Chasing away the hunger. Prehistoric vistas. Down the Choquihalla. Flatlands near Vancouver

When we woke up this morning we cannot say we had a defined plan in place for the next two to three days.  Our original plan from Sicamous was to drive south to Kelowna – located in the Okanagan Valley.

However, Kelowna (or just across the lake from it) has been under siege from bushfires over the past few days and thousands of people have been evacuated from their houses.  With this in mind, we asked Gary to cancel the bookings he had made for us and decided to “take it as it comes”.

What we did know was that we were going to continue driving toward Vancouver and, once there, firm up our plans.

After a light breakfast, a shower and a re-pack of the car we checked out of the hotel and started our drive West again.

The Trans Canada route follows the Shuswap Lakes in the direction of Kamloops – a very pretty drive.  The lake is obviously very deep because the water is a beautiful dark blue colour.  In parts, the spruce trees line the lake and in other areas it is surrounded by steep mountains.  At this time of the year, the “boaties” are making the most of the beautiful weather so the lakes were dotted with all sorts of watercraft.  Maybe we should have hired a houseboat for a couple of days and kicked back on the water!!  Now why didn’t I think of that before typing this.

We fueled up in the small town of Salmon Arm and again, I was pleasantly surprised with the economy of the truck.  I guess modern technology has resulted in V8 engines running somewhat more efficiently than in the past.  Still not the economy of the hybrid we had during our recent trip to the US but it is not breaking that bank either.

The town of Chase is located along the route and we decided to stop there for lunch.  Chase is located on the Western reaches of the Shuswaps and it is another small well kept town.  The Princess’ sister, Diane, owns some property in Chase and we can understand why after our short visit.

We found a wonderful little deli’-cum-restaurant called Simply De Vine.  Our initial plan was to have morning tea but the menu looked very inviting so we decided to eat an early lunch.  A good decision because the food was very tasty!

We took a drive around Chase (it didn’t take too long!) before returning to the main highway in the direction of Kamloops.

The scenery changed quite dramatically as we left the Shuswap Lake region.  Not too far to the West of Chase the highway emerges from the spruce forests and passes through ancient river valleys.  The land became quite arid in places and with the smoky haze and the warm temperatures it felt like we were driving in parts of Australia.  Interesting!

There was nothing inviting in or around the city of Kamloops so we bypassed the town and started the long trip back up to the mountains.  As  you leave Kamloops behind and below the landscape changes quickly back to mountain vistas.

You can travel from Kamloops to Vancouver via several routes but the one we took is the quickest.  The road passes through an area called the Choquihalla Pass  – an area know for its avalanches.  This pass was opened in 1986 and before that time the trip would have been substantially longer and more challenging during the winter months.

The trip down the Choquihalla Pass is quite beautiful – all downhill (heading West that is) and at times through avalanche tunnels.  At different places along the road there are gun emplacements.  During winter, they mount a gun to these emplacements and fire projectiles into know avalanche areas on the surrounding mountains.  They create avalanches periodically to prevent extreme avalanches occurring.  This allows the pass to remain open for most of the time during the winter months.

We passed by the town of Hope at the bottom of the Choquihalla Pass and then arrived in the city of Abbotsford around 4.30pm.

We had researched some hotels in Abbotsford and decided to check out the Ramada when we arrived.  The hotel was located just off the highway and they gave us a good travel industry rate so we decided to stay for the night.  The room we were given was decorated very nicely and it was nice and quiet too.

Given that we had arrived “early” we took some time to rest before taking a shower and getting ready for supper.  There was a great restaurant attached to the hotel so we dined there for supper.  We both had a curry and washed it down with some nice red wine.

Over dinner we decided that we were going to spend the next two days in Seattle.  We had planned to travel to Seattle during our trip to the US in June but we cancelled this part of our trip and decided to focus on Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.

Seattle is only 2.5 hours driving time from Abbotsford so we decided to re-enter the US and take in some of Washington State for a couple of days.  Of course this will be totally dependent on the status of my US Departure Card issue.  I guess we will find out tomorrow!

And so, it is time for bed.  Tomorrow will come soon enough but in the meantime we need to make the most of the King Size comfort on offer here in Abbotsford.

Until tomorrow – it is goodnight from him and goodnight from her.

Roey and The Princess

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