Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A Trip to Kamloops, B.C.

One of my brothers-in-law was from Saskatchewan and his siblings had migrated to Kamloops. Early in his marriage to my youngest sister - they decided to move there as well. They have two daughters who were born and raised there and they think that their 'Home Town' is paradise on earth.

15 years ago I met the man who was destined to be my spouse and - once we were married to each other - we went on visits to the homes of both of my sisters. Ric and I met each other here in Toronto and did some musing about the possibility of me moving to the San Francisco Bay area. That would have been easy if I were an American myself but I am not so Ric decided that I should move to Kamloops which - instead of being a 4 or 5 hour flight from Toronto - is only two shorter flights of 60 to 90 minutes each. Quicker and cheaper than traveling between Toronto and Kamloops and back!

My flight left Lester B. Pearson airport in northwest Toronto in mid morning. Not being flush with funds I opted for the least expensive way to travel out to the airport which is situated northwest of downtown. That meant that I had to get up out of bed at 3:00 AM and catch what we call 'the Blue Night Bus' which travels on the main east/west thoroughfare one block north of where I live and goes all of the way to the airport.

I was there in plenty of time for my flight so I went to the restaurant in the terminal for breakfast and then made my way to the boarding area for the flight. I knew the number of my seat but had no idea that it was on the largest commercial aircraft that I have ever seen (let alone flown on).

My seat was in the last of the three sections and right in the middle of the plane (there were ten seats across the airplane and I was five seats away from my favorite window seat - and an equal number from the other side). As I was unable to see outside, thank God I had a good book with me!

My disappointment at not having a window seat - which would have put an additional surcharge upon the cost of the ticket - was eased when I realized the 'perks' which came with this aircraft - on the back of the seat in front of me was a monitor which showed a map of the route and figures showing how many miles had been covered and how many miles that were still ahead - even to the last few miles right up until the aircraft touched down!

As the aircraft was so huge there were two aisles with seats on each side but it still took quite a while before we who were seated near the rear could get off.

In the Vancouver airport I looked for a restaurant (naturally, there were more than one) and then the gate for the little 'mountain hopper' (as I called it) up to Kamloops. Sea Island Airport is near the mouth of the Fraser River and the take off was out over the 'salt chuck' and then northwest up Howe Sound  and over Whistler to the upper Fraser River and on to Kamloops which is located where the North Thompson River joins with the Thompson and flows down to the Fraser.

That flight was short and comfortable and - when I got off the plane - I soon located my niece's husband and his son who were waiting for me. Both of my nieces live in the same apartment building as my kid sister. This was Saturday and - two days later - Ric flew in from San Francisco to join me. We had a couple of meals with my kid sister and - on Saturday evening - my niece's husband cooked a steak dinner feast which Ric and I, Nicholas (Nick), his grandmother (my youngest sister, Babs Gibson) and his Mom all enjoyed.

Nick was living with his maternal grandmother so he and I got to be with each other quite a bit - and I nearly bankrupted myself by paying for lunches, coffees and snacks but it was a good 'together time'.

On the Saturday evening Babs hosted a get together which included Nick's sister  - Leah Adams - and her new husband (Steve) who drove up from the Okanagan Valley which caused all of us to hold our breaths - a snowfall had been predicted but - thankfully - it did not materialize! Neither Rick nor I had met Steve before this and we liked him very much.

In his spare time Paul drove us around a fair bit which pleased me as Ric and I are contemplating a move to Kamloops at some time within the next few months.

After being there for a week to ten days it was time to leave. My 'mountain hopper' flight was to Calgary where I boarded another Air Canada airplane for the trip the rest of the way back to Toronto. The small aircraft do not fly very high over the mountains and I saw something which I found spectacular. There had been an avalanche on one of the mountains and I had a clear view of the peak and noticed where the snow had been before it slid down the slope.

The aircraft which flew from Calgary to Toronto was one of the regular sized one. While my seat was on the aisle, I still could see the terrain which we flew over to Pearson. We landed just at sunset so the remainder of the journey home was in the dark.

It was a good trip but with a 'downer' at the end. A large group of what appeared to be business people had been allowed to board the aircraft first. While their seats were towards the rear  of the 'plane they had placed their carry-on luggage in the overhead bins towards the front. Therefore - when I boarded - I had to go well back in the airplane before I found an empty bin in which to place my bag and my sweater jacket. Because of that I had some difficulty in retrieving my belongings when we landed at Pearson International. I did manage to retrieve my bag but was unable to locate the sweater jacket. Once home again a brief bout of influenza (plus being daunted by severely cold weather) delayed my trip out to Pearson International Airport and - by that time - all misplaced items had been sent on to Montreal and then sold or given away.

I was greatly dismayed by that!