Practical matters

21 Sep

We left the lovely surroundings of Peter Lougheed park and spent Monday night in Cochrane, close to Calgary mainly to get some internet access, however we were pleased to find there was a riverside trail directly from the campground and we enjoyed a late afternoon walk.

After a brief stop for a food shop we were able to dispose of our accumulation of recycling and redeem our deposits, in Alberta we were paying 25 cents on a litre liquid container, this included juice tetra packs and milk cartons, as a matter of principal we felt we wanted our money back! They don’t make it easy though, a well hidden bottle depot in the industrial area was duly located and Robert came back with a smile on his face and 2 dollars 10 cents in his pocket! (it probably cost us as much in fuel finding the place – but thats not the point!! – R).

We headed back towards the mountains and had decided to stay in the Elbow River area, by lunchtime we had reached the Elbow Falls. We have by now visited quite a few water falls, and it is amazing how different each one can be, we have seen huge drops with hundreds if not thousands of gallons of water flowing over, we have observed water shooting through canyons and deep gorges, we have enjoyed wide shallow falls not much more than rapids, each one fascinating in its own right. Elbow falls was a combination of the shallow wide falls and a gushing canyon, one of the nice features was the viewing areas created on varying levels and allowing different aspects of the falls to be easily observed. Adjacent to the falls were beautifully placed picnic benches and quite a few people were enjoying the autumn sunshine and eating lunch, not having realised the tables were there we had already eaten ours sitting in haRVey in the car park and felt quite miffed we hadn’t seen them first.

The campground was a couple of miles back down the road but a slight disappointment, we had a nice pull through site but noisy neighbours annoyed Robert (grumpy old man syndrome) with their music, and the surroundings just did not make us feel as comfortable as we had at the Peter Lougheed Park. I think we were really ready to leave Alberta and looking forward to being back in BC ready to head south into the States.

A full day driving found us in Sparwood, at another Mountain Shadows campground, but now we were in beautiful British Columbia, despite the dry summer it seemed greener and far more hospitable.

For a while Robert had wanted haRVey’s front wheels swapping left to right to help even the wear, as recommended by Ford. We had asked to get it done at the Ford garage when we had the oil changed, now almost 5000 miles ago, they were not able to apply the correct torque the wheels required (see how techy I am getting!) and advised a specialist tyre depot might help better. As we entered the campground a Kal Tire depot was situated on a small industrial park to the right and this gave us an ideal opportunity to book haRVey in. At 10am next morning he was standing on the forecourt, 10 minutes later he had three mechanics scratching their heads over how to get the wheel trims off, 25 minutes later they still had not got them off and admitted defeat. Hopefully we will not get a puncture (or we get a breakdown guy who is clued up) until we receive a reply from Ford to the e-mail Robert has sent asking for advice!

For all our UK readers I will explain (hopefully simple version) a little about how tax and insurance works for us in British Columbia. As we purchased and initially registered haRVey in BC we renew our insurance and tax there annually, a compulsory third party insurance and road tax is paid to ICBC and we receive a decal for another years registration. Our ICBC is due end of October and we have to physically visit a BC office to renew, as we will be in the States by then we called in the Fernie office for ICBC on Friday in the hope we could complete the required forms etc a little early. We also pay a further private insurance to cover the comprehensive part of the insurance, but that’s another story.

We both had a few reservations as to whether this would go smoothly and came out with a weight lifted, the lady in the office was so nice and so helpful I felt like hugging her…. Now we could think about crossing the border and heading south for the winter, not quite snowbirds but flying with them!

Our tourist visa allows us to spend 90 days in US, our flights home for Christmas are booked for 17th December so we calculated, carefully, we could cross the border on Saturday and would do this on Highway 93 at Roosville, a small crossing south of Fernie which we hoped would be quiet.

We spent Friday afternoon and evening at Kikomun Creek Provincial Park, around twenty miles from the border. The park is famous for its Western Painted Turtles and for once the wildlife was co-operative. Just as they were supposed to be, the turtles were sitting on logs basking in the warm afternoon sun when we took a stroll around Hidden Lake to spot them. The park has suffered badly with the heat of the summer and the grassland is yellow and parched, the leaves on the small bushes have prematurely turned to autumn colours for lack of water, however surprisingly, the campfire ban has been lifted and as the evening cooled down we decided to burn our last bundle of firewood, it is not allowed to carry it over the border for fear of carrying pests with it.

There was not a breath of wind and we managed one of our best ever fires, no smoke following us around which ever way we turned, plenty of flame to flicker and keep our attention, lots of heat to warm our toes, and we sat on well into darkness enjoying our last night in Canada for quite a while.

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