Train of Thought: Enderby to Kamloops

The train doesn’t leave from Enderby, so we rent some vans, pile in, and drive to Kamloops. Although we’ve called this project Train of Thought, the train won’t take us everywhere we need to go, so we say “It’s the thought that counts.” We will be taking all sorts of means of conveyance, including vans and Greyhound busses. Arriving in Kamloops, we settle into a couple of motels. There are twenty-seven of us all together, a mix of settler and Indigenous theatre makers and artists of other kinds who have come together from across the country to take part in the journey. Also with us on this leg of the trip are some grandmothers from the Splatsin community and a mum with her 3-year old girl. Some of us drive and others walk down the hill to enjoy a meal at a family owned restaurant called The Painted Pony that serves traditional Aboriginal meals. One of the cooks wears a tee shirt emblazoned with: “My grandma makes better bannock than your grandma.” Grandma—the chef—comes out to greet us when the meal is done and asks in her big voice: “well, are you fed up?” It seems we are.

I chatted with the women who run the place for long enough that I missed the group walking back up the hill to the motels. I take advantage of my solitude to take a detour and make my way down to the Riverwalk. I’ve been here before once or twice, and I remember how clearly one can feel the power of this river from just standing on the bank. The sun is setting and the spirit is palpable. I am grateful for cell phones so that I can call Mia in Vancouver and share with her some of what I am feeling.

The long walk up the hill in the dark is bracing and, after stopping to take in the view from the lookout over the city, it’s after 11pm by the time I’m back in my room. It’s after midnight by the time I’m in bed and the 4:30 am wakeup call comes awfully quickly. The vans were returned the night before so we pile into cabs to get to the train station. Jamie from Manitoulin Island in Ontario has brought a toy wooden train whistle with him and he gives us some good toot-toots to rally us in the early morning light as we board the train to Edmonton.

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