After the luxurious accommodation which Stewart booked us into in Salmon Arm, I decided we needed a reality check and booked the next night’s accommodation in Kamloops from the other end of the market.
We were a bit confused when Google told us it was next to the 4 lane highway and assumed that it had got it slightly wrong. Unfortunately not! But hey, it has a waterslide! When we arrived we sat in the car for a good 10 minutes before we dared venture out to the motel.
In reality the room was absolutely fine, it was clean, had a kitchenette so we could tuck into our pasta and sauce and you couldn’t hear the road. As we wandered down the corridor we came across the hotel’s interesting feature lining the walls – hundreds of videos. At first we thought it was a throwback to yesteryear but soon realised that it wasn’t when we found the VHS player in our room. You could rent the videos for $2!
The landscape in and around Kamloops is certainly in stark contrast to the scenery that had preceded it, particularly in the Rockies. Here, the landscape is dominated by bare brown hills, which on a grey day are not attractive. All the British Columbia car numberplates carry the tagline ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ – but beautiful this was not. We didn’t venture into city, apart from to go to Walmart to treat ourselves to a Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Turns out there’s a reason that it only appears in the shops for those 2 weeks running up to Thanksgiving. Think we’ll stick to the Canadian delicacy of butter tarts in the future!
Our motel provided breakfast, so the next morning we walked across to the banquet room of the adjoining Chinese restaurant to eat cereal out of polystyrene bowls with plastic spoons. Also on offer were tiny muffins – the type which you could easily fit in your mouth in one! Interestingly, the lady next to us had toasted her muffin, still whilst in it’s paper case. We left Kamloops, in what was probably our earliest departure time to date, and continued on our journey to Vancouver.
Two options were available to us to stop off at for lunch. First up was Hell’s Gate, where the large Fraser River is forced through a 35m wide gorge. A cable car takes you for views over the crashing waters below, but unfortunately we didn’t have the time on this occasion to make the diversion there.
The second option was to just stop off at Hope, a small town on the Trans-Canada Highway. After a trip to the very helpful visitor centre we discovered that Hope was home to some impressive chainsaw wood carvings and a couple of nice parks which we checked out. We could have also gone on a scenic walk to the abandoned Othello-Quintette Railway Tunnels on the outskirts of Hope, but these were unfortunately closed for safety reasons.
Hope’s biggest claim to fame is that as a popular filming location, with the town and the surrounding countryside being the setting for the first Rambo movie. Fortunately on this occasion, Hope was not being blown up by Sylvester Stallone!
Following another couple of hours driving we finally made it to Vancouver and our home for the foreseeable future. It got off to a good start when we turned up at Hertz half an hour before our scheduled drop off time to find it was already shut but that’s another story…
PS. all references to Rambo written by Stewart as Emma has no idea what it’s about