Heading out Friday with the Palomino Maverick truck camper on the Ford F350 with the KTM690 on the front rack for the first time I stopped for the night of a logging road near Lytton. In the morning I drove onto Lillooet where I hooked up with Kevin and Anna, Kendra, Izek and Alex. They’d come the other side of the great circle route stopping short of Pemberton.
We arrived simultaneously in town and met at Cookhouse Restaurant in the Reynold’s Hotel. . They’d had breakfast but we all had drinks and I had a perfect bacon and cheese burger. We also had the delicious home made gravy and fries. The staff were terrific.
Kendra, Izek and Alex really like policemen for some unknown reason. Kendra even thinks her jacket which has a badge is a police jacket. . They all jumped up and down on their seats waving and cheering when a somewhat pleasantly surprised RCMP officer came in. They greeted Gilbert, their friend, the same way. Gilbert couldn't stop his tail wagging and squirmed and licked all of them at once.
The Bustards are fisher folk. Most every weekend we enjoy Kevin's pictures of them all catching rainbow trout. This day Kevin caught a lovely rainbow and damned if I didn’t too. Meanwhile Gilbert, Kendra, Alex and Izek were in heaven messing in the dirt. It was raining. So what. Fish were biting.
We parked by the river and decided rather than going on to a campground just to stay there. It really was a nice wilderness spot a little off the highway.
I’d brought steaks but we had enough rainbow for everyone coupled with the corn, potatoes and herb butter and sour cream I’d brought. Kevin cooked up the fish and beans while I boiled the potatoes and Anna barbecued the corn. The kids and Gilbert played everywhere in the camper and around the grounds. The meal was heavenly. We had plums and hot cross buns for dessert. With kids meals are a more rewarding communal rite especially when we hold hands and say grace at the beginning.
Later while I answered an endless stream of questions from the kids, “what’s this for?’ ‘what’s this.’ Anna and Kevin put up their tent. The adults had tea and coffee and talked about adult things with the three kids sneaking across from the tent to the trailer to listen at the screen door repeatedly until Kevin finally said a boogeyman would get them if they didn’t stay in the tent. They are afraid of bogeymen.
We had all attended St. James Anglican Church and reminisced about Father Mark and our time there. I told them how Father Mark had welcomed Gilbert to the church but said he wasn’t sure about me. His two big dogs had joined us and became Gilbert’s church friends. We discussed the Christian revival all over the world, especially in the former USSR, and Poland, the persecution of Christians in Islamic nations, especially the Coptics and by the Atheist Communists in China. The place of family and values and challenges to the faith, were all part of the discussion. Kevin had started as a Pentecostal, I’d started as a Baptist, Now we'd all become friends as Anglicans.
Kevin and Anna left to join their kids while I and Gilbert bedded down in the camper, During the bouts of rain it had served as a terrific dry haven with running hot and cold water, a working refrigerator and an indoor toilet Kendra had earlier become enamoured by. She used so much soap in the sink my grey water was full of bubbles.
The night before had been a full moon but this night was intermittent rain, a good thing given all the forest fires BC had been plagued by.
In the morning I awoke and put on the expresso coffee and boiled water for Anna's tea. The three munchkins had slipped out of the tent first and were shortly followed by the parents thankful for the cups of hot coffee and tea I handed them. The kids liked the tangerines, plums, ham and cheese croissants and yogurts I thought to bring.
Family and food. I was surprised 3 adults and 3 kids fit in the camper booth but we did. Prayers and meals . Then we were breaking up the camp to go to another a fishing hole Kevin knew. I never did get my motorcycle off the rack but we had to shovel away some gravel to get it clearance for it to get back onto the road.
The evergreen scenery, mountains and streams and Duffy Lake, the twisting turning Duffy Lake Road was all such a joy to travel along. Given all the times I’ve travelled this route, either on motorcycle ,or in car or hunting in a truck, I never tire of it. It’s truly one of my favourite drives of all times.
At Pemberton, another favourite town, we all got MacDonald’s Burgers including an Angus paddy for Gilbert.
The next fishing hole included quite the climb down to the roaring river. The kids and 4 wheel drive Gilbert had no difficulty but I had to go down on hands to avoid falling. Unfortunately I’d broken the tip of my rod so was just along for pictures. The fisher folk caught more rainbow. Kendra was ecstatic when she caught her fish, doing a little dance while Anna extracted the hook and bonked the fish with a rock.
A great family weekend. I was reminded of fishing with my mom and dad my brother Ron watching Kevin and Anna helping the kids with rods and hooks and worms. I remember Mom and Dad having the patience of saints with the tangles I’d get my line in.
What a wonderful tradition. It was so much fun for me to be apart of this fisherfolk family weekend. Gilbert thinks he’s one of the kids. They’re just great with him.