|music||:||Absalom - Elfin Walk (Celtic Harp)|
My friends Buddy-Girl-B and Buddy-Guy-G got married after being together for 8 years. 1996 was when the Almost Lawsuit Kerfuffle happened with our community service club. It was largely due to Asshole-T using the club to get back at Buddy-Girl-B for breaking up with him. It was really stupid because no one loses except the charities we supported.
But it was around that time that I first noticed B and G arriving at and leaving from club functions together. Anyway. This was my weekend.
We left Vancouver at 2000h and headed east on Highway 1. We drove through the night, making pit stops every few hours along the way. I haven't been that loaded up on caffeine in a long time. Usually, sleepiness hits me hardest at about 0200h in the morning, but I was fine Friday morning.
I think I hit a small furry animal just as we were leaving Kamloops, BC. I was more broken up about it than I thought I would be. But we hoped that that small sacrifice would appease the Road Kill Deities enough that they wouldn't send us a bigger animal. We did see other wildlife on the road, mostly just shortly past Golden, BC as we were headed into the Canadian Rockies. An elk stag, a group of does, various elk along the way, three white poofy things that turned out to be mountain goats, another goat thing somewhere else and two black bears on the way back. Thankfully, none of them were interested in crossing the highway in front of us.
And the Our Lady of Perpetual Road Construction parish is going strong here in British Columbia and Alberta as well. =D
The Canadian Rockies are absolutely magnificent, as always. We got to Golden at 0500h so it was just daybreak as we went through. There's still snow on the caps and they gave off this eerie blue-ish glow.
Once we passed that and got into Alberta, it was straight roads and beautiful flatflatflat plains all the way to the horizon. The bug splatter was horrendous though. =P
We got temporarily misplaced when the highway made an interesting zigzag through a small town. We zigged, but we missed the zag. It's rather embarrassing to admit that we were lost in a county that was 4 blocks big plus a school. But hooray for good maps and minimal signage that was almost, but not yet completely obfuscated by shrubbery. We did find the highway again (without having to comb every single street, brute force) and went off on our merry way.
B and G got married in a rural part of Alberta near Edmonton where her parents' farm is and where she grew up. There are entire sovereign nations in Europe that are smaller than these farms. There's a little bit of elbow space here =) The countryside has a calm, quiet and simple life appeal. But I'm very much a City Mouse and after a while, I started to get homesick.
Before I left, B gave me this:
stucco on the side,
with an old red barn,
there are 2 ponds in front
and 3 cows (but only before 7:30am).
That's her full mailing address at the farm. I swear.
On the whole, I find Albertans veryvery friendly and very explainie. If you ask for directions, they'll tell you more or less what you need. Then they'll give you three other alternative routes, eulogizing the pros/cons of each, the weather conditions, road conditions, times of the day, other conditions you should consider for each route. Then, they'll tell you a story of their cow, aptly named PeanutButter-Chocolate, who had the sweetest pair of eyes. It is a well-known fact that cows have beautiful eyes. Yeah, they can get a little verbose. If you ask about something, be ready to hunker down for a while. I can see where B gets it from. =)
We rolled into the Inn at noon, Mountain Daylight Time, 14.5 hours after we started and promptly fell dead to the world for an hour or so before scraping ourselves up to go help set up the reception hall which included fighting with three garden arches. You would THINK that a bunch of screws that are exactly the same size, shape and colour would fit into any of the same size, shape and colour sockets. These didn't. For some reason, only one screw would screw into one particular socket. You couldn't interchange them.
The flowers weren't terribly hard to put on. But the tulle confused a lot of the family members who were there to help. And y'know, if you need the big long piece of tulle to be exactly even, what you should do is attach the two ends to the right points, then attach the mid-point of that, then the two quarter-points and so on. No. They just attached it one bit at a time and wondered why they always had too much or not enough tulle left over or it wasn't poofy enough.
I just kinda giggled and left it =)
We headed over to the church for the rehearsal. I set up my CD deck up on the balcony and adjusted the volumes for each track. I burned one compilation for the wedding and each of the tracks from a different CD, so the volumes are all different. I biffed a few times, but I finally got it and we were set for the wedding.
My car also ate Bridesmaid-D's purse. Well, it wasn't the car's fault. B fed it to her.
I saw G give a big black purse to B. I didn't know what B's current purse looked like so I assumed it was hers as well. It turns out it was D's purse. It's A Black Purse. Men can't tell This Black Purse from That Black Purse from The Other Black Purse. So, I'm thinking that B put D's purse in the back seat of my car. Yeah, that set off a panic attack or two.
For ambience and arrival of guests, I put on the Variations on a Dream, which has various Celtic harp arrangements played by Susan Scott. I used the second track The Quiet Mountain for the recessional at my wedding and it was well received. =)
The ceremony got off to a slightly glitchy start. Meh, glitchy weddings have character =) I got the signal to start the processional (Star Trek: Insurrection Main Title Theme). G's parents forgot to wait for the usher before they started walking and they had to stop, so I had to stop the music. Honestly, we shouldn't have stopped. If they would have just continued, no one would have been the wiser. But to stop, make people go back to the beginning and start over just emphasized the problem.
photographer... no, he refused to let us call him the "photographer" because he's not a professional photographer. He and his wife are friends of the bride. His wife was a bridesmaid and he was asked to do the official snapping. He insisted that we call him The Taker-of-Pictures. =)
Anyway, something happened to the camera just before the bride's processional (Pachelbel Canon in D). kat_box whispered up at me to pause while he fixed it. Restarted again and it was all good =)
We used Enya's Athair Ar Neamh from The Memory of Trees album for the Signing of the Register. We also planned on using The Inner Light Suite from Star Trek TNG as well, but it turned out that Athair Ar Neamh was long enough to cover it. I played the Inner Light Suite after the Prelude to Te Deum for the Recessional instead and then switched to a Celtic Guitar collection.
