I was reminded today by a conversation with my daughter of the time we were looking for our homestead property -- 8 years ago -- December 2001. It was Christmas vacation. It was snowing a lot -- but not in Mission, B.C. -- there it was raining. The kids were looking forward to playing in the snow.
We made reservations in Turtle Valley to spend a few days with our kids in a cabin, exploring the area. We weren't sure yet where God wanted us to establish our homestead and we were exploring all parts of B.C. within an 8 hour drive of Mission. Open to the possibilities and looking for divine guidance.
We drove up to Turtle Valley, along the Coquihalla Hwy, in snow on Boxing Day, Dec. 26. It was slippery and treacherous and we watched vehicles sliding out of control behind us. Just after we got on the hwy at Hope, the snow started to fall heavier and the wind blew up. But we made it safely to Kamloops just as the RCMP closed the highway. We learned later there had been 2 fatal accidents. Our hosts in Turtle Valley said we were fortunate to get through safely.
We had a peaceful time in the Turtle Valley watching videos (Braveheart, Gone With the Wind), playing in the snow, and exploring properties for sale. We were surprised to find a vineyard and winery tucked away in this North-South Valley. The snow was deep and we found a sheep farm with coloured Romneys. There were lots of properties for sale, but it didn't feel like this was the right place for us.
We headed for home after exploring the area one last time on the 30th of December -- a Sunday night. The snow started as we drove into Kamloops and it was falling thick as the darkness enveloped us. We decided to avoid the Coquihalla Highway, after the fatalities over the week, and instead headed South via Hwy. 1 -- a narrow, winding highway through the Fraser Canyon.
Our 3 children were in the back seat. Robin was driving our Toyota Corolla Station wagon -- with all season radials -- no chains. There wasn't much traffic on the road. With the heavy snow, the darkness and the twisting highway it was difficult to drive more than just a few kilometers an hour. It was an unfamiliar highway. We didn't know where the road went and we couldn't see very far past our front bumper in the swirling snow.
Our knuckles were white and the air was tense as we prayed for guidance. That's when the first angel appeared at our rear -- a big Overwaitea truck heading to the coast. He passed us and pulled in front and led us through the canyon. The kind driver stayed right in front and didn't pull too fast ahead so that we could keep up, finding our way by following his tail lights.
About 15 minutes later another truck shone its headlights in our rear view mirror. The lead truck pulled away and flashed his lights at us. The one in the rear passed us and took the lead -- staying just ahead of us to guide us through the twisting canyon in the snow. It was another Overwaitea truck.
Ten minutes later another semi appeared in our rear view mirror. The first truck flashed his lights and drove on, pulling away from us. The truck behind us, passed us and took the lead. It was another Overwaitea truck. He, too, stayed just ahead of us allowing us to follow his lights and keep up through the narrow, twisting highway, past Hell's Gate.
We had 12 Overwaitea trucks in all pass us and lead us through the Fraser Canyon until we arrived at the Highway intersection in Hope. The last angel flashed his lights to say goodbye and sped away along the number 1 hwy toward Vancouver, where the highway widened into a 6 lane freeway.
But we were good after that -- the snow had slowed, the highway was well lit and mostly straight and we knew our way.