Monday, October 12, 2015

A Surprise Thanksgiving

Every American knows that Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of November.  The salmon trollers, gill netters and seiners have lashed their boats to the dock.  So, too have the halibut and black cod long liners, crabbers, etc.  The harbor is pretty much full, the seas — less so.  The tourists have retreated to more southerly climes.  It’s also a terrific time to kick off Christmas sales.  Yes, the Pilgrims knew exactly what they were doing.

But were they the first?  If you have a calendar you might notice that Canadian Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October while the US Thanksgiving doesn’t roll around until the fourth Thursday in November.  Could it be?

          Fall colors brighten an aspen grove along British Columbia's portion of the Yellowhead Highway.

Just one year ago we were reminded why Canadian Thanksgivings are a primo time to drive through southern and central British Columbia. The reason?  Autumn splendor.  The only down side is the closure of some of Canada's number one tourist attractions -- thrift stores.  OK -- Karen is not the kind of girl attracted to the Wallmarts, Disneylands and theme parks of this world.  Neither am I.  Karen’s quest for the ultimate bargain cannot be belittled.  After all, she once spent 50 cents to buy a beat up box filled with prints by some artist we never heard of.  Back home we discovered those prints are valued at somewhere around $5,000.  

     Fall colors at the base of some aspens -- just as "delicious" as any New England sugar maple grove.

Oops, Karen, Are you sure this is the Yellowhead Highway ?  I'm not sure it's the kind of road that connects Prince Rupert, BC with Winnipeg, Manitoba.

During that autumn of 2014 our final day on the road fell on Canadian Thanksgiving.  Adding to the woes of closed thrift stores, we steamed straight into our first encounter with serious rain of that trip.  Blazing golds and reds of central British Columbia gave way to muted ochres and crimsons, then as we closed in on the coast, to the dull browns of sodden alder leaves.   Our spirits sagged knowing the drawing card of fall travel was in it's final throes.

       I don't think we're ever driven past Seeley Lake without stopping and taking at least a dozen photos.

Karen, what are all those little dots on that beaver pond?  They don't look like trout chasing bugs to me.

                            Let's think of it as a demonstration of the power of the sun to recycle water.

However, checking into Tall Trees Bed and Breakfast in Prince Rupert changed everything.  "I'm having a party tonight,”  Andrea, our hostess, announced.  "It's Thanksgiving and you're invited to join us." 

And, so, Karen and I had turkey dinner among an eclectic group of Canadians — Andrea’s “orphan” friends who hailed from all over Canada.  Our spirits soared as we filled our bellies with turkey and all the trimmings, met new friends and then played a game, just like we do at home, until well past our intended bed time.   We had a 3:30 AM check in for our ferry the next day, but Thanksgiving celebrations trumped sleep.  After all, it was Thanksgiving.

   OK, it wasn't pumpkin pie, but we didn't complain.  We just hoped there'd be some left for a second helping.

Andrea's assistant.  Any B&B with a dog automatically gets a 5 star rating with Karen.  Of course Tall Timbers would still get one anyway.

Here are two bonus shots.  On Thanksgiving eve -or was it the eve of Thanksgiving eve,  Either way check out Spotted Lake next time you're traveling in the Osoyoos, BC area.  We heard about it from a friendly Canadian customs agent.


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