British Columbia

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I’ve always considered British Columbia to be my lucky charm — though perhaps the opposite is true. The first six times I traveled to the west coast of Canada the weather was perfect — sunny skies with nary a drop of rain. Every single time for visits that ranged from 3 to 10 days in every season of the year.

I began to suspect people in BC were lying about all the rain they got as a ploy to keep everyone in Canada from moving there. Of course, trip seven and eight more than made up for it. Torrential downpours and endless fog. Still, in subsequent visits I’ve seen more sun than anything else so my lucky string is still holding out.

But my luck hasn’t ended with the weather. During one particularly bad fire season I was heading to Salmon Arm. The previous days the roads had been closed due to encroaching fires and smoke but just as I arrived the fires were pushed back and I made it through — only to have them close again behind me until the day I was scheduled to leave.

Another time, in April, the main route out of Grand Forks back to Calgary was closed by snow. Following a map that showed an alternative way, we proceeded on smaller and smaller roads — from multi-lane blacktop to paved two-lane to gravel and finally to a muddy dirt road that wound its way up the side of a mountain. At one point we were on a stretch of single lane rutted trail (that we found out had only opened the day before) nearly a thousand feet above a beautiful lake. If we had met another vehicle I have no idea how we would have managed. But we didn’t and eventually we were back on gravel, paved road and after a ferry ride, the main highway home. We thereafter referred to it as super highway 44.

The best luck I ever had also involved a trip to Grand Forks to visit Liz’s parents. As the visit was coming to a close we took a day trip to Osoyoos. It was beautiful and warm (this was late May) and the lake was lovely. But I said it’s not like the ocean. So, on the spur of the moment we decided to go to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. With nary a thought to logistics we set off — arriving at the ferry terminal just in time to be the very last car allowed on the boat — avoiding a two hour wait. When we got to Port Alberni we thought — we don’t have a hotel reservation — but on our third try we got a cabin right on the beach.

We planned on only a couple of days but the weather was spectacular. In fact the five days we eventually stayed were the warmest ever recorded for that time of year in Tofino. That was only about 20C but with the pounding surf of the open Pacific and the long stretches of virtually empty beaches it was grand. We finally had to leave and although the return visit wasn’t so perfectly timed (a three hour wait in Nanaimo for the boat for example) it did involve an overnight stay in a hotel in Revelstoke which had a hot tub right in the bedroom.

And that’s ten minutes.

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