Fear & Loathing on the Road to Tulameen…

     “We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.
Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”

Have you read Hunter S. Thompson’s, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?  It’s not for everybody but I loved it.   The paragraph above grabbed my attention and didn’t let me loose until the whole sordid tale was over.  The audacity of it, the preposterousness, the sheer range and scope of the drugs and alcohol in question.  Was it boast?  Exaggeration?  Or was the protagonist, a twisted version of author himself, absolutely insane?  I think history has shown it was a bit of both.  Anyhoo, I was certainly thinking along those lines as I prowled the coolers of my local bottle shop.  I was on a mission and needed enough craft beer to keep me sane and sustained for 9 days.  And with the embarrassment of riches on display in front of me I’m sure I resembled Hunter at his worst: rambling and shambling from shelf to shelf, pupils little dots as the iris’ drown in an ocean of manic white.

“Do you need any help?” asked the lady behind the till.

“No thanks.”  I did, of course, need help.  But not the kind anybody without a degree in Psychiatry could offer.

Back to the beer and the how and the why of it all.  How does one choose for such an adventure?  In my case it was a well aimed shotgun blast that covered several of my faves and several more newbies and never-before’s with buckshot.

And as to the why of it all, I needed to BYOCB with me on this holiday hop because believe it or not there are patches of the province where craft beer has not yet found a foothold!  Our destination was my In-law’s cabin in Tulameen, a town who’s year-round population is less than 200.  Few of the roads in town are paved and you’re just as likely to encounter an ATV as a car.  Cellular towers have yet to penetrate that deep into the Similkameen and to see any sort of Wifi signal one has to hang out in front of the Tulameen Community Centre with your phone held just so.  That said, the place is a peaceful, picture-perfect paradise complete with meandering rivers, quiet forest trails and a beautiful lake.  Tulameen’s one-stop shop is a gas station, grocery store, post office, bait and tackle shop, ice cream dispensary and…liquor store.  Like any all-in-one situation, the booze on offer will do in a pinch, but who the hell wants to get pinched all holiday long?  Hence the need for my pre-trip collection and the “…tendency to push it as far as you can.”  And so it was off to Backcountry Brewing for some cans of Widowmaker, Scotties Liquor Store for the bulk of my beer, then A-Frame for a quick pint before leaving town.  Except, we couldn’t actually leave town yet due to the territorial stupidity of our beloved dog.

A new neighbor had moved in next door and their dog and ours got into a fairly spirited argument regarding boundaries and property lines.  This verbal dispute escalated quickly and by the time MBW had yanked SeatoSkyBeerDog off the dilapidated fence that separates our yards, the damage had been done.  S2SBD was now the proud owner of a massive asymmetrical wound under his chin.

You might want to scroll past this picture as it’s a little graphic.  Just sayin’.

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The Vet was closed but we called the emergency line, only to be told that, while serious, S2SBD could wait overnight to be fixed up.  And so we spent an awful, sleepless night trying to calm an already anxious dog (he’s a Wheaton Terrier, it’s their default position) that now had something to be legitimately anxious about.  Unable to rest his chin, likely in a lot of pain and unwilling to let us help in whatever diminished capacity we could, what S2SBD did do was leave blood stains all over the part of the house he was allowed to pace.  This would normally be an awful addition to any home decor, except for the fact all our carpet and flooring had been removed weeks before for our reno.  We’ll leave it to the flooring crew, coming next week, to decide whether or not a murder had taken place and, if so, should they call the police or cover up the evidence with Earl Grey coloured Engineered Laminate.

After the longest night in S2SBD’s life, he went in for surgery: they had to anesthetize him, clean out the pocket that had formed between the torn skin and the underlying structures, then stitch the little guy up.

And our trip was officially unfortunately delayed.  By the time he was released, it was 50-50 whether or not we should drive the 5 hours to Tulameen that night or wait until the next morning.  With a thumbs up from the Vet we elected to drive, taking advantage of S2SBD’s drugged up state.  It actually was one of our better drives: the kids were plugged into a movie until they fell asleep and the dog was content in his crate.  And by content I mean, still too high to concern himself with mere transportational discomfiture.  Who knows what hallucinations were hammering away in that canine cortex of his!  Surely there was Fear & Loathing foaming under the surface of our poor pups glassed over eyes.

We got into Tulameen at around 12:30 in the morning in dire need of a beer.  But by the time we transplanted two kids and a dopey dog into the cabin, the only thing I was longing for was Sleep’s sweet release, should She deign me worthy of such a gift.

And so ends the first chapter of Sea to Sky Beer Guy’s first foray into travel writing.  On the whole I think I prefer the comforts of home: knocking this thing out on my eight year old Netbook without benefit of the internets to look up fancy words fuckin’ sucks.  Part II will probably take place sometime in the future. Yes, I realize the vague ridiculousness of the last sentence, life is funny sometimes.  Until we meet again,

S2SBG

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