It seems that I’ve been sitting in a car for much of this weekend. But I seem to survived & have managed to conquer the reward huge-steak dinner & waddle up to my room (perhaps the first time I’ve turned down the chance of cheesecake). Yesterday started well too early for a Saturday, with a drive to Calgary in the dark. Perhaps against my better judgement I ended up babysitting a three-month old for close to four hours. I’m sure this would’ve been a bit easier if it hadn’t been -15ºC outside & I had some idea what I was doing. As it happens, I had to traipse diagonally across Calgary in search of a tail light for my car; the first wreckers didn’t have any & the only other one that was open was of the pick-a-part variety (that is, where you have to go & extricate the part you want yourself) & they wouldn’t let me take a baby in. It must be said you get a lot of amusing comments when you turn up at a wreckers carrying a wee baby from the sort of people that frequent those places on Saturday mornings.
The drive back across town was somewhat interrupted by a forty-minute screamathon – of which I couldn’t pinpoint the cause. Never mind, there were some moments of quietness – eventually just before we reached our destination sleep & quietness descended (not for me, I was driving – it was safer that way) so I spent the rest of the time until the rendezvous driving around suburban streets trying to drive over as much bumpy snow as possible (of which there was quite a lot). Relieved of my duties, I made it back to the wreckers to try & track down the elusive tail light. I eventually found one – but trying to remove it from the car was problematic. Firstly, it was -15ºC and all the cars were covered in snow (inside & out); secondly, the nuts to undo were tiny & very difficult reach when one’s fingers are freezing & legs are at risk from the tail gate falling at any moment (I had to prop it up with the parcel tray as the struts were gone). It wasn’t a complete waste of time – I got a lighter socket for the exorbitant price of $1.04; that will come in handy for keeping the iPod charged on the roadtrip.
Speaking of the roadtrip, after Air Canada being completely unhelpful (& too much time spent on hold) it looks like I will have to fly back to London for three or so days in February & come back on a completely different booking just so I can back to London when I want to in August. Grrrr, that $1000 could be put to much better use.
Back in town in the dark & after a quick tea it was round to Alex & Megan’s for a couple more games of Settlers. That’s only really worth mentioning so I can link to Megan’s neat little post with some delicious looking game boards. I’m unconvinced that any of those would make it through an entire game (usually forty-five to sixty minutes) intact. I had a shocker first up, reevaluated my strategy a bit & snuck in for a win before going home & pretending to pack.
I was out the door by quarter past nine on Sunday morning for the drive to Kamloops. A tad over five hundred kilometres, I was hoping the snow & ice wasn’t too bad. It turned out the biggest problem with ice was getting the trunk/boot open – I couldn’t. So my luggage sat on the back seat through to Revelstoke by which time it had warmed up a lot (well, from -20 to -6ºC) & I could pop the lid. The drive was beautiful with all the trees covered in snow & the cloud sitting mysteriously & low all around. I was surprised that this drive was so much easier than in the summer – that was mainly because there was markedly less traffic (I went for about half an hour at one stage with no vehicles on my side of the road; this is a good thing as passing on the unused lanes is sketchy at best) & the extraordinary amounts of construction had been stopped for the winter (the TCH is now twinned all the way to Lake Louise). Most of the rest-areas/turn-outs were closed for the winter, so there wasn’t any good places to stop for photos. So these two snaps will have to suffice to give some idea as to what I saw for most of the day.
The rental (some sort of large Buick) was rather a mixed bag. The big plush seats looked nice, but seemed to have forgone any sort of lumbar support for the airbags; consequently, I was rather sore after an hour or two & could never find a good driving position. Also, the car seemed to inexplicably shake/vibrate quite often – this seemed to be independent of speed & road surface, perhaps the wheels were out a bit but that doesn’t explain the intermittent nature. On the plus side, the large V6 (large if you come from NZ, probably just ordinary if you are North American) was quiet & effortless (and surprisingly economical – less than 8.5 L/100 km), the audio system was good.
So I’m in Kamloops now & spent the rest of my afternoon (extended by going back in time crossing in to the Pacific time zone) napping & reading. Apparently Kamloops is pretty nice, so if I’ve got time after work this week I’ll try to have a look around (in the dark probably, but better than nothing).