Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Sternwheeler and a Hot Springs

After getting off the ferry in Balfour BC, we made a right turn and immediately found a large pulloff to spend the night. Wow! What a view! The white dot in the middle of the photo is the ferry we came across the lake on.

Zooming in and cropping, you can see it heading back to the town of Kootenay Bay.

We then took another free ferry ride across the Kootenay River in the car over to the small towns of Harrop and Procter.

This ferry was a cable ferry - very interesting. No one directs the vehicles onto this ferry - you just follow the directions on the signs.

The next day we headed up in the car to the town of Kaslo to see the sternwheeler, the SS Moyie, the world's oldest intact passenger sternwheeler.

Built in 1898 for the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Moyie steamed on Kootenay Lake until 1957. She was the last passenger carrying sternwheeler operating in Canada.

You are free to wander anywhere on the ship on the self-guided tour. From the engine room -

All the way up to the Pilot House. For a small donation, you can even give the whistle a short pull.

The Ladies' Saloon was a refuge for weary women travelers and their children.

Men were expected to use the Men's Smoking Room, the noisiest place on the Moyie.

The ship is continually being restored, and outfitted with authentic antiques. The freight deck had a large assortment of old luggage.

They went into an amazing amount of detail. From these fake apples and pears -

To fake chickens!

Cooks, most of whom were Chinese, prepared the meals for the passengers and crew in this small galley on one coal-burning stove.

The staterooms were restored with antiques belonging to the period.

One really clever thing - in several areas, sounds were produced to match what you were seeing. Here we heard the sound of a typewriter. The tour was a wonderful experience - if you are ever in the neighborhood, don't miss it!

On the way back to Balfour, we stopped at Ainsworth Hot Springs. In addition to a pool -

They have caves where hot mineral water creates a natural steam bath. Let's see - I took one of these pictures, and Phil took the other.

Care to guess which is which?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Ultimate Recycler

Going north out of Creston, the view of the Selkirk Mountains across Kootenay Lake is spectacular.

Our first stop is the Glass House in the tiny town of Boswell.

This is the home of the ultimate recycler, embalmer David Brown, who built the house with more than 500,000 discarded embalming fluid bottles.

Construction began in 1952, on solid rock, necessary because the bottles weighed 250 tons.

All of the rooms are round, because he thought that made more sense.

Electric wiring was certainly easier than going through sticks and bricks...

The home is right on Kootenay Lake.

A photo of Mr. Brown relaxing on the balcony.

There are lots of neat decorations in the garden, including Snow White -

And the Seven Dwarfs.

Going north a little more we came to the Artisan town of Crawford Bay. We stopped at the glassblower, where I bought a Christmas ornament -

And the broom maker, where I managed to avoid buying a Harry Potter broom.

After Crawford Bay, the road abruptly ends at the water. Uh-oh--- what to do?

Here comes the answer -- the longest FREE ferry in the world will take us across the lake to Balfour.

The Osprey 200 can accommodate any size vehicle and operates year-round.

On our way across, we pass the smaller, older ferry that only operates in the summer.

Pulling into Balfour - we made it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Creston, BC

I have to admit, I was a little uneasy about going to Canada, on our next stop on the Selkirk Loop, but Creston really changed my mind. What a great town! Many downtown buildings are in the art deco style of the 1930s. Very cute.

But the best thing was that instead of the usual "No RV Parking" or "No Overnight Parking" signs, there were signs that said "RVs Park Here." We stayed 2 nights behind the Visitors Center, which had free Wifi. How friendly is that?

They also have a HUGE RV dump area. If you can't turn around here, you have serious problems.

The town has a mural wall tour.

And 2 landmark grain elevators, the last in BC.

The Columbia Brewery offers tours, so off we went.

We followed Sasquatch's footprints to get started.

We saw aging tanks and fermenters and other stuff. All the beers produced here are naturally aged with no preservatives. The have 5 of their own brands, primarily Kokanee, but produce other brands too.

I was fascinated with how fast those cans whiz by. They produce 1100 cans per minute! They do bottles also, of which 98% are recycled.

The rejects - Gee... they must be good for something! They offer you a free beer at the end of the tour, but I couldn't stop thinking about these rejected cans...

The next day we climbed up a hill which promised a famous "Balancing Rock." The views of the Creston Valley and the Wildlife Refuge there were spectacular.

But the Balancing Rock was a bit of a disappointment...

Creston has a warm climate (for Canada) and has orchards galore. But this was a unique strawberry hydroponic pavilion. Yummy!

One weird thing about the town... Why are all the bushes in town trimmed this way???

(Shhh... Don't tell her...)