Deadman River Valley, B.C.

1 May

You’ve heard the saying – “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Deadman Falls is surely one of British Columbia’s most spectacular waterfalls, and yet the drive through Deadman River Valley rivals the falls themselves.

The Deadman River Valley drive is a must for anyone who wants to explore the Central Interior. At approximately sixty kilometres, allow for two hours driving time. Deadman-Vidette Road has two access points.  If you are leaving Savona in the direction of Cache Creek, keep an eye out for Deadman-Vidette Road on your right hand side. To access the second, my backroad map indicates that if you continue on, shortly before Cache Creek, take Back Valley Road. which becomes Deadman Cache Creek Road and finally merges with Deadman-Vidette Road. B.C. Guy and I were so impressed with the Savona entry point that we decided to return on the same section of road. As expert travelers, we use backroad maps to our advantage and, therefore, would never miss a turn-off or anything.

The road winds past the small community of Skeetchestn. Pavement turns to red dirt. Meander past ranches both thriving and forgotten. Rocks jut out from parched hillsides full of grazing cattle and horses. Don your best Texas accent as B.C. Guy did and drawl, “She sure is dry!”

Be sure to watch the painted hills for the geological anomaly known as Split Rocks. At  kilometre sign 55-16, the road gently curves upward. Pause at the crest and stare at the mountain. While you will drive closer, this is the best angle to view the three columns as the profile allows for the surrounding greenery to outline the rocks. Carry on, my friends. Carry on.

After a time, the scenery changes abruptly to thick forest. For most British Columbians, the dense forest is familiar territory and if you are visiting on a hot day, a welcome relief. The forest road narrows considerably. It passes by not one, but six lakes. Limited campsites are available. Vidette Lake is the final lake before a steep ascent. The road emerges on a plateau, with poplar a plenty.

Congratulations. You are even more amazing than you knew you were. Count yourself among the few who have reached the Center of the Universe. And you didn’t even know you were on the quest. In 1980, a monk arrived in the area only to announce that he had calculated the plateau as the exact location of the Center of the Universe. Buddhists arranged for the Dalai Lama to make an official visit, but the land owners were not keen to donate the land.

The grassy plateau once again gives way to denser forest. Once you pass a sign that reads “Singing Lands,” watch for an inconspicuous sign marking Deadman Falls. A minute or two on the walkway leads to an uncompromising canyon. Do not allow free-spirited dogs to run around unattended. If, however, you are traveling with far-sighted relatives of which you are not particularly fond… Depending on the time of year, you may be privy to the cone formation found at the bottom of plunging waterfalls in late winter and early spring, or wildflowers which are sure to bloom later.

That British Columbia is home to the Center of the Universe is not astounding. Whether you discover British Columbia through highways or backroads, just make sure you take the journey.

B.C. Girl Bite: For further backroad driving inspiration, read Liz Bryan’s Exploring the Interior: Country Roads of British Columbia. I also recommend selecting a backroad map book , found at many tourist information centers and gas stations.

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The Best in B.C. Guidebooks

1 Apr

Mother Nature is one tricky lady. She teased us with a late summer. And  Old Man Winter? He was unusually mild, yet he is reluctant to leave. He was like a tenant that was rarely at home, but he keeps coming back for his mail after moving out. Change your address, already!

The funky weather is hampering this B.C. Girl’s traveling plans. At least I’m getting plenty of exercise taking my winter jacket on and off.  When the weather is less than spectacular, take a beat to research your next adventure. Our province is a major traveling destination; therefore, you can expect to find a slew of guidebooks at your local library. In this edition, I’ve chosen to focus on B.C. guidebooks. Stay tuned for more writing on out of province travelling from a B.C. perspective.

