Monday, July 11, 2016

A tale of travel - Or What I did for the long weekend

Road trip!

At the start of the month, I packed a bag, gassed up my car, and headed north over the Canada Day long weekend to visit my friend and fellow romance writer,  Sadie Haller. She lives on the same island as I do, but that doesn't mean she lives nearby. The island I live on is roughly as long as the states of Washington and Oregon together, and I drove an awful lot of it last weekend. 

I set out at six am with a few snacks and a bottle of Diet Coke. Given the unholy hour of the morning, I made great time the first half of the trip. Just under 300 km in three and a half hours, including a quick bite to eat part way. I love highway driving!  Zoom! The only downside was that it was raining, not an auspicious beginning to a long weekend mini-vacation. Ah well, can't have everything.
(Little did I know that it was the last time I would see the sun for three whole days...)

Things got more interesting when I hit the halfway mark. Also known as (the end of civilization as I knew it.) I had agreed to pick up Sadie's groceries on the way in, because when you live 3+ hours away from a town, making a quick run for milk is not a simple thing. This far into lumberjack and fisherman country, my hot pink and teal hair raised some eyebrows and garnered me some stares. I was now in the land of plaid and it was clear to all and sundry that I was not a local. *cue the distant sound of "Dueling Banjos."*  Okay, I'm exaggerating a little, but not much!

With the backseat of my Kia now laden down with 40 kilos of shelling peas, pop, and other groceries, I headed off again for the second half of my trip. where things got interesting. Ten minutes out of town the cell service died. I was prepared for that, which is why I had printed off maps of my journey. No more Google Maps for me! 

The road I was on grew increasingly less road-like with every passing kilometre, and soon I was surrounded by tall trees, stunning vistas, and an impressive number of trucks pulling boats to their various long weekend fishing spots. As the road degraded, my speed decreased, and within an hour I was toodling along at about 50km/h watching for wildlife and good places to stop and take pictures. (click on pics to see enlarged version)

Trees, mountains, and a paved road...for now
The further I drove, the more remote things got. The traffic thinned, then vanished.The lines on the road came to stop, and then, so did the pavement. Soon, the road looked like this and was marked with signs stating "Active logging road, yield to all oncoming vehicles" and "Narrow Bridge ahead."

When they say narrow, they mean this: 

I drive a Kia hatchback and I was very aware of the steep drop off on either side of this very narrow bridge. Taking it with a truck and boat or a logging truck would be like threading a needle at 60 km/h. 

About this point, I stopped taking pictures because the road narrowed too much to allow for a safe place to pull over. Plus I was too busy looking for elk, bears, other assorted wildlife and logging trucks to be keeping an eye out for pretty photo opportunities. 

Eventually, I arrived at my destination, found my way to Sadie's, and was greeted with hugs, two very friendly dogs, and an offer of coffee. (Note: Sadie makes the BEST coffee on the planet.) 

The weekend was so much fun. We talked, drank wine, and talked some more. We went for a walk with the dogs where I found myself surrounded by thick forest on a path lined with huckleberries as a chorus of birds trilled and sang. There were flocks of hummingbirds coming and going from the feeder out front, and the mountains were permanently shrouded in mist, tucking is into a grey and misty cocoon. 

Sunday morning came far too quickly. Tired, happy, and with a head full of plot bunnies, advice, and fond memories, I tossed my bag into my car, wiped off the back window enough to be able to see out, and headed home. 
At the time, I thought this was what "dirty" looked like.

A few hours after departure, I finally found pavement again. Along the way I'd spotted a black bear cub, several pheasants, numerous squirrels, and a surprising number of cyclists. 

I had to stop at the first rest area I came to for another wipedown of my vehicle because driving without a rear window, visible license plate or brake lights is somewhat frowned upon by law enforcement. Above was the "before" picture. what my poor little hatchback looked like after the drive out:

(Author's note, it's been a week now and that car has been hosed off twice and gone through a car wash on "super clean" setting and it's still dusty.)

It was a wonderful visit, and I have no doubt I'll do it again. Next time I'll try to take more pictures. 

I hope that whatever you did on your long weekend it was full of fun, laughter and fond memories.