Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sea to Sea Sept 8 2011

DAY ONE  Friday September 2nd
Sunshine all day!

We managed to be all packed up and set off about 8:30 a.m. but somewhere around 23rd and Oak, it occurred to me to wonder if I had locked the front door.  Why worry for 6 weeks?  We went back and checked and set off again about 9:00 – the door was locked. 

David, Spencer, Wendy, Richard, Nicole

Highway #1 to Hope and north through the mountains to Kamloops and then to Revelstoke to see Nicole, David and little Spencer.   Nicole’s new baby is due tomorrow – she is very pregnant and very ready for the baby to arrive but also seemed relaxed and happy to have her Mum with her to help with the new addition.
Overnight camping in rest stop
We stayed for dinner and then left to find a spot to stop for the night – a bit difficult in the dark but our first campsite, if it can be called that, was a rest stop abut 15 km from Revelstoke – perfectly comfortable and not too noisy from the road.
690 km.

DAY TWO  Saturday, 3rd.  First fright – a fire! 
Sunshine all day!

Early morning drama when I lit the stove to make tea.  After a few minutes, I thought it was taking rather a long time and stared at the burner – wisps of smoke, not steam, were coming out from under the kettle. Richard!  I tried to turn the gas off but then, to my horror, discovered that the knob had melted and I could not turn it.  Richard leapt out of the camper to turn off the gas at the tank, then jumped back in & grabbed the fire extinguisher.  The gas stove burnt itself out. Very puzzling but also a problem of course – I had used the stove perfectly happily and with no such problem before.  We discovered the charred and shrivelled remains of a box of matches under that burner – that too was a mystery – why hadn’t it burst into flame not simply got charred?  We tried the other burner –the knob began to soften!
We turned it all off and resorted to our camp stove and drove off mystified.

Richard solved the mystery…because it rattled, we had removed the grill and forgot to replace it.  Now it sits on the stove and the rattle treated with a cloth under the feet – no rattle and now to find new knobs!

A huge breakfast in a funky diner in Golden; slabs of real ham that we took with us for lunch sandwiches.  Pictures of Elvis covered one wall, booths and tables in red vinyl, chrome legs and arms on the chairs and tables, neon strip lights. The waitress must have been hired to suit the décor and ambience – wiry, black pants and cardigan,  an apron, and at least 50, she was efficient and around all the time with the coffee pot.

Castle Mountain.  R climbed here in 1965

Dropped in on Lake Louise – along with 3,000 other cars in the layers of parking lots – glimpsed the glacier and lake and decided a longer visit another time.

Drove (Richard did, while I knitted a baby cardigan for a friend’s new little girl) and took a 180 km diversion to Drumheller.  Well worth the trip but alas we did not realize the time change and thought we had a good two hours for the museum but in fact had only an hour – not nearly enough time for this marvellous display. But better than nothing.  Many life size dinosaurs set in typical habitat as well as detailed stories around the finding of specimens and even visual access to the workroom where one man was working with a microscope and a young woman scraped away at a piece of rock with a dental pick.  Richard managed to buy a model triceratops before the till closed and we were all herded out by an impatient troop of young guards, one of whom informed me that the museum had been closed for two minutes.  Oh well…
Not to give up on the experience too soon, we walked the interpretive trail in the badlands – the natural environs that each year eroded and yielded up more of the treasures the archaeologists were examining. 

Left at 6:00 p.m. for Medicine Hat and were guided by the GPS to the centre of town.  Streets empty.  Two restaurants – a “public eatery” for the young and deaf, and a more sedate place for the rest of us – kitchen closed – it was 8:45 – but salads available –so we shared a wickedly expensive ½ litre of wine and had great salads made by the owner who had immigrated to marry a school boyfriend she hadn’t seen for almost 30 years. 

Praire Campsite
About 10:00 p.m we went in search of a spot to stop for the night – difficult in the dark but we found a side road where we could see nothing in either direction and parked for the night.

DAY THREE  Sept 4th
Sunshine all day – again!  Wonderful to have clear blue skies and sun all the way.

After morning tea, we set off for Swift Current and Weyburn and Brandon, Manitoba.

Oil well near Weyburn. R worked  on these in 1962
Again a generous breakfast with great ham – none of that skinny tasteless pressed stuff – at a pretty run down looking place that was in fact clean and had good food with their born-to-be-there waitress.  How many young people would be willing to work in such an out of the way place next to nowhere!.
Remembering our long ago first drive across Canada immediately after our wedding, we detoured a little into Weyburn where we spent a couple of months near the oil wells – quite a pretty little town of which we had no recollection. 

Brandon Campsite

Found a real campsite – a grassy rest stop with picnic tables – for our overnight stay just the other side of Brandon.  Since it was already dark and 9 p.m. by the time we got there, we could only appreciate the tables from a distance!

Mostly drove, looked out at the golden land, listened to audiobooks, couldn’t find CBC on the radio, finished the baby cardigan and started on Alex’s sweater.

DAY FOUR  Sept 5th   
Sunshine all day!

Terry Fox monument - Sault St Marie
 Monday – everywhere closed, except the gas stations and their snack shelves.

Drove and listened and knitted and looked out and stopped for tea and got to Thunder Bay and searched for a place to stop, again in the dark, and found a side road and an unoccupied fire station with a substantial grassy surround out of the range of the huge searchlights that lit up the building.  Went to bed early, ready to leave early.

DAY FIVE  Sept 6th.
Sunshine all the way!
We are pretty much focused on getting to Ottawa now and not stopping much.  The road is straight for the most part, and like most of the roads since we left BC, have little traffic so we move steadily.  I drove for a few hours today – converted by Richard to the benefits of using cruise control.  Trees and more trees and then more trees on this northern route with a few isolated hamlets.  

Many lakes and many rest stops.  We finally took a break at one of these in the afternoon and had a swim and lunch at a picnic table.  Very pleasant and no one around so we didn’t get our bathing suits wet but did forget the towel I put out on the railing to dry ….no great loss! 

We stopped for the night just past Cochrane, backed in among the trees at a fairly secluded rest stop.  A little bit more off the road, that is!

DAY SIX    September 7th

Modern horse & side arm.  N. Ontario
Set off without tea or breakfast and I drove to Kapaskasing where we found a good place to eat – almost nowhere to stop before that – just miles of road and lakes at every turn it seemed.  Quite pretty, some open country and farms, a few sheep and cattle but mostly trees.

North Bay and Ottawa only 200km away. 

Just drove and looked out now and again to a familiar scene of trees and more trees and the odd hamlet.
Wendy writing blog in Ottawa campsite

Are on Day Four of our music lecture series – into the Renaissance today and the turning away from isorhythm and toward musica reservata and many technical innovations.  Lots to learn!

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