Wednesday, June 15, 2016
The long awaited part 2 of the write up of our late summer geocaching road trip to Merritt - Kamloops - Vernon.
Click on any of the pictures to see the full size version
Day 3 we awoke in Kamloops and cached in the city for a while as we picked off a few in the south part of the city near our hotel. Eventually we headed north towards the Thompson River area and then east as we followed the river out of town towards our next destination of Vernon.
We have cached several time sin Kamloops and I have many photos and enough video already so I opted to not repeat material from past posts and instead will pick up the storytelling in Westwold.
Westwold is a small community on Highway 97 as you run south from Kamloops down to Vernon.
Our first memorable geocache was located at a business named Wildrides Hotrods. It is a combination garage/car servicing and restoration business, as well as having some old cars and trucks out front to entice folks to stop by for a view and a bite to eat from the small cafe the have on site.
We got to have a look around at the old cars and find a cache at the same time, not a bad two for one stop on the road.
We cached our way steadily south through small communities with the highlight of Falkland being the "big" city on this highway. I had planned a route that was heavy in Kamloops and lighter on the road so we could make time as we headed to Vernon to visit another brother and his wife As the day wore on we realized that we had to stop caching and start making time if we were to keep our "dinner" date with Wayne and Inga so we put aside the GPS and put the pedal down so we could spend some time visiting family.
Day 4 and the last day of the road trip we spent the morning caching in urban Vernon enjoying the downtown core on an early Sunday morning before the crowds woke up.
This gave us the opportunity to see some of the murals in the core area representing the history of Vernon. Transportation seemed to be the theme with multiple murals depicting some sort of travel method.
Seems like where ever you are in Vernon you are not far from a lake...whether it be Okanagan Lake or Woods Lake or Kalamalka Lake one of them is always in your view.
As we headed south out of Vernon back down towards home on the Coast we opted to take the scenic route and cached along a back road named Commonage Road that straddled the high ground between the big waters of Okanagan Lake and some of the smaller lakes.
Here you see a good division of work between brothers...sorta like the well oiled caching machine we are. MrTJ works on some potato chips, tjguy98 runs the video camera, and Bowser98 does the work of finding the cache and signing the log book. Works like a charm! :)
Further south you are back on the shores of Okanagan Lake in aptly named
"Lake Country". This is one of those areas where every driveway has a boat and/or seadoos to go with it. A truck to tow the boat is the typical family wheels, no travel trailers or RVs to be seen here.
Lake views and cool breezes from the lakes are the normal experience when you are in Lake Country. We were a bit late in the year for the crowds but a few die hards were still out enjoying the last days of an Indian Summer before they had to put the boats away for the winter.
Into Kelowna we sailed picking up a roadside cache here and there as we continued our return trip home. One of the caches we stopped for was in West Bank at Paynter's Fruit Market where a local farming enterprise had a large market-type operation that was obviously well appreciated by the local residents. Many types of fruit and vegetables were sold outside and inside many locally produced food items were available...tempting enough that we grabbed a few items off the shelf for the long lonely drive home.
But I digress...we were here on a mission to find a geocache and the old tractor on display made a convenient location to place a magnetic cache box hidden from muggles but a quick find for cachers.
On our last leg of our journey we headed along the Coquihalla Connector, which joins West Bank to Merritt, picking up new caches since our last run down the highway. We were now in "make-up-time" mode as we grabbed a few caches right off the on ramps/off ramps of the highway never straying far from the main thorough fare.
The last three caches were all along the same short spur road, which was actually part of the old Highway 5A. A yellow middle line on the pavement and an old brake check sign told us we were standing on an outdated piece of motor car history.
The very last cache we found was jsut east of Merritt on the long downhill stretch into Merritt . Some joker has left an old toilet as if they came here to use the open air facilities while enjoying a magnificent view of the Nicola Valley with Merritt as it's centre piece.
This was also the place where, after 4 days of crashing through bush and scrambling up and down hill sides, MrTJ decided to gash his leg open on the old potty...ewwwww....
Watch the video and you will see that MrTJ, trooper that he is, found the cache first and then tended to the gash on his leg. Bowser98 and myself had the same geocaching dedication so we signed the log book and then tucked the cache back away in it's hiding place before we went back to the truck to render first aid to MrTJ.
This was the last cache of the day, the last cache of the 4 day road trip through the Interior of BC, and my very last video shot of the trip.
The sun came out from under a dark cloud and bathed Merritt in a blast of sunlight. The scene was so pretty I expected to hear angels singing.
I realized the video shoot was something I couldn't top so I put the camera away and we jumped into the truck to make a run for the Coast and back to our home sweet homes.
Four days on the road netted us 160 caches, a visit with a brother and his wife, and a load of new memories for the memory banks. A pretty satisfying road trip for the Jeep Brothers once again.
Watch the video below by clicking on it or by visiting my YouTube page here.