Flying from Calgary to Prince George

T-Minus 8 days

There’s nothing like trying to plan one and a half months of a chaotic life in excruciating detail. It’s a little easier when someone else does all the dirty work, but ultimately, it’s you that will make it flow smoothly.

In my case, it was extracting myself from my life. Really, it was the only way to make any kind of a clean break. But in a fashion typical of myself, I still managed to be running around for the last 45 minutes of being at the office. It seems no amount of preparation can prevent that.

Of course, it didn’t help that Purolator missorted my advance cheque from the CBC. That caused me to call the courier and see if I could divert it to Vancouver. I won’t know if I was successful until 4 September.

On of the things I left too late was booking a hotel room. Why I left it so late is anybody’s guess (‘cuz I don’t know). But it meant that I still needed to clear it up before I boarded my plane.

My flight to Vancouver was its usual uneventful passage. Although I had booked a window seat, I offered it to a young girl who was flying alone and would have sat between two men. The seat was cramped, and not leather. For such a short flight, it wasn’t necessary. But it would still have been nice.

My stop in Vancouver was short. I almost walked out of one terminal gate and right into the adjacent gate. All that prevented me was a 25-minute wait until the next flight started its boarding call.

I was off to Prince George, “Gateway to the North” and the geographical centre of British Columbia. I had exactly the same seat booked that I would have had in the previous flight (had I not given up my window view). But this time, I wanted to see the landscape. We left early (how often that happen?). The flight was short, and soon we arrived at the smallest airport I think I’ve ever been to. Not many airports require planes to turn around on the runway to get to the terminal.

The terminal building was even smaller than Hamilton’s. There’s one baggage carousel, which opens directly to the outside. There’s one gate. Now that’s small.

Grabbing an airporter, I found my way to the Downtown Motel. It was, I think, the last available room in Prince George. It wasn’t the Fairmont Palliser, but it had a comfy bed at a reasonable price. (Even if the room was permeated with a deodourizer that smelled almost worse than the cigarette smoke it was supposed to cover up.)

So why the shortage of rooms? After dinner at the Shogun at the Coast of the North hotel, I wandered around to take pictures. In the process, I ran into three wonderfully chatty elderly women competing in the BC Senior Games. The games are running this weekend in Prince George. Hence, no rooms.

We talked a fairly long time – they were quite puzzled why I would be running around at night taking pictures. Prince George has some great vistas, including the new art gallery just west of city hall. The lighting at night really brings out the gallery’s unique construction.

While I was there talking, we were approached by two of the volunteers who were helping at the games. They were wondering what we were talking about. Over the course of a shorter conversation, I found that Prince George has 26 sawmills. While an impressive-sounding number, the reality is much less impressive. Of those, only 11 or 12 are still open.

Bed soon beckoned. I had a very early morning to come, and sleep was a necessity.