Woke up early at 5.30 am and it was still not raining !! So got up and got packed up while everything was still pretty dry, as I knew I had a lot of miles to cover today, and all of it was going to be on twisty B type roads – No freeways to help ! The campsite was on top of quite a high hill, and was in sunshine when I left, so the roof was off. But 5 minutes later at the bottom of the hill, Radium township was in thick fog !! Never mind, went out of town past a solar powered flashing Big Horn Sheep danger warning sign (never seen one flashing before – Must be lots on the road?) It was just one of those beautiful mornings for driving, - cool, but not cold, and the sun trying to break through the fog and low cloud, but no hint of any rain. So we bombed along down Hwy 93 just enjoying the morning.
A few deer were beside the road to keep you on your toes (never did see any more Big Horn sheep despite that flashing sign !) . Down past places like Windermere, and Invermere, a series of lakes beside the road. Then there were some amazing soft sand stone formations carved by the water / wind which were totally out of context with the rest of the drive – They were just suddenly there for about 100 yards, and that was it !
After Cranbrook we turned onto Hwy 3 and started to head west at last. Near Creston we went over the Kootenay Pass Summit of 1774 m, and the lake at the top was still partially frozen in the snow. Still had the roof off, so this was a lovely drive over the top.
The road carried on down to Castlegar before starting up to the 1535 m Bonanza Pass. But it was here that the black clouds that had been looming for a while suddenly got much worse, and it started to rain, so had to stop and put the roof on. Anyway, we got a good 4 hours of nice weather when I had been expecting rain since the night before, so can’t complain. After the Bonanza Pass it as down to Christina Lake, and then over the 1105 m Phoenix Mtn summit, before turning north on Hwy 33 towards Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley. All through this section it was raining very heavily – so not much fun, especially as by now I have been going for some 6 or 7 hours.
After Kelowna the weather seemed to lighten up a bit, but the road didn’t. Tom Tom decided to take me on a short cut on some minor roads – Which turned out to be undergoing some major repairs, and as a result I sat for at least half an hour in one section, where just a few hundred yards away over the fields I could see the main road north flowing quite freely !!! Very frustrating. But once moving again, we moved fairly quickly through the countryside to Salmon Arm, and on up to Blind Bay on the Shuswap Lake. I had met Bill and Debra back in March down in Zion National Park, and they had been tracking me through my blog and once I got close had contacted me to come and stay on the way through. Unfortunately the landslides on the road from Banff meant I had to do a 500 mile round trip that day to get to them, but we had a very pleasant evening, and I got an excellent meal and a good night’s sleep in a bed for a change !! Thank you so much Bill and Debra – Really enjoyed it – Next time we will have to meet in Mexico or somewhere !!
Photos of the long day are here. :- https://picasaweb.google.com/117739775480775657932/RadiumHotSpringsToBlindBayBC?authkey=Gv1sRgCMf29-COmKu_8QE#