Of mice and old men

Snowy mountain SR600243

It was time to leave Kootenay Lake.  The nights were getting darn cold with the rain ending and the clearing skies. Additionally, I had a new unwelcome body guest – Henry the hemorrhoid. I had also taken on an unwelcome RV guest, Big Blacky, the large black mouse that I heard rattling around in my RV while trying to get to sleep one evening. Of prime importance, I only had two more sleeps until I had to be on Vancouver Island!

I won’t go into the details of how Henry came to visit – the googles will tell you the typical way Henry comes by. He likes the pregnant ladies too. Lets just say I should have known better – I’m not a young pup anymore and need to take care of business in the most expeditious fashion possible. Big Blacky is a tail that can be told, for all of it starting in mystery and ending in mystery.

Sunrise after the rain SR600242
New snow revealed in the sunrise

I was woken from a near slumber early one night by a spoon going clattering on the floor. I thought nothing of it – the wind had been shaking the RV somewhat and I thought perhaps I had left it perched precariously somewhere to fall off with the first shake of the RV. But then I hear a can go rattling off into the sink. At this point I go WTF? in my half awake state, how could the RV be shaking about so much to move a can? I hear nothing more for a few minutes, and am almost drifting off again when I hear the frypan lid rattling. First a little, then a sustained rattling sound like someone moving it about with a finger… or a mouse getting in!

I sit bolt upright which is always a mistake in the cab bed of a class C – not enough head room to sit up and of course I bonk my head for the umpteenth time. I turn on the light and hear another rattle from the stove. I see something moving away from me to the back of the stove, then gone. This is not good. A moment later, my worst fears are confirmed – a large black mouse skitters out into the middle of the floor stopping for a second to contemplate me contemplating him. Or her, the horrors! The mouse doesn’t wait for my first move and scurries away, taking refuge under my dining room table among my computer case and laundry.

I spend the next half hour tearing the RV apart expecting to find the mouse. But of course, it has buried itself deep inside somewhere I can’t easily get to. But I carefully pried open my computer bag on the ground with a broom stick, expecting a mouse to come flying out! I look at my food situation. I don’t expect the mouse to be able to make it to my high cupboard stuff at this point, but the low stuff under the kitchen sink I’m not so sure about. So, into the bathroom all that food goes, that will be safe for now, I think.

I return to my bed at last, hoping to fall asleep without hearing anymore rattling, but no – the rattling starts up again a few minutes later. I turn on the light again, and there he is, on the floor looking back at me. But this time there is not a bunch of other crap for him to go hide/climb over easily. I slowly get down from the bunk bed, the mouse scurries off to the end of the dining area, but not gone. I need to somehow shoo him to the door, then open it to get him out.

Somehow I manage to get up to him and jump onto the seats, which has the desired effect of making the mouse go running the other way, back to the door. He sits there a moment. Will he go down to the entrance, or into the front cab? I can’t really block the front cab more than it is now with my thermal mat along the floor, but he can squeak by that pretty easily. I move a step closer and the mouse jumps down the steps.

At this point, I realize the flaw in my planning, I should have opened the door a crack first before proceeding over to the mouse. Of course, when I move closer to open the door, the mouse hops up again, and into the front cab area. At this point I realize I’m not getting this mouse out tonight. I crawl back into bed and manage to get back to sleep despite the occasional scurrying  heard.

The next day, I see evidence of mouse activity. Mouse droppings. Chewed bag. Sampled fruit, the ripest pear. At least I know which pear to eat next- cut off the chewed bit and clean up the remaining fruit for consumption. My pan the mouse was chewing on gets a good cleaning, and I go on with my day. The following night it is the same thing waking me up, rattling pan lid as the mouse goes for the greasy pan remains. At this point I just want the racket to stop, so I jump down and remove the lid off to the side so the little bugger can have at ‘er.

The morning evidence is pretty much the same – right down to the ripest pear picked again by the mouse for my consumption. At least it is doing a small service for me in disrupting my RV.

I am planning on leaving soon, so my diabolical plan to catch the mouse is implemented. For the third night, I set out a little mouse corner feast of bits of left over cooked noodle, granola crumbs, and a bit of chicken fat since it liked the fry pan grease so much. I’d get him used to dining in that corner, then after I’d returned to civilization and procured a mouse trap, that same corner feast would have an additional small barrier to pass over to that delectable peanut butter sitting on top of that copper bit – snap! One dead mouse, or so I hoped it would go.

