From: "Kate Kennedy" email@example.com
Subject: Climate Change Caravan Week 4
Date: Thursday, June 07, 2001 2:29 AM
On these pages, Highway7.com re-publishes the C3
Caravan Travellogue with the kind permission from Kate Kennedy.
Our special thanks to all the folks at C3 for their personal commitment
in spreading the message of Climate Change and for sharing their
Sunday, May 27th.
We started our day with scrambled eggs and strong coffee made by Inga
and the wonderful crew at the school. The bus retrieved its internal organs
from the front lawn, and bikers gradually departed from New Denver. This
was Lindsay and Andrew's last day of cycling with the caravan (but they
promise to return at the end of the tour). We stopped for a surprise lunch
at Winlaw. The surprise being free salads and ice tea at Emerald City
cafT, which had been organized by our scouts but had not quite made it
in the communications trickle-down. We were fetched from the gas station
across the street by one of the waitresses and told to come on over. Quite
a lot of time lapsed by in Winlaw before we were all lunched and had had
our fill of the little market there. Next came the overwhelming head winds
that seemed to try to stop us from moving altogether. We arrived in Nelson
and headed up the 90 degree incline to the United Church on Silica Street.
We found our host, John Altan, at his office in the Ecocentre where he
was busily preparing lentil soup for our dinner (surprise number 2 for
the day!). The teams arrived one by one to the church. We ate dinner,
and Yuill gave a slide presentation surrounded by our general mess. The
Climate Change Caravan has absolutely no problem making itself at home
in any location, be it church, high school gym, or private residence.
I wonder sometimes if we will find ourselves cut off when future hosts
are warned by previous ones of our slovenliness. We'll cross our fingers
and hope not!
Monday, May 28th.
Aaah, a day off. Or at least a day without having to pack, or lube our
bikes, or navigate. Bound and determined not to have my plans for laundry
and a shower hijacked by anything C3, I marched to the laundromat and
aquatic centre before settling in for the day at the Ecocentre. The Ecocentre
became homebase for the day, we hung laundry in the front room, made lunch
in the kitchen, abused their internet access, tied up their phone lines,
drank their coffee, and generally got in the way. John and the rest of
the staff were very good to us. The highlight of the day was yet another
bus breakdown. (This made us 6 for 6-6 breakdowns in 6 days). We were
just leaving the church when Ryan leapt out of a stranger's truck and
yelled at Scott to get in and not ask questions. The bus drive shaft had
suddenly snapped just as Mary Ann was driving up one of the infamous Nelson
hills and she was stuck in the middle of an intersection with her foot
on the brake. Luckily policemen in Nelson are quite understanding and
redirected traffic until the tow truck arrived. The bus spent the rest
of the day in the shop and we panhandled for money to pay for the new
shaft. Lindsay and Andrew scanned local papers and bulletin boards for
summer employment, Ron reported to have done absolutely nothing, Hillary
visited her sister, Mary Ann and Graeme tried to rustle up some media
attentioną That evening we all played a game organized by camp counsellor
Leslie. We had five cardboard lily pads and had to get all 28 of us across
the raging carpet river in the united church basement without falling
off or letting go of any of the lily pads. August lost two lily pads all
by himself, and swung Jen over his shoulder at one point to keep her on
a lily pad with three other people on it. We truly felt bonded by the
end of the game, or at least humoured.
Tuesday, May 29th
began with another great food surprise: pancakes! With the aid of another
well-stocked church kitchen Rob, Graeme, Hillary, Kara, and Jeremy made
a huge breakfast feast for us all. Kate and Kennedy had the sheer joy
of doing their dishes afterward. Our AWOL scouts turned up after breakfast,
only one day later than they were ordered to appear after Yuill and Kate
beckoned from a payphone in Nakusp begging them to come back and fix the
vegetable oil system. It is good to have them back. At the garage we got
a repair bill that was a lot cheaper than they had estimated, which means
that the caravan is not running at a deficit-yet! We also scored some
steel poles we found in the yard, which we are now using as a pivot for
the wind turbine. It is quite a sight to see the turbine spinning high
above the bus. When we were able to tear Yuill, Jason, and Megan away
from the bus engine and close it's lid, we were off. The road from Nelson
to the ferry across Kootenay Lake is beautiful. The rain cleared up, and
we all made the ferry in good time. A group had set out early to do a
presentation at the Crawford Bay school. We found them playing basketball
with the highschool students in the schoolyard. We had a restful afternoon
sleeping in the sun until dinnerą.and waiting for the bus. This story
demands its own paragraph:
The bus made it as far as Salmo before it decided to return to its usual
dormant state. Scott, the lucky driver for Tuesday hung out at the garage
in Salmo waiting for the glow plug timer to be fixed, then discovered
that in yet another random act of impeccable timing, the ferry was not
letting buses on today. So he and Adam and Laird drove all the way around
the lake and arrived at the school many hours later than anticipated when
they left the first garage that morning. Aaah, the bus. There are two
types of people in the world: those who want to pitch the bus off a cliff,
and those who are willing to stomach the daily trips to the mechanic as
we inch closer to being the operators of a sustainable vehicle. The jury
is still out on this, and to date we are still the proud owners of the
moody red beast.
