Prince George Free Press
Observances from a 2,000-kilometre road trip through B.C. and Alberta on the May long weekend:
• Best gas prices – Edmonton at $1.16 per litre. Worst, right here in Prince George at $1.34 per litre.
• Saw more black bears on the side of the road than deer, moose or elk. Didn’t stop to ask why.
• Downtown Edmonton has rabbits.
• It used to be that long traffic line-ups were caused by guys with four-cylinder compact cars trying to tow a 24-foot trailer. Seems those guys have gotten smart and are now driving heavy-duty diesel pickup trucks and can maintain 120 kilometres per hour going uphill. Having said that, I noticed that most of the drivers at the front of slow-moving line-ups are now driving newer-model SUVs and not towing anything. Hmmm.
• Listened to former Prince George radio DJ Shauna Prince on a radio station in Edmonton and then to Pat Starun on a radio station while driving through Red Deer. Thought I’d driven in a circle there for a moment.
• It’s mosquito season in Alberta.
• There’s still snow on the side of the road in the Columbia Ice Fields. Maybe the glacier will proceed this year rather than recede.
• Met a former Liberal MLA … in Alberta. A rather rare breed in that province.
• Ran into a bureaucratic gem. A rancher was told he was next in line for a provincially funded fencing program so he started taking down the old fence that needed to be replaced. Government then proceeded to tell him that since the fence was down they had observed that no cows were being pastured in the field and, therefore, he didn’t need the fence. That would be a highways program … Minister Bond.
• And while we’re giving Shirley a hard time, I noticed that the Alberta government has finished four-laning the stretch of highway between Banff and Lake Louise. Similar upgrades right through to Golden would be nice.
• That road includes miles of wildlife fencing and wildlife corridors (overpasses that the furry folks can stroll over without worrying about the deadliest predator they have … motor vehicles, although natural predators know where the corridors are too). Once again (and I seem to be picking on Highways today), more of those would be nice in this province too.
• Some Alberta communities have contracted out speed trap enforcement. It’s not the local RCMP pulling you over and handing out tickets. Don’t know if that’s good or bad, it’s just different.
• The drive through the Columbia Ice Fields is still one of the most spectacular drives around. If you haven’t been, go, and get someone else to drive because if it’s your first time through you’ll be spending all your time gawking at the scenery instead of focusing on the road.
• And speaking of fencing, that’s what I was doing on Saturday when the rapture was supposed to arrive. I was worried that I would end up spending eternity building a barbed-wire fence, which would be pretty harsh punishment for my transgressions. Good news though, the rapture has been rescheduled for October 21. Apparently the Almighty was double-booked on Saturday. He should get a Blackberry or an iPhone so he can keep track of these things.
– Bill Phillips is editor of the Prince George Free Press and regional editor for
Black Press North.