…and More Lakes

We were on the road last Fur-iday and I completely forgot about the blog until Saturday. Sorry about that. And Saturday was the fullest day on the trip and I was exhausted by the time we got back to camp.

Camp time by the Moyie River at Yahk.

So, where did I leave off? Right. T’s birthday and the anticipated company. Both arrived right on schedule, along with some cool, wet weather. But we RVers are nothing if not adaptable. After Auntie Sus and her friends Mike and Lily arrived from Ymir, the six of us walked to Two Scoop Steve’s for chili and soup rather than ice cream! There was also birthday cake eatin’, guitar pickin’, campground walkin’, story tellin’, and fireside sittin’. Good times along the Moyie River at Yahk Provincial Park (and we did get that ice cream cone when it started to warm up).

Birthday guests hangin’ by the Moyie.

Cranbrook was our next stop, just an overnight in an RV park to give T and Nollind a chance to sanitize the trailer tanks for the season. They took a walk around town without me because they had some shopping to do and I was quite happy to nap in the trailer rather than spend my afternoon tied outside various stores. In the evening we walked around our neighbourhood and came across a somewhat perplexing group of adult playground equipment. T and Nollind gave each machine a try while I watched from the rubber matting.

Adult playground in Cranbrook.

Tuesday morning we were on our way again, northbound on Highway 95A to Kimberley for a lunch stop. The weather was fine for outdoor dining so I scored a great spot on the sidewalk patio of a little Mexican place. I do love dog-friendly patios and think all restaurants should have them. At the Burrito Grill they even brought me my own beverage!

Dos Equis extra extra light.

Our destination for the day was Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, a park with two lakes and four campgrounds at the end of a gravel road. It was a long, dusty, bumpy way in, but we finally arrived at Alces Lake (Moose Lake) and the first campground only to find it mostly full with just a few undesirable spots open. After 21 kms of white-knuckling the often narrow logging road, I could tell T was ready to get out from behind the wheel, but her desire to find a nice camp spot won out and we were on the road again. Four more bouncy kilometres later, we were at Muskrat Point, another nearly full and disappointing destination. Never one to give up on a dream, T drove on, bound for Inlet Creek.

Whiteswan Lake … so pretty but no good place to camp.

The next four kilometres were really rough but, without anywhere to turn around, we forged on, only to find that Inlet Creek was more parking lot than campground, about half full and right on the dusty logging road.

In addition to the disappointing campgrounds, the rough road had caused the medicine cabinet to bounce open and all of the tooth cleaning equipment had landed in the toilet. It was the final straw. The white flag flew, the towel was thrown in, I was fed my dinner on the side of the road, and we started our trek back to the highway with Nollind at the wheel.

After a short visit to Lussier Hot Springs at km 17 of the Whiteswan Road and a stop at an RV park store for a couple of toothbrushes, we were bound for Premier Lake. It was a complete unknown but looked good online and was close. The road in was not great but, compared to Whiteswan, a complete walk in the park, we found a nice spot in the loop nearest the lake, and we were settled and down at the beach just in time for sunset. The day had been salvaged.

Aaahhhh…first evening at Premier Lake.

Premier Lake was named for the premier of BC at the time it was established but the other meaning of the word— top-ranking, second to none and outstanding—definitely fits. What a place! Nothing but the sound of loons calling across the lake every morning, day hikes to nearby blue-green mountain lakes, wild turtles, a creek running right through the campground, and so many swimming opportunities. I could have stayed longer than the three days and can’t wait to go back.

Premier Lake near the campground.
One of the inhabitants of Turtle Lake.

The final stop on our 12-day tour was a cabin near Invermere that belongs to a friend of Nollind’s. We parked Simon in a lovely shaded spot and I was finally able to be off leash. Thanks, Al!

Invermere was the busiest (and most death defying) of our stops, with a trip to town for burgers and a walk around town on day one and a visit to the farmers market and a dog park on day two. Invermere was also the warmest of our stops with near 30C (86F) temperatures both days. By the time we’d wandered the market on Saturday morning I was so ready for a swim that I was in the water first chance I got at Ray Brydon Park. Trouble was, the water I chose, Toby Creek, was running high and fast with spring run-off and I was swept away before T and Nollind realized what was happening.

