Colorado is our home state, and it is one of the BEST places to see fall colors. Even though we both grew up in Colorado, and we've each seen 20+ Colorado falls already in our lives, this year we got extreme FOMO by having been away from Colorado the past three years during its prime fall season. In our three years of full timing, we've screwed up our fall plans 3/3 years. By this, ...
We crossed the border into Canada and headed into Vancouver, even though it was completely pouring the entire time. Since we had done a lot of hiking lately (during our week in Glacier), Blake had an extensive list of places he wanted to check out for dirt biking across BC. Unfortunately, since it rained for two weeks straight, we didn’t end up getting to go to even half of the list. When it was just drizzling, we made the attempt to head out on the dirtbikes, but a lot of the terrain is essentially rainforest and gets super slick, so we actually ended up hanging out inside our camper for 5 days straight waiting for the only clear days in the forecast. We got a half day of riding in Vancouver, in a super green and mossy rainforest. We got one clear day in Squamish and hiked the Chief, which we both thought was absolutely amazing and totally worth the 2000 ft vert grind. Then we found a Canadian Tire parking lot in Squamish to hang out during the rain that had a RV dump station and public wifi, so no reason to leave.
These are the times when full time RVing gets difficult. When it’s raining that much, most people would just stay inside their home. Our version of staying home means finding a parking lot to stay in, and maybe doing some work inside a coffee shop or library during the day. We start to feel stir crazy and guilty that we aren’t at least parked out in the forest somewhere, since a lot of our video editing doesn’t require internet, but why bother getting everything super muddy if it’s too rainy to recreate anyway? We’ve also realized that if we work on our computers in the camper for multiple days, our solar setup won’t last more than a couple days when it’s cloudy and rainy all week. (We don’t carry a generator). So after hanging out in the Canadian Tire parking lot for a couple days, we had to go find somewhere to plug in. We randomly found an outlet in a parking lot of a skate park in Pemberton, and spent a night there in the pouring rain.
The other issue we had in BC was that we thought we had a leak. While we were hanging out in the camper, we noticed a ton of moisture along the metal seam above where our heads would go in bed, and all around the skylight above the bed. Since we thought we had a leak, we decided to buy a hairdryer and sealant at the Walmart and try to put some more sealant along the seam on the roof on the outside of the camper. This was a huge hassle since it was raining continuously and we barely found an hour when it wasn’t raining in order to apply it and try to get it to dry. But we learned that our solar batteries can power a hairdryer for about an hour, so that’s cool! The whole night we were parked at that skate park and plugged in to power, Blake had us hairdrying the inside of the roof.
This was probably the first time we’d spent in pretty cold weather in the camper while running the heat at night. Since this happened in September, we’ve spent a lot more time in the cold weather (20s at night), and realized that the moisture collecting on the metal is actually just from our breath, because it has happened again when it’s not even raining. Our old camper wasn’t made of aluminum, and definitely wasn’t as insulated, so we realized a lot later that we probably never even had a leak. Now we’ve made sure to crack more of a vent in the camper when we run the heat at night, and wipe down the aluminum in the morning, and it hasn’t persisted to be an issue.
After a week of solid rain, there were a couple clearer days in the forecast. We got out in Pemberton for a couple small hikes, and we splurged on a sea plane tour in Whistler. This was absolutely amazing because the clouds were still really low, and the sea plane pilots are not cleared to go into the clouds, so they ended up flying really low above the surrounding mountains and lakes. We buzzed right past the Whistler and Blackcomb ski resorts, and into the Garibaldi Provincial Park, right above the glaciers. They start the tour by telling you the plane is 70 years old (refurbished, obviously). I admit I was pretty scared. I think I’ve only been in a plane that small (16 people) once before. Blake has no fear though. But being above the turquoise and emerald lakes was incredible and definitely worth it.
After Whistler we drove to an area called the Chilcotin mountain range, which seemed really remote, but I’m sure doesn’t even compare to a lot of places in BC. This mountain range is about two hours northwest of the nearest town of Lillooet. It took us down a winding road next to a beautiful aqua reservoir that was 30 miles long, so our entire drive was absolutely breathtaking. At the end is the tiny town of Gold Bridge. We went to check out the town and there was absolutely no one around. The tiny general store and hotel/restaurant were both closed, and there was zero cell service. Surprisingly, though, there is a high end resort/lodge in the forest that does heli-skiing tours there in the winter, and lots of people visit to mountain bike. And they had wifi, which we needed for a client call, so we had a really good meal at their restaurant while working. During our meal a black bear entered their lawn, and the staff was outside trying to scare it away, and this seemed like a typical event for the lodge. This was our second black bear sighting in Canada, because we saw one crossing the road in Whistler as well.
We camped right down the road from this lodge. BC has several free campgrounds referred to as “BC hydro rec sites” provided by the BC Hydro electric utility company in Canada. We found these in several places we visited, and were essentially free sites with fire pits and picnic tables that were really well maintained.
The weather didn’t completely improve for our couple days in the Chilcotins, but it did clear enough for us to get out on the dirt bikes for two days, and only had to find shelter in the trees a couple times from scattered showers. We even got a couple minutes with sun we were able to get some photos. The Chilcotin mountains go from dense forest to high alpine rocky red dirt. I love this type of terrain, it reminds me of Red Mountain Pass in the San Juan mountains. However, I was so irrationally terrified of running into grizzly bears, I was driving Blake crazy. We both dirt biked with our bear spray, and Blake consoled me that bears wouldn’t chase a loud dirt bike, and if we did run into one, we would just keep riding to escape it. He forgets that I’m not as good of a rider and most definitely would get eaten first!
After the Chilcotin’s we headed to Revelstoke, which Blake was really looking forward to. Revelstoke had about one day forecasted without rain, which happened to be my birthday. Since I wanted to hike in Revelstoke National Park for my birthday and not dirtbike, this is what we did. (For my defense, I was still a little traumatized from my knee injury in July from dirt biking). We were hoping that the rain forecast would be similar to what we had in the Chilcotins, and would just be scattered showers/drizzle, and would still be rideable. But some locals at one of the restaurants we went to pretty much told us that Revelstoke is a rainforest in the fall, and when it rains, it rains. We waited around for a day in the camper again. At this point it had been almost two weeks in Canada, and we figured that only 5 of those days had been nice enough to get to do anything. The entire next week was forecasted for rain in Revelstoke. At this point we got pretty fed up with the weather and decided to drive somewhere drier. So unfortunately Blake did not get to dirtbike in Revelstoke (sorry, Blake).
We drove south to Kelowna and Penticton. Kelowna is wine and orchard country so it was much drier, and there wasn’t even any rain in the forecast. Since I wasn’t really up for the long dirt bike rides that Blake had been imagining for BC, and he’d gotten screwed out of some of the riding he wanted to do due to the rain, Blake actually found a couple on Instagram that lived near Kelowna that were willing to take him riding and show him some of the local trails. It seems weird to say that we just met up with people in the woods that we found on IG, but they did actually have a mutual connection with a dirt bike group we know in California (WLF Enduro), so it wasn’t completely weird. They actually had 60 miles of single track right from their backdoor, so Blake was in absolute heaven getting to ride with them (and go faster than the granny gear that I normally ride in). Thanks Kristen and Al!
Kelowna was our last stop in BC, and we were just glad to let the camper dry out before heading back into Washington for more, guess what, rain.