Thursday, April 27, 2006


Traveling in Northern Alberta

Having just made two trips to the Edmonton area, I have a little more appreciation for traveling in this area. But before I go further I should give you a glossary of terms.

100 km/h: about 60 miles per hour, the posted speed on most highways. (Alberta Speedway and Moose Row are 110 km/h which is about 70 miles per hour.
Alberta Speedway: highway 2 between Edmonton and Calgary.
Amber light: speed up and get through that intersection.
Bypass, The: a road that's now in the middle of Grande Prairie.
Grande Prairie Raceway: highway 2 between Sexsmith and Grand Prairie.
Indian Airlines: Greyhound Bus.
Litre: 3.8 of them make a U.S. gallon. It takes 4.5 to make an Imperial gallon.
Moose Row: a 100 mile stretch of highway about half way between Grande Prairie and Edmonton where there are no towns or services, just jackpine and moose and deer.
Peace Country: north-western Alberta and north-eastern B.C.
Pickup truck: most usual vehicle on our roads.
Speed Limit: about 10 mph slower than the flow of traffic.
S U V: Second-most Usual Vehicle on our roads.
Super B: third-most usual vehicle on our roads, or a truck with 30 wheels.

And now the rest of the story. For about two months now, Colleen and I have been able to commute to work in the same vehicle. With gasoling soaring to $1.06 per litre, it amounts to quite a savings. So each morning we head out onto Grande Prairie Raceway and jockey for position as we head in to work. There are just about as many vehicles heading out into the oil patch as heading into the growing city. Almost every day we see a building under construction that we haven't noticed before. After I get out, Colleen takes the car around the bypass to Wal-Mart. The drive home always seems less rushed.

For the Easter weekens we traveled the six hours out of the Peace country to Suzanne and Thomas's. Most of the road is four lane divided highway and there are no stop lights except for a few in the Edmonton area. But on Moose Row Colleen had to literally stop and wait for a couple of deer to make their leisurely way across the highway. Fortunately we were able to totally avoid Alberta Speedway. Although we did not leave Grande Prairie until 5:30 p.m., we still arrived in Camrose before it was totally dark. We had a great time with Suzanne, Thomas, Makayla, Brian, and several members of his family. They are a great bunch of people.

We had hoped to visit an older man who was hospitalized in Edmonton but we learned that he had died about a day earlier. So we visited his wife before heading back into the Peace country.

Last weekend I went back to the Edmonton area because I had been asked to take the funeral for the man who had died. Colleen had to work and also had a house guest for the P.R.B.I. grad and could not accompany me. So I decided to take Indian Airlines! But this time I traveled in the afternoon and evening instead of overnight like I did last fall. The trip was much more enjoyable. One man missed the bus in Grande Prairie and took a cab about 100 kilometers to catch up to it. That cost him a pretty penny! Another lady missed getting back on the bus at Whitecourt because she was playing the VLTs and lost track of time. I met two men who where heading back to Newfoundland. Their trip was going to take six days. A PRBI student was heading back to Georga. Her trip was going to take four days.

The funeral was in my old church in Thorhild and was a good time of ministry to a totally different crowd of people. I stayed overnight and went to church there before heading back on the bus. At church I saw a lot of kids I hadn't seen for quite some time. My, how they have grown! I also saw the camp where we will be having Campout with the Sutera Twins again this summer. The main building has been fully insulated and finished on the inside. Looks nice but now it echos a lot. Overall I found the experience reaffirming of my ministry in that area in years past.

The trip back was uneventful and (as always) it was great to get back home. Now it is back to cruising (flying?)on Grande Prairie Raceway. Such are the joys of living in the midst of a boom economy.

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