For some reason the city of Vancouver decided to shut down Powell from today until summer 2014. The signs state “find an alternative route”. I ranted like a fool to Emile when they first put the signs up, claiming the start of a letter writing campaign and predicting the uprising of the people. But unlike HST, nobody seemed too concerned with the new traffic direction we were having to take.
I hate driving down Hastings as it bunch of pedestrian controlled green lights. It takes forever and my commute just got worse. Sigh.
June 24th, 2013, Extra-ordinary: Turns out that traffic is pretty quiet anywhere out of the city at 7 am.
There is a time each year when you roll your car windows down for the first time. When warmed air can finally compensate from your self-made wind. Mine came on Friday, driving home from work about 5:30. The sun is lower in the sky at that point, and the sunlight glanced off my window and window scratches.
As I neared Commercial and Powell, I longed for the freedom felt when my hair whips around my face, and I turn my stereo down lest someone hears my woefully out of date iPod.
I crossed under the overpass into a flock of migrating dandelion seeds lazily floating to the next unsuspecting lawn. But churned and danced through my car and reflected the light.
May 24th, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: I don’t care what you say, Summer is upon us.
It’s April – and I remember the old adage of “April Showers brings May Flowers”, but April 1st was beautiful. So beautiful and inspiring that more people were out on their bicycles. I don’t own a bicycle for many reasons that mostly sound like excuses, but I respect that I have to – and should have to – share the road with them.
But I have a problem – bicyclists tend to be of split personalities. If it suits them at the time to be a pedestrian, they use crosswalks and sidewalks. If it suits them to be a vehicle, they are in the bike lanes and signalling. But worst of all, they switch back and forth making it difficult for a driver like me – who really doesn’t want to hit a bicyclist – to predict how the traffic is going to move.
You can’t use a crosswalk to the sidewalk and then make a sharp left in front of me to turn into a bike lane. Well, you can, but you better hope that I am paying really really close attention about what you are doing. And while that helmet may be colourful and stylish and somewhat protective, it’s going to take a pounding if I hit you.
April 1st, 2013 Extra-Ordinary: Trying to save the earth too, one bicyclist at a time.
(sorry for the gross generalization, but it can’t be too offensive if it seems to hold true)
Sometimes I drive erratically. I make quick right turns, pull u-turns, move speedily into another lane, drive significantly under the speed limit, switch back and forth between lanes, hammer on the brakes, and occasionally use my hand-held device. I do hope ICBC is not reading this, but these things are true.
October 1st, 2012 Extra-ordinary: I wish I could have my Ontario plates back so people know I am learning, not a yahoo. I’m trying people – this place is hard to get around in even if I have a map on my phone.
When I first moved to Hamilton, Ontario, I sat at light ready to turn left. It turned green bt then started to blink. I sat and waited while the cars behind me started to honk. I sat in the middle of the intersection uncertain how to proceed. The cars on the other side were not going, yet there was no advance green. After careful checking, I finally proceeded through the intersection much to the relief of the drivers behind me.
After consulting with local Ontarians, I found out that a blinking green light in Ontario was actually an advanced green – normally signified by an arrow or separate bank of lights in BC (where I grew up). It took me quite some time to get to used to this in Ontario – though I find that many lighted intersections use arrows to indicate advance lefts now.
In BC, a blinking green light means a pedestrian controlled intersection. So, normally the light stays green until a pedestrian comes along and presses the button to cross the street.
September 26th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Trying to break myself of the learned habit of advanced lefts on blinking green lights.
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.
I felt ambivalent about the drive to Vancouver the next day. It’s long, but not really that long. Long enough to listen to about 3 hours of music, 1 1/2 hours singing along to Ragtime – my favorite musical – and 3 vinyl café episodes. But not so long that you need to start out at the break of dawn or drive into the night. I had been somewhat anticipating the drive all week. Emile left ahead of me, and I am anxious for things to get started. But at the same time, I like Cranbrook and hanging out at home.
Home is stable. It doesn’t require me to learn the streets, or figure out who my dentist will be. I know where to get things, I know where to park if I want to head to the bank. It’s easy because I lived it. Vancouver not so much.
I put off packing much to my mother’s consternation. She asked me several times if I needed help. I think she didn’t like see things left undone when they could be . . . well.. . done.
September 13, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: Cranbrook isn’t home anymore.
My husband is selling his 1996 black Honda Prelude SRV coupe. When I first met him, the Prelude was his baby. He spent ample time washing it, waxing it, and certainly nobody else drove the car. I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the line, he realized that the Honda Prelude was just a car. There were other things more important to him. After dating for about 3 years, I actually drove it. And the washings petered down to a couple of times a year.
His friends still ask after the Prelude – always referring to “her”. It was part of Emile’s identity – he drove that black Prelude, he was that guy around Celestica. It drove like a dream, cornered like mad, yet each month, just not the same. Rattle here, rust there,
He held on to it – it was paid for, and if he could just squeeze one more season out of it, we could avoid putting the money out for a new car.
But now it sits in the garage – knowing its fate, I’m sure. I can only hope that someone comes along who loves it as much as my husband did.
August 20th, 2012 Extra-Ordinary: She had her day, The Prelude. Sometimes things are more than just things.
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.