Every now and again when I lived in Calgary I’d feel thirsty for a change. Not a subtle “buy new sheets in a different colour” change,
I had my drive down to a science: 1 hour, 20 minutes to Red Deer. Stop in on the third exit to the city, head straight and take the 2nd left into Starbucks. Bathroom break and tall americano with room, or zen tea if I felt overtly juiced already. The whole break would take under ten minutes. Back in the car I'd go.
Sometimes I would sit in self-mandated periods of silence (Dad's voice here: music is bubblegum for the brain, Holly) for ten, twenty, hour long patches. I would think about deep, serious things, I would think about small, ridiculous, unimportant things. I would turn on the radio when I was 50km out of Edmonton in hopes to pick up 102.9 Sonic.
I'd roll into town, usually stay with Mat. We'd eat, drink, cook, shop, watch sports, check out stuff going on in town. I could frequently grab a quick visit with Nicki, occasionally Tara, do a quick roll through the University Ghetto and Downtown. I would sleep in, read my book before bed, lounge around in my pjs for a part of the morning, and generally go without too much of a plan.
Day or two later, and suitably refreshed, into the car I hopped for the journey three hours south. I would happily engage in my Red Deer Ritual, and I could feel a smile creeping on as I edged towards Carstairs, because I knew at any moment would appear the glorious Rocky Mountains. I would be home.
Being that I now live on an island, driving possibilities are here, but will not lead to other large cities unless you have a willingness to hop on a ferry. I had an unexpected break for three days, I let myself marinate in the need to get out of town feeling for less than a few hours before I packed a bag, tossed my bike in the back of that same jeep, and headed northeast to Kelowna.
Being I have twice made the roundtrip there in the last few months, and twice over the winter months en route to and from Victoria, the road has begun to look familiar. The terrain had started to gradually implant itself into my brain. Busy the first part of the number one, quieter near Hope. Stop in Hope for a brief break (swap out a Starbucks stop for A&W onion rings; not quite as clean eating perhaps but Hope is pretty small) and text sister and mum "I am in Hope" - which I continue to find amusing. Hit the 5; mind the curves, cell phone service cuts out for about 45 minutes on that stretch, 97C connector all the way to Kelowna. I delighted in the feeling that I didn't have to compulsively check my iPhone every five minutes to make sure I was going the right way. As I drove over the passes and gazed over the mountains I loosened grip on the idea I was a born and bread Alberta Girl. Perhaps I could be a BC Girl for a little while.
Three days goes by too fast, I suppose as all vacation days do. I slept in, swam, biked through gorgeous sections of East Kelowna, and ran in actual heat. Together with Dorrie I hit Gio Bean (perhaps my most favourite coffee place of all time, tied only with the revered Bumpy's), tried out a new fish taco place, wrote in my journal and sat outside in her backyard. I swam across the lake on Saturday. I revelled in my tiny, lovely, wee bit of time away from life in Victoria.
Off I drove back west, back over the water, back home. To Victoria. Somewhat refreshed I begin again another busy cycle. Already looking forward to another break!