Breakfast at the Invermere Farmer’s Market.

I managed to swim to an island, scramble on shore, and there they were, my peeps, looking back at me from the other side with worried expressions. T called me to the upstream end of the island so I’d have more time to get across before I met the full, river-sized channel downstream. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to get back in there but I trust my people and there was T, looking enthusiastic and calling me to join her on the other side. I went back in the water and was immediately caught up in the current. T disappeared from view and I was swept past the spot where Nollind was waiting in an opening in the underbrush a little farther downstream. Oh boy, I was in trouble. I spotted another opening in the shrubs that lined the creek and paddled as hard as I could. I was so happy when I felt solid ground under my feet. I was thoroughly soaked and a little shaken but the welcome I got on shore was almost worth the scare. Almost.

Wiped out after my big day.

On the way home, we made one last stop near Banff for one more lake, one more swim, and one more nap. This trip brought my 2019 lake tally to nineteen—Sylvan, Sturgeon, Williston, Charlie, Little, Saskatoon, Crimson, Twin, Chinook, Alces, Whiteswan, Premier, Cat’s Eye, Turtle, Canuck, Yankee, Columbia, Windermere, and Two-Jack—and it’s only just the first day of summer!

Where to next?
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WWLD – A Tribute

We’ve crossed paths with a lot of great peeps in our travels, and our California friend Leon is right up there at the top of the list. Partly because he brought Sue and her endless supply of treats, but also because he was just one of those kind and gentle human beings that we dogs are drawn to.

Hangin’ at “The Pond”

We first met Leon back in 2012 on our first big RV adventure in the desert. We were boondocking at a little lake called Fortuna Pond near Yuma, Arizona. “The Pond” is a popular spot for snowbirds because you can park right beside the water … and it’s free!

That cowboy hat in the background would become very familiar.

Fortuna was pretty crowded when we arrived but, after consulting a Washington couple on how comfortable they were with us parked off the nose of their rig, we pulled in close to them, leaving enough room for maybe one small trailer between us and the next camp.

A couple of days later, we were off exploring the area and, when we returned, there was not one, but two good-sized motorhomes squeezed into the space we thought barely big enough for one. As it turned out, it was lucky for us these particular Californians were handy at fitting into small spaces because one of those motorhomes belonged to Sue & Leon and the other to their friend Rick.

There goes the neighbourhood!

That week at Fortuna was filled with many games of ladder ball, a few alcoholic beverages (the peeps not us), and many a campfire tale with our new friends (along with a few unsanctioned visits to Sue’s place for snacks). It was tough to say goodbye when it came time for the next leg of our journey, but we drove off confident we’d see our friends again.

Saying goodbye … or rather, “See you again soon!”

And we did, a few years later in Quartzsite when we visited their camp at Scaddan Wash. And then again the following year, when they invited us to camp with them at Ogilby Road near Yuma. We had such a good time those ten days and the fun continued when they joined our camp a few weeks later at Wickenburg.

The camp on Ogilby Road.
No doubt imparting some wisdom as Nollind hitches up Sid.

You may be wondering about the title of this blog, WWLD. You see, Leon was like an RV sage, all knowing, ever wise. He’d been RVing for years, had spent a lot of time off the grid, and there wasn’t a trick he hadn’t picked up, a shortcut he didn’t know about. So, when T and Nollind are stuck, they always ask, “What would Leon do?” At Ogilby, my peeps were ready to start adding to the propane tank system on Sid until Leon wandered over to have a look and ask a few important questions. Turned out the system already had the thing they were going to install!

Leon taking his girl for a spin in Fang.
A fond farewell at Ogilby … but not for long as it turned out.

From my perspective, the answer to WWLD is put a beer in your hand, a smile on your face, and wander from camp to camp getting to know the neighbours. Leon would know a little about everybody within an easy sauntering radius, always having time to listen to a story or tell one. He loved campfire time like no one I’ve ever met, and even built a cozy surround for the sometimes windy desert evenings.

Campfire time at Vulture Peak near Wickenburg, AZ.
The campfire surround set up at Ogilby Road.

We saw Leon the winter before last when we joined their camp at Scaddan Wash in early February. He seemed to be slowing down a little but still had that same sparkle in his eye, that same love of a good story.

