Whistler, BC (Oct 08/19) – The ‘turn around’ is both a physical and an emotional transition. No longer venturing to explore and see what is ahead but to return back to B.C. safely and in one piece. Plans of life in a bigger space with the luxuries of living at home take root, the draw to return is intense (like horses running back towards the barn).
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The road in southern Ontario was arduous, filled with proverbial potholes (and real ones too), raining incessantly, the wind always in Hobbes’ face… is it always blowing in the east???
After saying their final goodbyes to ‘Rocky’ in Ontario, it was time to follow the setting sun in the West as the beacon to home. Traveling south of the border was not the foremost choice, but to backtrack and cross over the long Great Lakes route (via northern Ontario) was a painful thought considering the ever-changing weather patterns (snow was always in the rear view mirror). Even more concerning was the ‘snow-cast’ in the Rocky Mountains out west…
Crossing ‘the line’ into the US can be a daunting decision especially when facing the ‘ever grumpy’ US Border agents… the trip through Vermont & the other eastern states had obvious advantages (beautiful landscapes, slow country roads); driving through Detroit (lock the doors!!!)… hmmmm not so much.
Entering the US at Windsor to Detroit was surprisingly quiet considering the ‘normal’ 1-2 hours waits reported on the Ambassador Bridge… only 3 cars in the lineup. Driving the US interstate highways, albeit great for getting somewhere quickly is BORING!!! The ever present ‘clunk, clunk’ from the dis-jointed concrete driving surface is demoralizing & miserable, commercial transport trucks passing at unbelievable speeds of 120+ km/hr (remember travel in a Westfalia is best done at comfortable velocities of 80-90 km/hr).
Shortly after entering into Michigan, N&J were both feeling symptoms of a major chest cold/flu, so getting back to Canada was paramount (a working medical system). Thus the drive through the US states of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota & North Dakota was basically ‘blinders on, pedal to the metal’. Not a lot of touristy stuff done, it was raining, it was windy, it was miserable…
The return back to the homeland just south of Estevan, Saskatchewan was a pleasant experience, from the “Welcome Home” greeting by the friendly CBSA officer, to the feeling ‘that you belong here in Canada’.
Being on the flat prairie means the ability to see weather storms (clouds) from far away; tens of kilometres of open sky is visible in all directions. Being on the prairies, hearing weather warnings of conditions that ‘may’ produce tornados was foremost on N&J’s mind. Seeing huge dark clouds in the distance with rain falling creating an unworldly image…. looking for, but hoping not to see, the tell-tale funnel clouds.
The change in ‘energy’ in the van, the many kilometres clocked, the heavy winds and rain endured over the past 4 days took it’s toll on Jesse. Like a ‘cat on a hot tin roof’ there was no consoling Jesse. Wearing a path pacing from front to back, howling in despair, no amount of petting or treats would console his distraught spirit. An SOS sent out to Jesse’s healer, “Rhonda MountainSpirit”, sent out in angst. Rhonda began to work on Jesse immediately from afar. A shift of his energy as well as N&J’s, the shift taking some time but peace and some settling of spirit ensues. Rhonda checking in with Jesse daily throughout the remaining days and clearing blockages, supporting N&J with recommendations and thoughtful guidance was a life saver.
The overnight stop in Rouleau, SK was peaceful. The village (aka Dog River) is the location where the TV series “Corner Gas” was filmed, typical dusty looking prairie town, large looming grain elevator, railway tracks, small homes, quiet & secluded. Blessed with a beautiful sunset & the wind diminishing, sleep came quickly.
The following day brought sunshine, headwinds & colder temperatures as Hobbes continued the westward journey. After an overnight stay on the outskirts of Calgary, eyes focused on the dark clouds towards the Rocky Mountains, new snow adorned the peaks surrounding Banff, the weather forecast calling for a ‘major’ snowfall in the next day or two… the mission became more paramount to push on as quickly as possible.
Hard to put a finger on it, but arriving back in the mountains, back in BC seemed to calm the senses of N&J, even Jesse seemed to smell and take in the mountain air knowing home was close. Something about being ‘home’ in your own terrain that feels right. Although the threat of snow was present (Hobbes has all-season tires, but not great for snowy conditions), the ride through the Rockies was blissful, the merging of seasons dancing on the mountains calling the eyes to observe their final moments of the seasonal transition… the oncoming winter was evident… the colours of fall everywhere.
The last night on the road deserved something special, and the trio found it on Shuswap Lake near Tappen BC at Sunnybrae Beach. Looking across the lake at Mount Ida where N’s grandparents once had their homestead brought back fond memories and a feeling of belonging. The excitement felt, this being the last night on the road… nothing better than having a hot shower (courtesy of Hobbes), a great dinner (courtesy of N), & falling asleep right beside the lapping waters of the lake, stars in the sky, a gentle breeze…
In perfect harmony, smiles all around, the next morning brought sunny skies interspersed with light snow falling at times. Hobbes was like a ‘horse heading back to the stables’, no stopping now! The growing anticipation was palatable, Jesse was surprisingly quiet, at peace, sitting on his perch in between N&J, watching every curve in the road… he seemed to know his home was near… is it the smell?… is it the terrain?
Imperative to this journey’s success, encouragement and support along the way has come in many forms… N&J keeping in close contact by text with their new found Prince Rupert BC friends as well as Syracuse NY friends doing the almost identical route, like teamwork cheering each other on and checking in every few days. Helping hands along the way when Hobbes needed mechanical help with the ‘fallen’ master brake cylinder (thank you Roger and Ryan!). Meeting people on this journey who live in Whistler and or who have a connection in Whistler brought comfort, to thoughtful friends and family who kept in touch and read the blog along the way. And lastly Rhonda Mountainspirit, who from the moment Jesse ‘high fives’ with both paws in the Barley Mow pub back in Almonte ON, guiding his being along the way.
All these separate paths, coming together momentarily as one to help guide and support along the way, happy to have traversed the immense & beautiful country of Canada, almost 18,000+ km, arriving safely back in Whistler…
…happy to be home and so deeply thankful to each other and to all those along the way !!!
N&J will be taking a break from the road for a bit, cool the heels so to speak… but not for long. Another journey is in the works, so keep an eye out. If you click on the FOLLOW button on the right side of the blog page, you will receive notification as soon as a new post comes available… THX 🙂