Vacation Compression

Lee Foote
4 min readJun 8, 2021

A Four Day Break Out

Eating dry KoolAid concentrate right out of the packet was living life large when I was a kid. As an adult, packing concentrated fun into a short period of time has its own distillate of appreciation too. The following short clip tells of a motorcycle ride, a cabin visit, an unforgettable meal, a daughter visit, a catch up with Calgary friends, and a flight home- my first airplane visit in over a year. Oh- this all unfolded in four days.

Some mountains and a ride

My friend Brad needed me to deliver his motorcycle- a newish BMW R1250 GS- from Vancouver to Calgary on what has to be one of the prettiest and easiest mountain rides in North America. Because I had to make 1100 km that day, I got a 6:00 AM start into the mountains on a clear warmish morning. Up over the Coquihalla Pass — the highest summit on the route across all of Canada — then through a series of National Parks. Partway across Mount Robson provided one of its rare near- clear views. There were a few elk on the roadside and later I noticed the unmistakable profile of a large bear plodding down the road shoulder toward me at 250 meters so I stopped to watch. A mature grizzly was walking sedately toward me seemingly unconcerned. I thought about photos and safe distances but figured he was closing a little too fast to do much. Then I had a mild glitch about the exposure in passing just a few meters away from him. I had seen the videos of grizzlies pursuing mountain bikers so I just pulled out, tailgated a passing car and got around him. Not a kilometer later, an impressive big black bear was grazing dandelions unconcernedly in the ditch too. Easy to stay awake on this stretch!

The days are long at this season and latitude so I arrived at the Clearwater Cabin with plenty of light to fish, eat a nice supper and stretch out by Brad’s fire next to his very cool Pleasureway camper van. We talked late into the evening, skipped the fishing due to turbid water.

Its a cool van but I prefer the cabin

We fiddled around the next day until it was time to head to Edmonton where I got to spend the night and take my daughter and her roommates out for a wood-fired pizza. We also sent her mom a photo.

My Pizza Halo

The next morning, Brad and I were treated to the brunch of all brunches. Matt, a Provincial Wildlife Director had on his chef’s hat creating a new-to-the-world dish he dubbed “Cowboys and Indians”. Before I could comment on the non-PC nature of the name he made clear that this was a lamb vindaloo on grilled nan (the Indian part) layered over turmeric scrambled eggs then topped with a smoked beef rib (the Cowboy part) dressed with a dollop of masala-flavored Hollandaise sauce, cilantro and crushed pistachios. It really was East meets West meets teeth.

The international meal

This guy can COOK!

Of course, his lovely wife — who is also my coffee mistress because she can drive an expresso machine like a Ferrari — brought out homemade strawberry shortcake and double espresso lattes.

Just read the expression

Sadly, there have been two grizzly bear deaths in Alberta in the last 2 weeks. Matt has to stick handle those as part of his job. Brad and I have both done some bear work so we had a meeting of the minds, not on the details of those events, but the visioning of what might come to be under current and imagined management scenarios. I learned a lot and hope my various opinions added something to the storyline.

Then it was time to fight the wind and storm cells back to Calgary to visit with a couple more friends and get a night’s sleep before returning to Vancouver before noon on Monday. Whew! Pass the Koolade.

oolaid!

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Lee Foote

Southerner by birth, Northerner by choice, Casual person by nature.