I am ready to begin my solo road trip in a couple of weeks. I’ve been listening to various music these days, mostly 80’s which I call my lost decade for all the shit that went down during that time. There was Someone who changed the trajectory of my life, I’m sad to say. Actually there were three people, perhaps four, each with their own agenda, that caused a change. Caused, you say, how can another cause you to have a significant change in the course that a life takes. Well that’s a story for another day when I’m feeling more open. For now I’m considering entry to the new decade of 2020’s ending in 2030.
The world is a mess but I’m not. I’m feeling more in control and on top of the woman that is me. This cross half of Canada trip is the first of many I will take alone.
Listen to this for some inspiration:😊
This trip I have some planned rendezvous along the way. An old friend and some family. I’m going to head east along the TransCanada for five or six days. Destination: Thunder Bay. I should roll into a T-Bay by August 10th. I plan to stay a week or so And then roll on back West to my little piece of paradise in Fernie, BC. Should be home by the end of August.
I will be driving my sports car. Its been four years since I’ve been behind the wheel of this powerful beauty. I have personalized plates . Honk if you see me, I’ll probably be driving a bit fast.
My car has been undergoing renovations for this trip. We’ve added a rearview camera and a new GPS. Also had a repair done to the convertible lid and, of course, had the RF360 hand control installed.
We were going back and forth to Calgary before pick her up and I drive her home to where she belongs, here with me, in my little piece of mountain paradise.
Well, I’ve got my ride and have taken her out on several test drives. Leaving here on August 4th. First stop is the little town of Medicine Hat, Alberta, just a five hour drive on this first day. I have pre-booked all of my hotels along the way.
Medicine Hat. I encounter my first issue in Medicine Hat. I’m trying to find my hotel and pull over to enter the address into my GPS. Checked in and its straight off to sleep for me tonight. Tomorrow is another long day of solo driving and I’m determined to get on routine – up early, eat, checkout, back on Hwy#1 head due East. I remind myself to enjoy the journey and I do, mostly.
Day 2 – Destination is Regina Saskatchewan
Somewhere around the middle of Saskatchewan I wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. Probably. But my course is set. And by the way who the heck gets lost in the Prairies. I was instructed by my new Nav system to exit the highway so I did, and then executed a full loop back to where I had exited. But not before finding the tiny town of Rouleau. Turns out this is where Corner Gas was flmed.
If I wasn’t so tired and alone, I might have explored a bit, but this unplanned detour cost me almost an hour and I don’t want to drive in the dark. Note to self, if something feels off, it probably is.
Its been a long day of flat, relentlessly boring driving. Many large bugs gave up their lives today, ending it on the windshield or front bumper of my car. It makes me sad every time I hear a splat, indicting death. Just flying around, minding their own business and along comes this Mountain Girl in her fast car. I took the scenic route through downtown Regina before looping back to my hotel. Its a very old and tired place with pockets of loveliness like the trees lining Main (Albert) Street, intertwining with each other to form a shady canopy for walkers and joggers out for a stroll. But no one is out today and those that are wear masks.
I roll into my hotel, The Holiday Inn Express, nothing fancy because there is nothing fancy, I’m afraid. But big feature: there is a restaurant attached called Perkins. I was hoping for something delicious as I have not eaten delicious since I left my little mountain town. I order the sirloin stir fry which comes with a mountain of gravy on top of the steak and five strips of red pepper. If ever there was an occasion where second dinner was warranted, this is it. I am daunted by this big heap of food and after eating a few bites, my appetite is gone. Dinner is $25 plus tip.
I continue to work my way through a small glass of pinot grigio while eavesdropping on my fellow diners.
I sit facing the entrance to the restaurant. It caters to the retired, senior community. I grabbed a copy of the Senior Living newspaper on my way in. Its a welcome break to the bad news going on in the world outside of Regina. The classifieds are good. Shannon offers grooming for your pet for just $45 including pick-up and delivery. Someone is selling their funeral plot in the Garden of the Apostles at the Memorial Cemetery, downtown. Two widows, one a “sassy” seventy, are both looking for gentlemen friends. Neither holds out false promise of anything more than platonic coffee and burgers or walks, movies and the occasional meal out. This also makes me sad.
