The Hermit Poet

June 8, 2007

Road Warriors

Filed under: General — Neil Aitken @ 8:43 am

On paper, the plan looked straight forward enough: my mother and I packed our bags and left Penticton on Monday, intending to drive directly to Calgary (7.5 hour drive) and spend the night there before heading onward to Regina. Life usually doesn’t quite as simply though — when we arrived in Kelowna (about 1 hour away) to fill up the car, I discovered I had forgotten my wallet. Oops. Suddenly I was in high school again and my mother had to pay for the gas. We circled back to Penticton, retrieved my wallet, explained to all the curious neighbors about our return (we had left at dawn initially), and then headed out again. So much for an early start.

The rest of the trip went relatively smoothly and we arrived in Calgary around 7:30 pm. We had a nice dinner with some family friends at an excellent Chinese restaurant in the area, then headed back to sleep. The next morning we were out and on the road — and somewhat relieved to be out of mountain roads and on to the wide open prairie.

I had forgotten how much I love the wide spread of sky – the open earth – and the road that continues like an arrow across the land. The colours in early summer are striking — but not as striking as they will be in late summer or early fall when harvest rolls around. We were in a rush, so did not stop to take photos — but perhaps on our return will have time.

I learned something interesting from my mother — evidently almost all the old wooden grain elevators have been taken down. Part of the landscape has changed. Now things are gathered in metal bins — no doubt safer, but not as picturesque as the vintage wood buildings that stood starkly on the horizon.

As always Regina surprises me with its growth. New malls spring up. Roads go where there was once only prairie. Homes are everywhere. We arrived in Regina at the airport just in time to pick up my aunt Rita – with 10 minutes to spare. Despite all the growth, the city remains small in some ways. One of the security guards at the airport was the roofer who redid our old home in Regina before my parents sold it.

My aunt Rita is quite the character. A globe trotter with residences in Taiwan and Toronto, she spends most of her spare time teaching ballroom dance around the world. For the next month or so, she’ll be joining us in our travels and finding some time to teach the occasional dance class on the side.

More to come on our time in Regina

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