Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta
From the 50s and 60s to today . . .
All of My Friends
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Ahh, Holidays. some are good. Some are . . .
Everyone has one.
At least once.
The trip from hell . . . umm . . . the terrible trip.
Ours began innocently enough. Organized, even.
We were going to repeat last year's dream trip to the west coast to visit my parents in Abbotsford, BC. But this year, we would continue out to Vancouver Island to go deep sea fishing with Uncle Bub.
We were . . . excited.
I had bought special toys and games for the kids to play on the way to keep them entertained.
Because the view of the Rocky Mountains out the window wouldn't be enough . . .
The car was packed with food and yummy things.
Our valiant little trailer was hooked on behind.
We were ready.
The trouble started about five hours in.
With a leaky hose.
Cars don't run well if they have a leaky hose.
We stopped in Prince George, BC, to try to get it fixed.
And found out that it was a strange-sized hose.
A little duct tape later, we were back on the road. Sort of.
Grant kept having to stop to add water.
Oh, and let out whichever child was next in line in the 'upchuck olympics'.
I should point out here that my Mom was right. Looking out the window during a trip was infinately better than playing toys or games.
Little stomachs obviously don't like toys and games.
An important point.
Moving on . . .
We were able to make it another four hours.
More car trouble.
We decided to take a break in Hope, BC.
A beautiful spot. Actually where the movie 'Rambo – First Blood' was filmed.
We pulled into the campground and carefully looked over the map, choosing a little spot back in the trees.
Isolated and quiet.
Until the trains started coming through.
The first blew its whistle at midnight.
For a few unforgettable moments, we thought we had somehow, inadvertantly, set up our tent trailer right on the tracks.
We had missed them by about six feet.
Trains in Canada are amazingly regular.
One sleepless night later, we were back on the road.
We limped into Abbotsford. And enjoyed a couple of days of much-needed bliss with my parents.
Then . . . that road again.
The ferry-ride was a little more expensive than we had anticipated.
But then, so was everything else.
We made it to the island.
For about half an hour.
Halfway to Uncle Bub's, the entire undercarriage of our faithful tent trailer gave way, skidding our little marvel along on its belly.
Grant pulled over and we surveyed the damage.
We had two choices.
Abandonment and despair and certain death.
Or unhooking the trailer, driving to the nearest town and securing repairs.
Fortunately, we went with his.
One of the kids stayed with me guarding the trailer (because, someone might steal it . . . with no wheels . . . okay, it seemed to make sense at the time . . .) while Husby drove off with everyone else.
We managed to get our trailer fixed, but we were stuck there for two days while the shop made the needed parts to repair it.
And used up every dime of our vacation savings to do it.
Finally, two days late and several dollars short, we limped (remember the car) into Uncle Bub's.
Only to find that the ocean was too rough to go out.
We waited a further two days, scanning the water eagerly each morning.
But the ocean had plans of it's own.
And they didn't include us.
Finally, defeated, we headed home.
The trip back was more of the same. Balky car. Sick kids.
The weather was good.
I have never been so glad to see the lights of home in my life.
We were taught several things on that ill-fated trip.
1. Don't buy toys and games for your kids to play on a trip if everyone is prone to car-sickness.
2. Beautiful scenery doesn't make a cranky car drive better.
3. Always check the campground map carefully and ask the attendant if there are any 'un-noted' features one should be aware of.
4. Your trip will always cost at least 2.74 times what you have saved for it.
Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .