48 Christmases Ago…


Living in Vancouver, cash-strapped, in 1968 I wanted to get home to Montreal for Christmas. My sister had a brand new son born on December 10 and my parents lived on Queen Mary Road.

I and another young fellow named Don traveled with Dave and Kathy B. from Vancouver to Toronto in their VW station wagon. Don and I had answered a posted ad offering a ride if gas costs and driving were shared. Only Dave and Kathy knew each other prior to the trip. The drive East to Toronto was completed in just 61.5 hours!

On the way there Dave wanted to avoid the Trans Canada Highway north of Lake Superior and suggested crossing to the American side and going south of Superior through N. Dakota and Duluth, Minnesota crossing into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie. Don argued that the road would be hellishly icy either way – and he was right but Dave was the boss. It was a white-knuckle ride all night. The VW had tires with metal studs, still allowed everywhere in Canada in those days. This did not make it safer – the studs simply allowed us to drive fast without facing certain death.

Dave dropped off Don and me, both from Montreal, at Union Station. The two Montrealers then rode together on a CN train from Toronto to Montreal. On that part of the journey Don told me that he was carrying marijuana. He then revealed that, during our two border crossings and our time south of the border, I had been carrying it in my left jacket pocket!

“Don” was not with us on the return trip… He had been replaced with Dave’s cousin, Jim, who was going to the Thunder Bay area, so we went north of Superior.

This time we took a “sleep stop” in Banff. Dave and Kathy took a $10 motel room. I found a $3 boarding house bed owned by a brave couple of Hares on Marten Road.

The two photos were Kodachrome slides taken when we stopped to change a tire in the Revelstoke area of British Columbia on our return trip through the majestic Rockies. The part after that was slushy and rainy with black ice. Very slow.

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Author: mytiturk

Travelbug Minstrel: Strum for my supper, croon for my cuppa Search for a sign, write for my whine

3 thoughts on “48 Christmases Ago…”

  1. Funtrip 🙂 I was posted to Chilliwack in ’84 and drove out with a 2 year old, came back with a then 6 year old and another 2 year old. But , not quite as challenging and stayed in motels and hotels at “HEr Majesty’s Pleasure ” 🙂

  2. Some trips make good stories; events that are interesting later on are not always fully appreciated at the time. Going through my laboratory-styled notebooks from 1968 on, trying to figure out what to do with them other than simply type them out as originally entered, but I don’t think anyone will give a shit about how to make three kinds of suet or my laborious, handwritten Christmas lists.

    This story definitely worked better as a rewrite. I would have preferred a few more photos, but a few are probably in the wrong set. My slide scanning needs to be finished first and I need to decide on a publishing program that works well with my new iMac. I know… blah blah… Even the Christmas newsletter may have to be done on the old PC, if indeed it gets done…

    Any comments you can add will help because I know you’ve put a ton of interesting stuff together. Your aborted drunken boat trip to Cuba with Farley Mowat stands out in my memory. Brilliant!

  3. BTW, check out my Cuba 2010 FB album with extra long captions. Before I started blogging I put a lot of albums up on FB. Now I don’t any more. FB I am using less and less and my politics is better appreciated on Twitter and totally ignored by my loved ones on FB. My resolution to stop whining even on WP is turning out to be tough to keep. I’ll stop there…

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