A 10-day Tour in a C-Class Motorhome Exploring British Columbia’s Coastal Mountains
I’ve always wanted to go exploring in a Motorhome from Vancouver to the Cariboo and to see some of the Coastal Mountains en route. So, we took a circle route that started out east on Hwy 1 and ended up back on Hwy 99 to Vancouver. In between we followed scenic Hwys 3, 5, the Fishing Hwy 24 and 97. This is part 1 of 2 that took us on our journey.
This trip was booked in 2019, postponed, and rescheduled 4 times due to the Covid pandemic, so to finally make the trip a reality was more than joyous. The other thing that I was extremely excited about, was knowing that I was taking this trip with my adult son, a videographer, which meant great photos to record great memories.
The first morning we made our way out to Delta, BC in the rain. It was our first stop of the trip – to pick up our Motorhome rental unit from Fraser Way RV Rentals on Cliveden Avenue.
We were greeted by the most knowledgeable young man, Lucas. Lucas gave us the rundown of the rental process, which is not that daunting after all. Then he took us outside to meet the 22’ foot home on wheels. For such a compact unit, it packs nicely. The outside of the unit had eight lockable doors to the storage areas, and we were able to store two bundles of firewood, table, chairs, an extra propane tank, propane firepit, camera gear all in one cubby. Another storage area was great for groceries until we arrived at the first destination and could move things around.
Our next stop was at Save-On-Foods to pick up the food perishables that we didn’t pack ahead of time.
It was a wet ride to Camperland RV Resort at Bridal Falls on Hwy 1 where we had pre-booked our first night. We backed the unit into the treed site, hooked up to the power, water and sewer and hunkered down in the unit for the night listening to the rain pelt down. Just when we thought it was over – nope here comes another wave of rain harder than the last.
Morning came, and we had a slight reprieve from the rain, so we put out the awning to at least get one photo of our stay. Packed up and headed east.
Day 2 started with a 50 km drive to The Hope Slide on Hwy 3 which was noted as the second largest recorded landslide in Canada and happened in 1965, and even after all the years that have passed, you can still see the magnitude of the slide. Well worth a stop to investigate.
Another 50 km drive took us to Manning Park, where we joyfully watched the ground squirrels bobbing in and out of the numerous holes in the field in front of the resort. Managed to get this little one who was quite interested in the camera.
From Manning Park, you take the turn off right across the highway from the resort and drive up the twisty road to Cascade Lookout. The area was a buzz. Whiskey Jacks above and the cutest little chipmunks scurrying at our feet. The views are just breathtaking – well worth the drive.
Driving west back from Manning Park we took the turn-off to Hwy 5. Our next destination for the night was Moonshadows RV Park and Campground in Merritt (160 km from Manning Park). Stopped in the office, had a chat with Carol. She told us all about the Coldwater River that the park sits beside and that Moonshadows RV Park is one of the parks that country music fans flock to in the summer for what was once called The Merritt Mountain Music Festival, now known as Rockin River Country Music Fest. You can hear music from Legends like Tim McGraw and Jo Dee Messina. Carol told us thousands of camping chairs take up residence in the river for the entire weekend – I guess this is what makes Country Music so “cool” in Merritt!
If you want to visit during that time, I suggest calling Carol now to see what’s available as it fills up fast – so fast that they have to open an adjacent field just for the tenters. We were able to go out for a short walk before the mosquitoes came out for their nightly visit. The next morning, we had our breakfast at the campsite picnic table in the sun before heading out. Please note that our trip was five months before the devastating floods that swept through Merritt.
Day 3 and 4: We drove north on Hwy 5 another 90 km to Kamloops. Stopped in town long enough to get a few supplies and see some deer making their way through downtown. We took the Paul Lake exit off Hwy 5 to head to Pinantan Lake Resort some 25 km off the main highway.
As you drive down the road into the resort you are greeted with an old world look of antiques and some rustic buildings. We set up on one of the lakeview sites that overlooked a huge field where children were playing soccer. There was a communal firepit, washroom and laundry facilities. Later that evening, as the night drew in, we played a game of night bocce with a glow-in-the-dark Playboule Bocce set. In the morning we ventured around the property, taking photos and flew the drone for an ariel view.
Want to read more? Watch for our 2nd blog that continues into the Cariboo, along Fishing Hwy 24, south on Hwy 97 to Cache Creek, Lillooet, then Hwy 99 to Whistler and home.
For camping in this area and throughout BC go to the Camping Map
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Planning Your Perfect Road Trip in British Columbia
Over the past six or seven years, my husband and I have taken the business of road-tripping seriously. From a 78-day camping trip across Canada with two people and a dog in a Hyundai Elantra to countless adventures around our home province of British Columbia, it is fair to say that we have planning a road trip down to a fine art. Whether you have an extended period of time or just a few days over a weekend, with a little planning and a whole lot of enthusiasm, you too can plan a perfect road trip to discover some of what British Columbia has to offer.
