Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Road Trip - Part the Second

The Other Road runs south around Glacier National Park - theirs which is different from ours. I was prepared for a whole lot of second best and was delightfully disappointed. This is a lovely, wide, sweeping road that starts along Middle Fork of Flathead River and then upandovers to East Glacier where Hwy 49 heads north. These are roads I know from The Sr Boy's descriptions and for sure we met lots of riders and were overtaken by others. On the east side of the Flatheads the only haze was that of distance and our eyes were all but blinded by the glitter of aspen and birch autumnal gold against the blueblueblue. Dad had figured out his camera troubles and took at least a bazillion (that used to be a large number, didn't it?) pictures. We drove and gawped, drove and stopped, drove and rolled up to the border.

Despite the loveliness of the day and the evidence of Fall as recorded by our eyeballs and the camera, we weren't quite there yet in our minds unlike the Canadian Customs and Immigration service which was in the process of shutting up the border for the season. Once again, timing was everything - one more day of dawdling and we'd have been deep into the flatlands looking for the next crossing. I expected to sail on through but apparently boredom still requires breaking and, as we were only the second vehicle (at 1230h) of the day, it was the full document deal including questions of my father as to why he didn't have a passport. The Customs Officer wasn't amused by Dad's assertion that he wasn't going to live long enough to get full value and "strongly recommended" his getting one before his next trip out of country. Dad's reply: "My next trip out of country will probably be one-way." I started to laugh and the guy finally took a closer look at Dad and realized that geezerdom was alive and well and returning to Canada.

Next stop: Waterton.

There are, in the pile of photos I have shuffled at my parents', several small b&w pictures marked "Waterton Lakes". Among them are several of this building (and yes, I am choked that the only good pictures are from another country's national park website!). We drove around the village. That building looms above the landscape and my father has no recollection of it during his work there. I guess being a married student of very limited means not to mention being somewhat focused on the research job at hand and, in his recollection, doing so in absolutely filthy weather doesn't bend one to noticing the scenery. We finally figured out that it was probably Mum who took the pictures when she came for a visit. I wished yet again for lost conversations. Dad is better at letting go and we pressed on.

The run up Hwy 6 to Pincher Creek was further glory - what is it about hay season set against the Rockies? Things had changed in the town in the 60 years since Dad was last there. The length of time between visits bemused him somewhat so after a quick sideroad to see if the ginormous windmills made any sound (they do - but not much in the gentle afternoon wind) it was Hwy 3 into the dropping sun.

Frank Slide and the whistle of wind over rocks still bare after 105 years, Fernie - holy cats what a lot of development!, and finally rolling down into Cranbrook and bed.

Next up: driving home.

Right side up and still breathing


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