The house is a typical house in American / Canadian style. The owners name is Angie, a nice woman. She works as a roofer, a few hundred kilometers further south and during her work, she lives in a trailer. The house – which has been empty for a while – is quite overdue in maintenance but that doesn’t stop our enthusiasm to start with cleaning and organizing, our temporary home. The house is next to the largest supermarket in the village and across the street is a coffee house where our boys regularly go to get a coffee for mom and dad and a croissant for themselves.
The house is quite large and is divided in such a way that the option exists to rent out upstairs as a suite, one of the reasons why we have decided to rent this – quite pricy – house. We offer the suite online at a website called Airbnb, which we have used for ourselves to find accommodations quite often. We immediately went to work, diligently scrubbing, cleaning and making beds – make sure everything is ready for arrival. At first glance it seemed quite successful, we immediately got some bookings. We even moved some stuff up by ropes through the window upstairs,into the suite.
Eventually most bookings cancelled. Due to the low number of bookings for the ‘suite’, the rental price is high and we realize that we need to be creative to survive as long as possible with our money.
A small job two blocks away
After two days we come in touch with the ‘caregivers’ of the rental house, Tyler and Andy, very nice people. Tyler provides Mike immediately with a job, which we say yes to obviously. It is a small job, painting and refurbishing a house in the neighbourhood. Making the house ready to be for sale on the market. A job that we can partially do together. We even get the chance to construct a staircase to the main entrance which we did together as a team. At the same time we get the opportunity to meet the owners of the house, John and Kathy. Very friendly people, their permanent residence is Toronto. John has worked for years in a bookstore. The house was from Kathy’s brother, who unfortunately passed away last year due to a fall from a high cliff nearby.
Connect with the locals
Because we can get started right away, we immediately get the opportunity to meet people from the local hardware store in Silverton and we have a look what they have to offer and what the prices are of course. It appears to be a kind of mom and dad (dutch) “Gamma”. The inventory is reasonable for a village shop but the prices are high and it is not like you have much choice. The Home Hardware in New Denver is closed and the Home Hardware in Winlaw is for sale, but is also closed. So it’s Silverton (15 minute drive) or Nakusp (50 km north).
Mike is invited in the same week by Tyler to go mountain biking in the morning. They go along with the village doctor to do a tour; Down ButterTrail in Rosebery. We got to know Rob; the local Bike Mechanic. We do day trips to Slocan City, Nelson and Nakusp.
It happens to be that we see a familiar face in Slocan; Sam (I am). Sam we met last year during our holiday and when we were back in the Netherlands we kept in touch. Sam (a loner of about 50) travels with his bike and tent through the valley. During the ride, I was wondering were he should be and I had a feeling that we had do drive into Slocan and it turned out that Sam was there.
Trips in this beautiful area
We went to Paddock Point, a beautiful mini beach on the lake with a great view. There were a few other people, a family arrived with a canoe and a girl aged about 30 with a cat on a leash. In the parking lot we see another familiair face; Anthony. He lives in the Okanagan and every Friday he drives his van to the valley and sells fresh fruit in Silverton and on Saturday in Kaslo. Than he goes back to the Okanagan to return to the Kootenays the next week. We have a wonderful conversation about synchronicities and the turbulent, but beautiful time which we live in. It’s amazing how many of these types of discussions we have had here, while in the Netherlands we were “hopeless” looking for people to have a decent chat with about something else than “the weather” or “yesterday’s TV show” (without being called crazy – not that it matter’s to us what other people think – it’s nice to be among like minded people).
Several times we go to the ghost town Sandon, 13 kilometers from New Denver, where the road to Idaho peak begins. A narrow “gravel road” leads you almost to the top in about 45 minutes. We went up three times, but only one time reached the parking lot to start the hike to the top. Two times there was still snow on the road and the time we reached the top, we drove behind two men in a small pickup who cleaned the road from fallen trees and snow. From the parking lot the hike takes about an hour. From here you have a 360 degree, beautiful view on 2282 meters elevation. During the hike you see beautiful wildflowers. Although we didn’t had any luck with the weather ,the hike was definitely worth the views, we enjoyed all of nature (read: peak after peak) around us.
