Tuesday, March 06, 2007

And still they keep coming back for more

I'm touched, really.

More than a week since my last post, and still I get twenty hits a day. Twenty sad and lonely people looking out for my well-being, desperate for news of my life. I'm grateful to each and every one of you, and if I ever find myself in the position to be able to buy you beer, I shall.

I find myself in the one horse town of Jasper today, one week into the great Canadian skiing adventure. And what a week it's been, though I doubt you'd be interested in the details. Suffice it to say that I am somewhat fitter than I was when I started out, but also paradoxically fatter. And if I've learned anything, it's that driving two hundred kilometres in the dark after having already been up for twenty-four hours and travelled several thousand miles in an improbably-airborne aluminium tube (or aluminum tube if you're from over here), is not a good idea. Yes, those enormous, horned beasts at the side of the road are sheep, but that's not to say everything else isn't a hallucination.

The car rental firm at Calgary airport, having been expressly told to give us a 4X4 to cope with Canada's dreadful, snow-bound roads, came up with something called a Chrysler Pacifica.* This allegedly does have all wheel drive, but is not actually a car. At least judging by the way it moves on the road. Boat would be a better description. It wallows on billiard-smooth surfaces and makes even me feel seasick on the rough stuff. Steering is vague, the wheel more something to hold onto whilst you pray than any use for actual directional input. It has a huge engine which drinks fuel like Al Gore was president, and a DVD player, but no screen for the picture. At least the leather seats are heated, which is nice when you're driving from the slopes back to the hotel and hot tub. I think I'd rather have been given an economy micro-car and saved a few hundred quid, but to be fair, it hasn't slithered off the road or got stuck in snow yet. Still a week to go, though.

Today we wafted through the Icefields Parkway, which would have been scenic and nice if we could have seen anything through the cloud. Apparently the road was originally built by unemployed navvies in the nineteen thirties, paid twenty cents a day by the Canadian government to hack at the rocks with pickaxes and shovels. Who says they don't have sense of humour?

And having insulted everyone I know, I shall now go to bed.

* it's worth having a look at the 'standard features' page on the site. This includes such essentials as '4.0 L Badge', 'AWD Badge' and 'Pacifica Badge'. Man, I wouldn't want to be without those puppies.

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Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

Hurrah! Free beer for me!

March 07, 2007 12:27 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Geez, you know, we hire the sheep to turn up so that the tourists don't feel they got scammed because they didn't see wildlife, and all you do is complain...

And a pacifica is a boat. Why do you think the name references an ocean? That's what it's meant to travel over.

March 07, 2007 8:11 pm  
Blogger Trace said...

Hahahaha Sandra!

March 08, 2007 5:09 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Update on the pacifica. It seems that the hire car companies have a special deal with Chrysler: the model we have isn't even all wheel drive. Sure it's got leather and trick auto box and all manner of gizmos, but the useful stuff, like drive to all four wheels?


March 09, 2007 4:58 am  

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