Culture Shock, Off the Road and Into the Bosom of Family!
24.07.2011 - 25.07.2011
By the time we made it to Kamloops and our campsite at Paul Lake Provincial Park I had a weird feeling that I can only describe as culture shock. We had started the day in the uninhabited Ice Fields with its soaring beauty and freezing temperatures and ended the day in the hot, desert-like climate of Kamloops. The dramatic glaciers and mountains of the morning had been replaced by softly rolling hills and odd looking sparse vegetation less than 10 hours later; we went from glacier to desert in one day and the feeling was oddly unsettling.
Our campsite at Paul Lake was comfortable and inviting. As the sky darkened into evening (much earlier than it had the previous night) the stars began to show themselves. I felt somewhat comforted when I located The Big Dipper...almost as if I could assure myself I was still on my home planet (that’s how disoriented I felt). An evening of stargazing by the fire was the plan but the sleeplessness of the previous night made for slightly cranky and exhausted kids so we turned into our respective tents very early.
Simon was the first one up the following morning- one of the nice things about going to bed at the same time as the kids is that Simon and I still awaken relatively early and they sleep in so we get some quality alone time. I could hear Simon moving around the campsite and I waited in the comfort of my tent while he got all the fixings for tea (the propane stove, pot, water from the water tap a short walk away and the tea bags unearthed from our food crates in the van). I perfectly timed the emergence from my tent just as the water was coming to a boil- lovely! We spent almost 2 hours reading and enjoying the relative warmth of the morning as the sun made its way into our campsite. The kids had to be awakened around 8:00am so that we could have breakfast, pack up, get to the Kamloops skate park and then complete the 5 or 6 hours of driving that day.
Having made the decision to get to Vancouver by dinnertime we both felt like horses going for the barn- we were ready to be off the road for a while. However, a stop at the highly recommended Kamloops skate park was a must so we got Simon a Tim Horton’s and headed for the park. The kids (Max particularly) had a blast at the largest and most beautiful skate park any of us has ever seen. Max wowed us with his best tricks for over 90 minutes and then it was time to hit the road for our last day of driving for a while.
Even though we were anxious to reach our destination, we had decided to take The Trans Canada highway which is the more scenic route into Vancouver (to make up for missing the really scenic route when we diverted into Kamloops). It was an awesome scenic drive and also rather challenging- strong winds, rain on and off and lots of constructions waits. It was not the kind of drive where the driver sets cruise control and kicks back to let the car do the work but it was worth the stunning vistas as we wended our way through the Rockies.
We made it to my brother’s house by dinner time and we were all delighted to see my side of our western family! We have been together since last summer and my two nephews are now BOTH taller than me. After spilling out of our van yet again (I can only ever think of Cheech and Chong) we settled in, placed an enormous Thai food order and got down to the business of catching up and thoroughly enjoying the magic of reuniting with adored loved ones.
We had completed yet another leg of our journey and the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment was considerable as we turned into our comfy, cozy beds that night. As I was drifting off to sleep I felt like a little kid anticipating all the family fun that lay stretched out before us so invitingly in the week ahead!