The Crossing

The highways out of Manitoba in November are often not for the faint of heart.  Driving through prairie snow storms and on icy highways, over so many mountain passes, we migrated. We clocked  3117 kilometres, visiting friends, family and hot springs along the way. Finally we boarded the ferry. Hello Vancouver Island, once again.

This years crossing was without doubt the most comfortable. Who knew our little Tucker would be so expensive. He complained in the Westie, he complained in the Soul; so we bought him a truck and dedicated the back seat to his royal highness. Perched on the centre consul the entire way, he finally stopped complaining. I caught him smiling and at times, even napping. The truck was comfortable for Ray and I too, and allowed us to bring more toys (like backpacks, tent and golf clubs).

Regina

No one could accuse us of rushing. Our first morning started with a last pass-off to our house sitters, Judy and Greg. Already they’ve likely saved our hot tub from freezing solid, as the breaker went and, gone unnoticed would have been disastrous.

With my last blueberry pie and ice cream packed, we headed off to Regina for the evening, and a wonderful visit with the Kendel clan. You can choose your stop for the place or the people. When there are kids involved, missing a year of visits means a lot of catching up. This is one busy family!

Calgary

It’s a leisurely, and occasionally treacherous 7 hour drive from Regina to Calgary and the Kendel’s had taken care of breakfast for us. The new truck has a further range than any other vehicle we’ve owned, so we staged our stops a bit differently. Instead of stopping at gas stations every couple of hours, we stopped at beautiful, clean rest stops where Tuck didn’t even need his leash. We’d toss the ball and go for a walk, every stop at least 15 minutes. When we got to the dirty truck stops, Tucker stayed inside.

 

No trip through Alberta would be complete without a Costco stop.

It was Ray’s idea to stay in downtown Calgary. We arrived at our hotel in the heart of the city during rush hour, which in Calgary was actually surprisingly light. My guess is the extensive electric bus network is responsible. The only secure parking available was valet parking $25 and they wanted an exorbitant $75 extra for Tucker, so my reasonable $109  room just doubled in price. We struggled unloading everything we needed to unpack (we’re carrying a lot of stuff that can’t freeze) up to the 9th floor. Not the happiest arrival.

First things first, a walking tour of the city relieved any check-in tensions. Calgary is a beautiful city!  My fitbit said we walked 8.7 kilometres. We crossed the Bow River several times, Christmas lights decorating everything. It’s Saturday night and downtown is full of people, going to the theatre, skating, dining or like us, just going for a walk.  It feels completely safe. After such a long walk, we elected to retire for the evening and order pizza, and forget about the doubling price of our hotel room.

Fairmont Hot Springs

Ah…  Fairmont, time for some respite. We’ve camped here a few times but I think this has now been placed on the “must stop” list. We may stop for more than one night on the way home. The drive from Calgary is only four hours including stops so we arrived early enough to hike a bit before the sun set.

Checking in here was the opposite of Calgary. “I’m sorry, but we just noticed your dog request. We’ve had to move you, to a less expensive room.” “You can drive right down to it for easy unpacking.” Our back door opened directly into the private hot springs, and our less expensive room rate included wrist bans for the public pools. After a truly glorious 2 hour hike, we soaked in the hot mineral baths for hours. Wild Pacific Salmon burgers and craft beer in the bar topped off the evening. It seems we have arrived, British Columbia.

Osoyoos

Next stop, Peter and Chantel! Wouldn’t these two just decide to book a flight to Mexico for one of the two nights we were planning to visit them. One great evening will have to do. Tucker and Marshmallow got a bit of a visit, and we broke bread in the local tavern. The next morning we extended our visit by driving them to the airport in Kelowna. This son is a hard one to track down. Some day I suspect that might change.

Staying in Osoyoos is convenient for another annual visit, to my friend Mary-Ellen’s bakery in Keromeos. We stopped for a breakfast wrap and coffee, and a nice little visit, before heading “home”. We caught the 4 PM ferry so crossed in the dark. Our condo was ready for us, renters even left a bottle of very nice wine.

Home again.

So We're Off Then

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