This segment straddles a little of day 10 and 11 but marks the first time that I have visited Kalso, British Columbia. It will not be the last however as it is a beautiful place. Kalso is surrounded by mountains and situated on Kootenay Lake but far enough away from major centers so as not to be crowded with tourists. In this segment we ride the world’s longest free ferry, discover a hippy van and a Rolls Royce all in one day.
Kalso has a historical downtown street with plenty of specialty shops. Rather like smaller version of Banff but not overflowing with people. The smaller size makes it very walk-able as well.
Quite a few buildings are very unique looking.
The big hotel is a recent re-construction but tastefully done to fit in with the older buildings.
No hotel for us as we again tented it. A little bit of rain overnight but nothing too bad. We meet a couple in the campsite who had quit their jobs, sold their belongings and were touring British Columbia in a early 2000s era Chevrolet pickup truck (the tip of it just visible in the far left of the photo above). They had a topper on which had been converted into a sleeping area. They shared some of their adventures with us thus far – a trip of a lifetime no doubt.
To polish off the evening we had a pizza dinner out followed by a giant can of local craft beer each.
The cans were filled and topped onsite.
The map for day eleven.
The next morning I came across this fun looking Dune Buggy by the lake.
What a great way to haul your boat. That engine looked to be rather more powerful than a stock air cooled Volkswagen Beetle.
Kalso is also home to logger sports. Ax throwing, tree chopping, log toss, etc.
I would have loved to have seen this event in action. Another time perhaps. We knew that another ferry awaited us this morning and while we assumed that it left from Kaslo the soon realization hit us that it was actually about a half hour ride away. We did not have a moment to spare so we hurriedly packed up and took off. On the way I additionally realized I had not filled with fuel last night as was my ritual and was now running quite low on fuel. This area of the world is sparsely populated so I hoped that one side of the ferry or the other would have a gas station.
Luckily there was a gas station at the Balfour ferry loading dock along with a few other small businesses including Kool Bus interactive experience. Unfortunately by the time I had filled my tank we had only moments before loading onto the ferry so I have no idea what that interactive experience might be.
In the line up was this Advanced Design Chevrolet truck which had been hot rodded into a convertible with a matching trailer.
The ferry was a little larger than the last one we had been one. The Osprey 2000 was built in nearby Nelson, BC in the year 2000.
Luckily it also had food services on board as we had not yet had breakfast. Usually ordering breakfast on a ferry would result in some pretty mediocre food but it was actually very good.
Another day in BC, another Westfalia van.
This is actually the longest free ferry ride in the world takes approximately forty minutes from end to end. We were treated to some interesting cloud formations.
On the other side we made a minor quick detour to check out the Pilot Bay Lighthouse. There was a short hike through a forested area.
Unusually you can actually enter this one and go up to the top.
The reward for huffing up the stairs is a rather nice view of the lake.
Luckily for us there was no rain for us but this area must see a good amount of precipitation with lots of moss …
and some large mushrooms.
Even the road up to the lighthouse was rather scenic. The couple we had met previously that night gave us a hint about an orange beach nearby. As we checked out their description of it we found a sign explaining that the site was heavily polluted with lead from an old factory built in the early 1900s. That explains the color and I think we will give that a miss!
We then had a scenic ride along the edge of Kootney Lake with a few stops along the way. Kootney Lake is one of BC’s largest lakes and very long and narrow in shape with a length of 104 kms (65 miles).
We made time to stop at the Glass House which is constructed from half a million embalming bottles. The owner/builder was a funeral director and intended to make it into the family home but it proved too popular with passing tourists and was converted to a roadside attraction instead. Long time readers may recognize it from the very first Beater Challenge back in 2016.
We left behind the lake but learned this valley was once a lake which was drained (twice – the first time did not take) to expose fertile farm land.
The terrain changed again away from mountains to more hill like.
While filling with gas (again) in Creston, BC I spotted this nice AMC Javelin driving by.
We stopped for a photo at the 4000 km (2485 miles) mark as measured by the bigger Suzuki odometer. My bike had actually done a few more due his bike’s break down early in the trip.
As we hit Moyie Lake the clouds looked a little menacing.
Sure enough minutes later the rain started to fall.
Luckily the rain did not stick around for too long. We stopped to buy dinner supplies in Cranbrook and were treated to this Rolls Royce Silver Shadow in the Superstore parking lot.
The Rolls had an aftermarket steering wheel, Union Jack cup holders, well worn leather seats and a vintage cell phone.
We had planned on visiting the historical village at near by Fort Steele but it ended up being too late in the day.
For the last camping night of the trip we stayed on Lake Koocanusa at one the many campgrounds there. Lake Koocanusa was formed by damning Kootney river in 1975. It was a joint Canada/US project which lead to the name Koo from Kootney, can from Canada and usa from United States of America.
For our last dinner we bought pie plates, ribs beans and corn.
and cooked them over the fire.
A cigar each was enjoyed as we celebrated our last evening. The next day was the last stretch heading home and our last installment.
The full trip log: