Our North American Trip - August and September 2006.
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Rotary Friendship Exchange Visit to Canada and USA:   First Week,  2 Sep – 8 Sep 06
Invermere - St Maries

(This will be updated as and when the opportunity presents itself, and we’ll add photos when time permits.  It could be a bit disorganised at times!!)

Saturday, 2 September. 06
Another beautiful fine sunny day.  Today we leave Banff and drive to our first Rotary Exchange hosts in Invermere.

We drove up through the Yoho National Park area and were able to view a train going through the Upper Spiral tunnel – the train goes into the first tunnel and when it comes out the other end of it, it curls around and goes over the top of the rest of the train then curls around to travel back down the track again – we got a photo of the complete train doing the complete loop so that was very satisfying and a great view to be seen – never ever seen anything like that before.

We then drove up to view the Takakkaw Falls – the highest we have seen on this trip – they would be a great when the ice melt starts at the end of winter.  Stopped at Field at the Truffle Pigs Café – fab food and service for a little café in such a small country town.

Onto view the Emerald Lake – really nice but not quite as spectacular as others we have seen in this area, then drove for the next 1.5hrs down to Radium Hot Springs where we met the Shaws and the Dearsley’s – they arrived just 2 minutes after we did, which was quite amazing.

Drove to Invermere information Centre where we met the host Rotarians for the next 2 days.  We being hosted by Rosemary and Mike – delightful couple who live on the peninsula of Lake Winderemere – lovely lake surrounding the Invermere town – truly beautiful area – it’s the closest lake to the local national park that can be used for recreational purposes, so lots of people come here to holiday - this weekend being a long one.

We were driven to our hosts place, Rosemary and Mike Bradford – absolutely lovely couple and really nice roomy home.  They live on the peninsula of Lake Winderemere (lake surrounding Invermere) - it was a very pretty area.  It’s the closest lake to a large National Park area that can be used for recreational purposes, so lots of people go there to holiday - this weekend being a long one.

Lots of other Invermere Rotary members and partners and two UK Rotary couples came to Rosemary and Mike’s place for a pot luck dinner – yummy salmon, venison sausages, ham and various salads.  It was great catching up with all the other local Canadians – as always they are so friendly.


Sunday, 3 September
Another beautiful fine sunny day – high 20’s degrees C. 

First thing this morning Graham and 5 other people (4 NZ with Norma and Crisanna from Invermere Rotary) did some kayaking on the local lake and river (Randal, Jenny & Jim went too – Shirley and Annette had a quiet morning catching up on other chores at their various homes.

A group of us (NZ & Invermere Rotary people) went to the Lakeside Pub to have lunch together on the terrace under many umbrellas, as it was really hot.

Early afternoon Mike took all the NZ Rotary exchange people (6 of us) for a wild animal expedition – initially we went up to the Panorama Ski field to have a look – had a short ride on a triple connected gondola up to where lots of children were playing on activity equipment – even a child’s climbing wall.  We then drove up further to the end of the road (approx another 30 mins) – a little slow going as the road was quite rough in parts.  We eventually walked for 30 mins up a narrow track to an old hut that was originally built around 100 yrs ago for Earl Grey.

On the way back we called into where Mike is wanting to take his caravan up to at the end of this week so he can do some wild animal hunting with another friend, but found that there were three caravans already parked at his spot – on driving closer to the area he recognised it was someone he knew, so stopped and had a chat.  They had just picked some Huckleberries and were very happy for us to try them.  We saw some Whitetail deer, then a brown beer walking across the road – a rather healthy specimen – heaps of excitement as we approached. 

Got back home around 7pm, sat down and relaxed with some nibbles and champagne and Holly the cat also joined us on a chair nearby – she was a Persian cat that had just been shaved, so looked a little odd.

Had a lovely dinner with Rosemary and Mike then sat down and talked with them.  They are starting to plan a trip out to New Zealand early next year to get away from some of the cold winter months here, so we look forward to having them stay with us, if they come to Wellington.

Most homes in the same location as Mike and Rosemary are owned by professionals who live in Calgary – evidently Calgary is quite a rich city as it has many oil mining offices located there. 



Monday, 4 September
Another beautiful fine sunny day – slight haze due to forest fires down in the Washington State areas. 

After breakfast (bacon and eggs and fruit, tea, coffee etc) Mike showed us display of trophies of animals he has shot while hunting – Black beer, Cougar, Elk, Moose, etc.

