Wednesday, June 27, 2012 (Travel to Merritt, BC)

We pulled out of our campsite at 9:00 and after stopping at the sani-dump to empty our holding tanks, we were on our way.  We said goodbye to the community of Cultus Lake and after making our way through Chilliwack, we were on Highway 1 east.  At Hope, we continued north on Highway 5, the Coquihalla.  The Fraser River is really high.

We arrived in Merritt shortly after noon and found the Canadian Tire store where they had an easily accessible sani-dump...we needed to fill up with fresh water.  Right across the street was an Extra Foods store so while Steve was busy with the trailer, I went across and did some grocery shopping.

All stocked up, it was time to find our way to the rodeo grounds where the ATVBC Poker Ride was being held.  It must have been close to 2:00 when we pulled into the grounds and were greeted by Don Frew, the fellow from the West Kootenay Club that took us riding around the Trail area last June and Steve had elk hunted with last fall in the Kootenays.  He had a spot ready for us to back into.

It was really warm (finally) so we changed into our shorts and sat down with Don for a quick visit while we ate our lunch...then it was time for work.  We spent the next couple of hours getting all set up... groceries put away, etc.

Once Zan arrived (he is the president of ATVBC and a member of our club—Cowichan Valley ATV) and got his truck/camper and quad trailer parked, it was time for the guys to set up a canopy tent.  I was very impressed...Don actually read the directions!

Here is Steve, Don and Jeff working on it...Don is a member of a Kootenay ATV club (Trail) and Jeff is from the Prince George club...both are Directors of ATVBC.

Work in progress...
...and done! (Jeff, Steve, Don and Zan)

Now it was time to sit back down and relax...
...including Tazzie...

Linda, on left (Don's wife) and Marlene (Jeff's wife) getting ready to start dinner...

Doug sitting at the registration desk (he is a member of our club and another ATVBC Director).  The red quad on the left is being raffled...

Late afternoon horse trailers started arriving...they were have barrel races this evening.  After dinner Steve and I walked over to the stands to watch. 

We had missed the actual events but some were still practicing...Steve got some great "action" pictures...

This is a shot from the top of the stands looking back at our camp area...

We sat out chatting with everyone for a bit and then I headed inside...I was getting eaten up by mosquitoes!  Steve wasn't far behind me.  We're looking forward to getting out on our quads tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 (Maple Bay Campground, Cultus Lake Provincial Park, BC)

Well, since yesterday was our 2 year anniversary of our last working day, today was our 2 year anniversary of starting our travels.  The past 2 years have been an absolute blast and we are looking forward to many more years.

Today’s forecast was true to form with cloud and rain so it was pretty much a “do nothing” kind of day.   Since we were supposed to leave today, I called the main gate to see if our site was available for another night...other than one other site, all others are empty in our loop and I don’t think there are many taken in the other section.  So, yes it was available so Steve drove up to pay before the rain started.

I’d say the only good thing about being stuck inside today was that I was able to get our travel blog up-to-date...I spent the morning working on it.  Come afternoon...well, I laid down on the couch for a nap and listened to the pitter-patter of the rain.  Steve spent his time on the iPad researching and reading “RV stuff”.

At about 4:00 Steve went outside to see if the rain had subsided enough for a had, so he got a fire going and we sat out until the last of the firewood was gone.  The timing was right because it was time to go in and get dinner going and Steve wanted to pack up a few things before heading in for the evening.

Tomorrow sunshine is in the forecast and we are heading to Merritt...looking forward to some ATV riding!

Monday, June 25, 2012 (Maple Bay Campground, Cultus Lake Provincial Park, BC)

Two years ago today was our last day of work...I remember that day well!  After almost 35 years at BC Assessment and over 37 for Steve at Pacific Controls, it felt very surreal thinking that this was it...our last day!  Both Steve and I had been looking forward to it for so much planning had gone into our new lifestyle...and now it was here!

We actually woke up to some sunshine this morning...finally!  But it really didn’t wasn’t a bad day but clouds rolled in making it more “cloudy with sunny breaks” rather than the other way around. 

I made a lunch and we headed out just after 9:00.  Our destination was Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park 42km away, but we wanted to check out the recreational sites along the way.  We’d like to see if any are big enough for us to fit into.

The Chilliwack River, like all of the other rivers in BC, is very high right now...

We stopped at Tamahi CreekRecreation Site and found the first section near the road is very accessible with lots of room to maneuver.  The next section had a few sites that we would fit into but the majority were in thick forest. Steve asked a fellow that had quads about riding from here and was told that there had been a land slide in the riding area and the work crews wouldn't be out until 4:30. Oh well..we will have lots of riding in the next few days at Merritt.

