Sunday, August 23, 2009

Destination: Back to Vancouver along Hwy I part I

We checked out and were all looking forward to heading home along Hwy 1. We had a number of 'points-of-interest' to find along the way. But first we said good bye to "Balls Deep", our neighbouring guest, turned off the freight train AC and hit the open road.
We stopped at a look-out and took some shots of the fascinating terrain of the area, took shots en-route and even took time for a few shots at a gas station that had
railway tracks running by it like this little orange cat.

Our next official stop: Ashcroft Tea House. Well, unfor
tunately, the tea house was closed, but to my delight, there was a row of abandoned homes right by it so we
wandered around and took what pictures we could from behind the NO TRESPASSING signs.

We regretfully drove away from the Ashcroft Tea House vowing to return when it was open and with a plan to try and get inside some of those houses after we were finished our crumpets and jam.

Our next and quite
unexpected stop was at a little church plunked down in the middle of nowhere by what looked like a trailer park with railway tracks running along side it and two fenced in old and very tiny cemeteries....

Destination: Kamloops, BC part III

Day Two (cont'd) Only the rare vehicle passed us along this oddly quiet and 'tranquil' road. A little hesitantly, we turned off onto a packed gravel road that looked like it might get us closer. We'd found what looked like might have been the main entrance people would have once passed through upon arriving here for treatment. Courtesy of our audiophile again as we parked off to one side of the train tracks that runs in front of the property the next creepy instramental track of our cd started.

[angelo badalamenti - audrey's dance]

The property is huge, sprawling, and is oddly peaceful in all it's eerie emptiness. It was like the empty black windows were staring back at us with as much curiosity as we had staring in at them. Almost like they were wishing we would come in and visit as much as we wanted to step inside their darkened rooms. The area was all so still.

Reluctantly, we piled back into the car and drove away from Tranquille and its echoing empty halls to get ready for the trek back to Vancouver. We were leaving first thing in the morning and were looking forward to the scenic Hwy 1 route we were taking home . . .

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Destination Kamloops, BC part II

Day Two: we woke to a gloomy and overcast sky on Monday. Fitting for the 'mission' we were setting out on. The room was sweltering from Sunday's sun and high temperature so we slept with our air conditioner on all night. Have you ever slept under a freight train engine? Neither have I but it would probably be quieter than our air conditioner.

Up, washed and dressed, we had the pleasure of collecting our 'continental breakfast' in a dim little cubbyhole behind reception. We were stared down by a hostile bunch of fellow guests all being very territorial about their inch of the arborite table tops they were hunched over. It was surreal and amusing how angry all the sleepy faces were. We brought our bagels, toast, coffee and juice back to our room and ate in comfort
and privacy.

We slid in the second of our three road trip cds and off we went knowing the site was on the north shore of Kamloops Lake, out past the airport. We weren't sure how far we'd have to drive before we found it - if we found it at all, but we hit the road excited to find Tranquille. After a quick reference to our map, we headed out to find our destination: Tranquille Santitorium (occasionally referred to as Serenity on the Lake).

Tranquille's 60+ buildings are spread out over 180 hectares of land on the Lake. It was originally a sanitorium for tuberculosis sufferers. In 1958 it was then converted to a mental health facility until provincial budget cuts dispersed its patients into group homes and surrounding communities. Its final closure came in 1984.

Tranquille has sat empty now for over 20 years.

Our audiophile, who'd painstakingly compiled our 'trip tunes' had selected the appropriate music and with uncanny timing each piece seemed to be perfectly fitting for each 'leg' of the trip. As we searcdhed for Tranquille, classical music filled the car, enhancing our experience and when we rolled to a stop at our first glimpse of the property, an eerie haunting bag pipe piece spilled from the car almost sounding like it was rolling across the moors to meet us.

[First Battalion Queen's Own Highlanders. The Road to the Isles -Glenaural Highlanders]

Teh property is fenced-in and covered in security notices making our access frustratingly limited to what we could see from the perimeter. Our first stop was on the lake side of the property with a view of only a handful of buildings in their various states of disrepair.

Hoping we might find an entrance or a closer view of the buildings, we got back in the car and continued along the road looking for a better view or if we were lucky, a way in . . .