Sophie kissed her husband as he went off to work and delivered Emma to school. Then she sat quietly in her living room in Alberta, Canada, closed her eyes, and moments later was standing in front of the Emerald Victorian. She had accepted an invitation to lead today’s tour so Laetitia could take a day trip with friends. By the time she had taken the first few sips of freshly brewed coffee in the Emerald Victorian library, she knew where she would take her group. They would go to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories to see the night sky ablaze with the Aurora Borealis.
The northern lights can be viewed from many places in the Northern Hemisphere, but Yellowknife’s geographic position and clear skies make it one of the best places to see this natural lightshow, which occurs when charged particles in the solar wind react with gasses in the earth’s atmosphere. Large numbers of tourists brave winter temperatures—often below -30° F—to view this phenomenon.
Sophie chose as their lodging a Bed and Breakfast located on Ragged Ass Road, an appellation that started as a joke when a couple of guys posted a street sign as a testament to the bad luck they’d been having while prospecting in the region. The name stuck, and it is now one of the most frequently stolen street signs in the world. After Sophie’s guests arrived, they all convened in the B & B’s living room. Sophie was used to extreme winters, but most of her guests were not. When she offered a walkabout her guests all declined, preferring to stay inside until their evening adventure.
The B&B featured a Canadian blended whiskey tasting in late afternoon. During the tasting, Sophie met a Los Angeles couple celebrating their first wedding anniversary. The husband, Dan, arranged the trip as a surprise. When he revealed it to Millicent, his wife, she was filled with trepidation, especially when he told her they were staying on Ragged Ass Road. She envisioned a remote rustic cabin, cold and dark without running water, and was pleasantly surprised when they arrived and found that their bedroom had a brass king-size bed, silk sheets, and bathroom en suite.
That evening the light show was fabulous, and those on Sophie’s tour were comfortably dressed in rented outerwear designed for extreme temperatures. (There were also heated seats available for the wimps in the group.) Guests from southern climes marveled when hot water thrown into the air immediately froze and came down as snow. Before returning to their lodging around 2:00 a.m., Sophie presented a limerick to the group.
Young Millicent thought it lacked class
To make love on the road Ragged Ass
And was startled to find
That Dan kissed her behind
On silk sheets in a bed made of brass.