Road trips are one of my favourite ways to travel thanks to their flexibility. There is something about being able to stop at anything (and everything) that strikes your interest without having to worry about keeping to a tight tour schedule that just works for me. Nothing appealing to you in a particular spot? Move on. Can’t imagine leaving town without visiting the third ice cream shop? No problem!
Being flexible allows you to take things as they come while travelling. One of the joys of a road trip is finding all the hidden gems along the way. One of my favourite road trip tips is to visit as many of the local Visitor Centres as possible. I was very fortunate that I spent ten years working at the Hope Visitor Centre & Museum Complex, and during this time I learned SO much about British Columbia. Each local Visitor Centre is a wealth of knowledge, and it is pretty much guaranteed that the counsellors will be able to point you to something unique and excellent to see or do in the community. From the perfect hike to fascinating museums to the best local coffee, the best way to experience what a community has to offer is to speak to the locals – after all, they are the experts!
…But Not Too Flexible
My favourite way to travel is with no expectations, but the reality is that travelling, particularly in the summer, can be challenging when it comes to campsite reservations and ferry traffic. Doing some research ahead of time allows you to take calculated risks and have a backup plan if things go sideways. When I travel to Vancouver Island, I always weigh the benefits of flexibility with the guaranteed convenience (and also expense) of making a reservation. If I have lots of time and am sailing from Horseshoe Bay, I take a missed ferry as an opportunity to explore the village. If I am heading to the island for something with a specific timeline – a wedding, funeral, or other family obligation, for example, I am inclined to make a reservation to guarantee my timely arrival.
Another benefit of pre-trip planning is that it allows you to reduce your stress and have some increased flexibility. I know this may seem counterintuitive, but if you pull into the provincial park you intended to stay at and find it full, it is awfully nice to be able to recall from your research that there is another campsite 45 minutes up the road. This exact situation happened to us on a road trip in the Fraser Canyon when our intended spot (Skihist) was full, our “backup” spot (Goldpan) was full, and we ended up at the Acacia Grove RV Park in Spences Bridge. A valuable resource for camping research is the Camping & RV in BC website. Simply type in your destination (or thereabouts) and get a whole list of private, Provincial Park, and National Park campgrounds in the area.
One of the keys to a successful road trip is to know your likes and dislikes as a traveller. If you spend time each day haunting your local coffee shop, it is pretty likely that you will want to check out the best of the best in each community you travel through. If you can’t go a day without strapping on your sneakers and going for a hike or jog, then checking out the local trails is a must. If, on the other hand, you find coffee and running the height of boredom, then don’t spend your trip doing something just because someone told you they liked it. Do your research, keep an open mind, and then make your decisions about what you are going to see and do.
British Columbia is ripe road-tripping territory with endless gorgeous routes to explore. Over the next few months, I will be highlighting a few of my favourite road trip experiences in BC here on the blog. What are some of your favourite BC road trip routes?
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Three Ways to Welcome Spring in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley
Spring has sprung after a long winter in the Fraser Valley– at my house, it snowed for the first time on October 1 and I am sure that I saw flakes falling from the sky on April 1. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, but I am ready to welcome the next season with open arms. Here are three ways to welcome spring here in the Fraser Valley.
Tiptoe Through the Tulips at Tulips of the Valley, Chilliwack BC
To me, nothing says spring like tulips. When those flowers start poking their way through the soil, I know that it is time to put away my winter boots and break out my flats. At Tulips of the Valley in Chilliwack, the only boots you will be needing are rubber – especially if you visit the 20+ acre tulip fields after it has been raining.
During the month of April (and maybe some of May) you can make a day of it by walking the tulip path, snacking on delicious Dutch treats (Stroop Waffles, anyone?), snapping the perfect picture at the windmill, and climbing to the top of the viewing platform for a truly panoramic view of tulips and mountains.
This year, Tulips of the Valley has expanded their flower prowess and is now featuring fields of both daffodils and hyacinths. When it comes to springtime flowers, the more the merrier, I say!
Take a Waterfall Walk at Flood Falls, Hope BC
Flood Falls, a long-time Hope secret, has been gaining Instagram-attention lately thanks to its gorgeous setting and relatively simple access. The walk is short, perfect for an easy afternoon stroll with the family. The views are breathtaking as the waterfall tumbles down the sheer cliff and into a pool at the bottom of the falls.
Spring is arguably the best time to visit the falls thanks to the sheer volume of water. In spring, the falls can be raging. In the heat of summer, the pool at the bottom dries up completely and the falls are barely a trickle.
Before you go, grab a coffee from the Blue Moose and a fresh-baked snack from The Rolling Pin Bakery, then head for the falls. Just make sure to pack out what you pack in to ensure the falls remain gorgeous and litter free.
Visit the Farm Animals at Kilby Historic Site, Harrison Mills BC
Adorable baby animals and a 1920s farm and store? Sign me up! Kilby Historic Site in Harrison Mills is a step back in time and the preserved Waterloo Farm on which the historic site sits is the perfect place to spend a sunny spring afternoon.