Another winter, another gathering at Quartzsite.
A couple of old boys sharing a drink at Scaddan Wash in 2018.

Leon lost his battle with cancer a week ago and the celebration of his life is tomorrow. If Sacramento weren’t so far away, we’d be there to tell our Leon stories. I have no idea how his friends and family will possibly fit all those tall tales into one short afternoon.

Always time for one more story…
And one last goodbye.

As for us, I’m pretty sure the next time we travel south the desert will feel a little emptier. But, we’ll enjoy a campfire, take a walk, get to know a neighbour … because that’s what Leon would do.

Flashback Fur-iday – RV Time

One of the things I didn’t mention in my Cypress Hills blog post was how it felt to be RV camping without Logan for the first time. It was the first time for me and for T & Nollind. Logan joined the family in 2005 and Larry, the first RV, didn’t arrive on the scene until 2011, the same year I was adopted. So trailer time has always been a four-of-us activity.

This magnet lives on the front of the oven in Sid.

So, how did it feel? Well, like something was missing. Sure, it meant I could have the couch all to myself but I didn’t really want it. I like my “Dixie” bed (it was a gift from an old friend) and the couch just felt lonely, and cold. And I had to manage campground surveillance without my fearless leader!

Keeping an eye on things.

… trailers and motor homes mean vehicles driving by, people walking and, worst of all, other dogs! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never met a dog I didn’t like (well, until yesterday, which I’ll tell you about in a minute), but when they’re walking anywhere in the vicinity of my trailer, my people, or my campsite, I can get a little growly. I’m just reminding them to respect the boundaries I’ve set.

January 2017 – Head of Security

Logan’s surveillance photo of above-mentioned dog.

Logan was kind of a home-body, a topic for a future post, so he wasn’t entirely clear on the concept of driving an hour or two from home to camp.

It seems an odd thing humans do. They leave behind a perfectly good house with food and beds and a fully functioning bathroom to go and stay in a much smaller, less comfortable accommodation with more limited amenities. They call it camping.

June 2017 – Camping with Humans

What’s with this camping stuff?

But he did have a way of making the best of any situation, and discovering the joys in each place or activity.

Here I discovered the marvels of a pine forest and the enormous dog bed it creates. The prairie grass is nice but doesn’t have the pillow-top mattress feel of a forest floor with its many layers of detritus. Heaven. I used my man-made bed under the trailer at first but, once I discovered the giant mountain-made dog bed all around me, there was no going back. If only I could have brought some of it home to line my nests.

June 2017 – Camping with Humans

Discovering the joys…

We’d only stayed in Larry the RV for a few nights at T’s annual horse sale gig before we set out on our first big winter adventure. Living in a 25-foot trailer was an adjustment for all of us but Logan adapted quite quickly.

Below is where I live now and the yard changes every few days. It’s a nice little place, where the rules seem much more lax on where I can sleep, so I move between the couch and the bed when I’m home.

November 2011 – Hi, My Name is Logan

Learning to love RV travel.

RV living and being on the road have their challenges, and Logan was always quick to point them out.

Coming from a farm on the big flat of Alberta, it’s tough to be sandwiched into an RV park and restricted to peeing on one small patch of earth designated for that purpose. The plethora of canine odour that rises out of the sand is pretty enticing, at first, but even I have to admit the place rather stinks. That was life in Las Vegas.

February 2014 – Into the Desert

What we called the “pee park” wasn’t great but the dog park just down the road was a real hit with Logan.

But he also appreciated the good stuff and regularly commented on it.

We did 12 days in the desert near Quartzsite and then Bouse, boondocking, as they call it down here. It’s basically camping outside of an RV park or campground for no charge. Chico and I love boondocking — not enough water for baths, a lot more off-leash time, no being cabled to the RV whenever we’re outside, and lots of walking. You’d think it would be lonely but we actually seem to meet more people and dogs out in the desert than we do in the parks!

February 2012 – How do Dogs Live Down Here?

Our first experience of boondocking near Quartzsite, Arizona.

Camping and RVing will never be quite the same without Logan, but I like to think that his spirit is there with us on the road, whether we’re camping a few hours or a few days from home. He wasn’t a great traveller, which I may write about another First Fur-iday, but he was a happy camper.

On the couch in Sid, one of his favourite spots.