However, the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry – my plan was to be thwarted in an unexpected manner. The next morning I inspect the napkin I have put out, expecting mouse droppings and possibly a little mouse pee replacing the food. Hey, napkin dining is not only for men, you know. But I see right away that everything is as it was when I went to bed. What is going on? I had not heard my mouse last night, but it had been raining hard and without any lids to rattle I figured I’d just slept through his little rustlings. Am I dealing with a picky eater, or was the dining ambiance sub par? I nix all this with Occam’s razorElvis has left the building!

But I am only cautiously optimistic – I try an even more sumptuous platter the following night, arranging everything in a neat line that is sure to please, and let me know if so much as a morsel is disturbed. But again, nothing is touched – the neat line remains after a second night with no mousey noises heard either. He really seems to have left on his own accord. What disturbs me  about the whole incident is that I have no idea how the mouse got in, or how it left. OK, I have ideas, but it seems unlikely he jumped up into my rig from the open door during the day while I wasn’t looking. Not like I left the door open for hours, a minute perhaps while I was dealing with something. The unlikely is possible though. Exiting, I have NO idea. One way hole out of the RV? At any rate, no trap needed.  I only wish I could get rid of Henry as easily.

Snow in dem dar hills SR600246
Winter above, fall below

Leaving for Keremeos mouse free is great, but I am sad to leave this glorious blue sky and sun that has risen today. But if I stay, the blue sky will lead to cold starry skies – it is time to get away from the cold and find some plug in camping. Keremeos is my chosen destination – closer to Vancouver, but not too close, not too cold, and I am hoping a spot is available in a campground for two nights. But if not, plan B dry camping will leave me not too frozen out there.

But first I need to get out of the campground and to the ferry. I’ve timed my exit to be on a dry day so the steep road out has had time to dry a little at least. It turns out my RV climbs that with no problem whatsoever. The tree I encounter blocking the road down the way is another matter. There is no breaking this thing, even with the guy on the other side with his truck who is trying to do that by hand as I arrive. “I can’t believe I didn’t bring my chainsaw with me, I don’t suppose you have one or an axe?” he asks me. Here I am, green newbie on the backroads of BC and I’m the one better prepared than the local, because, yes I *do* have an axe. Two man points for me today! The tree is not particularly large – even my mediocre axe skills quickly break it off and the two of us haul the tree off the road. Off to the ferry I go, having (hopefully) ended the mouse adventure, and having saved the local from having to call off his rock collecting expedition on account of a tree blocking the road!

Kootenay Bay waiting for ferry SR600252
Waiting for the ferry at Kootenay Bay

Waiting for the free ferry at Kootenay Bay is nostalgic for me. This was always the beginning of so many great vacations and fishing trips with my Dad over the years. I’ve spent more time on Kootenay Lake than anywhere else in BC – good happy memories in times gone by.

Kootenay Lake Ferry crossing SR600260
Ferry Crossing

Getting to the other side, I make tracks for Nelson. No stopping at old haunts, for one things have changed since I’ve been here last many years ago and a lot of the old haunts are no longer campgrounds but have been converted to Condo strata type mobile home / RV lot places. My drive today is going to be long too, not much time to linger along the way.

Brilliant Dam turbine blade SR600268
Brilliant Dam former turbine

One downside to traveling on a schedule is I’ve got to make up ground now for having stayed so long at Kootenay Lake, and grocery shop to boot. So there are no stops for pictures – Nelson is a stop for groceries – no time to visit! But I do make an unscheduled rest stop when I discover that the whistling sound I’d been hearing at highway speed was my awing being out about 15 centimeters! Another mystery – It automatically retracts on it’s own if you forget when you turn the RV ignition on, so why was it out now? But it makes for a lunch break spot and I at least get an artsy shot of the former turbine here. You’d think I’d be able to see the dam they are talking about from this stop, but it is just a little too far downstream to see from the rest stop vantage point. Yet, the “tourist attractions” sign down the road has a perfectly fine view of the dam, so why the two locations are not reversed is beyond me.

Eagle RV Park Camping SR600269
Camped close together at Eagle RV Park

Four hours of driving later, I manage to arrive in Keremeos before dark. My plan is to check out Eagle RV Park first, as they were way cheaper that another RV park down the way. If both of those were full, there were a couple of recreation area campgrounds just off the highway I could spend another chilly night in if I had to.  But it turns out Eagle RV Park has a couple of spots available, $63 for two nights final price is good with me, sign me up for some power, water and sewer please! Why two nights? Because for one, I get a day to explore Keremeos and surroundings, and for two, three nights from now I’ll be on Vancouver Island for my November 1st campground booking. But for now, I look forward to warming up the RV with some electric heat, have a nice shower and dump my water. Tomorrow we will see what Keremeos has to offer.

About ralph

Just another blog to share some thoughts with the world.
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