Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oh Canada...A Harrowing Travel Tale

When my Mom asked me to drive to Kelowna, BC with her for Veteran's day weekend, I was elated. A weekend trip to visit my oldest sister, meet my brother in law, and niece. Initially my sister Dana had planed to join, but opted out due to sickness the night before. That was our first sign of a Liminity Snicket series of events.  The night before, I packed, gathered the gifts I intended to bring to the hosts (including but not limited to a red hooded sweatshirt for my sister's beagle, a photo mobile, and a Pez dispenser), I wrote Alex a tiny love note for each day I was gone, and slept like a big old baby. Check, check, check, check, check. It's five a.m on Veteran's Day (Happy Veteran's Day world), I'm wrapped in a blanket, bags in hand, headed to Canada.

My mom and I were in great spirits, beautiful sunrise to enjoy, no traffic, great weather, the works. By the time we got to the boarder, we get in like a cinch (even though my mom had practice every scenario the boarder patrol might ask "well you  see officer, we are merely visiting my daughter, and  are only bringing homemade pickles" she would say to me in the car). And we're in! Canada is stunning, picturesque mountain views, vast valleys... Canadian license plates. We were having such good time, we were certainly going to make it to our desitination early, 3pm... maybe 2pm? We were laughing and laughing at the difference in town names and street signs (the hard laughter that you can't control, lack of airflow, and potential to pee your pants). Tell me Chilliwack, and Fukawaga don't put a smile on that sweet face of yours!

We drive through a town called Hope headed straight to the Mountain Pass. This is the point where we start lose hope...all hope (ok ok, I know it's dramatic, but it's the least I can do to compensate for the title).  All of the sudden, we find ourselves bumper to bumper in a slushy, icy, snowstorm. Yes, a snowstorm, and you know Oregonians don't do snow, let alone snowstorms (that's like vegetarians eating Turducken). At this point, the beautiful sun reflecting on the fall leaves was gone, and everything was white, grey, and miserable. It was weird, but on this pass things got particularly bad.  Cars were sliding off the road, there was a jackknifed semi truck, people were driving slowly past on the highway going the opposite way saying things like "turn back now" "it's not too late" (yes, just like the beginning of a haunted house). It had been 7 hours since we ate, and we were convinced if we didn't eat the Pez I brought for my niece, we would starve right there on that pass (sorry Ecko). By the time a third minivan conveying harrowing news of an impassible pass, passed, we decided to hop the fence at any chance we could, and head back down the mountain.  Our chance came, when there was a small break in the median, and my mom flipped a u-turn (as she said) on the freeway "I just flipped a Uturn on the freeway" (don't worry, we were going under 10 miles per hour).

We ended up staying the night in a 100 year old hotel in Chilliwack (real name of the town). The above photos paint our one night stay... We will try again in the summer.

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