It was Thanksgiving day, Rob, Chris, and I were at Princes Island Park in Calgary, zoomin’ on the yield from our summer mushroom growing project, when we came to the conclusion that we were to do some travelling together. Within minutes we decided that we would flee from our somewhat traditional roles in society, and see some new country side. The Canadian dream of driving across the country in a VW Van with a multitude of drugs became our mission!
TIME TO TRIP
Nearly a year went by, with us eagerly anticipating our departure.
Over the summer we’d acquired a fully camperized 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia; along with the mind set to conquer our vast country and its psychedelic escapades.
Our first destination was Vancouver and there after we would zig-zag eastward across the country, until we came upon the Atlantic Ocean and could go no further.
We left our jobs in early September, and began our travels. On the way out of town we stopped by our favourite lookout, a shut down Canadian Armed Forces radar base, where we blew off some grass and said goodbye and hello simultaneously. We ended up outside of Jasper our first night in a rainy campground. I pulled out my trusty blades and rolled some green nuggets; we christened our first night on the road. The two burner propane stove in the van turned out to be one of the most luxurious, and most used features.
We hit the big city four days later via Whistler. We went to Rob’s girlfriends flat to crash for a few days and try and hook up with some BC bud. That night we scraped our pipes and added the resin to some marijuana stems that Rob found in his tent from tree planting. We strolled down to Kit’s beach, got extremely high, and lost ourselves in the waves and the wonderful city lights. Then we walked over to the planetarium which was featuring the Pink Floyd laser light show. It proved to be highly satisfying to the mind and the senses. Having but a minuscule amount of resin left, we had to side with 151 proof rum and gatorade for the rest of the night.
Our hunt for marijuana proved to be unfortunately unsuccessful.
So, with our yearning for grass and the conquest of our vast country, we took leave 2 days later, after stocking up on goodies and literature at Hemp BC.
As we approached the Okanogan Valley, Rob and I gobbled some London originating ‘white lightning’ LSD. Chris became known as our late night psychedelic chauffeur as we travelled east because Rob and I frequently took does of mushrooms or LSD while riding in the back of the van. We put on our spectra-vision glasses and lost our minds on car lights and cigarettes tracers, while listening to the Grateful Dead and original Metallica. As we edged into the valley, we pulled into a mountainous field adjacent to an apple orchard to make camp. We went for a mind bending, sky gazing walk through the warm air, and let our imaginations soar.
We started the next day off with fresh apples, and worked our way back to Alberta to visit a couple of cities, some friends, and hopefully to stock up with much needed marijuana. Edmonton pitched me a gram while at a club on Whyte ave., allowing the routinely boring freeway ride to Calgary to be fun and harmonious. I stayed long enough in Calgary to rock a night away at the university bars, saw some old friends from past years of schooling and smoked a few fellow marijuana enthusiasts up, making for a great night. The next day I hopped on the Greyhound and headed south to Lethbridge where I lived a couple of years ago. Upon my arriving, my good friend Jeremywho had just come from Abbotsford, picked me up. We went country cruising and smoked some amazing BC bud he had brought back from the coast. It’s a habit of ours to cruise the vast, desolate prairie, and visit our favourite smoking spots while tripping out on the stars and Led Zeppelin. It had been 8 months since I was last in Lethbridge, but the grass allowed me to slip through the passage of time; I felt like I’d never left.
I went to the college the next day and was pleased to see that my old room mate was growing a nice sized marijuana plant in his dorm room! I pulled out my last pinch of bud and threw it in his bong; letting the afternoon float away.
REUNITED AND READY TO ROLL
Rob and Chris picked me up the next day from the college campus. In their possession they had a half ounce of grass, and an ounce of magic mushrooms. Woohoo! We now had proper provisions to head further east through lesser known country. Leaving Lethbridge late that night, Rob and I assumed our positions in the back of the van. We eagerly dug into our stash of goodies while cruising towards Saskatchewan. The shrooms made our minds bend, the weed made us light and spacey. We felt on top of the world…
driving across the country with a bag of narcotics, wonderful weather, great friends, and our only responsibility was to enjoy ourselves and freak out.