The amount of guidebooks dedicated to our beautiful province is staggering. How does one go about picking the best travel books for ourselves when the subject is, well, subjective? When perusing a travel book, I read the section on my local area or an area in which I am familiar. Do the directions seem clear? If you can’t follow the directions, you probably won’t meet with much success in unfamiliar territory. Another question:  are the familiar sight-seeing activities worthy of a visit? It may be the case that the sights have lost the magic they once held, but if your writer is making a turn of the century tool shed sound like Stonehenge, you may have a problem.

Finally, if the book covers a specific area in which you have zero familiarity, I choose a section at random to read. I want to know how simple it is to follow the directions. Even my direction challenged self should be able to follow the information with ease. Think about how easy it will be to find pertinent information when needed. Do you really want to pull to the side of the road while your partner tries to glean directions from an essay style travel book?

Some writer’s get carried away in describing their own trip that they forget to help you plan yours. Let guidebooks be your sidekick! Your George Clooney to your Brad Pitt.  Or maybe you would prefer Damon and Affleck? How about Thelma and Louise! On second thought…

My Fav Five:

Camp Free in B.C. > Written by Kathy and Craig Coupland

Camp Free in B.C.
Written by Kathy and Craig Coupland

#1: Whether you are planning a trip or flying by the seat of your pants, this book is a straightforward reference in finding free or cheap campsites anywhere in B.C. If there is a free or cheap campsite, it’s in here.

The Long and Winding Road:
Discovering the Pleasures and Treasures of Highway 97
Written by Jim Couper

#2: An excellent guidebook to roadside stops on highway 97. It is to the point and offers stops that you may have otherwise been unaware. There’s a magnetic hill in Vernon? Huh.

British Columbia
Written by Lonely Planet

#3: This one covers the whole shebang. The Lonely Planet series covers the most well known stops around the province. In addition, it covers a smattering of accommodation in a wide price range. Take this book along if you are covering great distances in your travels.

Where the Locals Hike
Written by Kathy and Craig Copeland

#4: While technically this entry is two books, this series essentially offers the same thing. Great hikes. Great directions. Great advice. If you love hikes, short and long, check out Where the Locals Hike: In the West Kootenays and Where the Locals Hike: In the Canadian Rockies.

Exploring the Interior Country-Roads of British Columbia
Written by Liz Bryan

#5: This book breaks my rule for simple directions. The directions meander as much as the driver will on the stunning country roads featured in this guidebook. The writer purposely writes the book with her readers in mind, though. Liz Bryan wants to point out the nuances of country road driving. She will take you past old barns and herds of horses. This book is irresistible for those wanting to explore their own province at a leisurely pace.

Local Travel in Winter, Anywhere, B.C.

1 Mar

A couple of weeks ago, B.C. Guy and I set out to take some pictures of a nearby waterfall. I had been there too many times to keep count, but never in the winter. B.C. Guy drove on a snowy road not plowed as of late. We entered the trail, unconcerned and in anticipation of seeing the crystallized waterfall. The trail is perhaps 5 minutes long during the summer. After 5 minutes had passed on the snowy trail, we found ourselves back tracking. Everything was just so … different.  If you go on an excursion in the winter, bear in mind that the surroundings can change drastically. Once we found our way to the trail, we were climbing over trees and trail erosion where none had been earlier in the year.  The terrain was slick, too. Our time spent reaching the waterfall was more than tripled compared to other visits.

The reward, my fellow travellers, is a chance to rediscover local travel destinations. It sounded like my waterfall, for I could hear water running somewhere, but this was not the waterfall I had known.  Water, ice, and light, were caught in a striking interplay, a moment in time. The child in me wanted to break off the largest icicles and engage in a sword fight. I longed to gnaw on the end and listen to the satisfying clack an icicle of gargantuan size would make when thrown against a rock. Beautiful and dangerous, the crackling of ice served as a constant reminder that I should not venture too close. The base of the waterfall was a grave for fallen icicles from the great heights above.  At a distance, my camera was alight with photographic genius.

