Sometime this weekend the wife looked over her cup of coffee smiled and says “hey do you want to take a road trip with me?” Starring at the pages in my hands I looked up shaking my head side to side when she replied before I, “are you saying no to a road trip?” I smiled at my hands then raised my head looking up at her into her hazel blue eyes, “its not you. Its, did you know its labour day weekend?” it came out sideways as my head continued to shake side-to-side, “do you know that we aren’t on vacation? What is going on around here? I didn’t realize it until I was looking at these papers. We should be on holiday someplace awesome!”
She smiled back at me. Withdrawing her coffee cup from her lips she picked up her cellphone and responded with, “Google informed me that three-years ago today, we were in Montreal riding bicycles down bike paths between our Air B&B and the Notre-Dame Basilica in old Montreal. How did it become September?” We starred at each other for five or more minutes trying to contemplate where the time had gone?
In all honesty its been a strange year with COVID in everyone’s lives. Its changed how everyone works, how we do our day-to-day routines, our lives and our livelihoods. There has only been one person I know of whose done really something positive in all of this oddness. She managed to obtain a job with a company based in Geneva Switzerland and committed to a one year contract. She packed all of her things and departed within 2-weeks of being offered the job. She’s now been there like 5-weeks. Other than her, its all been ‘staycations’ or ‘lack of tourists’ when you go anywhere in the province.
Hey, I’m not saying I don’t miss the money associated with tourists but the influx of people into Alberta in the summertime because of Banff National Park and Jasper National Park is extraordinary. And with the lack of humanoids in the area the wildlife has taken over coming even further down the mountains to checkout the towns, looking into windows instead of humans. Its been one of the weirdest summers in history. I know this because our April road trip to British Columbia was canceled due to the boarders closing down. Okay they didn’t really “close them” but they weren’t allowing people into the National Parks. And that prevented us with an easy route between here and where we like to do our Spring holidays, in the Okanagan Valley. Following that news, was the shutting down of all of the restaurants and ninety-percent of the vineyards and well that did us in.
We took one short vacation into Canmore, Banff, and Jasper in early July. It was like being in those areas in Autumn between when the temperatures drop, all the tourists have evacuated as they know Alberta’s winter is fast approaching. It was that. Except we are talking JULY people! The middle of summer. It was ghost town eerie.
Between sips of coffee we said in unison, “road trip in October?”
We starred at each other, our eyes sparkling with the idea of a road trip. The scent of possibilities SCREAMED out at us. “The wineries should be open still, and we’ve always thought about checking out the annual October Wine Festival in the Okanagan Valley” she says. We immediately jumped up and headed into our office then sat down at our computers. Keys started to be struck and mouses clicked as we started doing research.
The questions came out one after the other: What is open? What is closed? Where could we stay? What is affordable? What would the temperatures be like? Is there golfing? What about hiking? Mountain biking? Would the restaurants be open? What about seeing family? What should we do, who should we see, when should we go?
Instantly we picked up the phone and called several vineyards finding out they had reduced their hours of their tasting rooms but they were open for business as usual. Well sort of. Just bring a mask to enter and exit their establishments. Then we checked out our “favourite accommodations” only to jaw drop at the prices in October! “Wholly-shnike’s” came out of my mouth, “they want $450 per night! I think we could rent a villa for that price!”