By now, our van had been integrated into our daily life and was a friend and companion. If we had been in any other type of vehicle our trip wouldn’t have had the same ambiance and aura that only a VW can provide.
Our typical day involved sleeping till mid morning, driving for a handful of hours, seeing some interesting nature and towns and going for peaceful walks. When we felt that it was time to camp we’d meander off the main roads and find a pleasing, often remote area, where we’d pull our bags of goodies out and get down to business. The night would lend itself to conversation, music, strolls and lots of smoke pouring out the windows.
This became a very comfortable and satisfying routine that prevailed all the way to the Atlantic.
We decided to stay at Duck Mountain provincial park for a night, which is located on the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border, for some down home Canadian camping. We set up Rob’s tent to give us some extra space, and a break from the constant living in the van. Late that after noon we munched a few grams of mushrooms, allowing us to sit back and take a break from our “normal reality” and delve further into the mystical side of our minds and our adventure. I wandered into the bush, which was on a peninsula of a lake, and started tripping out on the beauty and intensity of nature. I acquired the insight that psychedelics offer, and fell into thoughts of how tripped out life was for me, particularly since the onset of this voyage.
Any ways, I was looking for some three way thought and conversation, so I headed back to camp. Rob was packing to the brim, his carefully selected piece of cedar wood, hand made, four foot long peace pipe. The massive tokes we pulled off blew our minds; in combination with the lingering psylocibin it turned into one of the most mind altering experiences any of us had had. We literally fell into a world that only existed of, and for, the three of us. We forgot there was any reality further than the circle of us sitting around the fire. We fully delved into, and experienced the morphogenic fields that mushrooms and marijuana have been building for millenniums.
We continued our travels by going to Riding Mountain National Park in central Manitoba, where we blew off some grass and watched an amazing eclipse of the moon. The light from the moon enabled us to walk through the trees and down to the lake. Shortly after we returned to the fire, the moon completely eclipsed. We couldn’t walk further than 15 feet from the fire without being in complete and utter darkness. As the moon returned to full light it looked like the unveiling of an oreo cookie. It was a truly astounding outdoor nature experience, that can’t be compared or likened to anything else. To celebrate, we hot boxed our sleeping bags and drifted into a wonderfully peaceful sleep.
Spruce Woods Provincial Park is a unique area of Manitoba that we wanted to visit, so we made sure to stop there for a couple of days before heading into Winnipeg. The park has 6 square miles of full fledged sand/scrub desert that offers some amazing opportunity. We took advantage of this opportunity by getting up at 4 a.m., dropping acid, and hiking into the core of the desert to see the sun rise. It was an amazing sky spectacle that was full of deep hues and patterned clouds. We tripped out the rest of day while exploring the desert. We saw many wonderful things, including: Wolf Spiders, military gun ranges, and mysterious sand formations. We walked out in the late afternoon; jumped in the van and headed towards Winnipeg.
I had to pull over on the side of the road soon after leaving for Chris, because he suddenly had to get out of the van or he was going to loose his marbles. I guess he needed to flush his brain out in the fresh and open air. The grass he and rob smoked when we got out of the desert, in combination with the lingering LSD must have caused an overload.
Upon arriving in Winnipeg, we treated ourselves to the first hotel room of our trip. We took advantage of the hot tub, cable t.v., fast food, long steamy hot showers, and of course plenty of marijuana, to make it all complete.
After spending a few days in Winnipeg and hooking up with some more LSD, we continued our travels across Canada.. Up until now our weather had been a pleasant temperature with a bit of rain and a few shirtless days. The night we left Winnipeg was a short and cold drive. We got about 2 hours out of town and pulled off the Trans Canada into the ditch and camped. Our van had zilch for heat, and our rubber soled sneakers did nothing in the way of keeping our feet warm. It was our first night of well below zero temperatures, though we soon became accustomed to the frigidness of the van.
