We leave Edmonton at 4 pm and head to Calgary to stay with friends Vic and Cathy Close. The van sputters a bit, so our aim is to get to Calgary and get it checked out in the morning. We are still in urban, working mode but as we head down the highway we start to decompress. Although we have been planning for months, the van was packed in a hurry and not everything has been put away yet. The floor behind the front seat is invisible under a layer of bags, bins, boxes and cases. Everything will find a convenient home eventually.
While the van is in for service, we head to the Patisserie du Soleil, a bakery restaurant, for breakfast in Calgary’s southeast. It’s pretty busy for a Thursday morning. All bread and pastries are baked on-site. I choose the breakfast sandwich – a hearty soft white bun topped with bacon, tomato, egg and cheese. A decaf Americano and my breakfast is complete.
We pick up the van and head out of Calgary at noon with the plan to get to Nelson, BC that evening. This eight hour leg breaks our cardinal rule of only driving a short distance each day but we deceive ourselves by calling this a positioning movement to get us in place to start the trip proper. We head west to hwy 22 and south on the Cowboy Trail. Lot’s of snow along the way makes the drive a bit more stressful than we’d like. We continue west along Highway 3 and stop at two historic sites: Leitch Collieries and The Frank Slide. Lot’s more snow through the Crowsnest Pass and Salmo Pass and the van is really sputtering now….But we do make it to Nelson and stop in to see Shannon Nelson, a former neighbour. He suggests we head to the Hume Hotel and find a spot in the Library Restaurant. A medium rare steak sandwich with piping hot fresh cut fries is my choice. Paired with a bottle of Malbec; no complaints from me!