September 2012
Driving Tour of British Columbia(Eastern Area)

Most of the pictures expand when clicked 

 

Flew first class from Detroit to Seattle thanks to an unpgrade by Delta. Picked up the car and drove to Abbotsford for the night.

As many of you know Peggi and I have started renting convertibles on our driving vacations. 

We certainly enjoy riding around in them.  But there is no sense in renting one if you are not going to put the top down.

The first stop was the Minter Gardens in Chiliwack just east of Vancouver.
Peggi is next to a plant called Dragon Food.  The plant is huge and the leaves are 4' across. 
This peacock exhibit with the flower tail was quite spectacular.
The hanging gardens were also spectacular.
There were a number of interesting and fun sculptures around the gardens.
We stopped by Angel Falls which is also near Chiliwack.
We spent quite a bit of time looking for the Great Blue Heron Reserve.  Unfortunately there weren't many birds there.
Final tour stop for the day was Hells Gate Canyon on the Frasier River north of Hope. 

You take a tram ride down to the river to the restaurant and viewing platforms you see in the picture above.

This was a gem in the Triple A tour book but I would rate it as just ok. 

The drive in and out of the Frasier River Canyon was very pretty.  As the you can see the weather was warn and sunny.  In fact everyday on the trip was sunny.

It was a long drive from Hells Gate to Penticton and since we spent an hour or two backtracking to the Heron Reserve we had a longer day than planned.

We had dinner in Merritt and did a evening drive on a new highway over the mountains. 

There was more traffic that I would have imagined and it was the wild west out there.  Much of the time I was doing 85 to 90 mph and other cars were whizzing by me but it was fun to be in the Mustang for the drive.

We finally got to Penticton and stayed in the casino on the lake. 

Penticton is a very nice town in a beautiful area.  It sits at the south end of Okanagan Lake which is about 75 miles long and the north end of the smaller Skaha Lake in a valley with mountains on both sides.

The climate is warm and sunny all year round.  In fact, given the amount of construction, it looked like everone in BC was getting off the rainy coast and heading for the sunny interior.

We spent the next morning strolling the town through a street market before driving to Revelstoke.

Revelstoke is a very nice town on the Coluimbia River and is the gateway to the high mountains that straddle the British Columbia and Alberta border.

From Revelstoke its a short drive to Glacier National Park and Revelstoke National Park.

We took a nice hike on a boardwalk through old growth Hewlocks.

 

As you can see these are impressive, large and old trees.
Next was the Rogers Pass Visitor Center at the top of Rogers Pass.
We hiked the Rock Garden Trail which went around and over glacier rubble deposited at the entrance to a side canyon.  The trail builders did a nice job getting the trail up and over the boulders.
Next was the Giant Cedars Trail, another boardwalk trail through the woods.
The main attraction in Revelstoke NP is the Meadows to the Sky Parkway.  This is one of the few places a paved road goes to the top of the mountains. 
At the top are several short trails that let you see the area.  This is a Wildflower Trail.

After a full day of touring in the mountains we returned to Revelstoke for the night.

Next day we headed west to return to the coast.

We stopped at the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops.

The park features wildlife from British Columbia.

Grizzly bears are a main attraction of the park.

Viewers should click to expand this picture

There are buffalo and elk as well.  The birds of prey exhibit was especially nice.
The lynx seemed bigger than those found in Pennsylvania at the least compared to the ones the Game Commission displays.

Our habit is to buy food for a picnic lunch and stop along the way to eat.  This doesn't really save money but it results in a healthier diet than lunch everyday at the fast food places.

Over the years we have lunched at some very interesting spots along the highway and in numerous small town parks.

Driving west from Kamloops you go through 100 miles of rough high country to get back to the coast.

Just at the edge of the high country is Hat Creek Ranch.

"Donald McLean, a former Hudson Bay Company trader, built the first log home in the Hat Creek area two years prior to the Cariboo Wagon Road. The new road brought more business to the ranch enabling Donald McLean to expand and provide more services like rooms, whiskey and horse lodging. But in 1864 it all ended as Mclean was shot dead while riding with a posse."

Adjacent to Hat Creek Ranch  is the Shuswap Native Heritage Center which has displays of the way of life of the Shuswap people.

Winters in this part of B.C. are very fierce, I'm told, so the Shuswap built these underground bunkers to stay in during the winter.

You wouldn't want to go out of your way to visit either of these places but they are worth a stop if you are traveling through.

 

After a night in Cache Creek we headed west toward the coast.  We stopped in Whistler for lunch.  Unfortunately the tram was not running so we couldn't go to the top of the mountain.

We did stop at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre.

"The Squamish Nation and Lil'wat Nation have coexisted respectfully as neighbors since time immemorial.  The Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre where mountains, rivers and people meet, embodies the spirit of partnership between the two Nations. "

 

Head To The Coast