Late winter and early spring are perfect for visiting other local bodies of water, too.  Even once the snow is gone, all Canadians know that Mother Nature enjoys a good laugh by tossing a few random snow falls your way. Head out early after a fresh blanket of snow to a provincial campground. The end of the winter means less snow for you to trudge through, but your local campground will retain all of the glory a blanket of snow affords. A campground is rendered ghostly without campers and day trippers milling about, an episode of the History Channel’s Life After People.

The traveller is always on the hunt for ‘awestruck’ moments in other locales. This person longs for the glory days of spring, summer, and fall when weekends and holidays are filled with coolers, photographs, backpacks, and drives that just…won’t… end. Experiencing travel in your local area will come as a shock at first. But you’ll ease into it. At the very least, you’ll find yourself answering the question all travel enthusiasts crave: “Where did you take that picture?”

B.C. Girl Bites:

#1: Here is a tip for capturing all that glitters in photographs: while using flash in outdoor photographs is normally not recommended, if you are close to the falls, the light will enhance the appearance of the icicles.

  #2: Tony Greenfield’s Waterfalls of British Columbia is a useful guide to BC’s 100 best waterfalls. Consider picking up a copy or borrowing it from the library. The book was revelatory for this traveler.  Who knew that so many spectacular and unique falls existed in our own backyard?

Retro Fun in Kelowna, B.C.

1 Feb

One of them scoffed and said, “You’re wearing that?” He was referring to my purple and white hoodie. I walked into the loading area in preparation to face the would-be assailants. “No,” I said with a smirk. “I’m wearing this!”  I whipped off my hoodie to reveal an all-black cotton shirt. They stared at me, slack-jawed in fear.…  Okay, I didn’t actually say that. Sure, they were three kids under the age of ten and we were playing laser tag, but a girl can long for lip trembling in her awe-inspiring presence.

B.C. Guy and I spent a day in Kelowna, B.C. where we found ourselves having some retro-fun, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Call it Kelowna’s answer to the anti-date date. Or, have a laugh with your girlfriends with these retro-inspired activities.

Start off your day with a game of laser tag at Planet Lazer. Laser tag is the wuss’ answer to paint ball. If you have a large group, they recommend booking an appointment; however,  if you show up without a reservation, you will likely be able to play a round within approximately 20 minutes. What should you expect if this is your first time playing? First, you will be asked to create a name for yourself.  Be the Bringer of Death or, in a mad display of intellect, find a use for your Latin in naming yourself something like Mortes Bringus. I chose to forgo Latin in university… clearly. Then, you will meet the clerk in a dark room for further instructions. I’m not kidding this time. Seriously, it was dark in there. Strap on your laser gun while listening to the rules of play. Once inside the laser tag room, it’s every man for himself.  And by that, I mean find some little kids and gang up on them.  The playing area is dark save for the black lights that highlight sprayed paint, as well as every piece of lint and detergent on your clothing. Games last about seventeen minutes. Plenty of time to waste your opponents in an epic battle.  Each round is $8 a person.  Current hours are 11:00am – 9:00pm, 7 days a week. For a helpful map and contact information, follow this link: http://planetlazerkelowna.com/  In case you were wondering, B.C. Guy and I were victorious against the three children.

After laser tag, B.C. Guy and I drove to the downtown core of Kelowna for a bite to eat.  Drive West on Harvey (Highway 97), take a right onto Richter and then a left onto Bernard.  If you haven’t been to the downtown core, pull over for a stroll. Bernard is home to boutiques and long-time shops. About half-way down the street, you will see… wait for it… wait for it… The Grateful Fed. How excited was I to find out that, on our retro day of fun, there was a restaurant named the Grateful Fed? The geek in me was jumping for joy. The restaurant is decked out in rock n’ roll posters, concert tickets, and vinyl record covers. The menu, however, is a fresh take on classic food. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Tuesday – Saturday. Enjoy breakfast and lunch on Sundays and Mondays. The menu rotates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I had a falafel burger for lunch, but I got a real kick out of reading the dinner menu. Do you want to try a Salmon Roberts or a Brian Wilson? To find out what these eats are, you’ll have to visit The Grateful Fed.

