Small Town BC

Just a Small Town Boy….

Greenwood BC. Once a mining town, now a stop on the way to someplace else

I didn’t grow up in a small town, unless you count Victoria as a small town, but it’s really a small collection of municipalities constantly at war with each other over which one gets to dump sewage onto the other one’s ocean-front properties.

But I have a romantic view of small towns and traveling through BC, along highway 3, we got a chance to see a few. Some are dying, for sure, but others are newly painted, with a few quaint stores, all revitalized.

We drove through several small towns. Bridesville. Rock Creek. Midway, which may have been, you know, midway between Calgary and Vancouver (and really shouldn’t all towns have simple names like that?).

The-Oldest decided he wanted to live in a small town. It’s a simpler life. He could walk to town where everyone would know him and cheer as he entered the local coffee shop to play the piano. People would ask how he’s doing but not talk to him too much because they knew he was one of those talented artists and those people like to be left alone.

Plus, there would be a day set aside for him, a day that honored all the great compositions he had made, and maybe a parade on his birthday. Something with fireworks and a marching band.

I had to agree, based on that belief, small towns would be a great place to live. It’s something I like to do. It’s the ‘wouldn’t-it-be-cool-to-live-there?’ game.

Most places I think, yes, it would be ok, a few (like Cinque Terra in Italy), I think, hell yeah, I’d LOVE to live there and a few, like Duncan or Mogadishu, I think no way in hell.

In Greenwood, we stopped to take a picture and stretch our legs. It had a delightful collection of old wooden and stone buildings (all well painted and restored), a nifty mine to explore and an ice-cream shop. The-Youngest begged for ice cream but I have learned that if you feed an 11-year-old sugar and then take him on an 8-hour car drive, it’s a horror story akin to The Exorcist.

But that town made me think we should do a small town tour. Not with the boys, they would hate us forever, but maybe in our twilight years, just the two of us (or 3 if you include my robo-walker.)

It would be nice.

Grand Forks Town Hall
Grand Forks City Hall. That town has been through a lot.

In Grand Forks, we stopped for lunch. It was a larger town with businesses mostly strung out along the highway, but this quaint, attractive town had been ravaged by massive floods in the spring. It wasn’t exactly built on a low river bank and I was stunned the water could rise so far as to flood the town.

Still, there was a peacefulness to Grand Forks. No need to rush anywhere. No need to stress. A little oasis of calm.

But not far outside of town, we ran into an accident that shut down Highway 3. A fatal accident. One dead. Motorcyclist.

We were close to the accident but didn’t see it.

But even stuck in the line-up, no one honked, no one got angry, and we tried to have a good time despite The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World having a huge migraine – made worse by the altitude.

We had a laugh at the RCMP constable in funny shorts. He made his way down the line telling people it would be a while. Not sure how long, sorry, but a while for sure. You folks, ok?

Only in Canada, eh?

Outside of Grand Forks, BC, 2018
Playing Smash-Up at a smash up. Highway 3. BC.

While we waited the-Youngest pulled out his games and the boys played Smash-up, though I think The-Youngest used very generous interpretations of the rules to win.

Me, I thought about what it would have been like to see that accident, then stop, see the results and having no cell phone reception, do what? Drive down the mountain to the nearest town? Or what if they were still alive? Stay and be with the motorcyclist in their last moments on earth? Or leave to get help?

(It’s how we writers think.)

We were there for 2 hours.

I took over driving duties after they had cleared the accident, The-Youngest wanting to stop for ice cream at every town. We went through the very weird sounding Ootischenia (founded by Doukhobors), through Yahk, Castlegar and Salmo.

No ice cream bought.

We zipped past Creston and Moyie Lake and didn’t turn in for ice cream, but we finally stopped at DQ just outside of Cranbrook where The-Youngest decided he didn’t want ice cream after all.

Sigh.

Cranbrook, BC, 2018
Cranbrook. By the entrance to the downtown area.

The last stop was Cranbrook, a larger small town with a cute town center and a long collection of restaurants, gas stations and hotels along the highway.

We stopped at one of the hotels and the boys raced to the waterslides, the highlight of the day (planned by The-Youngest). The-Oldest tried to skip himself across the pool as far as he would go, while The-Youngest worked on getting down in the fastest time possible and cannon-balling himself into the water with a great splash.

After a long drive, I was glad to rest and just watch the boys play.

I love these moments when the boys get to be boys and just have fun. The car ride was ok, no blood was shed, no one threw up and only one person got a migraine, but the boys simply had no interest in towns or history or mine tours. For them, splashing and laughing and screaming down a waterslide trumps everything.

Small towns need to be told this. More waterslides.

Next up, a big town.

Calgary. Zoo. Tower. No waterslides.

 

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Alberta Trip 2018 – As Planned By An Eleven-Year-Old

Trip to BC, Rockies, Alberta, Drumheller, West Ed Mall

 

Trip to BC, Rockies, Alberta, Drumheller, West Ed Mall
This planning a trip to Alberta is serious business!

The-Youngest Made Plans for Our Trip

Unlike his brother, The-Youngest looked at the google map we printed out, and then planned out what to do.

First stop, Oliver.

See Grandpa and Grandma. 5-hour drive to get there, so, download movies. Lots of movies. And bring something to play in the car with his brother. A good card game. Arrange ice tea and candy at top of food bag for easy access. Keep a bag of chips near feet for late afternoon snacks.

Remember to look for Ogopogo. 

When we arrive, it’ll be at night. Right. Not much to do at night. Talk with adults as needed. Sneak away to watch TV if possible. Take brother’s music out of his bag and move it to mom’s bag.

