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Heading for a Party

August 29, 2016 2 Comments

We’re scooting along to get to Vancouver, to load the Cruiser for the home trip, so we can get back for Pop’s 90th birthday party.

We’ve done 900km in two days, and to say I’m shagged is a bit of an underestimate. So it’s a good time for some reflections on travels through Canada.

Hitchhikers we picked up in Alberta Canada... fascinated with Lynn's undies!!!

Hitchhikers we picked up in Alberta Canada… fascinated with Lynn’s undies!!!

It’s expensive, as the locals will tell you. Only 30odd million people, for a land that defies description in scale. I reckon it’ll be over 6000km after we’ve driven from Newfoundland to Vancouver. The roads are excellent, better than excellent. Even the gravel roads are good and I have a good data bank of broken roads to refer to!

But all that comes at a cost. Taxes. They have a gst here and another tax. But they advertise the tax-free price, so there’s always a 15 percent surprise at the end. That’s how it’s done and that’s ok.

Diesel fuel ranges from $1 – $1.30 per litre, depending how close to people you are. Food is dear. Beer is a bit cheaper than home, wine is variable. Cars are dear to buy, dearer than USA, or home. I can’t believe, they pay 40k plus for a big, 4wd ute, that will only last six years on their salt laden roads! They look at my 1991 Toyota Landcruiser and say, “isn’t that a funny car”- the old ladies, or, “awesome car, eh”-the young ones.

Bears (black), remain elusive. We stayed, a few nights ago, at a cabin area for hunters, and fishermen. It had thunderstorms, so we took a cabin to keep out of the rain. Wounds still fresh from my emotional battering after leaving a tent flap unlocked during a rainstorm (read the “quiet car” blog for details).

That night we sat around a communal campfire. The two hosts, six bear hunters and four fishing enthusiasts. With the stories going around, I asked how they “hunted bears”. I imagined men stalking the bear, sniffing the scat, following paw prints (downwind), taking their animal that way. I was interested in how they hunted in the forest and didn’t shoot each other!

Nah, not at all. (I’ve just squashed a beer can and noticed a $0.20 refund for each can embossed on the top- bloody hell, I’m retracing my steps!

Back to bear hunting. Sorry. No, not at all. In this cabin area, they have erected towers (tree houses), in the forest, in a designated area, 20ft or 6m off the ground, in a ring, 40m diameter. In the centre they have a pile of wood in which they place bait. (honey, bread, peanut butter, meat, fish etc) to attract the bears. The hunter waits in the tower. The bear comes to the bait, broad daylight, and ker-pow, a dead (male) bear, from 20m range.

You know the feeling you get when you’re speaking to a group of people and they all, simultaneously, go dead quiet. But you’re so far in there’s no going back. Well, it happened that night. After hearing the bear-hunt methodology, I gave them one of Australian methodologies for hunting: ie, when two or three of you get in the back of a ute, using a shooting tray over the roof, with a driver who knows the terrain, at night, and you go out night shooting for roos and pigs and foxes.

They were flabbergasted, said it was called poaching, and highly illegal in Canada. I naturally, painted in the best picture possible and we moved on. No sweat, I think they were envious. Certainly, a discussion in a cafe/roadhouse the next day, confirmed their envy.

One of the fishermen there took us for a boat ride around the lake (or series of lakes), the next day. You should see the shots I have of a couple of bald eagles. He’s a “release”, fisho, who keeps what he can eat. Gorgeous man. Knows the lake really well, what I thought would be a short doddle, eventuated in a very interesting guided tour. His runabout was beautifully equipped and maintained, a big advantage of fresh water use.

We got a free breakfast from three of the most spectacular, funny, intelligent young Canadians you would ever like to meet. A small town on the highway, Richer, where we stopped at a fresh vegetable stall.

These three younguns came up and for the next two hours we traded stories, unreal. Tears, tears tears! Joel, Devon and Kylee. They shared my opinion (and others) about that small population of Quebecians who refuse to speak English.

That night we camped in a wheat field (or alongside it), on an Amish farm area.

With the mosquitoes…

Mosquitoes are in decline this year. For over 1000km we’ve been abused, violated, attacked, punished, penetrated and annoyed by ker-zillions of mosquitoes. They are un-bloody-believable. We asked Joel, Devon and Kylee what they do, (they were camped/fishing/drinking) at the other bank of the same dam we were the night before. (Not the bear hunting cabins). This area is just an old quarry. Anyway, predictably, the boys answer was to drink enough beer to dull the penetration, whereas Kylee got in the tent early! (We met them coming in for a recovery breakfast)!

On the windy prairie, if you find wind shelter, then you share that secret with a gazillion mosquitoes, who say, you beauty!!

The skeeters are big, like Mongolia, but at least they make a noise, so you can hear them coming. And, for a deaf bloke like me, that’s saying something!

We got two audio books at Winnipeg. One is a cross between Billy Graham and Tony Robbins. The other is religous, but a good story, titled The Shack. I picked both, so at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan today, Lynn did the picking for more. The audio books are good for the long hauls over the agricultural land, saves you talking to each other. We’re gonna set them up at home, for when I get home from work!

Its time to squash another $0.20 token, so I’ll see you later.

BTW, I have tropical strength Aerogard slopped all over me, Lynn is just toughing it out. She has been for a couple of days, I reckon she’ll be ready for a straight jacket by the time we hit the Rockies. Surely there’ll be no mossies in the rockies??

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  1. Corey Hawkins says:

    Saw your vehicle drive through Pitt Meadows today. Good luck on your journey. Would have loved to chat wth ya’ll.

  2. Annie says:

    Hi guys. When are u gona b home. Kevs 60 th party in on the 30 September. Would love to have you guys here to celebrate with us. Friday night

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