Welcome!

We are Nico and Marlies Wobben and in February 2008 we moved from the Netherlands to Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada! Nico is an RN at the General Hospital and I (Marlies) work from home, as an administrator at Canada Life and for my own web design business Feel The Fire. And we have 7 cats!
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BC Trip Photoalbums Online!

Finally, the photos are online! You’ll find 5 albums:

» photo albums 2010/BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC Trip – Kimberley, Taber, Home!

setting sun on the Rockies

» photo albums 2010/BRITISH COLUMBIA

Sunday September 5th, Nakusp – Kimberley

A long drive through the mountains and along big lakes… a beautiful drive! But including a few small breaks, waiting time at the ferry, losing one hour going back to the mountain time zone and a great visit in Creston, it took us from 9.40am until 8.30pm to get from Nakusp to Kimberley.

Marlies on the ferryThe weather was mostly cloudy, so we didn’t get the best of pictures, but the views were still great. In Kaslo we took a small break and saw the sternwheeler downtown. We didn’t stay long because we hoped to get on the 12.20pm ferry in Balfour, but we didn’t make it. So we spent some time on the ferry landing (of all places I found a dress there that I was looking for) and got on the 1.10pm one. That was the big Osprey 2000 and we loved the views on the Kootenay Lake!

us with Sophia and the viewAround 4pm we were in Creston/Erickson where we visited my online friend Sophia and her husband Murray (and last but not least their 4 cats :)). I know her from a Dutch forum about Canada (vacation stuff mostly). They live in a gorgeous house on a hill by a canyon with a spectacular view! It was great meeting them and they fed us yummy sandwiches and such, so we didn’t have to worry about supper anymore later! Thanks for the hospitality guys, we had a great time!!

It took us 2 more hours to get to Kimberley. This included turning for a ‘bear’ sighting… but it was a wooden bear in someone’s yard LOL. We did see a beautiful big elk bull crossing the street though! When we got closer to Kimberley, we could see peaks of the Rockies above the clouds in the orange-red light of the sunset! On the campground we found our spot (the sites are less spacious and private then I had expected), but forgot to ask about the internet option (didn’t find any network at the site).

Monday September 6th, Kimberley

jodelahiti!We chose Kimberley, because we wanted to visit another Dutch couple, Anja and Theo, who came to Canada a year and a half ago and took over the Alpenglow bed & breakfast. Like Chantal and Suus, we know them from the CBB, a forum for Dutch immigrants to Canada. Kimberley has a beautiful campground, but it’s about 8 km away from the B&B, and Anja generously offered to come pick us up! She took us to Kimberley’s Bavaria-style downtown, the Platzl, where shops look German and you’re greeted by jodel-music 😉 We hit the shops and after that we went to the B&B where we met Theo and chatted for a while. We were supposed to go back to the cats for some hours before our dinner plans together, but we had such a good time that we just deciced to stay 🙂 Another couple vacationing from Holland, Herman and Liesbeth, joined us later in the afternoon, we all went for a little walk and for a luxurous dinner at the Bavarian restaurant across the street. What a great last vacation day – Theo and Anja, thanks so much for a wonderful day!! It was after 9 when Theo brought us back to the campground and on the way he and Nico were pretty sure they saw a moose in the ditch! We turned, but it was gone 🙁

Tuesday September 7th, Kimberley BC – Taber AB

Kootenay RockiesTime to go home (in 2 days) 🙁 We didn’t really leave early, we phoned Amalia first for her birthday and we went to the Overwaitea supermarket first to get a few Dutch things (Anja told us about that). We had a good drive through the Rockies (Crowsnest Pass), but we didn’t feel like stopping at sights anymore. We wanted to see how far we could get today. In Lethbridge we visited the Dutch shop there, the Wooden Shoe. We keep saying we don’t really miss much, but we left the store with $200 worth of groceries LOL! Some specific snacks, biscuits, pudding, porridge, liquorice, nasi spices etc etc! And we again visited more Dutch people (the 6th family, not bad haha), Tontje and Joyce moved to Lethbridge 5 months ago (I also know Tontje from Canada forums). It was again great meeting them, but we needed to keep going so we didn’t stay very long. It was already getting late though, so we put up camp not much further in Taber. Tontje had sent us to a Chinese restaurant there and we are now on the very lovely municipal campground on the shore of the Oldman river.

