Thursday to Monday, August 3 to 7, 2017 (Tunkwa Provincial Park, Logan Lake, BC)

For the most part, Thursday and Friday were spent hunkered down inside with the AC running. Smoke from the wildfires continues to be an issue here and throughout much of the province, mainly from the west central section right down to the coast and into the northwest US.
The sunrise Thursday morning...
Most of these two days was spent puttering around doing odds and ends inside, reading and watching TV.
Steve donned a mask to go outside to do some recycling and a few chores...







Very thick smoke...
Friday at noon a ban on off road vehicles came into affect. Not good for the riders already here. The long weekend was a bust, camper-wise here at the park. I guess the thick smoke is keeping campers home. Consequently, we weren't needed...hard to justify paying us to work with so few campers.

So Saturday, going stir-crazy from being stuck inside for two days, we decided to take a drive to Ashcroft...a little sightseeing trip. The smoke was a little lighter as we climbed to a higher altitude near the Highland Valley Copper Mine site ...
There are signs warning drivers to watch for wild horses...we missed getting a picture of some horses on the side of the road...but stay tuned, we captured a shot on our way back.
Highland Valley Copper is about 17 kms west of Logan Lake on highway 97D...we passed it on our way. We stopped at a viewpoint on the way back, so we'll have more pictures and descriptions further on.
This is the huge tailing pond that's approximately 10 kilometres long...






                                                                                                                                                                       
 (Click on any photo to enlarge)


Down we go into Ashcroft...11% grade for 6 km. Okay, so if you recall after our last truck repair we had a couple of squeals on the first two downhill grades once we left the Vancouver area, but none since. So Steve was certain it would squeal here and it didn't. Geez...things don't fix themselves! We want it to squeal so there is a soot trail for the mechanics to identify the area of the leak when we return to Bernhausen Diesel on the 9th.
There are many runaway lanes...

 Smoke is much thicker now as we near the town of Ashcroft on the Thompson River...

The hillside on the opposite side of the river is blackened from the wildfire. Ashcroft is where BC's largest wildfire began several weeks ago and has grown to over 10,000 hectares/39 square miles, and is only 30% contained...
 We turned off the highway to explore the Village of Ashcroft...


After a drive along the main street, we pulled over to take a walk in Heritage Place Park. This is a display about the Highland Valley Copper operation...representing their connection to the mining industry. The large haul truck was donated by the company...
Heritage Place Park is located on Railway Avenue and is designed to provide visitors with a “walk through time” to explore Ashcroft’s history. This picturesque park features many gardens and pathways that wind between the array of displays. These displays vary from historical markers and plaques with tidbits of history, to an authentic soddy house, an operating waterwheel and a refurbished railway caboose. 

The gazebo is home to a number of events throughout the year including musicians that entertain during the summer, the Can Can girls during Stampede weekend and a number of weddings.







In addition there is an area that honours our Japanese Sister City, Bifuka, Japan, that features a mural painted by renowned Bifuka artist, Mr. Kazuhiko Nagaki.



Steve wandered across the road to check out this building, thinking it might be the museum...nope, a private home but it does have historical site designation...
Next door is an automotive shop, complete with some vintage vehicles...
Back to the park...a refurbished railway caboose...
After a lovely walk through the park, we went to find the museum.
Located downtown at the corner of 4th and Brink Streets this brick buildings boasts one of the best museums in the BC interior. Open from mid-April until the end of October, visitors can learn about the history of the area, the people who settled here and our Chinese and First Nation backgrounds. Admission is by donation.

The building was built in 1917 and was used as the Federal Post Office up until 1980. The Village of Ashcroft acquired the building and after completely remodeling the interior the Ashcroft Museum was officially opened in 1982.
The main floor contains exhibits that portray the history of the Southern Cariboo from the original First Nations to the men and women who later settled here. Replicas of early stores have been created and visitors are offered a taste of what it was like to stroll down the street in the early 1900’s. A colourful combination of artifacts, text and photographs vividly illustrates life as it was in the early “glory days”.
Switchboard...



Chinese laundry tub left...
Soda fountain bar...



On the second floor the history of farming and ranching in the Hat Creek Valley has been recreated by following the stories of several of the area’s pioneer families.

