Thursday, 24 April 2014

Road Trip Time Again

My friend Mike and I are headed on a road trip today, a two-week sojourn through the mountains and down to the coast, over to Vancouver Island and then home again. Most people making the run from Calgary to Vancouver head due west out of the city, driving hard into the high mountains, then down through the Shuswap and ultimately down the Coquihalla to Hope and the Fraser Valley. Mike has done that drive a few times; I must be well past dozens, with equal numbers of air flights over the same territory.

This time we are doing it differently. Mike has seen the "Highway 1" route. Now he will see the lower route, along Highway 3, also known as the Crow's Nest route. Today our plan is to head down through the Crow's Nest Pass and on to either Cranbrook, or if the driving is really good, perhaps Nelson. From there we will head across the West Kootenay country, up Slocan Lake, down the Arrow Lakes, across the ferry at Needles and through the Monashees on the Vernon-Slocan road. Once in the Okanagan Valley we will head for Kelowna.

We plan on staying in Kelowna for a couple of days. Mike has friends there he wants to visit; I have cousins there and I am looking forward to visiting with them. Then, on Sunday, we will head down to Vancouver. Once again we will take the road less traveled, the tourist route. From Kelowna we will head down the Okanagan Valley to Penticton, then through the Cascades via Keremeos and out the Hope-Princeton Highway, once again to the Fraser Valley.

This will be a touring trip, a drive of different views. Rather like life, you can approach the journey from the prairies to the coast in many different ways. Some are a hurried, frenzied dash to the sea, like the lower Fraser River, pounding down canyon walls and roaring through the narrow gaps in the mountains to reach the sea at Vancouver. Some roads, like the lazy rivers here on the prairies, wander their way slowly, sometimes here, sometimes there, taking in the land along the way. Some voyages, like the one Mike and I will undertake today and for the days to come, are a combination of all these things, of all possible routes.

The interesting thing about this analogy is the destination. We are all on a voyage, a voyage of life's discovery. Our destination remains the same regardless of the route we take to get there. We can be in a hurry when life demands a hurry; we can relax and enjoy the ride when life gives us time. Either way, we ultimately make our own choice about how we transit these mountains, how we move from high to low, how we curl and curve and cut our way to the sea. We are the rivers of people; living, breathing, sweeping from small beginnings, joining the bio-mass of our world, beginning and then ending. We are the voyage and the voyageurs, the trip and the traveler, all in one.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you guys! For most of the last few years, I've made at least one weekend trip to Ainsworth Hot Springs sometime in non-winter. The drive is beautiful, and the water gloriously hot. Unfortunately, I can't recommend a stop at those hot springs. While the hotel has a good, wide ramp, the pool's best access is a long-tread stairway

    But I will endorse the side trip to the ghost/museum town of Sandon, 20 minutes east of New Denver. At the very least, you can see the dozen or so electric trolley buses they have retired there. Highways 31 and 31A, along north Kootenay Lake (through Ainsworth), then cutting through the old lead/zinc mining country and ruins, make a good alternative to Highway 6 out of Nelson. Just don't stay on 31 past Kaslo, unless you want to play with logging trucks on a winding dirt road!

    Enjoy the trip!! I'm kinda jealous