Wednesday, May 30th
Team Gimp (minus Kate K who had rudely been scheduled to cook that day)
got up early to start a 185km trek to Cranbrook in order to make it in
time for early morning presentations at schools the next day (the bus
being its unreliable self, we decided cyclists were more accountable).
The rest of us gorged on scrambled eggs for breakfast before slowly pulling
out of the school parking lot. The road to Creston was quiet, and we got
a great view of the farms in the valley below when we made it to the top
of the final hill. In Creston Yuill gave a slide presentation to a group
at the Rec Centre and we did an interview with local media outside. The
triumph of the day: the bus is finally running on vegetable oil. The french
fry smell coming from the exhaust as it passed us nearly made me cry,
which makes me wonder how obsessed I really am.
Unfortunately the bloody thing still doesn't like to start. The people
on the bus in the afternoon found themselves stranded outside Little Joe's
fruit stand for two hours cooking a dinner that couldn't be delivered
while we waited for the solar panels to recharge the battery. We arrived
to irrate cyclists who had been forced to beg for food in the metropolis
of Yahk. We found them in the community centre surrounded by bags of potato
chips and Wonderbread. We also found Ron, who had broken another spoke
and had had to drop out of Team Gimp's marathon ride to Cranbrook. Finally,
we found that the stove in the kitchen didn't work, which made french
toast the next morning an experience I don't even care to write about.
Thursday, May 31st,
following the french toast trauma, we headed off for Cranbrook. This was
the day we discovered the obnoxious ribbing the highways department puts
on the edge of the shoulder to jar sleepy drivers awake before they drive
off the road. It began just outside Cranbrook and is still here in Alberta.
It makes passing other cyclists something only those with thick skulls
or a fetish for headaches care to attempt. For people like Yuill who claims
to actually fall asleep on his bike, it has come in handy on more than
At Mount Baker Secondary School we met our fearless leader for the day,
Cam Trueman, who had arranged our stay at the school, presentations, and
parking for the red beast. Graeme and Mary Ann had organized a media event
outside the school that afternoon. A few local papers were there and took
shots of the bus in all its renewable glory. The wind turbine was raised,
and the solar panels up. Many a kodak moment was had. After the press
left we did a tour through town with the bus and cyclists out front. We
definitely raised a lot of eyebrows, although it would have been better
to do it before stores closed for the day. Better luck next time.
After the tour it was time for supper at the United Church, organized
by Barbara (thank you!). The food was amazing, and the cooks refused to
let us help do dishes. Although we protested this, it was a nice treat.
After supper we had a slide presentation at the school, followed by some
serious internet access, and bed.
Friday, June 1st
being well fed by Barabara Warman and her crew in Cranbrook, and being
sent off with tons of great food, we set off for Fernie. Sandy Trueman
arranged a free tour of Fort Steeke, a historical site of an old gold
rush town at its peak in 1898. We noted how funny it was that this historical
site was only one hundred years old-as compared with the ruins in Athens.
We hopped back on our bikes and pedalled a bit further to Norbury Lake
where we stopped for a dip. Our third stop of the day was at a trout hatchery
run by the BC government to support the trout fishing industry.
With a large chunk of the bike riding day not yet under our belts, we
decided we should really start to move-however for some of us the more
touristy pace was a nice shift from biking on by.
A torrential storm of heavy wind and rain hit at approximately 9pm just
as Tim and I were arriving into Fernie. Luckily at her presentation Hillary
met a woman who offered to put us up in her home (we were supposed to
camp that night). Thank you Joni, Corey, Jill, and Chad!-Leslie
Saturday, June 2nd
was the day we finished BC. The Crowsnest Pass is supposed to be the least
steep pass through the Rockies and we all made it through with ease (the
wind at our backs certainly helped). At the BC-Alberta border we took
many proud pictures and planted a tree, and at the base placed a rock
painted with Climate Change Caravan, 2001. This is a trend we will continue
throughout the rest of the trip.
