We Are Finally On The Road
WRITTEN BY CHRISTIAN KÖHLERT
Circulating between Elkwater and Medicine Hat
It all took much longer than we expected. The first estimations aimed for 10 days after my arrival. Now we spent more than one and a half months to finish our preparations and we might have learned something about patience. The last couple of weeks we were rotating between Medicine Hat and the monastery of junk aka the workshop in Elkwater. Nothing special happened till 2 young trigger-happy “preppers” showed up with a truck full of guns. That was some unexpected entertainment for me, since I didn’t have such a great opportunity to witness the unnecessary waste of money with loud booms and smoke since I left the army. Jens just kept being very focussed on his work, while I could manage some unfinished business I had to complete. Most of those things needed internet access.
In the end it took exactly the time it needed and we still feel like living in the flow. Everything worked out fine and we did the best we could to accomplish all points on our list. In the beginning it was unreal to leave Medicine Hat. Even though I felt a little bit melancholic when we had to say goodbye to all our housemates and neighbors that supported us so kindly, I was still happy to leave.
Jens’ final preparations
Next Stop Lethbridge
Finally off we went with a small stop over in Lethbridge where we got some indian spices and met an old flat-mate from Medicine Hat who recently moved to this town. That was when we met Curtis again – a very talented musician just like Cam, the owner of the house we stayed in for the last weeks. Great individuals who inspired us very much.
Stop over in Lethbridge
Overnight in Pincher Creek
While we proceeded west bound Jens suddenly felt like doing some skateboarding at a skatepark in Pincher Creek he visited before, while he crossed this part of Canada on his bicycle about 1 year ago. So we went there and while I was eager to prepare our first indian masala with tofu, he was doing his little tricks on a mini-ramp.
The meal was about to be ready when an old Native American came along. His name was Birten and he is a member of the Blackfoot tribe. When he arrived and greeted us I knew exactly that he is going to be our guest of honor for this evening. From the very first feeling I could anticipate what his background story was. He got in trouble with law enforcement for drunkenness and he had fights with other individuals which ended up in a whole pile of criminal charges.
Jens and me were listening to the whole sad story and we offered him a plate of my curry masala. We did our best to convince Birten that it is never to late to change his self-destructive path even though he described himself as an alcoholic, which is always a tough situation, since this kind of addiction is one of the worst and most common issues in the western world.
Hockey in Pincher Creek
The Spirit Of Alcohol
I talked quite openly about the spiritual background I could see. From my perspective alcohol is like an entity – a spirit in this sense. In Germany we even refer to it as “Spirituosen” when we talk about alcohol in general and it has the latin word “spiritus” in its root or radical. So in my opinion he is kind of possessed. In his ancient Native American tradition there should be a medicine to treat that kind of illness. I recommended to him that he should have a sweat lodge ceremony to free himself. That at least could be a good start of a process which might take the rest of his life.
In the end we didn’t know whether this encounter was instigated by the universe in a way that we had been chosen to give our humble part to direct Birten in the right direction, or whether he just mirrored our own unconscious addictions. Anyhow this meeting is still stuck in my mind and makes me wonder. I felt so much sympathy for his persona because I could feel the honest and kind soul he is.
Later on, other locals gathered to our little circle and we had some nice conversations. It was a great start of our journey we continued the next day. The landscape shifted from flatland to the typical view of mountaintops when you are approaching the Rockies. We proceeded west bound and for the next two days we were able to set up camp at friends of Jens. For example, we slept one night at a fellow called Brad Smiley in Creston. His personality totally matched his name. A really nice guy we spent the evening with.
Challenges and the Spiritual Tech-Support
The next day we had amazing weather again and we could take a swim in Kootenay Lake. However the whole ride was not without challenges. The road is long and windy. Also our vehicle gave Jens some good quests to solve. On one occasion the engine refused to start and the next day a part called “regulator” died a tragic death. At least one of our batteries mourned its loss by crying toxic acid. Whenever something like this happens, Jens immediately switches into a problem-solving mode which makes him super-focused like a predator who likes to hunt the malfunction as if it was wounded prey.
Well, since I am of no real “physical” use in this kind of situation, except from minor assistances like turning on the ignition on command, I just sit calmly and have an inner conversation with the universe in which I kindly ask for help und support. Sometimes I just pray some mantras and in the end it always works out fine. Even Jens sometimes can’t say what had the bigger impact in the process, since sometimes the malfunction disappears just because Jens opened the hood and touched a few cables. I guess it is the mix between both aspects – the physical and the spiritual.