Typically when LW and I hit the road, our goal is to reach our destination quickly, so our road trip photos tend to be snapped from the passenger seat of a fast-moving pickup.
This tendency is softening as we age. On our recent road trip to Vancouver Island, we reminded ourselves of every single one of our parental units when we stopped at a pre-selected location beside the Bulkley River at Houston for a picnic lunch that included potato salad I’d made the night before—and then photographed each other as a souvenir.
We had only eight days for this 2600-km road trip, though, and we didn’t want to spend more time on the road than was absolutely necessary. So we missed a few great photo ops that would have required stopping. Here are ten I regret the most. (You may notice we stopped for number 10, but due to poor planning on my part, the camera stayed behind in the truck.)
- A grizzly bear enjoying a picnic lunch of its own in a field near 70 Mile House.
- Pond after slough after tiny lake with fiery colour etched onto the edges of its still surface.
- Three silver-haired Harley riders peering down the walls of the Fraser Canyon as they stretched their legs at the Jackass Mountain summit.
- A billboard in a farm field in the Fraser Valley that insisted “Beyond reasonable doubt, Jesus is alive.”
- A canoe perched on an ingenious rack mounted on a quad in the back of a pickup truck driven by a man with a Chevron moustache.
- The Penny Coffee Gang at the Bon Voyage restaurant in Prince George. This group of septua- and octogenarian former tradesmen with assorted European accents and their own handwritten “Reserved” sign apparently gets together every Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m. for an hour or more, only ever drinking one cup of coffee (one fellow drinks tea). More than half their conversation appears to be jokes about who’s going to pay for that cup.
- Scorched earth and charred trees at Williams Lake, 100 Mile House, Ashcroft, and other points along the way, which gave the impression that the fires are all out. The desk clerk at our hotel in Prince George reminded us, though, that 500,000 hectares of BC forest are still burning.
- “Thank you” and a big heart painted on the top of a rusty steel culvert beside the highway near Cache Creek, no doubt a message to the fire-fighting heroes in the sky who saved their farm.
- The top-down convertible full of laughing young people with wind-blown hair taking a group selfie against a backdrop of the Thompson River Canyon ablaze in autumn fire of a different kind.
- The Fraser River, as low as I’ve ever seen it, viewed from the tiny park across the highway from the Dairy Queen at Hope, where we ate ice cream and talked about my dad, who always stopped for an ice cream cone at Hope and ate it at that very spot. Thanks, Dad, for passing on your love of road trips and ice cream.