Sunday, June 25, 2017

On the road--through Grand Forks, Creston, and Cranbrook

The past couple days we've been travelling through some really beautiful but isolated parts of the province. Most of the time there's no cell service at all, except when passing through towns and villages, which are not that close together. We've been going up and down over mountain passes and through lovely river valleys and along lakes. The Kootenay Rockies includes several mountain ranges: the Monashee, the Columbia, the Purcells, the Selkirks, and the Rockies, all running basically north and south. In between the ranges are lakes and broad valleys with gorgeous farmland.

Here is some of the country we've seen.

Both Grand Forks and Creston are agricultural areas quite close to the Canada-USA border. They have a population of around 5,000 people and a small downtown area.  Highway 3, the Crowsnest Highway runs through them both. We stayed at a bed and breakfast in Grand Forks, right downtown beside the old courthouse, now housing an art gallery and tourist information bureau. It seemed quiet but there were big trucks rolling through all night long.

That evening there in the Rotary Park across the street there was live music, country of course, and a farmers market the next morning. This is obviously the cultural centre of the town.  

Next morning we pushed on to Creston, another agricultural area, even more remote. Although it does have a movie theatre on the main street, seemingly catering to the teenaged audience. We met a young woman in a restaurant there who grew up in Victoria and has lived in Creston for four years with her husband and two young daughters. While she likes some things about the life she says the weather is difficult because it's too hot in the summer and there's too much fog in the winter. It also gets a lot of snow, as evidenced by sets of stairs around town that are covered by metal roofing to keep the snow from piling up.

This stairway led down to the field where the Creston Farmers Market was going on. We purchased our usual bag of cherries plus some dried cherries and dried Italian plums for the road.

Yesterday it was on to Cranbrook, the largest city in the area which features the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel with many restored CPR and other rail cars. Here are a few photos from that fascinating experience. Many of the cars had been modernized in the 1950s and 1960s and the amazing inlaid woodwork was painted over with light green paint. The restoration work is really fabulous. 

Can you imagine someone covering up this beautiful work with green paint? Here's a before and after photo of one of the cars. The one on the left was modernized and the one on the right is the other side of the same car after it's been restored.

We also saw an American railway car even older, from Spokane, built in 1907. Unlike the CPR cars, these were all made of wood and there are very few examples left.  I like the photos showing the really old parts of these before they've been restored.

Apparently a few of these rail cars were saved because they were purchased by families to use as summer cottages.

This last photo is a part that has been restored showing the inlay and the stained glass windows.

Today we're taking a rest day in Kimberley, a town where I lived as a young child. I'll tell you more about that tomorrow.


  1. It is a jaw droppingly beautiful landscape out there!

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