Wednesday September 8th, Taber AB – Regina SK

Home! After another long drive on the prairie and lunch in Swift Current (Husky as usual) we got home around 5pm. Soooo tired and I have to work tomorrow, so I better turn in early!

We had a great vacation, so many new impressions that it felt longer than 2 weeks and we’re tired from all the driving. We’ve seen amazing scenery and it was fun to meet in person with fellow Dutch immigrants Chantal and Suus, Petra (I already knew her from way back), Tontje and Joyce, Sophia (and Murray) and esp. Anja and Theo, and John and Diana! Thanks for all the hospitality, fun times, food, drinks, rides, showers and laundry!! 😉 Our doors are open if you ever end up in Regina, but it’s not much to look at compared to the amazingly beautiful British Columbia! But for now it’s home (who knows if we ever end up in BC hehe) and it’s good to be back 🙂

BC Trip – Nakusp 2

Nakusp

» photo albums 2010/BRITISH COLUMBIA

Saturday September 4th, Nakusp

Finally a chance to sleep in again, we apparently needed it 🙂 Around noon we biked to town, had a lunch at the Broadway Deli and walked around for a bit. When we had a drink at the Leland Hotel patio (overlooking the lake), some showers moved in, so we had to cut our downtown visit short and hurry back to the campground (so we skipped a few sites and trails we had wanted to see). We made ourselves comfortable in the RV for the rest of the day, watching movies and still using that open network to surf 😉

Tomorrow we go to Kimberley and we’ll be visiting an online friend, Sophia, in Creston.

BC Trip – Nakusp

Kalamalka Lake

» photo albums 2010/BRITISH COLUMBIA

Friday September 3rd, Westbank – Nakusp

After they made us breakfast, we said goodbye to John and Diana. We had such a great time with them!!

Marlies on the ferry by NeedlesWe took the 97 to Kelowna and Vernon, passing several lakes, the biggest being the very impressive Kalamalka Lake with its turquoise colour! We didn’t expect it, but the Okanagan left a big impression on us! In Vernon we took the 6 to the east, through broad valleys as well as narrow, winding roads through the mountains. We had lunch at the Gold Pan Café and about an hour and a half later we got to Needles on the Arrow Nakusp sunsetLakes. There was only a short line up to the ferry and we only had to wait 15 mins (the crossing was fast too, about 10 mins). The 6 continued north along the lake and was mostly very easy, it didn’t take us long to get to Nakusp. We checked in on the small municipal campground by the park and relaxed for a while, the cats were already enjoying the many small tree squirrels that came to dare them making lots of noise 😉 After we made some supper we walked to town to see the beach and lake at dusk and explore the main street a bit. Back in the RV we found an open network that we used to quickly update this 🙂

BC Trip – Fintry, Westbank (Kelowna)

» photo albums 2010/BRITISH COLUMBIA

Tuesday August 31st, Clearwater – Fintry Provincial Park

Today we left Clearwater to drive back south again on the 5 to Kamloops and the 1 to the east, but only until the sign for Vernon where we turned south again on the 97. This road was smaller and way more beautiful then I expected (even in the constant light rain). On the Salmon River Rd we turned left to visit Chantal and Suus in Glenemma. Their house and the location are just awesome, what a great place to start their new life in Canada (they arrived a month ago)! We chatted the hours away and around 5 we went just a bit to the north to visit Petra in Yankee Flats. I know her from decades ago when she had a rock bar in my hometown Eindhoven. Didn’t stay in touch, but learned a few years ago from Els that she had moved to Canada. I got in touch with her and today was the first time we saw each other again after so many years! She had recently moved to this house overlooking the Salmon River valley, what a view (and it wasn’t raining anymore)! We couldn’t stay long, we wanted to be in Fintry (at least an hour away) before dark. It was a beautiful drive with some stunning views over the huge Okanagan Lake. We found our campsite while it was almost dark, but sat outside for a while to take in the amazing view over the lake (the lights of Vernon on the opposite site), right from our picnic table!! Very eager to find out the view tomorrow!

Wednesday September 1st, Fintry Provincial Park

Today we spent the whole day in Fintry. WHAT A VIEW!! As nice as Dutch Lake was, this is the real thing. Campsite in the forest, but with the view on the lake. This totally reminded us of Crete. Just with pine trees 😉 Without doubt THE most beautiful campsite we ever had anywhere.

