What About After?

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Does anyone else have these thoughts?

Are you ever going to be able to relax while in a crowd, or even just shopping or dinning out again?

Knowing this virus is still out there, how fast it can spread, or that this could happen again with a different virus, just how much paranoia is healthy?

Will flights, cruises or even mass gatherings have any appeal to you?

I’m hoping Mister and I can find a comfortable middle ground. I do think it’s going to take some time though.

Air travel won’t be in our near future, but to be fair, Mister has never enjoyed airports. We were checking out cruises when this all started, but they aren’t high on our priority list anymore either.

Respecting a strangers personal space anywhere we are will be our new habit.

Not to the point of if I’m in an elevator and a crowd enters I’ll flip out, at least I hope I won’t, but my eyes may widen if someone in there starts coughing or sneezing.

Will this isolation experience forever change your habits?

We’re still hanging in here, hope you are too.

How Far is Far Enough?

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Do you have a limit as to “how far away” from your home is “far enough” for a hotel or motel stay?

We don’t. Okay, maybe fifteen minutes away might be too close, and it probably matters that we live out of town.

Even with the above view out our window, Mister and I still enjoy getting-away. Long distance trips don’t happen as often for us anymore, but we take a few short jaunts every year.

This post was triggered by our recent venture which is a popular one for us. It’s roughly an hour and a half drive from our home.

Have you or would you stay in a Hotel or Motel that’s near where you live?

I can’t speak for Mister, but what I enjoy most about these little trips is they are usually in a city, and are often closer to family or friends.

It has been 38 years since I’ve lived in a city with everyday conveniences within walking distance.

I loved living in the country with horses out our back door, and here at the golf and lake resort. But, I was born and raised in a city, and I kind of miss that way of life too. Maybe it’s just that “grass is greener on the other side” thing, but living in a smaller city or town remains on my bucket list.

If a “staycation” is when you vacation at home, is there a name for when you stay in the same city as you live or somewhere super close?

In the beginning years of marriage when our kids were young and we lived in the country, a 30-60 minute drive to one of the nearby cities was sometimes our vacation. (Guess what word I first typed at the end of that sentence? Check out my “Holiday or Vacation” post for an explanation.)

When our youngest was about a year and a half old Mister started travelling more and more with his job. The kids and I would go with him as often as we could.

They were (still are) great travellers. It never bothered them to sleep in a different place every night. They never whined about time spent in a vehicle, even if the day was 8-12 hours on the road.

Most of these trips were before in vehicle DVD players, handheld tablets, or cell phones. They would pack books, travel games, and a few toys each for entertainment, or just watch the scenery. Eventually, Walkmans and a few handheld electronic games, plus Gameboy, came out. Books remained one of their favourites along with listening to their own music.

A part of what we loved about these trips with Mister working his way across provinces and states meant we visited a lot of little towns. We’ve traveled many main routes, country roads, and back highways through areas most tourists don’t visit.

If Mister expected his business stop was going to be lengthy he would drop us off to explore shopping areas, playgrounds, parks, main-streets or wherever we thought looked interesting. This part of our life started before people had cell phones. We had to wear watches and coordinate pick-up places and times.

I remember when Mister got a pager, and how when it went off we all had to watch for a phone booth while he drove.

Do you remember the days before things like, “text when you are on your way”

Prepare

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“Ruben” the retriever is prepared

This post isn’t me complaining, it’s a couple tips on how we do it, and an awareness reminder.

We’re just creeping out of a week long cold spell. What do we call cold, -30 Celsius or more (-22 Fahrenheit).

The other morning we woke to -41 Celsius, add the wind chill and it felt like -51. No need for a conversion here because at -32 Celsius and Fahrenheit equal out.

Here in Alberta, Canada, we often get teased that these temperatures are common. That is untrue, but this kind of cold is also not unheard of. We do get at least 1 real cold spell a winter, and they can be worse than this one. They can last hours, but usually days or the odd time weeks. They can bring more snow or not. They can come quickly, or like this recent one, give us days of warning to prepare.

I feel bad and worry about people who have to be out in freezing temperatures, going to work, working in, doing chores, going to school, or whatever forces someone outdoors. But, if prepared and dressed appropriately it is doable.

Country living certainly meant more preparing and was more work than here at the lake, and retirement has made these cold or even blizzard days less worrisome for sure.

It seems, we often end up with doctor appointments or something though, this week there was 2 which had us on the highways in the frigate temperatures.

Winter road travel means preparation beyond the obvious vehicle maintenance which is so important.

