–by G.K. Sydney (photos and column)
And so the adventures go on. Our get-away- from- visitors- and- go -see –the- family trip continued after leaving the Comox Valley kids. After hugs all around, we hauled our trusty new trailer onto the ferry in Nanaimo and off again in Departure Bay (wow, wasn’t that cheap?). On we bravely went through the little bit of traffic on the mainland (was that five or maybe six clogged lanes?). The No. 1 highway through North Vancouver proved to be a bit of a challenge to those of us who have become used to Sooke – all those buildings and people and cars and big rigs! Sooke, you’re lookin better than ever. Missing you a lot.
But I’m getting sidetracked. As my mother used to say when she was brought to near speechlessness with amazement, lord love a duck!
As we drove on and began the ride through the mountains on the way to the prairies, my mother would have had occasion to say that over and over again. Even though we’d seen them many times before, the mountains were still seriously fabulous.
Have a look:
But after all this sightseeing and driving for many hours on the beautiful Coquihalla Highway, we were getting very tired. Ok, let’s stop for the night. Campsite? Hmm, doesn’t seem to be any around. Truckstop? Yep, that’ll do. And so we pulled into a parking lot that had a Denny’s and a lot of very big trucks sitting around. It appeared everybody had gone to bed. Things were quiet and looked pretty safe. We crawled from the cab of our truck directly into our trailer. Without further ado, we hit the sack.
Omigod, what was that noise? Was it a rocket? A spaceship? An earthquake, tornado, bomb? Oh no, it was none of those things. It was just a very fast, enormous, incredibly loud train. A screeching, screaming, squealing symphony of noise and light and horror! And where was this monstrosity? Huh, right beside our bed. Just on the other side of those bushes. With a brand new one every hour. All night. LORD LOVE A DUCK! Were we crazy, parking here? The morning couldn’t come soon enough.
In the morning, armed with Denny’s coffee (it’s the least they could do after building nearly on a train track), we staggered/drove out of there. Forward ho, gang. Onto greater things.
Another beautiful drive was had (albeit very quiet as we fought to stay awake) and then a night’s accommodation courtesy of Walmart. Oh yes, you can sleep at a Walmart. The parking lot empties out, the RVers settle in and all is well. No trains in sight? All good.
And just a little sidebar for your possible future reference (and mine for sure) – you should see Walmart at seven in the morning! Rows and rows of neatened- up items, everything you could ever need to live and NO PEOPLE. Tellers just waiting to do your bidding, freshly cleaned washrooms and a whole playground (I mean, store) just waiting for you. Walmart, I’m not crazy about you during the middle of the day, but I love you in the morning!
But enough on that topic. The trip continued. One more night in another Walmart parking lot with every other store you could imagine within walking distance (yes, I was in shopper’s heaven) and we moved on. British Columbia, you were a joy. Alberta, you were beautiful. And then we were travelling through Saskatchewan. Well. The Lord maybe does not love a duck quite so much here. Fields and more fields and flat and more flat. As we drove along a nearly empty highway, passing the very occasional man on an ancient tractor, I found myself wondering if anybody actually lived here. Anybody home? You could call that out all day as you’re driving through Saskatchewan and nobody would hear you.
But then we were entering friendly Manitoba. Home of family and friends. The adventure will continue as we descend upon them, parking in everybody’s driveway until they get tired of us. Hah, sweet revenge. How long should we stay, I wonder? Who else can we stay with? What will we make them do for and with us? Tune in next week to see how it goes.
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- Introducing a new column to SPN: “Through the Lens of a Newcomer”