A Volkswagen Van and three let loose types, seemed to us an easily and discriminatorily rounded package for the police, but up until now we had very little contact with them. We stopped in a Canadian Tire parking lot in Thunder Bay to do some mechanical repairs, where a couple of suspicious looking fellows approached us. They immediately asked us for i.d. without any explanation. I asked them what was going on, and they responded with the typical “because we said so” manoeuvre. As we were giving them our id they checked us out a bit and realized we weren’t who they were looking for, they became friendly and told us someone in a similar van had stolen a hitchhikers purse. They ran our id through the computer anyways and chatted us up, while at the same time making sure we didn’t try and split or pull any funny stuff. Happily for us, they let us be without any further harassment, even though we had suspicious looking objects dwelling within the van. Unfortunately, our situation was not representative of many law enforcers.
EXTREMELY DRY/EXTREMELY HIGH
We took a few days getting to the Toronto area. We took our time and relaxed; did a lot of blade sessions and enjoyed the beautifully rich and colorful fall scenery. Rob and Chris dropped me off at my relatives for a week, near Hamilton, while they took off to Toronto. By now we had smoked all our grass, fine because I was eagerly awaiting some eastern bud.
My week alone turned out to be fairly low key. I didn’t meet any mary jane enthusiasts, so I was feeling pretty dry and hoping the best for Rob and Chris in the big city. They showed up late one afternoon at my Grandparents, I excitedly hopped into the van and asked ‘ did you guys get any smoke?’. Yes they had, a nice quarter of hydroponic mind melting marijuana! We hit the road, headed towards Niagara Falls, rolled and smoked a joint. People were staring at us left and right, in our crazy van smoking a dubee. I felt like my brain had been zapped with a phazer. I was amazingly blasted, and very happy to be back in the van making some miles.
Because I had been without dope for a week, my psychological tolerance had been fully grounded; my brain was all over the place, ahhh… what bliss.
We were still high when we got to Niagara Falls, which was great way to see and feel the power of the water.
After a brief visit with friends in Ottawa and a look at Parliament, we headed for the unknown city of French Canadian Montreal. We stayed with a friend there for a couple of days and drank strong Quebec beer (which you can buy at any corner/grocery store), smoked some grass, and went to the bars along St. Laurent (a young hip thriving street) which stay open until the wee morning hours.
It was the first time for me in Quebec, which was an extremely interesting time allowing me to observe the people and the culture. It was weird to figure out when you could, or were ‘allowed’ to, speak English.
Turns out you can get by almost everywhere in Montreal with English, but the rest of Quebec is not so bilingual.
Before leaving the city we walked up Mount Montreal to see the view and kick around the hackey sac. Then we drove into the heart of a french community: Shawinigan. Our friend Djoo, who normally attends U of C, was now living in Shawinigan; he took us out for real Quebec poutine, draft beer, and lots of Francais. We were trying to score some weed, so Djoo’s friend Yanick who spoke very little English, left the bar and came back with a gram. Yanick said we could try it out and buy some from the dealer if we liked it. We went out to the van, which was parked on the street and smoked up. A lady walked past us and shook her finger in our direction; we smiled back. Being happy with the results we bought a quarter of Quebec grass with Yanick translating because the dealer could only speak french! Djoo informed us that we got very good dope for a good price. I reckon the french dude must have been showing us westerners some Quebec hospitality.
We partied the rest of the night, and left the following morning, continuing up the St. Lawrence to Quebec city. We walked the old city streets; I bought some clove cigarettes and some psychedelic art from a street vendor.
While walking around old Quebec we were happy to see a young foreigner casually smoking a joint while wandering around, I smiled and inhaled the wonderful aroma.