As soon as our snow comes to stay we start traveling with warm gloves, hats, snow pants, boots, a blanket, and there’s a fold-up shovel which stays in the van. For those who take less traveled routes, a more extensive emergency kit is suggested. Heat sources like thermal blankets, candles, and nutritional snacks for example.

A downfall of living and experiencing this type of weather, year after year, is we can get careless and somewhat disrespectful of cold temperatures. All to often you here it said, I’m just running to the store quick, I don’t need my big winter gear.

This rare but true short story is a reminder of why we should be prepared. It happened to a girlfriend’s sons friend, so I didn’t stumble across it on the internet.

He was alone driving a not busy highway during a winter blizzard when a series of unexpected things changed his plans. His little white car left the road stopping far into the snow filled ditch. In its resting place it was unseeable by the rare passing traffic. He wasn’t injured, but he wasn’t out of trouble yet either. The seat belt release mechanism was somehow damaged trapping him in his seat. There was no knife or sharp object handy to cut the now binding nylon strap. Yes, he had a cell phone. It had been on the centre console and durning the jarring off-road ride it slid off landing out of reach on the passenger floor. It was hours and hours before he was found, and by then frostbite had set in to some extremities. Last I heard, he hadn’t lost any, but recovery was painful and not short.

What habits have I picked up since hearing about this unfortunate fellow.

  • I keep that bulky winter-coat on while in a vehicle, especially on bad roads.
  • The phone is either in my pocket or at least in a cup holder.
  • A multi tool with a knife is within reach.
  • Let someone know if you’re going to be on the road, especially in bad conditions and if traveling alone, and let them know when you arrive at your destination.

It’s better to prepare than be sorry.

Of course you can’t be overcome with worrying about the what if’s, or prepare for every scenario, but do think over some possible things that could go wrong wherever you might be and take precautions.

On a lighter note, here’s a few tips if you’re inexperienced and find yourself in some extreme cold weather.

  • If you think you have to pee and you’re going outside, pee. Cold air intensives this urge.
  • If you’re going out to say, shovel, and you can see without your metal frame glasses leave them inside. Metal draws in the cold.
  • Oh, and if someone tells you to stick your tongue on cold metal, it’s not a myth it will stick and stick good.

Our favourite vehicle option for cold days is a heated steering wheel. Lots of people enjoy heated seats, but I find they make me colder when I have to go back outside.

When winter comes I know what’s in-store, and I choose to live here. You’ll hear me say I love winter, but that doesn’t mean you won’t hear me mutter now and then when we’re in a cold spell.

So to anyone who has to contend with a cold weather season. Bundle up in layers, travel prepared, and just maybe you’ll be warm and safe.

Are you a warm weather person, or do you like the 4 seasons of change?

Do You Over Pack

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It can pay off big time.

I’ve always over-packed. Whether it’s different climate outfits or just extra choices, there’s always clean clothes coming home in my suitcase.

But, for all the times that’s happened it only takes one delayed return, added days to a trip away, to appreciate those extras.

Sure, I never go where purchasing or washing clothes isn’t an option, but that isn’t always convenient though. Plus, it’s definitely never easy to find what you need in a pinch, unless it’s the basics (socks or underwear).

We just got back from a trip that ended up being 5 days longer than expected. I tell you those extras packed were greatly appreciated.

My method when packing is, if there’s still room in the suitcase, fill it. Unless I’m going where I know I’ll be shopping.

I also always travel with more medication than required, and I’ve finally got Mister doing the same.

Do you travel with extras or just the bare minimum?

Do You Know The Difference

One was actually designed to save lives and one for saving time, yet both of these are sometimes referred to as tunnels.

The one on the top is called a “Snow or Avalanche Shed”. The concrete construction deflects falling snow and water runoff allowing it to pass over top while traffic continues to flow underneath.

Between Golden, and Revelstoke, British Columbia, the Trans Canada Highway #1 winds through “Glacier National Park”. You’ll be much safer today, than in years past, traveling through its mountain range with a deadly history. Five snow sheds have been built on a stretch of this highway called the “Rogers Pass”.

Discovered in 1881, the “Rogers Pass” was first used by the railroad in 1885.

Weather conditions can change drastically and quickly on the pass with a summit elevation of 1,330 meters/ 4,360 feet. Add, roughly 10 meters/32.81 feet of heavy snowfall per year to the sheer height and steepness of the Selkirk Mountains and you get perfect avalanche conditions.

Even with 31 wooden snow sheds over the rail tracks, for 30 years deadly avalanches plagued the railroad. In 1913 they began digging the 8.083 kilometre/5.022 mile tunnel called the “Connaught Tunnel” under Mount Macdonald. Once completed in 1916 trains quit going up and over the “Rogers Pass”. 

