Despite the rather extensive planning that has gone into this 9-month trip, anchored by making our Inside Passage ferry reservations last Fall, I felt a bit blindsided as we traveled British Columbia’s beautiful Sea to Sky Highway.
Atop our desired route, I have overlaid arrangements for three “house guests”—our two children and Dave’s brother—each of whom will individually join us for a couple weeks. I intersected with Terry & Sue, our Habitat friends and Airstream-ers who began a parallel journey with us in Tucson last January, so that we can spend several segments together even as they pursue their own interests the rest of the time. I’ve inserted numerous dinners with friends in cities we’ve passed through. And, of course, I continually network with artists along the route, which creates wonderful opportunities, but also requires a fair amount of diligence. Whew! It’s fortunate that I enjoy planning!
Here’s another confession—although we typically rely on our GPS, I love maps and travel books. I’m that lady who walks out of every visitor center with a stack of pamphlets describing “everything you can do in this area”, and I reserve my special spot right by the RV door to keep the current batch handy. I have the Lonely Planet book BC & the Canadian Rockies, the great Alaska Mile Post, two camping association books, and one on roads to avoid in trucks & RVs (that we should have believed instead of trying to drive California’s Route 1 North of San Francisco!). When Dave is driving, I always have at least one map on my lap.
Yet, in all of my research and reading, I never internalized that BC’s lovely provincial parks don’t open before May 16th. When I called the the BC Parks department while standing in front of the closed gate to the campground at Nairn Falls, I was told, “None of the parks open before the long weekend, dear. Even though it’s been warm and so many people want to camp, we’re just not ready yet.” The long weekend she mentioned is Victoria Day—on May 18th this year.
The 48-page Go Camping BC 2013 BC Provincial Parks Visitors Guide pamphlet only talks about reservations being open from the middle of March, but never mentions any season opening dates. Even looking back to the BC Parks website, I only find some confusing statements on the individual pages for each of the parks about “may not offer full services such as water, security, etc.” I am sorry I misinterpreted these clues, because I sure didn’t expect them to be totally inaccessible.
So, I was a bit disappointed to drive the spectacular Route 99 from Pemberton to Clinton—which seemed to have a park to explore/paint around ever turn—only to find “Closed” pasted across each entrance sign. Our rig with a car in-tow is a bit big to pull over in most small turnouts, so when there was a breathtaking view Dave would drive really slowly (which we must do anyway on fun switchback roads with 15% grades) while I leaned out the window taking photos. Yes, we enjoyed a lovely day, but I felt a bit robbed of plein air painting opportunities.
OK. Thanks for listening. I’m done venting now, and I guess I’ll consider doing a studio piece based on this photo of another gorgeous BC lake.