One eye on the dashboard, one on the road

My song came on the radio as I drove away from the last six months of my life.
It was the morning after the end of season staff party at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, so my decisions were not mine to make, and choosing music to listen to as I drove was beyond me.
So instead of the usual mix of Father John Misty, Kendrick Lamar, #1 Dads, Every Time I Die and Run The Jewels in the recently played music in my iTunes library, the ramblings of the Stoke FM’s morning duo accompanied me into town.
Their mood reflected my own as they spoke of the roller coaster season which had just come to a close with two incredible powder days and boxes of chocolate granola ‘Mojo’ bars; a parting gift from the Resort as skiers exited the gondola for the last time this winter and which now littered the DJ’s studio just as they littered the back of my van.
And as I struggled to keep my eyes on the road and my mind on the many tasks I had ahead of me which would accompany my next great adventure, they played Dashboard by Modest Mouse.

Well we scheme and we scheme but we always blow it
We’ve yet to crash, but we still might as well tow it
Standing at a light switch to each east and west horizon,
Every dawn you’re surprising,
and in the evening one’s consoling
Saying “See it wasn’t quite as bad as”
Well, it would’ve been, could’ve been worse than you would ever know.

With it’s allusions to the best laid plans failing despite our greatest efforts it was hardly the most auspicious start to this great west coast road trip I have envisioned, but now with over 1000 kilometres under the belts and cogs of Laika the Van, I’m treating it less of an omen of certain failure and more of a warning to exercise caution – and ignoring it entirely.

A careless attitude and enthusiasm for warmer weather in tow, I stowed the essentials of my winter gear in a friend’s basement and made for the aptly named Summerland – where two friends who had made early exits from the Revelstoke season due to injury were living, like myself, in the in-between phases of life.
Having fractured three ribs, two vertebrae and her pelvis rolling an ATV in early March, it was with a flood of relief my Revy housemate Diana greeted me at the door of her parents’ home on both feet and without the aid of a walker when I arrived on Monday evening.
It was her first full day without morphine since the accident and her elfish grin spread ear-to-ear as it always had, and laid to rest any of my lingering worries for her recovery.

With her enthusiasm for life returning to normal as soon as possible, she, Laurel and I took a wine tour of the Okanagan the following day, baulking at the prices of cellar-door cases (minimum $17 per bottle) and club “deals” which afforded the member six bottles of the winemaker’s choice for a mere $150.
Bloody great wine – but coming from Margaret River where you can walk out of the cellar door with a case of 12 decent clean skins for under $100 the pricing didn’t exactly allow for the plans of stocking up on wine for ten people and two weeks in Tofino.

And after 24 hours in Tofino, having burnt through another few hundred clicks on the road, a night in Vancouver and a ferry trip to Van Island, it looks like this tiny, rainy town may be home for the Summer.
Surf shops, cafes, restaurants and beautiful people line the main street and although the surf is blown out and tiny today there is sun and swell in the forecast for the first day of our two week island holiday.
Although the promise of sun is optimistic in one of the rainiest places on the planet, and enthusiasm for surf is daunting given the necessity for a 4mm wetsuit plus hood and booties, with a group of good mates the stoke factor will surely remain on high.

And even if it doesn’t – if the surf doesn’t come and the fish don’t bite; if the rain persists and the sun never shines; if the bars aren’t hiring and Laika the van dies; if I can’t fix her and charm won’t pay parking fines; if my body breaks down and I have to leave this land behind; if I get stuck on a bent of accidentally rhyming the last paragraph of a post – I’ll still have Isaac Brock letting me know that it could have been, would have been worse than I could ever know, the windshield was broken, but I love the fresh air you know.

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