The Road to Whistler

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before

The Beatles song, Long and Winding Road, might be about love, loss and loneliness.  But as I travelled from northern Manitoba to the town of Whistler BC, the title took on a whole new meaning.   I”m fairly sure that I have seen this road before, though its been awhile.  And it wasn’t until we left Salmon Arm that the long and winding road became a bit of a nightmare. 

We spent the night in a small, privately owned motel in Bumcrack, BC.  (The name has been changed, for obvious reasons.) The building looked quaint, almost charming, on the outside, especially when compared to the rest of the town.

Our first clue regarding the accomodations might have been the shriveled looking creature curled up on a lawn chair outside the front entrance.   Think Gollum, with a tan.  Add in a can of beer and a haze of smoke to complete the picture.
There were no sheets on the bed in our room.  The guy at the front desk, (like George Carlin, but with bad teeth) gave us an aw, shucks grin.  “Gollum!” he called.   “You make up that bed properly!”  Turns out, Gollum was the chambermaid.  The little man loped towards our room, sheets clutched in his grimy claw.  I took them before he got in the door.

Did I mention that the sheets were made of a rubber, polyester blend?  The floor looked like it hadn’t been vacummed in a while.  The walls were covered in bug carcasses and what looked to be bloodied hairs from a deer carcass.  At least, we hoped that’s what it was.  The TV remote didn’t work and George Carlin showed up to change the batteries.  Another aw, shucks grin.  On the plus side, the toilets flushed.  And the door locked, if you heaved your whole body against it while sliding the lever over. 

It was the next day that we found out the reason for the rubber sheets.  On the long and winding road from Cache Creek to Whistler, it’s almost impossible not to piss yourself.  The narrow road shoots through valleys and then climbs up to impossible heights, twisting and turning like a roller coaster designed by a crack smoking engineer.  The lack of any kind of barrier inspires a type of exercise called keegles, which most men have never even heard of, followed by  bum clenches, thus ensuring that we didn’t crap ourselves. 

While driving along this twisted, crazy highway, various signs would pop up in front of us. ‘Danger of Avalanche.  Watch for wild horses.  Deer crossing.  Goat trail.  Loose cattle.’  All this, as we’re crawling along doing our keegles, holding hands and saying goodbye.  By this point, we had knots our back so large, we looked like Quazimoto.

Mostly, we were travelling thirty kilometres an hour.  We kept trying to pull over, to let braver or more impatient drivers pass us by.  The road was too narrow.  There were a few viewing points, but if anything, they increased our exercise activities.  Clench.  Squeeze.  Lift.  Breath.  Whimper.  Begin again.

“But the views were beautiful!” everyone gushed, when we finally arrived in Whistler.  Thinking back on it, I guess they were.   But it’s the last time I’ll see that long and winding road.  We intend to go back, and we’ll meet you at your door, Heather and Adam. But I’m pretty sure we’ll take the long way around. 

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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