Wander through the orchard and visit the animals (my personal favourites being the bunnies), climb the stairs to see the rooms of the 1908 Manchester House Hotel, and sample a piece of delicious Cabin Fever Junction Pie Company pie in the Kilby Café.
Once you have thoroughly investigated the heritage site, take a stroll down to the confluence of the Harrison and Fraser Rivers and walk the beach at Kilby Provincial Park. In the autumn, Kilby and the Harrison River is home to the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival as thousands of eagles come to roost in the trees near Kilby Provincial Park.
Spring is a wonderful season in the Fraser Valley. From budding plants to baby animals, there is something for everyone to enjoy. What activities are on your springtime to-do list?
If this area interests you, check out our drives:
Coast Mountain Circle Route (Vancouver Round Trip via Lytton, Lillooet & Whistler)
Side Trips from Vancouver Offer Plenty To Do in the Winter
For camping opportunities in this area click on Camping Map and search under the specific communities.
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Roadtrekking in British Columbia’s Southern Interior
Recently we took our Roadtrek van on a camping trip “Roadtrekking” through some of the not so well-known but delightful smaller towns in the Okanagan area of the southern interior of British Columbia. The first day, we left the Vancouver area and headed up Highway 1 and the Crowsnest Hwy 3 to Princeton. We spent the first night in the Princeton municipal park campground which has full hook-ups with free Wifi and is located right beside the Similkameen River on Highway 3. It is a great place to stop overnight. Another camping option is the Princeton golf club across the road with free Wifi and firewood for campers.
The next morning, continuing on Crowsnest Hwy 3, we headed to Keremeos, locally known as ‘the fruit capital of Canada’, and along the way visited the small, historic town of Hedley. This is well worth the stop as you can take a tour of the old Mascot Gold Mine and discover the life of a gold miner through modern technology of light and sound. You can also visit the Discovery Centre and explore the museum and gift shops. Once in Keremeos we stayed at the Eagle RV Park located on Hwy 3.
Much in need of some exercise after our drive, we walked the hiking/biking trail to the historic Red Bridge, the sole survivor of five covered railroad bridges that serviced the gold mining industry around the Hedley-Princeton area in the early 1900s. If you head east on the trail, it takes you to the town centre past many of the fruit stands. During the season, make sure you pick up some of the local fruit and veg to eat on your trip or to take home. Also worth a visit in Keremeos is The Grist Mill and Gardens, a BC Heritage Site.
On day 3 we headed east to the resort town of Osoyoos, a favourite destination for campers seeking beaches, swimming and boating in scenic Osoyoos Lake. We then drove north on Hwy 97 to Oliver where we stopped for lunch. On the main street we discovered a small bakery called the “Artisan Shop” run by a lovely lady from Montreal. The delicious lunch was a spinach and feta quiche, a mushroom filled bun and for desert, a pear filled danish and raspberry tart. Oliver also has a beautiful hiking/biking trail on an abandoned railway bed which is part of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail that will take you to Osoyoos. It is about a 50 km round trip that makes a great day outing.
Continuing north through Okanagan Falls (you must stop for an icecream at Tickleberry’s) our day concluded in Peachland with an overnight stay at Todd’s RV Park located on the main road in downtown Peachland. This is a great family friendly place that has been in business for 60 years, has full hook-ups and is right across from the beach. We spent the evening strolling along the beach, investigating the shops and enjoying the beautiful view across Okanagan Lake. The next morning, we visited the Art Gallery and Tourist Information Centre located in the old school house on Beach Avenue. They have a live video feed of the bat colony that roosts in the attic every summer. There is a great selection of bat themed t-shirts, hats and they even have bat guano for sale to fertilize your garden. The next time we are in the Peachland area, we will be checking out the Stave Pipe and Trepanier hiking trails and Parrot Island sanctuary.
After a great few days of camping, we headed home via the Hwy 97c connector that runs from Peachland to Merritt and then down the Coquihalla Hwy 5 to Hope. With so many unique towns in British Columbia we will soon be off to do more exploring in beautiful British Columbia.
3 Spring Fishing Spots in BC
Spring is here and no more alarm clocks! Instead I am awakened each day to the discordant symphony of birds outside my window. It is an invigorating sign that warm weather is coming and an opportunity to go away on the Easter long weekend. The start of spring camping! Yahoo…I love being in the outdoors! When I return back to work after spending a weekend in nature, I am completely re-energized and ready to go. However, B.C.’s unpredictable weather causes my husband not to feel the same way. A sure way to convince him to go in the shoulder season is to incorporate an activity that he is passionate about, one being fishing. Here are some spring fishing spots I found with nearby campgrounds. Wish me luck! (more…)
RV Adventure Part 2: Reserving the Campsite
So the W family has decided to take the plunge and go RVing, for the first time, in winter. With our RV booked (more…)
Published: January 21st, 2014
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