Most of us arrived at the Crowsnest Pass Secondary School with some time
before supper to clean our clothes and ourselves. Theresa Negreiff and
her crew at Crowsnest organized a delicious dinner of chili, salads, and
desserts-yum! Hillary presented the slide show and some local media from
the Crowsnest Promoter stopped by for an interview. Most people went to
bed early to get a good night's sleep.-Leslie
Sunday, June 3rd
Rob and Kennedy celebrated their birthdays, Kennedy turned 13 and Rob
turned 23. We feasted on oatmeal with all sorts of crazy toppings. Since
the new cooking schedule came into effect, we have been operating on a
system of one-upmanship which means that the meals have gotten progressively
better each day.
We were scheduled to visit the Cowley Ridge windfarm, about 27
kilometers away that morning. There was an amazing tailwind that got us
there in no time, although in our usual fashion, it took several tries
and a couple of phone calls to actually sort out where we were supposed
to meet our tour guide Peter Wilson. The turbines look amazing. From the
highway they line the ridge, spinning away happily, producing 21 megawatts
of power for the Alberta grid. They're expanding in the next couple of
years to 200 megawatts. The wind on that ridge is out of control. We had
to hide behind a huge steel box to stay warm and to hear Peter tell us
about the farm. He answered our endless questions and tried not to cringe
as Adam lay down underneath one of the turbines to get earth shattering
footage for the documentary. Apparently the blades can fall off at any
moment in their 20 year lifespan. Luckily enough, none of them chose that
particular moment to do it.
We gobbled lunch in the bus before challenging the unbearable headwinds
that faced us and nearly killed us that afternoon. I don't know if I've
experienced the frustration I felt trying to maintain even 10 km/hour
on a downhill. It was maddening. What made it worse was the prairie phenomenon
of being able to see your destination for hours before you actually reach
it. At one point I watched the bus for forty five minutes in the distance,
praying that a) it wasn't something else red and b) that if it was the
bus it wouldn't leave before I got to it. When we got there we ate all
the food that was immediately available and avoided the last leg of the
journey for a while. We also watched Sam approach for about half an hour.
When we finally arrived at Judy Hadley's ranch, we were met by good food
and the Alberta NDP party and campaigners. Our visit coincided with the
party's potluck, which made for an interesting mix of obsessions. We were
all a little stunned after the ride, so I can't imagine we were very stimulating
company! We went to bed very early, starting around 7:30.
Monday, June 4th
we awoke to downpour. As disheartening as it is to start the day's ride
completely soaked, Alberta has been in a drought and badly needing the
rain. Judy and her daughter prepared us an amazing breakfast (note to
self: stop talking about food all the time). The coffee was particularly
appreciated. Those who couldn't bear to bike the gravel driveway again
were teleported to the highway courtesy of -----'s pickup and Gary's car.
Today's ride was quite a relief after the hellish winds from yesterday.
Make no mistake, it was windy, but everything's relative. The rain stopped,
but not before it turned into hail for a few minutes, just to give us
the full spectrum of weather events. The terrain was actually hillier
than our day through the Rockies was, but the executive decision to put
panniers on the bus today, just this once, made things much easier.
We ate lunch at Chain Lakes and then continued on until Turner Valley.
Leslie had a traumatic brush with death (unlike the more common untraumatic
brushes with death) when a transport truck passed just inches away from
her and honked its horn at her. This left her a bit shaky and she and
Augie ended up hitchhiking the last 15 km. She seems to be on the mend
now, and is in the midst of writing Friday and Saturday's updates for
this week (yes, it's true, the weekly updates have overwhelmed and I am
now starting to crack the whip).
Probably the most startling part of this landscape is the derricks that
incessantly pump oil out of the ground all along the highways. They're
sort of eerie, both in the way they pump away without anyone operating
them, and because they are perpetuating our fossil fuel consumption in
a way that seems as though no one is in control. Scary stuff.
Our host in Turner Valley is Gary. He has us sleeping in yet another
well-equipped community hall (wonderful things), free tours of the local
historic oil plant, food donations, showers, and the audience for Hillary's
slide presentation earlier this evening. Thank you to him! We finished
off the day with lots of plans for the new approach, ie the one that will
allow us to talk to the unconverted of this country. After weeks of presentations
to environmentalists, we are desperately in need of a new method. August
and Jordan and Adam have been working on this for the past few days and
presented us all with a plan for a C3 travelling festival, complete with
music, art, demonstrations, food, parades through town, and the list goes
on. First stop Edmonton.
And that's the week (or so!). Out of one province and into the next,
with a month almost gone. Shocking. Congratulations to all those who made
it to the end of this email, and please bear with me as I work on shortening
these monster updates.
Next week: Calgary, Edmonton, and brevity.-Kate. K
Antigonish to Halifax "The
Final Frontier" (September 20,2001)