After eight days of driving and touring, we got to our initial destination: Fernie, British Columbia. Here are cousins we never knew, adventures we haven’t taken and one loose end to a family mystery.

We got there sooner than we thought. I calculated the trip would take six hours from Shelby, Montana, our last  RV park in the states. We got there much faster. Why? Because the mileage on the map was in kilometers, not miles, so it didn’t take nearly as long. We even dawdled some to take up time. Needless to say, the late afternoon, early evening time frame was off by about an hour and a half. We had the address of the house, and knew that my cousin owned a GMC dealership. But we did not have any phone numbers. My fault for not thinking ahead!

So the best thing to do was to stop at the GMC dealership, on the north side of town, approached first, as we were coming in from the north, and make sure someone was home. There I met my cousin and his son, Ralph and Darren Will. After calling the house and finding out that no one was home, Ralph accompanied us over there, showed us where to park the trailer, and waited til his wife, Lorraine, came home from her grocery shopping. Lorraine is a great cook and had dinner on the table at the anticipated time of 7:00pm. On the deck, where the sun was still bright and the mountain snows remaining in the deep passages reflect the light. Their grandson, Cory, a real sweetheart, cooked steaks to perfection, grilled sliced potatoes and served wine. We weren’t allowed to do anything except hook up the electric to the trailer. We spent the evening in conversation, mostly involving genealogy!  Ralph took us on a short tour of the town then Darren, his wife and kids stopped over for a chat.

The morning came and we were fed by Lorraine who insisted we should do nothing. Then we went out on a tour of the downtown shops. I had to buy some earrings! Lets just say I need momentos. In the art gallery-theater-restaurant (which used to be the train station) we ran into Cory’s sister, Kaylie, and her daughter, a four-year-old whirlwind named Audrey. They proceeded to accompany us through the town. After an hour and a half of touring we stopped for coffee. As we sat in this quaint little coffee nook,  who should come by but two cousins of Ralph, Susan and Terry. They had heard I was coming to town to do some research. They couldn’t stay long but did stop long enough to pose for a picture. Friday night there was a dinner party at the Will house with Darren, his wife and son, the Wills’ daughter Lori and boyfriend and Lori’s two children, Kaylie and Cory. There was chicken parmesean, macaroni and sauce, tomato and mozzarella platter, large salad, ice cream pie and wine. Lorraine could have been a professional chef! We got to talk briefly to all. And Max was a well behaved hit!