Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Finally, British Columbia!

The sun has set out on Sugar Lake but here in the forest it’s been dark all day. I’m listening to Afro-samba and waiting for soup to cook while M is processing veggie oil. It’s our first full day in Canada. Yesterday we got through the border between Oroville, Wa. And Osoyoos, British Columbia without any hassle. The contrast was almost as dramatic as going from San Diego to Tijuana. The Okanogan corridor north of the US “boundary” is completely planted to agriculture and everything that we are used to coming in it’s own time, like first cherries, then apricots, then plums, then peaches, then pears, finally apples, comes in all at once here. U pick. Organic. Just a big yum fest. The country remained desert with sage and bare, dry, hot conditions but there wasn’t the dreary, monochromatic texture of it like there is in eastern Washington. The big outcroppings above the road were still dramatic but pushed back by human irrigation and hard work. There’s also a thriving grape growing and wine touring industry.
Further north there were a lot of cities and communities. We were bowled over by the apparent affluence. The homes seemed sensible, practically grouped (out of the traffic corridor but not dotting the mountain tops like in the US where the wealthy head for the highest ground.) The homes were dun or buff color, with more extended roofs to take better advantage of passive solar, many with porches around the perimeter, under the eaves. There was even quite a bit of a south-west adobe motif since this was advertised as “Canada’s only desert.”
One of the first things we didn’t like was that there was a profusion of billboards. Later, along the vast, long, Oganokan Lake, where hundreds of sun lovers were doing their Riviera long August weekend, we discovered a disheartening amount of plastic and Styrofoam along the waterline. Lastly, commerce was booming, with about 40% of the companies with familiar US names, but along with that was heavy gas and diesel traffic and no sign of public transportation… We were relieved to move off the corridor into rural country, onto a 2 lane road and into our “real” adventure. I felt spent and over stimulated leaving two hours on Hwy 95 north and was greatly relieved to stop swiveling my head with everything there was to see.
We stopped first on the Shuswap river where we found more dramatic garbage deposits and raggedy teens, looking like they were from an urban punk scene.. and mosquitoes. Eventually, after a night to the side of a road by the dam of Sugar Lake, a night filled with three different owl calls, we came around the back side of the lake to the most remote campsite imaginable, yet we were met with more garbage here. We spent the day with butterflies, waves, the wild wind in the trees telling of the short season. I picked up yet one more pile of garbage and M processed the veggie oil he had picked up down in Okanogan, Wa.
Yesterday was Hiroshima day. The dry rustle of my paper crane earrings reminded me that I am committed to being kind, that I have no right to judge, that I am devoted to being amazed, and picking up garbage.
Michael estimates that we are getting 400 miles per gallon, in other words, the diesel lasts us a very long way since we only use it to clear the lines when stopping or starting. The rest of the time we are on veggie. It’s pitch dark outside now and he’s still at it but reports there are no mosquitoes. Soups ready. 8/8 We are now in Nakusp, B.C. I really look forward to exploring this region. After I wrote what I did above I started to realize that Canada's prosperity is partially linked with it's control of vast amounts of water. Look at a map of British Columbia if you get a chance.
The photo of a protest on the way to Sugar Lake illustrates what a boom time Canada is in. In these rural areas the folks protesting don't have much of a chance of stopping bad projects. Thank Goodness for the folks back home who have the numbers and organization to fight for what remains to us and to Madre Tierra.
M is out gathering veggie oil while I watch darkness gather from the library.
Tomorrow is Nagasaki Day. I hope to visit the site of a former Japanese internment camp here as part of my observation and awareness of what occured then that set the stage for what is happening now. Peace to us All.


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