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 . . .

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