The eleventh-hour sprawl on the living room floor:
I left Wells yesterday morning at 5:45 am in a blizzard. There was 5 cm of snow on the ground and it was coming down hard. I, of course, had put my summer tyres on my car 2 weeks ago when I thought it might be spring. That was a mistake. (By the way, I can spell “tires” with a “y” now because my husband is British. Just like I can get really excited about hot beverages, and about having them at every opportunity!) I was bound for Calgary, where I get to disturb my brother and his family for two days before I fly over to London to meet up with Tim, meet my new in-laws, and then head north to cycle in the balmy spring weather in Scotland.
In order to go east from Wells one must first go north or south. If you go straight east you will end up in the Cariboo Mountains. And given the amount of snow still in Wells right at the moment, there is sure to be quite a bit more in the higher hills! I drove north to Prince George and then waited there for six hours while my car had some work done to it. Waiting six hours in a town with more than two stores is actually not really a chore for a girl from Wells, so there is a certain sale rack in a certain outdoor store that is now a little skimpier in its offerings. As I was walking back to the car shop in the freezing cold north wind I was happy to have a new down jacket in my bag – from the 40% off rack!
From Prince George I drove east through the north Rocky Mountains in Mount Robson Provincial Park and into Jasper National Park. There was snow, wind, hail, and cold temperatures. Just as you would expect at the end of April. There were road warnings for the Icefields Parkway, the road that heads south from Jasper towards Banff. This, of course was my intended route. Well, only route really, unless I wanted to go hundreds of kms out of my way. The scenery is fantastic and the road was only dicey in a couple of spots where it rises up over 2000 m in elevation near the Athabasca and Bow Glaciers.
I was relieved to get out of the mountains and back down into the relative depths of Highway 1 near Lake Louise and Banff. Driving in winter conditions with summer tyres can only be asking for trouble. Little did I know that there was a total blizzard happening between Canmore and Calgary! The traffic was travelling fairly slowly, the only folks going faster than they should have been were those in pick-up trucks, of course. They are immune to everything, including common sense! I narrowly missed getting squashed by a transport truck at one point. I was glad to get to my brother’s house just after midnight. And boy, will I be glad to get on my bike again. This driving stuff is for the birds!