A Trans Canada hold up

Yes, I got held up on a return to Calgary recently. Now that sounds exciting – a highway robbery? Stand and deliver! You’d best stop reading now if that’s your hope for this piece. This is about a different sort of hold up.

The highway was closed due to a rock fall and wasn’t scheduled to reopen for a few hours. Fortunately, if fortune is a feature of travel delay, I was in Revelstoke, BC, and that’s never a bad thing. I love the situation of this little town, nestled along the Columbia River with towering mountains all around. We’ve enjoyed camping nearby, exploring the beautiful area around and about. In the small downtown there are stores catering to all season outdoor activities, a few coffee shops and eating houses, and a realtor or two reminding us we can’t really afford small town mountain living.

Above the Columbia
Anyway, here was an unexpected opportunity to spend a few hours in a favourite place. But did I venture into the little downtown to while away my waiting time in an independent coffee shop? Take the opportunity to browse the gear and flannel shirts in those outdoor stores? Enjoy a short rainy hike along the picturesque river banks? I did not! Having filled up the car for the last leg back to Calgary, and resigned to a wait of uncertain length, I used my bonus Revelstoke time by sitting in Tim Hortons drinking their dark roast coffee.

You did what, PlaidCamper? Tim Hortons?! Aren’t you a staunch defender of independent coffee shops, a bean hound willing to take lengthy detours – “I’m sure there’ll be an espresso shack just up here” – and a slightly annoying coffee snob? 

Walked 45 minutes across Victoria (passing two Tim’s) to find this place 
Coffee snob? That doesn’t sound like me! Well, there was that time when we (I) went a little way off route (somewhere in one of the Dakotas, I think) to find the Cowboy Coffee Cabin, but it was well worth it. Mighty fine coffee. When you have all day, what’s another hour or so? I liked that place, and if it was a Dakota coffee franchise, places on the prairies are so far apart that by the time you reach the next one, you honestly can’t remember if you’ve been to one before. “Hey, this looks new!” Could this explain the Tim Hortons success in Canada?

Be prepared
I know, I know, Tim’s isn’t exactly the definition of small town, small batch, artisanal coffee roasting, but big doesn’t have to be bad, does it? Have you had their dark roast? What can I say? I love it, quite dark and aromatic, a decent caffeine hit, and with an odd hint of cardboard flavour that is strangely delicious. Tim’s is a Canadian institution, and it isn’t a road trip unless there’s a sticky box of Timbits keeping driver and passengers full of unnecessary calories. All the Timbit flavours are fine, except old fashioned glazed – they taste like pork scratchings, the type sold in an English pub in the early 1980s. Not yum. (The part about Timbit calories? Not true. I’m pretty sure there are studies proving that if you eat Timbits in a car, you don’t put on weight. That’s right, car Timbits are free of calories. Amazing! I can’t seem to find a link to the scientific evidence, but you can take my word for it…)

Storm’s coming. Best stop, wait it out somewhere with a coffee!
You’d think the Tim Hortons in Revelstoke that day would have been full of miserable customers, all irritated they were held up. Yet the truck drivers (usual order, a double double), pensioners (double double), parents of preschool children (double double), students missing classes (large mocha, a Boston creme, please don’t tell my parents I’m skipping) and the coach load of Koreans (long order, the bus driver stepped in to help) couldn’t have seemed happier. Is this the power of TH doughnuts – that aren’t, let’s be honest, all that good – or is the strange cardboard flavour really an active happiness agent?

Mrs PC loves a cappuccino
When we first came to Canada, I didn’t really get the national affection for Tim’s, although now it seems perfectly obvious a coffee and doughnut joint started by a hockey player would become a fixture of the Canadian coffee landscape. If I remember rightly, it took less than six months and another waist size up for me to fall under the Timbit spell. I thought it was a mandatory part of citizenship preparation, and I studied hard.