In the morning I chatted with the camp hosts, who are the in-laws of my online friend Linda, who we had planned to meet now, but she ended up being on vacation herself. In the afternoon our friends John and Diana from our previous town Heerlen came to visit, they moved to Canada last March. So great to be reunited on this side of the big pond!! We had a blast with them, we just hung out at our campsite and also walked through the park. There had been a bear sighting in the morning, but we didn’t see any.

And I don’t know how often I have sighed “whoa, what a view…” today…. 🙂
I want to live in BC some day!

Thursday September 2nd, Fintry – Westbank (Kelowna)

Another quality day with John and Diana! We drove from Fintry to Westbank and again had some stunning views over Okanagan Lake. We parked in front of their place, unfortunately not without problems though. While turning into the spot, we touched one of the jetskies on a trailer that was parked there and scraped the side of the RV. There was a bit of damage to the jetski and the cover, so we had to pay for that (esp the cover was expensive, total was over $300). We’ll just put some duct tape on our scrape and fill it with sealant back home.

Diana took us to Kelowna where we had breakfast at De Dutch, and to the Myra Canyon southeast of Kelowna, where you can find a part of the Kettle Valley Trail, an old railway track where you now can hike and bike. That was very impressive, the forest there had been burnt in 2003, but it was quite the view as you were very high on the mountain. Around 2 we had to be back in Kelowna as Diana had a job interview. Nico and I walked to the lake by the marina and the city park, we loved it! We also checked out the shopping area and at the end of the afternoon we went back to their place, where I’m updating this 🙂

Tomorrow we have a longer trip ahead of us, as we’re going to Nakusp. Not sure about our internet options there, so we might not update until in Kimberley 2 days later.

BC Trip – Clearwater & Wells Gray Provincial Park

Dutch Lake in the morning

» photo albums 2010/BRITISH COLUMBIA

Monday August 30th, Clearwater & Wells Gray Provincial Park

Helmcken Falls in Wells Gray provincial parkWe got up fairly early to drive into Wells Gray Provincial Park. To the Helmchen Falls is 45 km and we also went up to Clearwater Lake on the very good unpaved road (another 25 km). The park is known for lots of wildlife (lots of people see bears here), but of course we weren’t so lucky 🙁 We did have a great drive as the scenery is again amazing, and esp. the road to Clearwater Lake was so beautiful. We walked to a few viewpoints like the Dawson Falls and Bailey’s Chute, rapids where we saw a few salmons try to jump upstream (still a bit early for the yearly salmon run though)! Most spectacular was of course the high Helmcken Falls. At the lake we had a hot chocolate and the best cranberry streusel cake after an Austrian family recipe 🙂

Dutch LakeBack at the campground we had lots of time left to relax and enjoy the beloved view over Dutch Lake. We also had supper at the great restaurant there, The Painted Turtle. Not the cheapest, but sooo good! Very original and tasty food and we sat outside on their patio overlooking the lake.

Tomorrow we leave for Fintry (on the westside of Lake Okanagan between Vernon and Kelowna) for 2 nights without hookups. We have booked a site with some views on the lake, so I’m curious to see that! But first we will be visiting a few fellow Dutch immigrants, Chantal and Suus in Glenemma and Petra in Yankee Flats. Then the next day we will see our friends from our old hometown Heerlen again, John and Diana who now live in Westbank, so excited!!

BC Trip – Shuswap Lake, Clearwater

We’re at the Dutch Lake Resort & RV Park in Clearwater, time for the 2nd update!

Dutch Lake

» photo albums 2010/BRITISH COLUMBIA

Friday August 27th, Revelstoke – Herald Provincial Park

After making some sandwiches and coffee, we left lovely Revelstoke to go to Shuswap Lake (only 130 km). Although there’s a lot to see on that route, we didn’t stop in a lot of places. We drove through a beautiful, narrow valley past the huge Three Valley Gap resort with its bright red roofs, Griffin Lake, the Crazy Creek falls (had I known their suspension bridge could be seen from the road for a second, I would’ve taken a picture) and the Enchanted Forest. The weather was partly sunny in the beginning, but when we stopped at a colourful looking supermarket in Malakwa, rain showers had come in from over the mountain. All this time we’d been on the highway 1, the Trans Canada Highway, which at that point is just a fairly small 2 way lane (with some sections with passing lanes) where lots of (big) traffic is rushing through as if they were still on the huge 4 lane parts of the biggest highway of this country. Needless to say as a tourist you feel rushed having to speed past this gorgeous scenery and we were glad to have the opportunity to take a rural road (the Cambie Solsqua Rd) to Sicamous after Malakwa.

