Day 30. Working our way back, but still many people to see, many gigs to play.
We actually wake up early -- who'd-a-thunk? Well, early for us, anyhow. :-) Have a quick breakfast with Tim and Roberta before Tim has to head into work. Like his brother, Tim is very good at procrastinating going to work via good conversation. :-)
The visit has been all too short, but they're happy to have us back any time, and we promise to return soon -- and maybe send them a few musical friends in the meantime.
Then it's time for us to leave, as well -- we've got a 7.5 hour drive ahead of us, plus we're going to lose an hour as we near the provincial border.
We manage to find our way out of Castlegar much more easily than making our way in, so the morning is bicker-free. And then -- ah, the mountains! Did we mention beautiful vistas? Oh look, another one! So much beauty in this country...
We're in need of some gas and caffeine and wine gums, so stop in Creston briefly. The bagels are great, but the coffee, sadly, tastes like someone melted a brown crayon... :-(
Through more and more mountains, and then into Cranbrook. Ah yes, the beloved Starbucks. Our sanity is restored. :-)
After Cranbrook, we spend the next several hours criss-crossing a very long lake or very fat river -- not sure which. But it's beautiful, of course! In through Fairmont Hot Springs, which appears to be a place where a lot of rich people go. Big condos and resorts and an airport and... lots of cars we really don't want to hit!
Up past Invermere and into Kootenay National Park. Oh my glory... the road is dug through some of the cliffs, and there are all sorts of formations that look like giant sand castles. Yes, we've taken pictures.
From the Kootenay National Park, we cross the border and into Banff National Park. Just as beautiful coming through this side as it was on our way out to BC.
The mountains slowly give way to hills which give way to little lumps and then... flat. We're coming into Calgary.
We manage to find Louise's house without incident -- a little later than we'd wanted, but still early for the 7:00 dinner she said she'd be making for us. Louise cheerfully greeted us at the front door, quickly overtaken by her golden retriever, Ellie -- as well as the black cat, Marley (an incredibly friendly cat, or dog-cat as I like to call them). We brought our instruments in and met her daughter, Liseanne, who said she was her mom's date for the evening.
Surprise! Louise had invited some of her friends to come meet her "famous musician friends". Hmm... no pressure. ;-) I joked I'd forgotten my tiara, so she gave me her white bejewelled cowboy hat (she'd made it for a charity auction this year, then bought it back because she liked it so much).
Nan and Bob were the first to arrive, and then Jane and Al. Nan and Jane had been Louise's friends for a long time, and helped her through some of the rough patches (described in her book, The Dandelion Spirit, which I'd meant to read by the time we got here, but... such is life on the road).
It was a lovely evening, filled with wine and wonderful food, and many stories about "The Fun Club" -- what happens in Fun Club stays in Fun Club. :-) We might have to start one, though, because their evenings sound like a hoot! The friends were also interested in hearing about our songwriting workshop at The Haven, and were thrilled to hear that Louise had written a song.
Homemade guacamole and a baked brie for appetizers (I could have just eaten that all night, but restrained myself, so as not to embarrass the spirit of my 'tiara'). Salad Nicoise, plus barbecued sausage for the carnivores. Delicious!
Louise's friends were interested in hearing her song. Louise managed to steer the conversation over to our new songs -- but not for long. Don said he'd only sing his new one AFTER Louise sang hers. She tried to deflect again, but the group was working against her. :-)
And so, we pulled out the instruments and I found my chord charts from when we played Louise's ballad at The Haven. Transposed a new chart for Don (since I'm pretty sure Eric had a detuned guitar and capo when he played this), and we were ready to rumble. Louise claimed she was only going to sing the beginning and ending, but... once she got started, she couldn't figure out a place to stop. So we managed to hear the whole darned thing -- yay! Of course, everyone loved it.
Don sang his new one "I Blame The Horizon" and I sang my new one (still a capella) "The Pendulum". Louise wanted to hear something with the cello, so I did "Jezebel", hoping the neighbours didn't get worried. :-)
As Louise mentioned, the whole experience brought back our experience of the Haven -- here for a brief moment, just to remind us all of the whole thing once more. Maybe we should have a reunion? :-)
A little more chat, and then it was time to call it a night -- most of the group had to get up for work the next day, including an 8:00 meeting for Louise!
We hauled in our suitcases from the car, did a quick e-mail check, and then sunk into bed in the guest room for a solid sleep.