Lee Sacrey Photography – Lee's Chatter

Mainly Photography but a little of everything at times

The Emergency Road Trip!

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On Tuesday morning I made an emergency trip to Valleyview, Alberta. Some friends of mine were in a motor vehicle accident, they had a run in with a deer. A four point buck to be exact. The SUV was totaled and we learned that the rental car companies have no drop off policy for vehicles leaving Alberta and being dropped off in Yellowknife, NT. So, although insurance will cover some car rental fees the rental companies wouldn’t allow for the vehicles to be return to a rental depot in Yellowknife. Even it they did the cost would be huge! Someone had rented a car from National Car Rental in Valleyview and were going to take it to Vancouver. In addition to the car rental fee, the fee to drop off in Van City was an additional $1,200.00 plus GST. The insurance wasn’t going to cover that cost and with no drop off policy it didn’t matter because we would have had  to return the car to the Valleyview rental office. To make matters worse, there doesn’t appear to be an adjuster in Valleyview. So, even waiting to meet with the insurance people face to face would take a few days and with only one room available at any of the local hotels (at a cost of $ 317 a night because it was a theme room!!) staying to get everything sorted out was not economical. Both of my friends were due to return to work on thursday. The accident happened about 6:30 pm and we learned of the rental problem at around 11:00 pm. It was decided that I would leave early in the morning to drive down. It is about 11 hours to get to Valleyview and the plan was to do a quick turn around and drive back with a stop. We would share driving duties on the return trip. I was surprised that no one seemed to be injured in the crash but, I found out the next morning that there were some minor bruising and stiffness for the airbags being deployed and just the abrupt stop. Still, everyone was ok. I packed some emergency stuff in the event that I had a mishaps during my drive and I did bring my camera gear. I wasn’t going to take any time for photography but, if I happened to see any wildlife, I would try to get a few snaps. For the first three hours of my drive, it was dark and I knew no images would be made, but when I got to the Ice bridge across the Mackenzie River, the sun was beginning to rise. I knew that with my cameras sitting next to me on the seat I could grab a couple of quick shots. Being ready for wildlife meant I had two lenses mounted, my 120 – 400mm and my 70 – 200mm. Not exactly landscape lenses. I wanted to capture the sunrise from the ice so, I grabbed my camera with the 70 – 200mm and fired away. I don’t think I spent more than five minutes capturing the early morning scene. Once I was across the river, it was clear roads and a beautiful sunny morning, just great for driving. I spent the next seven hours and forty-five minutes driving, only stopping for fuel, food or bathroom breaks. About five minutes from Valleyview I spot a coyote on the side of the highway. I stop quickly and slowly try to back up to a spot near where the coyote was. He or she had a completely different idea, just as I got close enough for some photos the coyote bolted through the brush. My photo-op was gone. I continued to the hotel in Valleyview, picked up my friends, loaded the truck, grabbed some coffee and was ready to start the return leg. Before we left Valleyview, we took a quick trip to the yard where the SUV was being kept. I took some photos of the damage in case they would be needed later (no one will be around when the adjuster arrives) and then it was back on the highway. By now is has been twelve hours since I left Yellowknife and thirteen hours since I got up. Knowing that my friends would be a little sore, I would continue driving until I got too tired. They had been sitting around the hotel waiting for me to arrive and make calls to the insurance and family, so I thought that might just add to the stiffness they were already feeling. The return trip was like the trip down, the only stops were for fuel, food and bathroom breaks, except for one stop in Peace River (were my Sister lives). The trip from Valleyview to High Level took about five hours (including the stop) and it was now about 10:30 pm. We still had around seven hours of driving (arriving home at an estimated 5:30 am) I thought it might be best just to stop for the night. Sure my friends could now share driving duties but, it was dark and we certainly would be at work the next morning. It was better to get some rest and continue in the morning. This morning we were up rested and ready to continue. We had the entire day to cover the last seven hours, we still made short stops as before, we just didn’t have to watch the time as closely. About two hours into the drive I stopped to get a couple of pictures of a train trestle that I noticed on the way down. The cloud cover was beautiful and the trestle appeared to be holding up the trees in the background. From there, we finished our journey without any more incidents. We did spot a lynx about one and a half hours from home but, there was no chance of getting an image, so we just slowed a little and continued on our way. Around 5:00 pm I arrived home tired from the drive but happy to be back and happy my friends were home safe as well. It was an adventure, here is a sample of the few photographs that I did capture. Thanks for reading and as always, Happy Shooting.

The future bridge across the Mackenzie River at sunrise.

Sunrise from the north side of the Mackenzie River.

Sunrise from the Mackenzie Ice Bridge.

Train Trestle near Indian Cabins - version 1

Train Trestle near Indian Cabins - version 2


Written by leesacrey

February 9, 2012 at 12:35 AM

2 Responses

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  1. These are beautiful shots and you are a beautiful friend for picking up you your mates. It sounds like it was a very, very long journey for you. Glad everyone is ok.


    February 9, 2012 at 1:41 AM

  2. You are still a good boy(man) lol! What would your friends do without you?
    Happy everyone was safe and that you had a safe trip also.

    loretta Beck

    February 9, 2012 at 5:22 PM

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