Thursday, 11 August 2022

Great Canadian Road Trip part 1

 The pandemic put the kibosh on a lot of travel plans, including ours. We had wanted to go to Europe one more time, this time to research our family roots. But Covid reared its ugly head in 2019, so we postponed the trip in 2020, then postponed it again in 2021.

In 2022, a lot of people like us are making up for lost time, taking all those postponed trips. But we were discouraged by stories about airport delays, lost luggage, another Covid wave in Europe, the war in Ukraine, rising gas prices etc, etc. so instead, we decided on a two month journey across Canada. Call it The Great Canadian Road Trip.

This would be a nostalgia trip. We had already crossed the country on wheels many times, travelling from the west coast to the east, including Newfoundland. In fact, we’d sworn we’d never do it again in a car. And yet, here we were, pulling out the maps, finding travel guides, booking motels and begging beds from friends and family as we planned our trip from Courtenay, on Vancouver Island, where we now live, to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, which we’d last visit on our honeymoon 51 years ago. And back again. Why do it? Well, why not? Maybe we’re a little bit nuts, but making crazy decisions isn’t only the prerogative of teenagers, is it? We’re not getting any younger; so, do it now or do it never! We would revisit our memories, relive some of the adventures, and in the process say hello to some folks we haven’t seen for a long time.

And along the way, I would revive my blog for a while, sharing my stories and reflections.  

Well, we’ve been on the road for 10 days and covered about 2500 km. We stopped in Abbotsford for one night with our kids, then spent four nights in a cabin in Castlegar, then two nights with a cousin in Lethbridge, one night in Regina, and now we are in Winnipeg. All of it, so far, has been great – well, except for the stone that hit our windshield just outside of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. On the bright side, we now know that there’s a Speedy Auto Glass in Swift Current that does a speedy job, and while we waited we got our walking steps in trekking to Timmie’s for lunch. Here’s some things I have discovered.

1. We are not as young as we used to be. Duh! After sitting in a car all day, you’d think we’d be eager to do something a little more exciting than watching Wheel of Fortune re-runs and taking naps. But getting the luggage out of the car and into the motel is work, after which a cuppa tea and putting your feet up sounds like a good idea. One thing for sure, a day of driving does not leave a lot of time or opportunity to poke about and discover new things. I thought writing a blog to fill up those long evenings in a rented room sounded like a good idea, but here it is, 10 days later, and I’m finally posting!

2. This is a BIG country. In Texas, which is also BIG, there’s a little ditty that goes like this: “The sun has riz, the sun has set, and here we is, in Texas yet.” The same could be said about BC. It’s big. It has BIG mountains, BIG rivers, BIG lakes and glaciers and trees,


BIG valleys and roads that take you way up high and way down low. It’s beautiful, too. When you are in BC, you might think, “Ah yes, this is what Canada is.” But of course, you would only partially be right, because there was a whole lot more to come. You cross the boundary between BC and Alberta, and suddenly the trees are scrubby. You see a whole lot of wheat fields and grain bins, wind turbines and trains loaded with containers as you zip along the four-lane Trans Canada. 


No big hills or valleys, just lot of BIG views. As they say on the prairies, if your dog runs away, just step on a tuna tin and you'll be able to find out where he went. A lot of people think it's boring, but to me, it’s all just amazing and beautiful.

3. It’s the little things that make some of the biggest impressions. I loved watching the flowers in the roadside ditches: Queen Anne’s Lace and yellow Hawkweed on Vancouver Island, the spikes of fuschia fireweed, drifts of mauve knapweed, white yarrow and daisies in the mountains, mini golden sunflowers lining the roads in Alberta and Saskatchewan. 


Birds flit through the shrubbery at the rest stops. Poking along in the Slocan Valley, we passed a homestead that was picture perfect: a glorious flower garden, a huge vegie patch, a flock of brown chickens running about in the yard of  a cozy-looking house and rustic barn, surrounded by a cedar fence. We didn’t stop to take a photo, but the image is lodged firmly in our memories, to be reflected on whenever we need a moment that spells peace.

We sat at a little cafĂ© in an out-of -the-way village; patrons sat at picnic tables in the yard, tossing a frisbee to the resident dog, sipping homemade lemonade and nibbling on fresh-baked cookies. 


We saw a young boy crossing a park on his bicycle, a fishing rod balanced on the handle bars; he was singing a song to himself as he passed us on his way to the lake. It was a picture straight out of a Norman Rockwell calendar. These little moments are just as important to our enjoyment as the grand scenery that surrounds us.

To be continued....

1 comment:

  1. Oh that's wonderful Jessie, good on you two.