Friday, July 17, 2015

Bio #29 - Roads, Railroads and Caterpillars

I don't know just what year Medicine Hat had its first paved road, but I do know that the Trans-Canada Highway was a gravel one, all the way to Vancouver, in 1928. Mr. and Mrs. Yeo and Margaret went there by car, and it took them five days to get there. (Today it is a 17 hour drive from Medicine Hat to Vancouver.) I guess the dust was awful on the trip, which took them over the big bend too. (I used to babysit Margaret, she was only eight that year, and Mrs. Yeo brought me back my first pair of silk panties.)

An excellent booklet on the history of roads in British Columbia, states that it was impossible to cross the province by road in the 1920s. Therefore, it is certain that Letty's friends, the Yeos, had to travel through the northwestern United States for part of their journey. The dreaded "Big Bend" she mentions, followed the Columbia river high near its source, down to Revelstoke; it was replaced by the Rogers Pass when the Trans Canada Highway was completed in the 1960s.  Road travel in those days was not for the faint of heart.

A car driving on the Big Bend

If you follow the rail line from Golden to Revelstoke, that is approximately the route of the present Trans Canada Hwy

During the early 30s there was an over-abundance of some things, mostly pests, and one of the strangest was the fuzzy caterpillar. They seemed to come from everywhere and covered nearly everything outside the house. They were all sizes, some four inches long. Believe it or not, the trains were even stopped by the slimy masses. They had a peculiar smell and in the parks, you couldn't sit under the trees. Riverside Park was very bad.