Wilson and I have reached our intended (final) destination; been here a couple of days actually, nicely settling in. I’ll fill you in on that later.
Today’s post is all about the worst and best leg of our journey.
I was going to start with the Best but I know how much you enjoy my whining about the weather on this fateful trip so I thought I’d start there.
Crap! Crap! Super-duper crap!
The lovely Lodge we stayed at the night before was at the bottom of the steepest incline—side of a mountain—covered in snow—still snowing—getting dark—construction reduced lanes—I’ve EVER driven on!
Wilson took it all in stride, he was just happy with having gotten out of having to pay the $10 admission to drive through Banff National Park. I on the other hand tossed and turned all night; seriously considering “hunkering down” at the Lodge until spring.
Okay, that’s not possible. I start checking hour-by-hour weather reports for all the areas I will need to drive through to reach our next stop, Kelowna BC. If I time it just right the sun will shine the entire route. It does require leaving at an earlier hour than I’d like; partly because I got so little sleep, but mostly, because the sun has to be up for a while to melt last night’s snow fall, the roads need to “warm-up.”
I waited until the last possible moment: the window of opportunity closing fast. Rushing to load the car, and to avoid a close encounter with the antelope grazing in the parking area, I dropped my laptop, not in a protective case, on its edge on the frozen pavement—I didn’t see that as a good sign! How many antilope can you find in this picture? The one’s with the really big horns were around the corner butting heads!
Getting a coffee to go, I asked the desk-clerk what he thought about the road conditions this morning. His reply, “I’m on the volunteer fire brigade; we pulled a lot of jack-knifed semis out of the ditches and couldn’t get to a few down the steeper banks. Roads are still pretty icy, be sure to follow what the signs say to do on every section: do not ignore the postings—you’ll be fine. Do you have snow-tires or chains?”
When I said, “Neither.” He smiled and repeated, “Read and follow all the signs.”
Silly me, I then asked, “That hill I came down to get here, will there be anymore that big?”
He smiled again, “That was a small one.”
I had no idea what I had gotten myself into! Really! Smart-ass me, thinks it only snows after November 1st, even in the mountains—daaah! Not to mention, but I will: I’m mountain driving-phobic. I had no idea about that either.
Gas tank full, check. Wilson strapped in, check. Me strapped in, check. Hands “death-grip” holding steering wheel, check. We’re off! For the next hour or so of driving I am the most terrified I’ve ever been in my life (little did I know at the time, I was a far more capable driver than I was giving myself credit for; and the drive I would be doing in two days time would be even more horrific—I’ll tell you about that one later.)
And then the most wonderful thing happened; the sun peeked over the mountain tops, melting the last of the previous night’s snowfall. Around the next bend “Roger’s Pass” sounds as wild-ride-through-the-mountains as it was! Thank God the road was bare and dry for that stretch!
Now I can relax a bit, enjoy the view, loosen my grip on the steering wheel; which I was quite proud of, considering the next phase of today’s journey was ultimately going to prove to be the “best” even though at the time, I had no way of knowing it would be.
I have a (half) sister on my dad’s side of the family—I hate using the term “half”: regardless of our genetic coding we are complete people and therefore “whole” sisters. The one element that is truly unique about our sisterly relationship is that we have only met once before. She was 8 years old at the time and I was 12; she insists I poked her in the eye with a mascara brush during that visit, being the older sibling I deny all allegations of abuse rendered by me.
Fast-forward 37 years: Wilson and I are enjoying our release from bad weather and mountain roads as we drive into Kelowna BC. We will be staying with my sister Tamie and her family: Brandon—yo brother-in-law, Becky—my beautiful niece, Zac—my cool, video game champion nephew, and Wilson’s other brother… ah, Wilson.
What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t like them? I mean, come on, all possible—while not probable. We’ve chatted a few times and can feel a connection—which proved to be accurate.
Becky commented: that although her mom and I didn’t look much alike we dressed and acted alike.
I’m not so sure about that… my sister kept calling me “Freak” but she was the one who had the altar, in the spare room, to worship Madonna (the performer, not the Saint.)
All in all though, we are truly sister’s and while we missed out on growing up together we’ll be family from now on.
Besides, she followed the rules of being the “little” sister quite well. I said, “Make a face for this picture.” She did. I said, “Don’t be so tall for this one.” She skooched down. I said, “Be your usual beautiful self for this one.” She was.
Day 1 – Waterloo to Blind River
Day 2 – Blind River to Nipigon
Day 3 – Nipigon to Kenora
Day 4 – Kenora to Moosomin
Day 5 – Moosomin to Medicine Hat
Day 6,7 and 8 – Medicine Hat to Field BC
Day 9, 10 – Field BC to Kelowna
Still to come:
Day 11 – Kelowna to Mission BC
I will regale you will tales of the worst weather conditions I’ve EVER driven in (I mean it this time) and how worth it it was to reach our final destination in Mission BC.