Friday, 13 February 2015

Road Trip Day

It's a road trip day, the best possible kind of day there can be. I feel free when I am driving, as if ALS didn't exist at all. Nobody can see that I need a wheelchair; all they see is a bloody big Ford F-150 with a man sitting behind the wheel, a big smile on his face. The road itself offers freedom, with nothing behind me and adventure on the horizon. I must confess that on a great many nights, on my way home from the pub I hit 16th Avenue here in Calgary headed west, the road which is also Canada's Highway 1, and think to myself "Maybe I should just keep heading west. By tomorrow I could be on the coast."

Of course some level of sanity cuts in after the thought and I sadly head home, home to my bed, home to my cozy apartment, home for another night's sleep. Perhaps one day I will keep going. For today I have the joy of heading out on the road in a few minutes, headed for Fairmont Hot Springs, high in the Rocky Mountains. I am not going alone this time; Katherine is coming too.

The road itself is a combination of the familiar and the not so familiar. None of it is new; I have tramped and traveled almost every highway in BC, as well as most roads across Canada. Today we will head out the well known path to Banff and towards Lake Louise. About 45 minutes past Banff, we will head up into the high mountains, winding ever upwards until the mountain peaks appear near at hand, crossing the top in snow burdened alpine meadows.

From the summit we will snake our way down the highway, slither through the narrow pass carved in the rock, then on into Radium. From there we will head down the Columbia/East Kootenay Valley, south to our final destination, an old lodge with beautiful hot springs and terrific skiing. Since I don't ski, this will be a weekend of rest and relaxation, admiring the incredible scenery that makes BC famous.

I've been in discussions with the manager of the Fairmont Hots Springs Lodge. Their only truly accessible room, the one with a wheelchair shower, has no view at all; it looks into a brick wall. So we have decided to take a "regular" room, one with a standard bathroom. The manager took the time and effort to get a wheelchair and make sure it fits in the room itself, and into the bathroom. He also made sure that I could get around and warned me of difficult areas I might encounter.

I don't demand that hotels make special accommodations for me. What I demand is honesty. The manager understands that people will work with him if he works with them. He has tried very hard to make sure Katherine and I have a great weekend. I am going to do the same. I expect it will be a great day today. After all, it's a road trip day.

1 comment:

  1. In my humble opinion, there is nothing like Beautiful British Columbia to help soothe the soul. I'm stuck in Alberta too (well, I shouldn't say stuck, it's my choice) but my heart is still back in BC. Hopefully that will change in the next while, we shall see. I hope you both enjoy this getaway, it sounds wonderful! :)