By the way, I miss my mountains here in the land of flat plains. I miss that rascal Roop and the Silver Fox. I think they might be missing their Kitten.
I am almost halfway to my destination now. Tomorrow is Brandon, then Winnipeg, Kenora and Thunder Bay on Saturday night where I hope to have dinner with my sister Carolynn.
Take a rest when you need it. I spend two nights in Brandon, dealing with the unexpected fatigue from long distnce driving. I’m not on a clock. The only agenda I have is made by me. I feel better for getting more rest and now hit the road for Kenora.
you can tell where Manitoba ends and Ontario begins. It’s obvious. Trees and a lake appear from out of nowhere. Memorable today are the miles and miles of sunflowers being farmed here, their happy smiling faces tilted skyward.
People seem really annoyed to see fast car not going really fast and the further East I drive, the more I am tailgated. I’ve got my cruise control set to 15 kms over the posted limit. No real assholery, just the need to remain vigilant all the time. Today’s drive was long with lots of road work to slow us down. Took about 5.5 hours and its nice to be here. Tomorrow I’ll roll into T-Bay in the early evening I think.
I’m usually able to find humour in any situation but I must say that I’m feeling pretty humourless at the moment. Maybe I just need some company. Well the food helped grilled chicken and salad, the body just kicks into gear again, refreshed with some good, protein-based energy.
Todays song is hard to pick. There has been some good Spotify streaming. I’m gong with The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in honour of my proximity to Lake Superior.
I am strong, I am deternined and of course I am awesome and you are too
get your adventure on, perhaps not as ambitious as mine, make it a wee one, in your neighbourhood, see the sights you’ve never had time or patience for locally.
I roll into Thunder Bay in the early evening. I’m staying at the Delta Thunder Bay, a nice hotel with a proper sit down shower. I can wash my hair properly without worry of slipping. I’ve brought my water shoes with me to make it even safer.
But for tonight I’m alone and my most pressing need is food. so I do a quick wash, change and head straight back downstairs to the Anchor & Ore, the seafood restaurant/lobby bar where I have delicious fish and chips with a big glass of white wine. Yum, this is good travelling and here I will stay for the next week.
The highlight of my journey is meeting up with my old friend Rob who has himself been on a roadtrip from central Ontario to meet me here in Thunder Bay. We meet at the coffee shop across from the hotel and later move to the patio off the lobby bar for a “cocktail” of beer and wine.
Todays song is Al Stewart’s Year of the Cat. I don’t know why. We both like the imagery of the lyrics.
Rob is a friend like the sassy ladies in Regina are seeking, only better. We’ve known each other for more than 20 years, sometimes worked together, enjoy each others company and like to travel. Perhaps we will do some travelling together if the future permits.
I spend some time with my sister and neither of us has a particularly good time. I check out of the Delta and move to her apartment for the weekend. My plan is to hit the road on Monday and begin my journey home to my little mountain paradise.
I arrive back in Fernie early Friday afternoon. No pre-planned stops I set a goal each morning and stop when I’m tired. Securing a hotel is not a problem if you follow the simple rules of wearing a mask at all times when in hotel public spaces. Everyone along the way is happy to help me carry my single overnight bag to and from my car. I am reminded that I haven’t nailed the efficient packing thing yet but I do have ideas to try next time.
It’s been exhausting and when i get home I have a bit of a blip, spending a night in our local hospital just to be safe. I’m out the next day and my old routine is starting to kick in again soon.
September 1st, I started my exercise program again, acupuncture, chiro. Later in the week hair, nails, massage. I’ve also made an appointment with a local lawyer to get our wills sorted out. If you haven’t done this yourself, you really must. Even if your will is simple it will make it so much easier for your surviving spouse.
It’s now the second week in September and I’m glad to be back home and into my regular life routine. I’m still recovering, sleeping a lot. I do not recommend undertaking such an ambitious journey on your own. It is draining and not all that fun to do it alone. So much better to have a travel buddy to share it with.
Speaking of which, I’m thinking of my next adventure. By plane, when the ime is right. Perhaps just to Toronto to catch up with my besties or maybe to Portugal with a friend, when the world is in better shape and the time is right.
I am strong
I am awesome
and so are you
Take a break, Tap out for awhile, and stay awesome.