Right then, here is my final mini blog from my recent Canadian tour.
It’s all done & dusted now & I’ve had a few days to recover so thought it was about time to do the last one (for anyone that is still reading them!).
After yet another, but relatively quick flight across to Cranbrook I was picked up by the promoter from Fernie who very kindly drove me the quick hour drive to Fernie. As I said before, A.Skillz had been playing at the very same club I was playing at the night before so I was hoping he’d not partied everyone out too hard! Luckily there were a few people that still wanted to go out & shake a leg. At the club that night they projected a 15ft image of my name onto the wall which was pretty damm cool! They tell me that Fernie is one of the best ski rersorts in North America & it’s won a few awards recent for just that. Unfortunately I was only in Fernie for a few hours as I had to leave just after lunch the next day so I didn’t managed to get up the hill to snow board. Before it was time to leave we went out for a great lunch where I sampled ‘the best sandwich in the world’ or so the guy on the next table told us! To be fair it was a pretty damm good sandwich (consisting of smoked meat, olives, cheese, salad & pickles) tho the jury is still out if is does indeed take ‘the worlds best Sandwich’ crown! Big thanks to Kyle & Chad in Fernie. Was great to meet you guys & hopefully next time I’ll be able to hang for a bit longer & make it up the hill!
“Before it was time to leave we went out for a great lunch where I sampled ‘the best sandwich in the world’ or so the guy on the next table told us!”
Next up was the last gig of the tour in Kimberly which is another small mountain town a few hours drive away. The promoter from Kimberly ‘radical Rob’ had arranged a ride for me & we would meet him at White Swan hot springs which is natural hot spring that is pretty high up in the hills & about 2/3 of the way to Kimberly. The drive over to White Swan was across the foot of the Rocky Mountains which (once again) were spectacular & foreboding (if this actually is a word?!?). We drove up this crazy icy track that had a near vertical drop on 1 side. Because it was just a ice road we were sliding about all over the place but as we were in a 4×4 it was all good & those Canadian drivers know how to drive over ice, thank god, as if it was me driving we would have been over the edge in about 2 minutes! White Swan hot springs is a mad place. There are a system of small pools that lead down to a river. The very top pool closest to where the hot spring emerges from the ground is about 40/45 degrees! Then as the water runs down over the rocks the next few pool cool down a bit until they merge with the river that has come straight from mountain snow run off & is about 1 degree. As it was my first time there I was ‘told’ I had to go in the hot pool at the top & then jump into the cold river & get my whole body under, which I duly did & let me tell you it was FREEZING! Safely back in the hot pools we supped down a few beers & whiled away a few hours in bliss.
On the drive to Kimberly Rob told me that A Skillz had played for him the night before aswell! So for the second day in a row I’d be following him in the same venue. Just my luck, it was looking like I was A.Skillz’s 1 day late stalker! This time at least I had Friday night on my side. The gig took a little while to get going so I happily showed the guys how to play pool & beat them all! Soon as I jumped up on the turntables the place stepped up a gear & was a really fun gig. I love playing the smaller towns just as much as the big cities as people really let loose & party.
The next day we were up kinda early & went up the hill for a few hours snowboarding. Radical Rob is a ski/snowboard instructor & on about our 2nd run he said ‘I’m gonna push you to the edge of your limits’. So he took me up the hill, across a track & then we reached the edge of the park. At that point he lifted the out of bounds rope & said ‘head on thru here, we are gonna find some real powder’. The snow was so deep compared to what I’d ever boarded on before & untouched. It was so hard riding deep powder as it’s totally different to the way I’d ridden before & I was falling over all the time. It’s also tricky to get up as when you push up you just sink further into the snow! He had me weaving down a crazy steep (well to me anyway) run round trees. I feel over so many times but luckily into waist deep snow. It was so much fun. Thanks so much to Rob & his family for welcoming me. Again your warmth & hospitality is greatly appreciated.
That night (Sat) the gig I had been booked for in Big White had been cancelled so I had the night off. Tyler (Stickybuds) & Adam (A.Skillz) were playing in Nelson which was a relatively close 3 hour drive away (tho with Rob driving about 2 hours) so Rob & I headed over to meet up with the crew & have a final night partying. The show at Spirit Bar was great & sooo packed. There was a big crew of us out & it was an epic fun night. I met up with a load of new people from the Nelson area. We went to a couple of amazing after parties & general fun & messiness was had all round! Someone came up with the idea that the following day we should go to the hot springs at Ainsworth (about an 45min from Nelson) to relax & sweat out some of last night’s Fireball. The hot springs here are natural but had been made into a cool little complex with a pool like a swimming pool that’s 35 degrees & also a cave that you go in that is around 40 degrees. They also have a plunge pool that is 3 degrees that when you jump into it & head back into the hot pool leaves your whole body tingling. We spent pretty much all afternoon here as about 15 of us all went up to wash away the haze of the night before. It was great chilling with peeps I normally only get to see in loud clubs when I’m a little drunk! After that we made the trip back to Kelowna with the Kelowna crew, which was an epic 6 hour drive where we saw so many deer on or near the road. Luckily they didn’t come to close. I had 1 more day chilling in Kelowna before my return trip to Sydney, which was well needed as the 3 nights of partying had taken it’s toll.
“Someone came up with the idea that the following day we should go to the hot springs at Ainsworth (about an 45min from Nelson) to relax & sweat out some of last night’s Fireball.”
Getting out of Canada actually proved harder than getting in as it took 5 different people to check my passport/boarding pass. Then I had my bag searched twice & was quizzed by an over-zelous airport security guard for 20 mins before letting me on the plane home!
A massive thank you to everyone involved in my first ever Canadian tour. Tomas, Jen & Manousos thank you for all the hard work you guys put in behind the scenes. Without you it would never have happened. Thanks to all the promoters that booked me to play, I’ve mentioned ya all already but once again I enjoyed every show I played. Thanks to all my Canadian friends & the new friends I made along the way. Your warmth & hospitality will always be remembered. I had so much fun & I’ll be back for my first ever Shambhala this summer for more crazy times!
What I’ve learnt & Canadian things I’ll take away with me:
- Auto flush toilets seem like a good advancement in technology but in reality are annoying
- Driving on the right isn’t so crazy
- Cut beef sandwiches called ‘The Baron’ rock my Sunday
- Fireball is a great cheap drink. Only $16 a bottle! Very highly recommended
- Reading everything out in French on planes is nice & continental at first but if it means you miss the last 5 mins of your movie it sucks
- 5 mini red wines, 2 mini whiskeys & a sleeping tablet makes Doug sleep like a baby on the long flight home!
Travel so far:
Sydney > Vancouver > Calgary > Vancouver > Victoria > Vancouver > Whistler > Vancouver > Edmonton > Grande Prarire > Edmonton > Kelowna > Vancouver > Crankbrook > Fernie > Kimberly > Nelson > Kelowna > Vancouver > Sydney