Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Jeep Brothers Go On A Road Trip - Day Three

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Day three we awoke in sunny Kamloops and began our day of geocaching at a "liar's" cache' this is a cache where everything about this cache is a lie, right from the size of the cache to the location and the finder's entries. These are always fun as they let the finder's imagination run wild, and it's always neat to read what other cachers write in the logs. In this case, the cache was a micro, so everyone wrote that the cache was huge, the location was an abandoned business, so every one wrote how it was tough to find a parking spot, etc. As a finder going looking for the cache with no preconceptions, the "idea" of where the cache will be found was skewed by the untruths written in the logs - makes you second guess yourself as to whether or not you're even in the right area of the cache itself!.

We did a few more caches in the city, some provided historical information from Points of Interest areas, some gave us geology lessons of the Kamloops area, and still some showed us you can put a cache pretty well anywhere!
One of the caches is located on a elevated pedestrian walkway leading up from a riverside pathway to a bridge that crosses the Thompson River. As it was a magnetic cache, you really have to trust your GPS and the cache hider that both sets of co-ordinates are bang-on. As it was, with a clear view to the birds up above, the co-ordinates were pretty darn close, but that still gave us 60 feet left to right of ground zero, and two sets of railings to search. We found it after 10 minutes of looking, which we didn't consider too bad, and for which we were pretty happy about.

Another nearby cache had us looking through three Ponderosa Pine trees, eventually turning up in what is known as a "typical Interior" hiding spot. I won't say what that means for those of you who have not experienced that type of hide - no spoilers here.

We spent most of the day chasing down city caches before we realized the day was slipping away and we needed to get the geo-truck pointed east towards Chase and Salmon Arm, our next stop for the night.

Heading east out of Kamloops we did a few caches here and there just to break up the drive; one of the ones we did was at Ducks, at a historical site that I knew well. Billy Miner, the train robber, committed the first train robbery in BC's history in 1904 near Mission BC. That location in Mission is just a few miles down  Hwy #7 from my home base, so there was a bit of local interest for me as well.

If you read the historical marker in the picture above, you'll see that Billy Miner stayed in the Princeton area; as a matter of fact, he spent much time in the Merritt area as well on a friend's ranch, and often appeared at the Quilcheana Hotel for dances on Saturday night. He was known as a U.S. business man with a quiet demeanor and a fondness of dancing with the ladies. Having visited the Quilchena Hotel several times, and seen the old fashion bar in the small saloon with it's bullet hole and all, it was cool to be following in the foot steps of one of the characters from BC's history.

 ABOVE: MrTJ at the Billy Miner historical marker just east of Kamloops in Ducks

ABOVE: TGUY98 at the Billy Miner historical marker just east of Kamloops in Ducks

ABOVE: Bowser98 at the Billy Miner historical marker just east of Kamloops in Ducks

Back on the highway we started putting a few more miles under the tires as we continued on heading eastward, picking up caches that were close to the highway or ones a little off the beaten track if they looked like interesting locations or caches. One of those neat places was just on the outside if Chase at a road side rest area that I have used a few times over the years. There is an information sign that informs travellers of the mountain goats that inhabit the steep cliff around the town; it's also right next to a small creek that offers travellers a much needed cool oasis during the hot Interior summers. The find itself was easy, and it gave me a chance to play with the camera a bit on the small waterfalls located here.

We scooted across the highway and took one of the feeder routes into the small town of Chase. We stopped at the 1909 Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, which is now the town museum. Unfortunately an arsonist had a go at the museum and it is now closed while they await funds to restore it. The cache itself was missing, probably as a result of the initial clean up from the fire, but we did get to see a log cabin from the 1800's and a few small steam engines. Sorry to see the aftermath from the fire, although we did enjoy our short visit.

                                         ABOVE: Fire scorched Chase town museum

We zig zagged through the small town of Chase doing a few caches in city parks and along roadways, losing daylight as we went along; we still had another dozen or so caches to pick up before we slid into Salmon Arm, so we skeedaddled back east along the highway knowing for the third night in a row we would be ending the day doing night caching.

Just before we lost daylight we stopped at one of the more interesting cache locations, this was at the now abandoned Squilax General Store; while it's life as a general store is now over, this building now houses the offices for the Squilax hostel. Just below the hostel are three old fashioned train cabooses that act as dorms for the hostel. The office buildings have been left untouched as there is a colony of Yuma bats that have been roosting here since the 1930's. It was good to see how the local community has supported the bat population in the area - many other peoples would have cared little for such yucky creatures as bats.
Oh, in case you were wondering, "Squilax" means "black bear" in the local First Nation's language.

Almost forgot, we managed to sneak in one more daylight cache worth telling you about; as we cached along the southern shore of the Shuswap Lake's system, we stopped in a small village called Tappen. The cache in mind was located at one of those old time cemeteries where it's beauty is in it's informal nature, unlike the sterilized ones you see in some big cities. The cemetery is located up on the hillside above the lake in the wide broad sweep of the Tappen Valley. It was evident even from our short jaunt here that this was a prime farm country, and the gentle winding country roads just begged for more exploration....sad to say it would have to wait for our next trip this way.

We had been keeping an eye on the time, not wanting to wait till too late at night to find a hotel in Salmon Arm; we also had an ear cocked listening to the local radio. We knew that a major storm system was buffeting the Salmon Arm area and points south and we knew we were heading right into it. My daughter and her fiance were holidaying in Kamloops that day and text messages from  them indicated that this was a major lightning and rain storm causing wide spread flooding accompanied by power outages due to lightning strikes. We had actually been skirting the storm since dinner time when we pulled out of Kamloops; occasional bouts of rain told us we were just on the edge of the storm.

Not wanting to risk caught out in the inclement weather, we packed it in for the night and headed south the last few miles to Salmon Arm. Well, talk about good timing! About 2 minutes down the road we ran into the wall of the storm and were instantly driving through a heavy rain storm; to add to the poor visibility, we were driving through a few miles of freshly paved highway that was black as the night with no markings on the road way as of yet. All three pairs of eyes were glued to the roadway in case we drifted too far right and went off the shoulder of the pitch black road.

Soon enough we were in the growing town of Salmon Arm and starting the time honoured traveller's tradition of scoring a motel room for the night. That's a story unto itself, but we'll save that for another time.Suffice to say we managed to score a pretty nice suite at the Podollan Inn and Spas thanks to a free upgrade from the desk clerk, one that we very much appreciated and I don't mind putting a plug in for them. Two king size beds and a third queen size sofa bed with a large sitting area and a well laid out large bathroom with separate shower and tub was way more than these weary cachers expected, all at a reasonable price.

Time for another 10.00 PM dinner, then head back to the hotel and sort through today's cache finds and scan tomorrow's route, then hit the comfy beds for a well earned sleep!
Tomorrow would be Day 4 and the last day of the road trip for the Jeep Brothers.........
To see the complete set of pictures from the trip, click here to go to my Flickr site.