Actually, I had a great week away working in Kamloops. It's a really nice little city - unfortunately I didn't see a lot of it as was mostly dark when I wasn't at work. A big bonus of my little escape from the valley was that I missed the cold weather at the start of the week. Word has it that it was appreciably below -30ºC in Canmore on Tuesday & pretty close to -40ºC at Exshaw (where I usually work). It was comparatively balmy -20ºC in Kamloops that day. Unfortunately, quite a few of the conveyors at LaFarge Kamloops are outside - it was pretty tough trying to write on a clipboard in the biting wind.
The plant itself is very small & almost cute (in an industrial way) - they have one kiln & three dinky little mills. With a staff of only thirty to forty people, it's just like a big family & they were all very welcoming & glad to have some extra help for the week. There were quite a few out-of-towners working in the plant - which was good as it meant I had company for dinner at the hotel on some of the nights. I even met a Kazahk who was very chatty - many Borat jokes ensued. After it started to warm up a bit later in the week, we got some decent dumps of snows - which was OK until I had to walk down about four-thousand feet of conveyor on the side of a hill without falling over.
Being rather tired from the travelling & working, I gave up on reading the Hunchback of Notre Dame (very tedious start) after a couple of nights & went to the cinema a couple of times. Somehow I saw Unstoppable - some sort of action-thriller about freight trains (not sure that's much of a selling point) starring Denzel Washington. It was surprisingly enjoyable - but then I quite like trains & it was neat seeing bits of Pennsylvanian countryside & industry - geek. I couldn't but help think of the three year old daughter of my friends north of Philly & her love of trains. A couple of nights later I saw the Deathly Hollows (yes, I know - but that's what my ticket said) - my perception of it suffered from too much anticipation; I think it was probably pretty good, but having read the book recently it was never going to capture the detail, humour, suspense or conflict as well. On the plus side, the camping trip didn't seem quite as long as my initial reading - & the scenery of said camping trip was great (except under the Severn Bridge, who goes camping there?).
Speaking of names, the few times I could be bothered venturing away from the hotel (their steak was fantastic & I just had to indulge in the NZ lamb chops), I managed to dine in such places as The Noble Pig, Senor Froggy's, Billy Miners & The Village Idiot.
Even though it was warmer by the end of the week, the first half of the drive home was harder than earlier in the week as on the BC side a lot of the snow & ice had thawed in patches & then frozen again in other patches. One was never quite sure exactly where those patches were. But this side of Roger's Pass, it got cold again & the road was much easier. Except perhaps for this truck - I was first in the queue to watch a bit of the salvage operation.
If anyone from warmer parts of the world (almost everywhere else last week) is wondering how I can say the road was good with so much snow around - these a part of the reason, I saw dozens of them.
This time through Revelstoke I actually managed to find the town itself & not just the Tim Hortons (a Canadian coffee & donut & other assorted fast-food institution) by the highway. They seemed to have a lot more snow sitting around than both Canmore & Kamloops. Also, the houses in the town are a lot older than in Canmore & with a lot more character. The small part I saw was both very white & quite charming.
The rest of the drive was quicker & relatively uneventful - beside passing the odd car in a ditch, a not uncommon sight around these parts in the winter. It was a lot clearer than when I drove through & the mountains were pretty stunning, this slightly wonky sunset picture will have to suffice as back-up for that statement.
Back home, Alex has gone & complicated our Settlers games by buying the expansion pack Cities & Knights. There's a lot more to the game now & it should keep us interested for quite sometime. I had a lazy day yesterday after staying up too late reading this great (& insanely popular) trip report of a Belgian couple that drove across the Congo a couple of years ago. Not sure I would make it - it was frustrating enough just trying to change the taillight (if I ever meet the person who kicked the previous one in I would very much like to kick them) & install a finicky lighter socket (but now I'll be able to charge my iPod on the roadtrip).
Just got my touring-ski bindings adjusted & sent off the rego for an avalanche safety course - looking forward to get out amongst the snow soon.