Antique Chapter June Tour
Chasing Billy Miner
July 6 - 9, 2015


This is Ken Findlay's tour report, as originally submitted to the HCCA Tours forum (hcca.org).  Pictures courtesy of Ken Findlay, Peter Findlay, and Dave Dickinson.  Don't forget to view the video at the end!



This tour was tons of fun, very challenging at times and really HOT! The tour was based at the 107 year old Quilchena Hotel and was open to cars built up to 1927.
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About 20 cars toured through the forest fire smoke that was in the air to the City of Kamloops BC for the night. The next day we toured back to the Quilchena.
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Here are some pictures of the cars on registration day Monday. The touring started Tuesday.
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Tuesday morning we had a lovely drive in to Kamloops on a secondary highway with little traffic.
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It was 37C so you get water where you can find it!

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We took in the museum
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and had time for a group picture
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The Fowlers finally arrived after driving the 27 McLaughlin roadster 200 miles from where their tow vehicle broke down!
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Lunch stop at the Eagle point Golf Resort. It was good to go inside and get out of the heat for a bit. The food was good too.
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A few more pics of the cars making their way to the South Thompson Inn.
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We checked in and then immediately left to go to Harper's Trail Winery for some tasting and a BBQ dinner.
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Billy Miner was famous for robbing stage coaches, about 19, until he was caught and sent to San Quentin prison for 25 years. He was released after 20 years but by then the trains were carrying the valuables he wanted. So he robbed trains, about 18 in all. He held up some trains in BC until he was caught and held in the Quilchena Hotel where our tour had stayed. He was tried and put in the penitentiary in New Westminster, BC. He escaped and continued robbing trains in the US.


Because this tour was about seeing where Billy Miner had robbed the train we decided to have a Billy Miner look a like theme on Tuesday night. Here are a few desperado's that I wouldn't want to mess with!

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Of course the cops aren't far behind!

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The VCCC Kamloops chapter put on the BBQ for us.

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Wednesday morning it was up early as we had a short drive to our breakfast.

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Our breakfast was at the very site of the train robbery in 1906.

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Leaving Denny's breakfast.

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Heading into the hills for a very interesting and challenging day! It was going to be another hot, hot day. At least the forest fire smoke was gone for the moment.

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Our morning stop was at Pringle's Steam Farm. Lots of steam, mill and farm equipment to see and experience.
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Tired out already!

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Heading out to lunch

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Does this sign refer to us??

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After lunch we started out on the most challenging part of the tour. The temperature was 38C (100F) and we were heading for the Douglas Lake Ranch. The "Douglas Lake Cattle Company" was founded June 30, 1886 and has been operating continuously since. In response to booming demand for beef in rapidly-growing Vancouver, the Interior stock industry went into high gear in the wake of the Canadian Pacific Railway's opening in 1885, spurring on something of a golden age in BC ranching. Today the Ranch houses not only a large number of resident employees, it also accommodates the many tourists and fly fishing enthusiasts each year to enjoy the beauty of the lakes that are scattered within. The ranch consists of 145,000 acres making it the largest working cattle ranch in Canada. There is a private road the ranch maintains to get across their property. This was our route now. Did I mention it was 25 miles of gravel with lots of hills and turns along the way?

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Here we are in the tourabout

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After 20 miles of gravel we made it to our rest stop, the Douglas Lake General Store. Only 5 more miles of gravel left!

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We made it!

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Pavement!! Almost back to the Quilchena Hotel. One last fill should do it.

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Our trouble truck team arrived back with the 27 McLaughlin on board. Fuel delivery problems took it out.

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We got pretty dusty today.

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Dave Dickinson from the local VCCC club was a huge help in setting up this tour and taking pictures all along the way.

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Our banquet was held here at the hotel

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People dressed up for dinner.

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Along for the whole tour was noted Billy Miner historian Alex Forbes and his wife.

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From the start Alex gave us all kinds of background information. Along the way he showed us spots where Billy Miner had been. At the banquet he talked about where Billy Miner had been held after he was captured. His speculation is that Miner was held in the wine cellar of the Quilchena Hotel as it was the most secure place around. After the banquet we went down into the basement to see the wine cellar. Could this have been the very spot??

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Thursday morning some had to leave for home but a few of us went on a 40 km drive to Monck Provincial Park

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Greg's Model T picked up a few grasshoppers on the tour

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We headed back to the hotel and another great tour was over. This tour had been tough with the heat, dust, gravel, hills up and down, but it was tremendously enjoyable. I'd do it again in a heart beat...

...  See you down the road.

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Here is a short video produced by the Shaw cable station in Merritt :