Day 6


We start out way too early

Mile 1347; 8:10 AM
Laura is worried that we might not make it back to The Gorge at George, WA in time for the Jethro Tull/Emerson Lake and Palmer concert, so we decide to get an early start and cover some territory today. This turns out to be a good move, as Jerry and Dee are way too cheerful and chatty early in the morning.

"And over here, you see, we planted some sunflowers."


"Now, last year, we had a lot of rain and the potatoes didn't come up at all, but this year, we had almost no rain, and the potatoes did great!"


Dee did make a pretty good breakfast (no watermelon!), and Jerry was scraping the frost off our car's windshield when we staggered downstairs (plus, we got a free Fort McLeod souvenir pin!).

There was one other guest in the place--an actual Canadian Mountie! Of course, we never saw him (he came in last night after we'd gone to bed and was still asleep when we left). Robert is convinced that Mounties are using advanced stealth technology that prevents Americans from seeing them. Our search continues for an actual Mountie.


Crow's Nest

Robert in Bellevue

How'd we get back in Bellevue?

Mile 1404; 9:35 AM
We stop in Bellevue, which is right near Crow's Nest Pass (we can tell it's Crow's Nest Pass, because they have a giant sculpture of a momma Crow feeding a little crow in a nest).

They do have public washrooms. Canada has public washrooms about every 100 meters (47 acres). Apparently, Canadians take their bodily functions very seriously.

Along the way, we pass many fields of wheat stubble, one filled with grazing--chickens! We're not making this up. There was a huge flock of White Leghorns scratching around in a wheat field. Laura thinks they must be free-range chickens and wonders how they round them up (chickenboys on ponies?). Robert thinks it would be a cooler sight if they were eight feet tall with teeth.

Drive safely with God

Who wants to live in a town called Fernie?

Mile 1454; 10:40 AM
We stop in Fernie, BC, where we discover that we must be getting closer to civilization, because they have a coffee shop that serves excellent lattes.

We pass the world's largest dump truck, which is painted pea soup green (apparently, they were worried that somebody might not see it).


Lovely Cranbrook, B.C.

Mile 1516; 12:18 PM
About all we learned in Cranbrook was that the French for "Kentucky Fried Chicken" is "Poulet Frit Kentucky."


If this is Creston, where's Colgaton?

Mile 1583; 1:20 PM
As a result of crossing a time zone, we are now averaging 46 mph. This is the kind of fun fact we use to keep ourselves awake while we drive up and down endlessly pine-tree-covered hills.

We also pass an intersection marked "Runway Truck Crossing," at which point we stopped to make sure any runaway trucks in the area had the right of way.

We heard this story on the radio: "My father was in the war, and he brought back a 'lucky' bullet that he always carried in his shirt pocket. One day, he was walking down the street, and nearby was a street Preacher who was preaching furiously and waving his Bible in the air to punctuate his point. Suddenly, the Bible flew out of his hands, across the street and struck my Dad in the chest. And if it wasn't for his lucky bullet, that Bible would have killed him!"


We've reached the end of the Trail

Mile 1671; 5:30 PM
We pull into the lovely town of Trail, BC, whose main business is a smelter (and boy, does it smell!). Trail is known for its Italian population, who figured that this was a good place to hide out from the Mafia.

From the motel soda pop machine we discover that the French word for "grape" is "raisin" ("Grape Nehi" = "Raisin Nehi"). Which leads us to wonder what the French word for "raisin" is.

After checking in to the motel, we get some of our pictures developed at a one-hour photo shop. Robert has been hauling around a 3D picture-taking contraption that consists of two disposable cameras taped to a plastic stick, and we can't wait to see how it works.

Which means we end up in a pub, peering through a cardboard 3D viewer (which makes us look like aliens from the planet Geek). The pictures turn out really cool (especially the dinosaur ones), and nobody in the pub bothers us.

The pub-tender is a real Canadian guy--long hair, droopy mustache, and an accent you could cut with back bacon. We decide to ask him for recommendations for places to eat. He starts to rattle off the location of every restaurant in town.

No, says Laura, we want to know where you eat.

"Oh, I eat at home."

How about when you go out?

"Oh, I don't go out much."