We meet a lot of people at the Friday Market on main street. A market that takes place every summer on Friday’s between 10 am and 2 pm, only home made products are permitted. We meet a lot of people: like Lee and Teresa, Trevor, Barry and Donna. There are even Durch people there!
We meet Dan and Jan, owners of the local newspaper: The Valley Voice. In a typical way, like always in New Denver, while doing laundry on main street, we start a chat on the street with Dan. After which he invited us for dinner at their home and so a few days later, we are enjoying a wonderful homemade dinner with pizza at their home. Apparently, one of their staf members, a nice Scottish ‘giant’ lives here as well.
I work a few days as housekeper for the Domes, two doors down the road from our house and a few days at the Valhalla Inn as’ Housse Kiieeppaaa’ (as my colleague from Hong Kong – who does not speak or understands English always says whens she knocks on the door of the rooms – wonderful lady). Valhalla Inn is the hotel where we spent our first two nights in New Denver this year. We met ‘Esse Pee’ or Sean Patrick, who is in the start-up phase of its (personal) care line: IAZU. Completely organic and good for people and the earth, exactly what we like. We spend a number of Canadian dollars on his karma free products (instead of chemical and toxic Unilever and Procter and Gamble mess). Beautiful products and people we need to encourage! That is in everyone’s interest!
We drop our resume at the Town Office and we visit the local employment agency. We enjoy drinking coffee at Sanderella’s and do shopping at the organic store (of originally German owners) Rutabaga. Occasionally we run into Valhalla Pure and have a chat with Petra, Ethan or his mother Kelley. We thought to get a job here but it eventually turns out a little different then we expected. Again, a lesson that we should not rely on assumptions, in order to avoid disappointments with respect to ourselves (although the belief in the idea contributed that we are in Canada now).
We follow two semesters of “The Innerversity” live. The people who make this possible are located in Costa Rica (where we also would like to go) and because we are in Canada now, our time difference is substantially smaller. We follow six weeks of the online class and enrich ourselves with many insights and valuable knowledge! Wow what an expanding experiences, a definite power boost for us.
Mike and Chris have brought a mountain bike from the Netherlands, for Jim and myself we have a look on various websites. Eventually we find a mountain bike in Vernon and because our friend lives one city further in Kelowna and we promised them dinner and we left our spare back seat there, we decide to go there, and buy the bike. We drive through Nakusp, use the ferry, go through Cherryville towards Vernon. Gradually we see nature changing, from high mountains with lots of pine trees to lower mountains with a drier climate and lots of tall grass. We camp for 2 nights with a tent in our friends backyard, overlooking Okanagan Lake. We sleep in sleeping bags on fairly thin mats and at night we hear several animals sniffing around the tent. In the morning we see a coyote walking down the street and as we go for a walk with the dogs, the floor is covered with bear poop.
Like true ‘city people’ with go for a trip with a motorboat on the lake. We go back and forward and try to pull Chris on his swimming board, without much success but heaps of fun. In the evening we have a barbecue and we hear that our friend daughter is in New Denver right now, what a coincidence!
On the way back we pick up Milou’s mountainbike. The last thing we need for a trip all together is a bike trailer to pull Jim. We have found one in Cranbrook, about a 4 hour drive from New Denver and we agreed that we will meet the seller next Wednesday. When we are on the road for over an hour and while waiting for the ferry (passage of more than 45 minutes), we get a text message that the Weehoo has been sold the day before. What? We agreed a price and date and incredibly disappointed we turn around, this was the only (pre used) Weehoo for sale throughout whole British Columbia. If there is one thing we have learned is that people are very focused on money.
