Monday, August 17
All day, we sped along the highway between Kelowna and Vancouver, weaving our way between the mountains, spiraling up and then down again on roads built for cars traveling at 110 Km per hour. At just 100 kmph our little Honda Fit seems to be flying. I’m sure glad Tom willingly does the driving. As I looked down over the three foot concrete barriers into a valley several thousand feet below, I gave thanks that this morning I promised to do the driving on the prairies. Long and straight and level had to be easier. The car slowed to 75 kmph and was still climbing. At times I was sure we were heading for the top of the world. Reaching the summit of this mountain, we looked out over a vast ocean of trees. Here and there, scars created by clear cut logging marched across the landscape. I had felt anger when reading about clear cutting. Actually seeing the desecration brought shame, shame for my part in our consumer driven society.
The roller coaster ride continued through long skinny toothpick trees.At times I felt as if we were going to drive right off the edge of a mountain. “Check your gas,” the sign said. “The next community is 110 km.” Even today, habitation is sparse. My mind turned to our past. Imagine having the courage and determination to unite this beautiful, wild country of hours into one nation. Building the tracks on the edges of these mountains was an amazing feat. For a few moments I had a glimpse of the human cost, and human faith it took to build the railway tracks on the sides of these mountains. I can only imagine the joy and exhilaration the founding fathers felt when that last spike was driven and there was a transportation link from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.
My thoughts were jerked back to the present as Tom applied the brakes and geared down. “It’s an eight percent grade,” he said.
I closed my eyes and prayed.
“Look,” there’s a snowshed,” he said, and took one hand off the wheel to point.
I dragged my eyes from the road to look ahead. It’s a tunnel, I thought, as we entered the darkness. The mountain is flowing down over us.
Back out in the sunlight, I saw the run away lanes – roads leading off to the right and almost straight up the mountain. I took a deep breath as a huge transport pulled alongside and then past. My ears were popping when we finally leveled out. Before I could unclench my hands and relax my knees we had started up again. Good thing we didn’t bring the trailer, flashed through my mind. Our little truck would never have done it.
The day wore on as we flew through the beauty of towering mountains, and deep rock cuts. Finally, the ground began to level out. The coastal plain and Vancouver welcomed us. It was just three o’clock when we approached the ferry dock. Traffic surrounded us and stopped. A man wearing a reflector vest and a big smile, leaned into the car window.
“Got a reservation?”
In all innocence Tom shook his head.
“When the traffic starts up move into the left lane. You’ll probably make the 5:20 or the 6:00,” he said and waved his hand.
Groaning, we did as were told.
“Oh well,” I said. “We’ll just go straight to our motel. Let’s eat on the ferry.”
We had a long wait and we had time with friendly people. I sold a copy of my book, Can I Hold Him? And gave a couple of people my business card.
The ferry ride was magical. The food was great.
By 7:15 we were once again rolling down the highway. The road still twisted and turned but the mountains had turned into hills. The sun was just setting when we pulled into our motel, a secluded collection of cottages tucked away in the woods. We had booked two nights on the internet, on the description and mostly the price – $62.50 a night.
It’s just fine. Friendly people, very clean and even well-functioning wireless. What more could we ask? It’s time to settle down for a good night’s sleep.
Monday, August 17