Again we woke up to our campsite full of cars and the reality of morning and a Timmy's car park at 7am. Although we were just squirming out of our duvets Gabby had been up since 5:30am and had resolved all of her bank card issues in full CG (coffee Gabby) mode! I sat and used the last of the wifi to check into my flight tomorrow morning - something I'd regret doing later on.
We drove on with Paul taking a rest so Gabby was behind the wheel and I was taking up the role of navigator. There were some more authentic western looking towns such as Caroline but we stopped further south in Sundre but our usual first port of call was closed. Naturally we headed to the gas station which proved an excellent alternative. We were shown the walks on Snake Hill which is a cross-country ski route as well as a snowboarding half pipe but in summer it has a series of trails through a hilly forest where cougars can be spotted!
Back on the road we headed to Cochrane where I was due to get an extortionate bus to Calgary airport but the guys decided they'd very, very kindly drop me to the door- well airport. Cochrane was a sunny little village and the most famous landmark in the place was an ice cream shop and so I knew me and this place would get on straight away. They had numerous flavours but I chose classic Canadian combinations of Nanaimo bar, butter tart and cookie dough. The ice cream was easily piled as big as my face.
After a quick costume change to appease the familiar warm climate we stopped at a bargain shop where Blake got a kite to add to his growing list of 'weird shit I bought in Canada.' Then we, naturally, ended up in the Saloon bar at the centre of town. We sat and had a few beers over a few hours, or simply put in norwegian: hyggelig utepils. Only Ryan was stressing us out about picking him up even though he had already agreed to meet us at the airport. Ah well, we'll catch him somewhere!
The rest of us had some dinner at the bar and several beers later everyone started leaving notes in my journal while I continued to get more and more sad about leaving. The group had got particularly close over the past week and when they started to suggest cancelling my flight I took the advice on board and looked into it. Unfortunately the call centre wait-time was over 50 minutes so we headed to the airport in the hope I'd have time to ask. However our culprit from before meant we had to drive around the motorway trying to find a black car out of the hundreds passing by and then wait for them to find the more conspicuous campervan. By the time we got to the airport it was too late for me to consider asking to change and I had to leave pretty hastily and was gutted I didn't even manage a group photo!
Once I said goodbye I got pretty sad, and sitting reading their notes in the departure lounge made it even worse - I am not going to lie, a few tears was shed. Now so you don't feel to sympathetic for me, I was in campervan mode when I went to the bathroom in the airport and completely forgot to wash my hands. Yes, ming. Anyway, as I crossed security I got back into civilisation mode - hand-washing and all. I checked my emails, updated the world of facebook but worst of all; I could actually smell myself. All my clothes were smelling pretty rotten- even the 'clean' ones. There wasn't much I could do as my flight was overnight leaving at midnight and arriving in Ottawa at 6am. However, the flight was actually only three hours long so I fell asleep as soon as I got on board to squeeze in every bit of sleep possible - and to ignore any "what's that smell?" comments flying around.
So the campervan went driving on without me heading south to the States before returning to Vancouver as I flew East to the capital - Ottawa. I was sad to not be there with my new crazy international friends but I am sure I will see them again when we bump into each other serendipitously somewhere on the planet. However Eastern Canada awaits where I am going to be hostelling and couchsurfing (shock horror Mother) my way through Ottawa, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto before spending my 21st birthday in New York City.