Finally, drive on down to Scandia Golf and Games.  Scandia is on the north end of Kelowna. When you see the Grand Ten movie theatre on your right hand side, be prepared to pull into a left-hand turn lane when you see the Scandia sign loom into view. Scandia has been voted Best Place for Family Fun in the Okanagan year after year. If you have never been to Scandia, prepare for total sensory overdrive. There are essentially two kinds of arcade games to play. The first are the classic arcade games so ubiquitous in 80’s movies. In fact, if you are a long-time resident of the Okanagan, you may have found that your favourite arcade game disappeared from a hang-out only to spot it in Scandia years later. The second type of arcade games are called redemption games. They will garner you Scandia tickets that are redeemed for cheap prizes. My personal favourite is the new Deal or No Deal game. I was so stressed playing for tickets that I can hardly imagine what it would feel like playing for money. $10 will buy two people an hour’s worth of games.

When you have had your fill of bopping gophers and feeding Big Bertha, play a round of mini-golf. During the winter months, Scandia closes down the outdoor mini-golf course, but you can still play Jungle Golf in the basement. On the last hole, try your luck at the flushing toilet for a chance to win a free round of golf. Many have come, but few have conquered. $8 per person will buy you a round.

                Scandia’s current hours are as follows:

                         Monday-Thursday 10:00-11:00 pm

    Friday 10:00-12:00 am

       Saturday 9:30-12:00 am

      Sunday 10:00-11:00 pm

Beat down those winter blahs with good old-fashioned fun. A day spent playing games and dining in a great atmosphere relieves tension and cures the winter blahs. Take the kids, your date, or your girlfriends. Just don’t take your dog. I don’t think that arcade games will do anything for him.

Nelson, B.C.

1 Jan

Year after year, I find myself returning to the City of Nelson.  There is always something happening and people who make it happen. And the feel-good vibe is perhaps what sets this town apart most of all. There is … a specialness in the air, if you will.

Nelson has the reputation for being a hippy town.  Sit in any café or restaurant and eavesdrop on conversations about sustainability or acceptance. In Nelson, you won’t just listen to people who talk the talk. Here, people are willing to pay the extra dollar for locally made food and goods. Posters are hung on every block promoting do-good projects.  It’s also a good place to raise open-minded children or raise children to be open-minded. There are numerous alternatives to the public education system and creative extracurricular activities for all. Yogathon, anyone? Turn to 93.5 FM and have a listen to the Kootenay Co-op Radio station where they allow the residents of Nelson to host their own radio shows. That’s right. They let anyone host a radio show.

As Nelson has such a variety of accommodation to choose from, I am not going to recommend any one place in particular. From hotels to hostels, the I Love Nelson website features a list of accommodations to suit you needs: http://ilovenelson.com/community-directory/accommodations/#. If you have a day, or even a few hours, you’ll want to stroll Baker Street. This is the hub of Nelson.  I also recommend finding your accommodation on Baker Street. It tends to cost a few extra dollars, but you won’t have to start-up your car to take in most of the attractions. To get to Baker Street from the direction of Castlegar, or Ymir, find or stay on Highway 3A. When you come to a 4-way stop without a light, take a right onto Baker Street. There are also signs directing you to City Centre. If you are approaching from Kaslo, you will be travelling in the opposite direction on Highway 3A. After driving in the town of Nelson for a few minutes, you will eventually hit the 4-way stop. Are you with me? You’ll need to be mentally sharp for this part of the directions. Okay,  instead of turning right… you turn left. I recommend parking as soon as you can. It is trickier to find parking the further down the street you drive. Baker Street is a short street that was made for walking.