We collected the Dearsley’s and drove up to Norma and Buzz’s place to collect the Shaw’s, then left Invermere for Kimberley around 10am.  Norma kindly gave us a number of writing cards with different Rocky Mountain scenes on them.

On the way we stopped to view the Hoodoo’s – rock and sand shapes formed by water flow down the high banks.

Called into the Fort Steel Heritage town based around 1860 - this was a fort for the northwest mounted police to control the influx of gold miners who were starting to have confrontations with the local Indians – we walked around the town looking at all the different exhibits.  We watched how they made ice cream in the 1800’s, watched a blacksmith making a shape on the end of a metal rod, talked with a leather maker about the type of leather he uses then had lunch at the Continental Hotel. 

We arrived at our next Rotary exchange destination at Ta Ta Creek (June and Scott Owen’s place) near Kimberley, at 3pm.  Many other Kimberley Rotarians arrived soon afterward, including the other two hosts for us and Dearsleys – it was really hot to the extent of being very uncomfortable – mid 30 deg C.  After dinner we followed our hosts home to Kimberley - Dale and Betty Ann Stringer + Kelly the dog.


Tuesday, 5 September
Another beautiful fine sunny day, with lots of smog around the mountains due to the forest fires south of the Okanagan area – the sun was bright red so we took a photo of it.  Temp got up to mid 30’s deg C.

After having porridge and fruit for breakfast we met up with the other NZ Rotary couples and their respective hosts at a children’s playground that Kimberly Rotary were involved in building, then drove to Marysville Falls to view the walkway the local Rotary Club built (it nicely hides the town sewer pipe).  Then drove through the Happy Hans campground to walk on the John Swift Loop Walk – the campground was well laid out with plenty of room mostly with a large tree close by for shade, a picnic table, power & sewage connections.  Unfortunately the walk had a large slip covering it so we could only walk a short way on it.  Had lunch at the Kimberly golf course – all the food and salads were very fresh and very pleasant.

After lunch we went to the local newspaper to have our photos taken for a news article in next week’s issue – hosts will post one to us.  We then walked through the local Platzl and saw the Happy Hans Cuckoo clock, visited the local Museum (obtained a new battery for Annette’s watch as it stopped last night).  Our hosts drove us through a new subdivision to look at the housing that are currently being built, walked through the Cominco Gardens then were driven around the Mountain Alpine Ski Resort to see all the current building being done near by to the town.  The ski field is only 5 mins away from the township of Kimberly and just around the corner from where our hosts live.  Evidently the family are all good skiers – now wonder with having such great facilities so close by.

Had a lovely evening meal with our hosts and had a good talk to them about NZ before heading for bed.


Wednesday, 6th September
Another fine hot sunny day – still lots of smoke smog around the mountains due to the forest fires south of the Okanagan area.  Temp got up to 31 deg C.

Had breakfast, did some washing and had a relaxing morning talking with our hosts – Graham and Dale went for a walk to view the old mine entrance and power station in Kimberley.  Talked to Betty Ann about her lavender plants and how to cut them back and also plant cuttings.

Quickly packed up and drove to the Kimberley Rotary club to attend their lunch meeting at 12 noon.  At the meeting each of the four NZ Rotarians spoke briefly about New Zealand and presented them with a banner from Plimmerton Rotary Club.  After the meeting we said good bye to our hosts and drove south to Sandpoint (in the USA), passing through the USA boarder control on the way.  Graham and I were first through so we did most of the responding to the questioning as the other two couples followed and were quite quickly through behind us.

We started to notice we had changed countries as the side of the roads in the USA didn’t appear so tidy, there were more advertising signs on the road sides, many old clapped out vehicles around houses / sheds and older vehicles on the road.

We arrived in Sandpoint around 3.45pm – met up with our hosts and Angela Potts (who we hosted in Wellington last Feb), we then parted to our various hosts homes. 

Our host was Ivan Rimar – he runs his own construction building firm employing around 17 staff.

The two other hosts at Sandpoint were:  Dick and Elise Creed (Dearsleys) / Tamara & Steve  (Shaws).


Thursday, 7 September
Another fine hot sunny day – still lots of smoke smog around the mountains due to the forest fires south of the Okanagan area.  Temp again low 30 deg C.

After breakfast we met up with another Sandpoint Rotary person (Allan) who drove us up to the Mt Schweitzer ski field – some of us walked along a few of the trails, while two others mountain biked and some of the women went searching for  Huckleberries.

