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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Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Maritime Musem

Maritime Madness

Would today be the best day, yet, or the worst?

Ok, let’s be honest here. It could go either way. Why? Cuz of me.

midway carrierSee, Legoland was for the boys. Meeting the mysterious Schmennis was for the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world. Today, well, today we were going to do something for me – We were going to see the aircraft carrier Midway. There would be planes, (some of which I’d built as models in my youth), a chance to see what it was like below the hanger decks and maybe we’d even have the opportunity to listen to some old Vets tell war stories. OMG, nerdgasm!

At least for me.

The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world was, at best, mildly enthusiastic about seeing a whole big hunk of metal parked on a pier. The boys, (despite me jumping up and down and saying “PLANES!!!!” about three dozen times), looked like they would rather be back at the hotel swimming in the pool.

Oh oh.

IMG_0543 (800x600)So we drove to the old town trolley company in, yes, the old town. It was a hop-on-hop-off type of thing. I would have loved to wander around the old town, but by the time we got  going, it was a bit late so that simply wasn’t wasn’t doable. However, the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world did get a chance to look at a few shops while the boys sat on a bench and rolled their eyes. They weren’t even excited about the skulls in the nearby shop, or the real swords or the spooky masks hanging from the walls.

It could be that they were suffering from over-touristing.

But we got on the bus, got a pretty good seat and roared off. There were a lot of sites to see on this tour, not only the Midway, but Seaport Village, the historic Gaslamp Quarter, with its Victorian-themed buildings, the Hotel del Coronado, Balboa Park, and the zoo. Now, we’d seen the zoo and Coronado, (and we thought we’d do one last tour of Balboa Park tomorrow), but that was still a lot to see and do.

Worse, it was the weekend. So it was crazy busy everywhere and that would make quick hit and run visits very hard.

IMG_0544 (800x600) (2)At our first real stop, we got out. The Midway was down the wharf a-ways, but there was a neat collection of ships that we could look at, all part of the outdoor maritime museum. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world loved seeing the HMS Surprise upon which decks Johnny Depp had walked. I, of course, spouted all sorts of cool ship facts (this without actually knowing the facts.)

Me: “Oh, hey, this is an exact replica of a sixth rate frigate, originally made by the French, but captured by the English.”

The oldest: “Is it all made out of wood?”

The youngest: “Can we climb up to the top?’

pirates of carThe Prettiest-girl-in-the-world: “Did Johnny touch that railing?”

Me: “Apparently this replica of the ‘Rose’ is unmatched in its authenticity and attention to detail.”

The oldest: “Is this your favourite ship?”

The youngest: “Why can’t I climb to the top?”

The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world: “If Johnny had to choose between me and that skank Kira Knightly, who do you think he’d chose?”

It was then that I realized that we would all be seeing and experiencing things differently.

IMG_0545 (800x600) (2)We looked at the old soviet era sub, at a clipper named the Star of India and at a stealth navy ship far off in the distance (which I’m still not sure I should have taken a picture of.)

Everyone, oddly enough, seemed to be having a good time, even if it wasn’t all about the interesting facts and stuff. And that was kinda cool.

But would that apply to the mighty Midway?

*****

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