Thought this was interesting because in 2013 our first stop on our way to Alaska was at the Historic Hat Creek Ranch and always wondered how the area got it's name. Did somebody lose their hat in the creek? Nope!
One of the first cars in the area...
I have no idea how long it took us to wander both floors, but we concluded that it was a very well done museum...and we were the only ones there. If you're ever in the area (and like museums), we'd highly recommend it.

On our way back to the truck Steve took a few more pictures. The Opera House...

Another Heritage Site...

This place reminds us of the architecture in Arizona...
Next on the agenda was a visit to Desert Hills Ranch. We crossed the Thompson River...

Truly one of Ashcroft's finest gems. Desert Hills Ranch is a family operation that produces a wide variety of crops and you can purchase them directly from the ranch. In the spring their greenhouses provide not only local residents with bedding plants, vegetables plants and flower baskets, but they supply large outlets as well. Then as the season progresses, take a daily trip down to the "wagon" and pick up your fruits and vegetables that were picked that morning. With more and more concern for the environment and for eating fresh foods produced locally, nothing beats Desert Hills.

We weren't in the need of any fresh produce but wandered through the market and ended up getting a watermelon and some corn-on-the-cob, along with a few tomatoes (65 cent/pound...wow!) for Hugh.
After that, we wandered around checking out the other sights...
The goat pen...
They weren't at all afraid, coming over to say hi...



Vintage tractors...

Steve kept coaxing the goats to climb and eventually one of them obliged!



Once finished there, we decided to drive a further 10 kms north to see Cache Creek and check out the fire damage. Quite the color contrast with the green crop field, brown grassland and burn't hillside. This is Elephant Hill for which the fire has been named...
Here the fire had jumped the road...
Ashcroft and Cache Creek were both evacuated when the fires began. Just north of Cache Creek the highway is still closed...

A trailer park in Boston Flats was lost to the fire. This trailer park looks like it was almost doomed too. The foreground is burn't and the distant hillside is red from water bomber fire retardant...
The distant trees at the other end of the trailer park are burn't. It must have been terrifying!
A couple of firetrucks and fire fighters on standby or taking a break next to the Bistro...
We turned around and retraced our way back towards Ashcroft...
More red fire retardant...
Wow, how incredible is this? The whole hillside has burned, leaving the house untouched at the base of Elephant Hill...


Back over the Thompson River as we enter Ashcroft...

The old fire hall...
The smoke is really thick down in the river valley.
Side note: Believe it or not a bonehead evacuee in the Williams Lake area that was allowed to return home decided to celebrate with fireworks and was thankfully caught by the RCMP!

The wild (feral) horses we passed on the way to Ashcroft were still there...


We stopped at the Highland Valley Copper Mine viewpoint. That hillside is all tailings...
Canada's largest open pit copper mine and one of the largest in the world...
The mine is on the opposite side of the highway but unfortunately too smokey for any detail...


Huge water truck watering the road...
Before heading back to Tunkwa, we decided to stop in Logan Lake for lunch...besides, we had a parcel to pick up at the Purolator drop-off (the video store). We had ordered some RV water filters from Amazon.ca....4 for $58 plus tax and no delivery charge, good value considering we normally pay around $32 each.

It was after 3:00 by the time we got home...a great day sightseeing! So nice getting out exploring.

Sunday morning Steve cleaned out the back of the truck and loaded the quads back in...with the back country closed to off-road vehicles, we won't be using them again unless we get a lot of rain. Plus the added weight will help smooth out the ride a little. While he was busy doing that, I gave my "new" runners a scrubbing...trying to get as much of the Tunkwa dust off of them as possible. The tops are mesh, so it wasn't easy, but they definitely look much better.

With our chores done, we basically spent the rest of the afternoon inside, out of the smoke...Steve watching TV, while I knit.

Monday wasn't all that different...we did some chores in the morning (laundry, pumped the tanks and some other odds and ends) and then hunkered down inside with the AC running. I worked on this blog update while Steve did some reading and watched TV.

And that pretty well brings us up to date again. We will work tomorrow morning covering Doug and Sue who will be making their weekly trip into Kamloops. After we have finished work, we'll pack our suitcases and head back down to the coast for our appointment at Bernhausen Diesel. After clearing it with Doug and Sue, ensuring they won't need us to work, we also managed to tack on a few more days to go over to Vancouver Island to see Rob, Angie and our grand kids...looking forward to seeing those two little cuties!