A Journey of 3,040 Kilometres

Whew! I made it home at 2AM this morning (Wednesday)!

I had a most excellent drive even though it was a loooooooong day. I stopped for a nice lunch in Fernie, paused in Blairmore, then had a long break in Lethbridge where I did a ton of shopping (one clever person told me the apocalypse is over, LOL). I hit up a few electronic stores for a better cell booster antenna (no luck), Walmart for dried goods, and then Canadian Tire for a few projects. I also bought a big cooler that was on special; nothing fancy but will come in handy for supply runs.

There was construction coming out of Lethbridge, so it was slow going for a bit, but Medicine Hat still came more quickly than expected. There was a lot of talk on the radio about the flooding and evacuations, but I saw no evidence of any of this. I decided that I was four hours from home, so I was going to get my grocery shopping done and finish up this trip.

When I pulled out of town, it was about 9:30, with my ETA being 2:30AM. The drive to Swift Current felt endless. I was physically tired, but not mentally since my body thought it was an hour earlier. I stopped for gas and a leg stretch, found a station playing my generation’s music, and rocked to Bryan Adams, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, and New Kids on the Block all the way to Assiniboia, a stretch that felt about a 10th shorter than it actually was. It’s nice when the last stretch flies by!

I pulled into Haven at about 1:45AM, unloaded what absolutely had to be unloaded, and climbed into bed where I was asleep by quarter to 3.

I’m feeling a little groggy today and expect it will take a few days for me to fall back into my routine. I did get the truck fully unloaded and most of my stuff put away. I don’t have internet at home right now (I’m telling you, the bloody thing is sentient), so I’m up the hill waiting for Charles and Caroline to come home so I can pick up my boy.

I have several posts to write up about the weekend, but I want to say two things right now.

1) The weather in BC was mostly miserable, as it usually is, and the mountains were damp and grey, and shrouded with fog. I am so happy to be back under the sun bleached skies of my beloved prairies. If I have to live in this cursed country, there is no place I’d rather be.

2) I LOVED camping in the truck. It was the perfect compromise between car and hoteling it or taking a cumbersome gigantic rig out. I’m going to write more about that, but I really saw on this trip that my gas guzzler wasn’t a stupid buy at all. I didn’t have a lick of trouble with her and she is soooooo comfortable. My clutch leg isn’t even sore today, as it would be with half the distance traveled yesterday traveled in my Accent. It took a year to really use the truck the way I intended to use it and now that I have, I am fully at peace with the compromises I have made.

I’m off to shop online for another antenna and plan to pay big bucks for fast shipping. Wish I’d known I wouldn’t find anything in stores and had ordered earlier.

Wagons East!

I had just switched the last load of laundry to the dryer when Jody and Gary appeared, bearing muffins! Jody usually gives me four or five in a muffin container, but this time she had two dozen fresh baked ones in a huge plastic container. I was a bit at a loss as to where to put it until the muffins were cool enough to transfer to smaller containers. Then it hit me: the oven! 😀

We said our good-byes again and then I moved Miranda onto the street so I could hook up the car. All that went fine except for one not so minor detail: my car turn signals weren’t turning on when I put on the motorhome’s. A visual inspection of the wiring revealed nothing amiss, but I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I looked closer and discovered that someone had, after several attempts, taken a serrated knife and cut the wire clean through, then carefully tucked in the pieces so that the sabotage wouldn’t be readily visible. I know who did this and he was a pain in my side all winter as he kept unplugging the motorhome when it was frigid out. I have no proof that it’s him, but he’s the only one with a grudge against me.

Anyway, I was relieved to find this type of vandalism, my first in three and a half years on the road, and not a broken window, slashed tires, graffiti, etc. I was out of electrical tape, so I ambled over to the home store a couple of blocks away and picked up a roll.

Back at the rig, I took my wire strippers and neatly snipped away the damaged portion of wire. Thankfully, I had a lot extra because he ruined over a foot of the stuff. Then, working one colour at a time, I stripped the two ends of the wire, twisted the copper together, then covered and wrapped the ends with lots of electrical tape. Once all four colours were done, I tested my repair. It worked! I then bundled all the wires together and wrapped the whole thing in a bunch more electrical tape.

The laundry finished just moments after this was done, so I did one last check and pulled away from the apartment complex. There were a number of turns to make to get out to a main road, with both sides of the street packed with cars, so it was a little bit like doing the moho slalom all over again. I needed to make a left hand turn at a T-intersection and had to wait for a car to make its on left turn onto my street. He wound up getting wedged between Miranda and a parked car and honked. I could only pull ahead so much and still be able to make my turn, but thankfully that was enough because I could tell that this person wasn’t backing up without a fight. I had just one more nasty left turn to make, and then I was on the eastbound Transcanada by 11:20 for an easy enough 400KM drive to Swift Current.

I’m glad I didn’t have to go any further today as the drive was windy and therefore exhausting. It doesn’t help that I was already sore from the last two day. I really don’t think I could have driven one more kilometre!