But when you do?

"Oh, I went to this place called the Crown Point with my ex-girlfriend once. I had a couple of beers, she just had coffee."

We end up eating at a restaurant across the street from the motel, which has okay food and Trivial Pursuit cards on each table. Sample question: "In what 1937 Hemingway novel does Harry Morgan lose an arm?" Laura guesses "Farewell to Arms," which of course is wrong, but almost as funny as the real answer, "To Have and Have Not."

I kissed her then I Smelter

We read our mail

Goodness, we got a whole sack load of mail! SOMEbody is actually reading this stuff!

First, we hear from Carolyn, who lives in New York, and she seems to be enjoying our missives from a foreign planet ("I want to wake up in the country that always sleeps!").

NUTS !!! I was going to say "keep those cards and letters coming", but Laura's sister beat me to it. The saga is excellent and I would suggest that you not come home at all but just keep traveling and writing to your fans ... except then what would happen if we need macro changes for the Sponsor book??

I am sending copies of the trip diary to my brother who used to live in Vancouver where he taught ESL to the Sikhs. So if you run into any more Sikhs and they are fluent in English, tell them Bill Russell says "You still owe me $150.00"(American).

By the way I, too, am allergic to watermelon and a little known fact is that this is a sign of genius...

Keep those know the rest.

Well, Carolyn, the next time we meet a Sikh, we'll pass the message along, but based on our Sikh encounters so far, they're likely to reply, "Fries going with that you would like?"

Our next correspondent, Sharon, is also from the East Coast, although a bit lower down (from the state whose official flower is the orange blossom).

There are advantages to only checking one's e-mail every 3 or 4 days. The major one today is that I got to read Days 0.5 - 4 of your Travel Journal at one sitting, thus keeping the pain in my side from hysterical laughter confined to one day instead of four. A second is that you got wind of the fact that someone hit "Reply to all"--thus solving the mystery of why I got a message from Art.

The disadvantages are that it's taken me half a bottle of red wine to get through your messages, and the situation cried out for popcorn, but the only popcorn I could find in the house was a package of "Microwave Popping Ears" that I bought two (or was it 3?) years ago.

Hey, whaddayaknow?? I put one of them in the microwave and it actually popped!! Too cool! Next time I'm in the Minneapolis airport, I'll get you some--it's fun to watch the kernels blow off the cob and richochet around the microwave. Some of them pop but stay attached to the cob. Course, you've got to gather them up afterward and put them in a bowl, but it's worth it for the fun of watching them blow up. It's a little on the stale side (after 2 or 3 years of hanging out in a vinyl bag), but not too bad with some butter & salt.

When you mention Canadian cuisine, I can't help but think of John Candy saying, "Have you ever heard anyone say, 'Hey, let's send out for Canadian food'?" in whatever that movie was where he started a war between Canada and the U.S. (I only saw previews, never saw the actual movie, which looked pretty stupid from the previews.)

And our final message is from Steve (also on the East Coast). Steve works as a preparator for the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC (which means he spends all day gluing together little pieces of bone). He was our den mother for our dinosaur-digging trip last year, and apparently has a bone to pick with the Tyrrell folks...

Dear Robert and Laura,

Alas, it's always a pity to hear of enthusiastic, yet impressionable, students of paleontology being led astray. Sure, Tyrrell might have a few fancy tools, or a clean lab (which is always a sign that no real work goes on there) or some 'type' specimens laying around. But anyone who's anyone knows that the best lab, and indeed the best preparators, are found at the Smithsonian. Why, we've been known to be able to reconstruct an entire hadrosaurian dinosaur out of an unrecognizable bone fragment! (A hadrosaur is also known as a 'duckbill' dinosaur - no matter what they told you in Canada.) And as for 'bear skins and bone knives', or whatever, just recently we were able to purchase a state-of-the-art grinder that runs off of a bicycle wheel - just like Gilligan's Island. It can reach a speed of up to 60 RPM's! So put THAT in your Tyrrell and see if it comes out smelling like Currie!

Well, Steve, up here a hadrosaur is called a "beer-bill" dinosaur.


Previous Day Back Home Next Day
Previous Day Back Home Next Day