A Journey of 3,040 Kilometres

Whew! I made it home at 2AM this morning (Wednesday)!

I had a most excellent drive even though it was a loooooooong day. I stopped for a nice lunch in Fernie, paused in Blairmore, then had a long break in Lethbridge where I did a ton of shopping (one clever person told me the apocalypse is over, LOL). I hit up a few electronic stores for a better cell booster antenna (no luck), Walmart for dried goods, and then Canadian Tire for a few projects. I also bought a big cooler that was on special; nothing fancy but will come in handy for supply runs.

There was construction coming out of Lethbridge, so it was slow going for a bit, but Medicine Hat still came more quickly than expected. There was a lot of talk on the radio about the flooding and evacuations, but I saw no evidence of any of this. I decided that I was four hours from home, so I was going to get my grocery shopping done and finish up this trip.

When I pulled out of town, it was about 9:30, with my ETA being 2:30AM. The drive to Swift Current felt endless. I was physically tired, but not mentally since my body thought it was an hour earlier. I stopped for gas and a leg stretch, found a station playing my generation’s music, and rocked to Bryan Adams, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and New Kids on the Block all the way to Assiniboia, a stretch that felt about a 10th shorter than it actually was. It’s nice when the last stretch flies by!

I pulled into Haven at about 1:45AM, unloaded what absolutely had to be unloaded, and climbed into bed where I was asleep by quarter to 3.

I’m feeling a little groggy today and expect it will take a few days for me to fall back into my routine. I did get the truck fully unloaded and most of my stuff put away. I don’t have internet at home right now (I’m telling you, the bloody thing is sentient), so I’m up the hill waiting for Charles and Caroline to come home so I can pick up my boy.

I have several posts to write up about the weekend, but I want to say two things right now.

1) The weather in BC was mostly miserable, as it usually is, and the mountains were damp and grey, and shrouded with fog. I am so happy to be back under the sun bleached skies of my beloved prairies. If I have to live in this cursed country, there is no place I’d rather be.

2) I LOVED camping in the truck. It was the perfect compromise between car and hoteling it or taking a cumbersome gigantic rig out. I’m going to write more about that, but I really saw on this trip that my gas guzzler wasn’t a stupid buy at all. I didn’t have a lick of trouble with her and she is soooooo comfortable. My clutch leg isn’t even sore today, as it would be with half the distance traveled yesterday traveled in my Accent. It took a year to really use the truck the way I intended to use it and now that I have, I am fully at peace with the compromises I have made.

I’m off to shop online for another antenna and plan to pay big bucks for fast shipping. Wish I’d known I wouldn’t find anything in stores and had ordered earlier.

I’ve Had Better Road Trippin’ Weather

Movin’ through the Rockies by way of the Crowsnest
These rocks are cursed, thrown up by some god
Who turned his back on a word called love
— Paul Gross, ‘Angels’

I set off for Fort Steele at about 8:30 yesterday morning. I’d been following the forecast for a week and knew that I could expect some flurries through the Crowsnest Pass, but expected good roads since that forecast kept improving day by day. HA HA HA HA HA. By the time I hit Fernie, the roads were pretty slick. But I knew I was heading downhill from there and had a better chance of hitting good weather quickly if I kept going west than if I turned back east.

I was right. The first 50 or so klicks out of Fernie were abysmal but, without warning, the pavement became dry. It was really quite amazing. I pulled into a turn off to let an idiot race past me only to discover that half of the turnout had several inches of snow and the rest of it was bare! So it was smooth driving to Fort Steele from that point on.

I arrived at 12:45, only 40 minutes ‘late’ as per my GPS’ initial arrival estimate. So that just goes to show that slowing down for the conditions really doesn’t add that much time to a trip when compared to having to wait for a tow truck because you spun out into a ditch!

Donna wasn’t home from work when I arrived, so I had a few minutes to snuggle my favourite dog in the universe while Ken brewed me a very welcome cup of coffee. Donna arrived with vittles and we had lunch and gabbed for most of the afternoon.

We went into Cranbrook for dinner, all enjoying a very satisfactory dinner at ABC Country Restaurant. This is a BC chain of casual family restaurants; I ate at one in Victoria. Donna and Ken had been there a few times and had a few recommendations, including getting the roasted red-skin potatoes in lieu of baked or mashed. Yum!

Back at the Ark, we gabbed some more, then Ken retired for the night. Donna and I chatted into the wee hours of the morning as she ran down the battery on my iPad playing a game. It’s a good thing I brought it. I’m not sure how she would have entertained herself otherwise. 😉

Needless to say, we all got a very late and lazy start to today, which included watching two movies. I headed out around 3PM in good weather conditions and had nice dry pavement all the way through the Crowsnest. I thought I was home free. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

The sky became more swollen and angry the further east I drove and it finally erupted over Fort McLeod. I pretty much crawled for the last 50 klicks of the drive in near zero visibility with big fat snowflakes clinging to my windshield wipers. It’s still snowing and it’s sticking. Yuck! I am so glad to be home. I just checked the forecast and Lethbridge is under a winter storm warning.

Even though the driving conditions were less than ideal, I am so happy that I had a chance to visit with my friends before the spring migration. Based on today’s projections, we will see each other again sometime next summer…

Before I sign off, does anyone care to guess what the liquor store in Blairmore is meaning to say with this sign?!