Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Rocky Mountains / Kamloops, British Columbia, by Margaret Ullrich, part 21, Transplanting

Today started with a hazy morning.
Paul and I went for a walk.
It began raining when we were a block from home.
When we passed under a street light, something white landed in front of us.
Three crows were perched on the street light's cross bar.
The white stuff was a load of bird poop.
The heavy rain and poop missed us by that much.
Timing is everything.

Now that we're retired it usually doesn't matter when it rains.
We do feel a twinge for our working friends when it rains on the weekends.
This seems to be a summer of wet weekends.
We can remember suffering through a few summers like that.
Summers are too short here to lose a weekend to rain.

The nice thing is that it has cooled off a bit.
We turned off the air conditioner and opened the windows.
Ah, fresh air!
We can hear the baby robins screeching in the nest.
When they're hungry, they're hungry!
If I could, I'd feed them, just to shut them up.

Forty years ago we had a cold Saturday in the Rockies.
I don't know if it was because of a cold snap or the elevation.
We could see snow on the mountain tops.
After sweltering in the prairies, we had to dig out our warm clothing.

The couple at the KOA said we could stay.
Even though the view was nice, we didn't want another night by the office.
Since we didn't know where there'd be a restaurant, I cooked beans and frankfurters. 
I wrapped the pot in a few blankets, and then we left.

The driving and scenery were pleasant.
Most of the highway went through the valleys.
The Rocky Mountains were in the distance. 
Paul took a picture of me shivering by a glacier.
Yes, it was that cold.

Things were going well until we had almost crossed a bridge over a valley.
Along with the valley, there were deep ditches on both sides of the road off the bridge.
Our car's right rear tire blew.
The car swerved for a few minutes.
Paul, who had gotten more varied driving experiences in a few weeks than most New Yorkers had after a decade, kept the car on the road.
Finally, we stopped.

We just sat and stared straight ahead.
We didn't want to see what was behind the car.
We didn't look at the mirrors.
We were sure the trailer had been jerked loose.
We just knew it had fallen off and was somewhere down in the valley.
Bye, bye, clothes, stuff, souvenirs.

Finally, we looked behind us.
The trailer was still there.

There was another car behind us.
A man and his daughter stopped to see if we were alright.
The daughter had a cat named Tuffy who'd had kittens.
She asked if we would like a kitten.
I thanked her and said no.
The Dad had a cross wrench and gave Paul a hand replacing the tire.
He then wished us well and they left.
Thank God for friendly Canadians and the tourist season.

We were still shaken, so we decided to find a place to have lunch.
We stopped on the lookout by Lake of the Shuswap.
At the start of our trip Lake of the Shuswap would've made us giggle.
By now none of the local names surprised us.
It was just the name of a lake.

An older couple also stopped for lunch.
The man said we should hitch the trailer higher.
As all of the hitch equipment was welded in place, we couldn't.
I guess the fellow meant well.
Maybe his hitching equipment was adjustable.

Near Kamloops we heard Peter, Paul and Mary's Puff the Magic Dragon.
The announcer boomed out, "You're in Our Country."
We don't know if he was being overly patriotic, or if the station was OUR.
Either way, after a while that promo got on our nerves.

We drove into Orchard Ridge Trailer Park in Kamloops by mid afternoon.
It wasn't filled, like the parks had been in Lake Louise or Golden.
Orchard Ridge sounded prettier than it was.
It wasn't exactly a tourist favorite.
No one stopped there for a two weeks holiday.

After registering for the night, we drove to Kamloops to phone home.
My sister answered the phone.
She said the cover of our wedding album looked like a wanted poster.
I had a headache and wasn't very chatty.
While I went to the rest room, Paul bought gas and a tire.
After that we went to A & W for root beers.
That helped.
Then we picked up groceries.

There wasn't much to see in Kamloops, so we just drove back to Orchard Ridge.
The campers next to us were cowboys whooping it up on a Saturday night.
We decided to stay in our trailer.

The frozen pizza fit in our trailer's oven.  Just.
We ate while we caught up with the TV series, Elizabeth R.
Elizabeth was confronting Mary, Queen of Scots.
There wasn't a comedy on TV that night.

No one was hurt.
But, as in a marathon, we were hitting the wall.
We were so tired.
And we still had another day's drive to reach Vancouver.

We had made plans and lists for such a nice trip across the country.
Well, man plans and God laughs.
We didn't want to stay in Kamloops.
We decided to drive to Vancouver the next day.

We had been lucky forty years ago.
The tire didn't blow on the bridge.
We did handle the problems we faced during the trip.
No major blowups like Lucy and Ricky had in The Long Long Trailer.

We had been lucky this morning, too.
We got home before the storm started.
The crows didn't poop on our heads.

Yes, indeed, timing is everything.


  1. So... my July 15, 1972 so very different from yours. In January 1972, I quit working my underwriting job at Fireman's Fund Insurance as I was already married more than a year, and was due with my first child - a son March 8, 1972. By July 15th, he'd already had bronchitis, double ear infections, diagnosed with asthma and numerous other upper respiratory illnesses... but, like you've said before... in 1972, we didn't know what we didn't know so we just kept going on.

    Looking forward to reading future chapters!!

  2. Hi, Peggy,
    Great to hear from you! Your son certainly had more than his share of health problems and you had more than your share of nursing experience in 1972.
    We St. Agnes grads were so young then...
    Yes, what else could we do but keep going on.

    All the best with your current business at

  3. thanks for the plug, Margaret!


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