As I am on the road a few days earlier than planned, am finally self-sufficient for power, and am bone deep weary, I will find a place to hunker down tomorrow for a few nights before I make my border crossing attempt. This will give me a chance to see a little bit of rural southern Saskatchewan and to look a little more refreshed when I get to the border. 🙂

The rig hasn’t been plugged in since I took it out Thursday morning and I am sitting at a full charge. I love my solar panel!

Thank Goodness for Organization

Last night reminded me of my first few days on the road and how much time it took to find space for everything. While I tried to put things away as I brought them back in, the day grew very long yesterday and I piled the last few (dozen) loads wherever there was room. I thought I had at least four or five hours of work ahead of me by the time I was done in the apartment. HA. There was nothing that hadn’t been in the rig before, so it was just a matter of remembering where each item went and I was done in under two hours, which included reorganizing a couple of cabinets. I still have a few little things to square away this morning before I take off, but I did about 95% last night before falling into a pile of exhaustion.

I’m off to do a last load of laundry, mop the apartment floor, and, eventually, hook up the car. I hope to be underway by noon.

Feline Adaptability

Yesterday’s chaos in The Apartment really stressed out my cats. When it was finally time to bring them down to the rig, they decided they weren’t going anywhere and it was a job and a half to get them downstairs. But soon as they were in the rig, they were transformed. Everything is where I left it and they immediately went to their favourite perching spots, no roaming around, no looking lost. They knew exactly where they were. It was rather amazing to see proven my theory that cats have as good a memory as dogs.

Today, I must have made three dozen trips down to the rig. Neither cat seemed particularly perturbed by my comings and goings. Tabitha snoozed the day away in the loft and Neelix did the same in the study. They only showed me any attention if I came to them for a quick cuddle.

It has been a very long day and I still have some things to square away, but I’m pretty good to go for tomorrow. I hoped to be done in The Apartment by around 8 tonight, which I was. Next on the list was a shower, and then I buzzed my maintenance guy so we could say our good-byes, knowing that I’d get beer this way. My plan worked like a charm! Aren’t I clever?

Well, my winter with unlimited 120V power apparently killed my computer battery, so I have to sign off for tonight. I have transcription to do when I get to Swift Current (!) so I’ll quickly know just how much juice I need to run my office for a full day on inverter power. Today, which was slightly overcast, my batteries were fully charged by noon and I could have still had 5A go into a secondary battery bank. Let’s see if this trend keeps up while I’m living full-time in here again!

Final Thoughts On My Year in Lethbridge

It looks like I am on schedule to pull out sometime tomorrow morning. I have decided to meander through southern Saskatchewan rather than race to the border as I am leaving a couple of days earlier than planned. I’ll therefore be overnighting at the Walmart in Swift Current tomorrow.

I’ve been asked a number of times about how ready I feel about leaving, with the meaning being “How sick are you of Lethbridge?”

The answer is that I am not sick of Lethbridge, but I am ready to go. I know that what I needed to do here has been done and it’s time to move on to new challenges. My being here has not been unbearable and if I needed to stay a while longer, that would be fine. But I have come to a point where I feel that I would gain nothing more here.

As I wrote at the beginning of winter, I very much believe that we all have a life plan. I can always tell when I’m following that plan or not; the further I get from it, the more chaotic my life feels. When I am firmly on it, like I am today, I am awash with a feeling of serenity. When I ignore the niggle at the back of my brain, as I’ve done several times in the last three and a half years, I feel uneasy, worried, and out of control.

My time in Lethbridge has allowed me to gain professional growth that I truly believe I would never have had in my old life because I wouldn’t have believed myself capable of the challenges of management. When I last saw my boss, he confessed to me that it was only the office manager’s urging that allowed for me to take charge of the apartment complex starting in late June. He trusted her that I would grow into the position. I feel that it took me till well into November to really feel comfortable with the job. But he said that he knew by the end of July that I was going do great in the position! I appreciate so much that I was allowed to make mistakes and that my judgment was trusted. My feelings for this company are difficult to put into words. I am just so happy to have worked for it for the last nine months and am still in disbelief that I have such a wonderful tangible reminder of how I felt while working for them.

The personal growth that came from this job is also immeasurable. I was finally able to let go of my need to be liked and that enabled me to be respected. What an adventure and a half that was! I have finished a rough draft of the little ebook I’ve promised about my winter adventures and I hope to have it out shortly!

The idea of Travels with Miranda isn’t just of physical travels, but also of a journey of the soul, of a half-baked person seeking to find her true voice. So often we get lost in the minutia of daily life and others’ expectations for our life that we never learn to grow into our person. I am returning to Quebec very confident and ready to hold my head high against those folks who measure success in financial statements and who told me that I was throwing away my life. Oh, I did do that, and look at the life I am now living!

I have a ton more stuff to move back into the rig and an apartment to clean, so I’m off to do a final burst. Departure tomorrow is scheduled for 11ish, but no sooner than when an order of Jody’s muffins arrives. 🙂 I’ll post before I take off, then it will depend on cell coverage in Saskatchewan, which is spotty at best.