It’s a winter wonderland outside. As I wake up and look out the window I see a wall of white from my bedroom window looking south. The trees are heavy with a coat of fresh snow. Today we are taking a road trip to Calgary which is North East from here, crossing my fingers for good driving conditions.
Join us as we drive, why don’t you . Here’s a link. It’s a pretty straight forward drive – main highways all the way. Don’t forget to take a look around as we drive by. I’ll try to point out anything of interest.
We LOVE Road Trips, Roop, Dave and Me. All of us for different reasons, Dave loves to drive, the longer and more challenging, the more fun for him, I love the time to think and quietly process what’s going on around me in the moment and over the past week or two and Roop just likes anything that involves spending time with his Peeps. He especially likes taking long snoozes while we coast along the highway and he makes happy pug noises. This makes us both smile – at him and at each other. And then he snores as these squishy faced doggies often do. We laugh quietly at his awesome super-cuteness.
Driving and thinking and lightly snoozing, we’ve all been listening to an Audiobook three-part series for a couple of weeks now which in total will offer 50+ hours of listening entertainment in 3 or 4 books by the time we are done. We are all rapt listeners to The Fear Saga. We finished book one and will be starting book two on this trip and by the time we roll back into Fernie on Sunday morning we will be well into Book 3.
Along the way we drive through the Crossnest Pass and see the first of a series of 15-20 windmills, many of which are not visible from the road in the day’s overcast conditions.
What is the Crowsnest Pass? It is composed of a valley running East -West through Crowsnest Ridge. From Alberta the Crowsnest River flows East from Crowsnest Lake draining into the Oldman River and ultimately Hudson’s Bay via the Nelson River further in the interior of BC. The weather conditions in the Pass can be quite treacherous and it’s is often closed during particularly bad winter weather conditions. If you ever find yourself stuck on the BC side of the Pass, just double back to Fernie and find our house. Friends are always welcome here.
We turn left onto highway 22 also known as The Cowboy Trail and along this often dangerous, treacherous and sometimes violently windy route (it can get wind gusts greater than 100km/hr – enough to topple a truck or two) but the day is quiet, calm and safe today. The road serves as a divider between mountains and prairies. On both sides of the road are cattle ranches and at one point we roll by the Livingstone Colony, the entrance to which sports a sign warning travelers to “enter at own risk”. This intriques me so, of course, I google it to discover that this is an Hutterite community.
(As an aside:the picture below I’ve copied from someone else’s description of the Pass and Hwy 22 and while not seen by us on this trip or indeed ever on this road it seems appropriate to include it in my description of our road trip.)
We pass two big vultures sitting in a tree, eyeing us as we cruise past them and then a gaggle of crows feasting on something dead, bloody and now unrecognizable, perhaps killed earlier by those satisfied-looking vultures now whiling away the hours in their favourite tree with a view.
It’s a three hour drive and after 2 hours we are entering Calgary city limits. It’s still a dull, overcast day and it reminds me of other dull days that got brighter with time. Today will be one of those Its our anniversary and we are heading into the “big city” to celebrate 14 years! We are both happy and smiling on this trip so far!
Two guys (looks like father and son)are standing in the shallow water of the Bow River as we cross the bridge, and I’m wondering what brought them here so early Saturday morning.
It’s not like coming home. We have not liked this city from the beginning both of us for different reasons. Here come those nasty little regret fuckers, pushing their way into my Anniversary weekend, like party-pooping unwanted guests that don’t realize they are unwelcome and should quickly leave before they bring us all down. They hang around until I focus on happy thoughts and my feelings change and follow this new, more welcome focus. Today is going to be GREAT!
We have been winding up our fledgling retirement businesss of hosting short term Airbnb vacation rental properties but we still have a couple of properties left in the inner core of the city and that’s where we are headed now – to a highrise condo downtown, on the 32nd floor facing the city. We arrive and settle in, tune into some Spotify on our Sonos system.
The office towers are brightly lit on this Saturday early evening, which is also Earth Day – but the lights are still shining brightly in this Cow Town. Dave takes in the view from the balcony and returns with this “people-killing” icicle that was hanging from the floor above.
We leave the icicle melting in the bathtub and head out for dinner. We are going to a restaurant called Oxbow in Kensington’s Riverside Inn. When this was the Chef’s Table a few years ago it was our favourite for an amazing kitchen, waitstaff and tasting menu. We arrive on time for our 7:15pm reservaton and the place is already packed (a good sign). I have sweet potato gnocci and oven roasted lamb, Dave has steak tartare and flank steak. For dessert I have espresso creme brulee and Dave has baked apple tart with cheddar ice cream. We each have a glass of muscatel to end the dinner portion of the night.
And then it’s back to our little pied a terre downtown where we reminisce about that day 14 years ago when we decided to tie our lives to one aother. We’ve had a blip, as most couples do at some point in their relationships but that’s gone now and the stroke has made us stronger and more committed than ever. We have no regrets on this matter.
We wake up the next morning in YYC on our big tall bed with a pug in between us. He has survived the night without incident -(As an aside: he will often finish the night on the floor in his own bed if he is too noisy during the night. But quelle surprise – here he is snoozing away, making the happy,sighing noises of a contented pug – he’s a good boy and we love him.)
We agree that dinner was fantastic but next anniversary we want to be somewhere else.
The weekend’s other surprise is me walking without aid at all. I’ve been practising every day and today, I’ve left the hiking pole in our bedroom and walk around the condo free of aid. (not very gracefully but who cares at this point, I’m standing tall and straight, chest out – graceful is a nice-to-have that may or may not come with time. And I take Roop’s leash and walk him down to the parking garage. This means I can attempt to take him for one or more of his daily walkies when we are back home. He’s a strong little dog but my balance is good and so is my strength and I’m walking on my own now!
This is definitely a milestone worth noting, along the lines of when I began leaving my wheelchair at home, having the confidence to believe I can get through whatever I encounter on my own two feet.
Sunday morning is bright, crisp and clear for our return journey and the Book 3 of the Fear Saga continues to entertain us all the way home.
And then we are back home in our happy little corner of the world. Today’s feature image is me in L.A. the day before we left for Fiji on our wedding trip. The image below is taken on Saturday morning, just before leaving Fernie for our 14th Anniversary dinner in Calgary.