Between the ceremony and the reception, we went to a nearby lakeside park for wedding peekatures. =) It was incredibly windy which made everything much harder. I'm giggling just thinking about all the pics with the bridesmaid's dresses plastered to their legs and the veil sticking diagonally up.
Odd thing: B had a huge list of pictures she wanted her Taker-Of-Pictures to do. At the park, he asked me to plaster myself up against a tree. He snaps one and he tells me to do another pose with the tree. So, I stood with my back leaning against said tree and one foot up on it. I'm not sure what that was all about.
The reception was fantastic. Great food. Fun people at our table. There were two that knew B since first grade. They had a blast catching up with each other and we had a blast chiming in =D The other two were friends of G from 22 years ago and they were a hoot as well.
The MC said at one point, "Everybody punch down some more food." HAHAHA! XD That was a hilarious mental image.
We were all encouraged to tell embarrassing stories about the couple. I think the favorite for G was the one from his Mom's friend. He and his two brothers had gotten into a box of Ex-lax one day, so his Mom called this friend over and the task of the day was the keep the three boys on the potties with comic books.
B was harder to roast. See, her background is in Public Relations, so she knows to cover her tracks on stuff. But after a while, I thought of one!! >K}
One of the things our community service group did to raise money for charity was donation car washes. This particular summer, we hit on a really nice, hot Saturday afternoon. B decided that we could get more cars in if she hiked up her shorts a bit, rolled down the straps of her tank top, hold up the "Car Wash" sign in front of her and stand by the side of the road. She looked nekkid standing there behind a cardboard sign. The sign wasn't very big which made it look all that much more convincing =)
We made record money that afternoon and we have the pictures of "The Naked B" to prove it. It nearly caused a few accidents at that intersection. I remember sponging down a Honda Del Sol and hearing the *SSSCCCCRRRRREEEEEEEEEE* of car brakes. XD =D
We saw a lightning storm off in the distance between Red Deer and Airdrie, AB. I think this is the first time I've really seen a lightning storm from afar. Usually, I'm in a house and see a bright flash outside the window, then feel the thunder rumble. They're cool from a distance, but scary when they're right on top of you. There, good. Here, bad.
Between Airdrie and Calgary, we were caught in a flash hail storm. Most cars pulled over onto the side of the highway, but we slowed down to 40 kph and kept going. This was on kat_box's shift and she drove through this really well. I thought it was great that the hail scraped all the bug splatter off the car =D But we collected more bug guts over the rest of the way home. =P
It was a beautiful drive back. We could actually see stuff now that we were travelling by day. There were large light panels along the TransCanada Highway alternatively flashing "CONDUIRE PRUDEMENT" and "DRIVE SAFELY", in a concerted effort to pretend we care about being bilingual in Canada. But when I approached, the message changed to "SLOW THE HELL DOWN, YOU."
But I had to slow down when I was stuck behind the silly Albertan drivers who can't drive on anything even remotely curvy. They'll slow down to 90 kph on curves, then they'll speed up to 150 again on straight paths. *sigh*
Roger's Pass is a fun drive. =P You have a wall of mountain on one side of you, a steep drop-off into oblivion on the other side and steep slopes. But even so, that didn't nearly freak me out as much as the Coquihalla highway. We went through the Coquihalla on the way to Alberta as well, but that was at night, in the dark and I didn't see much.
In the twilight hours, my acrophobia kicked in. And yet I was fine driving through Roger's Pass. I really don't understand why. The Coquihalla is much wider, not as steep a grade and there are guard rails on the outside edge. I still held it together well enough to drive, but wow, that was scary.
Oh, and there's the obligatory Almost Ran Out Of Gas incident. The last time this happened, kat_box and I were waiting in line at the Canada-US border on the way down to Redmond, WA, in her ex-car Babe Red (a bright red Oldsmobile Omega). We watched the gas needle move on top of the "E" notch and the empty light come on. We thought we'd have to push the car over the border and into the gas station in Blaine.
This time, I saw the angry orange empty light come on as we were sprinting down the Coquihalla. The toll plaza was not for another 80km and there wouldn't be a gas station until Hope, BC. We SO would not have made it to Hope... After a short mild panic, we found a u-turn — hooray for the Comstock Road u-turn! =) We headed back to Merritt to fill up at the SuperSave with a really funny attendant guy.
kat_box: Do you have a washroom I could use?
Attendant: No, we have a tree.
*snorfle* This is one thing I've known about people from Merritt (or at least the ones I know from Merritt). The things they say are completely out of left field, very bizarre worldview and turn of phrases. They obviously like doing that for humourous effect and it's probably a coping mechanism for being stuck out there in The Middle of Nowhere, BC. They usually come across as very jovial folk, but they skirt the edge of offensiveness at times and sometimes, will cross that line.
Had a wonderful time. Great to be home. =)
Total distance covered: 2700 km (1677.78 mi)
Total time on the road, including pit stops: 14.5-15 hours each way
Average speed: 100 kph (62.14 mph)
Max speed: 160 kph (99.424 mph)
Almost caught for excessive speeding: 5-6 times
Hailed on: once
Bug genocide: 2,928,239,085,889,632,547,235 splatters