We actually thought that the road to Chilliwack Lake was a Forest Service road and that we would off-load the ATV’s and ride them but as it turned out the road was paved all of the way.  A very pretty drive...

Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park has a newer section with wide roads and large sites suitable for big rigs.  It was very nice...we will definitely keep it in mind for another time.  The only thing I don’t like about it is that there is no cell/MiFi service in the area.  The rest of the campground is older with very treed, small sites...more suitable for tenters or small RV’s.

After driving around the campground, we went down to the boat launch area.  The lake is so high that there is no beach at the moment.  We parked and took our lunch down to the boat launch area.

Such a pretty lake...

Still lots of snow in the mountains...

This little fellow joined us for lunch...

On our way back to Chilliwack we stopped at another recreation site...Thurston Meadows is very nice and there are a couple of sites that we could possible get into but you cannot ride ATV’s from it.  So if we come back to this area and want to ride, we will likely stay at Tamahi Creek...or Chilliwack Lake (for fishing).

Before heading back to Cultus Lake, we went into Chilliwack and filled up a propane tank as well as all of the gas preparation for the ATV Poke Ride in Merritt.  We’ve been watching the weather forecast but it looks like rain for tomorrow so we will likely stay put for another day...we always seem to be at the mercy of the weather!!

 Back home, I decided to go down and take a shower...the park has flush toilets (rather than pit) and “free” hot showers.  So since we are paying $30/night, I thought I would take advantage of it besides the holding tanks are getting pretty full in the trailer.

Just before 4:00 we headed over to see Neil and Lisa.  There is a beautiful golf course between us and 1000 Trails RV Park....

Neil had just finished working (he mows the lawns for the park) and was in the shower so Lisa took us for a walk down to the creek that runs into Cultus Lake...Foster Creek, I believe...

We had a great visit with Neil and Lisa but unfortunately forgot to take pictures of their rig and site in the park...sheesh!  After about an hour and a half, we said our goodbyes and headed home.  They are very nice folks...and we hope to connect with them again in the future.

Steve got a campfire going once we got home and we sat enjoying the fire and toasting two years of retirement.  Amazing at how fast the time has flown by...we love our new lifestyle!

Sunday, June 24, 2012 (Maple Bay Campground, Cultus Lake Provincial Park, BC)

It was another cloudy, cool day today.  By late morning we decided to go for a walk around the campground and down to the lake.  The aftermath of yesterday’s storm was evident everywhere...lots of leaves, branches and trees down....they have a big clean up job to do!

Back at our site, I sat outside reading my book while Steve busied himself cleaning debris off the trailer awnings and generally puttering around.  By late afternoon, I had finished my book and decided to go for a saunter around the portion of the campground we were in.

When I got back, Steve had company sitting around the fire with him.  Neil and Lisa are work-camping just up the road at the 1000 Trails RV Resort.  We met Neil and Lisa at the campground in Fort Langley.  They had just retired, sold their house in White Rock and were embarking on a new lifestyle of “full-timing”.  As soon as they retired, they went down to Mesa, Arizona for 6 weeks and were actually staying at the Val Vista RV Village in January when we were there.  Neil says he remembers seeing our rig.  Too funny!

We had a nice visit with them and after making plans to walk over and see them and their park tomorrow, we said our goodbyes.

We enjoyed barbequed burgers while sitting around the campfire before deciding to head inside.  Steve wanted to print off some Backroads Maps of the Chilliwack River area.  We thought we would offload the quads tomorrow and explore the area.

Saturday, June 23, 2012 (Maple Bay Campground, Cultus Lake Provincial Park, BC)

It wasn’t raining (yet) this morning so at around 11:00 we thought that we would go for a walk down to the lake and take our fishing rods with us.  We had hoped to either go quading or launch the boat but the forecast was iffy. Once out of the trees, we realized that there were a few patches of blue sky and the sun was actually trying to make an appearance.  It managed to a couple of times and it was quite warm.  We stood on the beach casting our lines into the lake and other than one bite that I had on my line, we were unsuccessful in our fishing endeavours.

After about 45 minutes, we decided to go around to the boat launch and try our luck there but once we got there, it was too busy...lots of kids around playing on the dock and we sat for a bit enjoying the view before walking back to our campsite.

We spent the afternoon resting and reading outside in our lounge chairs.  Shortly after 3:30 Steve decided to chop some firewood and get a campfire going.  The wood was wet so he had a hellava time getting it started but by adding extra paper and getting the fan out, he finally got it going.