If you are starving or just perpetually looking for an excuse to eat, find The Sacred Ride on your left hand side. Now, if you want to find a sweet bicycle, go on inside. Otherwise, walk behind to the alley way. You will see a funky looking all-wood place that travels down the hill with a modest sign that reads, “The Preserved Seed.” Go on down the stairs mid-way to enter the restaurant. The Preserved Seed is run by a religious group known as The Twelve Tribes. As the newsletter on the tables says, all who work there live there. The women wear floor length dresses and the men are in full beard. Almost everything you see has been handmaid by the residents. The people are incredibly friendly and open. The food is some of the best in Nelson and grown locally. They are currently open from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm during the week. The Preserved Seed will be your official welcome to the City of Nelson, where just about anything goes (if you let it.)

Baker Street has shops to please almost every interest. I have been in almost every shop at least once.  I know my use of the word “walk” is a bit redundant, but Nelson was really meant for this long-lost form of transportation. At the end of the block and across the street on your left you will see Packrat Annie’s. Used books are packed into this quaint book store. Warning: do not enter unless you have a full stomach or you may find yourself lacking the strength to leave the used book smell, unable to escape for hours.

Continuing on, about three-quarters of the way down the next block, you will arrive at the Kootenay Bakery Café Cooperative. This is a great place for a snack. A bakery like this can only be found in the Kootenays. Egg, dairy, and yeast free, rye, oat-rice, kamut, and spelt breads are baked on a rotating schedule. While you are there, try the Oso Negro Coffee. Every café and restaurant sells this stuff because it’s roasted in Nelson. Across the street is the modestly named store Craft Connection. The largest and most diverse collection of crafts made by local artists are on display. Nelson is one of the few places in Canada where artists are able to supplement their income and in many cases, support themselves by their chosen crafts.  This a wonderful place to browse any time of year, but especially lovely when you are looking for gifts. I always buy cards at the very back that are prints of paintings by local artists.  Back on the other side of the street, enter the weird and wonderful world of Phat Angel. This store has some truly unique books and gifts for unique tastes. I have never left this store without finding a gift tailored to a friend’s special interest. On this trip, B.C. Guy and I hovered by the section on bathroom humour for a few minutes. We almost bought some Farts in a Can before deciding that this collection was too unrefined for our tastes. If you, too, wish to pretend that you have refined tastes, there are intriguing and cheeky books on anything from cocktails to retro humour.  Make sure you check out the hilarious magnets near the back. Next door to Phat Angel is Wait’s News. Open since 1935, this curiously long store is an institution in Nelson. Some people come here for the news and magazines, but I visit for the nerve-racking array of milkshake flavours forced on me each visit.

If you are lucky enough to have more than a few hours in Nelson, your visit will only get better. There are some choices available to you. B.C. Guy and I brought our skis so that I could finally check out Whitewater. Head back out on the highway as if you were driving to Salmo. After a few minutes, you will see a sign pointing you the way. Not that I’m one of those snooty people jetting off to ski resorts for the weekends, but I’ve seen a few and this one is special. There are no hotels or stores to block your view of the mountains. The resort appears to have carved its way in to the mountain. Without going all ski bum on you, the powder is sick. Did I sound natural using the word ‘sick?’ Or is this one of those things where if you have to ask…

If you spend a day at Whitewater, you would easily cover every run. Do stop at the one and only ski lodge for a bite to eat. The lodge is home to the Fresh Tracks Café. If the name sounds familiar, it’s because the owner of the resort is none other than Whitewater Cooks cookbook series author Shelley Adams.  Whitewater Cooks is a national bestselling gourmet cookbook series that has helped me impress the pants off of people who visit. Cook one of her meals and people may actually start to believe you really are a snooty socialite jetting off to St. Moritz for the weekend. Deep down, it’s always been an aspiration of mine.

Whether you are drawn to the water like a man is to Nachos or your kids are driving you over the edge, Lakeside Park is an excellent choice. Take highway 3A and wind your way through town until you see the superbly named Chahko Mika Mall. Park here and stroll along the water front. It is a lovely park setting that is complete with beach area for swimming in the summer. There is a playground towards the end. Events are often held here as well.

