Wednesday, September 10, 2014


           There were a lot of mixed emotions when we pulled out of Regina on the morning of August 30th. We were heading off to beautiful British Columbia and we were excited, nervous, happy and sad all at the same time. You see, we were moving our youngest daughter, Emily, to her new home in Kelowna and while we were happy she was going to further her education and enhance her Marketing Analyst career we were sad that it was going to be two provinces away. Sometimes, though, you’ve got to take the good with the bad.
            I had been out to the Left Coast only once a long, long time ago, when I was nine-years-old, and Deb had never been further into the Rockies than the Frank Slide site so we were pretty excited about the site-seeing and somewhat nervous about the mountain driving.
            Not so long ago Emily had driven to the coast and she is a competent and confident driver and was totally comfortable driving through the mountains. I, on the other hand, didn’t really know what to expect and I was just hopeful that I didn’t become part of the scenery while looking at it. So we headed out with me in one vehicle and Emily and Deb in Em’s car. Luckily, arrangements had been made for the largest amount of her belongings to arrive in Kelowna a day or two after we did so we didn’t have to pull a trailer or U-haul, or anything, so that was a blessing.
            We got off to an interesting start as we had picked Calgary as our first overnight stop and we booked a room online at “Calgary’s newest and hippest” hotel-Aloft. It was easily accessible off of Highway #1, affordable and looked pretty cool. It was a little disconcerting, though, when we pulled into the parking lot on Saturday night and it looked like we’d arrived at a “Ladies of the Evening” convention or a “Stripper’s Are Us” outlet. It was only a pre-University private pool party going on and it didn’t affect our stay too much. Debbie and Emily strongly suggested that I stick to “Nature’s Natural Wonders” for sightseeing on the rest of the trip, though. An argument could be made about the definition of “natural” but let’s not go there, shall we?
            The whole trip covered over 3200 kilometers of travel and the worst driving conditions we experienced were between Calgary and Canmore. Apparently, Labour Day Long Weekend Sunday could possibly be one of the worst times to pick to drive that piece of the Trans Canada Highway. It was side-by-side, bumper-to-bumper 130kms/hour for as far as the eye could see on the highway. The good news is that it made driving the rest of the 3000-odd kilometers a lot less nerve-racking.
            When they say “Beautiful” British Columbia they really mean it. We haven’t said “wow” that many times in a week for a long, long time. We were also blessed with great weather and the only non-sunny day happened to be the day that Bobby “Bouche” Byrnell arranged a helicopter ride for us over Shuswap Lake while we were visiting him, Bridgette and the girls in Scotch Creek. The description of that helicopter ride is a whole article in itself. Again…WOW!
            The Okanogan Valley runs from Valemount in the north of the valley to Osoyoos in the south. The scenery is some of the most majestic and beautiful in the world. The vineyards, orchards and resorts make it a must-see destination. We drove in the beauty, we walked in the beauty, we golfed in the beauty, we flew in the beauty and we sat and stared at the beauty.
            We travelled #1 highway out and #3 highway back in an attempt to make the most out of the limited time we had allowed ourselves. We packed a lot of activity into those seven days and we have already begun planning a return trip with more time penciled in to explore a lot of sites that we didn’t make time for this go around.
            As we watched the mountain beauty shrink in the rearview mirror there were no mixed emotions this time. There was only one…sadness. We were leaving the majestic, awesome beauty that is B.C and, more importantly, our daughter in her new surroundings in Kelowna. She’s in great hands, though, with her life-long best friend, Bethany Hilderman, living there, too, and her old Moose Jaw roommate sharing the living arrangements again but, still, we came home without her and that wasn’t an easy thing to do. Then again, on the other hand, it gives us the best reason to make a return trip.

            “The mountains are calling and I must go.”-John Muir-Scottish naturalist and preservationist (1838-1914).

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