COLUMN: Traffic snarls not my idea of long weekend fun

A short trip to Yarrow via side roads Friday afternoon was further confirmation of my conviction never to ...

On the Other Hand by Mark Rushton

A short trip to Yarrow via side roads Friday afternoon was further confirmation of my conviction never to travel B.C. highways on a long weekend.

There in the freeway median near the Cole Road off-ramp was a rollover, decorated with police tape. The accident occurred at about 1:30 p.m. At 5, according to the radio, eastbound traffic was still at a stop-and-go crawl all the way west to 232nd Street in Langley … all because lookyloos had to check out the wreck.

A flashing light, someone changing a tire on the shoulder or even a coyote standing in a field is enough to put weekend getaway journeys on interminable delay as drivers rubberneck.

Invariably, as traffic slows, an inattentive driver, on the phone or texting or daydreaming at speed, rams another vehicle and even more prolonged traffic chaos ensues.

On Friday, apparently all eastbound routes – Fraser Highway, Huntingdon Road, 58th Avenue and others – were jammed as formerly happy travellers tried to avoid the freeway snarl, resulting, of course, in equally slow going regardless of route chosen.

And it all happened again Monday morning. Freeway closed at almost the same spot due to a rollover, Parallel roads jammed as homeward-bound holidayers avoided the blockade.

All that time wasted, whining kids in the back seat, vast amounts of fuel burned at idle . . . no thanks, I’m just happy to stay at home.

However, I do feel for those who try to make the most of a weekend, and who want to get out of town with their family to enjoy the magnificence of what B.C. offers. I just don’t understand why so many have to slow down for no other reason than morbid curiosity. I will confess that I too rubberneck; I just do it at speed, which admittedly, may also have its issues.

Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to arrange my time so that my “long weekends” can be scheduled for those not containing a holiday, and thus both the highways and the destinations are considerably less congested.

Thus, rather than join the fray on this first long weekend of the summer, I chose instead to create the beginnings of a 100-foot diet: half a dozen raised garden beds, with more on the way.

Fast as I could build them, and fill with dirt, they were planted with all manner of future produce. I can just imagine the bounty to come – all at once. I’m sure we’ll be giving away vast quantities of squash, beets, carrots and almost anything else that can be grown in our climate.

Not only will there be too much to eat ourselves, I can assure you that each beet and carrot will, due to the purchase of dirt, lumber, screws, wire (in what will be a fruitless effort to keep out the rabbits), cost remarkably more than it would be to buy from even the most thrifty of grocery stores.

On the other hand, we will know where it comes from, pesticide-free. And, I am repeatedly told, it is fun to watch it grow, and harvest fresh from the garden.

So, if a little later this year you’re in the mood for zucchini, let me know. I’m sure we’ll have wheelbarrowsful.