Saskatchewan River, Medicine Hat, Alberta
Before I got too far into recounting further details of my cross-Canada trek, I didn’t want to neglect an important element of the journey that happened back in Washington, on just our second morning on the road. One of our daily rituals is stopping at a local supermarket to get ice and sometimes a few groceries for our cooler. In addition to any food Mike and Heather might need, my complete and balanced diet of meats, fish, cheese, vegetables, milk, yogurt and broth requires constant refrigeration. I won’t settle for less, even on the road.
Since yesterday’s ice is good only for watering plants, and since the plantings in supermarket parking lots can generally use a good drink, Heather looks for a parking spot along the edges, where the discharge of water from the cooler can do some good.
Police Point Park, Medicine Hat, Alberta
That morning in Omak, a small city on the banks of the Okanogan River in central Washington, Mike went into Walmart for ice and Heather drained yesterday’s ice into some thirsty shrubbery. I sat in the shade, resting before the long day of backseat driving that lied ahead. Then an old pickup pulled into the spot between our car and one a couples of parking spots away where a wreck of a pickup stood on cinderblocks, and a man and a dog emerged. I can’t remember the dog’s name, but he seemed nice enough when he ambled over to sniff my butt, and his owner immediately started chatting up Heather about dachshunds and dogs in general.
Bow Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta
Soon another pickup truck pulled up, and its driver beckoned Heather’s new pal to come over and take something out of his truck bed. The dog owner returned momentarily, carrying a bag of gourmet dog food (Blue Buffalo) and a Costco-sized box of large-sized Milk Bones biscuits. He threw the food bag into his truck, but before tossing in the Milk Bones he opened the box and insisted Heather take some of them (for me, not for her). Heather tried to politely refuse, but thankfully Omak Guy was having none of it. I was at their feet, salivating, emitting tiny whines and hoping for a favorable outcome. Whew! Heather took the biscuits he offered.
Lake of the Woods, Ontario
Even I, however, could not imagine how many of those huge biscuits he poured into the plastic bag Heather produced from the car. By the time Mike returned with the ice and some groceries, the guy and his dog had taken off. But not before leaving me enough Milk Bones to fuel my 2 o’clock treat every day for the entire trip to Syracuse and perhaps beyond. What a haul!
Besides, even when I run out of those particular Milk Bones, that incident really got my trip off on the right foot. Treats? They come and go,. But I’ll always remember the generosity of Omak Guy.