We met up with our hosts and other local Rotarians at the Pend d’Oreille winery for a BBQ lunch (sausage in a bun, watermelon and crisps followed by some chocolate brownie), then Danielle took us on a winery tour, which was very interesting and very well done.

After the winery tour we returned to our hosts home to get what we needed for on the boat trip out to Doug and Angela’s island on the Pend Oreille Lake.  We met the others at the boat marina, then travelled down the lake toward the island in two boats.  Five of us were with Ivan (he was out in NZ on the Rotary exchange last Feb) in his boat and on the way we did some fishing – unfortunately unsuccessful.

We all arrived at the island soon after 5pm, and to the amazement to most of us Angela and Doug had already set up heaps of picnic chairs in a circle, plenty of wine and ice cold water available and the salads were already prepared and in bins of  ice, the meat was marinated ready for cooking on the BBQ.  Angela gave us all a tour of the island explaining how / when certain things occurred and showed us the old house boat that had been washed up on the island around 1984, and almost all it is still there.  Some people had a swim, then Doug cooked the steak on the BBQ.  Angela had also made a Huckle Berry pie and some chocolate brownies (the pie was delicious – we could get very used to these lovely berries) - it’s not often Annette really enjoys a dessert.

After dinner we all went down to edge of the lake to watch the sunset, and what a beauty it was, a few had a swim, then lit a camp fire to heated up some marshmallows.  Around 9pm we started to get into our boats to leave the island and soon realised that Ivan could not start the engine of the boat Graham and I were in, so start to motor back to Sandpoint on the reserve outboard motor – a fraction of the speed of the normal inboard motor.  The other boat kept close by for some time but eventually left to return home as they were using a lot of fuel while hanging around.  Eventually after much soul searching by the three guys on board our boat and having travelled about ½ hr on the reserve outboard motor, they eventually got the inboard motor stern drive going.  It appears that it may have got a stick or something similar lodged in under the propeller area which had prevented the motor from starting.  What relief for all of us – we got back to Ivan’s marina berth at Sandpoint around 11pm.

We finally got to bed around midnight.  Pend Oreille Lake is huge – approx 60 miles in length, so glad we did get the in board motor going , otherwise it would have taken some considerable time to get back to Sandpoint running on the reserve outboard motor.  A day full of adventures.


Friday, 8 September
Another fine hot sunny day – thank goodness for air conditioning in cars.  Still lots of smoke smog around the mountains.  Temp got up to 31 deg C.

A slightly slower start today after our late night last night.  Had breakfast, packed our bags then met down at the wharf around 10am to go kayaking – unfortunately no Kayaks available so Steve (one of the other hosts) took his canoe down for paddling up and down Sand Creek.  Those who went canoeing had a great time, but needed to be considerably more careful as they are not nearly as stable as kayaks. 

Initially while the guys were in the canoe the rest of us had a coffee at Starbucks and sat on the deck overlooking the river.

As we were walking back to the wharf we came across many ancient “Buick” cars that were obviously out on a rally of some kind – it was interesting to see them as they were all so old.  We had a walk around the lake front, then had lunch together at The Beach Hutt with two of the Sandpoint Rotarian hosts.

At 1.30pm we started to drive toward St Maries (Idaho) – our next destination.  St Maries is at the bottom of the Pend Oreille Lake / Sandpoint is at the top – where we had just previously been.  We arrived at St Maries soon after 3.30pm – drove into the local IGA car park and soon spotted someone with a NZ flag on top of their car so knew that person must be waiting to meet us, sure enough we were correct.  Our hosts at St Maries are Joe and Joan Renaldo (retired Veterinarian) who live 20 mins out of St Maries very close to Plummer.  After arriving and unpacking we had quite a chat with them, then had a look inside their RV – what an amazing house on wheels, also showed us how parts of the vehicle slide outward to give them moore room inside – really amazing holiday homes.  We also walked down to their vegetable garden to have a look at it – they had tomatoes, asparagus, beetroot, strawberries, zucchinis etc.  Had crab cakes for dinner – very nice.

The two other hosts at St Maries were:  Archie and Lorraine McGregor (Shaws) / Andy & Linda Domain (Dearsleys)


Click here for Week Two of the Rotary Friendship Exchange.  St Maries to Kennewick - Sept 9 - 15