In 1988 the railroad also opened the 14.7 kilometre/9.1 mile “Mount Macdonald Tunnel” to supplement growing freight traffic. Trains now travel east through the “Connaught Tunnel” and west through the “Mount Macdonald Tunnel”.

Sections of abandoned rail line ground over the pass were later used for the current Trans Canada Highway #1 finished in 1962 and called the “Rogers Pass.” It replaced the older (1940-62) “Big Bend Highway” which followed the Columbia River for 305 kilometres/190 miles through the Selkirk Mountain valley. It was a seasonal, perilous, and gravel highway always closed in the winter because of heavy snowfall. The pass also shorted drive time between Golden and Revelstoke by 5 hours.

Tunnels like in the bottom picture are designed as shortcuts, or in the least a simpler path. The pictured one is 1 of 7 on the Fraser Canyon highway (the Gold Rush Trail) between Hope and Boston Bar. They were constructed in 1957-64, and range in length between 57 meters/187 feet to 610 meters/2000 feet.

Did you know the design differences of these tunnels before this post?

Have you ever encountered tunnels or snow sheds on a highway?

Since reading Stephen Kings novel “The Stand” years ago, I can’t help thinking of situations from that book when traveling through tunnels.

Has anyone else read “The Stand” and knows what I’m talking about?

Traveling Dilemma

 

A good portion of the population wear glasses, right? So, would it kill designers or manufacturers to have different coloured bottles, labels, or even caps on these mini sized products in Hotels, Motels, and Inns?

Maybe, they could incorporate a big, S, C or L, on the label, or just increase some print size.

Something, so those of us who don’t wear our glasses in the shower can identify which product is which.

Clear containers work when shampoo is also clear, and only if hair conditioner and lotion aren’t both creamy white.

Some places also offer body wash. That makes four bottles to choose from, increasing my odds of failure. Yes, I have tried to wash my hair with a wrong product.

This is a minuscule issue, but it is a pet peeve I have when traveling.

I do try and remember to check which is which before jumping in the shower.

I’m also grateful you don’t get those packets, like ketchup comes in, that use to be supplied anymore. The ones that were just as hard to tell apart, and nearly impossible to open with wet hands.

Funny thing, our next stay after this post was drafted, supplied shampoo and conditioner in the slippery packets with tiny print.

Have you ever had to play a guessing game with these mini bottles?

Have you fought with the shampoo packets with wet hands?

What Are These?

You’ll came across six of these special overpasses when driving between Canmore, Alberta, and the British Columbia border.

For some 90 Kilometres/55 Miles, high, page-wire fences completely line both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway #1. They were erected to help prevent wildlife and vehicle collisions on this very popular and busy road which winds through, Banff National Park.

I read the fences have reduced animal fatalities by more than 80%, and for deer and elk the percentage is closer to 96%.

The unique overpasses like pictured above are natural terrain crossings. Built strictly for and used by wildlife.

The first two of the six to open were constructed in 1996-97 when the highway widening project began. At that time they were the only ones of the kind in the world. The rest were built as the road work continued.

What you may not notice while driving this road, (even we didn’t realize the number and we travel the path often), is there are 38 wildlife crossings which go under the four lane, divided highway.

As of 2012, eleven large species, grizzly and black bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, moose, deer, elk, big horn sheep, wolverines, and lynx, have been recorded using the wildlife crossings. Plus, I think I read somewhere 108 small species.

Elk were the first to use the crossings. Some of the timid species like grizzly bears and wolves took up to five years to get comfortable enough to use them.

They discovered interesting data by monitoring crossing activity. For instance, grizzly bears, elk, moose and deer prefer high, wide and short in length crossings. Black bears, cougars, and mountain lions, prefer low, long and narrow crossings.

At the time of the projects completion, Banff National Park had the most numerous and varied wildlife crossing structures in the world. I’m not sure if they still hold that title.

Across the border in British Columbia the adjoining, Yoho National Park, also has fenced sections and wildlife crossings. Their newest overpass being a massive 60 meter/197 ft. wide one completed and opened in 2018. This is the widest of its kind to date. They have a couple smaller ones too, plus, I believe three under road crossings.

Sorry the picture isn’t brighter and clearer, but mother-natures skies, bugs, rain and snapping while moving made it difficult.

Have you seen special animal crossings on any road you’ve driven?

Have you heard of, or driven through, “Banff National Park” in Alberta, Canada?