Jasper coffee stop – and fine baked goods (I’m told…)
So, I didn’t go for a hike, or buy a plaid shirt. Instead, I read a bit, wrote parts of this post, drank a medium dark roast, got another for the road, and headed happily on my way once the highway reopened. Oh, and maybe there was a small box of Timbits in the centre console. It was empty long before reaching Calgary (except for the solitary old fashioned glazed I so thoughtfully saved for Mrs PC…)

Enough of these caffeine-fuelled ramblings. Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!

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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

21 thoughts on “A Trans Canada hold up”

  1. What a smile you bring to my face, pc, with your coffee ramblings. Not being very familiar with the ways of Canada, I do not know of Tim Hortons or Timbits, but I sure liked hearing about it. And how absolutely marvelous that eating Timbits in the car is calorieless. There is so much to Canada that I have to look forward to, thanks so much for this Friday amble. I especially loved hearing about the double-double patrons. And the storm photo is awesome.


    1. Thanks, Jet! Happy to hear this little tale of Timbits raised a smile. When you’re out this way, we’ll share a box, and you don’t have to eat the old-fashioned glazed (Mrs PC likes ’em!)
      Hope your week is working out well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve got to echo Jet’s sentiment about not knowing enough about Canada’s roadside culture, so I’m gonna have to start catching up a little, even if the roads stay clear of human or more natural debris. There’s at least a few Tim Hortons in upstate NY where I go looking for nature’s beauty (as you so readily discover in the provinces) and I’m convinced now that I’ll finally stop at one for some of that cardboard wonder and caffeine spiked with Timbit sugar delicacies. I may stop at one tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration, PC!


    1. Thanks, Walt! If you found yourself stopping at Tim’s, I hope the coffee was okay for you. As for Timbits, that’s a habit you need to work hard at acquiring, and even harder to drop…
      Enjoy your week!


  3. Loved your coffee ramblings and wish someone had told me about the calorie free car Timbits! Over the years I have enjoyed the Tim Hortons Timbits and Dunkin Donuts Munchkins, but Gabby prefers the chocolate chip cookie and Puppuccino at Starbucks (loved your paragraph on coffee orders). Now that I’m craving coffee, we will be making a run to Starbucks this morning and I wonder if the new holiday cup is the reason I can’t change my radio station away from Christmas music. Wonderful photos and the coffee shots are as beautiful as the scenery. Enjoy your weekend!


    1. Thanks, and I’m glad you enjoyed the coffee ramblings – I know you enjoy a good cup of coffee, but how about Gabby and her Puppucino? How civilized!
      I hope you’re having a good week so far, and the seasonal music isn’t too much, too soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your going to gasp & sputter with what I’m about to say Adam,but a very recent survey of thousands across Canada has dethroned Tim’s as Canada’s favourite brew………It is now McDonalds!
    I do not drink the stuff myself but remember seeing a recent news item on the National declaring that Ronnie’s Steak house has the best coffee now!
    shudder away……


      1. I don’t know, road trip coffee from McDonald’s rather than Tim’s? It’d feel like a tiny act of treason! “Send him back to Blighty!” (They kicked me out because I don’t drink tea!)


  5. Wonderful way to spend a hold up PC. Sounds like you had a positively divine time. I like my coffee too, just like my men, hot strong and rich haha. Great post 🙂☕️


  6. BC really is so beautiful isn’t it, much worse areas to get stuck!! We ended up a bit stranded for similar reasons with a rockfall one direction and a town procession blocking the roads in the other.


    1. Yup, if you’re going to be stuck somewhere, be stuck in western Canada, and preferably a mountain town!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting – much appreciated.
      Enjoy your day!


    1. Hi Ed,
      Apologies for the late reply. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment – much appreciated! Yes, one of the joys of hitting the road is stumbling upon a coffee shop gem. No one is ever going to mistake Tim’s for an independent coffee store, but they are reliable road trip markers, and the dark roast is pretty good!
      I hope your week is going well.

      Liked by 1 person

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