Canada Long Weekend Extra-Ordinary: Couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one. Just Perfect.
Greetings from Coquitlam, BC and the Lydell Family Residence!
Hours on the Road: 10 hours
Kms Travelled: 846
I found myself alone in my mom’s house as everyone left for work. It was 7:30 am. It was weird having nobody to wave goodbye from the front porch or at the airport gate. But I pulled out and heading on the “Crow Highway” or Highway 3 “Shortest Route to the Coast”.
I love the drive from Cranbrook to Vancouver, it is filled with amazing mountain passes with cities dotted along about every 1 hour. There are multiple passing lanes so when you are going down an 8% grade behind a large truck, you can pull around and make a more speedy descent.
I haven’t driven this drive alone for more than 15 years and I enjoyed the solitude. Alone with my thoughts I wondered “Have we made the right decision?”, but mostly I just sang along to my iPod.
As I passed through Creston, I considered purchasing fresh fruit, but decided I would bring it from Osoyoos instead. I love the romance of roadside fruit stands. I imagine family orchards three generations deep with luscious peaches and crisp apples in their blood lines. I am sure it is much more corporate today, but I love to stop.
I stopped for gas and lemon Perrier frequently – the latter causing my bathroom breaks being a little more often than a tank of gas.
In Osoyoos I stopped and purchased a large basket of nectarines and large McIntosh Apples. I cannot return to BC without enjoying a case of BC Macs. I love them – it tastes of crisp weather, Hallowe’en, and raking leaves.
I drove without incident until about 15 kms out from my destination and then entered the construction on Highway 1 and the Port Mann bridge. It slowed my progress tremendously, but I was still able to roll into town just in time for dinner.
September 14th, 2012 Exta-Ordinary: I’m here.
Greetings from Cranbrook, BC and the Levang Family Resort!
Hours on the Road: 7
Kms Travelled: 606
Today was a short jaunt home comparatively speaking. Just 1/2 of Montana left to go until Cranbrook – Emile flies to Vancouver on Sunday.
I was anxious to get started being so close to home, and I watched Emile intently while he tried to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. And today promised not to be a 15 hour marathon – there were only really 600 kms to travel – it was nothing really. But I am coming home to British Columbia after 16 years away. I wanted to get home for that reason and because I was so tired of seeing the inside of the Honda Fit.
Our travels took us through the flat prairies right into the Rocky Mountains. On the way, we journey through Glacier National Park and Cut Bank “The Coldest Place in the Nation”. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? The coldest place in the nation is in Montana? Not Alaska? Or maybe just considering the lower 48, Minnesota or something? Nonetheless, someone found the time and money to build a talking penguin statue that makes the claim. And seriously, if a penguin actually talks to me, I tend to believe what they have to say.
The BC places started to get more and more prevalent as we neared the border. At the gas station in Eureka (10 kms from Canada), there were more Canadian plates than American ones. I understand first hand the challenges that a strong Canadian dollar gives for Canadian companies trying to do business in the US, however, as a consumer, it works out pretty well.
We stopped at the duty-free shop in Roosville, Montana, USA called “First and Last Chance”. I am not sure who in the dark, dingy bar/store/casino was on their first chance, but there were some hard living people in there.
I insisted on a stop in Cranbrook before heading home because I wanted it official:
September 7th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary:
Greetings from Burnaby, BC at the Mulberry Retirement Residence!
Cranbrook to Burnaby.
Hours (door to door): 11
Kms driven: 864
Money spent: $116
We departed the house at 9:00 am exactly. We had targeted leaving between 9 and 9:30 am, but my mom doesn’t understand time ranges and therefore she amended our departure time to 9:00 am. When she climbed into the car, she gleefully announced that we were exactly on time – 9:00 am. Emile couldn’t let that slide – he announced back that it I keep the clock 2 minutes fast. But, I’ll bet we actually pulled out of the driveway at 9:00 am.
The drive on Highway 3 – Crowsnest Highway – is tremendous. There is no shortage of glorious twisting turning mountains passes bored through the mountains dotted with picturesque – and now growing – towns.
We stopped frequently on this trip – we needed to help Mom spent her Tim Hortons gift cards, and we needed smoke breaks and pee breaks. And food breaks.
When my parents were first married, they moved to Trail BC, and often returned to Vancouver to visit family. This meant much of the trip was spent recollecting family lore stories about the travels. Next time you see my mom, ask her about “Never Again (subtitled “The Whipsaw” and the “Sidewinder”)”, “I’ll Shut Up Now about the Sewing Machine” and “CastleGAAAAR” – they are stories worth the time.
I told you about Christina Lake visits when we were kids – it was 3.5 hours for my mom driving a 1969 Barracuda over two mountain passes. To keep the peace, she bribed at us always with a visit to the Castlegar Dairy Queen on the journey. It was old, brown and decorated with Dennis the Menace cartoons and we loved the stop. We stopped on this trip also and found to my dismay that the place – although still in the same location – had been modernized and updated.
We stopped in at Christina Lake at the house we always stayed at and found to my delight that although some updates had been made – it had been left almost totally alone.
We pushed through the Okanogan pleased to see the same fruit stands advertising local cherries and other fruit. We timed our arrival into the Lower Mainland perfectly – little traffic and still light.
Grandpa is so pleased to see us all.
July 23rd, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Standing on the Christina Lake beach recalling long summer days and times gone by. Wishing so much that things didn’t change and that youth didn’t fade.
(Photo Credit Emile)