Shuswap LakeIn Sicamous we forgot about wanting to see Mara Lake (we should’ve followed the Vernon sign for that) and missed the turn to go downtown, so before we knew it we were on our way to Salmon Arm and decided to go on and take a break there. In the meantime we had some great views (even with the rain) on the spectacular Shuswap Lake for the first time! In Salmon Arm it was sooo busy downtown (looks like everybody wanted to go shopping in this weather) that we couldn’t find a parking spot until we went down to the pier. In the rain and cold wind coming from the lake, we walked onto the pier for a few pics. Such a beautiful place, but we couldn’t fully enjoy it that way (despite my raincoat, I had to change into dry and warm clothes right away after in the RV). Like Revelstoke, we need to come back in good weather 😉 We continued on the hasty 1 until the exit to Herald Provincial Park. That road was small, windy and absolutely stunning (and it was dry for the time being)! After passing many cabins and the resort town of Sunnybrae, we arrived at the provincial park and our site (11) not far from the entrance. We wanted to explore the rest of the park but were so hungry that I first made some spaghetti and then we got so tired that we layed down for a nap first… to wake up after dark! That was the end of it…

Saturday August 28th, Herald Provincial Park

trail to Margaret FallsIn the morning we were eager to explore the park, so we walked down to the beach (woooow, the view!), followed the beach to the other side of the campground (jumping over the Reinecker creek), then back to the trail along Margaret Fallsthe creek to the Margaret Falls. The forest is pretty dense by the creek and the campsites in that area are gorgeous (ours is more shrubs and less trees). Once you leave the park, the trail enters a canyon, but the elevation gain is still not much, so it’s really easy for pretty much everybody! After only 500m in total you get to the falls. We didn’t expect much as the creek is just small, but the falls were actually very pretty!

Back at the campsite we relaxed for a while and later in the afternoon we took some chairs and our books to the beach, as it was the Shuswap Lake we came here for! That was absolutely fantastic, we just sat there and didn’t read, but kept taking in the awesome scenery! It was only 16C or so, but the sun came out quite a bit, so it was great.

Sunday August 29th, Herald PP – Clearwater

When we woke up we found out the house battery of our RV was already empty, probably because we had the furnace on (even though it didn’t start up often). We should’ve used the generator more often in the hours you’re allowed to, to recharge not only our electronics, but also the house battery. The BC provincial parks are beautiful, but we missed a power hook up. No recharging without the noisy generator, no watching ‘The Big Bang Theory’ in the evenings! 🙁

near KamloopsWe left Herald early and had breakfast in Sorrento at Toby’s Coffee House, which turned out to be a great choice! We continued on the 1 to Kamloops and past Chase the landscape changed dramatically. The hills were bare and dry, more desert like. In Kamloops we took the 5 north and soon we got into a more forested landscape again. As the 5 is still a pretty busy highway, we decided to leave it for a bit and in Little Ford we took the 24 to Bridge Lake, drove around the lake and back to the 5 (after having an expensive cappuccino at a motel in a log house on Lac de Roches, but we had a very nice chat with the Italian lady there and the setting was beautiful). In Clearwater we found the Dutch Lake Resort & RV Park and Nico thinks it’s the prettiest he’s seen so far this trip, because of the view on the little lake! And they have wifi… so it’s time for this update! 🙂

BC Trip – Bassano AB, Lake Louise AB, Revelstoke BC

We’re in Revelstoke and have wifi… time for the first update!

