May 24 to May 31, 2006 - Washington to Alberta

May 24th we drove 210 miles from Fall City to Pasco, WA and camped again at Sandy Heights RV Park.  We last camped here last in July 2004 and previously in August 2003.  This time they gave us a back-in spot away from the interstate, so it was quieter:

It was Memorial Day Weekend, so it was a good time to visit someplace comfortable, but not a tourist destination.  We used to live in this area, so we knew it well and have friends and family here.  The weather was alternately wet and windy, sometimes at the same time, not uncommon in May.  This campground is reasonably priced and convenient to Richland and Kennewick since it is just over the bridge from Richland.

We visited friends and family, but didn't take any pictures.  We had dinner with our nephew Andrew, his mother Cathie, and his girlfriend.  We had lunch with Diane's brother Leo, Andrew's father.  Our niece Katlyn was out of town.  We had dinner with Dave, Cullen and Shannon (Dave's daughter) , plus visiting at Dave and Shannon's house.  Unfortunately Kay (Dave's wife and Shannon's mother) had to be out of town but Bill had talked to her on the phone.  We visited with Yasuhiro, Wanda and Ralph at Yasuhiro and Wanda's house.

We also got to buy a new notebook computer for Diane.  Diane had been wondering why her notebook computer was getting slow.  A light bulb went off in her head and she realized it might be hardware instead of software.  Turns out the hard drive was dying.  If we would have known a week or two earlier we would have replaced the hard drive, but we didn't have time to wait for one to be shipped.  Instead we went to Costco and bought a new HP notebook and transferred all of Diane's files to it.

We will ship a new hard drive to Bill's sister's house in Alaska and the three of us will see if we can get it running Linux.  Bill's old notebook, which was replaced in January 2005 in a similar fashion, will run Linux fine but has only been tested with a live CD instead of clean install.  We figure it will be educational for Bill's sister for us to get them both running Linux while visiting her.

We started to head to Alaska on the 29th, driving 170 miles to Coeur d'Alene RV Resort in Post Falls, ID.  We also topped off the diesel and propane tanks with "cheap" American fuel.  We were originally going to drive two more hours north, but we were up late the night before so we were tired.  This is the same campground we stayed in August 2003.

We didn't leave the campground, the weather was not that great and we were not feeling much like tourists.  The Coeur d'Alene, ID area is very nice and we have enjoyed the area in the past and Spokane, WA is only 30 miles west.

May 30th we drove north and across the border into British Columbia.  It is a quiet border crossing and it didn't take more than a couple minutes.  A few miles later we crossed into the Mountain Time Zone.  It is a very scenic area, some day we should come and spend some time here.  We ended up at Fort Steele Resort and RV Park in Fort Steele, BC.  Our campsite was back dropped by mountains, some with snow on them:

In the fenced area at the edge of the campground were Emus, but we didn't see them until morning:

Some telephoto shots of the mountain backdrop:

Fort Steele is 18km north of Cranbrook, BC, which is where all the businesses are.  We drove back to Cranbrook and found a bank ATM to get more Canadian cash and then shopped at the Real Canadian Superstore.   Real Canadian Superstores are like upscale Super Wal-Marts and have good prices and nice groceries.  We like to find them.  In the morning Bill went on the internet and the ATM transaction had already cleared, the exchange rate was $1.00C = $0.91US, higher than the average of about $0.84US in August and September. 

May 31st we drove an entire 81 miles to Radium Valley Vacation Resort in Radium Hot Springs, BC, a Coast-2-Coast park so it was cheap.  What a really nice place.   Huge campsites, each with its own cabana and a propane grill that the resort supplies the propane for.  Definitely a place to come back for more than one night.  The only problem is maneuvering some of the campground roads in a big rig is a challenge, but that is common.  Here is our campsite:

There is room to park the car either in front or behind.  Getting the satellite out was a challenge, but this spot was shooting over some lower trees and we were online:

Our neighbors also have a 2004 Dutch Star and are heading to Alaska, we might see them again:

On the way into town we saw some scenic pull offs and visited them in the car, here are pictures of Radium Valley

We then drove south and looked at the city of Invermere, which looked like it was a nice place and thriving.

We also stopped at the Parks Canada visitors center and loaded ourselves down with information on the local National Parks.  This area is definitely a place to come back to.

It was a warm and sunny evening so we roamed around the campground.  Definitely a place to come back to.

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