******

 

Trip to Alberta
The plan is put into effect. On the road to Cranbrook, the Rockies, Calgary, Drumheller, and the West Edmonton Mall.

The next day, Sunday,

Visit with other grandparents, endure another 5-hour drive. Presort snacks by sugar content. 

Begin the campaign to see the Calgary Tower.  Talk to mom about how unscary it really is.

Watch more movies. Arrive in exciting Cranbrook.  Try not to sigh heavily when Joe starts talking about the history of Cranbrook.

Continue to point out how awesome Calgary would look from the top of the tower. Swim in pool. 

If weather bad, bug brother until he snaps. If good weather, bug brother until he snaps.

******

Monday, sleep in, endure 3-hour drive to Calgary. Start by eating pancakes. Look at the mountains. Try to see a bear. Or a unicorn. No, no unicorns. Sheep. Find some sheep on the side of mountains, yeah, that would be cool. Or a cougar chasing a hitchhiker. Assign the job of keeping an eye out for neat stuff to Joe and mom.

Arrive at the zoo, see pandas, snakes, elephants, and alpacas. Alpacas are cool. Eat popcorn. Point at Calgary Tower a lot. Try not to look embarrassed as Joe reads all the plaques and sings “I can talk to the animals.” Make sure to not let mom hang with the pandas too long. If it were up to her, we might be staring at them for hours and saying, ‘awwww, aren’t they cute?” a lot.

Hope that my campaign to see the Calgary Tower is successful. If so, visit the tower. If not, rethink manipulation strategies. 

Try not to look bored when we go to see where Joe grew up. It’s a big thing for him. Don’t mention it’s not a big thing for me.

At the hotel, swim in the pool. Eat at Mr. Mikes so we can play board games and eat. Stay up as late as I can. No reason, but staying up late is cool. Take all of my brother’s pillows while he sleeps and hide them in the bathroom.

******

Tuesday, a big day. Get up early with Joe and see the tank museum. Joe likes tanks and no one else has any interest, so go with Joe so he doesn’t feel bad. Climb on a tank. And under one. And stick fingers in all the tankie holes.

Drive out to Drumheller. Run through the museum at top speed. Finish in 10 minutes. Take a selfie with a dinosaur. Ignore Joe’s joke about being a dinosaur or meeting a dinosaur or having one as a next door neighbour. Read no more than 1 plaque. Sit and play games because the museum has wi-fi. Avoid getting all interested in dinosaurs since that’s way too close to learning stuff. Eat a hot dog. Finish off chips in the car.

Endure yet another long drive. Plan out nerf war strategies. Review guns brought. Recount nerf bullets. Roll eyes every time Joe remarks on how straight the roads are. Try to see a buffalo. 

Get mom to talk about her friend and how many nerf guns her kids have.

Arrive at mom’s friend’s place. Say hi. Play nerf wars until 2 am. Try not to win every time -That makes people not want to play with me. Try not to gloat and giggle and point at the losers – That seems to make people really, really not want to play with me.

Food unnecessary. Nerf wars will feed me. Hide my brother’s underwear somewhere. 

******

West Edmonton Mall
St.Maria pirate vessel in the West Edmonton Mall. It’s the largest shopping mall in North America and the tenth largest in the world.

Wednesday, West Ed Mall. 9am-10pm. Waterslides. Rides. Free pop. Eat hamburgers. Eat Fries. Drink slushies. Refer to specific 4-page waterslide plan made a month, ago. Refer to specific 2-page ride plan made at the same time. Do not deviate from the plan. Try to eat my weight in pizza.

Mom will not be there. She’ll be off with her friend, ‘catching up’ which totally means drinking. Joe will look after us so look for opportunities. “No, Joe, you said you’d buy me a t-shirt, don’t you remember?” or “Wait, Joe, I know that zip-line costs a lot, but wouldn’t it make a good topic for a blog?” or, “Joe, if you buy me this new controller, we can play games together and that’s fun, right?”

Should be easy pickings.

The goal, come back sore, exhausted and feeling like I need to throw up. At night, take all the laces out of my brother’s shoes.

******

Thursday. Get up. Visit with mom’s friend, again. Talk to adults if needed, but if it can be avoided, even better. Remember to thank moms’ friend for breakfast. Remember not to complain if it’s something that tastes terrible – like anything with vegetables, fruit or healthy meats.

Watch more videos on the drive back to BC and tell mom about nerf wars, the West Ed Mall, and playing the Smash-up card game. Ignore pleas to stop. Ignore anyone saying they’ve heard all this yesterday. Poke brother a lot.

Try not to look afraid in freaky cabin we’re staying at. Keep nerf gun close. Keep it loaded. Keep brother closer to doors and windows so bears, ghosts or rabid unicorns will eat him first. 

*****

Friday, long drive, again. Watch last of my movies. Eat last of snack supplies. Avoid asking how much longer will it be? Avoid talking about last report card. Avoid talking about the trip ending.

Plan the next trip. Harrison. Plan sleepover with friends and next nerf-war battles. Plan which Youtube videos to watch over summer. Interrupt brother whenever he wants to talk about Liszt, Beethoven, Wagner, Rachmaninov, or any composers. In fact, interrupt him whenever he talks. 

When home, log on to the internet and see what Logan Paul is up to. Ignore Joe yelling at me to stop watching that freaking moron.

Go to bed only after being asked 12 times.

Remember to thank Mom and Joe for taking me on the trip. Give mom a big hug. She’s the best.

******

And that’s about it.

Too bad it didn’t turn out the way he planned.