Friday, April 2, 2010

Ottawa – USA Trip 2009 Part 4 of 9

Beautiful British Columbia
Happy Campers
Find Me
If you Can

Beautiful British Columbia

It wasn't long before I was surrounded by the huge, beautiful and very dangerous mountains of British Columbia. I say very dangerous mountains because just a few years ago, a good friend and working colleague of Brad's, named Henry, went mountain climbing there and was never seen or heard from again. Only his car was found parked at the base of a mountain. Big signs saying watch out for bears were all over the place. Again, I had to monitor my fuel consumption very carefully because this is not the best place to run out of gas and gas stations are few and far between. I had the choice of proceeding towards Vancouver through the City of Kelowna in the south or the City of Kamloops in the north. Since I had already seen Kelowna on my last trip I chose the more northerly route via Kamloops. The ride was spectacular. After I had reached Vancouver, I was told that the city of Kelowna had been partly evacuated due to forest fires and many residents had lost their homes with some lives lost as well.

Happy Campers

I decided to get a campground just outside Vancouver because it was getting quite late and I was tired. Also, I didn't know exactly where my younger son, Steven, was living now even though he had given me his new Vancouver address. I thought it might be better if I started looking for his place in the morning rather than late on a Friday night. I got a nice secluded campsite away from the maddening crowd where I could get a good night's sleep. I needed the rest. After having a bite to eat and drinking down a couple of light beers I started to get ready for bed. “Bloody Hell!” Two camper vans, each with a guy and a gal around their mid-thirties and a ghetto-blaster blaring, came roaring into the campsite next to me. They were screaming and hollering and whooping it up. I thought, this is all I need – bloody hell! The two guys got out of their vans and tore their shirts off revealing monster-size tattoos. The two girls were less obstreperous and were not quite as noisy as the boys. They soon got busy getting stuff out of their vans. I was very annoyed. Then, one of the guys came over to my tent and said, “See my friend over there, his name is Shawzy and he's thirty-three today. We are having a little celebration for his birthday and the girls are making steaks, salads, mashed potatoes and serving wine and beer. We would like you to join us. Would you do us the honour of joining us please?” You could have knocked me over with a feather. I thanked them and I accepted their invitation. You couldn't have wished for nicer people. They were respectful; intelligent; fun-loving; interesting and courteous. The girls served me a delicious BBQ'd steak; mashed potatoes; salad, and cake for dessert. They were telling me how much they admired me for crossing the country on a bike at my age. Lorrie, the older of the two girls had been hired by the city of Vancouver to put on a musical show on Canada Day (July 1st). She invited me to attend and said that she would arrange for me to have a front row seat. It was great. About midnight I was getting tired and so I said goodnight and I let them finish the party by themselves. I fell asleep right away. They weren't that noisy.

Find Me if You Can!

The next morning I rode into Vancouver to try to find Steven's new flat. I couldn't find the address he'd given me. I tried to phone him but the batteries in my cell phone had gone dead. I tried to find a pay-phone to call him but have you ever tried to find a pay phone when you need one? There are none in Vancouver. They have all been replaced by the cell phone. I saw a Chinese girl talking on her cell phone. I waited until she had finished her call and I explained to her that I needed to call my son and that I would give her five dollars if she would let me use her phone. She let me use her phone but she politely declined the five dollars. I reached Steven at work right away. HE HAD GIVEN ME THE WRONG ADDRESS! He had taken the address from a business envelope lying on the kitchen table when I'd asked him for his address. Unfortunately, the address was the former address of his room-mate Tanya.

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