So, you have played out your day and are ready for the night experience. As I said before, Nelson is one happening little city. The Royal is probably your best bet to see live music. It has an event of some kind more often than not. The price varies per act and many are as free as you are. The website has a schedule that will let you take a look at each month at a glance. Click on the blue lettering for prices and a better idea of the times:  http://www.liveattheroyal.com/. I was kind of blown away the first time I went online to search Nelson events. The amount of websites with event calendars is what you would expect if Nelson were a large city. If you are looking for a schedule that covers the whole city, the I Love Nelson website is particularly helpful: http://ilovenelson.com/events-calendar/. I looked through several calendars until I found an event suited to me: The CN Holiday Train. Oh, yes! B.C. Guy and I drove to Lakeside Park and walked to the end where we waited with a few hundred people in the frigid air. When the decked out Holiday Train stopped, B.C. Guy and I couldn’t help but sway to the cheery Christmas songs being played on the train’s stage and the enthusiastic crowd providing back-up. Okay, I swayed to the music while B.C. Guy humoured me by holding my hand and making the appropriate comments.

Look out! We'll all be mowed over! Too bad the police standing next to the tracks didn't have my sense of humour.

I have been to Nelson in all four seasons. B.C. Girl doesn’t rest for the snowy roads. One of the great things about winter in the Kootenays is that the roads are plowed better than some major cities. I may save the epic drives for the summer, but when you live in B.C., a few hours’ drive could mean a little piece of paradise. As B.C. Guy and I drove away from the little city of Nelson, I tried to take it with me as long as I could. But those stupid majestic Kootenay Mountains drowned out the Kootenay Co-op Radio signal.

Grand Canyon

1 Dec

Why not kick off my blog off with the mother of all natural wonders? The sweeping vista of sweeping vistas. There are three major viewing points for the Grand Canyon. You will want to research the rims to find the one that is best for you. Here is a brief B.C. Girl overview: The South Rim is considered by many to offer the best views and more of them. It is much more travelled than the other rims and open year round. The West Rim doesn’t offer the best views from the rim, but it is famous for the controversial glass walkway. It also boasts a long hike into Havasu Canyon where you can see three world famous water falls. The North Rim gives you a greater impression of the width of the Grand Canyon rather than the depth. This region receives heavy snowfall in the late fall and remains inaccessible until mid spring. Be sure to check availability before you make a trip with the wife and kids. You don’t want to play out the scene where Clark Griswold finally reaches Wally World only to discover that it’s closed for seasonal maintenance.

After much debate with my partner, I chose to visit the South Rim. The South Rim is home to the Grand Canyon Village. Basic amenities can be found here. Due to the short notice I had to plan this trip, we did not stay within the village itself. There are few accommodations that are reasonably priced and these are booked months in advance. And remember that I’m cheap. I mean . . . thrifty. Plan to stay outside of the park if you want to save money.  I stayed in Williams and saved myself a substantial amount.

As a seasoned traveler, I always advise people to avoid the masses by arriving, well, before the masses. And this is no exception. At sunrise, you can have that awestruck moment that you have been dreaming of (by the way, I apologize to the many people who were filming the sunrise and now have my partner’s voice on their video camera’s exclaiming, “What a hole!”).  The canyon seems to be there for you and you alone. Okay, maybe you and a handful of other people. Later on in the day, there will be hundreds of people taking in the view. What is a handful of people, really? Research the current sunrise time and wait for the sun to seep in and highlight the canyon as it was meant to be seen. Oh, and bring a warm jacket as the Grand Canyon is rather brisk in the morning.

