Cancelgar. I’d heard the nickname for the Castlegar airport and had thought it was funny. Until my friend’s flight was cancelled.
Any airport would have cancelled flights during the set of snowstorms that seemed to usher in winter for real, though. It was coming down in a blizzard of small flakes that quickly set themselves up as snow banks and white highways. No problem. I’ve got four-wheel drive.
Last year I found a little truck with 4wd that let me get out for hikes, and outfit it with skookum tires to keep my wheels to the ground in all weather. This was the first real test of my winterizing, in more ways than one.
When I lived in cities, which had been most of my adult life, I’d never owned a vehicle powered by more than pedals. I was about to see if my truck and myself could make it through some really bad driving conditions. Not taking any chances, I loaded up the back with sandbags to help stick the tires to the road.
Saturday morning I started out in a few inches of fresh snow, driving as slowly as I could get away with. Bigger-boned trucks sped by; I took the tortoise’s strategy to take it slow but make it there, eventually.
By the time I reached the curves leading into Hills, I met my first snowplough. It was a big marigold angel of a YRB truck, spewing snow further off the road and shaking sand out its rear. Not a religious person by nature, I still mentally said ‘Amen.’
The snow continued to drop, but the yellow trucks were on it. I passed three more before I reached Castlegar, and the roads were clear all the way there and all the way back.
Later that afternoon, my friend and I arrived in Nakusp, and I thought about all the people who had helped us along on the trip from the tire people to neighbours to the plough trucks. I wondered how often YRB and municipal public works got fan mail, or gifts of appreciation for the work they do on a daily basis that keeps us safe and on the roads. They deserve cookies and kudos.
Way to go guys, you’re doing an excellent job.