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Monday, May 6, 2013

Life's An Adventure... Or At Least It Should Be!

Life's An Adventure... Or at Least It Should Be!

Sometimes our travels are planned, other times you just get up in the morning and decide you need to be somewhere else; even if just for the day. Maybe that’s the difference between adventure and leisure?

When it comes to business travel, one week they tell you you’re needed in Waskaganish and a week and a half later you’re on a plane to Kashechewan. A month later, Sandy Lake. 

International travel can be different. Sometimes not. 

My past two trips to the UK involved months of planning. B&B’s to book, youth hostels and sites to visit researched. Yet on both those occasions I found myself booking into a four-star hotel on-the-spur-of-the-moment! 

Our travels to Crete were well planned; rooms booked, meals planned, well in advance. Yet we still found ourselves far off the beaten track.

The Bahamas were quite the same. A condo reserved for a few weeks, but transportation, whether boat or car, and cultural events, simply by happenstance! 
One of our last ventures through customs was planned in a mere fifteen minutes. A call at seven in the morning meant a trip south of the boarder by noon.

This latest adventure we have embarked upon has maybe been a combination of “spur-of-the-moment,” and “intense, long-term planning.” 
After first living for a short while in Nakina we decided that we really wanted to be there. We would work five or so years, buy a small place and maybe spend our summers there; fishing, hiking with the dogs and picking blueberries. But one phone call can really change your plans.
Within three days of that phone call, both Aimee and I were offered jobs in Nakina. It was an opportunity not to be passed up! Within ten days, Aimee and Alfi were headed north to Nakina. I planned a travel-date six weeks later, accompanied by Lyndy and George.

Aimee started work less than two days after her arrival; spur-of-the-moment. I stayed behind in Whitby; packing... And planning.

For me, the adventure started early one Thursday morning last month. For almost seven-hundred kilometers I drove through showers and absolute downpours. By the time I arrived in Cochrane the rain was freezing upon whatever it fell! 
Having been turned away from a few motels because of the dog and cat, I drove another twenty clicks to the next town. Waking the next morning found the Jeep covered in a quarter-inch of ice. Blowing snow and white-out conditions greeted me as I drove out of town.

Continuing towards Hearst, the adventure intensified! But I only had five-hundred kilometers to go. According to plan I would see Aimee that afternoon for the first time in six weeks! 

Weather-conditions worsened, correspondingly, so did the roads! I have never driven in such conditions and never wish to again! 
For many long stretches of road I followed plows. With the wind and snow, visibility was virtually nil as the ploughs pushed snow from the road and into the northerly wind. But still semis with their trailer loads insisted on passing! 
At times I was forced to travel long winding stretches with my windshield coated in ice before I could find a safe spot to stop and clear the wiper blades.

Conditions only worsened! Fifty-K east of Longlac there was a snow-plow in the ditch, on its side! Twenty kilometers later a westbound eighteen-wheeler in the eastbound lane with its entire right side sheared off!     

Finally, after seven hours of driving I arrived in Longlac; one-hundred kilometers from my destination and the first coffee shop since Hearst! But traveling any further was impossible. The police had shut the entire town down. All roads, in all directions were closed.

Meeting Aimee that evening wasn’t going to happen. 

Burns and Steinbeck were coming to mind:
“The beast laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

A couple of glasses of red, a roast-beef sandwich and a warm hotel room; but still no compensation for dashed hopes and my “best laid plans.” But tomorrow would be another day!

Saturday, my third day traveling, found me under bright blue skies, surrounded by three and four-foot drifts of snow, but traveling on plowed roads! An hour and a half later I had returned to Nakina, and a long awaited reunion with Aimee! 

Making plans is quite often the prudent thing to do. Often times though plans change. But if plans didn’t change, life wouldn't be nearly as adventurous!



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