OK, we weren't travelling sea to sea on Monday (hello, this is Canada -- that would take us ten days!), but we were travelling from O'Doherty to O'Doherty. There's gotta be a song in there too, right?
Leaving the first O'Doherty base camp was difficult, indeed -- and not just because of the sleeping patterns we'd gotten ourselves into! In fact, we all woke up earlier than we'd had for the last several days -- and had the bags under the eyes to prove it. :-)
The last breakfast was a little mopey... But Mike had to get up the highway to give an estimate on a new job (the prospective employer had originally asked him for 8am, but Mike bumped it a few hours later!). We procrastinated his departure as best we could, and then big hugs and slightly misty good-byes. Ruth also had to get cracking for a morning appointment, and we needed to hit the highway, so we gathered up our stuff, packed it in the car, and had some more misty good-byes.
Fortunately, we were headed for O'Doherty base camp number two -- Mike's brother's place in Castlegar -- who we hadn't met yet, but figured any brother of Mike has to be a good person. :-)
It was a beautiful day for driving. Not to mention a beautiful place for driving! Down the Okanagan, through the mountain ranges. Oh look, a beautiful vista! Oh look, another beautiful vista! Hey look, another beautiful vista! Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Saw a couple of rather large deer along the highway, but they were smart enough to just stay there and look cute.
We totally missed the one cafe Mike had recommended en route -- realized it after we'd driven past, and with a big truck on our tail, didn't feel like cramming on the brakes! Instead, we stopped in at Grand Forks -- home of one of our favourite gigs on the last tour -- and had a light lunch at Jogas Espresso Cafe, which is kind enough to provide free wireless (our internet stick doesn't really work in the Rockies). We settled in with our laptops and had a nice leisurely meal.
Then it was time to get back at 'er. We continued on the Crowsnest to Castlegar and... discovered that MapQuest might be slightly insane. Although, to be fair, Castlegar streets aren't terribly logical, either. We were told to get off at 14th Ave., which, as far as we can tell, doesn't actually cross the highway. Of course, there are, apparently, two 14th Ave-s in town, plus a 14th Street or two. (We're thinking this is how they avoid tourists...)
We end up passing the entire town and heading up a mountain -- nowhere to safely turn around. About 15 kilometres later, there's a place for trucks to check their brakes, so we're able to do a u-turn there and head back to Castlegar. We never do figure out the 14th Ave. part, but do eventually find the correct street for Tim and Roberta's. We may be bickering a bit...
Roberta comes out to greet us and show us in to the house. Tim is on his way home from work, but should be there shortly. We grab some much-needed water and marvel at the mountain view and the garden (we later have some delicious tomatoes and cucumbers fresh from the yard, and they've got an apple tree, raspberry bushes, herbs, lots of veggies...).
Tim comes in shortly after -- Don had said he sounded like Mike over the phone, but we're straining to see any physical resemblance. Like his brother, though, Tim is a cheery, enthusiastic, generous guy, very excited about the upcoming concert. We all chat for a while, and then sit down to dinner together with their daughter Alisha (sorry if I'm not spelling it correctly!). Spaghetti with herbs from the garden, garlic bread, and garden veggies. The perfect pre-gig meal. Life, once again, is good. :-)
It's time to head over to the concert -- Tim's boss, Tracey, is providing the venue for the night. Turns out the house concert is actually in her three-car garage (minus any cars, of course). We're a little wary of the sound possibilities, but what the heck... The house is just past the Big Bear Golf Club, and sure enough, as we're arriving, there's a Mama bear with two cubs -- one black, one cinnamon -- in the back yard. We miss them completely, as they wander into the woods before we get to the window.
Tim points out the loaded rifle at the back of the room, tells us not to feel any pressure about our performance... geez, is that what they do to folk musicians in Castlegar?!? ;-)
Tracey assures us the rifle is in case Mama bear gets too close. Roberta tells us a Mama bear could rip right through the garage door if she wanted to. Gulp...
The guests start to trickle in. Jim, who is the editor of the local paper and e-mailed us a few days ago to tell us how much he loves our music, introduces himself and asks if it's OK to take a few pictures. He then interviews me a bit for a feature / review he's going to post later in the week. He and his wife also have a musical duo, so we have much to chat about.
Showtime! With all the people in the garage, the sound is surprisingly good. There's one woman in the front row who's just grinning the whole time -- good for the soul. Everybody is appreciative -- hardly any have done the house concert thing before but they seem to be catching the bug, as we chat to them at intermission. Tim is excited about this, as he'd like to do some more presenting in town, so bringing these folks on board is a great first start. The audience is pretty diverse, from a flute player to a farmer to a banker to an army guy -- quite a cross-section of people, all of whom seemed to enjoy the house concert concept and wanted more!
Bunch of chit-chatters, it was hard to get everyone back into their chairs for the second set, but we actually got some newcomers in part 2, who later said they were really disappointed they couldn't have been there earlier, because they loved the second half. Show over, many folks stayed behind to chat with us some more, which was great.
Not wanting to keep our host / Tim's boss up too late, we packed up and followed Tim & Roberta home. We were finally able to join Tim in some wine consumption! Don checked out Tim's Guild dreadnought (nice sound!), and we chatted away some more, until eyelids grew heavy. Tim did have to (eventually) work in the morning, and we had a long drive ahead of us. He gave us the password for their wireless, we did some quick e-mail checks and then crashed into a sound sleep!