Racking up the miles
The Burgos Bunch is all smiles
Smiling for the camera at Calgary’s Skyline Luge track.
Our trusty steed, taking a break on an Oregon beach, bravely put on over 10,000 km this past summer.
by Dale Burgos
Where did we leave off? Oh yes, I shared the Burgos’ most recent exploits that brought us down the picturesque coasts of Washington, Oregon and California states. I still heard the sounds of the waves as I fell asleep in our tent. I’m telling you right now: Plan to do it at least once in your life; you won’t regret it.
That trip added a few thousand kilometres onto our truck, but we weren’t done! As it turns out, we were going to take another epic road trip. This time from Vancouver Island to Winnipeg! My trusty pal Google said it is 2,500 km – one way. You know what this means? Two oil changes in a one month span! Oh and it also meant that we get to visit our families.
I can’t stop gushing about the topography of BC – it’s no wonder that one of the province’s tag line is “British Columbia: Super Natural.” Growing up on the prairies, one does not see mountains very often. In fact, the best ski hill growing up was Spring Hill. But I can’t knock it; we Manitobans (yes, I still consider myself a Manitoban) made do. I would toboggan at Kildonan Park or Kilcona Park. There was cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and of course, miles and miles of fresh powder for the snowmobile to keep us busy in winter. But the one thing I’ll miss the most was skating on one of the many outdoor rinks. You see, children on the Island miss out on that experience; it doesn’t get cold enough to sustain an outdoor rink. Perhaps that is the reason not many pro hockey athletes hail from the Island.
Driving through the mountains is one of my ultimate favourite parts of the drive. It must be the risk of falling rocks or the highway cliff sides that keep me alert and excited. Let’s not forget the little towns of Revelstoke, Golden, Lake Louise and Banff. There is shopping and a ton of sightseeing – if you’re into that sort of thing.
Once you get past the Rocky Mountains, you’ll be greeted by the ever-expanding city of Calgary. I’ve got a lot of relatives there, so we always like to make a pit stop. Along with family get-togethers and eating a ton of food, we also got to check out the Flying Squirrel (Calgary’s version of SkyZone Trampoline Park) and the Skyline Luge at Canada Olympic Park. I didn’t partake of the trampoline park; I let the kids use up their energy. But I did check out the luge ride at COP. This is an absolute must if you visit Calgary. Here’s what it is in a nutshell: in the warmer months you can drive a motorless go-kart down a cement track built in the side of the mountain. You start off by taking the chairlift to the top. On the way down, be prepared to hit high speeds on the almost 2 km’s of track. Sounds fun, right?
Once past Alberta, I hit cruise control and took a nap through Saskatchewan. This by far is the most mind-numbingly boring part of the drive. In my many years of driving to Calgary from Winnipeg, I’ve always joked about how much I dislike driving through Saskatchewan. This time was no exception. Still no trees and hay/canola as far as the eye can see. To top it off, Regina has a Carls Jr. restaurant, one of my favourite burger joints. Winnipeg doesn’t have one – so why should Regina!? Makes absolutely no sense.
Once in Winnipeg, we shacked up at my mom’s place. God bless her, she braved hosting my kids plus my sister’s kids in her two-bedroom condo.
In return for the lodging, I agreed to complete some minor upgrades in her humble abode. Painting, floor trim, silicon around the tubs and sinks and a few other odds and ends.
We also spent quality time with both sides of the family, which for some, we haven’t seen in two years! My nieces and nephews have grown up so much, it’s a shame we don’t get to see them more often.
Oh wait, how can I forget! The main reason we took the trip east was to be there for my little brother’s wedding! It was a wedding suited perfectly for these two; an intimate setting with close family and friends. They are a private couple, so I won’t share too many details of their special day. All I will say is: It’s about darn time!
I was overcome with bittersweet feelings, leaving Winnipeg, where not much has changed, but yet it felt very different. It was hard to once again leave behind family and old friends, I was feeling a bit sad. Or was it because I had to drive through Saskatchewan again? I’ll never tell.
Dale is the director of communications for a school district in British Columbia and continues to write from afar.