Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A "ferry" tale road trip day two, Tuesday June 3, 2014

After a good night's sleep we were up a little sooner than we had planned which allowed us an earlier start to the day. (Note self: make sure all notification noises on tablets and other devices are turned off before heading to bed.) We turned north onto Highway 3A heading for the Kootenay Lake Ferry. 

This is another beautiful drive of about 80km (50 miles) on my favorite kind of road... twisty, rolling, two lane black top! With speed limits of mostly 80 and 60 kph (50 and 42 mph) the drive takes just over an hour without any stops along the way. Seeing as we were really early we did stop a couple of times along the way. One of those was the Glass House at Boswell. This was originally going to be used as the builder's home but changed to a roadside attraction due to concerns over privacy! I love the quote mentioned in the linked article: Mr Brown said he wanted to build something to "indulge a whim of a peculiar nature". I think he succeeded!

Heading north on BC Highway 3A...

View point at Kootenay Landing.

Sometimes in the trees...

The Boswell Embalming Bottle House... yes, I said embalming

... and sometimes by the water.

Turnoff to the ferry landing.

First in line for the 10:40am ferry.

We had originally planned to leave the hotel around 9:00am and arrive in time for the 10:40am ferry departure. Due to our early start we arrived at the ferry landing ten minutes after the 9:00 ferry left. At least we were first in line! We took advantage of the extra time to take a walk along the road that parallels the shore. One of the things that struck us is how quiet things are. No constant traffic noise, not a lot of planes overhead, just birds, streams and the wind in the trees. Made for a very enjoyable stroll. Had a coffee and a snack by the shore and watched an osprey trying to catch a fish in a little cove. 

Area map.

Sharon enjoying the sun and a cup of coffee.

More cars started to show up.

Sharon enjoying the view with the returning ferry in the distance.

The little cover next to the ferry landing where we watched an osprey trying to catch a meal.

Almost there... the Osprey 2000 as she approaches the dock.

The ferry we are to board is the  MV Osprey 2000 which has a capacity of 80 vehicles and 250 people. Once the ferry unloaded we waited while the staff changed a light bulb in the traffic light. Upon successful completion of that task we were waved on. It didn't take too long as there were not too many vehicles to load, I would say only half a full load.

This ferry is the longest free ferry in North America or the world, depending on the source. Either way it is a beautiful 35 minute ride across Kootenay Lake to Balfour BC.

Because we were first on meant we were also first off! We drove up the ramp and turned westwards to head to our next stop, Nelson BC. Another great stretch of twisty rolling roads with similar speed limits as the morning's previous run.

First on...

Sharon enjoying the views.

Awesome vistas for the entire crossing.

Approaching the Balfour dock.

...and first off.

Entering Nelson BC.

On our arrival in Nelson we made straight for the Tourist Information building to pick up maps for the local walking and driving tours. Nelson is a town that has kept the bulk of its historic buildings so the they have set up walking and driving tours so that you can see the most significant of the lot. We sort of combined the two as the weather was just a little spotty. Here's a few photos....

Nelson reminded us a lot of Portland, I think one or two of our daughter's would really like it here. Before leaving Nelson we had  a quick bite to eat at a lovely little coffee shop and then decided to take a little streetcar ride. Interesting trivia... the 1987 Steve Martin movie "Roxanne" was largely filmed in Nelson.

Approaching our stop...

Sharon enjoying the ride.

Spotted in the marina... apparently Capt. Jack Sparrow retired in Nelson.

Last stop in Nelson.... Cottonwood Falls.

Stopped at Cottonwood Falls before leaving Nelson then proceeded south on Highway 3A to Castlegar where we rejoined the Crowsnest Highway, BC #3, for the rest of the day's drive. The roads were much the same as those we had driven this morning so just as enjoyable. This stretch of the highway sort of bounces along the US/Canada border, at some places I could actually see the cut line through the trees that marks it. Gained quite a bit of elevation on this leg too. Started the day in Creston at 597m (1959ft) then up and over Bonanza Pass at 1535m (5036ft). Bonanza Pass is about 25km (15miles) east of Christina Lake with an elevation of only 446m (1463 ft). So within that 25km drive we dropped 1089m (3572ft). 

Drove past Christina Lake, through the towns of Grand Forks and Midway (not sure what it's midway between) and then into Osoyoos. Before reaching our destination we had one more pass to climb, this one at only about 1100m (3608ft) before dropping into Osoyoos at 278m (813ft).

Challenge accepted!

Streamside coffee stop.

Passing Christina Lake.

Big vistas... the horizon is in the US.

Viewpoint above, waaaaay above Ososyoos.
Part of the road between the viewpoint and Osoyoos.

Approaching the hairpin bend visible in the picture above.

Wednesday will find us enjoying a full day in Osoyoos, stay tuned for more! Hope you're enjoying our trip as much as we are; thanks for following along.

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