Let me start by saying that we never pick up hitchhikers. But you know what they say: Never say never.
So just what made us stop to offer a ride? Of course I have to start at the beginning….
We’d arrived in Dease Lake, BC, on a day that fluctuated between beautiful skies and dry pavement…
…with rain and unmarked road:
But it was our anniversary, so it was all good 🙂 In Dease Lake we found Mamma Z’s closed (the ad in The Milepost made it look good… wonder what happened?) so we tried Rumours Cafe, which was like so many places we find in remote areas. The cafe was housed in the same building as the grocery, laundry, and post office. In this case the spaghetti and ravioli were particularly good because their homemade sauce was particularly good.
With few places waiting for us to stop along the way the next morning, we decided to do something unusual for us — stop for breakfast in the same town we’d stayed in. So back to Rumours we went after we did our “take down” routine. We parked the rig along the edge of the huge parking area.
We watched a young man and woman each roll a tire across the parking lot and debated a bit: were they locals? Surely they had a story. After breakfast and a quick stop in the grocery next door for a few things, we headed back to the RV.
“They’re hitching,” I said, pointing to the couple we’d seen with the tires. They stood by the side of the Cassiar Highway, tires nearby, thumbs out. Bob motioned them over. They struggled to rush and roll their tires — we told them to take their time, we’re retired.
“Thank you thank you!” they said, smiling as the man put the tires in the back of the pickup truck. “We’ll just ride back here,” they said.
Their fresh faces, friendly gratitude and genial smiles quickly convinced us they should not ride in the back of the truck with the tires, so we invited them into our RV home.
You full-timers out there know how scary it might be to invite total strangers into your home on wheels. Everything you own is right there. But you also know you sometimes have to trust your gut, and this was one of those times for us.
And we were certainly rewarded! We soon learned their names — Nicole and Steve — and that they were from Melbourne, Australia. They’d spent the winter in southern BC and were traveling the countryside before they would have to go back down under.
“How do you decide where to go?” we asked.
“People tell us about places,” they said.
And the tires? They’d bought a used maroon Blazer but the roads were just too much for the old tires on it, so they’d gotten a lift from Jade City back to Dease Lake where they could get replacements.
If a smile can be infectious, Nicole’s was certainly that. We’ve never had 45 or so miles go by so quickly, with a conversation that ranged from the oddities of a monarchy — especially in an outpost country like Australia — to the wonders of the landscape around us to longevity in relationships.
When we came up on their Blazer, they hauled the tires out of the back of the truck, Nikki gave us hugs, and they posed with Bob for a remembrance photo.
Wherever you are, Nikki and Steve, we hope you are having adventures as fulfilling as those we’ve been having, and that everyone you meet is as grateful for their time with you as we are.