Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Day 9: Canada/Alaska – more yellow chairs!

As the bus set off from Jasper in the morning, Sharon passed down some maple cookies. We all took one from the pack and passed them down. After we’d all eaten them, she chirpily said, “These aren’t the best cookies. These ones were on sale!”

We drove through the town of Cache Creek. This was named after a guy who was a prospector who was in the tavern and was boasting about the cache of gold that he had hidden in the creek.

That night he was murdered and nobody has ever found his gold.

Hat Creek Ranch was out first stop and is very set up for tourists. It was once a historic place but it now has a very much ‘milk ’em for all they’ve got ‘ kind of vibe. There was a miscommunication between Sharon and the operators of this place, because they obviously weren’t expecting any visitors when the bus rolled up. A woman hurriedly manned the gift shop, while the rest of us milled around, uncomfortably aware that the promised coffees weren’t going to be forthcoming.

I wasn’t happy. The one coffee of the day that I make each morning in the Aeropress has clearly sunk its teeth into me far deeper than I realised!

Of course, I had to go and have a look at the covered wagon that was right at the front of the property, being such a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. I was only there for about 3 minutes and then Sharon called out, “Quick, back to the bus! We’re stopping off for coffee!”

I thought yeah, I want a coffee so I have absolutely no problem with that!

I snapped a quick look at the inside of the wagon and honestly, imagining closing up your house and all your belongings, putting them in a wagon and just going…?

It would’ve been pretty hard.

Horstings Farm was the place we went to after the dude ranch place was a bust. It was fantastic. In fact, I think Sharon should ditch the dude ranch and take people to this place instead.

We were all queued up for coffee, then Mike, our bus driver, wandered over with half a dozen jam jars in his basket.
I always git my jams from here,” he said.

So much fresh produce. Look at this asparagus!

I’ve been trying to grow asparagus for the last 3 or 4 years but it hasn’t taken off. I think I have asparagus envy.

If I lived here, I’d be at this shop all the time.

A while later, we drove beside a river that looked like the Yarra.

An early explorer said it was” too thick to drink and too thin to plough!”

Lillooet is a little mining village where we stopped for lunch.

Sharon told the story about how 3 entrepreneurs thought they could make their fortunes by importing camels to work the trails, rather than horses or donkeys, because they could go much longer distances, survive longer without water and food, and carry more weight for the prospectors. They thought they’d be able to rent out their camels and make their fortune and expected to make about $60,000. That was their projection.

They didn’t realise that camels have soft feet and their soft padded feet were getting torn to shred on the rocks of the trails. Not only that, camels can be awfully ‘ornery’ and they said if they weren’t spitting at the prospectors or everyone else, then they were trying to rip the shirts from their backs.

So this business investment went belly up and the camels were set loose and, unlike Australia’s feral camels, they didn’t survive the harsh conditions. There was one lady camel that lived to about the age of 25 just as a curiosity in somebody’s yard but other than that the other ones just vanished and never reproduced and that was the end of Canada’s camels.

Years, later, when they were thinking of naming their new bridge that goes over the river into the town, they had a contest for someone to find a name for the bridge and the one that was chosen was the ‘Bridge of the 23 Camels.’

Margaret Murray was born in Kansas 1880. She was from a poor family, and she only received a third grade education.

When she and her sister were teenagers, they worked in a saddlery in Kansas City. They were shipping the saddles to Calgary where the Calgary stampede takes place. Both Margaret and her sister wanted to marry a cowboy so they would leave little notes with their contact Information in the packaging of the saddles to titillate the Cowboys who were purchasing them. This didn’t work so well, so they decided If they ever wanted to meet their cowboys, they had to move up to where they were.

They made their way up to Washington state where her sister met and married someone. 

Margaret continued on into Columbia and she was working her way until she made it to Calgary. That’s where she startedworking in the office of the local newspaper.

The owner was a very well-educated man called William Murray. After a year or so she decided to leave because she had to find her cowboy.

Even though she was really rough around the edges, when she gave her notice to leave, William Murray, the educated man, proposed to her. Soon after this,  they left to settle in Lillooet and run the newspaper there.

Margaret, (or ‘Ma Murphy’ as she was known by), in the early 1900’s was well known for her open door policy. At any time, if you wanted to talk to her about what was right or what was wrong with the government you could walk right in.

Margaret was very opinionated. She had her own column and she let fly with whatever she wanted to write about.

Her spelling was atrocious and she never tried to fix it. She also used expressions that were less than polite. Often, after she had given her opinion about whatever she was writing about, she’d finish with the phrase “And that’s for damshur!”

She was a colourful character in this area. Her husband decided to go into politics and become a member of Parliament and she was his strong advocate.

Her campaign slogan for her husband was “Just like underwear, you need to change politicians every once in a while.”

That was her slogan – he did get elected the first time but then they thought because of her roughness she wasn’t really set out to be a politician or member of Parliament’s wife. So he only had the one term as an MP.

She lived a full life in Lillooet, even getting the Order of Canada by the Prime Minister in her later years.

Here’s the frock she was wearing at the time. The local museum has a section devoted to her, which is where I found all of this.

Late in the afternoon, as we drove past Seton Lake, we heard that it has 8 trains in it, as they kept falling in over the edge. To be fair, it’s a glacial lake, so the sides were pretty steep.


Hooray! That was my side and I was sitting by the window.

We were so close!

I love the reflection in the water!

We were listening to Canadian music while we drove through all of this wonderful scenery. It was unexpectedly pleasant.

Naturally, my favourite singer of all time, k.d.lang, was there.

And then in the late afternoon, we arrived in Whistler. Tulips are planted everywhere. It’s delightful.

Our hotel has an ice room, where people get handed warm coats and they go in and drink vodka at -32C.

Apparently, vodka tastes smooth in these temperatures.

Am I a vodka drinker?


So we won’t be doing it. But it’s crazy to think that such a thing is right here in this hotel!

After we unpacked, Megan and I went out to look for dinner.

Whistler looks like a pretty little town.

We walked around both before and after dinner, getting our bearings.

The town seems to fold in on itself. It has a little park in the middle where these trees are.

Also a teepee.

And some smaller yellow chairs than yesterday.

Dad joke of the day:

1 Comment

  1. Helen Kuriata

    I’m disappointed you didn’t try the vodkas! Ciroc will never disappoint. Especially after what we drank in Korea!

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