Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I'm home! I did the 4,500-kilometer trip in three days--a record. The first night took me to the Lake Superior area of Ontario with lots of tiny, dingy motels. I could have stopped at one, but I pulled over at a car lot in Nipigon. (If I'm sleeping in the car, car lots are great because I don't stand out when I'm surrounded by other vehicles.) Well, it was very cold so I got back on the road after two hours and drove through the night, remaining vigilant for moose and other wildlife. (“Moose on the Loose” at “Moose at Night” signs pop up every five minutes on the route and I drove under the speed limit, ready to brake or swerve should a critter appear.)

For the second night, I was in the middle of Saskatchewan and stopped in three towns, looking for a cheap motel. The first town had the most disgusting looking hotel I've ever seen--worse than The Patricia on Hastings in Vancouver’s skid row area, a hotel an L.A. travel agent unwittingly booked me into during my first visit to the city. There was no room at the inn at the next two stops. I parked in an auto body lot, spitting distance from an incredibly active nighttime railroad track, and tossed and turned from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. when my dog Lincoln decided it was time to throw up. (I learned from the trip to the cottage and got him out of the car on time.) At some point in my "sleep", I mysteriously managed to break a middle toe which swelled up. Plenty awake, I washed my hair using a water bottle and hit the road again.

That's when I realized I had a shot of making it home in a three-day marathon. I was a crazed driver! Construction work in Calgary--at both ends!--and around Banff put me on edge--the dogs might say over the edge--and getting stuck behind camper vehicles for long stretches through the Rockies made matters worse. I had given myself a couple of hours leeway to catch the final ferry home (9:15), but that time seemed to be ticking away.

Thank goodness for the Coquihalla Highway which runs for nearly two hundred kilometers between Kamloops and Hope, B.C.! It is like a raceway. Cars whizzed past me when I was doing 130 (or more). Bring on more of our own Autobahns!

Despite my fretting, I realized I had a (remote) shot of making the 7:25 sailing. Drawing on my newly acquired race driver experience, I zigzagged through traffic as I neared Vancouver and got to the terminal three minutes before the cutoff. What a bonus to arrive home a day early!

I am feeling surprisingly alert today and the dogs are relieved to be home, reacquainting themselves with their favorite lounging spots. My butt feels bruised from such long periods of sitting and I have officially ruled out truck driver as my next career. Now I have nothing left to fall back on if I can’t make it as a writer. I have no choice but to write!

No comments:

Post a Comment