Homemade Lemonade for a Loonie
We notice that Chris has truly no idea of the time you have to invest before you can buy something and Mike comes up with the great idea of letting him run a lemonade stand. We buy plastic cups, lemons, limes and ice cubes at the supermarket. We exchange $ 20 in the bank as change and we make a stand in front of the door and soon after, Chris meets his first customers. Chris has a great time and without doing it ourselves, in no time pictures are made of his stand and put on the local Facebook page, free publicity. It is a great success and Chris repeats his stand several days and soon he has earned more than his ‘OPM’ (others people money) and our little business man is making a profit. Proud as he is, he buys raspberries and ice cream for him and his brother.
Strong Start for the little ones
At the local school, where children can go from 2 to 18 years old, they run a program called ‘Strong Start’ for children from 2 till 6 years of age. It is a kind of playgroup, with a teacher who comes up with subjects and activities for them, parents stay there during the class as wel. We go there a few times. The boys meet kids, they do ‘gymnastics’ and sing songs, play with the wooden train and make a Father’s Day drawing.
Travel Trailer for sale
We have long been looking for a suitable trailer and eventually we find one that meets our requirements, it’s about a 1.5 hour drive to Castlegar, where the trailer is located. We make an appointment and have a look. Before we arrive at the place of destination we are stopped by the RCMP; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. ‘Server of the law’ asks me if I know why he stops us, and honestly, I don’t know. Apparently this gentleman has not yet reached his quota and no lives to save so he is able to hold on to a young family for not wearing a ‘seatbelt’. It is an expensive joke of 176 Canadian dollars and you get a discount if you pay within two weeks..
About the travel trailer
The trailer is an old model (1985) but has everything we were looking for: bunk beds for the boys, a double bed for us that we don’t have to fold and unfold furniture every day to create a sleeping space. The trailer is equipped with a solar panel and a generator. As we both don’t have a any experience with travel trailers we don’t know where to look at. The trailer has a new roof and inside everything looks old but good. We decide to buy it and after a lot of hassle with the email transfer, the same night the trailer bumps behind our Ford Expedition to the house in New Denver.
Before we can start our new adventure with the Pauwi (as Jim calls the trailer), we need to adjust a few things. Mike test the water and electronics and we find out that we could have done a better job looking at it, before we bought the trailer. There are some problems with the electronics but in the end we find out that everything works. Although, occasionally some lights turn off, but after a ‘corrective slap’ on the battery, everything works again. We decide to replace the mixture of all kinds of curtains from the first owner for a neutral color. Our preference was to order online at Ikea, but unfortunately the delivery time will take too long. We decide to make the curtains ourselves and we pick up the stuff at the local sewing shop. I borrow several sewing machines and buy even one for $ 5 at a yard sale, but due to time constraints and frustrations we eventually start our trip without curtains. We get crockery, pots, a double duvet and search in vain for two single duvets for the boys. Apparently, the smallest size duvets in Canada is the ‘twin’ size and because it is too large for the single bunk beds, we decide that the boys will sleep in the sleeping bag.
On to a new adventure
There will be a Permaculture Design Course in Winlaw in August. The course is taught at the Spiral Farm by a man that Mike already read about in the Netherlands. After some reflections we conclude that Mike is going to participate in this course, as an investment in a sustainable future.
During our road trip, we are invited to a Help-X location in the Okanogan. Back then we had other plans but now we have our Pauwi, we conclude this will be a great new experience before Mike will take the course. We terminate the rent and plan our departure on August 1.
A house at Slocan lake
We meet an old couple on the local antique market and out of nowhere we get the offer to rent their house from September on. The couple has a well maintained house with a great view on to Slocan Lake. Since the health of Mrs. is going backwards, they have decided to spend the winter in Vancouver, close to their children. Mr. explains at least 10 times that he doesn’t want to make a profit renting the house, but that he has to discuss his offer with his children. We decide that we will contact them when we return late August, from our new trip.