MARIJUANA AND THE MARITIMES
Although our trip had no guidelines or restrictions other than to hopefully stay ahead of the snow, which we had already seen a few times, it felt wonderful to get to the other end of the country. We rarely drove more than two hours a day now, leaving time to sleep in, explore the wilderness, and hang out in the van and freak out.
New Brunswick is our only bilingual Province, which was very evident, as a large portion of the people only spoke french. It was an interesting transition from french to English as we drove further into the province.
While relaxing one night on a cut line along a farmers field, we decided that whoever woke up in the early morning was to crank up Jethro Tull; we’d all get up and blow off a bowl! Anything for some off beat fun. It came to be sunrise awfully quick; Chris had the tunes on, so I slowly crept out of my cozy bag and inhaled some thick smoke. I basked in the bliss of the beautiful sun rise, and Jethro Tull’s psychedelic flute. Then it was back to bed for some more close eye.
By now we were itching to do some more camping and hiking. In our search, we discovered Kouchibouguac National Park in northeastern New Brunswick. We hiked into a remote campsite with our back packs and set up camp. The next day we got up early, dropped pure, clean LSD, and hiked 7 km through swamp, bush, sand, and snake infested habitat that eventually led us to the ocean.
It was a picture perfect, east coast New Brunswick beach scene. No one around, long stretches of sand, water, and inlets, cool fresh sea air, driftwood and shore birds. We lay around and soaked in the scenery for a couple of hours and then started hiking back through the forest. My mind was reeling with visual swirls on the way back; our thought patterns were so connected that mere utterances of words brought complete comprehension and understanding to one another. We arrived back at camp while the sun was setting. We cracked a few cans of beans and lit a few joints, to complete a spectacular day.
THC, MUD, ALCOHOL
We took a quick jaunt around P.E.I.; saw the nearly completed island joining bridge and then headed to Cape Breton. We crossed the cause, way which joins Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, in the dark, and then drove down an old country road and set up camp. With not much else on our agenda we decided to have ourselves a party. After pounding back more than my share of beer and whisky, we smoked a few j’s and put on our party music: “Rasputen” by Boney M. We danced for a while to the groove of the music and then all hell broke loose. The road was sloppy and wet, I felt a sudden urge to slide in the mud, so I ran and slid, with Rob following shortly.
After our music ended and we calmed down a bit we completely stripped our mud soaked garments and crawled into our cave: the friendly VW. By now, I was feeling more than ill, and slightly less than completely incapacitated.
Chris rolled out my bed for me… as I was in no condition to even stand.
CANNABIS AND CUSTOMS
We made a quick loop of the Cabot trail and then headed towards Halifax, so Chris could confirm his ticket to London, England where he was heading for a couple of months. Then we did some more sight seeing around Nova Scotia: Wolfville area, Peggy’s Cove, and then headed to the Halifax airport to drop off Chris. He sifted through all his gear and belongings, dumping any marijuana paraphernalia, so as not to cause any commotion with the authorities. Stripped clean, we said fair well to our comrade and bid him happy travels. Afterwards, Rob and I parked the van under the flight path of the runway and drifted off into a hazy dream state. We awoke with a horrible start, I hung over the bunk, Rob was looking out the window and reported a fighter jet had just flown mock one over our heads! We couldn’t sleep after that, so we packed up and headed south west, towards the mainland.
At a slow and comfortable pace we drifted away from the Atlantic Provinces, feeling satisfied after seeing the other end of our country. We stayed a few days in Montreal, with enough time pick up a brown lunch bag full of weed. Then we kept on truckin’. Rob’s destination was Toronto. Mine was Ottawa, where I ended up staying with some close friends until Xmas. Rob stayed with us in Ottawa for one night, where we went out and drank at a Celtic bar. Rob and I got up early the next day and said fair well to each other and to the adventure we had shared. After smoking the pipe together one last time, I watched Rob and the van disappear around the corner; a new reality began to unfold.
It is now winter, its snowy and cold, and I am itching, waiting for spring and sun, so I can hit the road again, on another Long Strange Trip…