Friday, August 05, 2005

Crowsnest Pass I

Now in Pincher Creek, AB - picnic lunch under shady tree after shopping at Sobey's.
Rode from Princeton, BC to Cranbrook, BC in one day through the mountains - 337 miles in one day. From the wooded hills to the high desert at Osoyoos and on to Cranbrook, home to the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel. Set our watches forward one-hour to mountain time.
Arrived at Cranbrook about 17:00 - nightstop at Mount Baker RV Park, $19.26, at 1501-1st Street South. A shady spot by a creek, a bit noisy but handy for town. Walked to the museum to check out opening times and supper at Heidi's Restaurant and Gallery, 821C Baker St. A contender for best restaurant on the tour.
Likewise the breakfast at Swing Street Coffee House, double egg and sliced tomatoes, and a welcome change from mountains of fried spuds. A yellow fifties Cadillac is parked outside and the good old boys want to know all about the smart - "we'll pop a nickel in the meter for you if we need to!"
We make the rail museum in time for the first tour of the day - I'm particularly taken with the coaches from the "Soo-Spokane" train that was running through the Crowsnest Pass when Constable Willmett was stationed at Frank.
On to Fort Steele, with many old buildings from frontier days, some in situ and others relocated. Some useful tips for my researches into the Royal North West Mounted Police.
To Sparwood and the Elk Valley Cemetery in New Michel, where the murderer of Constable Willmett is buried - after much searching we find the grave. I make a promise to myself not to blaspheme. We find out more about his family at the local library.
On through the Pass to Fernie, a town much cheered by the tourist business, now contributing 50% to the local economy. A stop at the small museum yields useful background on the Trites-Wood Company which figures in the story of Constable Willmett.
The real high Rockies are now in view with jagged peaks high above the tree-line. To Blairmore for a nightstop at a motel which is very quiet after a couple of noisy nights.

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