Inspired by the uninspiring, a greasy old part for our old vehicle, I took the day off of household work to drive 2 hours to Lacombe.
Driving with Yvon is typical of most male roadtrips. It's all about the destination. The quickest way is best and as long as there is no need for either gas or a pee stop, we don't generally stop anywhere. We pass all of the historical marking signs along the road and I look longingly at the old dilapidated barns that I'd love to explore.
On my own though it's a different trip altogether. I can stop frequently and I can wander down small town roads even if I'm not looking for anything there or needing anything. Usually I drive towards the river or along the railway lines, or head for a steeple because that's where I find the oldest houses, or sometimes a pretty park or cemetery.
There is a very direct (and boring) route to my destination today, so I took a different one of course. One that went through a few small towns instead of skirting around them and avoiding them.
My first stop was an antique store. It was empty of people, but the bell on the door must echo in the house next door or else the lady in the window yelled to her husband that he had a customer. As he said, it was just a store with "a lot of old stuff", but he didn't add that it was beautiful old stuff. I came out empty-handed, but if I'm ever looking for furniture, The Brick offers no competition to this place.
Then I drove through a reserve. I dutifully slowed down because this town has one of the highest concentration of RCMP officers and I didn't want to add a speeding ticket to the cost of my trip. I'm always struck by the lack of pride shown in reserve houses. No flower gardens or trees, and often no windows intact. As Yvon has been preparing his applications for Metis status, I'm thankful that his family only inherited some of the blood of his aboriginal ancestors and not their current ways of life. It's not a pretty town to drive through.
The next stop was my destination, Lacombe. If I were to move to a small town in Alberta, this would be high on my list to research. It's the kind of place where people yield to non-local vehicles and they stop for pedestrians who cross where they shouldn't. And it's very pretty with their well-preserved town centre.
I was lucky enough to find a sign for the Farmer's Market and had time to stop in. It was great, but it was full of things I can do for myself. Lovely jams, jellies, pickles, soft flannel pajamas, and crocheted items. I treated myself to a bag of local wheat that I'm going to try to sprout.
And I bought myself a Christmas present that I cannot make for myself. I love how sharing crafters are though. She told me that I can get the pattern online for free (it's Martha Stewart's Coming Home Poncho) so that I can try to make it for my girls. I'm not sure I'm capable, but it's a nice thought. This is not one of those crafts that makes any money for the poor lady and I told her that (not that I was offering her more money!). She told me that crocheting keeps her arthritis in check and that's cheaper than medication. True enough I guess, but crafters never seem to put value on their time.
Next stop: the autowreckers. When I'd called, Mitch answered the phone and gave me directions to his shop. No address and no company name, but just instructions to head for the blue fertilizer tank. I love small towns. So I did that and stopped at the business with hundreds of cars in their lot. After driving all that way, they didn't have the part! Then they looked it up in their computer and said that Reg's down the street on the other side of the blue fertilizer tank had that part in stock.
Did Mitch work there? I asked. Yes, he does. Good. Five minutes later I had the part in my van and was ready for lunch.
I stopped at a beautiful old house called "The Stopping House" for a homemade meal of mushroom soup and a BLT. It was full of happy people eating simple food. The menu consisted of two regular desserts, one soup and one salad, plus the daily special soup, salad and sandwich. I love that kind of restaurant and it tasted great. I sat with some scrap paper writing up this post because I forgot a book (!). The owner invited me to sit over coffee and take my time because I was being so productive. Blogging is productive? That was kind of funny.
I took the quickest route home so that I would be home by the time the kids got out of school. Even that route was pretty, but I'm a prairie girl and appreciate the colors of tan and brown, with reddish willow shrubs bordering the fields.
It was a very nice roadtrip and I'm glad I spent the day this way instead of just having them send the part by Greyhound. How boring is that?