Our first day on the road passed fairly uneventfully. As usual, the traffic was rather heavy until we passed Abbotsford, and then quietened down. It was strange to drive straight past the Vedder without stopping, and from that point on we were in less familiar territory.
We had a choice of two routes, and I had planned to take the Fraser Canyon, which is rather more picturesque. As it happened, we must have missed the turn off, because we ended up on The Coquihalla without realised quite how it had happened. I remember 14 years ago that the Coquihalla route was being touted as the latest greatest thing, but its now in rather bad repair. Whilst the scenery is still nice, it’s not a patch on the Fraser Canyon route, and roadworks made it a bit of a sluggish haul. The weather was variable, sunny when we left, but with some scattered patches of snow and rain in the higher altitudes.
Another strange thing about the Coquihalla route was the total lack of rest areas. We had planned to stop for our picnic, but in the event, never found a good place until we reached Chase itself, 5 minutes from our motel! A bonus at the picnic site was a chance spotting of a Northern Flicker, and I managed to get a couple shots as the bird flew in and out of hole in a tree trunk – a nice first opportunity to test the new camera. They’re not perfectly sharp – hand holding the 100-400mm, but still given how small the bird is on the frame, not too bad, and a nice sequence. (The image shown here is cropped substantially from the original)
Once in the motel (situated bang on the highway, but comfortable enough) I downloaded the photos, and realised that I still had some set up work to do – setting the camera date, setting the picture type (default was JPG), etc.
After 30 minute to settle ourselves into the motel, we got back into the car, and headed 50km up the road to Salmon Arm, to have dinner with Cousin Sandi (my grandfather’s brother’s daughter – glad to finally have that straight in my head) and her family. As luck would have it, both of Sandi and Al’s children were visiting, along with their 4 grandchildren, so I had the chance to meet a number of relatives for the first time. Driving back to Chase after the meal was a little tiring – plenty of traffic, surprisingly, and some rain – not a great combination on mountain roads at night. Back at the motel, Grandmere and I both crashed out pretty quickly, and slept like logs.