Revelstoke

» photo albums 2010/BRITISH COLUMBIA

Tuesday August 24th, Regina SK – Bassano AB

My dad Harry’s 92nd birthday! I called him before going to work at 6am. Yes 6am… because we were leaving for our vacation after my shift! I unfortunately had to cut the shift a bit short because of a migraine, but I rested a bit at home and we could leave at around 1pm. After a late lunch break at Tim Hortons in Swift Current and for gas near Medicine Hat, we got as far as Bassano at dusk (about 620 km). We found a spot at the tiny self-registration campground in town and had some late supper at… Harry’s Place! I thought that was an appropriate ending of my dad’s birthday 🙂

Wednesday August 25th, Bassano AB – Lake Louise AB

foothillsAs much as we love the majestic sound of the horns of trains here in Canada, it does wake you up when we’re not used to having them close by. So we woke up at 5.30am and since they kept coming every 20 mins or so, we felt wide awake and decided to get an early start on today’s driving. It was beautiful to get out there in the early sunlight and it was only 10am when we arrived at Bragg Creek. We stopped at the mall for a break and ended up spending at least an hour and a half there… the vacation feeling had arrived!

Nico enjoying the Lake Louise campgroundIt had paid off to keep going until dusk the day before, because today we only had to drive 4 or so hrs to get to our first stop in the mountains, Lake Louise. So we took our time in Bragg Creek, and planned to take another break by Johnston Canyon on the Bow Valley Parkway passed Banff. The kitties were doing well, you could see some of them react a little scared when we entered the mountains, but they settled again soon. When we got to Johnston Canyon, it was so busy that we couldn’t park our RV at all (besides in the ditch with the risk of tipping over, ugh), so we just went on to the Lake Louise Campground where we arrived at 1pm (and again we didn’t see any wildlife on the Bow Valley Parkway BTW). We got site 128 at the end of the campground and had lots of time left for relaxing (lunch, nap, relaxing, walk, BBQ :)) It was hot too, around 25C!

Thursday August 26, Lake Louise AB – Revelstoke BC

Bighorn sheepAfter breakfast we left the campground at 10am, got gas in town and followed highway 1, through the beautiful Kicking Horse pass where we saw a few bighorn sheep, passed Golden and through Glacier National Park where we stopped at the Rogers Pass for a visit to the visitor centre. When we got to Revelstoke, we drove up the Meadows of the Sky Parkway up Mt. Revelstoke and got some breathtaking views over the town. But some thunderstorms were moving in and by the time we got to the upper parking lot, it had just started to rain and hail a bit. We decided to wait it out for a while, Nico took a nap and I got on my laptop for this report 🙂

RevelstokeAfter an hour we decided to head back to town, we had a good meal at the bar-restaurant The Village Idiot and when we got out it had cleared up! We walked around a bit and drove to the Lamplighter Campground on the other side of the river, it was much cuter than I had expected. I walked to the river for a few more pics at dusk and right now I’m using the wifi to update this 🙂

Tomorrow we drive to Herald Provincial Park at Shuswap Lake where we will be staying for 2 days. There’s a lot to see on the way there and the weather is supposed to clear up tomorrow.  After that we’ll go to Clearwater where we’ll have wifi again. See you then!

BC Here We Come!!

Just a few more days before we go to Beautiful British Columbia! We are VERY excited to see a bit more of this province and visit a few fellow immigrants 🙂 This route is already 3500 km without any trips or detours, but of course half of it will be getting to BC from Regina and back. We plan to update here as often as we can, we look forward to your comments! 😎

Our planned route:

date – to – km – hrs – day

8/24 Medicine Hat AB, 466 – 5.28, Tu
8/25 Lake Louise CG, 488 – 6.14, We
8/26 Revelstoke (Lamplighter CG), 231 – 3.09, Th
8/27 Shuswap Lake (Herald PP), 130 – 1.50, Fr
8/28 Shuswap Lake (Herald PP), Sa
8/29 Clearwater (Dutch Lake), 227 – 3.02, Su
8/30 Clearwater (Dutch Lake), Mo
8/31 Fintry PP, 261 – 3.41, Tu
9/1 Fintry PP, We
9/2 Westbank (Diana & John), 45 – 0.52, Th
9/3 Nakusp CG, 257 – 4.01, Fr
9/4 Nakusp CG, Sa
9/5 Kimberley (Riverside CG), 353 – 5.37, Su
9/6 Kimberley (Riverside CG), Mo (Labour Day)
9/7 Cypress Hills AB (Elkwater), 555 – 6.58, Tu
9/8 Regina SK, 471 – 5.28, We