's officially closed for camping) as a place to park for the night after we explained to them that we were trying to avoid "RV Parks". It's about a 20 km drive in the opposite direction of where we want to go, but it sounds really nice and they have lots of hiking trails there so off we went. When we arrived, we found ourselves a nice spot near an old boat launch, and are hoping they don't close the gate on us overnight. The visitor centre people seemd to think we'd be okay. So we went for a nice hike up the mountain via the trail starting at the boat launch area. It was about 3:30 pm when we started so we had to be fairly quick as it gets dark by 5pm now. Lots of switchbacks on the trail and it's fairly steep. We get to a point where the sign says a lookout is a little further but as we get closer to that, it gets too steep and it's raining a bit more. So we turn around and decide to head back to Sherman for supper. It's another beautiful spot, but it's too bad it's cloudy outside. Still, it's not cold and we likely won't need the furnace tonight.

Sherman parked for the night at Syringa Provincial Park 

Ruth and Whiskey on the trail at Syringa Provincial Park

Put in $80 worth of gas at $1.019 today, and then found out in Castlegar they want $1.079! Should have filled up at $1.019!

Tomorrow we'll head for Rock Creek, and then north a bit to Vernon on Saturday.

Total Nights Sleeping in the RV... 26...

November Fuel $ 277.12

November Grocery $ 123.69

November Overnight Costs $ 88.38

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