Next, head over to one of the two cafeterias for breakfast. You’ll probably forget the tricky names given to the cafeterias, but I’ll give them to you anyway: Maswik and Yavapai cafeterias. You’ll find one of the two in a matter of minutes due to the small size of the village. The prices aren’t as pricey as you would expect and the food is edible. Not extraordinarily healthy, but edible. And, hey, you’ve just seen the Grand Canyon.  You’re not in a picky mood.

If you are planning a descent into the canyon, you may want to go at this time if the day will be hot. The amount of trails out there will be overwhelming. If you are an experienced hiker, hiking the Grand Canyon will seem a little strange. I found it odd to be hiking down and having to remember that I needed to conserve energy for the hike back up the steep hill. The trail that I chose was called the Bright Angel Trail. A person can take this trail all the way down to the bottom and camp out overnight. As luck would have it, my partner and I were feeling under the weather and so we opted out of camping to the bottom. I enjoyed it immensely and recommend that you walk at least a little ways down for this unusual experience. It is a little icy in the late fall until early spring. Once you descend a half kilometre or so, the temperature dramatically rises. Keep this in mind. There is NO water at certain points during the year. Ask for information on this before you go, but pack plenty of water in any case. I descended for approximately two hours, knowing that the hike up would take longer.  If you are an occasional hiker, I suggest hiking to the Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse.

Where's B.C. Girl?

There is a campground at the bottom. If you would prefer to sleep indoors, the Phantom Ranch offers dormitories and cabins. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can hike down and pick a room on the spot. The Phantom Ranch is the only accommodation below the rim. Read about Phantom Ranch at www.grandcanyonlodges.com. You need a back country permit to stay overnight in the park. Warning: There are literally dozens of signs warning travelers not to attempt to hike down to the bottom and back. These postings show pictures of an attractive man that appears to be in peak physical condition. Apparently, well over 200 people are rescued from the canyon each year.  Just don’t do it.

  

In addition to hiking, I took one of the busses that travel along the rim. Only busses are allowed to traverse the winding rim to minimize traffic. It is worth mentioning that there is a rest area near the end of the bus ride. It was designed by architect Mary Colter in 1914. A female architect from this time period would have to be quite exceptional. My partner was especially impressed by her unusual design. You can also view her Watchtower at the end of Desert View Drive.

If you hate the idea of taking a bus along this natural wonder (or you despise taking a bus), have heart. You can drive a section of the Grand Canyon if you drive along the road known as Desert View Rd.  It is somewhat less spectacular than the section traveled by bus; however, this road is surprisingly quiet. Most travelers are on day trips from California or Las Vegas and are not going to be travelling east on Desert View Drive.  The road allows you to see the canyon as it slowly but surely narrows until it is a plane. I can only imagine how astounding the discovery of the Grand Canyon would have been for the first people to wander accross the desert. Who knows if aboriginals and early explorers were daunted or as awestruck as I was in my first glimpse of the abyss before me?

B.C. Girl Bite:

Hoover Dam is approximately a half hour outside of Las Vegas and four hours from the Grand Canyon. The Hoover Dam was impressive for one half of my travelling party. My partner was like a kid in a candy shop.  He explained to me how the dam works. I promptly forgot and will, therefore, not be telling you about that. It does have a notorious history that is interesting for anyone and is truly worth marvelling at. Built during the depression era, over a hundred people were killed during the construction for various reasons. The temperature soared as high as 119 degrees. Let’s just say, being from the cool climate of B.C. and having sensitive vampire eyes, I would not have done well as a labourer. The history is worth knowing about; however, the dam itself is only going to be a wonder for those interested in machines and industrial architecture. B.C. Guy was in his glory. I could see his excitement growing with the mere thought that we were standing on so much power. After a couple of minutes, I was checking my watch. Stop and take a picture with the hordes of other people and then drive on, unless you have a machine junkie in your midst. You might just have to grab an ice tea and sit in the shade. At least you will get your $7.00 parking fee’s worth. Or, like us, you could park and then realize that if you drove across the dam about a quarter mile, there is free parking. Better to learn from others’ mistakes than your own I always say.