Did someone say flat?

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August 9th 2013
Published: August 10th 2013
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While I've learned several things on my journey home from Brandon, MB; the clearest one that sticks out to me the most is in some cases it truly IS the Destination vs. the journey that is the best part.

I know, I know, "it's not the destination but the journey" is the usual one, but after driving for 10+ hours with only 2 pit stops for fuel in some of the most uninteresting sections Canada has to offer I have to disagree. I love road trips; whether solo or with friends, but having done this section of Canada a few times now I have to admit, I don't think a lot of people would notice if we just 'closed up SK" and move AB beside MB and shuffled a few people around:-)

Sure Alberta is beautiful, and while I mean no offense to Saskatchewan Tourism, (there probably are nice portions, um, somewhere?) but the direct link between Lloydminster, AB and Brandon MB is not one of them. Well, at least they are correct when they say; uncrowded destinations and land of the living skies. It goes on, and on, and on and on. And there is no one to share it with.

Here are a few things I learned on my early drive home (due to my girlfriends stomach flu persisting):

Western Manitoban' in general either drive small SUV/Crossovers or 4 door white sedans

Saskatchewanians (?) in general drive pick up trucks

The dirtier the pick up truck, the bigger the redneck a**hole driving it

The aforementioned drivers do not like to be passed by female/small nondescript vehicle/anyone? and insist on gunning it while you are trying to pass them (despite catching up to them in the first place) making you either pull back or speed up even more. If you do pass them, they proceed to follow you very closely for a few km to advise you of their displeasure then pass you at mach 2 with as much loud muffler sound as possible - only to slow down and, the best part? Turn off the next exit. sigh.

Saskatchewanians also believe the left lane is for driving and the right lane is for everyone else. Passing a semi should be done at a safe distance, starting 2 km from the rear of the semi, at a steady pace of 111-113 kph and should not return to original lane until at least 2 km from nose of semi, just to be safe.

The further east you go from AB the more expensive the gas. So driving home was fun as I started at $1.32/litre for '87, which went down to $1.25 in Champlain, $1.14 in Lloydminster and good old $1.10 in Edmonton. All hail living near Ft. Mac!

The Canadian Government has decided to relocate all immigrants to the armpit of SK (which is saying a lot) in order to crowd the major cities less. The latest was the 2 Japanese ladies who own the Champlain Esso and Subway, who are only able to mutter to one another in Japanese, look up, take credit card, say thank you and continue on muttering. But damn are they making a fortune there, so who is the smarter one here?

Regina needs a gas station on either end of it's ring road (both east and west) to help avoiding Champlain and other overpriced small town gas stations with English as a second language and Saskatoon needs a ring road.

Somebody in the SK government must have a relative who is in charge of road signs on the highway because I have never seen such an abundance of signage. Warning, curve coming up (yes the one I noticed 2 km ago), deer and elk signs (not that I even saw a gopher); warning, intersection coming up; wait, did we mention there is an intersection coming, and don't forget, with flashing lights, there is an intersection just ahead (not that you can see it either). I do love their 'bump' warning signs however, in AB we would probably disguise it, until after you hit it then put up a sign for a mechanic 20 km ahead!

It is possible to drive a manual, non cruise control vehicle while sitting on one butt cheek with your head out the window for fresh air (thank you Kelly E.). Rotate butt cheeks, stick opposing arm out the window to continue a breeze (until dragonflies bounce off the back of your hand - worse than hail in freefall) until snack time.

A compilation of music with over 1000 plus songs in 10.5 hours of driving only gets you from "C-I", even skipping several. And rotating between Diana Krall, Metallica, Ella Fitzgerald, and Chopin can be a bit of an assault on the senses, but definitely keeps you awake, especially since the volume on the mastering varies considerably.

Listening to above mentioned music gives you random tunes you forgot you had like this classic that makes you burst out laughing thanks to fond memories. For my dear friend Larry M: I feel Pretty by Sarah Vaughan:

Between rotating butt cheeks, snacking on endless crackers, grapes and veggies, listening to a musical genre that would freak out most normal people and trying to do butt exercises while not flooring the gas pedal is a challenge, but kept me busy. I was starting to lose it near the end of the day as I sang along to "I don't need a Man" by the Pussycat Dolls and belted out such a horrible 'woa whoo' that I burst out laughing at myself. Or perhaps it was the memory of me driving by a semi while he looked at me bouncing around like Benoit in his jolly jumper at the DZ; man all I was missing was a clown nose to make it complete!

SK also gives a person plenty of time practicing an "Agnes, Is this annoying?"

I'm so sorry my friend got so sick, and other than 1320 km of flat road, 5.5 tanks of gas, a total of 4 cops in SK and MB and plenty in AB (we know where our money goes - cops, SK does road signs), a raw throat from singing so much and almost hitting 150,000 km on my car I did love seeing her for the couple of days!

Long solo road trips also give you time to think, and think, and then think some more. Make lists of all the things you are going to do when you get home, then proceed to ignore as you head out to the DZ to skydiving since summer is so short. Ah procrastination is a good thing! Then again, I did manage to write up this blog.....


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