We have now come to the last leg of our adventurous journey. We have just three more places to visit and one more sleep at each place before returning to Sydney.
First stop was Trail. The distance from Lethbridge to Trail is 533 kilometres. We had an early breakfast at the hotel and left Lethbridge early knowing we had to cover a long distance before reaching Trail. There were a few things of interest on our way to Trail.
We were passing huge farms and saw many yellow coloured Canola fields on both sides of the road.
Yellow Canola fields
Then we passed an area where we could see many wind mills.
Hundreds of wind Mills
The next point of interest was the place where there was a huge rock slide. This is a small coal mining town called Frank. In 1903, a huge piece of Turtle Mountain broke and fell. It smashed into pieces as it fell and the boulders spread across the valley destroying houses and people. Seventy people died as a result of the slide. There was a coal mine underneath in the area. Nothing happened to the miners who were underground at that time. They managed to tunnel their way to the surface. This is supposed to be the worst human disaster in Canadian history. We stopped here and took some photos.
Turtle Mountain with the missing piece
Scattered boulders at the bottom of the mountain
We were driving along and when we reached Sparwood, we saw a board saying they have the Biggest Truck in the world on display. We made a brief stop at this place and saw the huge truck. It was really a giant of a truck. It was 66 feet long, 56 feet tall and when empty weighs 235 tonnes.
World’s biggest truck on display at Sparwood
We arrived at Trail around 4:00PM. We have booked the hotel Best Western for the night. Best western hotel is the only big hotel in Trail. It is a good hotel with clean big rooms, but they do not provide breakfast.
When we approached Trail, we saw a huge Metal factory on the banks of the Columbia River which flows through the city. The metal factory is an ugly sight ruining the appearance of the town. Unfortunately, it is bringing jobs to the city. Best Western Hotel is mainly patronised by the professionals who visit this metal factory.
For a change we had dinner in a Chinese restaurant called Ace of Taste. Once, we tried Chinese food in Alaska and decided not to try again. We thought we try this place again, because Trip Advisor had very good reviews on this hotel and rated it as the best restaurant in Trail. It was true, the food was really good and they served big portions.
We left Trail next morning and started driving towards our next destination Osoyoos.
Osoyoos is only 232 kilometres from Trail. But the road to Osoyoos is a winding road through mountains and we knew we had to drive slowly.
We saw a few deer while driving to Osoyoos. One deer that was on the side of the road did not run away when we stopped the vehicle. It waited looking at us and flapping its ears and after a few minutes moved closer to the vehicle. We had a feeling that it is used to humans. Malisha managed to take a few photos and also do a short video clip.
Deer looking at us flapping its ears as if it knew us
The drive to Osoyoos was very scenic. We saw a few more deer, not bears or moose. We were passing several small towns which become ski resorts in winter. The road is almost parallel to the US border and in several places, there were exits to enter USA.
Osoyoos is one if the most beautiful cities in Canada. It is in the Okanagan Valley which is famous for its fruits and wine and known as the wine capitol of Canada. When we approach Osoyoos from the mountains on the Crowsnest highway, we get a spectacular view of the city and the Osoyoos lake.
View of the Osoyoos lake and the city from Crowsnest highway
We arrived at Osoyoos earlier than we thought and checked into Holiday Inn Express hotel. Holiday Inn express is basically in the middle of the lake having good views of the lake from any room in the hotel. We have booked a luxury suite with two rooms and a kitchenette. This is a very old hotel and we found they are planning to celebrate their sixtieth anniversary in August. The hotel is maintained very well.
Part of the hotel and its private beach
There are many wineries in the area. We talked to the hotel staff about wineries and they recommended a good vinery called Silver Sage to visit for wine tasting. We visited this winery and ended up buying four bottles of wine. These wines are so good and literally have a sweet fruity taste. The wine you get in Australia always boasts about fruity flavours – but when we drink it we can’t usually taste these apparent fruits. But these wines you could actually taste all the fruity flavours it stated. They were delicious! The way they present the taste testing process is interesting. They integrate a lot of humour while they proceed to explain the ‘purpose’ of drinking that specific wine. It sounded slightly rehearsed but it was funny.
Security at the airport will not allow us to carry wine bottles in our hand luggage. We have to pack them well in our big bags. I was planning to buy our liquor from the duty free shop at the airport. Now I have to change my plans and check the allowed limit of bottles we can take with us.
We drove to Oliver from Osoyoos, another small town about fifteen kilometres from Osoyoos. The road is full of fruit stalls selling cherries, blueberries, peaches etc. Malisha and Mala were looking for something else. They wanted to buy a big home made blueberry pie. Strangely it was becoming more difficult than we thought. There were all these fruit stalls, but no fruit pies. We found one place and checked with the lady in charge. She normally makes them, but today she had no time to make them. She was very apologetic and told us of another place where we could buy one. We went to that place and found they have stopped making pies. The person who makes pies has left the place. They are looking to hire a person who can make pies. Then Mala remembered that she saw a name board advertising blueberry pies on our way to the winery. She could not remember the name of the place, but she can vaguely remember that it was next to a building with a red roof. We drove back along that road looking for a building with a red roof. She was right. We found the shop and they had one blueberry pie left.
Yes, finally we found a Blueberry Pie
I think it was worth the trouble. Blueberries are very cheap in this area, so they can afford to fill the whole pie with blue berries. It cost us only $12 for the whole pie. If you make that same pie in Australia, you would need ten punnets of fresh blueberries which will cost you about $50.
Osoyoos is one place where we would like to spend about a week and explore the whole area. Unfortunately we have come to the end of our trip and had to leave and travel to Vancouver.
We left Osoyoos and drove to Burnaby which is a suburb of Vancouver. The distance from Osoyoos to Burnaby is about 400 kilometres. We selected Burnaby, because it is very close to the airport and we can drive to the airport in a very short time and return the vehicle. We checked into Holiday Inn Express in Burnaby. We preferred to book Holiday Inn Express when we could. This hotel happened to be the best location for Mala and Malisha. They found that the second biggest shopping mall in Canada is in the same complex as this hotel. You can walk to the shopping mall Metropolis from the hotel. The hotel gave us three forms to be given to the customer service at the mall. As tourists coming from outside, we were entitled for three gift cards and free train tickets etc. We found this mall to be more upmarket and better than the Edmonton mall.
Initially when we booked the hotel on internet, I booked it for two days July 30 and 31. We have our flight at 11:30PM on July 31. We did not want to check out at the normal checking out time of 11:00AM. At the hotel reception, Mala explained our problem and the person at the reception was very helpful. He changed the booking to one and half days so that we can do a late checkout on July 31 and stay in the hotel till about 6:30PM. That gave the whole day to Mala and Malisha to do their last minute shopping.
We have many other details and photos to add to the blog. It will help future travellers who like to undertake a similar trip to Alaska. We will do this after our return to Sydney depending on the time available.
Sadly our adventure has come to an end. It is sad to leave Canada and Alaska. At the same time, we miss Australia and want to go back and eat some home made (and healthy) food. It is too long to be away. We are going to lose nearly one day due to time difference between Vancouver and Sydney. Sydney is 19 hours ahead of Vancouver and we arrive in Sydney around 8:30AM on August 2.
Visiting Alaska was a unique life time experience. We do not know whether we will be able to do it again. If we do, it will be in early May or Late August when snow starts falling.
It is time to finish this blog and make this our last written entry. After we arrive in Sydney I will upload our favourite photos as another blog post. We thank all our readers who had the patience to read our blog and we invite their comments and suggestions.