Moving on out – from Fort St John to Vancouver

My last kick at the curating can at Peace Gallery North was the exhibition of student works, The Exquisite Corpse: A Surrealist Game for Three Players that resulted from two workshops on Modern Art I did with 60 grade 4-9 students at Freedom Thinkers Education, a local independent school in Baldonnel. Lots of learning and fun!

Below you can see the new gallery manager Catherine, who helped me hang the 60 drawings.

Here’s an article about the changing of the curatorial guard at the gallery by Matt Preprost in the Alaska Highway News. And, finally for this part of my life, two videos on Shaw TV about this exhibition and my departure from the gallery.

Moving is horrendous! I felt like I had been packing for months, and 3 days before the truck was due to arrive, there was still an enormous pile of stuff to go into boxes from all three stories of our rental townhouse. Hard on the aging back! With three days to go, Ty & I put our collective noses to the grindstone and got it done, 8000 pounds worth of material belongings packed into 200+ boxes was finally ready on Friday morning before the Ellis truck was expected at 8:30 am. Yippee! I had been stressing about how it was all going to go for weeks – was there going to be a hassle with the neighbours getting the truck into place for the move? Would someone park their vehicle on the side of the building so the moving truck couldn’t get it? Would someone need to get in or out of their garage in the middle of the move? Fortunately, none of those dire scenarios happened. Lorne and his crew of 2 were pros, and wrapped, packaged, and moved everything out in five hours without taking a break.

As the guys loaded the truck, we cleaned the place behind them, going from top to bottom, a more onerous job than it might have been if I’d done more cleaning while we lived there. Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, kitchen, and enormous garage all had to be whipped into shape before our 4:30 pm meeting with the management company to determine whether we would get our damage deposit back. (And, wouldn’t you know, our outside faucet had broken the day before our move and water carried a crap-load of mud into the garage that had to dry and be swept out.) But we did it, as my painful back attests!

Both of us breathed an enormous sigh of relief as the truck rolled out of the complex and away with all our worldly possessions. After a lovely last evening at Sandra’s with friends, dinner and conversation, and a night spent at the FSJ Howard Johnson, a tired, run-down venue, we cruised on down the highway towards the south coast.

For the first hour or so the temperature was about -8 or so and dry, perfect conditions for driving, according to my co-pilot Ty, who announced every change in temperature as we went. After turning off onto the road through Pine Pass to Prince George, the snow flurries started and it got warmer, moving up to the dreaded -1 to +1 temperature range where the driving conditions become sub-optimal as the snow and ice melt. The car shimmied down the highway for an hour or so with me easing off the speed every time it started to dance, making for a somewhat stressful stretch of drive.

As you can see from these photos, the clouds were quite socked in on this part of the journey, hiding the mountain tops. But there were very few vehicles on the road and the snow flurries weren’t too dense.

Arriving in Prince George around lunch time, we cruised down into the city proper, searching for somewhere to eat, and deciding on a sushi spot – Wasabi – right downtown. Ty gives it the thumbs up!

Downtown Prince George looked quite nice, with some good-looking heritage buildings in the city core. After our tasty lunch Ty took over the driving duties and we pressed onward to Williams Lake. The sun came out at some point in the afternoon, making the drive a bit more pleasant. We noticed that, in each of the communities we passed through, the Mom and Pop stores and shopping malls have been all boarded up, replaced by Tim Horton’s, A & W, and Walmart – sad to see.

After a wrong turn along the highway and a cruise through the residential streets of Williams Lake, we eventually found our way to the Super 8 Motel, our resting spot for the night. Ty got together with his old friend Les who has lived in Williams Lake for 30 years, and I took it easy in the motel room, resting my aching body.

After a not-too-bad free breakfast at the Super 8 we were on the road early, passing through Lac La Hache, 100 Mile House, Clinton, and various other small towns on our way south through Caribou Country.

At Spences Bridge boulders rolling down onto the highway meant road crews and one lane traffic and a delay of only 10  minutes as we waited for the big trucks to do their job.

The trip through the Fraser Canyon was not as pleasant, with lots of rain and quite a winding stretch up from and then down again to the Fraser River. Since the clouds were so low, we couldn’t see much of what would have been a scenic part of the trip.

After making good time, we stopped for tea in Chilliwack with Ty’s sister Cynthia and nephew Anthony, before getting back on the Number 1 for the home stretch. The drive into town from Abbotsford to Langley was horrible, with such torrential rain that I could barely see anything in front of me. But upon reaching the Port Mann bridge, the sun came out again – halleluia!

Both of us were so happy to be home! Fantastic to be back on the south coast (and out of the vehicle)! Arriving at Jill’s about 4:30, we decided to immediately head over to Granville Island for a celebratory seafood feast at the Sandbar, enjoying a wonderful King Crab dinner. Yippee!

And some good news about my latest films; An Accident of Being and Life After Life were both selected for the Cefalu Film Festival in Palermo, Italy.