GPS or Maps

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Yes, that is a portable GPS suctioned onto to the screen of our vehicles built in navigation system. At least we didn’t have both turned on at the same time. You can also see a paper map, which I frequently use when checking on the broader scope of things.

We certainly don’t need any of these guidance conveniences to find where we’re going this trip. We’re traveling a well know path back to where Mister was born, and an area where we visit often. We do like having the arrival time visible though when a destination is programmed.

Let me explain than why we need two systems. Okay, we don’t need two, but why we are traveling with two.

We find built in navigation is harder and more costly to keep updated than hand held units. Mister, just downloaded updates to our handheld before we left on this trip.

The portable kind is handier if the passenger has to search or program a location or address while moving. Most built in ones need the vehicle to be in park to allow this.

You can have a portable unit in your hands instead of reaching across to one built in. With sensitive touch screens, anyone who’s tried working a GPS while on a windy or bumpy highway will understand why I prefer sitting back in my seat with a portable one in hand.

You can take the portable GPS into your hotel and program addresses you may need the next day, rather than being that weird person or couple sitting in their vehicle in the parking lot.

Do you prefer GPS units or paper maps?

This is our favourite time of the year for a road trip because as the days go by our travels will be enhanced by fall colours.

Do you like fall road trips?

Who Remembers

Who remembers cameras using film?

Who remembers taking the rolls into a photo shop?

The waiting sometimes a week for it to be developed? The anticipation? The hoping that picture of something special turned out?

Did you ever come home from a holiday and spend hours writing dates and notes on the back of prints? Or, did you put them in albums right away with side-notes?

I love that newer cameras and mobile devices allow you to check a shot before the moment passes, and that dates are recorded automatically. If you have location service turned on even where you are can now be recorded.

Years ago, when Mister and I did our cross Canada retirement trip, we had a digital camera which was a blessing for checking shots. At that time though, location service wasn’t even an option. Every evening I would download that day’s pictures onto my laptop, and we would name them before we would forget. In our defence, when you cover a lot of miles and see numerous highlights in a day, details are quick to blur and mingle.

I’ve pretty much switched to digital albums, because of storage space, but there’s nothing like having a photo album on your lap and flipping pages.

Have you stumbled across prints years later that you wish you would have taken the time to write on the back?

This just happened to me while going through some boxes.

Oh and remember the sleeves of negatives, seldom ever looked at again but too precious to throw away? I still don’t know what to do with them.

Do you get print copies and do photo albums, or just have digital albums?

The Wheel and Lost With A GPS

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I hate when reality proves there isn’t enough hours in a day or days in a week. When life is like being on a hamster wheel. With me running and running, and no matter the pace I get nowhere.

At least I’m still on my feet and life hasn’t thrown me out onto my butt. Smiley Face.

For anyone feeling like they’re in a wheel, let’s take a deep breath, put our heads down and focus. When it slows, we can jump off and take time to smell the roses.

How do I get so far behind so fast?

Are you, in the wheel or out smelling roses?

If you noticed I didn’t post last week it was because that darn wheel wasn’t laptop friendly. Besides, I was busy self-discovering.

Mister did a lot of traveling during his working years so him and I being separated was common back then. Since his retirement it rarely happens. The days we spent apart last week were eye opening. Who knew we would miss each other that much.

My biggest surprise was learning I’m human (or maybe aging). I’m not ashamed to share this next tidbit because maybe it will put someone else it’s happened to at ease.

Stress and sleep depuration can and probably will affect your concentration and coping skills more so as we age.

Did you know even an experienced traveler can get lost while using a GPS? It happened when I didn’t realize the wrong destination on the touch screen got programmed.

My road-trip home was going good, the first pee break was in the city I knew it should be in. After that was when things went south. Actually, I needed to drive south but under the cloudy sunless sky I didn’t realize I was heading east. Sure, I had moments of, this road seems different, but I chalked it up to Mister is usually driving while I’m distracted by reading or napping. When I passed a town I knew I shouldn’t was when all faith in the GPS left and I felt lost. That rattled my tired self which only frustrated me more. So, on the side of the unfamiliar highway with my data-less phone I made a few calls. Do you believe with everyone carrying cell phones it took five tries to reach someone who could confirm that I would eventually get home? The three hour trip turned into five because of my detour.

Thanks goes to the daughter-in-law who answered and the son who she put on the phone for the out of the blue call for a Google search.

Do you put your trust in a GPS when traveling?

The daughter-in-law informed me that it’s also very hard to get a good, clear picture of a hamster in a wheel for this post. Thanks for trying.