Sunday, June 30th, 2013
Today was the day! After 6 long days on the road today I was to reach my final destination. My new digs and my new life on the West Coast of Canada!
It was going to be a long day so we were up and on the road by 4:30am.
Our original planned route took us over a piece of highway called “The Connector” which runs between Kelowna and Merrit, however, after talking with Tanya’s cousin who drives tour buses between Calgary and Vancouver we decided against it.
“The Connector” is a pretty incredible feat of engineering (It is the yellow road labelled 97C on the map below). This road does not follow the general rules of mountain driving. Most mountain roads take you though the valleys, this one takes you straight up and over the top of the mountain. It is 60 kilometres up and 60 kilometres down and it is a beast for any vehicle pulling a load. Tanya’s bus-driving cousin warned us that on a hot day like the one we were facing we were very likely to burn out the engine on the way up or the brakes on the way down. Neither option seemed appealing to me so we decided to go the long way around which provided a gentler slope. So a bit of back-tracking was required as we headed North back up the Okanagan Valley to Kamloops and on from there. The detour added 177 kilometres and almost 2 hours to our trip. However, if there was one thing I’d learned with the falling rock the day before, its that you don’t press your luck with these temperamental giants.
The drive was, again, beautiful and our truck did fine with our newly planned route. We did see a few trucks broken down on the Coquihalla Pass so I was pleased that we had heeded the warnings we had been given.
Being old pros at this travelling thing, we made really good time and were able to catch an earlier ferry than expected. Waiting for the boat was the first time I had a chance to reflect on all that had happened in the past six days. It was a whirlwind tour with very little sleep or down-time. What an incredibly large country we live in that we could have pushed that hard with such long driving days and it still take six days to arrive at our destination.
We sat waiting for the ferry, exhausted, deshevelled and tired. Tired to the point of giddiness. I reviewed the past days in my mind, turned to Tanya and said,
“I haven’t showered since Minneapolis.”
We both burst out laughing as I dug out my deodorant for some much needed reapplication. This, I found, was difficult to do discreetly while surrounded by windows… which sent Tanya back into rollicks of laughter. In actual fact, it had only been two and a half days since my last shower but Minneapolis seemed like weeks ago and I suddenly felt the strong urge to go for a swim.
The ferry ride to the island was breath-taking.
I stood at the back of the boat and watched the mainland disappear from view. What a strange feeling to be separated from everything by a large body of water. I have to say it was actually a freeing feeling for me. It felt like all the things that I had wanted to leave behind; all those things in my life that I was trying to get away from were stuck on the mainland and I was sailing away from them. All those things that I was leaving behind that I loved – I could teach them how to follow me. But those things that were no longer welcome in my new life could never find me here. It was like going to my own personal Rivendell. (re: Lord of the Rings) I could see a wall of mountains towering in the distance like a great fortress holding out evil. If the walls were breached there was the giant moat that served as a second barrier of protection. If my troubles were able to traverse the treacherous waters successfully, they would still have to find me on the island and that would be no easy task either.
So I stood there and said goodbye to all that had hurt me in my past life.
Then I moved to the front of the boat to look forward to my new life ahead.
I really love road trips but I have to say that there is something special about travelling by boat. It is such a peaceful form of transportation. As we skimmed the water, the sea breeze wafted over us and all the stress seems to be stripped from me and thrown into the sea.
My body instinctually took deep slow breaths of fresh ocean air my eyes drank in the beauty all around me. For those moments… loveliness was all I could see.
It’s an hour and a half ferry ride to the island and Tanya and I soaked in the sun and the beauty till the last moment.
Then we were back in our rig for the final leg of the journey. The drive from the ferry to my house is mountainous and beautiful but I was so excited I could hardly enjoy it. I was almost there! The journey was almost over!
We turned off the highway; worked our way through the maze of country roads passing sheep and vineyards, fields and orchards.
We rolled through the gates and onto the property. The roar of our engine tore through the silence like fire through the forest. It seemed almost sacrilegeous to drive this obnoxious creature into the peacefulness.
We turned off the engine and slipped into tranquility.
I stepped out of the truck and was overwhelmed by a feeling I had almost forgotten. A feeling I had not felt in over twenty years.
I felt home.