Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Touring Canada, eh?

Wow - what a drive. 3612 kilometers - or 2244 miles for you non-Canucks.

I left at noon on Friday, July 1st which was Canada Day. Surprisingly, there was very little traffic, and the trek through Alberta, Saskatchewan, and half of Manitoba was fairly uneventful. Uneventful, that is, until I took my turn behind the wheel.

At approximately midnight we decided that we may as well drive the additional 6 hours to the cabin which is just inside Ontario, and since I had been napping off and on the entire day it only made sense that I drive. Not two minutes after I slipped into the drivers seat, the first few raindrops appeared. Within 20 minutes, I could barely see the highway it was raining so hard. It finally tapered off a bit when I hit Winnipeg, but the roads were still slick and there was a glare from the mix of headlights and street lights. Winnipeg has a perimeter highway - which seemed to be a good choice because we can avoid the city and there was no one else on the road at that time of night.

No people or cars, anyways.

I had one of those moments where everything seems to play out in slow motion. I could see the shape of the creature on the highway and the way it ran across two lanes of traffic in a split second. I couldn't make out the colour of it, but I could see tufts of fur and the look in it's eye just before it doubled back on my car after I swerved to avoid it. After hearing the unmistakable "thunk" I couldn't look back, my hand was over my mouth and I kept saying "Oh my God" over and over - but there was no doubt that it was dead. I am not sure if it was a skunk or a badger - there were no telltale remains (or smells for that matter) - but I was a mess. I have a knack for killing gophers in Calgary - there are just so damn many of them and they literally run right under your wheels, but this was the first time I had killed an animal of "substantial" size. I felt, and still feel, so terribly crappy about it.

Needless to say - I handed over the drivers seat and sulked the rest of the way to the cabin. We passed by at least five deer, all killed on the side of the road, and I was thankful that if I had to hit something, at least it was a helluva lot smaller. It was 6am by the time we got to the lake, and after a quick trip to the dock I passed out from sheer exhaustion.

I woke up around 2pm, and we took the boat out to do a little fishing. Didn't catch anything, but it was good to get out on the water. It was really strange being on the lake for the first time as a non-smoker. It's amazing how many things you do in your life that revolve around smoking, and fishing is one of those things for me. To me fishing is packing a cooler full of beer, sitting out in the boat, chain smoking and drinking, and reeling in what you catch. Without a pack of smokes, I had no desire to even open a beer. I realized later that night that I was coming down with a cold, which is probably a more accurate reason why I didn't feel like drinking, but it was still strange.

Sunday. Sick as a dog. Cold. Flu. Hell I was even worried that one of the 945 mosquito bites I got passed on the West Nile Virus and I wasn't going to make it overnight, that is how crappy I felt. I haven't been hit with a cold like that in a long time. We only drove five hours to Thunder Bay since we didn't leave the cabin until 4pm, but it was a pretty good drive, all things considered. Even though I felt lousy, I was pretty excited about seeing Thunder Bay and Lake Superior. We made it in just before the sun set, so I got to see some ships and the water. I took a bunch of pictures, but I left my cable at home so it will be a while before I can upload anything.

Monday and Tuesday are one big long blur of sitting in the car, taking cold medications, seeing dead moose on the highway, and eating at Husky Houses. (And no, they don't serve mooseburgers.) I started to take some kind of super pill for my cold, and it made me pretty drowsy. And bitchy. I am finally somewhat coherant tonight - at least I think I am - but if this post doesn't make sense then you know I am still delusional and I can blame my medication. I am still sick but finally over the worst part I think. I hope.

Now I am in Toronto, and I am trying to get used to EST. It is 3am Toronto time, which is 2am cabin time and 1am Calgary time. It is definitely going to take my system a few days to catch up. Either way - it is time to crash. I will be back tomorrow, hopefully a bit more rested.

Animal sightings for the trip:
Skunks: Alive-1 Dead-1 ('niff)
Deer: Alive-3 Dead-5
Moose: Alive-0 Dead-4
Eagles: 2 - both alive
Porcupines: Alive-2 Dead-1
Horses, cows, hawks, grouse, geese and other common animals / birds - Waaaay too many to count. I will just say more than 3,000. This is Canada, after all.