While he had been trying to get the campfire going, we had noticed that it had gotten quite dark out...yup, there were some heavy clouds coming in.  Steve joked that it will probably start raining as soon as he gets the fire going.  Well, he was right on...but it wasn’t just a little rain!

It started with thunder and lightning, then wind...slight at first and then it got stronger and stronger...not a good thing when you are in the midst of lots of tall old trees!  We felt safer outside until the wind subsided a bit in case a tree or large branch came down.  We had just managed to get our chairs put away under the awning when all of a sudden the clouds gave way to a down pour of hail and heavy rain.  It was quite the storm...

After taking a few pictures, we scrambled least we had the trailer to go into to get out of the storm...I felt sorry for all of the tenters in the campground.  We noticed that some of our neighbours had retreated inside their vehicles.

In a matter of minutes, the ground was saturated...

After dinner we watched another movie..."Horrible Bosses"...too funny!

Friday, June 22, 2012 (Maple Bay Campground, Cultus Lake Provincial Park, BC)

We were surprised to see the sun shining this morning when we got up since the forecast is for rain today.  It was quite a lovely morning but the clouds did start rolling in and the rain started around noon.

Steve decided to walk down to the lake and do a little fishing by the creek.  I baked cookies and worked on our travel blog.  When I started to hear the pitter-patter of raindrops, I figured it wouldn’t be long before Steve returned.  Sure enough, he was soon back...he apparently caught a fish on his first cast but lost it while fumbling for his camera (sounds like a good fish story to me!)

The rest of the afternoon was spent inside...I was on the laptop while Steve had taken over the iPad.  By late afternoon, we tried sitting outside under the awning and do some reading but it wasn’t long before we gave up that idea and headed back was just too chilly out.

We watched a movie (J. Edgar Hoover) and then a recorded program.  After dinner and dishes, it had stopped raining so we went for a walk around the’s amazing the number of weekend campers that have arrived.  And most are in tents...with little kids...and in the rain!

Thursday, June 21, 2012 (Maple Bay Campground, Cultus Lake Provincial Park, BC)

The forecast for today was for sunshine and highs of 24C/ ended up being very warm but there was a high cloud covering all day so it wasn`t very sunny.

After our usual start to the day, I cooked a “big” breakfast, we had our showers and were ready to head off into Chilliwack.  Steve had looked up the addresses of a couple of motorsports stores...hopefully one of them will have the hand protectors/mirrors that I need for my ATV.  I really don’t care about the hand protectors...what I am really after is a better rear-view mirror so I can see what’s coming up behind me.  We ended up getting an actual mirror.  Steve had shunned away from it because there isn’t much room on the handlebars to mount one but after talking to the Yamaha dealer, he decided to give it a try.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to mount it without too much difficulty.

We fuelled up with diesel at the Flying J station ($1.27/litre) and then headed to a Husky station for propane and gas (for the generator).  After stopping at the liquor store and the bank, our errands were all done...time to head back to Cultus Lake.

We wanted to explore around the community of Cultus Lake but after parking in a huge lot by the lake, we went to pay...we were willing to pay $1/hour but not $20 for our oversized vehicle.  We had a quick look at the beach area, took a few pictures...

...and then went back to the truck and drove around to another part of the community...and the other end of the beach...

I bet it gets pretty noisy around here in the summer with all of the high powered boats and jet skis...

Steve got a shot of the skier wave jumping.
This morning we had noticed a place just on the edge of the town that sold firewood, so we thought we would check it out on our way back.  The fellows who were selling it looked like they were right out of “Deliverance” but were friendly enough and the wood was $6/box we found room for 2 loads in the truck.  We ended up with much more firewood for $12...not to mention that the pieces themselves were larger!

On the way back to our campground (we are at the furthest one of the four in the park), we stopped at the main day-use area at the entrance.  We have come to the conclusion that the whole Cultus Lake area...from the town to the provincial park...must be extremely busy in the summer months given the sizes of all of the parking lots. 
There are some people out enjoying the warmth today but on the whole, it’s pretty quiet. 

That’s why I was surprised to see a concession stand open in this day-use area. It was going on 2:30 by this time and we were hungry so we decided to have something to eat.  Steve had a cheese burger while I ordered a chicken wrap (nice that they had some healthier alternatives) and we sat at one of the picnic tables and ate our lunch.

Back home, after unloading the firewood, we sat outside reading until it was time to start a campfire.  We sat out until around 8:00 and then after a walk around the campground, we decided to go inside and watch a movie...“War Horse” was excellent.

Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to revert back to is the official start of summer...okay, we are waiting!!